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Title: Scenes in the West - or The Sunday-School and Temperance
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  SCENES IN THE WEST,

  OR

  The Sunday-School

  AND

  TEMPERANCE.

  [Illustration]

  BY A MISSIONARY.


  PHILADELPHIA:
  LUTHERAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION,
  42 NORTH NINTH STREET.
  1873.



  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873, by the
  LUTHERAN BOARD OF PUBLICATION,
  in the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United States in
  and for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

  Lancaster, Pa.:
  INQUIRER PRINTING AND PUBLISHING COMPANY,
  Stereotypers and Printers.



PREFACE.


The author of this volume has brought together a few incidents in
_real_ life to illustrate the power of godliness in the individual, and
the blessings of the Sunday-school, the influence of the prayer-meeting
and the cause of temperance in the church and in the community.

That the God of all our mercies may bless this little book to the
reader, is the prayer of the author.



[Illustration: CONTENTS]


CHAPTER.                                                          PAGE.

      I. THE MISSIONARY                                             13

     II. MISFORTUNES                                                27

    III. RELIEF OBTAINED                                            39

     IV. AN APPOINTMENT                                             45

      V. THE MISSIONARY PREACHES                                    56

     VI. MR. STEELE’S MEETING                                       62

    VII. MR. MASON AND MR. WILSON                                   69

   VIII. MISSIONARY VISITS                                          78

     IX. OPPOSITION                                                 84

      X. SUNDAY-SCHOOL ORGANIZED--LOCAL PREACHER                    92

     XI. MR. KERR AND HIS FAMILY                                    98

    XII. THE TEMPERANCE CAUSE                                      109

   XIII. MR. TRUMAN--MISSIONARY’S DEPARTURE                        118

    XIV. WORKINGS OF THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL AND TEMPERANCE SOCIETY      123

     XV. GEORGE AND MARY                                           134

    XVI. MR. BROWN’S FAMILY                                        140

   XVII. MISSIONARY AGAIN VISITS THE WEST                          145

  XVIII. DEATH                                                     152

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

SCENES IN THE WEST.



CHAPTER I.

_THE MISSIONARY._

  “The melancholy days had come,
  The saddest of the year.”


All nature seemed to be resting in a quiet dreamy slumber. The bee
had well nigh laid up its winter store, and many of the birds were
preparing to leave for more genial climes in the sunny south. All these
were but the harbingers of the cold storms that were lingering behind
the snow-covered mountains of the north. Indian summer, the season of
romance, like the life of a humble Christian, leaves its loveliest
scenes to its departing hours. It was in the midst of these balmy days
that you might have seen a traveler with a worn satchel in one hand
and a staff in the other coming up a narrow lane leading to the home
of a prosperous Western settler. He walked slowly, for he had left
behind him many weary miles; his countenance, though calm, was pale and
languid; yet his eye seemed to bespeak the hope that here he might find
the much-needed rest.

Two men were standing beside the gate at the end of the lane when the
stranger came up. The one was a kindly disposed person with but little
force of character, and deficient in moral courage, whom we shall know
as Mr. Kerr. The other, whose name was Steele, was the owner of the
premises.

He was a large man, selfish and resolute, a conceited formalist,
bigoted, exceedingly headstrong, and greatly prejudiced against all
Christian zeal.

No sooner did Mr. Steele notice the approach of the stranger than he
turned to Mr. Kerr and exclaimed: “There, I’ll bet you, comes that
Sunday-school, temperance loafer I’ve heard so much of lately. I reckon
he expects to get in here; but I tell you, sir, my ‘shanty’ don’t hold
the like of him, while I’m boss here, ‘that’s said!’” This was uttered
with emphatic bitterness. To this passionate outburst Mr. Kerr ventured
a little palliation by the remark that he had heard that in the other
settlement the people seemed to like the missionary very well.

“_You_ would have nothing to do with his nonsense, would you?” retorted
Mr. Steele with a look of scorn.

“No,” feebly and insincerely muttered Mr. Kerr, “we have got along
so far without it, and I guess we can get along without it a little
further.”

“That’s my ticket,” sharply added Mr. Steele.

By this time the stranger had reached the gate. A calm, pleasant smile
lit up his pale countenance; and he accosted them with,

“Good evening, friends.”

“Good evening, sir,” responded Mr. Kerr.

“How d’ye do, sir,” thundered out Mr. Steele.

“This has been a very pleasant day,” ventured the traveler.

“Yes, sir,” curtly replied Mr. Steele.

“I am very tired,” continued the stranger; “could I stay with you
to-night?”

“You are the fellow who goes about lecturing on temperance, and getting
up Sunday-schools, aint you?” sarcastically rejoined Mr. Steele, his
face reddening.

“That is my calling,” meekly added the man of God.

“Then you don’t stay all night in my house; I don’t harbor fellows who
are too lazy to work,” sneeringly answered the excited Mr. Steele.

“But I am very tired, and my head aches badly; I’ll pay you well.”

“Cant help it. The sooner you make tracks the better,” retorted the
unfeeling man.

“I am afraid it will storm to-night,” continued the missionary,
pointing to a dark cloud which was looming up in the west.

“You might have stayed at home and minded your own business, instead
of minding other people’s, and kept out of this trouble,” replied Mr.
Steele, with a look so severe that the poor wanderer lost all hope of
any comfort or favor from this seemingly inhospitable dwelling; so he
inquired how far it was to the next house.

“That depends entirely upon which way you go,” mockingly answered the
hard-hearted man, with a wink to Mr. Kerr, and a conceited smile at the
unfeeling wit he had displayed.

“I expect to continue my labors westward,” gently added the missionary.

His soul was grieved at the hardness of this man’s heart, and for a
moment he felt like looking upon his persecutor with anger. But he
remembered that even his Lord and Master was mocked and derided; that
“when He was reviled, He reviled not again; but as a lamb before his
shearers is dumb, so He opened not his mouth.” And the humble follower
of the Man of Sorrows in silence offered up the prayer, “Father,
forgive them, they know not what they do.”

The door of common humanity being closed against him, he made up his
mind to continue his journey, let the dangers and privations be what
they might. An angel seemed to whisper, “I will lead thee in the way in
which thou shalt go;” so he took courage.

Being thirsty, he ventured to ask for a drink of water.

“You can go to the spring,” was the abrupt answer, and the cruel man
turned upon his heel, and in company with Mr. Kerr passed on to the
barn, leaving the suffering one standing by the gate alone.

But George, a lad of about ten years, and Mary, a little flower of
seven summers, had looked on and listened with the curiosity common
to children. Their hearts were filled with pity toward the poor man;
and, when even a drink of water was denied him, the inherent kindness,
implanted in all our natures, was instantly awakened.

In a moment, as the missionary turned the corner of the yard, the two
children met him each with “a cup of cold water.” “Here is good fresh
water, please drink,” said the little ones. His heart was melted at
this unexpected exhibition of kindness; and invoking a blessing upon
the dear children, he raised the cup to his lips and was refreshed.
He then opened his satchel, and gave each child a picture card and
Sunday-school paper, also cards for the men, together with a neat
little tract for their mother. Bidding them good-by, he with a sigh
resumed his lonely journey.

The children, happy in having done a kindness, hurried to their
mother, and were soon showing and admiring the papers and cards; she,
mother-like, very naturally shared their pleasure, but thought of the
stranger with a pang of regret, for she feared that he would take the
road leading into an unsettled region, infested with wild beasts and
roving Indians. After admiring the pictures, she told the children all
she knew of the Sunday-school, for which these beautiful things were
made, at the same time hoping that her husband’s opposition to them
might be removed.

“I wish there was Sunday-school here,” said George.

“Won’t there be Sunday-school here, mother?” exclaimed both at once.

“I’m afraid not,” said their mother, sorrowfully, knowing the hostility
of many of the neighbors toward anything of the kind.

“Why not, mother?” innocently asked the children.

This was one of those questions children often ask, and which it is so
hard to answer.

“I don’t know,” she replied, evasively, adding, “go give your father
and Mr. Kerr their cards. They are at the barn.”

Hurrying out, their noisy delight soon arrested the attention of the
men.

“What in the world is up now?” wondered their father.

“See here, father, see here!” exclaimed the children, holding out the
cards.

“Who gave you these?” said he, reaching out his hand for the gifts, and
suspecting the source.

“The man at the gate; we gave him a drink, and he gave us these
(showing their cards) and a little book for mother, and this one for
you and that one for Mr. Kerr.”

Looking for a moment at the engraving, he read, “For I was an
hungered, and ye gave me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I
was a stranger, and ye took me in.”

Instantly the terrible reproof, associated with these words, awakened
the man’s slumbering conscience. Writhing under its force he tried to
construe the innocent gift into an insult; then flinging it to the
ground he stamped his foot upon it.

At this exhibition of anger all the joy of the children vanished.

Mary began to cry, and George wondered what there was about the card to
offend his father.

In the meantime, Mr. Kerr had read his card. The words were, “And
_these_ shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous
into life eternal.”

“What have you got?” sneeringly asked Mr. Steele, of his companion. Mr.
Kerr read the text with some emotion.

“Just what I expected! he thought to give us a cut,” said the angry
man, at the same time adding many abusive words.

Mr. Kerr tried to assent to the remarks, but the words upon the card
had touched his heart; and he felt like hating himself for having
yielded, against his convictions, to the unreasonableness of his
neighbor toward an unoffending stranger. Putting the card in his
pocket, he was compelled to be an unwilling listener to the tirade of
a would-be Christian (for Mr. Steele was a member of church) against
prayer-meetings, temperance societies and Sunday-schools.

As soon as practicable, Mr. Kerr left for home; his conscience still at
work, accusing him of cowardice, and partaking of another’s sin. “And
these shall go away into everlasting punishment,” like a poisoned arrow
was festering in his heart, until his guilty imagination conceived that
the card contained his eternal doom.

Meeting his wife at the door of his house, he handed her the fatal
card.

“Oh, the kind stranger gave you this!” she exclaimed with animation.
“He was here this afternoon, and gave each of us one of the same kind,
and left one for you. And then he prayed with us. I wish he would
settle here and get up a Sunday-school, of which he talked so much. I
believe he is one of the best of men.”

“I wish so too;” involuntarily broke from the full heart of the
stricken man; “I believe he is a good man. He came to Mr. Steele’s a
few hours ago, but was turned off.”

“Why didn’t you bring him home with you?” she asked.

“Well, I know I ought to have done so; but I was afraid of Mr. Steele,
who you know hates all such people.” To avoid any more questions on
the subject, he asked to see what the man had left for him. The card
was soon handed him, and he read: “Fear not them which kill the body,
but are not able to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to
destroy both soul and body in Hell.”

This was another arrow from the quiver of the Almighty. His wife
soon detected the change that had come over him, and with becoming
solicitude endeavored to find out the cause; but in this her efforts
were evaded.

“I was afraid of Mr. Steele,” thought he, “who would not even dare
to kill my body--whilst I did not fear Him who is able to destroy my
soul.” Leaving him in his sorrow, we will return to Mr. Steele.

The children, mortified and discouraged, had left the barn, and gone to
their mother for consolation in their disappointment. This was always
afforded them; for never was a mother more kind to her little ones, and
yet more decided in her endeavors to train them in the right way.

Mr. Steele, being conscious of having done wrong, tried to rid himself
of his unpleasant feelings, by bustling about, doing first this, then
that, for relief. It was late before he entered the house, and lest he
should be suspected of regretting what he had done, he confronted his
wife with, “I wonder what kind of trash that loafer left here with you
and the children to-day? I guess he wants to set up an agency here.”

“They are in the bureau drawer, there,” said his wife, “shall I get
them for you?”

“No, I don’t want to see any more of the trash;” and, going into
another room, he sat down to read a political speech. But it failed
to interest him. The coming darkness, the looming up of heavy clouds
in the distance, the stranger out in the pathless wilds, the abused
privilege of doing good to--perhaps, after all--one of the followers
of the Redeemer; the text on the card with its indirect reproof, were
thoughts which crowded themselves upon his mind. For a moment he wished
that he had given the stranger shelter; but prejudice had too long held
sway to be thus easily set aside. He had taken a stand, and he would
maintain it, let the consequences be what they would.



[Illustration]

CHAPTER II.

