Practical Religion to His People
Reverend James Scott of Red Hill Baptist, Gadsden, S. C.
Rev. James Scott of Gadsden, A Negro Preacher Who lived and Preached Practical Religion. The following is an excerpt from The State July 1906: I received a telegram last Sunday afternoon informing me of the death or Rev. James Scott of Gadsden, S. C., a man perhaps unknown to many of your readers, but one of the most remarkable and (I regard) one of the greatest Negroes that have ever lived in South Carolina. He has lived in that community for 80 years and preached to one church for 30 years. His church is not half of a mile from his home and it is the largest country congregation and the most orderly in Richland County. In passing the the church, just a mile from Gadsden, most people would think that it was a white church, such a neat building it is and kept so clean. Inside the church, the aisles are carpeted. The name of the church is the Red Hill Baptist Church.
The Rev. James Scott taught punctuality. He was in his pulpit every Sabbath promptly at 11 a. m. If only three person were present, he began his sermon. I have often heard him state to his congregation: "You promised God to meet him here at 11 o'clock for service. If you do not meet God here you are liars. God hate liars. The reason you niggers have such little religion is that you do not come to church on time. God meets you here exactly at 11 o'clock, and if you are not here at 11 o'clock the Spirit of God goes on. If you come here at 10:30 or 12 o'clock you have your services without the Holy Spirit". I have known him to go and sit down in his pulpit exactly at 11 o'clock when no one was present and spend his moments in meditation and prayers. He was not what you would call an eloquent preacher, as eloquence is understood among Colored people. He was one of the most faithful and practical living ministers that I have ever heard. The preaching of Rev. Scott was on the order of Henry Drummond in his book, entitled "Natural Law in the Spirit World."
His church services were orderly. He allowed no shouting, no hurrahing, no loud talking and no screaming, while he was preaching. If some woman would get happy, he would stop in the midst of his sermon and rebuke her and tell her that there is no noise in heaven. "I am sowing seed now," he said, " if the wind blows, while I am sowing seed, the seed will not fall in the right place and this getting-up, hollering and shouting simply knocks the Gospel out of the hearts of the hearers. Keep quiet, you hypocrites, God is a quiet God. Loaded wagons do not make a fuss. The devil makes you holler and shout to keep the other people here form hearing what I had to say and I believe that the devil is at the bottom of most of this shouting and hollering in here."
This article was submitted by "Rev. Richard Carroll on July 18, 1906.
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