1774 - 1857
Cumberland Presbyterian Minister
REV. JACOB LINDLEY, D.D.*
[*Mrs. C. W. Donnell; Dr. Lutellus Lindley; Manuscript Remains; "The Old Redstone Presbytery," by Joseph Smith, D.D.; Walker's "History of Athens county, Ohio."]
JACOB LINDLEY was born June 13, 1774, in Western Pennsylvania. He was the fifth in descent from Francis Lindley, who was one of the passengers in the May Flower, which landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. [Correction submitted by Saundra L. Bennett: Francis Lindley was not on the Mayflower. It is not known exactly where or when Francis Lindley came to America. He was born about 1624 so he was not even alive when the Mayflower came to America.] One of his remote ancestors is supposed to have accompanied John Robinson in his emigration from England to Holland, whither they went to escape the violence of the same persecuting hand which at length drove the Puritans of the May Flower and their successors to the American wilderness. The father of Jacob Lindley was Demas Lindley. The father of Demas Lindley emigrated from New England, and settled in Morris county, New Jersey, but at what time it is unknown.
The mother of Jacob Lindley was Joanna Lindley, daughter of Josiah Pruden, [Correction submitted by Saundra L. Bennett: Joanne Prudden was the daughter of Joseph Prudden not Josiah.] and the granddaughter of Rev. John Pruden, an immigrant minister of the gospel from England. Demas Lindley, the father of Jacob Lindley, moved from New Jersey and settled in Western Pennsylvania as early as 1773. I take the following extract from Dr. Smith's "Old Redstone, or Historical Sketches of Western Presbyterianism:"
"The South-western part of Washington county, bordering on Virginia, embraces a fine agricultural region of both sides of Ten-mile Creek. This creek is so named from its entering the Monongahela River ten miles above Redstone Creek. At an early period in the settlement of the country, this section attracted the attention of emigrants from New Jersey. Two respectable elders of the Presbyterian Church from Morris county, in that State, removed to the West about the same time, and settled on Ten-mile. Their names were Jacob Cook and Demas Lindley. The period of their immigration is supposed to have been as early as 1773. Each of these worthy men drew around him in a short time a considerable settlement, known for many years after by the names of Cook's settlement and Lindley's settlement. Mr. Lindley, in the fall and winter of 1774-5, erected a fort and block-house, long known by his name. In fact, it was one of the best forts and most formidable garrisons between the Monongahela and Wheeling."
These pioneers experienced the perils and hardships which have been common in the early settlements of the great West and South-west. They were compelled to live lives of great self-denial; they were cut off from religious, and a great many, social privileges; they were in constant danger from the tomahawks and scalping-knives of the Indians. At a certain time in the fall of 1777, after a formidable attack by the Indians upon a neighboring fort, and when all the country was in a state of excitement and apprehension from the Indians, there arrived at Fort Lindley a young Presbyterian minister, who came from the same section of country from which the settlers had come.
Amidst such scenes as have been described, and in the year after his father's settlement in Pennsylvania, Jacob Lindley was born.
Mr. Dod, the young minister, whose arrival has been mentioned, entered at once upon the great work in the wilderness to which he had devoted himself. The Sabbath after his arrival he preached and administered the sacrament of baptism. That day Jacob Lindley was baptized. He was in his fourth year. His memory must have been remarkable, and his mind very impressible from divine things. He says of himself: "I never forgot the solemn scene of my baptism, although then only in my fourth year, nor the conversation of my parents, especially of my mother, both before and after my dedication to God in this ordinance. They told me that I belonged to the Lord, and that it was my duty to him to strive to learn his will, and strictly to obey all his commandments. Impressions were made upon my mind which never left me, and which, as a restraining power, ever preserved me from open sin."