_MISFORTUNES._


Our traveler, after leaving Mr. Steele’s, unfortunately took a road
leading from the inhabited portion of country. Night was approaching,
and the last sounds of human habitations had long since ceased to greet
his ear; he still walked on, however, hoping that some dwelling would
come into view.

The sun had set behind the great mountain of storm clouds in the west,
and twilight was drawing a curtain of darkness around. The clouds rose
higher and higher; the heavens began to be overspread with long masses
of floating vapor, and the distant gleam of lightning could now be
distinctly seen. He now encountered a steep hill in his march; his
limbs could scarcely bear his body along, but he knew that he must go
on. There were but few trees on the hill, and their absence enabled him
to see his way more clearly in ascending, but the valley beyond seemed
shrouded in midnight darkness.

These wild regions were infested with wolves and other ravenous beasts,
and our hero being unarmed, his life became hourly more endangered.
After struggling along under accumulating difficulties, in utter
loneliness and discouragement he sat down on a log to rest. It was
to him an hour of trial; and his patience almost failed him. But the
remembrance of God’s promise, “Behold, I am with thee and will keep
thee,” cheered him. A clap of thunder warned him of the approach of
the storm, and aroused his enfeebled energies to their task. But where
should he go? The darkness, if possible, had increased; not a ray of
light remained, excepting when the electric fluid for a moment lit
up the heavens with its lurid blaze only to leave it still darker. An
effort to secure shelter must be made _at once_.

As he was anxiously hurrying on among the weeds and fallen timber, a
huge rattlesnake that had coiled itself under some rubbish suddenly
sounded its “death-rattle.” Finding that danger was threatening in
the heavens above, and lurking on the earth beneath, he was on the
point of sitting down and awaiting his fate, when, suddenly, a flash
of lightning revealed an opening between the tall trees, and the hope
that there might be some human habitation not far distant caused him to
again renew his efforts.

Moving cautiously forward, he succeeded in crossing a stream of water;
a short distance beyond was an old, broken-down fence. The glimpse
which the lightning gave him of this, the work of man, sent a thrill of
joy to his desponding heart.

He anxiously watched for the electric lamp to reveal the place of
habitation. Now and then a large drop of rain fell, and presently a
fearful blaze of lightning illuminated the whole heavens, followed by a
clap of thunder that seemed to shake the earth to its very foundation!
The rain was now descending upon the distant hill. Aroused to a full
sense of his danger, he commended his soul to God, expecting to be
crushed beneath the falling timber, which could plainly be heard above
the roar of the elements.

As we all shrink from imminent danger, he instinctively looked around
for some protection. Near by, in a clump of trees, he espied, when it
again lightened, something like a roof. What a thrill of joy entered
his heart! Groping his way forward, he found a little hut with door
wide open as if to welcome him; he needed no invitation, but rushed in,
for the storm was bursting upon him.

All within was dark and silent save a rustling in one corner and the
flitting of a bat overhead. The chilly dampness which pervaded the
room, and the musty smell that came up from the floor, made the first
impression far from agreeable. The roof leaked and the windows were
gone. In one corner he found a dry spot; here he nestled down, awaiting
the fury of the descending storm.

The elements were now raging with irresistible power. The very earth
seemed to tremble under the contending forces that were hurling
destruction all around. Part of the shattered roof came down, the trees
were torn up by the roots and the cabin was almost lifted from its
foundation.

Happily the winds hurled the rain against the corner in which he
had taken refuge, and the logs, chinking and daubing that remained,
arrested the water, so that the place which he occupied was
comparatively dry, whilst all the rest of the inside was deluged with
the dashing rain.

Musing for a time upon his lonely condition and his prospects for the
future, he fell asleep, and did not awake until it was quite day. He
arose, and kneeling down in that deserted cabin, he brought all his
sorrows before God, and asked in great humility for His guidance and
protection.

The storm had passed, and the sun rose in a serene and cloudless sky.
After his communion with God, he came out of his retreat to view his
surroundings.

The ground was literally covered with pools of standing water, fallen
timber and fragments of vegetation. The cabin in which he had slept had
been long since deserted, and the place looked mournfully desolate,
wild and forsaken.

As the lowlands were now full of standing water, and the creek so
high that to return by the way he came was impossible, he took up his
satchel and staff, and proceeded westward in search of a settlement.

After wandering on for several hours he came to a large swamp covered
with reeds, tall grass and spaces of open water; in some places the
covering was a beautiful carpet of green moss, upon which one could
stand, but the least movement would shake the frail moss bed for rods
around; under this treacherous cover there appeared to be a great depth
of quicksand and water. A path made by wild animals along the margin of
the swamp somewhat relieved the irksomeness of passing through it.

As he was traveling on he discovered the footprints of a bear which
had been turning over some old logs in search of worms and insects. An
encounter with Bruin was something for which he was wholly unprepared.
Sitting down to consider which course he had better pursue, his
attention was attracted by a noise among the bushes behind him. He had
already passed the monster and might have escaped unnoticed had he not
sat down!

The bear, seeing him, came out of the bushes toward him. As our hero
did not show any signs of retreat the bear stopped and sat upon his
haunches, ready for a fight. The worn-out missionary did not feel like
accepting the challenge, but was rather inclined to a purely defensive
policy. The bear remained stationary for some time, waiting, no doubt,
for a demonstration of the purposes and ability of the stranger. They
eyed each other until that indescribable superiority implanted in the
eye of man made the huge beast quail, and he sullenly retreated into
the thicket.

The way being now clear our traveler again started on. The marsh was
at length passed, but another difficulty now presented itself in the
shape of an abrupt bluff; too much fatigued to ascend it, he changed
his course by its base, still, however, designing to go westward. A
beautiful spring that gushed out from among the rocks at the side of
the hill invited him to rest. Whilst laving his sore, feverish feet in
its cool waters, he noticed the movements of a little squirrel as it
jumped from tree to tree, gathering nuts for the coming winter. Here he
learned a lesson which would enable him to appease his hunger.

Having eaten his frugal meal, and being somewhat refreshed, his step
was lighter. Another stream impeded his progress, so he again changed
his course, following its windings among the valleys and hills.
Throughout his whole course he had as yet seen no indications of the
presence of man.

The sun was again setting, and as the shades of night increased and no
dwelling appeared he began to look about for some place of shelter.
As he was hastily ascending a ridge, a pack of wolves commenced their
discordant yelps and howlings right in his front. Turning around he
wended his way up a ravine, walking as fast as possible. Another pack
of wolves then set up a howl to his left; this seemed to enrage the
others, so that their hideous noise could not but chill the heart of
the defenseless wanderer.

To climb a tree and rest among its branches for the night, was his
first thought. A spreading beech, with branches almost reaching the
ground, offered its accommodations. After choosing his position in
the tree, and fixing himself, as he supposed, for the night, he very
soon found his limbs cramped and his hold unsafe. Becoming satisfied
that to remain where he was would be risking his life, he immediately
descended. The darkness, when off the tree, seemed much more dense;
and being now within reach of the wolves, made him almost regret
having left it. “Oh, that I never had been called to this sacrifice,”
involuntarily burst from him. A voice whispered: “The foxes have holes
and the birds of the air have nests, but the _Son of Man_ hath not
where to lay His head.” These words were not without effect, for they
led him to say, “if the Lord of Lords suffered thus before me, why
should I murmer at my lot?” and he again “thanked God and took courage.”

At length he succeeded in finding a hollow tree which answered his
purpose. Feeling that he was in God’s hands, it was not long until
“tired nature’s sweet restorer” came to his relief.

It is well that God conceals from us the rod with which He intends to
chasten us; were it not so, our prospective trials would seem greater
than we could bear. The trials encountered by His servant in this
peculiar case, were but the beginning of those in store for him.

Having changed his course so often, he lost all idea of the points of
the compass. The consequence was that he spent two days and a night
longer wandering in this wilderness. At the expiration of that time
he found himself at the very old hut in which he had spent the first
night; which proved to him that he had been traveling in a circle.
Under the circumstances, he was very glad to again avail himself of the
protection thus afforded.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER III.

_RELIEF OBTAINED._


The night having passed, in the morning the missionary felt satisfied
that he could not find his way back to the settlement which he had
left. For a time he tried to find the old road by which he had come;
but failing in this, he directed his steps eastward. His bewilderment
having entirely left him, his heart was joyous and his step light.
Although the people of the settlement to which he was returning, were
comparatively strangers to him, he felt assured that many of them were
Christians more than in name, and others who did not bear that name
were kind-hearted and charitable. Here was a work for him to do.

The day was rapidly advancing; and the elastic step of the morning had
slackened to a laborious effort to reach his destination.

Hark! What sound is that? The tinkling of a bell! He now knew that he
was nearing the settlement. Pushing on, he saw to his right several
openings, and beyond smoke curling up. He at length reached the gate
leading into the yard in front of a farm-house. Everything had a neat
and comfortable appearance. That he might here obtain relief, was now
his ardent desire.

A dog that lay before the door, observing the stranger at the gate,
offered a decided resistance to his entrance. The attention of Mr.
Brown, the farmer, was thus attracted, and coming out of the house to
see what was the matter, he was struck with the forlorn appearance of
the stranger; and with feelings of pity invited him in. The kind look
and cordial welcome touched the missionary’s heart, and it was with
difficulty that he kept back the tears. Taking up his satchel, Mr.
Brown led the way into the house, and introduced him as “a suffering
stranger.”

After a few remarks respecting his present situation, he commenced to
relate what had befallen him during the past few days. The whole family
gathered round to hear his pitiful story; and all were greatly moved by
the recital of his sufferings.

“You must now lie down and rest,” kindly insisted Mrs. Brown. “I have a
comfortable bed prepared for you in the adjoining room. Henry, my boy,
will you show the way?”

Henry was a lad about ten years old. A look at his open, honest face at
once prepossessed you in his favor. He immediately did what his mother
desired.

“Mother,” said little blue-eyed Eliza, as soon as the stranger had
disappeared, “who is this sick man, and what has he got in his satchel
there in the corner?”

“Why, my dear child,” replied her mother, “you should never ask two
questions at once. Answering your last question first, I do not know
what is in the satchel, nor should my little girl be curious about that
which does not concern her. As to the man, he is the missionary who
traveled through here last week, trying to get up a Sunday-school in
our neighborhood.”

“A Sunday-school, mother! School on Sunday! Why he must be a wicked man
to keep school on Sunday! I don’t want to go.”

Her mother never having been in a Sunday-school herself, scarcely
knew how to explain to her daughter the difference between it and an
ordinary day school. So she simply said:

“It is not a school like ours down at the ‘Cross Roads,’ but one in
which we read the Bible, and sing and pray, and are taught to love the
Saviour.”

“O, mother!” exclaimed the child, “then I would like to go. Do tell
the man to have one in our school-house. Will you mother?”

“Yes, child, I will ask him if he gets well again.”

“I hope he will get well soon,” said Eliza, and bounded off to tell
Henry the news. He saw her coming, and as her manner showed that she
was greatly pleased, he called out in one breath,

“What have you got? Who gave it to you?”

“I have nothing,” she replied; “nobody gave me anything.”

“Yes there did,” said Henry.

“No there didn’t,” curtly answered Eliza.

“What tickles you so then,” rejoined Henry in a milder tone.

By this time Eliza’s ardor was quite dampened by Henry’s manner, so she
merely replied:

“I will tell you to-morrow,” and then left him.

But Henry did not feel like waiting. No sooner was she gone than he
again sought her, more anxious than ever to know what had so excited
her.

“I will tell you,” she said, “if you won’t be so cross to me next
time,” evidently feeling that she had the advantage of him.

“I wasn’t cross. I’ll always be good and nice,” said Henry, glad to
come to terms, for he felt very curious.

Eliza then sat down and told him all that her mother had said about the
Sunday-school, occasionally adding an exclamation of her own to make it
seem more important.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER IV.

_AN APPOINTMENT._


Mrs. Brown, knowing that the missionary had been deprived of the proper
kind of food for such a long time, thought it best that he should
now take it in small quantities and at short intervals, and for this
reason desired her husband to rouse him, that he might again partake
of refreshment. It was now night, and, after a season of devotion, all
retired.

