alarming fact that there are over one thousand Baptist preach-
ers in Texas not giving themselves continually to prayer and
the Word," And there are over two hundred churches with-
out pastors and scores and hundreds of towns and neigh-
borhoods without preaching. And when wc think of the
thousands of souls perishing for the want of the gospel and
that the welfare of Texas and our whole government depends
on the moral purity of the gospel, we should be profoundly
impressed with the importance of the deacon's office, ordained
of God to "give himself continually to the Word." Again,
the importance of the deacon's office may be clearly seen by
the exalted qualifications required of deacons, which I fear is
often painfully neglected. The Bible declares that deacons
must be men of "honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and
^visdom, not double-tongued, not given to wine, not greedy
for the filthy lucre, holding the mystery of the faith in a
pure conscience. Let these also first be proved, then let them
656 The Life akd T\"eitings of
use the office of a deacon, being found blameless/' "Even so
must their wives be grave, not slanderers, but sober and faith-
ful in all things, ruling their children and tlieir own houses
well." But no language of mine can so powerfully illustrate
the importance of the deacon's office as the words of Paul,
who declares "they that have used the office of a deacon well
have purchased to themselves a good degree and boldness in
the faith." Remember, that "purchase" here mc^ns to pro-
cure an undoubted title, and "a good degree" mean.^ great
eminence. And that "boldness in the faith" means greater
power or usefulness in Christianity. The trae translation is
this, "they that use the office of a deacon well procure for
themselves an undoubted title to great eminence and power in
Christianity." In view of the vast importance of the dea-
con's office, I have often thought it would be a great blessing
to the church if some Colgate or Rockefeller would endow a
theological seminary or Bible school to train deacons for their
great and important duties. But as this i.-; impracticable,
let us have often seasons of prayer and sermons and essays in
all our missionary meetings, setting forth the great importance
of the office of deacon. And especially let us urge upon all
Christians to aid deacons at all times in their great and im-
portant duties. I would urge earnestly every deacon in Texas
to procure and read "Howell on Deaconship," a great and
timely little volume, published many years ago by my venera-
ble and beloved pastor, Dr. R. B. C. Howell, of Kashville,
Tennessee. Dr. Howell shows clearly that nine-tenths of the
preachers and churches are greatly impaired in their useful-
ness because the deacons fail to use well the deacon's office in
raising the money absolutely necessary for the charities of the
churches. Having now presented for your careful considera-
1. What the office of deacon is.
2. The great importance of the office.
3. In conclusion let us inquire how we can "use the
office of a deacon well," and make it a great power for the
salvation of men and the glory of God and hi= church. First
of all, the church should carefully and prayerfully select only
«uch men as have the scriptural qualifications of deacon.-^. The
Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. G5T
Greek word translated in our text, "look ye out," is an in-
tensive verb, and should be translated "look ye out carefully."
If the selection is made carelessly inevitable failure will fol-
low. I would advise every church to spend a day in prayer
and fasting for divine aid before electing their deacons. But
what if a church in carefully looking out for deacons find they
have no brethren possessing all of these qualifications ? This
occurred once where I was called on to preach on the deacon's
office. The brethren elected said we have not the qualifica-
tions specified in the Bible, and, therefore cannot accept this
great and holy office. I asked them: "Are you willing to
promise Grod and the church that you will earnestly and pray-
erfully seek to attain these qualifications ?" They said : "We
are willing, but must have time to reflect and pray over the
matter and consult with the brethren." After one month, at
the earnest, unanimous consent of the church, they consented
to accept ordination. And they "used the office of deacon
well," and gained great power and usefulness for the church
and the cause of religion. But after the deacons are thus
carefully selected and solemnly ordained by the laying on of
the hands of the presbytery, they should study daily an«l pray-
erfully the great and solemn duties of their office, and pray to
God for wisdom, love and courage to perform these duties,
especially in caring for the helpless widows and orphans, and
the sick and homeless strangers, and all the finances of the
church. But the church should be careful not to impose the
sad duties of discipline on the deacons. The discipline of err-
ing brethren is no part of the deacon's office, and will injure
their success in their great and appropriate duties. Deacons,
therefore, should be relieved from all cases of discipline, ex-
cept in such peculiar cases as they alone can perform to the
greatest advantage. And then they are to act not as deacons,
but as private members. But by all means never let the dea-
cons conclude that it is a part of their office to manage the
pastor and guide him in his official duties. Some deacons in
Texas have made this fearful mistake, and brought ruin on
the church and shame on themselves. The -.^eacons should,
like Aaron and Hur, hold the hands of the pastor and pray
and counsed Avith him as to their duties and all the interests
058 TiiK LiFK AM) WiariNGs of
of the chiireli. The deacons, as prominent officials of the
church, should do all in their power, by example, advice and
prayer, to promote the peace and harmony of the church, and
carry light, joy and relief to lonely "widows, weeping orphans
and helpless strangers, and relieve the pastor and church from
linaneial trouble. Let it be remembered, also, that every
member of the church is in honor and in conscience bound to
aid the deacons in discharging the great duties assigned them.
