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to throw off the excitement of preaching, and beguiling the time with imaginary visits to the Chiswick Garden, to the more than oriental magnificence of the Duke of Devonshire's grounds at Chatsworth. We have had long discussions in that little bedroom at Indianapolis with Van Mons about pears, with Vibert about roses, with Thompson and Knight of fruits and theories of vegetable life, and with Loudon about everything under the heavens in the horticultural world.
“This employment of waste hours not only answered a purpose of soothing excited nerves then, but brought us into such relations to the material world, that we speak with entire moderation when we say that all the estates of the richest duke in England could not have given us half the pleasure which we have derived from pastures, waysides, and unoccupied prairies."
His Western life was a perfect fascination from beginning to end. It is true that he was not free from trials, disappointments, bereavements, and temptations ; but the grace of God and his own hopeful buoyant disposition enabled him to endure them all with the most wonderful serenity of spirit. All his days were as transparent as a summer sky. Clouds never intervened between him and God. Was he not God's heir ? Did he not work for God and his race? Why should he go mourning every day? Is not Christianity a joy-giving religion ? His only concern was to be faithful in the discharge of duty, and being faithful and true to the best of his ability, he had no reason to be downcast and melancholy. How full of pathos are his many references to his early experiences in the West! How he delights to tell the world of those old-fashioned and real conversions at Indianapolis! In 1877 he visited the scene of his early ministry, and the following are the thoughts that ran through his mind on the occasion :
“I went to Indianapolis, Indiana, in the fall of 1839, with a little sick babe in my arms, who showed the first symptom of recovery after eating blackberries which I gathered by the way! The city had then a population of 4000. At no time during my residence did it outreach 5000. Behold it to-day with 110,000 inhabitants ! The
Great National Road, which was at that time of great importance, since sunk into forgetfulness, ran through the city, and constituted the main street. With the exception of two or three streets, there were no ways along which could not be seen the original stumps of the forest. I have bumped against them in a buggy too often not to be well assured of the fact.
" Here I preached my first real sermon; here, for the first time, I strove against death in behalf of a child, and was defeated; here I built a house and painted it with my own hands; here I had my first garden, and became the bishop of flowers for this diocese; here I first joined the editorial fraternity, and edited the " Farmer and Gardener;' here I had my first full taste of chills and fever; here, for the first and last time, I waded to church ankle-deep in mud, and preached with pantaloons tucked into my boottops. All is changed now.
"In search for my obscure little ten-foot cottage I got lost. So changed was everything that I groped over familiar territory like a blind man in a strange city. It is no longer my Indianapolis, with the aboriginal forest fringing the town, with pasture-fields lying right across from my house; without coal, without railroads, without a stone big enough to throw at a cat. It was a joyful day and a precious gift when Calvin Fletcher allowed me to take from the fragments of stone used to make foundations for the State Bank a piece large enough to put in my pork-barrel. I left Indianapolis for Brooklyn on the very day upon which the cars on the Madison Railroad for the first time entered the town; and I departed on the first train that ever left the place. On a wood car, rigged up with boards across from side to side, went I forth.
"It is now a mighty city, full of foundries, manufactories, wholesale stores, a magnificent court-house, beautiful dwellings, noble churches, wide and fine streets, and railroads more than I could name radiating to every point of the. compass.
"The old academy where I preached for a few months is gone, but the church into which the congregation soon entered is still standing on the Governor's Circle. No one
can look upon that building as I do. A father goes back to his first house, though it be but a cabin, where his children were born, with feelings which never can be transferred to any other place. As I looked long and yearningly upon that homely building the old time came back again. I stood in the crowded lecture-room as on the night when the current of religious feeling first was beginning to flow. Talk of a young mother's feelings over her first babe—what is that compared with the solemnity, the enthusiasm, the impetuosity of gratitude, of humility, of singing gladness, with which a young pastor greets the incoming of his first revival? He stands upon the shore to see the tide come in. It is the movement of the infinite, ethereal tide. It is from the other world. There is no colour like heart-colour. The homeliest things dipped in that for ever after glow with celestial hues. The hymns that we sang in sorrow or in joy and triumph in that humble basement have never lost a feather, but fly back and forth between the soul and heaven, plumed as never was any bird of Paradise.
“I stood and looked at the homely old building, and saw a procession of forms going in and out that the outward eye will never see again. Judge Morris, Samuel Merril, Oliver H. Smith, D. V. Cully, John L. Ketcham, Coburn, Fletcher, Bates, Bullard, Munsel, Ackley, O'Neil, and many many
There have been hours when there was not a handbreadth between us and the saintly host in the invisible church. In the heat and pressure of later years
the memories of those early days have been laid aside, but not effaced. They rise as I stand, and move in a gentle procession before me. No outward history is comparable to the soul's inward life; of the soul's inward life no part is so sublime as its eminent religious developments. And the pastor who walks with men, delivering them from thrall, aspersing their sorrow with tears, kindling his own heart as a torch to light the way for those who would see the invisible, has, of all men, the most transcendent hearthistories. I have seen much of life since I trod that threshold for the last time, but nothing has dimmed my love, nor has any later or riper experience taken away the bloom and sanctity of my early love ; and can truly say of
hundreds, For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers ; for in Jesus Christ I have begotten you through the Gospel.'
“But other incidents arise. The days of sickness, chills, and fever; the gardening days, my first editorial experiences, my luck in horses and pigs, my house-building, and not a few scrapes; being stalled in mud, half-drowned in crossing rivers, long, lonely forest rides, camp-meetings, preachings in cabins, sleepings in the open air.
“I was reminded of one comical experience as I was seeking on Market Street to find the old swale or shallow ravine which ran between my cottage and Mr. Bates's dwelling. It had formerly been a kind of bayou in spring, when the stream above town overflowed, but dried off in summer. To redeem it from unhealth, a dyke had been built to restrain the river and turn the superfluous freshets another way. But one year the levee gave way in the night, and when the morning rose, behold a flood between me and my neighbour. There was sport on hand. It was too deep for wading, but I could extemporise a boat. I brought down to the edge my wife's large washing-tub, and intended with a bit of board to paddle about. No sooner was I in than I was out. The tub refused to stand on its own bottom. Well, well, said I, two tubs are better than one. its mate, and nailing two strips across to hold them fast together, I was sure that they were too long now to upset. So they were, in the long line; but sideways they went over, carrying me with them with incredible celerity. Tubs were one thing, boats another; that I saw plainly.
“I would not be baffled. I proposed a raft. Getting rails from the fence, I soon tacked boards across-enough of them to carry my weight. Then, with a long pole, I began my voyage.
Alas! it came to a ludicrous end. A rail fence ran across this ravine in the field just above the street. One end of the fence had loosened, and the water had floated it round enough to break its connection with its hither side. A large but young dog belonging to a friend had walked along the fence hoping to cross dry-footed, till he came to the abrupt termination, and his courage failing him he had crouched down and lay
So I got
trembling and whining, afraid to go back or to venture the water. I poled my raft to the rescue, and getting alongside, coaxed him to jump aboard, but his courage was all gone. He looked up wistfully, but stirred not. coward, you shall come aboard.' Seizing him by the skin of the neck I hauled him on to the raft, which instantly began to sink. It was buoyant enough for a man, but not for a man and lubberly dog. There was nothing for it—as the stupid thing would not stir, I had to ; and with a spring I reached the fence just abdicated by the dog, while he, the raft now coming to the surface again, went sailing down the pond, and was safely landed below, while I was left in the crotch of the fence. One such experiment ought to serve for a lifetime—but alas !”