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Experiences of a Backwoods Preacher
Chapter V. Camp Meetings

IF there is any place on earth that is more like heaven than a good live camp-meeting, I should like to hear from it. I would be pleased to know where it is, and on what grounds the claim is made. To commune with nature, is, to a devout mind, a precious privilege. To commune with good people is a blessed means of grace. And to commune with God is a greater blessing than either or both of these. To hold converse with nature, tends to expand the intellect and quicken the sensibilities. To hold friendly intercourse with the good elevates, refines, and stimulates the social and moral elements of our being. And to commune with God purities and exalts our whole nature, and inspires us to a holier life and loftier aims and a fuller consecration to the service of God.

In the original idea of the camp-meeting we are at the same time, and in the same place, brought in converse with nature, in religious fellowship with the good and in sweet communion with God. I know of no place where the ethical, esthetical, social and spiritual wants of humanity are more fully provided for than at the camp-meeting. There some of the most soul-inspiring scenes that earth can furnish may be witnessed. When a strong religious influence is felt by the assembled worshippers as, with cheerful voices they ring out the melody of their gladdened hearts, where is the soul so dead as not to feel an impulse drawing heavenward ? The trees that surround this leafy temple seem to catch the spirit of song, and send back to the ears of the happy worshippers in pleasing echoes the very words they are giving utterance to. The leaves upon the forest trees as they are swept by the ascending currents of air that are heated by the “light-stand” fires, seem to vie with the human singers as they rustle to the praise of Him who gave to them their numbers and their beauty. Even the shadows cast by the trees and limbs that intercept the lights of the camp-fires seem to enter into the spirit of the occasion, and point upward to a realm where darkness is unheard of and shadows are unknown.

My first experience with camp-meetings was many years ago. When thirteen years old, I was permitted to go with my parents to one at a place called Beech-woods, in 1832. At that camp-meeting there were one or two of the Ryersons, James Richardson, one of the Evans, and other preachers both Canadian and American.

There was a camp of Indians on the ground too. They would sometimes sing. That was a source of enjoyment to the younger portion of the audience. The prayer-meetings were in a square enclosure made by placing long poles on the top of posts set at the four angles, so that the poles would be some three feet from the ground. At one corner there was left an opening for entrance and exit.

My parents had a share in a tent, and we remained on the encampment from the beginning to the end of the meetings.

For the first two or three days the novelty of my surroundings tended to banish serious thoughts from my mind. But as the meetings progressed, a number of the young people were converted. My attention was at last arrested by two young girls, I think they were sisters. I saw them go into the place, and kneel, weeping, at the altar for prayer. It was not long till they were both blessed. Then they began to sing “Come, ye sinners, poor and needy.” The congregation joined in, and the woods rang with the voices of a hundred or more as they rolled on the old invitation “Come.” The singing was after the manner of happy children whose hearts were full of joy and their souls full of melody, rather than like the cold, majestic performances of some of the stately choristers of our times.

I was standing up against the poles and listening to the singing, when my mother came to me, saying, “My son, you are old enough to sin, so you are old enough to be converted; don't you want to come and be saved?” I bent down and crept in under the pole, and went to the penitent form. My mother knelt beside me. And it seemed to me that I had never heard such praying as she did then and there for me. My father came and knelt by me, too, and joined his prayers to mothers. Up till then I had thought that I was not a very bad boy, but now it seemed to me that every mean and sinful thing that I had ever said or done was called up before me just to torture my wounded spirit. 1 tried to pray for myself, but the words seemed to stop in my throat and choke me. Despair was fast seizing upon me, when one of the preachers came and said to me, “Can’t you say, ‘ Here, Lord, I give myself away, ’tis all that I can do.’ ”I commenced to say it. Before the words were spoken, my soul was full of light and my heart was filled with joy unspeakable. Then I was converted. And now, after all the intervening years I look back to that day and that spot with the same feelings that prompted some one to write,

“There is a place to me more dear
Than native vale or mountain—
A place for which affection’s tear
Springs grateful from its fountain;
’Tis not where kindred souls abound,
Tho’ that were almost Heaven,
But where I first my Saviour found
And felt my sins forgiven.”

