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Landon Duncan (1786-1867)

Papers, 1814-37, n.d., Ms97-023

December 1, 1837. Letter from Landon Duncan to his cousin Hiram Duncan in Blakely, Stokes County, North Carolina.

Addressed to "Mr. Hiram Ducan, Blakely, Stokes County, N. Carolina." From "Giles C. Hve Decr 5th." Note that "This letter came to Blakely 14 (Decr.)"

Giles County Virginia

Respected Couisin:

After some delay, I have set down to write you, in accordance with your request by Cousin Alexr on the morning I left my brother's house for my own home. We had fine weather for our journey and the roads were in good order. Our first day's ride was to Jno. Tuggle's Esq. a distance of 43 Miles. Second day to Capt Stephens a distance of 33 miles. Third day to Parker Lucas's, a distance of 20 miles. Fourth day 17 miles home. I was much jaded, my beast being a rough traveller. On my arrival I found my family in good health. In a few days after my return, I was seized of a violent cold which settled upon the lungs & yet remains distressing. I thank God not withstanding my bodily afflictions I have continued to attend to business.

At present I am engaged in teaching my children & a few of my neighbors children, which I expect to pursue unto the last of Jany. 7 and then to commence my official services as Commissioner of the Revenue.

For a few days, now past we have had a few wintry breezes attended with snow. Most of our citizens are yet employed in gathering corn, the price of which at present is 37 1/2 Cs. for bush. $4 has been offered for Pork, but I have not heard of any bought, or sold at any prices. I presume there will not be much stock drove from these parts this season.

I have but little news either moral, or Political, to communicate. We have some indeed of a moral character, which for a time produced consideral excitement amongest the citizens of Giles, the matter was this! One Jno. Lucas killed one Riley Williams, both citizens of Giles, & neighbors to each other, Lucas absconded_ Two or three militia companies were ordered out to range the mountains in search of him, supposing he had taken reffuge in them; but all in vain; Some persons apprehending Lucas had gone westward, upon which three men immediately went in pursuit, & apprehended him as he was on the eve of embarking in a boat, being determined to take refuge in Texas. While these things were going on, another man was commited to jail, for aiding Lucas to abscone_ they will both have a trial next Spring. Amid all this confusion, another unfortunate youth was imprisioned for Sodomy. All these persons were of the same neighborhood_ which neighborhood is regard by those who are best aquainted therewith, as being very notorious for ignorance & vice. At present we have a calm in Politicks. Religion (so called.) bears about the same aspect that it has for some past years_ man- made Systems are yet advocated; many seem determined to defend the system at the expense of the truth of revelation of God. For example_ one says "that Jesus Christ died to reconcile his Father to us." Paul says, "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself" 2 Cor. 5, 19. Again, If I understand the Apostle the Father did not, nor does not, receive any benefit by the death of his Son: but we do. Rom. 5, 8, 9, 10, 11. This testimony in my judgement goes to establish the idea that the Sinner, and not God is atoned, or reconciled. One says, "The first transgression produced & brought on all men temporal, spiritual & Eternal death, & Jesus suffered in the law place of the sinner." If the law condemmed Sinners to temporal death, & Jesus died in the low place of the Sinner, Why do sinners yet die a temporal death? "A spiritual death"_ Could Jesus die such a death? "Eternal death"_ did Jesus ever die this death? An apostle says, He has arrisen from the dead: asscended on high, into heaven, where he ever liveth to make intercession for us. I heared a few days ago one of those Orthodox preachers display his logical powers on the doctrine of the Trinity_ & atonement. To me it was only a repetition of what I have been accustomed to hear upon those points. He did not neglect to assert that Jesus Christ was the Eternal God. As the preacher & myself sat by the fire, before he began to preach, he questioned me in many things. He asked, me if I believed in the trinity_ to which I relpied, Not according to common explanation I believe in Father, Son & Holy Ghost. Do you not believe the Son equal to the Father? I replied, If you mean by his divine nature he was equal, I do. Do you not believe the Father to have been the Son & the Son to have been the Father. no: that would destroy all propriety in the terms of Father and Son, moreover, that would be in effect to say, the son was Eternal, which is as much as can be said of the Father, as relates to the origin of his personal existence. I consider the Son before he made his personal appearance in the flesh, to have existed in & with the Father in a similar manner that Eve had in & with Adam before she recd a separate & personal form_ with this difference, Viz! Eve had in Adam a created origin, but Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, had an uncreated origin in & with God_ He (Jesus.) was by & of God before the world was, and by Jesus, (the Son.) was the world made. "Trinity," is a term unknown in the Scriptures, it therefore, appears not to be the language of the Spirit of prophecy, which is the Spirit of Jesus, if it is not of Jesus Christ, it constituted no part of that system of christianity which he taught, and hence cannot be an article of the Christian faith, imposed by Divinde Authority. The term, "Trinity" is an invention of uninspired men, arbitarily imposed upon ---- ---- a divisive spirit_ The Opposite of the Spirit of Christ, and therefore is Anti-Christian. The doctrine taught by the term, at most can, only be made out by inference, and admits of various & conflicting interpretations It is not for this alone that I discard the term, & doctrine, but principally because it is not taught directly, by the spirit of prophecy; and cannot make any part of "the faith once delivered to the Saints."

In thus writing, I know my views stand opposed to the major part, of those who are Great, & learned in the Christian world; (so called.) but likewise, in contact with the opinion of my worthy cousin, who perhaps, retains some prepossessions for the term & doctrine of Trinity. Wilt thou therefore, anathamatize thy friend, because he prefers Scripture terms to express Scripture doctrine by? A Spirit of free inquiry, as well as that of Charity, hopeth better things.

I have written more upon subjects connected with religion, than I at first intended: but finding my stock of matter of another charachter to fall short, I knew of nothing better to fill my sheet. I wish you write in answer to this as soon as convenient, I wish to keep up a correspondance_ but I cannot promise to be regular & speedy in writing as my business domestic & public, leave me but little vacant time_ with all my hand has become so very stiff & palsied, and at my best hours I write but slowly & clumsy_ Give my best respects to my aged Uncle to my worthy Aunt, & your brothers_ and accept for yourself my humble but best wishes for your present & Eternal welfare

Landon Duncan
Decm 1st 1837.

N.B. Be so as good to give my love to bro. Charles & family

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