Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

a dog got at me rather violently, yet not dangerously. A woman came to the door and chased him away, and said “That dog always barks at pedlars.”

But I went on. People who would have paid me extreme deference at any other time now treated me as far below them. I went to a rich man's house,' and he almost drove me away.

Many other things, which I will not describe, happened to me. By evening my foot was rubbed sore, and I was physically nearly done for. My basket must have weighed nearly forty pounds. But these things are what I deserve for my proud heart. I need bumbling. Well, next day I was laid up. To-day I am all right again, except for my foot.

So, you have your son's first experience at colportage. It has done me gcod. I have learned that human nature is unjust, and that I am proud. My experience is somewhat laughable, but true. However, the servant is not above his Lord, and my position is not worse than I deserve.

I have every comfort with Uncle, and my trials are only in this contact with people. From what I have seen, I think I am not fitted to do this work. Besides, nobody wants to buy. " Times is too hard," and, “We have plenty of books,” are the excuses everywhere. The war has stopped everything else. But to come to the point."

I can remember even now, somewhat, my state of mind during that experience. The hardships of that primary lesson, which I had undertaken to learn by way of preparation for my life's vocation, were made far more severe, I am confident, by my special mental condition at the time. It was not my way, when meeting difficulties, to run away from them. Other influences made me wish “ to quit" that home-mission work. For this reason it was that the letter, from which I have been quoting continued,

[ocr errors]

“I said my mind is not at rest. Well, it is not; and I am going to be frank and tell you why. I wish you to receive it frankly, and know that I am in earnest, and mean what I say. Since I have been kept-justly-from entering the army, it has been a ruling desire with me, always, to do some good to the brave men who have gone to fight for the preservation of your home and my rights. God's voice calls me to assist them in what way I can. I have given myself, I trust, to God; and no matter what I may do for Him He will take care of me. When called to colportage I went reluctantly, because I felt some duty more prominent than it pressing upon me. But I pushed it away, and went to my appointed work.

" This morning, while reading of the terrific battles which occurred lately, and of the sufferings of the wounded, and noticing appeals for help, I expressed the feelings of my heart in a slight way. Uncle immediately told me that if all my energies were not in colportage, and I liked anything else better, I had better stop it at once, and get to work where my soul,— heart as well as body,-were engaged. I spoke of going to the hospitals as a nurse. He said, if that was my true feeling, to go by all means. Aunt thinks I am not fit.

“But this is what I think; and I feel to be my imperative duty, immediately, when every man must forget everything else and work for the beloved Union.

Almost all the hospitals are filled with the dying and wounded of our battles. The nurses, though there are many noble exceptions, have taken their positions as a matter of mere business, to be paid for it. Many a poor fellow is disregarded and passed by, out of neglect. This must not be. Christ-like love should guide the nurses ; and every Christian young man in this country who cannot enter the ranks is called upon to minister his mite to his wounded brethren. Let the rough nurses shoulder the musket, and their places be filled with those who love to do good for its own sake, and who love the souls of dying men. Men are entering the hospitals who are fast closing the scenes of life. Perhaps some kind hand is there to ease their pain. But where is the voice to

[ocr errors]

whisper to the dying, of Jesus? I must contribute my little love of Jesus to the salvation of such souls.

“Let me take my position among our noble wounded and sick. I feel it my duty, aud really I ought to go. I do not care where I go ;-to a city hospital or a hospital transport.

This hastily written pleading of a boy, just become nineteen years old, was much longer and increasingly earnest. Its closing words were “You surely can't say, No!"

But “ No!” was the answer I received.

I.

A YEAR AS A SOLDIER.

Soon afterwards I was in Chambersburg ;-called home to stay for the remainder of my summer's vacation.

Then came the fateful national crisis which followed repeated disasters to the armies of the Union during that month of July, 1862. My enforced inaction, while I was longing to do something for the country, aroused in me an intolerable self reproach ;—and I began to plead with all earnestness for the privilege of service in, or with, the army. At length, under my persistent pleadings, especially enforced by the portentous crisis of those weeks, my mother's resistance gave way.

The distress of that time can not be told. My mother was seriously a nervous invalid. I learned only in later years that I was not mindfulenough, then, of that fact. But, at the time, I felt under compulsion to enter the army that was struggling to save the Union.

So, at last it happened, I was allowed to become one of the volunteers asked for by the President for a nine months service. The immediately deciding fact which

[graphic][merged small]

and most complete interpretation of the "Divine Revelation" and of the “Way of God with Man."

II.

ORATION AT GRADUATION.

In 1864, I was graduated from College. The theme I chose for the part assigned me at the “Commencement" exercises was quite characteristic of my mood then.

A GOOD CAUSE MAKETH A STOUT HEART."

This oration was only a crudely phrased proclamation of the convictions of a very immature youth. It is not worth reproduction as a whole, now. But, as it indicates well the dominant motive force of my youth ; and may, moreover, be regarded as a way-mark for my conduct in the most important movements that have occurred in an unusually eventsul mental and spiritual career, I will quote somewhat from it.

At the outset, I personified Truth and Error as "two elementary, antagonistic Powers, pervading the entire moral creation."

“Their great field of contention," I declared, “lies in the reason and free-will of man." "To-day the conflict wages fiercely.

Truth and Error, each mustering mighty armed hosts, are in deadly grapple." “ The cause of Truth is the cause of Good.

A good cause makes the weak and fainting human heart strong and invincible. A good cause will make a stout heart."

Then I sought to show why this claim is tenable :-

1. “A good cause will banish fear," I asserted, long roll of heroes and hero-martyrs who have braved even death for Truth's sake shows this."

2. Moreover,” a good cause inspires perfect frankness. Error dwells in the clouds of deceit. Truth presents a

" The

« PredošláPokračovať »