Friday, December 31, 2010

Dispel our sadness

Holy Ghost, dispel our sadness;
Pierce the clouds of nature's night;
Come, great Source of joy and gladness,
Breathe Your life, and spread Your light.
From the height which knows no measure,
As a gracious shower descend,
Bringing down the richest treasure
Man can wish, or God can send.

Author of the new creation,
Come with blessing and with power.
Make our hearts your habitation;
On our souls Your graces shower.
Hear, O hear our supplication,
Blessèd Spirit, God of peace!
Rest upon this congregation,
With the fullness of Your grace.

Johann Cruger
Praxis Pietatis Melica, 1648.
translated by August Montague Toplady (author of "Rock of Ages")


I am pastor of Old Prospect, a Baptist Church that meets near Mt. Enterprise, Texas. My wife and I have two adult children and two grandchildren. I was ordained to the ministry in 1983, am a tent-making minister, and worked in the education industry (now retired). In addition to family, church, and work, I am active in Sacred Harp singing, and also write songs in this style. I have a long-time interest in history and genealogy. I am the former editor of a Baptist newsletter styled The Baptist Waymark and a founding editor of The Trumpet (no longer in publication). To some extent Seeking the Old Paths blog functions as an electronic successor to The Baptist Waymark.

Two important mentors to me were Louis Asher and J. W. Griffith, both of whom were once my pastors. They were historians and seminary professors who had much to do with nurturing my predisposition toward things historical. Though I rejected the seminary path as outside the pale of New Testament orthopraxy, I hold them in very high esteem as men, preachers, teachers, and historians. Above all in the flesh, I honor my father as the great influence in my life.


“The Noted Singer and Music Instructor”: A. N. Whitten and the Harp of Ages, 2020
Angus McAllister Stewart: “Man of God, Friend of All Mankind,” and the Founding Father of the Free Will Baptist Church in Texas, 2017
Songs Before Unknown: a Companion to The Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition 2012, 2015
Thaptology: Toward a Christian Theology of the Disposition of the Dead, 2015
History of the Old Prospect Baptist Church, Sand Flat, Rusk Co, Texas, 2014
Rethinkin’ Our Thinkin’: Thoughts on Sacred Harp ‘Myths’, 2013
A Sheaf of Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 2009

A History of Smyrna Baptist Church 1873-2008, (with J. W. Griffith) 2009
A Better Paradigm for the Study of Baptist History? (with Nathan Finn, Mark Osgatharp) 2009
Materials Toward a History of Feet Washing among the Baptists
, 2008
Minutes of the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, Rusk County, Texas: Oct 1868–Nov 1871, 2006
Approaching 150: a Brief History of the East Texas Musical Convention, 2005

Unaffiliated Landmark Baptist Churches Survey: a Listing of Unaffiliated Independent Landmark Baptist Churches, 2001
American Baptist Association: a Survey and Census of its Churches and Associations, 2001


• Georgia Baptist Historical Society (now defunct)
• J. H. Spencer Historical Society
• Texas Baptist Historical Society
• (lapsed member of the) Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies

rl_vaughn -AT-

The purpose of this blog is glorify Jesus Christ while posting thoughts about things that interest me. The main themes of the blog, based on my interests, will be the Bible and Baptists, songs, hymns, and history. Announcements, current events, and such like will creep in from time to time.

Foundational truths
All fundamental doctrines grow from two foundational truths – that God is and that He has revealed Himself in the sixty-six books we call the Holy Bible. God is. The Bible is inspired.

Fundamental doctrines
  • All things were created by and exist by God, who reveals Himself as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  • The work of God in the world through Jesus Christ is the central truth of the Bible.
  • Salvation is a need of man and a work of God.
  • The gospel is how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
  • The gospel is to be preached throughout the world.
  • The Son of God was born into this world of a virgin, lived sinlessly in the flesh, died on the cross and rose from the grave. He has promised to return again.
(If you wish to know more, please contact me by e-mail.)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Praise for the incarnation

Praise for the incarnation.