At the age of about twelve or thirteen Mr. Lindley connected himself with the congregation of Mr. Dod as a communicant. He was thought, however, by many of his acquaintances and friends to have been a Christian from his seventh year. In 1781 Mr. Dod's neighbors, with one consent, turned out and put up a log-building considerably larger than any dwelling-house in the neighborhood. This was intended for an academy. A school was commenced. There was a department in it for elementary instruction, but the main object was to furnish classical and mathematical instruction to young men and boys somewhat advanced. This is said to have been the first classical and scientific school established in the West. In the course of a year or two, James Hughs, John Brice, Robert Marshall, John Hanna, Daniel Lindley, Jacob Lindley, David Smith, and Francis Dunlavy began their studies in this institution. Some of them were mere beginners; others were sufficiently far advanced for the study of Latin and Mathematics. In process of time they all became ministers of the gospel. Robert Marshall became, after he entered the ministry, entangled in the Unitarian sophistries of Barton W. Stone, and Francis Dunlavy is supposed to be the Dunlavy who afterward joined the Shakers. If so, however, he is known as John Dunlavy in the histories of the times.
At the age of eighteen Mr. Lindley entered what afterward became Jefferson College, at Cannonsburg, Pennsylvania. From thence he went to Princeton, New Jersey, in 1798. He went to Princeton in company with a young friend, James Carnahan. We have the following anecdote in relation to their trip from a short sketch of the life of Dr. Carnahan by his son-in-law. Young Carnahan had no money. "This difficulty," says the narrator, "was partially overcome at the suggestion of Dr. McMillan, of that vicinity, who offered to advance the money as a loan. This offer was at once accepted, and as his friend, Jacob Lindley, was about to start for Princeton, he determined to go in his company.
"A new difficulty arose. Lindley had a horse, bridle, saddle, and saddle-bags, but Carnahan had none of these things, and no money with which to buy them, without impairing his funds, which had been devoted in his mind to the cherished object of completing his education at Princeton. He told this to Lindley, and this generous friend proposed to share his own traveling equipments with him. The plan was: that one should ride the horse five or ten miles, then tie him by the road-side, and proceed on foot; that the other, coming up, would mount the horse, pass his comrade, and at the end of the assigned distance would, in his turn, dismount and proceed on foot. In this way these young men crossed the mountains from a point thirty miles west of the Monongahela River to Princeton, Jew Jersey. By this process, familiarly known in the Western country as ride and tie, the friends traveled thirty-five or forty miles a day, and reached Princeton, November 1, 1798."
These young men graduated in the fall of 1800. From the preceding sketch it needs not surprise the reader to learn that one of them at length became President of his Alma Mater, the College of New Jersey; and the other, first President of the University of Ohio. Young men who could accomplish such a journey in such a manner and for such an object would make their way through the world, and leave their marks behind them.
The following is an extract from a manuscript of Mr. Lindley, giving an account of his feelings upon the occasion of his graduation. He says:
"In the year 1794 I commenced a regular course of collegiate studies, with no other view than to qualify myself for exerting the best and most direct influence upon the souls of sinners for their salvation. As this was my supreme and ultimate object, I made it the touchstone by which I examined every art and science in my long college course-a course, too, which I endeavored to make thorough. I did not expect to find in any of the sciences the most direct avenue to the sinner's heart, conscience, or understanding, for any immediate resources in future efforts, but that I might be able to arm myself with the best weapons for the defense of truth in our warfare against the power of the prince of darkness. After years of close and laborious application I received from the Trustees and Faculty of New Jersey College a diploma, testifying to my fidelity as a student and to the respectability of my scholarship. The night after my final examination was spent in deep sighs, attended with copious tears under a deeply felt consciousness, from all that I had done and learned, of the vacuity of soul which neither science nor letters could fill, nor in the least degree satisfy."
This is not a common experience of our young men in their college course, and in immediate prospect of their Bachelor's Degree. If it were, our colleges would become fountains of life rather than what they too often are-schools of self-conceit, skepticism, spiritual debauchery, and stepping-stones to death.
In a history of Athens county, Ohio, published in 1869, we have an interesting account of the early labors of Mr. Lindley. After describing his earlier life and the various steps in the progress of his education to his closing his college course at Princeton, the writer says:
"After a course of theological study he was licensed to preach by the 'Washington Presbytery,' and in 1803 he removed to Ohio, settling first at Beverly, on the Muskingum River.
