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Chapter 4

 

 

EARLY DAYS IN GEORGIA

 

 

Dr. Lovic Pierce was known as the apostle of holiness in the days immediately following the Civil War; in fact, he preached the doctrine before the war, and when too old to attend the annual conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, of which he was a member, he was asked to preach a sermon on entire sanctification, but being too feeble he wrote it, and it was read at the conference, and afterward it was published for years in book form by the publishing house of his church, and read by thousands of Methodists, who were led into the experience by it.

Just following this great apostle of holiness in Georgia, came Dr. W. A. Dodge, who was converted at the age of fourteen, and licensed to exhort on his sixteenth birthday, and licensed to preach on his seventeenth birthday, and entered the Civil War in 1862 as a chaplain in the Confederate army, where he remained during the war. During his entire life he preached holiness of heart and life, and became the acknowledged leader of holiness in Georgia, and throughout the southern states in his day. He traveled largely, preaching at many of the great holiness campmeetings in the South, and establishing campmeetings where there were none.

He was gloriously sanctified in the study of his own church in the city of Atlanta, where he was pastor. He launched the first distinctively holiness paper in the South in March, 1882, called The League of Fire, was afterward called The Way of Life, and later sold to Rev. H. C. Morrison and the name changed to The Methodist, or rather it was merged into The Methodist, in 1895, a paper then published in Louisville, Ky., by Rev. H. C. Morrison, which was afterward changed again and called The Pentecostal Herald, which is still published under that name. Below we reproduce from “The Life of Rev. W. A. Dodge,” written by Mrs. W. A. Garbutt, the article of consecration drawn up and signed by himself.

 

REV. W. A. DODGE’S CONSECRATION IN 1876

 

Atlanta, Ga., April 15, 1876

 

I this day make a full consecration of all I have to God; Now, hence forth, forever. Myself, my body, eyes, tongue, hands, feet, mind, and heart.

My wife, Mary Dodge, my boy, Wesley Atticus Dodge, and my little daughter, Mae Belle Dodge, my books, clothes, money, all I now have, and all I ever expect to have. Yes, all my means are, and shall be Thine. My time, and if there is anything else that appertains to me, that I have not mentioned, I lay it on the altar to stay there forever.

I do this from a conviction of duty that all I have belongs by right to Him. Not as a compromise, but from a sense of duty, simply asking that I may be aided by Him to keep it there.

Signed, sealed, and delivered in the study of St. Paul Church Atlanta, Ga., April 15, 1876, in the presence of Him who sees all things.

 

(Signed), W. A. Dodge

 

Several months after Brother Dodge went to the good world. The above consecration was found written on a sheet of paper, in an old trunk in which he kept valuable papers.

On the envelope enclosing it, after it had been sealed, he wrote the following instructions:

 

“This is to stay sealed during my natural life, being the instrument of my ‘consecration’ to God.

 

“(Signed), W. A. Dodge.”

 

Dr. Dodge lived up to his profession for thirty years without wavering from his position on the second work of grace, entire sanctification, as a clear and definite experience received instantaneously by faith in Jesus. He fully believed the gospel he preached and expected sinners to get converted and believers to get sanctified under his ministry, and as a result thousands of people were led into the experience in his meetings. He was one of the purest and sweetest men in all Methodism. He put his soul into his work and yet never ignored his church, nor abused it, but, on the contrary cooperated with all her institutions. He was for years the treasurer of the board of church extension and held that office when he died.

Dr. Dodge organized the Georgia Holiness Association. Again we copy from “The Life of Rev. W. A. Dodge”:

 

ORGANIZATION OF THE GEORGIA HOLINESS ASSOCIATION IN 1883

 

The holiness convention held its business meeting at the house of Rev. A. J. Jarrell, in Gainsville, Ga., May 17, 1883.

President A. J. Jarrell was called to the chair.

