|CHAPTER XXVI. -- FORTSVILLE--TEMPERANCE MEETINGS--EVIL CUSTOMS--THOMAS -- BROWN--BALAAM--JOTTINGS FROM THE JUNK RIVER-- -- BROTHER HARRIS IS SANCTIFIED.|
Sunday, 10th. Lexington. I preached at the Methodist Church this morning, from Romans 12:1. The Lord helped me, though I felt so bad when I first began. In the afternoon I addressed the Sabbath School at the Baptist Church. The pastor and the superintendent were present.
Monday, 11th. Have a good Bible reading this afternoon, on the ability of Jesus, and a grand temperance meeting to-night.
Tuesday, 12th. Regular stated temperance prayer meeting. I make several calls, and take the meeting this evening. The Lord blesses us, and a number sign the total abstinence pledge.
Wednesday, 13th. We had a Bible reading to-day. The Lord was with us. At night we organized our Gospel Temperance Band.
Thursday, 14th. I do not get up till seven; so, much of the fine morning is gone. But, Oh, I felt so weary. He remembereth I am but dust.
Greenville, Sinoe, Sunday, February 17, 1884. I was at Lexington to quarterly meeting. We had a good meeting. I came home on Monday to Mrs. Marshall's, Greenville.
While at Lexington I went to see an old man, a Mr. Smith, a local preacher, and deacon of the Baptist Church. He was about sixty-five or seventy years old. He was much afflicted and could not walk. But I was told that this man was a very spiritually minded man, a man that people generally went to for spiritual advice. He claimed that the Lord revealed things to him in dreams, and people all about believed in him.
I was anxious to see him, and as I always went to see the sick and the poor, no matter when, or how weary and tired out I was, I went to see this old man; and I thought I was going to be refreshed by his counsel, as he had been in the way so long. He talked about religion, but really, to me, he did not seem like a man who possessed much of what he talked about. How dark and blank he seemed.
I talked and prayed with him, and asked him if there was any text of Scripture he would like to have me read for him. He seemed not to think of the Bible at all.
"Is there no Word of God that has been blessed to you," I said, "since you have been afflicted?"
"Oh, yes," said he, "if you can find about Balaam."
"Yes," I said, "I know what you mean; but what in that has been a blessing to you? I know Balaam was a very wicked king, and I cannot see what help came from it to you."
I was told that he had a great deal of prejudice against women preaching.
Just at this point he rallied, as though he was going to teach me something wonderful.
"Well," he said, "I will tell you. Balaam had a cart, and the cart got stuck in the mud; and he had an associate, so he called his associate and asked him to help him pull his cart out of the mud. 'But,' he said, 'how are we going to get it out?' 'Well,' said he, 'if we can't get it out any other way, we will cuss it out!'"
"Well," I said, "of all the Bible reading I have ever heard or done, I have never read any such thing in the Bible in all my life."
"Oh, no," he said, "it's not in the Bible; but this is what the Spirit revealed to me."
"What did the Spirit purpose to teach you by such a revelation?"
"Well," he said, "the cart in the mud was his wicked heart, and the associate was the wicked trying to lead the innocent astray."
And after fifty years of being a Christian, and preacher and teacher, this was all he had to comfort him in his affliction. What a blind man! And the people at Lexington letting him go on into an unknown eternity. Oh, that God would awaken him in time.
I have not seen so much ignorance as there seems to be among many of the people of this county. How I wish the Lord would send some good missionary to be a blessing to the people.
Lexington, Sinoe Co., Africa, Sunday, Feb. 24, 1884. I had spent some months in the home of Brother Calvin Birch, whose faithful kindness, and that of his wife, I shall never forget. Mrs. F. Smith, another good sister of the Methodist Church, had invited me to spend a week at her home.