And let them remember that every deacon and every member
rhus acting will attain great power with God and men in tlie
salvation of the world.
"THE OLD GUARD" BIOGRAPHIES
BY DR. BURLESON.
Dk. Eufus C. Burleson. G63
THE OLD GUARD" BIOGRAPHIES
BY DR. BURLESON.
For several years it was Dr. Burleson's intention to pnl>
lish a book entitied "The Old Guard." In this hook it wa^
his desire to embalm, for all time, the names and heroic deeds
of the noble men and women, who, as pioneers in a great
Avilderness, laid broad and deep the foundations of this mighty
empire state; and also of later hut equally worthy characters,
who, by their self-sacrifice and patriotic devotion, made the
desert blossom as the rose.
It is a matter of regret that this work was not completed.
The biographies of many, who were near and dear to his heart,
were not written when the Master said : "Write no more."
Some articles, which he luuJ written, have not been found
among his papers.
The scope of the present work is such that only small
space can be given to "The Old Guard." Hence we have
selected siich bi(»gra])hies as in our judgment represent what
Dr. Burleson intended to do in this line had his life been
We trust this statement will he suthcient to explain the
absence of anv which fail to appear.
664 The Life and "Whitings of
THE OLD GUAKD.
THEIR WORK AND CO-LAbORERS.
For many years I have been importuned to put on record
mj recollections of the early struggles of Texas Baptist Pio-
The importunities have come from every part of Texas,
and from Alabama, AEissouri, Massachusetts, Georgia and
Yet the mighty duties immediately connected with my
grand life purpose of building up for all agea a great Texas
Baptist University have so completely absorbed all my time
and power that all I could do hitherto has been to gather up
a vast amount of material for future use.
And all I will be able to do vdll be to deposit my eullec-
tion in a great warehouse, to be incorporated by the future his-
torian into a glorious history of Texas Baptists.
I trust that what I or any other man may do wall not be
pleaded as an excuse, to any man, for not contributing inci-
dents, facts and personal reminiscences of our heroic fathers.
Texas has the material for a grander epic than ITomer's immor-
tal Iliad, or the more beautiful epic "of the ^neid of Virgil.
In this glorious history Baptist men and women have acted a
glorious part as pathfinders and foundation builders.
"When our Texas becomes the grandest State between the
oceans all the world will have a desire to know all about the
men whose blood, tears and heroism rescued this beautiful
paradise — as the Aztecs called it — from Mexican misrule and
the Indian scalping knife.
Then, I trust, some Homer, Virgil, Walter Scott or
Macaulay will put on tablets of undying record the deeds of
the founders of Texas' greatness and glory.
By the "Old Guard" I mean that heroic band of pioneer
preachers, as found in Texas in 1 848, sustained either by the
Southern Baptist Convention or their efforts. This "Old
Guard" and their co-laborers laid deep and broad the founda-
tion of a pyramid of piety and learning that will rise higher
than the pyramids of Egypt and increase in splendor when the-
pyramids of Egypt lie mouldering in the dust.
Dr. Rufus C. Burleson. 665
Their names, as given by Col. E. J. Mayors in 1857, are :
Eevs. Wm. M. Tryon, James Huckins, Z. N. Morrell, R. E.
B. Baylor, E"oali T. Byars, Noah Hill, P. B. Chandler, Jesse
Witt, W. M. Pickins, Rufus C. Burleson, H. Garrett, Henry
L. Graves, R. H. Taliaferro, Richard Ellis, J. W. D. Creath,
B. B. Baxter, David Lewis, Dr. A. E. Clemmons, John A.
Freeman, David Myers, G. W. Slaughter, A. BufRngton,
James R.Jenkins, James H. Stribling, and David B. Morrill,
These men did not tumble into Texas by accident, or
come without plan or method. Their early battle cry was:
"Oh, God, Give me Texas for Jesus and His Church, or I
die!" Alexander Hamilton and Napoleon never planned a
military campaign with more earnest thought and undying
enthusiasm than did this advance guard of civilization. This
"Old Guard" planned the conquest of all Texas for King
The Aarons and Hurs, the Phoebes and Priscillas, who
held up the hands and fixed the hearts of these grand men,
were : Gen. Sam Houston and his angel wife, Maggie: Gov.