"Having been selected by the first Board of Trustees of to organize and conduct that institution, he removed to Athens in 1808, and opened the academy. For several years he had the entire charge of the infant college, which he conducted with distinguished ability and success. He was the prime mover in securing the erection of the college-buildings, and in founding the Presbyterian Church in Athens. He labored here assiduously for about twenty years, during a part of which time he was the only Presbyterian minister in this portion of the State. Dr. Lindley was no common man, but an earnest thinker and conscientious worker. The leading trait in his character was an unswerving devotion to moral principle. His whole life was a continuous effort to promote the welfare of others. He was of an amiable disposition, possessed an eminent degree of sound common sense and an unerring judgment of men. His kindness of heart and known purity of life and conduct gave him great influence with all classes during his long residence at Athens.
"One who knew him well says: 'I have seen him go into a crowd of rough backwoodsmen and hunters who used to meet at the village tavern every Saturday, and settle and control them in their quarrels and fights as no other man in that community could do.' His control of the students under his charge was equally extraordinary, and was always marked by gentleness of manner and firmness of purpose. He led a laborious life at Athens, and his works live after him."
In giving a history of the Presbyterian Church in Athens, the writer says:
"The first Presbyterian Society of Athens was organized in the autumn of 1809 by the Rev. Jacob Lindley. The original members of the organization were but nine in number. Public services were held for a time in a little brick school-house; afterward in the court-house until the year 1828, when a brick church was built. In 1815 the Church numbered forty-seven members, and the revival that year added forty-three. In 1820 there were fifty-three added to the Church, and the whole number of Church-members at that time was one hundred and seventy-seven. The Rev. Jacob Lindley acted as moderator of the session and pastor until about 1828."
"In the year 1815 the first degree of Bachelor of Arts awarded in Ohio was conferred by the on Thomas Ewing. He hand entered the institution three years previously, and pursued his studies with great assiduity, spending his later vacations in laying out country roads, surveying, and in similar employments, to enable him by means thus procured to complete his college course."
It will be observed that this occurred under the administration of Mr. Lindley. Thomas Ewing afterward became prominent in the councils of the country. He was for some time a member of Congress, and afterward a member of President Harrison's Cabinet. His descendants are still prominent in the State of Ohio.
During twenty years, from 1808 to 1828, Mr. Lindley was the ruling spirit in the . He was in a great measure both its head and its hands. He shaped its counsels, and performed the most of its labors. The present and succeeding generations owe, and will owe, a debt to these self-denying and laborious pioneers in education, as well as religion, which it will be difficult for them to cancel.
At the expiration of about twenty years he was partially relieved by the appointment of Rev. Dr. Wilson, of Chillicothe, to the presidency, whilst Mr. Lindley agreed to remain a year or two longer as professor of moral philosophy and mathematics.
When he at last left Athens, he spent a year at Walnut Hills, in the neighborhood of Cincinnati, and then a year or two at the Flats of Grace Creek. He was then called to the charge of Upper Ten-mile congregation, within the bounds of which he had been born and raised.
This congregation, or some of its leading men, had commenced a correspondence with Dr. Cossitt, and others of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, on the subject of their sending missionaries to Western Pennsylvania, before Mr. Lindley took the charge of the congregation. When the missionaries reached there he received them cordially. They held a meeting at his Church. Mr. Chapman, one of the missionaries, describes the meeting as one of great interest. It "was," says he, "awfully solemn. On Sunday we had sixty ro seventy mourners. On Monday there were more than a hundred who distinguished themselves on the anxious seats. It is said that some ten or fifteen obtained comfort." Mr. Lindley found in Donnell, and Chapman, andBurrow, and Morgan, and Bryan, men after his own heart. His proceedings, however, gave offense of course to his former friends, and his Presbytery issued a mandate requiring him to "abstain from any farther ministerial intercourse with the Cumberland Presbyterians." "He received the mandate," says my authority, "with a smile, but declined obedience." At the next meeting of the Presbytery charges were brought against him.. They were all, however, of a frivolous character. The most serious offense alleged was that "he had aided in getting up a camp-meeting in his congregation; had actually had a camp built, and moved his family into it, and share in all the operations of the meeting." Four of his own children professed religion at the camp-meeting in question, and of course he was in no favorable state of mind for making acknowledgments. He attended the Presbytery, and when the charges were read he inquired if they considered him charged with any immorality. The Presbytery decided that the charges did not amount to charges of immorality. He then asked for a letter of dismission, which was granted, and this closed his connection with the Presbyterian Church. He immediately connected himself with the Pennsylvania Presbytery, a new Cumberland Presbyterian Presbytery, which had been organized in Pennsylvania.