The sun had again risen. Hearts had wakened; some to joy and hope,
others to sorrow and despair. The missionary had rested well. Although
he still looked pale, he had in a great measure recovered from his
fatigue. The hospitality of this most excellent family, to whom
Providence had directed his steps, was shared with feelings of the
deepest gratitude.

Mr. Brown and his wife were earnest, devoted Christians, possessing
liberal views, and were ever ready for any movement that could show any
reasonable prospect of doing good. They never condemned what had not
been faithfully tried, unless forbidden by the Word of God. Although
they had never heard a temperance lecture, and, as to a Sunday-school,
it was something respecting which their knowledge was very indistinct;
yet, when these subjects were laid before them by the missionary, and
their great importance shown, both were ready to try the experiment.

“We will make an appointment for you at the school-house as soon as you
will be able to fill it,” said Mr. Brown, “and then you can explain the
whole matter to the people, and we will try what we can do.”

“I am ready, with God’s help, to commence the work to-morrow,” said the
missionary.

“Not to-morrow,” replied Mr. Brown; “you must not disregard your health
when duty does not demand the sacrifice. As this matter has not been
much agitated here, and no appointment is out, a few days rest until
your strength is sufficient to carry on the work when commenced, will
not be a neglect of duty. As the young people have singing-school
in our school-house to-morrow after noon, we will send and have an
appointment given out for you on Tuesday evening. We will also have
the announcement made at the other school-house; then the people will
have a little time to think and talk the matter over, and have their
curiosity aroused, and we will have a good turn-out.”

“As you seem to understand matters so well, I will leave all to you,”
said the missionary.

Under the kind care of Mrs. Brown, our traveler improved rapidly, and
his wonted cheerfulness was gradually returning.

“Do you know what is in that bundle there in the corner?” inquired
Eliza of her brother Henry, in a loud whisper, and pointing toward the
stranger’s satchel.

“I guess the stranger has his ‘things’ in it,” answered Henry, looking
in the same direction.

The missionary, hearing their conversation, and wishing to gratify
their curiosity as well as please them, asked them to bring the satchel
to him.

After showing them a book full of pretty pictures and a Sunday-school
paper, he allowed them to look at a great many beautiful cards, upon
which were printed hymns and prayers. He explained the use of these
things, and gave each of them a card and paper. To show “mother” what
they had received was of course the next thing to be done, and they had
almost forgotten to thank the missionary in their hurry and glee. The
mother was almost as much pleased as the children, especially with the
papers. After admiring them again, the children asked her to lay them
away that they might not become soiled.

Sunday-school scholar, do you prize your cards and papers as these
children did? Or do you carelessly soil and lose them--or perhaps tear
them up without reading them?

If you have thus indifferently treated them, think of these little
children, and, like them, place your Sunday-school gifts among your
precious treasures. When you are grown to manhood and womanhood, and
called upon to battle with life, you may look upon these mementoes of
childhood and youth with sad but sweet recollections.

The next day being Sunday, after the morning duties were finished, this
family, with the missionary, enjoyed a season of devotion and Christian
fellowship. As they, in the fear of God, intended to “move upon the
enemy’s works” on Tuesday night, it would be profitable for the leader
to know how the enemy was entrenched, and what forces had been employed
against him; how these operated and what their success.

“What kind of people have you here in the West?” inquired the
missionary with a smile.

“Well,” replied Mr. Brown, “we have what the geographer terms ‘a
mixed population.’ Or, as old Peter Miller would say, ‘good, bad and
indifferent.’ It is a great mistake in eastern men to suppose that the
western pioneer is an ignoramus. You will find some of the sharpest,
best educated and most energetic men of this continent here in the
West. A great many have the ‘bump of go-aheadativeness,’ as Fowler
would say, ‘largely developed’.”

“Method or system is not so much looked upon as ‘will it go?’ ‘will
it pay?’ ‘how long will it take?’ The masses are what some term
‘fast men.’ Money must be made at once! Fortunes acquired in a day!
Circuitous approaches are inadmissible. ‘Straight through and go ahead’
is the cry. ‘Young America’ here is impatient of delay; and if one
way does not at once succeed, another is tried; and if speedy results
are not seen, a new location or a change of business is contemplated.
Hence, ‘fogyism’ is generally discarded, and which ever way they move
they tend toward the extreme. This restless spirit is the very secret
of their being here. Ambitious, brave and independent minds seek their
development in situations where they can ‘make a country,’ create
cities, establish commerce, and lay the foundation for learning, art
and science.”

“Why, indeed, Mr. Brown, you have given me a very graphic description
of the characteristics of the western people, and it almost makes me
afraid to risk my abilities among such,” replied the missionary.

“Never mind,” said Mr. Brown, “you must become enthusiastic too; and
when they see you are in earnest, they will help you.”

“But are there not some ‘old fogies’ mixed up among the crowd, who
would oppose radical measures of any kind?” mildly suggested the
missionary.

“Plenty of them,” quickly replied Mr. Brown. “It is especially so in
religious matters--here they seem to have the most influence, being
well-meaning, orderly and good men; but holding the idea that the old
routine must be followed, they oppose any change, or any ‘new measure,’
as they call it; and being men of standing in the community, the result
is, in many cases, that nothing is accomplished.”

“Are these old measure men inclined to oppose the temperance cause,
prayer-meetings, revivals and Sunday-schools by any decided action?”
seriously inquired the missionary.

“Some will, and carry others with them, who otherwise might be made
active members in the Church; as they are, you cannot tell them from
non-professors,” rejoined Mr. Brown.

“Are these leading men hard to win over?”

“No, not all,” answered Mr. Brown; “they are mostly well-meaning, and
if you can convince them of a more effective way, they will go with
you; but some are very bigoted.”

“What arguments do they generally use against our reformatory
movements?” continued the missionary.

“They generally rely upon the supposition that our forefathers lived
and died without any of these ‘new-fangled doctrines,’ and if they went
to Heaven without them, we can too.”

“Why, don’t they see,” queried the missionary, “that the Bible is full
of temperance, (Acts xxiv. 25; Gal. v. 23; 2 Pet. i. 6; 1 Cor. ix. 25;
1 Titus i. 8); of revivals (Acts ii. 2), and prayer-meetings (Acts i.
13, 14; xvi. 13; xii. 12; Luke xxii. 39-46)? There are also evident
commands for teaching the Scriptures to the children, as is done in the
Sabbath-school (Gen. xviii. 19; Deut. xxxii. 46; xi. 18, 19; 2 Tim.
iii. 15). I do not think they would call these things new, if they
would prayerfully study God’s Word.”

“I wish you would take up these points at the proper time, and give
them a full Scriptural illustration,” replied Mr. Brown. “I think it
would be acceptable to the people.”

“I will do so; but on Tuesday night I will dwell entirely upon the
utility of Sunday-schools.”

The hour for singing-school had arrived, and the children had gone,
taking with them an “Appointment” written by the missionary, to be
handed to the teacher; and they had not forgotten their cards and
papers, which they intended to exhibit.

After the singing was over, the teacher read, “God willing, the
Sunday-school missionary will deliver a lecture on the subject of
Sunday-schools, and, if practicable, organize a school here next
Tuesday evening, at early candle-light.”

“Who is it?” “What is a Sunday-school like?” were questions asked all
around, but were left unanswered. In the meantime, Henry and Eliza’s
cards and papers had been going the rounds from hand to hand. A general
confusion and excitement ensued, ending in a resolve that they must all
come on Tuesday night.

The news of the appointment spread like wildfire; the children were
excited by the exaggerated descriptions of the cards and papers, and
were unanimous in their desire for a Sunday-school.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER V.

_THE MISSIONARY PREACHES._


On Tuesday, a beautiful evening closed the day. At an early hour, the
parents, together with quite a number of children, also the youth
of this and other neighborhoods, were on their way to hear what the
stranger had to say; some having made up their minds for, and others
against the Sunday-school.

The old school-house was crowded with expectant ones, awaiting the
arrival of the “Great Speaker,” as he had been reported.

There was a little grove in a ravine behind the barn at Mr. Brown’s;
this secluded spot the missionary sought before starting to fill his
appointment. Here he laid his case before God, asking for preparation
of heart, for wisdom, for strength, for words, and, above all, for the
power of the Spirit and the ensealing of the truth upon the hearts of
his hearers.

Do you wonder that his lecture on that night was endued with power from
on high?

Mr. Brown offered to take him to the school-house in his wagon, but as
he preferred walking, he went in company with the children, one on each
side of him. Their prattling conversation made his heart glad, and he
longed to lead all the little ones to the Saviour.

As he entered and took his place at the desk in the school-room, a deep
silence pervaded the audience. After offering up a silent prayer, he
asked the people to sing a hymn, and all joined in the glorious old
tune, “Coronation,” with a will. After a short, solemn and impressive
prayer, he called the attention of his hearers to the following
portion of God’s Word: “Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in
your heart and in to your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your
hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall
teach them to your children, speaking of them in thine house, and when
thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest
up.” Deut. xi. 18, 19.

He treated his subject so simply that the children could understand,
and with an earnestness that commanded the attention of all. After
showing the imperative duty of teaching the Scriptures to our children,
and that some _could_ not, and others _would_ not, thus properly
teach them, he said that it was the duty of all Christians to see
to it that they were taught. To gather them together on Sunday for
religious instruction, was the most appropriate and feasible method.
He appealed to the minds and hearts of his audience in such a way
as to force their assent to the truth of his propositions; and that,
too, from persons who had come with feelings of determined hostility.
After another prayer, and the singing of a hymn, he exhibited his
Sunday-school books and papers, picture cards and prize tickets, giving
to each in turn a proper explanation of its uses, and closed with an
appeal to the people to organize a Sunday-school at once.

Upon this, a man arose and said, with considerable faltering, that
he objected to any such “snap judgment” being taken; that this
Sunday-school fuss was got up by a set of loafers, who were too lazy to
work, to swindle their living out of the earnings of honest people. And
he, for one, was not going to be led by them. Having thus made known
his opinion, he sat down. This man was no other than Mr. Steele, with
whom we are already acquainted.

The missionary did not think it prudent to cast pearls where they
would be trampled under foot, so he left the future action to the
people.

The short speech of Mr. Steele encouraged those who were prejudiced
against any “innovations,” and some confusion ensued. Mr. Brown arose
and said that he was sorry that the gentleman who had just taken his
seat had thrown out such unwarranted insinuations; and as he did not
offer the slightest evidence to sustain his assertions, he did not feel
inclined to give this speech the least credit, and would therefore
move that the gentleman, Mr. Steele, be requested to prove the charges
made against those who, with the present lecturer, are endeavoring to
organize and establish Sunday-schools. This was seconded by three or
four, and almost unanimously carried. The time of meeting determined
upon was the following Thursday night.

The excitement now became general; there being a division of
sentiment among the people, and as this was leading to confusion
and impropriety, the meeting was dismissed; but this only gave more
liberty, and instead of a calm discussion of the question, extravagant
assertions were made, and hasty, inconsiderate conclusions formed,
leading to angry words.

A number sought acquaintance with the missionary, and the result of the
meeting was that he had warmer friends and more determined enemies than
before.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER VI.

_MR. STEELE’S MEETING._


Early on Wednesday morning, the missionary was on his way to canvass
the district. He met with opposition and encouragement among the
parents, but the children and most of the young people were decidedly
in favor of a Sunday-school. His humility and sincerity won him many
friends, and before Thursday night came he had disarmed much of the
opposition.

The time for Mr. Steele to prove his charges having arrived, the house
was filled; indeed many were unable to get in. This, to the missionary,
was an omen of good; and he felt calm and strong in faith. The angry
scowls of the opposition made no impression upon his feelings, for he
well remembered the Saviour had said: “Think not that I am come to send
peace on earth; I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

As this was Mr. Steele’s meeting, he was on hand. After some delay
he arose, and with a great deal of agitation said he reckoned that
the time to begin had come, and he guessed he would proceed. He
consequently commenced his harangue against the Sabbath-school, and
those interested in its success. But being ignorant of the merits of
the subject he had undertaken to discuss, he, of course, failed to
convince any one. As to his proving his charges, he did not even make
the attempt. Even his friends felt that the effort was a total failure,
and he sat down without a single expression of applause or commendation
from those present.

Some one here asked him what he proposed doing in the matter.