I went on Saturday, and on Sunday I was taken very ill with bilious colic, and came very near dying. After suffering terrible cramp and purging for about three hours, the Lord, in mercy, gave me ease. But I was not able to go out all day. After that I
On Tuesday, the 26th, I went to Louisiana. We had a fine temperance meeting; twenty-one signed the pledge. On Wednesday, the 27th, we had a fine meeting at Thankful Baptist Church, Lexington. On Thursday, 28th, I went down to Greenville.
Sunday morning, March 2. Went out to early prayer meeting; had a good time. Also at the Congregational Church there was a good prayer meeting. Poor Mr. Harris got a great blessing. May the Lord in Mercy keep him. Rev. Mr. Frazier preached in the Congregational Church, and administered the Lord's Supper. The sermon was well read, but very void of spiritual power for such an occasion.
March 6. In the afternoon I went to Mrs. Morgan's to meet the lodge of Good Templars, and Daughters of Temperance. It is perfectly wonderful how all these old societies, which had once flourished, but had well nigh died out, began to be revived all over the republic as soon as I had begun the Gospel Temperance work among the young people and children, so that when I asked for co-operation and help, I was told that they belonged to this society, and to the other society, it had gone down, but that they were going to commence again. So to show them that I was with them in anything that was for the well-being of the people, I joined them, and helped what I could. But, Oh, how hollow, and empty, and unreal.
After all it is not the tinsel and show, but it is the real heart work for God and souls that Africa needs, especially.
Friday, the 7th, I went to Mrs. Bonner's and then off to the Baptist Association held at the Court House.
Sunday, March 16th, I went to Louisiana, preached in the morning. When we started home, and got to the river, the tide had gone out, and we could not get our canoe up; so we had to be carried through the mud to it. If some one had been near by where they could have taken our pictures I know they would have sold well. Imagine our position, on two Kroo boys' shoulders, while we hung down all about in spots!
Well, we got through the slime, anyhow, and that was quite an item. Brother Bonner went ahead, on the boys' back. I was obliged to do the best I could to keep from laughing, for fear they would let us go in the mud together; and that was my heaviest task. But my time came after awhile.
We got back in time to go to the Baptist meeting. Brother Rocker, a licentiate in the Baptist Church, preached. He was a good preacher, but, Oh, how he needed the Holy Ghost. Poor man, how often I have prayed for him. I called to see Mr. Rice. The poor man is dying. I spoke to him of Jesus, who is the only truth and life. How sad that any one should put it off until the very last moment; it does look so mean to live on God's mercy all through life and health, and then a few minutes before the breath leaves you, when you cannot serve the world, and yourself, and sin, any longer, possibly, turn to the Lord. How foolish! God help us.
Before I went, a temperance meeting was held in the Episcopal Church, Brother Munger. Had a grand, good meeting. Gospel Temperance took well there. The Lord seemed to be blessing the people with a spirit and interest, that, if continued, would be a blessing to them.
On Tuesday I started early and walked to Lexington. Young Jenkins put me across the stream with his canoe. Wednesday I walked to Louisiana, then out to Cherry Ridge, held a temperance meeting at the church, and a number signed the pledge. We organized. Thursday I preached, from John, 9th chapter. After suffering much with my back all day, I went to Lexington, and then expected to go to Farmersville to another meeting.
Monrovia, April 22, 1885. Rev. James Deputie and myself leave fifteen minutes past eleven for Mt. Olive. The distance is about seventy miles, taking the shortest cut.
We take passage in a canoe at the waterside, and after a slow pull in the hot sun for three hours we come to Paynesville, the first stop. There we rest an hour or more. No one asked us to eat, but the friends had given me a small lunch before I started, so we took a snack, and then started on foot across the Old Fields, a distance of about five miles.
The sun was warm, and I got very tired before I got to the end of the five miles. I was glad to rest, and had a short nap for ten minutes. We had hoped to get through to the creek, and so reach Marshall by seven o'clock; but the boys worked slowly, and the tide fell before we got off; so we had to remain all night.
We took refuge at the house of a Mrs. Clark. Brother Deputie asked her if she could take us in for the night: she said it would be very inconvenient, but as there was no other house within five miles, we told her we would stop and make the best of it.