With what thrilling memories I can still declare in honesty,

“Hard was my toil to reach the shore,
As, tossed upon the ocean,
Above me was the thunder’s roar,
Beneath the waves’ commotion.”

And, as it were, to add to the horrors of the scene,

“Darkly the pall of night was thrown
Around me, faint with terror;
In that sad hour, how did my groan
Ascend for years of error."

And still the night grew darker, and the storm grew fiercer, and the waves rose higher, and the wind grew stronger, and the thunder louder, till,

“Sinking and gasping as for breath.
I knew not help was near me;
I cried, ‘Oh! save me, Lord, from death;
Immortal Jesus, save me.’
Then, quick as thought,
I felt Him mine—
My Saviour stood before me;
Around me did His brightness shine :
I shouted, ‘Olory! glory!'

The memory of that blessed moment shall not pass away while reason holds her throne, and consciousness performs its wonted task. And still I say,

“O! sacred hour; O! hallowed spot,
Where love divine first found me:
Whate’er shall be my distant lot,
My heart shall linger round thee.
And when from earth I rise to soar
Up to my home in Heaven,
Down will I east my eyes once more,
Where I was first forgiven."

I once heard an old man say at a camp-meeting Iove-feast, that the dearest spot on earth to him was in a ditch under a hedge in Ireland. There it was where he was converted.

But I fear I have lingered too long on this old camp-ground. I have been at a good many such places since, but I shall mention only a few of them.

Mono Camp-Meeting.

During the second year of my itinerant life I attended a camp-meeting in the township of Mono on the Orangeville mission. There were a number of preachers at that meeting. But they are all gone from this country, or from this world, but the Rev. George Hartley, of the Guelph Conference, and myself. I had been extensively engaged in revival work on Garafraxa Circuit, and I enjoyed it very much. I went into the work with all my might at that meeting. I did a good deal at the leading of prayer-meetings.

One night my wife said to me, “Do you know that you are the noisiest man on the ground?” Now, I had always been called one of the still kind of Methodists, and sometimes people had said that my religion was of the Presbyterian type—not much noise about it. But to be told that I was the most noisy one among a noisy lot of men, was something new to me. But when I came calmly to think the matter over I concluded that my wife had told only the truth. But what should I do. I was now fully committed to the work, and it seemed to be doing good. Finally I made up my mind to go through as I had begun.

One afternoon it came on to rain. The outside services were broken up, and the people gathered into a long tent for a prayer-meeting. After a while the Rev. I. B. Richardson, who had charge of the meeting, came to me and said, “We must have preaching now for a change, and you must preach.” I said, “All right; you line a hymn while I hunt a text.” I chose the words, “This man receiveth sinners.” It was an easy place to preach. The presence of God was among the people. While I was trying to encourage sinners to come to Jesus and be saved, one man was converted as he sat on his seat. He began to praise the Lord at the top of his voice. Others joined in with him, and then some of the preachers started to shout. This was like a signal for a general hallelujah service. In a few minutes my voice was completely lost in the hurricane of sound that came from that tent full of people. There was no more preaching at that time. Mr. Richardson, who had done a good share of the shouting, took charge of the meeting.

The man who was converted was William Bacon, of Melville, in Caledon. He lived a Christian life, and some years ago he died a happy death, and no doubt went up to see the receiver of sinners in His own bright home. At the time that I received the paper that contained the obituary notice of Brother Bacon’s death I was in poor health, and I had been harrassed in my mind for some days. I suppose it was a temptation. But it had seemed to me that perhaps after all I had mistaken my calling. I had thought, that if I had kept to a secular pursuit, it might be that now in my old age, with a broken down constitution, I might not be so helpless and so entirely dependent upon others. When I read the article of Rev. G. Clark concerning the conversion, and life, and death of Brother Bacon, I said that will do. If I have been the means of helping one soul into the kingdom, and who has made a safe journey to the home of the blest, my life has not been in vain.

The Melville Camp-Meeting.

Some years after the Mono camp-meeting there was one at Melville on the same circuit. The tent-holders were nearly the same in both cases. Among them were the Hughsons, Johnstons, Wilcoxes, Bacons, and others, whose names I do not now call to mind. The meeting was well attended, and a good work was accomplished. The late Rev. William Woodward was the manager of the meeting; John H. Watts was the stationed minister. I should have said that Rev. Henry Jones was on the circuit at the time of the Mono camp-meeting.