He replied that every one might do as he pleased, but as to himself
he would never pay a cent toward the thing, nor ever enter one, nor
allow any of his family to be taught in such a shabby concern as a
Sunday-school.

A slight effort at cheering, by a few worthless fellows, was made
at this boasting declaration, and he felt as though he was of some
importance, and took his seat with a smile of complacency.

Mr. Brown was deeply wounded by the uncharitable remarks of Mr. Steele,
and he now arose to speak. Every eye was upon him. He commenced by
referring to the arguments advanced by the missionary in favor of
Sunday-schools; speaking of the positive duty devolving upon all
Christians to teach their children the Scriptures, and appealing to the
judgment of the whole audience whether any one of the statements made
had been refuted by Mr. Steele. He also alluded to the great utility of
such an institution, and commented upon the abuse received by persons
particularly interested in the cause; he also quoted from Paul, that we
should “prove all things, and hold fast that which is good,” and not
let our prejudices condemn, and our bigotry abuse every one and every
thing that is new.

Although there was little expressed sympathy with Mr. Steele and
his remarks, it was evident that quite a number could not overcome
their prejudices, and stood upon what some termed “neutral ground.”
Unfortunately for such persons, in morality and religion there can be
no neutral ground. Christ says, “He that is not for me is against me.”

The missionary now opened his satchel, and taking out a Sunday-school
book, laid it upon the table; remarking, that instead of trying to
fleece the people out of their money, he would propose to give them
fifty volumes like the one before them, if they would make up money to
pay for fifty more, and agree to organize a Sunday-school.

The night being now far spent, Mr. Brown proposed to have another
meeting on Sunday morning at 10 o’clock, with the object of organizing
a Sunday-school. This was agreed to, and the people separated.

A good old Christian, by the name of Law, took the missionary along
with him. He was one of those who had long desired a better state of
things in the community. The missionary explained to him all that he
wished to know, and his already favorable opinions of the Sunday-school
were greatly strengthened. From Mr. Law’s the missionary went to the
next neighbor, who was one of those who professed neutrality in the
matter. He appeared to fear the missionary, and did not give him a
very warm reception. He said “yes” to everything the missionary said,
but was really in doubt as to whether he did not mean “no.” Convinced
against his will, he hid his convictions by making a doubtful show for
the other side. He was left neither cold nor hot; and his hesitating
promise that he would come and bring his children to the meeting, was
scarcely to be interpreted at all.

Leaving here, the missionary went to Mr. Adams. He was one of the
opposition; but he was a frank man, and possessed a superficial
knowledge of the Scriptures. He invited the missionary in, intending to
“give him a short battle.”

After some preliminaries, the objector brought forward his charges,
which were about the same as those advanced by Mr. Steele. The
missionary answered these one by one, and so plainly showed the utility
of the Sunday-school, that Mr. Adams would gladly have escaped from the
missionary’s presence, and from the conviction forced upon his mind by
the truth. His sense of politeness alone prevented him from leaving the
house.

As he was a professed Christian, and indeed a leading member of the
church, the missionary asked the privilege of praying with the family;
this, upon the same principle of courtesy, could not be denied. The
missionary had done all that he could in his weakness, and he now laid
the case before God; asking for His blessing, His spirit and convincing
power. What arguments failed to do, sincere and earnest prayer
accomplished.

Sunday-school Agents, Leaders in the Church, Ministers of the Gospel,
do you ask God in earnest prayer to bless your labors? Are your efforts
made to do good, or to be heard and seen? In the fear of God; in view
of the final judgment; examine yourselves in this matter.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER VII.

_MR. MASON AND MR. WILSON._


Another clear, calm Sunday morning dawned. All nature seemed to be at
rest. The missionary had staid over night with a newly married couple.
He found them kind and social, and the young man volunteered his help
in the Sunday-school. The hour of ten came, and the school-house was
again filled to overflowing. The children were there in full force. God
bless the children! What hopes filled their little hearts! Visions of
books, papers and pictures floated before their eyes.

The missionary was called upon to conduct the exercises. After singing
and prayer, he took as the basis of a few remarks, the words: “Jesus
saith to Simon Peter, Simon son of Jonas, ‘lovest thou me more than
these?’ He saith unto Him, ‘yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee.’
He saith unto him, ‘_feed my lambs_.’” What he said was to the point,
and disarmed all open opposition. A vote was taken on the question:
“Will we now organize a Sunday-school?” This was carried by a handsome
majority. When the chairman said: “All who are opposed rise to your
feet,” Mr. Steele and a few others did so, but the odds against them
being so great, they were ashamed, and soon left.

A superintendent was now elected, and happily the choice fell upon
Mr. Brown. The subordinate officers were chosen in like manner. A
collection was then taken up, which proved to be a liberal one.

The children were formed into classes, and volunteer teachers
appointed. A Bible class for adults was also formed, and a short lesson
assigned for the following Sunday. The doxology was sung, and the
people were dismissed. Thus the good cause seemed to be triumphing over
opposition.

A man who lived in an adjoining settlement had come to this meeting,
and being favorably impressed with the appearance and manner of the
missionary, and the Sunday-school movement, he invited him to pay a
visit to the settlement in which he lived, and endeavor to organize a
school there.

“I will come,” was the laconic reply to the man who gave the
invitation. “I will be there by Monday evening.”

After obtaining proper directions for finding the place, he took
leave of this friend and returned with Mr. Brown. The remainder of
the afternoon was employed in giving the superintendent of the newly
organized school all needful instructions as to its management, and the
best methods of teaching. They both felt happy over the prospects of
the enterprise.

Again we find the devoted laborer in the vineyard of the Lord, acting
upon his Master’s command. He is now on his way to the neighboring
settlement. His journey lay through wood and valley, over hills and
prairies--the latter, however, not very extensive. Reaching the
settlement, he, in due time, arrived at the house of his friend, where
everything had been made ready for his reception. A meal was prepared
in a short time, and the missionary partook of it with a decided
relish. The long walk and the cordial welcome tended greatly to sharpen
his appetite.

The reader will pardon a slight digression. We have followed this
servant of God through shadow and sunshine, in his efforts to promote
the interests of Christ’s kingdom. Let us compare his lot with that of
many ministers of the Gospel. Alas! how many are there who, because
they cannot possess life’s luxuries as well as its comforts, abandon
a field in which they might do good! The master has said: “He that
taketh not his _cross_ and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”
Coming back to our missionary, we find him chatting with the children.
They were at first rather shy, but his gentle, winning manner soon
brought them to his side, and in a very short time they were most
excellent friends. In the meantime their father, Mr. Mason, had
returned (having been necessarily absent), and welcomed the missionary
to his home. As soon as the chores were done, they sat down by a bright
fire and entered into conversation. They did not discuss the various
topics of the day, nor dissect the characters of their neighbors for
the purpose of whiling the time away; but Christ’s cause was their
theme.

“Are the people here generally in favor of Sunday-schools?” inquired
the missionary.

“I do not think they are,” frankly answered Mr. Mason. “Few of them
care much about anything religious.”

“Have you preaching or prayer-meetings?” continued the missionary.

“Sometimes prayer-meetings are started, but they die out directly.
Preaching is kept up most of the time by this, that, or the other
denomination, but it seems to amount to but little. There is no
increase or life about the Church; and you can scarcely tell a member
from a non-professor. Indeed, Christianity has fallen into disrepute,
and Christ and His cause are brought to an open shame.”

“How sad!” replied the missionary, much moved.

“Yes,” said Mr. Mason, “it is a great pity; but there seems to be
little help for it. Several have _tried_ to do something, but all to no
purpose. Somehow or other there was no life in it, and Satan, with a
few rowdies, defeated every attempt.”

“Are all the people so indifferent?” asked the missionary, with great
anxiety.

“I do not know that they are; but the exercises were so cold and
lifeless that the people had no faith in them; and the conduct of many
of the members was so bad, that their influence rather tended to drive
men from the Church than lead them to the Saviour.”

“What are the morals of the children, as a general thing?”

“Of course, where the church members do not perform their duty, their
children are neglected; and when they fail to do right we can hardly
expect anything better from worldlings and sinners. Lying, cursing,
fighting, disobedience and Sabbath-breaking are common sins among the
children. The youth drink, gamble and frolic, and some are guilty of
heinous crimes. But, thank God,” added Mr. Mason, “there are some noble
exceptions both among the children and youth.”

“We must pray God to help us to reform this awful state of morals and
religion. We must labor and pray until a great revival is brought about
in the Church and among the people,” said the missionary, earnestly.

“If you talk of a _revival_ here they will be down on you, both in and
out of the Church,” said the deeply-interested man.

“We will exercise prudence, and call our effort by a more acceptable
name; we will call it a _protracted prayer-meeting_,” added the
missionary, smiling.

“That will be equally obnoxious; the professors generally say, ‘we pay
the preacher to do the praying for us, and that is enough;’ and the
irreligious, of course, have little interest in such things.”

“What do you think they would say to a temperance meeting?” queried the
missionary.

“That will bring down upon you all the loafers, tipplers and
rumsellers; indeed nearly all the church members ‘take some,’ and they
would all unite in opposition to you,” sadly rejoined Mr. Mason.

“All these things must be overcome. And if we are faithful in using
the means God has given us, the work will be accomplished. I do not
despair,” added the missionary.

“May God help us to do our duty!” said Mr. Mason, as he laid the family
Bible on the stand for evening devotion.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER VIII.

_MISSIONARY VISITS._


The missionary started on his visiting tour among the people of the
settlement on Tuesday morning. The first house to which he came
indicated a good share of worldly comfort. He met the owner repairing
the garden-gate, and accosted him with, “Good morning.” The man
looked at him as if hesitating whether or not to reply, and said,
“How d’ye do.” The missionary, still undaunted, made some remarks of
a commonplace nature, which were answered in monosyllables. As the
missionary felt that he had no time to waste, he came at once to the
subject of his mission.

“So you’re the fellow getting up Sunday-schools. I thought you were by
your looks; but let me tell you at once that ‘you’re barking up the
wrong tree here,’ and the sooner you ‘play quits’ the better. I have no
time to fool away in talking about such nonsense.”

“But pray tell what objections you can have to teaching the young the
Holy Scriptures?” mildly interposed the missionary.

“I just now told you that I had no time to waste in talking to idlers,
and I expect you to take the hint,” sharply retorted the unreasonable
man.

Finding that there was no chance at present to do anything with him,
the missionary bid him “Good-day,” and started. The man replied with
a triumphant “Good-bye, sir,” at the same time casting toward him a
sneering look.

As the missionary was passing the barn, he met a little girl, to whom
he gave a card for herself and another for the family.

On crossing a little stream he met a young lady on horseback; to her he
handed a tract, entitled, “Are you Saved?” A slight tremor was visible
when she read this; the question demanded an answer. Seeing how the
title affected her, he prayed God to bless the words to her salvation.

He did not go far until he came to a place where two roads crossed at
right angles; so he sat down a moment to rest and consider which road
to take. Whilst sitting, a man with a wagon and a fine span of horses
came along. His countenance bespoke a kind heart, and the missionary
rose to salute him. He responded with a hearty “Good-day,” and an
invitation to take a ride, if the stranger were going his way. The
missionary had to confess that he did not know where he was going, and
unfolded his object in visiting the settlement.

The man said that he had heard of a Sunday-school being organized at
Clear Creek, but he was not up when the meeting was held, and knew but
little of the nature of the institution. Still he would be willing to
“give the thing a trial,” if it did not _cost too much_.

“As to the cost,” said the missionary, “that will depend upon the
number of books, papers, maps and other helps you get. But I will agree
to donate to your school, if you establish one, half of a good library.”

This opened the eyes of the man to their utmost extent, and he
exclaimed:

“Why, you don’t say! That don’t look like speculating or swindling
people out of their money, as they say of you around here. I never
did believe the half I heard; it didn’t seem reasonable to me. But,”
continued he, “I don’t believe that we can make it go. Everybody I have
talked to is down on it.”

“Would you be willing to assist me, and bring your family long enough
to test the matter?” inquired the missionary.

“I’ll do my best, if things are as you say. I believe the children
ought to be instructed in the Bible the moment they are capable of
understanding it.”

“Are there any others that you think would join us in the work?”

