David Kenney published an excerpt in the Aug. 14 issue of the Wadworth OH bulletin from A.S. Hayden’s 1876 work, Early History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio. I was struck by this item from the excerpt:
An incident occurred at this time which displays Mr. Campbell’s character for discernment and candor. Aaron Pardee, a gentleman residing in the vicinity, an unbeliever in the gospel, attracted by Campbell’s abilities as a reasoner, and won by his fairness in argument, resolved to obtain a private interview, and propose freely his difficulties. Mr. Campbell received him with such frankness that he opened his case at once, saying: "I discover, Mr. Campbell, you are well prepared in the argument and defenses of the Christian religion. I confess to you frankly there are some difficulties in my mind which prevent my believing the Bible, particularly the Old Testament." Mr. Campbell replied: "I acknowledge freely, Mr. Pardee, there are difficulties in the Bible— difficulties not easy to explain, and some, perhaps, which in our present state of information cannot be cleared up. But, my dear sir, when I consider the overwhelming testimony in their favor, so ample, complete, and satisfactory, I cannot resist the conviction of their divine origin. The field of prophetic inspiration is so varied and full, and the internal evidences so conclusive, that with all the difficulties, the preponderance of evidence is overwhelmingly in their favor." This reply, so fair and so manly, and so different from the pulpit denunciation of "skeptics," "infidels," etc., to which he had been accustomed, quite disarmed him, and led him to hear the truth and its evidence in a much more rational state of mind. Within a year he became fully satisfied of the truthfulness of the Holy Scriptures, and apprehending clearly their testimony to the claims of Jesus of Nazareth as the anointed Son of God, he was prepared to yield to him the obedience of his life. At a two days’ meeting held there by Bro. A. B. Green and A. S. Hayden, Mr. Pardee and four others were baptized.