At Melville there were a number of our ministers present. Among them were Revs. W. H. Shaw, A. L. Thurston, J. W. Mackay, E. Will, and some others. Perhaps the most noticeable circumstance there, was the preaching of an Irish local preacher, whose name was Thomas Moore. At the close of the forenoon services one day the Rev. Woodward told the audience that at 2 p.m. the stand would be occupied by Brother Thomas Moore, a preaching farmer from Garafraxa. At this announcement there was no little stir among the leading laymen on the ground. Mr. Moore was by no means prepossessing either in appearance or manner, and he had an awkward and clumsy way of expressing himself in ordinary conversation. Some of the dissatisfied ones came to me, knowing that Moore lived on my circuit. I listened to them until they had said all they felt like saying; then I said to them, “Brethren, I know Mr. Moore; all that you say about his appearance and manner is true, but I want to say just two things. He is an honest, devoted Christian man, who tries to do his duty everywhere and at all times ; and you will be surprised when you hear him.” “Well,” said they, “what is the sense of putting a farmer up there while there are so many other men here?” My answer was only one word, “Wait." And they did wait with a good deal of anxiety and some vexation till two o’clock came.

Appearance has much to do with success or failure in the pulpit; so has a man’s manner and his voice. When all these combine to evoke adverse criticism, the chances of success are largely against a speaker. This was to a certain extent the case with Air. Moore. When the time for the two o’clock service arrived it was raining. The people crowded into a large tent. This was literally packed; there was hardly room for the preacher to stand inside the tent. People were standing in the doorway, so that the light was very imperfect, making it difficult to read the hymns. The result of this was that Moore made two or three mistakes in reading the first hymn. This only made matters still worse. One minister, who sat beside me, when he heard the way the hymn was being read, got up and went away, saying, “Tut, tut; that man can’t preach.”

I became very uneasy, so did other friends of Mr. Moore. He selected as a text the 6th and 7th verses of the 25th chapter of Isaiah. When he read this passage it seemed to me that he must have lost his usual good sense, or he would not have taken such a text in such a place. I feared an entire failure.

He had only uttered a few sentences when it became evident that he knew what he was doing. And as he went on, opening up with the subject and explaining the various metaphors found in this highly figurative passage, the audience began to take a deep interest in the discourse. And as the speaker became more at home in the anomalous position in which he was placed, he seemed to catch an inspiration that carried him away above himself, and beyond anything that his most intimate friends had ever thought him capable of doing. I had often heard him preach, and preach well; but in his effort that day I was completely taken by surprise—so was every one else. Before he got done speaking that was one of the noisiest audiences that I have been in. Some were shouting, some were weeping, and others praying. That sermon was talked about more than all the other discourses delivered at that camp-meeting. One reason of this was found in the contrast between the man’s appearance and his work. Another reason was, the people had expected so little and got so much that they were carried from the lowest degree of appreciation to the highest point of admiration and enthusiasm. Some time after I asked Mr. Moore where he got that sermon. I said to him, “I know that you only read the Bible; but in that sermon are allusions and illustrations not to be found in the Bible.” “Well,” said he, “the fact is, when I was a boy, I heard that sermon preached by one of Ireland’s greatest men, and I knew that I could repeat the most of it. So when I was set up to preach before so many preachers and people, I thought I would give them that, as it is so much better than anything of my own.” “Well,” I answered, “that sermon has given you a reputation. And if you ever go to Orangeville to preach, you will find great difficulty in meeting the expectations of the people.”

In the Thick Pinery.

When I was on the Garafraxa Circuit the second time, I took my eldest daughter with me, and went to a camp-meeting on the Flamboro’ Circuit. The campground was in a thick pinery. As the sun was climbing up the eastern sky, the tall majestic trees would send their shadows clear across the encampment, as if to give us puny mortals the measure of our littleness. And while we were engaged in worship at their base, they lifted their cone-shaped heads half a hundred yards above us, as if to show us how far they had got ahead of us in the upward journey. But like haughty upstarts everywhere, they overlooked the humility of their origin and the smallness of their beginning.