The stranger, Mr. Wilson, hesitated, and then said; “People here seem
to be dead in regard to anything of this kind. Whether we succeed or
not, a general fight over the question will, if it can possibly stir
them up, be of some use. Make the appointment, and I’ll stir them out.”

“When shall it be?” inquired the missionary.

“Put it on Friday night; there is spelling-school in our school-house
to-morrow night, and I’ll go down and have it given out, and the whole
neighborhood will know it,” said Mr. Wilson, with great animation.

“Providence permitting, I will be there,” said the missionary.

“And give us a speech, telling all about the Sunday-school,” suggested
Mr. Wilson.

As the missionary was about to offer his hand and say good-bye, Mr.
Wilson said:

“Won’t you go with me and stay until Friday? I can accommodate you.”

“I thank you, but I will not visit the neighborhood until Friday, and
then I will come to your house and we will go to the meeting together,”
replied the missionary.

“Well, perhaps that will be best,” rejoined Mr. Wilson, and passed on.
Calling back, he said: “Take the road up the hill; it will lead you
through the most thickly settled portion of this neighborhood.” The
missionary nodded his head and took the road as directed. He met with
various successes in his itinerancy until Thursday evening, when he was
shamefully treated by a man known as ’Squire Hunt, one of the leading
men of the settlement. The missionary bore the insults meekly, but
upheld the cause of Christ manfully.



[Illustration]

CHAPTER IX.

_OPPOSITION._


According to promise, the missionary was at Mr. Wilson’s house, and
he, together with the family, went to the school-house. The words of
his text were, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when
he is old he will not depart from it.” Prov. xxii. 6. He approached
his subject with caution, for the people before him were restless and
excited; but he gradually unfolded the solemn truth contained in the
text. He addressed himself to the parents, especially to the mothers.
His apparent sincerity and great earnestness overcame the prejudices of
many, but still a large majority were opposed, or cared little about
the matter.

The ’Squire got up and denounced the speaker, Sunday-schools and
Temperance societies. He was frequently cheered; and those who had been
won by the earnest eloquence of the speaker, were now carried away by
the majority, and were inclined to “follow the multitude to do evil.”
The ’Squire then called upon the people to decide by a vote, whether
they would have a Sunday-school or not, shouting out: “All who are in
favor of a Sunday-school here, rise to your feet.” Mr. Wilson and Mr.
Mason sprang to their feet like heroes, their intrepidity encouraging
some of the timid and wavering, who, together with their children, made
quite a respectable vote. After these were again seated, all who were
opposed to a Sunday-school were called upon to rise. Instantly several
of the most bitter opposers, who were waiting for the word, were up;
others, soon followed, while the ’Squire was urging the fearful and
lukewarm with, “Up! up! I know you are opposed; show your colors!”
and in this way succeeded in getting many to rise, who did not really
intend to have anything to do with the matter. He then declared the
majority opposed, and in triumph took his seat.

Mr. Mason arose and asked the majority to concede to those who
desired it the privilege of holding Sunday-school in the school-house
undisturbed.

This very reasonable request was opposed by the ’Squire; but upon the
vote being taken, the privilege was granted. This was something gained,
and the missionary was thankful for it, although he and his little band
were openly subjected to sneers and abuse. But they had the comforting
assurance that “all things work together for good to them that love
God.”

On Saturday morning, the missionary started for Clear Creek Settlement.
On his way he met a little boy and two little girls.

“How do you do, my young friends?” kindly began the missionary.

They all smiled pleasantly, but did not say anything.

“How old are you, my son?” continued he, addressing the boy.

“Ten, next Christmas; my birthday comes day before Christmas,”
ingenuously answered the boy.

“These little girls are your sisters, I suppose?”

“Yes, sir,” responded the boy.

“Can you read?”

“Yes, sir, I can read in the ‘Introduction,’ very well; my sister Jane
can read too; and little Betty can spell and read easy words,” answered
the boy, with some feelings of pride.

“Did you ever go to Sunday-school?” inquired the missionary.

“_No, sir!_” answered the boy, emphatically. “We don’t go to school on
Sundays; we go on week-days.” This direct answer caused the missionary
to smile; he continued, however, with the question, “Would you like to,
if there were a Sunday-school?”

“No, sir!” again replied the boy. “We play ball, pitch horse-shoes, or
go a fishing on Sunday, and I like that better than going to school.”

“Don’t you think it is wrong to do such things on Sunday?”

“No, sir,” again responded the boy, “father and all the neighbors do
that on Sunday.”

The parents then were the examples; and the children followed. How many
parents thus unwittingly take their children by the hand and lead them
down to death!

“You all go to meeting sometimes, don’t you?” continued the missionary.

“Yes, sir, once in a while.”

“Don’t the preacher talk against such things?”

“Sometimes; but nobody cares. Some go to the grocery and pitch
horse-shoes for whisky; and some go to the tavern to play checkers or
such, for a dram, or for fun,” replied the boy.

“Don’t the preacher talk against drinking liquor and lying about at the
grocery on Sundays?” seriously inquired the missionary.

“No, sir, _he likes it himself_.”

“It is a bad thing to drink whisky,” said the missionary.

“Yes, sir,” quickly responded the boy; “last night they had a spree at
the grocery, and Bill Jones liken’d to’ve killed Tom Miller with his
knife; and Ace Ross knocked Old Butt’s eye out. Father says they have a
law suit to-day.”

“What a pity!” said the missionary, shaking his head. “Do you live far
from here?”

“About a mile,” answered the boy.

The missionary then gave each of the children a card, and explained
to them, as far as they were capable of understanding, what a
Sunday-school was like; and they then said that they would like to go
to such a school. He told them of an appointment for Sunday afternoon
at 3 o’clock, in the school-house near Mr. Wilson’s, and invited them
to come and bring their parents along; he then said “Good-bye,” and
left them.

Having detained himself longer than he supposed, he was compelled
to hurry on, as he had quite a distance to go before he would reach
Mr. Brown’s. As he was passing through a lane, after coming within
the bounds of Clear Creek Settlement, he found two men lying in a
fence-corner, drunk! He tried to rouse them, but failed in so doing,
for they were past consciousness. Continuing on, he soon came to
the grocery. Happily for the missionary, the crowd within was all
excitement over a “drinking game;” that is, several engaged in playing
cards for a treat of the whole company. Before he had passed out of
hearing, a great shout and uproar at this den of sin, told him that
the game was up, and the treat was being given. In his heart he then
resolved that a Temperance society should be established in that place,
and he prayed God to help him in the undertaking. After arriving at
Mr. Brown’s, he could not but compare the revolting scenes he had left
behind him, with the pleasant, social intercourse he was now enjoying.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER X.

_SUNDAY-SCHOOL ORGANIZED--LOCAL PREACHER._


At the appointed time, on the Holy morning, the missionary and Mr.
Brown were in the Sunday-school, ready for action. A number had already
collected, and after the opening exercises, the missionary delivered a
short and impressive address, in which he exhorted the teachers to aim
at the conversion of those placed under their instruction, to be always
punctual, to set a godly example, and, finally, not to grow weary in
well-doing, but continue the work through evil as well as good report;
and reminded them of the reward on the final day of reckoning.

Everything passed off well; the children were pleased, and the parents
greatly encouraged. The opposition could see nothing to condemn, but
Mr. Steele and a few others laughed at the “simple thing,” and hooted
at the idea of sending their children.

According to arrangement, Mr. Mason came with his horses and wagon for
the purpose of taking the missionary to the other settlement. It had
been announced to the people that an effort to organize a Sunday-school
would be made on the afternoon of this day. By 3 o’clock many had come
together; some for the purpose of taking part in the enterprise, and
others merely to look on. The school was started, though under less
auspicious circumstances than the one at Clear Creek; yet it was a
beginning. The result was in God’s hands.

During the week that followed, the missionary visited the families
of the settlement, urging the parents either to take or send their
children to the Sunday-school. His kindness and persuasive address won
him more friends than promises. The force of public opinion against
the school made many fear to take part in it; the most of the people,
however, began to treat him with respect.

On Thursday evening he again preached. He was prepared for the
occasion, not by a written sermon with rounded paragraphs and
beautifully-finished sentences, but by constant, fervent prayer, and
thoughtful meditation. He had contemplated the state of the people, and
the weight of immortal souls lay heavily upon his heart; and, above
all, he remembered his commission and his great responsibility, for the
Almighty had said: “If the watchman see the sword come and blow not
the trumpet, and the people are not warned; if the sword come and take
any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his
blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.”

The opponents found that they had an earnest man to contend with; a
man with the whole armor on, and one who could wield the “sword of the
spirit” with power; that he was not only “mighty in the Scriptures,”
but “full of the Holy Ghost;” and they saw that if they did not
immediately “do something,” he would be “master of the situation.”

So they went to work, as is usual in such cases, to misrepresent
his language and misconstrue his meaning; to change the truth into
falsehood, by adding, distorting and detracting. His character, too,
was assailed, and scandalous stories invented and circulated in order
to ruin him; but he heeded them not; for the Saviour had said:
“Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say
all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake; rejoice and be
exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven.”

Whilst the missionary was still in this neighborhood, he was called
to the bedside of a dying woman. Now that the hour of dissolution was
rapidly approaching, she began to have misgivings about her fitness for
Heaven. She had been in the Church for a number of years, but was not
a lively stone in the building. After conversation and prayer with the
missionary, her faith was strengthened, and she felt ready to go at the
Master’s call. Thus did this servant of God do good upon every possible
occasion. Having learned that a local preacher, who lived a few miles
distant, was opposed to Sunday-schools, he determined to call upon him
and talk over the matter.

The missionary, upon reaching the home of the preacher, found him ready
to start out to fill an appointment at a place about six miles distant.
He treated the missionary coldly, and boastingly told him that he and
his people had gotten along for many years without Sunday-schools, and
he guessed they were as good as those who had them, and reckoned they
could still make out without his services; and to tell those who sent
him “to attend to their own business and let other people’s alone.” Not
waiting for a reply, the preacher gave his horse a cut with the whip,
and was off. There was consequently no alternative left the missionary
but to retrace his steps. This he did, and attended to the duties set
apart for the day.

Notwithstanding opposition, the work went on; and the friends of the
Sunday-school became daily more respected by its enemies.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XI.

_MR. KERR AND HIS FAMILY._


Upon one occasion, as the missionary was passing through the western
portion of Clear Creek Settlement, he called at a house whose
surroundings seemed familiar. The man of the house, too, appeared to
him as one he had seen before, but he could not remember exactly where.

After some general remarks, he said to the man, “I almost fancy that I
have seen you before to-day.”

“I suppose you have,” the man replied, with considerable agitation; and
continued, “Do you not remember some time ago, standing at a gate and
requesting a farmer to allow you to stay all night, and being refused,
and that there was another man there beside the owner of the place?”

The missionary said he did.

“And you remember, also, that you gave a little boy and girl some
picture-cards and tracts?”

“I do,” said the missionary.

“And one for each of the men at the barn?”

“Yes, I well remember that.”

“I was that man,” said he, somewhat confused, “and when Mr. Steele
refused to let you stay, I, like a coward, approved of it. Don’t you
remember?”

“Yes, I believe you did,” gently replied the missionary.

“Yes, I did that very wicked thing, and now ask your pardon. I have had
no rest since, on account of it,” said the man with emotion.

“I have long since forgiven you,” calmly replied the missionary. “Such
things do not move me; I count them as nothing.”

“If you had suffered what I did from them, you would count them a good
deal. I heard you preach last Sunday, and if I had not been ashamed,
I would have made a public confession of my wickedness. I thank God
that you have come this way,” continued the humbled man with faltering
voice, and stretching out his hand for reconciliation and forgiveness.

Joyfully the servant of Christ gave Mr. Kerr (whom our readers must
have recognized) his hand, and their friendship was sealed.

Mrs. Kerr, who had been absent at the time of the missionary’s arrival,
now came in. She recognized him at once, and welcomed him with
unfeigned kindness.

“Where in the world have you been since you were here last month?”
inquired the free-spoken woman. “I wondered and wondered,” she
continued, “what had become of you in the big storm. I expected nothing
else than to hear that you got killed in that dreadful rain. It was
awful! I declare I thought our house would go!”

“Oh,” pleasantly replied the missionary, “I put up without ‘leave or
license,’ at a hut out on Walnut Creek, where I was taken care of.”