W. A. Dodge was elected secretary pro tem.

Present: C. A. Jamison, Milton Harris, Miller Willis, W. O. Butler, B. E. L. Timmons, J. H. Little, S. D. Evans, William Pennington, E. G. Murrah, Brother Mealy, W. C. Dunlap, W. C. Davis, A. J. Jarrell, W. A. Dodge, George D. Watson.

Opened with prayer by W. C. Dunlap for divine guidance.

After prayer, Rev. George D. Watson, of Newport, Ky., gave an account of similar organizations over the land. They were associations of brethren and sisters in the enjoyment of the blessing (without constitution or by-laws), banded together to spread the doctrine and experience of holiness throughout the churches in the land. The roll is annually corrected.

 

FIRST RESOLUTION

 

Resolved, That we, the friends of Scriptural holiness organize ourselves into an association, to be known as the “Georgia Holiness Association,” for the spread of scriptural holiness throughout the churches of our state, and that we cordially invite all persons in the enjoyment, and all those who are thirsting for the experience, to unite with us in the work, and to enroll their names as such, and to pray for each other.

This was carried unanimously.

The following names were enrolled. (See list.) [The list shows 181 names, among them were forty preachers.]

 

SECOND RESOLUTION

 

Resolved, That the officers of the association or convention consist of a president, two vice-presidents, secretary and treasurer, the last two to be combined in the same person.

The convention then went into the election of officers.

A. J. Jarrell, president, Gainesville, Ga.

B. F. Farris, first vice-president, West Point, Ga.

G. H. Patillo, second vice-president, Griffin, Ga.

W. A. Dodge, secretary and treasurer, Atlanta, Ga.

These to hold for one year, or until their successors are elected.

 

THIRD RESOLUTION

 

Resolved, That the convention elect annually an executive committee of five, consisting of the officers of the association, and one additional. Adopted.

 

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

 

Rev. A. J. Jarrell, Gainesville, Ga., chairman; Rev. B. F. Farris, West Point, Ga.; Rev. G. H. Patillo, Griffin, Ga.; Rev. W. A. Dodge, Atlanta, Ga.; Rev. W. C. Davis, Macon, Ga.

 

FOURTH RESOLUTION

 

Resolved, That the convention adopt The Way of Life, edited and published in Atlanta, Ga., by Rev. W. A. Dodge, as the organ of the association, and that we work for it. Carried.

 

FIFTH RESOLUTION

 

Resolved, That we hold in autumn of this year another holiness convention or campmeeting. Time and place to be arranged by the executive committee. Carried.

The convention then adjourned sine die.

 

A. J. Jarrell, President.

W. A. Dodge, Secretary

 

At the fall meeting of the association, in 1889, the thought of a great central campmeeting was conceived by Dr. Dodge, and the matter discussed, and a committee appointed to locate such a camp. This committee, W. A. Dodge, H. A. Hodges, J. H. Curry, and G. W. Mathews, located the camp at Indian Springs, and the first meeting was held under a tent and was conducted by Dr. Dodge and other Georgia Methodist preachers.

Thus was the great Indian Springs campmeeting born, and it has become possibly the most largely attended, and best appointed camp in the South, where all of the greatest preachers and workers of the movement have been called from time to time to hold the meetings.

In later years, through the instrumentality of Mrs. Lonie Shingler and her husband, T. J. Shingler, the Pentecostal Nazarene church has been organized in Georgia. It was first an independent holiness church at Donalsonville, organized in 1902, and in 1903 united with the Holiness Church of Christ, at Pilot Point, Texas, and in 1907 went into the Pentecostal Nazarene church at the union of the Pentecostal church and the Nazarene church at Chicago. There are now about a dozen churches in Georgia. Mrs. Lonie Shingler, a woman filled with the Holy Ghost, passed away to her eternal reward in 1911, but because of her burden and zeal for a holiness school in the South, she had started plans for the splendid school building, and this was erected at Donalsonville, principally by her husband, after her translation. It was named the Southeastern Nazarene College, and in the fall of 1918 united with Trevecca College, of Nashville, Tenn., for the purpose of making a strong institution for the church in the South and located at Nashville.