A. C. Horton, Hon. Isaac Vanzandt, Gen. Thomas G. Brooks,
Hon. E.P.Turner, Hon. O. H.P.Garrett, Hon. A. G. Haynes,
Nelson Cavjanaugh, Hon. E. B. Noble, Hon. James W.
Barnes, Tyrell Jackson, Eli Mercer, Hon. Joe Harreli, Col.
Richard A. Jarman, Hon. J. M. Maxey, Hon. J. G. Thomas,
Col. Nathan Puller, Gail Borden, Hon. James P. Cole,
Thomas J. Pilgrim, W. H. Cleveland, Mrs. Gov. Hal G. Run-
nells, Mrs. Laura H. Jack, Mrs. Sydnor, Mrs. Piety L. Had-
ley, Mrs. Matilda Puller, Mrs. Dr. Young, Mrs. Carey D.
Tucker, Mrs. Dickinson, the heroine of the Alamo, Rev. M.
V. Smith and others.
I wish to call attention to the fact : Pirst, I am not writ-
ing the history of all the great and good men of early Texas.
But only of "The Old Gurad," or the band of missionaries and
their co-laborers whom I found here in 1848, and who were
actively engaged in our education and missionary work as
pushed on by the Baptist State Convetion.
There are many noble brethren and sisters, all dear to
my heart, whose pious deeds are all recorded in God's book of
06G The Life axd AVuitixgs of
remembrance, and which I woukl rejoice to record here, but
I would I feai- "wear out the patience of the saints."
Second. I trust what I write will only stimulate others
to write and supply anv additional facts and correct any mis-
takes I make in dates and facts. I do not profess infallibility,
and will rejoice in all additional facts and corrections. I am
alreay importuned by scores of wise and good brethren to re-
vise and enlarge these sketches and publish them in book form,
with the likeness of the principal actors. This labor of love I
would gladly do if demanded by the best interest of our Ke-
deemer's cause and should time and strength be allowed.
Third. Let it never be forgotten that all we can do now
is to pile up a great store of facts for some future Macaulay,
LVAubigne or Armitage, or some Homer, Yirg;l or Milton.
All I write now is in broken intervals of time, often after mid-
night, snatched from pressing official duties and thrown hur-
riedly together, without time for beauty of style or historical
Fourth. My motto through life has been that grand old
Eoman motto, "Mhil de mortnis nisi bonum" — ''Xothing
concerning the dead bvit good. All the dear Old Guard had
faults, all but, like the spots on the sun, were lost in the bright-
ness of their sunny excellence.
Fifth. Let it never be forgotten that I am straining with
all the earnestness of my soul to record every fact just as I
saw it or learned on good testimony of eye-wit nesess, and with-
out a particle of subtractions or colorings of fancy. Any
man sixty-five years old is a fool who does not know that truth
is mightier than fiction. It is this that gives the "Flowers
and Fruits" of Father Morrell such a charm.
It was the superior power of truth that caused grand old
Cromwell to say to the painter, "Paint me as I am;" our own
great Cleveland to say, "Tell the truth, if it kills me." That
writer is to be pitied as silly, suicidal and criiniual v.dio draws
on his fancy for facts and his prejudices for his principles.
But I would be something more or something less than a man
if, in recording my impression of the decils and characters of
my co-laborers, nearly all of whom are in tluh' graves, did T
not show that
I)k. Puirs ('. nnu.Kso.N. GOT
"Time but the impression sti-oiiger uialvcs,
As streams tlieir cliannels deeper wear."
But Avitli all the earnestness of my soul, I will strive to
paint every man just as he was. In this will consist the
greatest beauty and power of all I write.
Sixth, and lastly, I trust it will be remembered that these
historic sketches arc my personal reminiscences, and any seem-
ing immodesty in referring to my connection with the Old
Guard will be overlooked.
KUFUS C. BURLESOX.
JAMES E. JEMvIXS, ESQ.
As we have seen, James Jenkins, A. Bufhngton and
11. B. ( 'ai-tmell were appointed a committee by the consulta-
tion meeting of the scattering Baptists of Texa.s, assembled at
Washington, to write an appeal to the older States to aid in
giving the bread of life to Texas. Their burning appeal
aroused the great heart and juirse of Jesse Mercer, and fired
the Texas mis-^ionary zeal of Bev. James Huckins and Bev.