“Why, nobody lives out there that I know of,” said Mr. Kerr. “Let me
see; was it about due west from where you left us?”

“Very nearly, I think,” said the missionary, at the same time smiling.

“Well, sir, I know of but one family that ever lived in that swampy,
sickly, mosquito hole, and two or three of them died there and the rest
moved away long ago,” replied Mr. Kerr, instantly adding, “What is the
man’s name that lives there?”

“Indeed I cannot give the name,” answered the missionary, with such
a look of mischief that Mrs. Kerr declared that he was only joking.
“It was at the place you mention, no doubt, that I staid. There were
two graves on a hill near the house, which was in a very dilapidated
condition, and the yard was overgrown with weeds and briars; indeed,
everything presented the appearance of having been long deserted.”

“That was Mr. Kelly’s home once, but the mosquitoes and chills drove
him out. It was well he left, or the whole family would soon have
perished there. It is a poor country compared with this,” explained Mr.
Kerr.

“But you said that you were well taken care of; I’d like to know who
took care of you,” said Mrs. Kerr, with a mischievous twinkle in her
eyes.

“The Lord took care of me,” he replied.

“Oh, yes, I did not think of that;” said she. “Did you keep dry in the
old hut in that dreadful storm?” she added; and in the same breath
continued, “Didn’t you think the whole thing would blow down over your
head?”

“I was pretty well sheltered from the wind and rain, but I really did
think more than once that all would go down.”

“I was sure our house was gone,” earnestly resumed Mrs. Kerr, “and I
expected nothing else than the death of all of us.”

“When we are ready,” he replied, “death is no evil.”

This practical reply rather embarrassed her, and for a moment she was
at a loss to know what to say next; so he continued:

“To crush the body is a matter of little consequence; but the soul, the
immortal being that inhabits this house of clay, is of immense value.
Could we fully realize the fact that nothing dies but the clay we
inhabit, we would not dread the change.”

Mrs. Kerr listened attentively, but made no reply.

“Will you be so kind as to give us an account of your troubles on that
dreadful night?” asked Mr. Kerr.

“Certainly,” said he, and he related to them the long list of trials,
dangers and privations through which he had passed.

Tears more than once filled the eyes of the eager listeners. “And now,”
said Mr. Kerr, after the missionary had finished, “I must give you
some of my experience since we parted. If you remember one of the cards
you gave the children, read, ‘And these shall go away into everlasting
punishment, but the righteous into life eternal;’ _that_ fell into my
hands. When I read those words the irresistible conviction struck me
that _I_ would be one of ‘_these_,’ and a fearful looking for judgment
to come took hold of me. All the way home I seemed to hear the words,
‘And these shall go away into everlasting punishment.’ I wished again
and again that I had only taken you with me; or at least have defended
you against the unreasonableness of Mr. Steele. But that was now too
late, and I groaned under the lashes of my guilty conscience. Upon
reaching home, my wife told me that you had been here and prayed with
the family. I suffered greatly, and was at length compelled to ‘own up’
to my wife, who soon discovered that all was not right with me--and she
strongly condemned my action.” Mr. Kerr did not cease speaking until he
had made a full confession of the humiliation he had experienced from a
guilty conscience.

The missionary could not but be moved at the penitent recital; yet he
rejoiced that Mr. Kerr was at last led to the true and only source of
comfort.

After uniting in prayer with the family, the missionary inquired if
they had been to the Sunday-school.

“Oh yes,” heartily replied Mr. Kerr, “we were all over last Sunday, and
had a delightful time.”

“No doubt; indeed, no one with proper feelings, and a regard for the
eternal interests of his children or the children of others, can help
being benefited and highly delighted in a well-ordered Sunday-school,”
said the good man with emphasis; adding, “have the books and papers for
which they sent, come?”

“They have,” rejoined Mr. Kerr, “and I verily thought the whole
school would go wild when the box was opened. Indeed, I was myself
considerably excited; and when each one received a book and a paper,
I really could not refrain from shedding tears, in witnessing the
uncontrollable delight that filled every heart; and I reproached myself
with bitterness for having been so cowardly as not to defend this noble
institution, when you and it were assailed by Mr. Steele. To-day, I
thank God for the Sunday-school! and I know that every family that
attends it thanks God for it.”

“May God, the Divine Author of this institution, foster and bless it to
the salvation of all who attend it, or are within its holy influence!”
said the delighted missionary; adding, “how is that gentleman who was
with you at the gate getting along?”

“Oh, pretty well; but he doesn’t take any stock in Sunday-schools--he
is very angry at me for attending, and won’t speak to me.”

“We must pray God to give us grace to bear with him, and try to gain
him to our confidence,” said the missionary.

The day was passing, and the good man would have gone on, but Mr. Kerr
and his wife would not hear to it, insisting that he should remain, at
least over night; so he consented to remain until morning.

By the side of the looking-glass, in the room which he occupied, he
found hanging a framed card, containing the text, “And these shall go
away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”
Underneath was written in a plain hand, “Saved by grace, through this
little card. James Kerr.”

Here was a secret. Mr. Kerr attributed his conversion to the teaching
of this silent monitor. What a momentous result can hang upon an
insignificant cause! It is said, that “the obstruction of a straw at
the fountain-head, may change the channel of a mighty river.” Never
should we despise the day of small things.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XII.

_THE TEMPERANCE CAUSE._


The missionary, after bidding farewell to the kind friends with whom he
had spent the night, again went on his way, “Seeking the lost sheep of
the house of Israel.” He had not gone far before he met two children,
who proved to be Mr. Steele’s. Upon entering into conversation with
them, he found that they remembered him. Their bright, intelligent
answers to his questions, led him to regret more deeply that they were
kept from the influence of the Sunday-school. The innate kindness of
heart manifested by these children made him feel that, if properly
trained, they would become useful members of society and the church;
so, with a view to using all possible influence in their favor, we
again find him an unwelcome visitor on the farm of Mr. Steele.

The farmer was at the time unloading wood, and scarcely noticed
the missionary; the latter soon broached the subject occupying his
thoughts, by saying,

“My friend, could you not consent to take your children to
Sunday-school once, on trial?”

“_No sir!_” he roared; “and I don’t want you to bother me any more
about it;” and continued, “work like I do, and let your betters alone.”

“Well then,” said the missionary, “if you will not go yourself, will
you not permit your children to go? I know that the school would be a
great benefit to them, and”----

“I don’t want to hear any more of your nonsense--just ‘git,’ you lazy
loafer,” retorted the angry man.

The missionary having failed to accomplish the object of his visit,
left with feelings of sadness; he went on his way, however, doing with
his might whatsoever his hand found to do, and he had the pleasure of
seeing the schools increasing in numbers and influence. This increase
was secured only by hard work--the various difficulties attending all
movements aiming at changing fixed customs had to be overcome. One by
one, these _were_ overcome; and although many opposed the work, and
others were indifferent and careless, most of the best men and women
of the settlements were in favor of the schools. Nor were they afraid
to give their money in support of the good cause, nor unwilling to
sacrifice ease and pleasure, if necessary; for they well knew that even
in this world they would receive tenfold reward, and in the world to
come, everlasting life.

Parents, come with your children to the Sunday-school; it is the
nursery of the Lord, in which plants are reared for the garden of
Heaven--the Paradise of God!

Young man, wend your way to the Bible-class, and thereby shun the
temptation of the Sabbath-breaker and the snares of the transgressor!
And you, young woman, blooming in all the loveliness of life’s early
dream, shun the society of those who mock at religion, and the
teachings of the Holy Word, and fly for your life to the place where
prayer is wont to be made--where the better qualities of your nature
will be fostered, and your heart taught to love the Saviour!

The missionary felt that the time had now come for him to attempt to
establish a Temperance Society among these people for whom he had been
laboring. This was a hazardous undertaking, where the habits of the
people were so firmly fixed in favor of using intoxicating liquors as
a common beverage. But a meeting for that purpose was appointed and
the whole country was aroused. Those favoring the cause, though few
in number, were willing to take the responsibility, and the missionary
promised to do his best; he was aware that those of the opposition were
powerful, having on their side _appetite_, _self-interest_, _custom_
and _public opinion_; but he was not in the least dismayed; he knew in
whom he had believed; and although the gates of Hell should oppose, yet
they could not prevail.

The time for the meeting having arrived, after singing a hymn and
offering a prayer, the missionary called the attention of his large
audience to the following words:

“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contention? who hath babbling?
who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that
tarry long at the wine! They that go to seek mixed wine! Look not thou
upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its color in the cup, when
it moveth itself aright; at last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth
like an adder!” Prov. xxiii. 29-32.

He then demonstrated by example and facts, the truth of the answer
given to these questions. Taking up the last part of his subject in the
words, “At last it biteth,” &c., he gave a most fearful description
of the effects of spirituous liquors upon the human system and the
immortal soul--depicting with great force the awful condition of the
poor rum-enslaved, soul-degraded drunkard, both in body and mind. He
held up to their gaze the emaciated form of a heart-broken wife, and
the half-famished images of her little ones.

He also stated that intoxicating liquors were the parent of
every conceivable sin, and had extended the catalogue of crimes
until language could scarcely furnish a name for the atrocious
iniquities--that they filled the jails and poor-houses, at the expense
of the industrious and good, and also furnished subjects for the
gibbet.

He alluded also to the groceries, declaring them the prolific schools
in which the young were taught the rudiments of sin, in idleness,
vulgarity, profanity and drinking--thus preparing the way for infamy
and crime, and daily training the mind for the service of Satan.

He then enforced the command in the text, not even to look upon
it--saying that the apostle had commanded to “Abstain from all
_appearance_ of evil.”

He also declared that there was no neutral ground between virtue and
vice--between supporting and opposing this source of evil; that we must
be either for or against it.

He concluded with an appeal to the people to save themselves and those
around them from the fangs of the serpent and the sting of the adder,
and to organize at once an army to fight unto death this monster,
Intemperance.

A pledge was written and laid upon the desk; after it was read and
a few words of explanation given, all who wished to join the society
were requested to rise and give their names. Quite a number of men,
women and children instantly responded to the call; among them were
several tipplers and two hardened drunkards, whilst the moralist
and the moderate drinker refused to aid in the work of reformation.
There can be no doubt that these persons were “stumbling-blocks in
the way of sinners;” and the position taken by them sealed the fate
of more than one poor soul. And there were also elders and deacons,
class-leaders and gray-headed Christians, unwilling to deny themselves
of the “lusts of the flesh,” but went with the “customs and maxims of
the world”--taking their morning dram, their favorite bitters, and with
themselves, training their families in the way leading to drunkenness
and death!

After the people had been dismissed, those who had given their names
signed the pledge with their own hands, and organized a society, by
electing officers and framing a constitution for the government and
permanent efficiency of the same. Upwards of sixty put their names to
the “Declaration of Independence” of the tyrant, “King Alcohol!”

This was a glorious beginning--and the wives and children of those
tipplers and drunkards who joined, shed tears of joy, and their hearts
overflowed with thankfulness to God and His messenger.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XIII.

_THE MISSIONARY’S DEPARTURE._


The missionary was loth to depart from this interesting field of
labor, but he was called, and must obey. He “threw his mantle” upon
the shoulders of a noble young man, whose name was Truman; he was a
fluent speaker, and an enthusiast in whatever he believed to be right;
a giant in courage and bodily strength, and above all, a conscientious
Christian; to him was consigned the care of this noble enterprise.

The rum-sellers, with their dupes, were now aroused to a full sense
of the power arrayed against them; they justified their conduct, by
holding up that of the ministers and leading men in the Church, and
the latter would quote Paul’s advice to Timothy, where he says, “Drink
no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake, and
thine often infirmities.” Tim. v. 23.

“Here,” they boastingly said, “wine is commanded as a drink;” and dared
a refutation.

But Truman showed them that this passage did not only _not_ prove that
wine should be used as a common drink, but _proved_ that it should only
be used as a medicine. He showed them, too, that Paul was a Temperance
Lecturer, and not afraid to reprove rulers before whom he “reasoned of
righteousness, _temperance_, and judgment to come.”