Mr. Lindley continued his pastoral connection with the Upper Ten-mile congregation two or three years after he changed his ecclesiastical relations. In process of time, a congregation at Waterford, now Beverly, Ohio, made application to him to come and take charge of them. He informed them promptly and frankly of his change, and also gave the reasons which led to it. The answer was, "Come to us, and we will place ourselves in the same ecclesiastical relations with yourself." It will be recollected that Beverly was the point at which he commenced his ministry, and from which be moved to Athens when called to the charge of the institution there. It seems that he had given the people a promise, that in the event of his leaving Athens, he would return to them, and they now claimed the fulfillment of that promise, though it was something over twenty-five years old. He must have left a deep impression upon the minds of the people in 1808.
In 1837 Rev. Robert Donnell, and his wife, who was the daughter of Mr. Lindley, wrote to him to come to Alabama, and spend his latter days with them. He was becoming old, and himself, and wife, and youngest daughter only remained together of a large family. He complied with the request in part, and removed southward, but still devoted his time to preaching and teaching, as the providence of God opened the way for him. A man of his habits could not have been idle. His daughter married, and on December 4, 1848, he lost his wife. She seems to have been an eminently pious woman. Dr. Lindley gives to Mr. and Mrs. Donnell a minute account of the progress of her illness from day to day, and of her exercises of mind on what proved to be her death-bed. Some extracts are here given from the record of her two last days:
"Dec. 2. Your mother's strength is rapidly failing, but her own words are, 'As the outward man decayeth, the inward man is renewed day by day.'
"Dec. 3. We did not expect, neither did your mother expect, that she would live through the day." [It seems to have been the Sabbath.] "She said, 'This is the day on which Jesus triumphed over death, and took away its sting, and published good news to all the world.' I asked her if she felt any reluctance to pass through the gate of death, through which the Saviour had passed before her. She replied: 'O, no; Jesus is with me, he is my comforter. Yea, though I walk through the dark valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for my Shepherd is with me; his rod and his staff they comfort me.'
"Dec. 4. A little before day she requested us to sing:
On Jordan's stormy banks I stand,
Under an excitement which appeared entirely rational, her strength revived to such a degree that she joined us in singing in a loud and distinct voice, and clasping her hands, she strongly and emphatically uttered the words, 'No, never part again.' A little while afterward I asked her if she was now ready and willing to go. She replied: 'I am, with all my heart.' These were her last words."
After the death of his wife, Dr. Lindley spent his time mostly with his children, passing his winters in the South, and his summers in the North. Indeed he seems to have commenced this mode of dividing his time previous to his wife's death. From a letter written in May, 1854, in Pennsylvania, we have the following characteristic account of himself in some of these particulars. He writes thus:
"If I live till June 13th of this year I shall be eighty years of age. I enjoy the best of health; am free from every species of bodily pain; and have strength and action enough to mount a horse from the ground, and to travel any ordinary distance alone in the saddle, or in a buggy. My general practice has been for the last several years to spend the winter in the South, with my children, and the summer season in this country. I come up in the spring by steam-boat, and in the fall I purchase a horse and buggy and return South by land, a distance of eight hundred or a thousand miles. So frequent have been my journeys that I can have a home anywhere on the road, and am therefore everywhere at home. Should any accident befall me in passing, it would not be far from some friend who would take care of me. As to expenses in traveling, I find no difficulty in providing them. After I have used a horse and buggy six months they will sell for about a hundred dollars more in the South then they cost in Pennsylvania. This excess pays my traveling expenses, and leaves something remaining. My children greatly deceive me if they do not desire my company, and take a real pleasure in imparting to all my necessities. They always anticipate my wants, and in such a way as to render a sense of abject dependence impossible. No man can live in this world with fewer fears of want, and less harassed with the cares of life than I do. My sun rises gently in the east, and sinks in smiles behind the western hills."
This experimental picture of old age will very well bear to be place side by side with a chapter of "Cicero de Senectute." The Cato of the moralist was even very far from reaching the sublime and quiet elevation of this Christian subject of our sketch.
