|CHAPTER III. -- RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES.|
I come now to a phase in my experience which aroused the impressions made upon me so long before in the blackberry pasture.
At Powell's Fort, not far from where I now lived, was the Mount Asa school-house, where the different religious denominations held their meetings. My master's brother, Jerry Kibbler, and his sister Sally had been to a camp meeting, and got "religion." They came home determined their religion should help others; and, through their influence, this little school-house had been fitted up with pulpit and seats, and now there was to be a series of revival meetings held there. I had never been to any kind of a meeting since I was a little girl, and then my mistress had sometimes taken me along for company.
At this time, Miss Ellen Mills was spinning wool at Mr. Jonathan Grandstaff's; and one night, as it was growing dusk, she came down to master's, to see if some of the family would go to meeting with her. No one cared to go; and Miss Lucy, turning to me, said: "There is Betty. Take Betty. She will be company for you." So I went. The minister was preaching when we entered; and I have no recollection of anything he said in his sermon, but, when he took his seat, he sang the hymn,--
"Then let this feeble body fail,
Or let it faint or die,
My soul shall quit this mournful vale,
And soar to worlds on high,
Shall join those distant saints,
And find its long-sought rest."
It was a hymn of many verses (I afterwards got an old woman to teach them to me); and there was such tenderness in his voice and such solemnity in his manner that I was greatly affected. When the singing was over, he moved about among the congregation; and, coming close to me, he said, "Girl, don't you want religion? don't you want to be happy when you die?" Then he asked me to promise him that, when I got home, I would go upon my knees and ask God to give me the witness that I was his. I made him no answer; but, as soon as I reached home and was alone, I knelt down, and in my feeble and ignorant way begged to be saved. From that day to this, I have been praying and trying to do as I thought my heavenly Master has required of me; and I think I have had the witness of the Spirit.
So, night after night, I went to the little school-house, and had many precious seasons. Master Jerry and Miss Sally were very kind to me, and tried to show me the way to be a Christian.
But there came a time when Master David said he was not going to have me running to meeting all the time any longer. He had decided to send me up to old Mr. Levers, two miles away, there to stay until I should get over my "religious fever," as he called it. Accordingly, I went as directed; but, when it came night, I asked if I might go down to Mount Asa school-house for meeting. The old
After this, I had no trouble from this cause. When I was to be taken into the church, I asked him if he was willing, and he said: "I don't care. If that's your way of getting to heaven, I don't care. I only wish you were all there." So I was baptized, and have been trying, in my poor way ever since to serve the Lord.