The argument that Christ _turned water into wine_ was also brought
forward; the reply to this was, that there was no evidence that the
miraculous transformation contained a single particle of intoxicating
matter; whilst every rational supposition, based upon the holy
character and pure doctrines of the Redeemer, would most emphatically
declare that there was not.

Such was the acute and powerful reasoning of this young man, that
minister and deacon were silenced, if not convinced. Mr. Truman having
been himself snatched from the very vortex of ruin, his experience in
the dens of infamy, and knowledge of the workings of the whole traffic,
enabled him to bring the truth home to the hearts of his hearers in a
very effective manner.

As the faithful missionary could delay no longer, he appointed the
time to preach his farewell sermons in the two settlements. The first
meeting was to be held in the Clear Creek school-house immediately
after Sunday-school. The day was pleasant and the school well attended;
the exercises of the same having been completed, order was called,
that all might have the benefit of the missionary’s parting advice.
He made a short address, and then desired each child to come to him,
that he might shake hands and bestow a trifling gift by which he
might be remembered. He would live in the memories of all, however,
without anything of this kind. A half hour after the dismissal of
the Sunday-school, the people had assembled to hear the “farewell
sermon.” The text was, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God and
to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up, and give you
an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.” Acts xx. 32. The
sermon which followed was adapted, in every respect, to the occasion.

As all earthly ties must sooner or later be sundered, this shepherd
and his flock were compelled to part. It is needless to say that the
separation was sorrowful on both sides.

After leaving Clear Creek Settlement, the missionary filled his
appointment at the other place; and the parting which took place here,
was but a repetition of the first one. We now find him on his way to
a work among strangers in a strange land: he knew what would probably
befall him, but he had counted the cost, and, like Paul, was willing to
endure hardships as a good soldier.

Here, for the present, we will leave this noble, earnest and devout
Christian.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XIV.

_WORKING OF THE SABBATH-SCHOOL AND TEMPERANCE SOCIETY._


It will now be our purpose to follow some of the results of the
missionary’s labors among these people. In our present narrative we can
notice but comparatively few incidents among the many interesting ones
that transpired, and bring before our reader but few of the characters
connected with the development of the various plans.

In addition to there being two Sunday-schools and one Temperance
Society firmly established, the Christian Church under various
names was most effectually aroused--many of its members being
abundantly blest and their spiritual strength renewed; backsliders
were reclaimed, and sinners awakened and converted: there were also
prayer-meetings held in the different houses among the people.

A general contest, however, was kept up between those opposed to these
institutions, and their defenders. As soon as it was generally known
that the missionary had left, the rum-sellers and their adherents
became bold in their opposition; they appeared to think that, if the
shepherd had gone, the sheep would be scattered. Even some of the
ministers would not come out boldly on the side of this reformation.

Well did Isaiah prophesy, “For the leaders of this people cause them
to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed. Therefore the
Lord shall have no joy in their young men, neither have mercy on their
fatherless and widows: for every one is a hypocrite, and an evil doer,
and every mouth speaketh folly.”

The Temperance Cause met with the most opposition; and some who
stood faithfully by the Sunday-school could not give up old habits;
although they did not particularly oppose the Cause, their support was
weak and doubtful. Those who took no interest in the Sunday-school
were decidedly against temperance. Thus the people became more and
more divided--and the stinging truths of Mr. Truman seemed to set
everything on fire; and the Saviour’s prediction respecting a house
being divided against itself, seemed to be literally fulfilled. Every
demonstration of truth was met with increased hostility; and, like
Herod and Pilate, even enemies were made friends in condemning Christ.
This, however, only drove the faithful few nearer to the Rock of Ages,
which was their “stronghold in the day of trouble;” it made them
“search the Scriptures” more, and more vigilant in prayer; relying upon
God for help. Hence they maintained their ground, and in time were
able to make inroads into the enemy’s country, taking captives and
plucking brands from the eternal burnings. Those of the opposition,
in order to fully carry out their principles, were driven to indorse
and defend the lowest morality, and the coldest and most formal type
of Christianity--and were compelled to yield to the caprices of the
ungodly by excusing their faults.

In order more fully to impress the truth upon the heart, we will
now give a brief narrative of the characters and lives of two
families--representatives of the parties formed through the labors of
the missionary. The circumstances bringing him to our notice, also
introduce us to the family of Mr. Steele--the other family is that
of Mr. Brown, of the same neighborhood. Through the former will be
illustrated the effects of opposing religious training as carried on in
the Sunday-school; and through the latter will be shown the inestimable
blessings resulting from such training, and the value of vital
godliness.

Mr. Steele, as we are already aware, had two children, George and
Mary--also a wife, who was naturally a most excellent person; but the
influence of her cold-hearted husband was not without its effect upon
her life. He claimed to be a church member, but he had only a “name to
live.” After years of constant association with such a person, we need
not wonder that she quietly submitted to him.

Mr. Brown and family, also consisting of a wife and two children, had
always been on terms of intimacy with Mr. Steele’s family. On Saturday
afternoon, previous to the opening of the Sunday-school at Clear Creek
Settlement, George and Mary Steele went to Mr. Brown’s on an errand,
and received permission to spend an hour with their friends, Henry and
Eliza; the Sunday-school was the all-absorbing topic of conversation,
and although George and Mary knew that their father was opposed to
anything of the kind, they still hoped that they would be allowed
to go on the following day. No sooner had they reached home, than
they began to tell their mother, in a very excited manner, about the
Sunday-school. Just as their excitement was about at its height, their
father entered the room, and in a very gruff manner asked, what “all
this fuss” was about. As the song of the robin ceases at the crack of
the rifle, so suddenly ceased the story and the joy of these children.
They looked to their mother for help; she had no hope of a patient
hearing, so she merely said:

“The children were telling about the Sunday-school, and”----

“Sunday-school! yes, they were over there at Brown’s, and have had
their heads filled with nonsense--have they?”

The mother’s lips were sealed. The humility and silence that greeted
him only vexed him the more; so, seeing no opposition offered, he
commenced again on the aggressive. Addressing his wife in tones of
haughty reproach, he said:

“I’d like to know whether you and these little brats are going to side
with every whining loafer that comes about?”

Then turning to the children, who were crying, he said:

“I’d like to know what you are bawling about? If you don’t soon shut up
you’ll wish you had.”

The children again looked at their mother; but as she was still silent,
George stammered out, “We want to go to Sunday-school, father.”

Little Mary, with her eyes sparkling in tears, now ventured with,

“Do, father, let us go--won’t you, father?”

This was said with such a beseeching voice and hopeful look, that
for the instant the storm was lulled; and had the mother joined her
children in their petition, perhaps a limited privilege might have
been obtained for them. But she failed! The precious moment went by
unimproved, and all was lost!

The father would not listen to what his better feelings suggested;
so he told the children decidedly that they should not go to the
Sunday-school, and if they did not stop crying he would punish them
severely. After he left the house, their mother endeavored to console
them; but they felt that they had been unjustly treated, and wished
to know _why_ they could not go to Sunday-school. Their mother did
not attempt to give the reason; for she, too, felt that they had been
wronged.

Supper-time came, but the children’s grief had taken their appetite,
so their mother excused them from coming to the table. Their father,
finding that they were not coming, and knowing the reason, whipped
them severely and forced them to come; they sat down and tried to eat,
but every mouthful seemed to choke them. The mother’s eyes were dim
with tears, and the meal was eaten in silence. The father’s face was
flushed, and he hurried through his supper, being anxious to get away
from the presence of those whom he had wronged. When he had gone out,
the mother again tried to soothe the children, but their father’s
absence only gave them the liberty to sob aloud; their mother, fearing
that he might return and hear them, bade them go out to the barn and
hunt the eggs, and be good children.

“We want to go to Sunday-school and learn to be good,” said they. Every
word of this went straight to the heart of the mother. The children
went and did what their mother had desired; as they staid out longer
than she thought necessary, she became troubled and started in search
of them. Hearing George’s voice, she listened and found that he was
praying, and Mary was repeating the words after him. A consciousness
of having failed in the performance of her duty filled her heart with
anguish, and she went into the barn and joined them in prayer; but her
faith was weak--she feared her husband more than God. She resolved,
however, to make the attempt to plead in behalf of the children; going
into the house, she found her husband trying to find something to
interest him in an old newspaper. Her heart beat between hope and fear;
taking a seat she commenced her petition.

“Is your head turned too?” he sneeringly asked. “I guess, the next
thing I know, you’ll have an agency and the pretty loafer lounging
around here. But let him come,” he continued; “just let soap-stick
come; I’ll kick him out of my house so quick, that he won’t know what
hurt him.”

The wife’s heart was too full for utterance, so she said nothing.
Construing her silence into contempt, he resumed fiercely.

“_You’ve_ been poking this stuff into the children’s heads yourself,
have you? I’ll beat it out of them, mind you!” said he, shaking his
fist in the air. The mother’s resolution was gone, and she meekly
replied, “No, I have not said anything.” She yielded all for the sake
of appeasing her husband. After berating the missionary and making some
threats about “this fuss in the family,” Mr. Steele went to bed.

Had this father but consented to “prove all things,” as the apostle had
recommended, all of the unhappiness now existing in his family might
have been avoided.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XV.

_GEORGE AND MARY._


The Sunday-school having been successfully organized, Mr. Steele was
extremely vexed, and he withdrew himself as far as possible from
those who went with the missionary in the movement. He was, besides,
ambitious and proud--he could not bear to think that “a traveling
loafer,” as he termed the missionary, should overcome him; and, being
considered the champion of the opposition, he mingled with the wicked,
courting their praise, and bringing himself to their level. He was
fighting in vain, for it was against God.

A few more weeks passed away, and it having been quite a while since
George and Mary had seen their friends, they asked their mother if
they might make Henry and Eliza a visit; she referred them to their
father for permission. George persuaded Mary to ask, for he knew that
his little sister’s winning manner would be more likely to accomplish
the object; watching her opportunity, she climbed upon her father’s
knee, and putting her arms around his neck, kissed him; she had done so
before, but not for some time. The caress pleased him, and he returned
the kiss. Not thinking of anything in particular, he said, “Well, what
else do you want, my little pet?”

“You wouldn’t give me what I wanted, anyhow, would you father?”

“Certainly, anything you ask;” and he gave her another kiss, adding,
“Well, pet, what is it?”

“George and I would _so_ much like to go see Henry and Eliza--may we?”

For a moment he was in doubt, the nature of the request being so
unexpected; but for once he allowed his better nature to have sway, and
consented on condition that they would come home early. They were soon
on their way, as happy as the birds on a sunny morning.

Henry and Eliza were delighted to see them, and entertained them by
giving a minute account of all that transpired in the Sunday-school;
they also gave them some of the cards and papers which they had
received there.

George and Mary kept their promise to “come home early.” Whilst they
were showing their mother the Sunday-school cards and papers, their
father entered the room. He became very angry upon being thus reminded
of the subject so disagreeable to him; so, seizing the children’s
gifts, he tore them into pieces and then threw them out the window,
and declared that the children should never go to Mr. Brown’s again.
The result of such a course on his part, was that the hearts of his
children were hardened against him; they felt that they had been
unkindly and unjustly treated, and they very soon became irritable and
peevish in disposition. Their father soon discovered the change, and
knowing the cause, he determined to restore them to their usual spirits
by affording them amusement; so he induced them to seek new playmates,
among those who did not attend Sunday-school. They obeyed; but, at
first, such company was exceedingly disagreeable to them, for the
children with whom they associated were profane and vulgar and did not
regard God’s Holy day. They had been taught by their mother that such
conduct was wrong; but the father now ruled with a rod of iron, and all
were compelled to bend to his will.

The downward course is rapid; it was but a few short years before
George and Mary, surrounded by such influence, could mock with the
mocker, at the prayer-meeting and Sunday-school.

The father, annoyed by the success of the good cause, and a
consciousness of wrong-doing, sought relief in drink--hence he was
thrown into the society of the worthless, vulgar drunkards, who
lie around the haunts of vice. Insensibly, he was drifting down to
irretrievable ruin!

He never expected to be a drunkard--not he! No, he could drink when he
pleased, and let it alone when he pleased. He would show “that crazy
Truman,” that a man could _govern_ his appetite, and that he did not
speak the truth when he said that confirmed whisky-drinkers would fill
drunkards’ graves.