In another part of this letter Dr. Lindley refers to an occasion which must have been a matter of great interest to his feelings as well as to the feelings of his children. It occurred the preceding year. Early in the year 1853 his old students, who remained about Athens, determined to express their continued respect for his character as an old instructor and friend by giving him a sort of an ovation. The plan was to have a general convocation of the old students who had been instructed under his administration at the Commencement of the University of Athens in August of 1853. The plan was happily carried out. There was a great concourse of people from the neighboring towns and country. Thomas Ewing, who has been already mentioned as the first graduate of Ohio University, and of the State of Ohio, General Lucius Bird, and other notabilities, made speeches. The old veteran teacher was, however, the central figure, the observed of all observers. He may well be allowed to have said: "I never felt myself and family more highly honored than by that meeting. It was said by those who knew me best thirty years ago, either in what they thought the truth or in flattery, that I had lost nothing in physical or mental energy by the lapse of time. They, however, had not the same opportunity of knowing in that time of high excitement and joyous emotion which I have in my retirement." In spite of all this generous flattery he felt himself to be an old man.
Few men in this rugged world of hard work meet in their declining age with so magnanimous and spontaneous an acknowledgment of the value of their earlier services. It was an evident outpouring of the heart of noble-minded men, who were not quick to forget the faithful instructions and earnest counsels, of the friend of their youth. On this occasion, or some earlier one near this time, Mr. Lindley received the Degree of Doctor of Divinity from the authorities of the University of which he was the acknowledged founder.
The following are extracts from a letter to Mrs. Donnell, dated April 13, 1856. It will be observed that he was then approaching the end of his eighty-second year:
"Last week I went in a buggy to Brownsville, sixteen mils, attended the meeting of Union Presbytery, and returned on Saturday, but was too much fatigued to preach on Sunday, according to appointment. The road was exceedingly rough. As we traveled along the north sides of the hills, where the sun had but little direct influence, the snow was two feet deep.
"Rev. Brother Henderson is appointed to the General Assembly which is to meet in Louisville in May. I am the alternate, but do not expect to go. My health is good, I have a good appetite for food, and sleep well. I am free from pain in every department of the animal, but still am weaker this spring than I ever was before when in health. I have never recovered my strength entirely since my sickness last fall, and would not now attempt to drive two fine horses alone in a buggy to Alabama." He refers to some of his former journeys from the North to the South.
In this letter we find the first decided indications of a failure of strength and a partial failure of health. The machine was becoming old, and notwithstanding its original and long-continued vigor, was beginning to yield to the pressure of so many years. On the 29th of the following January the long and active life of Dr. Lindley came to an end. I copy the following notice of the occurrence by the Athens County Pioneer Association, organized in December, 1868:
"Died at the residence of his son, Dr. Lutellus Lindley, of Connellsville, Pennsylvania, on Thursday, the 29th of January, 1857, Rev. Jacob Lindley, D.D., at the advanced age of eighty-three years.
"Mr. Lindley resided at this place more than twenty years, during which time he was widely and favorably known as an active and eminently useful member of society. He had the entire charge of the academy here on its first organization in 1808, and conducted it with distinguished ability and success, till it was merged in a college, and others became associated with him as members of the Faculty in the Ohio Univeristy.
"During most of the same period he was well known as the only Presbyterian minister in this part of Ohio; and, besides organizing and building up the first Presbyterian Church in Athens, found time to preach at irregular intervals in the surrounding neighborhoods throughout the country, the grateful remembrance of which is still cherished by many of the early settlers in this vicinity. From Athens Mr. Lindley removed to Cincinnati about the year 1828, and perhaps the year following to Western Pennsylvania, soon after which he united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, in which he labored ministerially during the rest of his long and useful life."
Notice has been taken in the preceding sketch of Dr. Lindley's change of his ecclesiastical relations. This was an important step in his life, as it is in the life of any manof his age and position in society at the time in which the change occurred. It deserves, therefore, a farther notice. Still this is not the place for a full discussion of the subject, nor is it probable that such a discussion would now be productive of much interest or advantage. Dr. Lindley was, however, always desirous to be understood as not having changed his theological views at the time of his change of relations to the Churches. It is evident, too, from his own account of his early struggles in the formation of his theological opinions, that he would from the beginning have been a Cumberland Presbyterian, had he, in the providence of God, found an established organization holding and preaching such doctrines as he afterward found to be held and preached by Cumberland Presbyterians. Mrs. Donnell says of him:
"My father ever seemed desirous that it should be known that his religious sentiments and beliefs underwent no change when he united with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, as all his writings which relate to these subjects show. He was a Cumberland Presbyterian from the beginning, although he had no knowledge of a people that sympathized with him in his theological views."