Sweeter sounds than music knows
Charm me, in EMMANUEL'S name;
All her hopes my spirit owes
To his birth, and cross, and shame.

When he came the angels sang
"Glory be to GOD on high,"
Lord, unloose my stamm'ring tongue,
Who should louder sing than I.

Did the Lord a man become
That he might the law fulfill,
Bleed and suffer in my room,
And canst thou, my tongue, be still?

No, I must my praises bring,
Though they worthless are, and weak;
For should I refuse to sing
Sure the very stones would speak.

O my Savior, Shield, and Sun,
Shepherd, Brother, Husband, Friend,
Every precious name in one;
I will love thee without end.

John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779

Friday, December 24, 2010

Mary's song

From HYMN 60 L. M.
The Virgin Mary's song. Luke 1:46ff.

He spake to Abram and his seed,
"In thee shall all the earth be blessed;"
The memory of that ancient word
Lay long in his eternal breast.

But now no more shall Isr'el wait,
No more the Gentiles lie forlorn:
Lo, the desire of nations comes;
Behold, the promised seed is born!

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
Hymns and Spiritual Songs, 1707

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The chalice or the basin

"I protest that I have no choice whether to be the chalice or the basin. Fain would I be whichever the Lord wills so long as He will but use me...So you, my brother, you may be the cup, and I will be the basin; but let the cup be a cup, and the basin a basin, and each one of us just what he is fitted to be. Be yourself, dear brother, for, if you are not yourself, you cannot be anybody else; and so, you see, you must be nobody...Do not be a mere copyist, a borrower, a spoiler of other men's notes. Say what God has said to you, and say it in your own way; and when it is so said, plead personally for the Lord's blessing upon it" -- (Charles H. Spurgeon, An All Round Ministry, pp. 73-74)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Rest for weary souls

Does the gospel-word proclaim
Rest, for those who weary be?
Then, my soul, put in thy claim,
Sure that promise speaks to thee:
Marks of grace I cannot show,
All polluted is my best;
Yet I weary am, I know,
And the weary long for rest.

In the ark, the weary dove
Found a welcome resting-place;
Thus my spirit longs to prove
Rest in CHRIST, the ark of grace:
Tempest-tossed I long have been,
And the flood increases fast;
Open, LORD, and take me in,
Till the storm be overpast.

From "Rest for weary souls", by John Newton (1725-1807)
Olney Hymns, 1779

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Poison and medicine

Sometimes the only difference between a medicine and a poison is the dosage.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The works of creation

Psalm 135 Part 2 v.5-12. L. M.
The works of creation, providence, redemption of Israel, and destruction of enemies.

Great is the Lord, exalted high
Above all powers and every throne:
Whate'er he please, in earth or sea,
Or heav'n or hell, his hand hath done.

At his command the vapors rise,
The lightnings flash, the thunders roar;
He pours the rain, he brings the wind
And tempest from his airy store.

'Twas he those dreadful tokens sent,
O Egypt, through thy stubborn land,
When all thy first-born, beasts and men,
Fell dead by his avenging hand.

What mighty nations, mighty kings,
He slew, and their whole country gave
To Isr'el, whom his hand redeemed,
No more to be proud Pharaoh's slave!

His power the same, the same his grace,
That saves us from the hosts of hell;
And heav'n he gives us to possess,
Whence those apostate angels fell.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748)
The Psalms of David, 1719

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Friday, December 03, 2010

Jesus lived and loved

William Gadsby, # 584 7s.

Jesus lived, and loved, and died,
Rose, and lives to intercede;
And with Zion on His breast,
He has said He’ll ever rest.

Long before this world was made,
Or that monster, Sin, appeared,
God was love, and loved the men
He ordained and then redeemed.

Love constrained the Lamb to die,
For a wretch so vile as I;
Love, immensely great and free,
Christ has shown to worthless me.

Once I rolled in guilt and sin,
Heeded not a heart unclean;
But I now with wonder tell,
Jesus saved my soul from hell.

Thursday, December 02, 2010