He found out to his own sorrow who spoke the truth; for the time came
when he was compelled to give up his comfortable home to satisfy
the tavern-keeper’s demands. His wife, through disappointment and
abuse, lost her health and died broken-hearted, before her husband and
children had run their whole course of sin.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XVI.

_MR. BROWN’S FAMILY--MR. STEELE._


Whilst the Steele family was descending deeper and deeper into sin and
degradation, the family of Mr. Brown was advancing in virtue, honor and
holiness. Henry and Eliza were faithful members of Christ’s visible
Church--they had been taught to love the Saviour in the Sunday-school;
they were now teachers in the same, and by their love and practical
instructions, their humble piety and fervent prayers, they led more
than one to the Fountain of Life.

Henry, like his father, was a noble-looking man, of very prepossessing
appearance. His taste for the beautiful and true increased with
his years, and his knowledge of many subjects became extensive and
thorough--thus was he fitted for almost any position of honor and trust.

Eliza’s naturally amiable disposition was developed to advantage
under Christian influence, and she married a man whose high moral
and religious excellence made him eminently worthy of her. Living in
anticipation of joys to come, she could not help being happy.

Passing over a few more years, we will look, for a time, at the little
Mary of other days. In a forlorn old hut, far away from any other
house, we find her crouched upon the floor, shivering with the cold,
and in almost a starving condition; her father had left her some weeks
previous, under the pretence that he was going in search of work; her
brother had long since gone from the place, with little or no purpose
in view; she knew nothing of his whereabouts, and it seemed to her
that she was now utterly forsaken, for she had received no word from
her father during his absence. She wished that she might die--not
thinking or caring what the consequence would be. As she sat thus,
musing over her sad lot, Providence seemed to direct the steps of Mr.
Brown, whose business called him to that part of the country, to the
old hut; his heart was touched at the sight of her sufferings, and it
was not long before he made arrangements for her removal to his own
house; and he and his wife exerted themselves to win this wandering
child to the straight and narrow path. Although it took a long time
for her to break up her old habits, she at length became a follower of
the meek and lowly Jesus. Mr. and Mrs. Brown were father and mother to
her, and she endeavored in every possible way to show her gratitude for
kindness so freely bestowed.

Time passed on, and Mary, not hearing anything of her father, grieved
for him as dead; although she never knew to any certainty that such was
the case.

On a clear, cold morning, about a year after Mr. Steele had left his
daughter, as a party of hunters were crossing a prairie many miles
distant from Clear Creek Settlement, they found the body of a man who
had evidently been frozen to death. Any one could see at a glance
that he had been a drinking character, and most probably under the
influence of liquor at the time of his death. The hunters took the body
to the nearest settlement, and made inquiry as to who it might be;
none knew excepting a grocer, who came forward and stated that this
man had chopped wood for him on the day previous, and, according to
his own request, took his pay in whisky; after this no one remembered
having seen him, but it was supposed by those present at this time,
that he had become intoxicated, and after wandering on for some
time, had fallen down in a drunken stupor, from which he never awoke
in this world. Whether or not the grocer, who had been an actor in
this tragedy, had any compunctions of conscience at this time, we are
unable to say; he interested himself, however, in procuring a rough box
in which the remains of Mr. Steele (for it was he), were placed, and
buried by those who never had known him in life. Thus ended the career
of one who depended upon his own strength to resist temptation, and
set himself up in opposition to the means employed for the furtherance
of God’s cause. This may be an extreme case, but it is not the first
instance in which God has visited retribution in this world.



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XVII.

_THE MISSIONARY AGAIN VISITS THE WEST._


In that beautiful season of the year in which the missionary first
visited the West, he was again on his way thither, but not with his
pilgrim-staff--that was now laid aside. He could no longer travel
hundreds of miles on foot as he once did--he was now in a carriage with
the venerable Mr. Mason.

He had written to his people in the West, promising to visit them if
they would send a conveyance for him, as he was no longer able to walk,
and was too poor to go by stage. Yes, he was poor in this world’s
goods, but rich in Christ--an heir of Heaven!

No sooner was his letter received, than it was read in the churches
and Sunday-schools, and a liberal collection was soon taken up, to
insure every convenience necessary for his accommodation; and Mr.
Mason volunteered to bring him out. The journey proved to be a great
advantage to his failing health.

The appearance of things was very much changed to him, for eighteen
years had elapsed since he first came to this place. The little ones
had grown up, the youth were heads of families, and the locks of the
older persons were turning gray, and many had gone the way of all
the earth. Many new settlers had come in, the little hut villages
had become towns, the trails and wood-paths were now highways and
stage-routes, the log school-houses had become substantial frame
churches, and the wilderness in which the missionary had suffered was
now being settled and covered with new farms. His friends in the cause
of Christ, Mr. Brown and Mr. Wilson and Mr. Truman, the defender
of Temperance, were still alive, “Steadfast and unmovable, always
abounding in the work of the Lord.”

Many blessed seasons he enjoyed with them, and they were often “sitting
in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” After a rest of some days, the
missionary felt able to preach and lecture among the people. The
opposition to Sunday-schools and the cause of Temperance had in a great
measure subsided; public opinion, that great leveler of uprisings,
had taken sides with the “new measures,” for the very elements of the
Western character demand progress and life. The missionary’s preaching
was especially blest to the Sunday-schools; through his efforts whole
classes, with their teachers, were brought into the Church.

During one of these gracious seasons, when many were turning to the
Lord, a dreadful murder was committed at one of the groceries in the
village. One of the Sunday-school teachers, and a noted advocate of
Temperance, heard that one of his class had been persuaded to accompany
a man to a grocery. The teacher resolved to save his scholar from
the influence of the fiends who were aiming at his destruction; he
succeeded in getting the boy to leave the place. They had taken but a
few steps, when some one rushed up behind the young man, and stabbed
him in the back under the shoulder blade, piercing his heart. The knife
did its work effectually, for he expired in almost a moment’s time.

The excitement following this event was intense. There were several
persons present, who held the murdered young man in high esteem; these
arrested the murderer and held him secure. In the meantime, the news of
the atrocious deed spread all over the country, and hundreds gathered
to the scene of blood. Had it not been for the high state of religious
interest prevailing, lynch law would have been executed upon the
heartless criminal, by hanging him to the nearest tree; but an officer
was allowed to lead him away to a place of confinement.

The young man’s body was conveyed to his father’s house amid weeping
and lamentations. This was too much for some of the people; and, as if
actuated by a sense of justice, they went back and demolished the den
as a common nuisance. All the liquors were destroyed and the owners
prosecuted. This was summary work; but the general temperament of the
Western people is such, that they not unfrequently take the law into
their own hands, when they fear that justice will be tardy or uncertain
from the courts.

On the day appointed for the funeral of the young man, hundreds were
early at the house of the dead. The Temperance Societies were all
present in mourning. Many who, through his instrumentality, had been
led to Christ were there, and shed tears of genuine grief over his
remains; aged Christians groaned in their sorrow. Indeed, there was
scarcely one present who was not moved to tears.

The missionary preached the funeral sermon from John xi, 25:--“I am
the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were
dead, yet shall he live.” He alluded to the consolation afforded in
the sentence referring to eternal life. He exhorted all to prepare
for death, and dealt the rumsellers a blow, which, connected with the
circumstances that brought them together, led them to think, at least,
of what they were doing. He concluded with a reference to the exemplary
Christian character of the deceased, and exhorted all to follow him, as
far as he had followed Christ.

Several other ministers were present, who also delivered short
addresses of a very impressive character. These were followed by Mr.
Truman, who made one of the most eloquent and masterly appeals in
behalf of the Temperance cause ever made in that country. An aged
minister then led in prayer, after which the painful exercises were
closed.

[Illustration]



[Illustration]

CHAPTER XVIII.

_DEATH._


The murderer had been taken to the county jail to await his trial.
In the meantime, suspicion was aroused that the prisoner was George
Steele, but he steadily denied it, and insisted that he was John Pogue.
The rumor coming to Mary’s ears, she at once feared that it might be
true; and to relieve her mind of the dreadful suspense, she resolved
to know the worst, and hence obtained permission to enter his cell.
When the door was opened, there, in chains, sat George! Although she
had felt that it would be so, she was nevertheless shocked at the sight
before her. He tried to evade the recognition, but his heart failed;
ungovernable emotions unmanned him, and he wept like a child.

“George, my brother, my dear brother, how could you do that thing?” she
exclaimed, and her whole frame shook as she spoke. After a while she
became more calm and asked the keeper to allow her to be alone with her
brother for a short time; he consented, and she sat down on the bed,
close beside her brother, as she did years ago, when they played under
the elm-tree at their dear old home. He told her all--“But,” said he,
“I was in liquor, and a fiend seemed to drive me to the awful deed! I
was not to blame so much; I did not use to be so, did I, Mary?”

“No, George,” she gently replied, “you were once a good boy;” and then,
after hesitating a moment, she said, “do you pray now, brother?”

He looked at her in a dreamy way, and said, “_I_ pray! I cannot pray!”
then his eye kindled, and he continued, “_I_ am not to blame; when you
and I wanted to be good father would not let us, but taught us that
Sabbath-breaking, swearing, dancing and drinking were only amusements
that everybody should enjoy; and we soon learned to like these things,
Mary--and where am I now?” She leaned her head upon her hands and
sighed; then rousing herself, said hopefully, “It is not too late yet,
George; God has been merciful to me, and has pardoned all my sins;
if you repent as I did, He will not cast you off; but you must pray,
George, with all your heart.”

Looking into her eyes, he replied by saying, “_You_ pray for me, Mary.”
Kneeling down, she brought her poor, sinful brother’s case before the
Mercy-seat; but there was no godly sorrow for sin in his heart--the
fear of death made him wish for prayers. Had he been at liberty, he
would have been as bad as ever; and no wonder pardon was not granted.
After Mary rose from her knees, she had some further conversation with
her brother, and then took leave of him with a heavy heart. This was
their last meeting. The time for George’s trial arrived; the court-room
was crowded with curious and idle spectators; the prisoner was brought
forward to answer the charge of murder; he pleaded “Not guilty.” A plea
of insanity was set up by his counsel, and an artful defense made for
him; but the case was clear, and the testimony against him overwhelming.

The Judge of the district was Henry Brown. The prisoner was directed
to stand up; the Judge asked him if he had anything further to say,
why sentence of death should not be pronounced; he shook his head and
faltered, “_No_.” After receiving his sentence, he desired to see the
Judge. They met. Neither could speak--a convulsive pressure of hands
was all that passed between them.

What a contrast is here! Both men occupied the same social position in
childhood; yet a difference in training and associations brought about
the present result. May God help us to take warning!

Thirty days were given the prisoner to prepare for the eternal future.
His jailer was kind to him, and offered to get him any religious advice
he desired; at first he refused to see any one, but as the time of
death drew nearer, he consented; the missionary to whom he had given a
cup of water in his boyhood was ready and anxious to go to him; and no
sooner had he received George’s permission, than he was at his side,
endeavoring to shed light upon his darkened understanding; but the good
man’s prayers and advice seemed to produce little or no impression upon
the mind and heart of George. He felt that there was no hope for him,
and as the missionary left him he requested him to preach his funeral
sermon, and in doing so, warn others not to follow the example of one
whose earthly career was short, and ended in death and everlasting
misery.

We will now draw a veil over the closing scene in the life of this
young man. In doing so, we would say to the Sunday-school scholar, bear
in mind your great privileges--do not abuse them--do not consider it
a task, but a pleasure, to prepare the lessons given you--keep ever
before your mind the fact, that it is your soul’s eternal interest, and
God’s glory, for which you must work.

The missionary lived several years after his return to his Eastern
home; and, like Paul, he would frequently write an epistle to his
brethren in the West--thus could their hearts still commune with each
other. But the time came when this laborer in the Master’s vineyard was
called to rest. The close of his life was as calm as the summer evening
upon which he was called. With the apostle he could say, “I have
fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the
Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give at that day--and not to me only,
but unto all them that love His appearing.”

Compare the death of the earnest, working Christian, with that of the
opposer of truth or of the cold-hearted formalist. After death comes
the judgment!--and the Saviour has said, that the former shall live
and reign with Him, whilst the latter shall go away into everlasting
punishment.

Reader, to which of these classes do _you_ belong?


THE END.





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