This account is no doubt correct. Dr. Lindley was eminently a practical man and an independent thinker. It would have been a difficult matter for him to be at ease within the limits prescribed by the iron logic of Augustinianism. I present a paragraph from his account of his licensure by his Presbytery:
"I must," says he, "here relate a touching incident connected with my examination. Out of respect, no doubt, to European dignity and literature, a foreigner was invited to conduct the examination. The invitation was accepted, and he entered upon the work with no small pomposity. His gigantic size, gray hairs, sovereign-like manners, and literature of Glasgow renown, rendered him quite formidable to a youthful stranger who had not yet acquired much personal courage. His dictatorial manner and his utter impatience of hearing any explanation of my views were such as almost to crush me to the floor. I was completely overcome, and, with the leave of the Moderator, I withdrew to a log behind the church, and relieved myself a little with a flood of tears. An old American father, Rev. Joseph Patterson, whose heart had often been melted under the tender appeals of Whitefield and the Tennents, came out, took his seat at my side, laid his hand upon my head, bowed down with grief, and addressed me in the following words."
I do not repeat the words. It is not necessary. It is sufficient to say that they were such words as a generous, affectionate ministerial father would know how to address to a sincere, and earnest, and truth-loving young man. The end was, that the Presbytery was willing to give the candidate some latitude of thought, and the sturdy examiner himself, although he had announced his opposition unless a change of views was avowed, came into measures, and the young man was licensed. Dr. Lindley gives us an additional account of his theological struggles at the time of his entrance into the ministry:
"I had been careful," says he, "to have it known to the Presbytery that although I considered the Westminster Confession of Faith as containing more sound theology than had ever before or since its compilation been given in detail by any man or set of men uninspired, yet that there were some views set forth in that worthy volume to which I could not subscribe. And that if they licensed and ordained me, it must be with the understanding that I could not be compelled to teach or preach these objectionable doctrines. There are numbers of living witnesses who can testify that the facts here stated were told to them by members of the Presbytery which brought me forward into the ministry. I have, therefore, the satisfaction of knowing that I cannot be justly charged either with having changed my theological ground or with having deceived my fathers and brethren in the ministry. If I am in error now, I was in error in 1802. And in all places where I have preached for more than fifty-three years there are witnesses who will testify that my doctrines have been uniformly the same."
The truth is, and it is well enough known now, that the same leaven which was working in the mind of young Lindley was working at the same time in North Carolina in the minds of William McGee and Samuel McAdow, and soon developed itself in the revival in the Green River and Cumberland countries. It was a spirit which leading men in the Church could not tolerate, nor could they condescend to treat with respect, or even to hear with patience, the difficulties or the explanations of their brethren who were as honest and as earnest, and, to say the least, about as capable of reaching and comprehending the truth as themselves. Such men, and, as far as it could be done, their spirit with them, were driven out of the Presbyterian Church under the pressure of those who would rule or ruin. Upon the justice of wisdom of such measures posterity will decide; perhaps the verdict of Providence has already been given.
Dr. Lindley was for many years a professional educator. We will hear a few words from him on the subject of education. He says:
"Had I the control of all the colleges in the world I would admit no young man into the Freshman Class who hd not studied the character of the God of the Bible, and obtained something like a correct knowledge of it. Such a course would immediately bring back the Bible into our common schools, and the Catechism into our families. Then we should all be taught of God. Professors in colleges would no more complain of riots, rebellions, or disorderly conduct among students. The Church would be blessed with a learned and holy ministry, and the world, gently yielding to the spiritual power of the gospel, would be converted by the subordinate agency of the rising generation."
Dr. Lindley believed all this. Such a belief is an evidence of his earnest spirituality. Whether, however, with a fair experiment, expectations so congenial with a good heart, and a sanguine and buoyant spirit, would be realized, may be allowed to be doubtful. Still one thing is certain, there ought to be more religion, and more of the Bible in our best colleges. Any school, or any college, cut off from the influence of these is to dreaded as a fountain whose poisoned waters bring death.