AVm. ]\r. Tryon.
I propose to give a brief sketch of each of the committee.
As James B. Jenkins was my father-in-law — suppressing all
the devotion T fcol for his memory — ^I will give the plain his-
toric facts of his life and glorious death.
He was the son of Capt. James Jenkins, a brave officer
in the Revolutionary war, and was born in Green County,
Georgia, in 1810.
He was converted and baptized at the age of nineteen by
Elder J. M. Lumpkin, the noble peer of Young Rhodes and
Jesse Mercer. He became an active member for life of the
He was educated in Mercer l^niversitv, at Benneld, Ga.,
during the presidency of Rev. Billington Sanders, who was a
Cato in firmness and a Paul in zeal. " The student was not only
an admirer, but an example of the tirmness and honest integ-
rity of his beloved President. Tn the halls of grand old
Mercer he formed the lifelong friendship of Bev. Wm. M.
Trvon. Bev. Noah Hill, and scores of ntlioi- nolJc si)irits.
668 The Life and Writings of
He studied law under Gen. Hugh Haraldson in 1S36,.
and came to Texas and settled at Washington in 1837.
His exalted integrity, moral character and devotion to his
profession placed him at once among the leading members
of the Washington bar, then the most talented bar in Western
Texas. He rose rapidly in the confidence of the people, and
was elected a member of the third Texas Congress of the
Political life had no charms for him, but as a conscien-
tious Christian he saw clearly that the Texas land laws, espe-
cially the eleven-league Mexican grants, would lead to endless
law suits, enriching lawyers and impoverishing the people.
He clearly pointed out the dangers and the remedy. But,
alas, his warnings were disregarded, either from blindness or
cupidity. His wise counsels would have saved the Texas peo-
ple millions of dollars and endless vexatious lawsuits. His
home at Washington, and afterwards at Independence, was
ever a home for Morrell and Baylor and Tryon and Huckins,
and all the Old Guard, and especially for me in 1852-3.
As a church member he was ever faithful, but for years
one terrible doubt was an eating cancer on his vitals. A skep-
tical friend, in an argument, drew a grand picture of the
boundlessness of the universe — of 75,000,000 suns, with all
their attendant planets, perchance peopled with bright intelli-
gence, in comparison with which the earth, with all its inhab-
itants, is but a grain of sand on the sea shore of God's
immensity. 'Now, said the boastful skeptic, how absurd that
the grand Maker and glorious Ruler of all these worlds would
come down to earth sprinkle it with his tears, bathe it with his
l>lood, and die on the cross for such mcked, contemptible
creatures as men. His supreme reverence for God and his
supreme modesty gave the infidel argument great power.
Though, like Job, he could say, "I know by glorious expe-
rience that my Redeemer liveth," yet the infidel's words were
shai-p as a sword. One Sabbath, by what we call accident in
our blindness, but in reality is God's special providence, he
heard me preach a sermon on the text, Ephesians 3 :10: "To
tlie intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heav-
enly places might be known by the churcli the manifold wis-
dom of God." The scrand tliomc was to show that the whole
Dr. Eufus C. Burleson. 669
■boundless universe, not merely our little grain of sand, the
earth, was profoundly interested and eternally benefited by
C!h];ist's death on the Cross, and that as Thermopylae, Bunker
Hill and the Alamo were nothing in themselves, but only
places where undying courage and patriotism were displayed,
that had instructed and inspired heroes in all lands and ages,
thus Calvary was the Christian Thermopylae and Alamo that
•displayed so wonderfully the love, the wisdom, and the holi-
ness and justice of God that all angels, arch-angels, principali-
ties, powers in all Heavenly places were instructed, benefited
and forever blessed. This plain Bible view dispelled ever}-
•doubt, and demonstrated that all infidel philosophy, falsely
so called, is sounding brass and tinkling cymbals and as a
•dream when one awaketh.
When he came to die, after long and painful sickness, he
called me to his bedside and said: "Can it be possible that
the glorious light of divine love is shining so brightly ? I am
passing through the valley of death, but there is no shadow,
but all is full of light and glory." He called all his family
.around him, bade all a tender farewell, and, taking up his two
little sons, Warwick H. and Kufus, in his arms, laid his hands
upon them, like the dying Jacob, and prayed that they might
be true men and devoted Christians and meet him at Jesus'
feet in glory. Then, folding his arms across his breast, with
a smile and brightness of ineffable glory radiating his ema-
ciated features, he closed his eyes in death, or, rather, opened
Tiis eyes on the angel bands and chariots of glory that came to
•carry him home.
