Cotton Adams

Pastor Finn,
Thank you for the kind words in your letter. Even though, we haven’t seen each other in more’n fifteen years, I still feel the friendship and brotherly love from your pen.
You asked about the time I saw the famous circuit riding Calvinist, Cotton Adams.
I will never forget the day he rode into our town. It caused quite a stir among the townsfolk of Sandy Ridge. To this day, people jaw about the foggy, Sunday morning when Cotton Adams appeared on horseback. The bridge over Sims Creek looked as if a cloud just decided to lay down on the river. It almost seemed like he was coming from Heaven, the way the clouds covered his horse, Calico, up to his knees.
Cotton Adams was quite famous in these parts, and we were all expecting his arrival that morning. Mr. Adams was to preach in the new Sovereign Grace Church building.
The pastor, George Truman, was an old friend of Cotton’s. Fact is, the Church was started because of Mr. Adams’ strong sermon series on Heaven and Hell. He was returning to bless us with his spiritual leadership and promised to help with the selection of deacons. 
I can understand why our pastor broke into uncontrollable tears and moaning when he went to help Cotton down from his horse that early morn. You see, Calico had brought into our town, the lifeless body of a man who had sacrificed his worldly treasures for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Cotton Adams must have gone to be with the Lord just hours before.
He had a well-worn hymnal in his hand, as was his habit of singing to the Lord as he traversed the acres of forests and farmlands between towns. He had hand-written one hymn that was found tucked in his saddle:

Depth of mercy, can there be

Mercy still reserved for me?
Can my God His wrath forbear?
Me, the chief of sinners, spare?
I have long withstood His grace,
Long provoked Him to His face;
Would not hearken to His calls:
Grieved Him by a thousand falls.

Depth of mercy, can there be
Mercy still reserved for me?
Bow Your ear, in mercy bow;
Pardon and accept me now.

There for me the Savior stands,
Shows His wounds and spreads His hands;
God is love, I know, I feel,
Jesus pleads, and loves me still.
Why to me this waste of love?
Ask my Advocate above.
See the cause in Jesus’ face,
Now before the throne of grace.

If I rightly read Your heart,
If You all compassion art,
Bow Your ear, in mercy bow;
Pardon and accept me now.
Now incline me to repent;
Let me now my fall lament:
Now my foul revolt deplore;
Weep, believe, and sin no more.

Cotton Adams, I only wish I could have heard your voice once more. Your singing alone, would bring conviction on the hurting souls who listened. Your presence seemed to be like one who had been with the angels of God. I know you are worshiping the living Savior, face to face now.

The township has decided to publish his journals and distribute them at cost. Preachers, of course, get a free copy to inspire your work in the Lord. My prayer is that they will bless many and remind all that our life is His and His alone!

Your friend,
Thomas Sawyer

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Filed under The Ramblings of a Reformed Ecclesiastic

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