In 1846 Mr. Lindley published a small volume, which he denominated "Infant Philosophy." It is connected with the subject of education. He had raised a large family of children well. He thought that others with skillful and practical measures could do the same thing. This book is intended to be a helper in such a work. It abounds in correct views and wise counsels to parents upon the subject of the early training of children. The work read and thoroughly studied could not be otherwise than a blessing to any family. It ought to be in the hands of every parent, and especially of every mother in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. There is no parent who might not be greatly profited by its counsels. The author takes the ground that all successful government is commenced in the nursery, and he is right.
Dr. Lindley was married to Hannah Dickey in 1800. She was of Scotch-Irish descent. They had ten children. Six of them still [in 1873] live. The eldest son, Rev. Daniel Lindley, went in 1834 as a missionary under the direction of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions to Natal, in Eastern Africa, and is still there. He has raised a large family, all born in that country. Mrs. Donnell, the honored relict of Rev. Robert Donnell, still lives at Athens, Alabama. The other children are Dr. Lutellus Lindley, of Pennsylvania; Mrs. Jones, of Hernando, Mississippi; Mrs. Woods, wife of Rev. Leroy Woods, of Illinois; and Mrs. Cowan, of Athens, Alabama. The youngest daughter died, in 1856, in Pontotoc, Mississippi. I have before me a beautiful tribute to her memory, published at the time of her death. She seems to have been a lovely Christian lady. The last week in 1842, in company with two or three brethren, I spent some days at her house in Pontotoc. She was administering its affairs at the time in the absence of her husband. Her generous hospitality made our temporary sojourn very agreeable indeed. I have always preserved a pleasant recollection of those few days.
My personal acquaintance with Dr. Lindley was rather limited. He came into the Church when he was somewhat advanced in life, and our fields of labor were remote from each other. I saw him for the first time at the General Assembly in Princeton, Kentucky, in 1835. He had then been in the Church about three years. He was becoming an old man, and his gray hairs and dignified bearing gave him a venerable appearance. He preached a sermon in the course of the meeting. If family government was not the leading subject of the discourse, he took occasion to give that subject some prominence. He startled the mothers in the congregation by urging that they ought to commence governing their children, at least, by the time they were six months old. The common impression is, that government is early enough if commenced at six years of age, and some never commence at all. The wise old preacher was right. The sooner the twig is bent to the right direction the better. Every sensible parent ought to know this. Dr. Lindley spent a few hours at my house on that occasion. He was kind enough to give me great encouragement in my work. I needed encouragement. I was laboring then, as I have labored a large part of my life, with a clouded future before me.
I think I saw him no more till the Assembly at Lebanon, Ohio, in 1847. Great changes had taken place in the Church in the meantime. There was a stir just then on the subject of a union between us and the New School Presbyterian Church. I do not recollect how he stood upon the question. I was not a member of the Assembly, and my stay was short. We spent only a single morning together. He was at the Assembly at Nashville in 1852. He was there in company with Robert Donnell, but, I believe, was not a member. He was, in a high degree, a genial and companionable old gentleman, a model always in the social and religious circle. His manners were those of the Old School, a school which has far more admirers than imitators. It ought to have imitators. Mrs. Donnell writes of him:
"It will be a great gratification to me to have my father's memory preserved to the world. He was a devoted, humble, self-denying Christian gentleman-a pattern worthy of imitation in all the relations of life."
This is not a mere outpouring of filial affection. The facts presented in this sketch (and many more might be added of the same kind) are a vindication of the truth of every favorable word thus uttered. The memory of such men is a treasure to be cherished by the Church. A long life spent in unfaltering devotion to the great interests of humanity is a spectacle not often presented in this world of selfishness, and sin, and darkness. We thank God, however, that there are some such. They strengthen us in our conflicts with wrong-doing, and encourage the hope that a purer and brighter light will one day shine out from underneath the cloud which hangs over us. Such men are, in the highest sense, benefactors of our race. The earnest teacher and the earnest preacher leave impression behind them which time will not efface. Their influence will never die.
[Source: Beard, Richard. Brief Biographical Sketches of Some of the Early Ministers of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Second Series. Nashville, Tenn.: Cumberland Presbyterian Board of Publication, 1874.]