The resplendent glory beaming on every feature seemed
•silently to say, "The chariots, the chariots of glory."
REV. WM. MELTON TRYON.
This noble and devoted servant of God stands pre-emi-
nent among the pioneer pathfinders and foundi-.tion builders of
Bro. Try on was born in the city of New York, March 10,
1810. He was of the same family as the celebrated Governor
G7() The Life and AVeitixgs of
Tryon of Xew York of colonial days. His father died early,
and he had to support a widowed mother by manual labor,
which he did cheerfully and liberally. The prayer.s tears
and teaching of that noble mother led him to Jesus when he
was seventeen years old. He joined the Baptists, and was
baptized by that great and good preacher, Dr. Chas. G. Som-
mers. binding the climate of !N'ew York too cold, he went to
Augusta, Ga., in 1832. He immediately joined the Baptist
Church, as all young Christians should in moving to a new
place. He soon felt he was called, to preach the gospel, and
tlic Church, recognizing his earnest piety and intelligence,
rtadily licensed him. But having only a common English ed-
ucation, he spent three years in Mercer University preparing
for his grand lifework. While here he was ordained by the
venerable Jesse Mercer and other eminent divines. Leaving
college in 1837, he became pastor of the Baptist Churches at
AVasiiing-ton, Lumpkin and Columbia, Ga. He was greatly
blessed in his pastoral work and also in aiding other pastors in
revivals. In 1839 he became pastor at Wetumka, Ala. In
April 26, 1840, he was married to Mrs. Louisa J. Higgins of
Montgomery. In January, 1811, he accepted an appointment
under the American Baptist Home Missionary Society to come
to Texas as a missionary. As this is the grand turning point in
his life history we call special attention to a few great facts
showing how God works by means and always blesses the
efforts of His people. In 1837 Eev. Z. X. Morrell, a gand old
Texas pioneer, organized a Baptist Church of eight membera
at Washington and preached every Sabbath, when at home.
and held prayer meeting every Wednesday night. Tliis little
band seeing the vast destitution and inicpiity abounding ap-
pointed a committee to correspond with Missionary Boards in
the older states setting forth -the fearful destitution of Texas.
I'his com-mittee was composed of Deacons J. Iv. Cartinell and
A. Buffington of the "First Baptist Church, of Xashville, Tenn.,
and Jas. R. Jenkins, of Georgia. The touching ap]>eal of this
committee, pointing out the facts, especially that there were
thousands of young men in Texas, sons of prayinc mothers
in the older states, going to ruin for want of faithful preachers
of the o;ospel. This appeal touched powerfnlly many hearts
Dk. Eufus C. Buelesox. 071
and especially the great heart of Elder Jesse Mercer, of Geor-
o'ia. Ho knew personally one of the committee, Jas. R. Jenk-
ins, when a stndent of Mercer University, and as a son of his
old friend Capt. Jenkins, in the Revolutionary war. The great
sonl of Jesse Mercer was so moved that after prayerfnl consid-
eration he sent a check of $2,500 to the American Baptist
Home Mission Society at 'New York (the Southern Baptist
Convention was not organized till 1845) stating that he be-
lieved Texas on account of her great fertility of soil, and cli-
mate and location on the Gulf would become a section of
unbounded wealth and great influence in America, and he
believed we should prepare it to become a great Christian
state. And learning there was a fearful religious destitution
he deposited with their treasury $2,500 to be used in sending
missionaries to Texas, and "when this is exhausted I will send
$2,500 more." He also suggested Elder AVm. M. Tryon, a
native of New York but educated in Mercer University and
Elder Jas. Huckins, a native of jSTew Hampshire and grad-
uate of Brown University as peculiarly fitted to lay the founda-
tion stone of the Baptist cause in Texas.
Brother Mercer also wrote letters to Brethren Tryon and
Huckins informing them of what he had done. The appoint-
ment was gladly made by the Board in Xew York and Brother
Tryon was located at Washington tlien the Capital of Texas.
And Brother Huckins was located at Galveston the great com-
mercial center of Texas. They both prayerfully and solemnly
entered upon the great work assigned them. It is a remark-
able answer to the prayers of Elder Jesse Mercer that his
brother, Eli Mercer, a wealthy sugar planter at Egypt, on the
Colorado river, and his noble wife rode sixty miles on horse-