They ignored the fact that they once had been so little that a dewdrop falling on them would have bent them, or a fawn stepping on them might have broken them. And another encouraging thought is this. Their present altitude has been gained only after centuries of growth. Give us time to grow, and we, too, shall rise above our present moral and spiritual standard.

Two or three notable incidents occurred at this meeting. One of these was an old woman’s conversion. While passing around among the people one day, when the prayer-meeting was going on, I came to an old lady who was weeping bitterly. I asked her what was the matter. Her answer touched my heart.

“O, sir,” she said, “I am past seventy years old, and for the first time in my life I realize that I am a sinner. I thought that if I was honest and industrious and truthful, and went to church when I could, I was safe enough. But now I see that I have been labouring under a mistake. What shall I do?”

I told her to go forward to the place where a number of Christians were praying for just such as she felt herself to be.

She said, “I would gladly go, but I am so crippled with rheumatism that I cannot do so without help.”

I went and brought two of the working sisters, and they took the old woman to the altar. Before long she was made very happy in the consciousness of pardon. Her shouts of joy and gladness could be heard all over the encampment, she was so very thankful that she had found the light at last after toiling so many long years in darkness.

Another incident that I will mention was connected with the class-meetings on Sunday morning, when a good Presbyterian was made happy. Among the tents on the ground was one that belonged to two families conjointly. One family was Methodist and the other Presbyterian. In that tent I was appointed to lead the class-meeting on Sunday morning. After I had spoken to four or five, I came to the Presbyterian brother, who, with his wife, owned part of the tent. Both of them stayed in for the service. I asked him what good things he had to tell of the Lord’s dealings with him. He rose up and said, “I dare not speak as those have spoken; I cannot say that I am a child of God; I do not know my sins forgiven—I wish with all my heart that I could, but in honest truth I cannot. After giving him a few words of counsel, I passed on to others. The presence of the Lord was with us in that consecrated tent on that beautiful Sabbath morning. Souls were blest and hearts were tilled with the joy that springs only from an evidence of our acceptance with God.

Before closing we all knelt in prayer. When we arose the Presbyterian said to me, “Sir, will you allow me to speak again ?”

“Certainly, sir, if you wish to do so,” was my answer.

“Well,” said he, “in this tent this morning I have found what I never before thought was for me. Now I know my sins forgiven. My soul is happy, my heart is full. Blessed light shines upon my pathway, and the future is all glorious.”

Before the close of the camp-meeting this brother asked me if he ought to leave his church and join the Methodist. I said to him, “By no means, in seeking church relations two questions are to be considered. One is, where can I do most good { The other is, where can I get the most good? Now, if people intend to be more helpless than useful, they should go where they will get the most good; but if they intend to do all they can for God and His cause, they must go where they can do the most good. My opinion is that you can be most usefnl in your old church, and therefore I advise you to remain there.”

She Wanted the Gaelic.

One night I was leading a prayer-meeting in one of the tents. A number of persons came to the penitent form to be prayed for. Among them was a Highland Scotchwoman. She was greatly in earnest about her soul. At length she got into an agony of spirit, and was seemingly on the very border of despair. I was trying to speak to her as best I could. She turned to me and said, “Sir, could you no pray for me in ta Gaelic?” I said, “No, but I will try and find one who can.” I called a brother that I knew could speak the Gaelic, and told him what was wanted. He knelt by her side and began to pray in the tongue she had so often heard among her far-off native mountains. The effect was marvellous. In a very short time she looked up toward the stars, threw up her hands and gave one loud shout, saying “Glory,” and fell over like one dead.

Some of those in the tent were frightened. But they soon became calm when I told them there was no danger. It turned out that the man that I called in was a near neighbour of the woman’s. She lived about half a mile from the ground, and was the mother of a family of grown-up children. The man who I called I think was a Mr. McNevins. He told me next morning that the woman had lain for three hours in the state in which she was when I left them. Then she got up, praising the Lord, and started home. He and one or two others went with her through the woods. She went along shouting all the way. When she got to her home she shouted and praised the Lord until the family were awakened, and they at first thought that “mother” was crazy. But she soon told them what the Lord had done for her, and their fears were removed.

Effectual Singing.

While the women were clearing off the tea-tables, one evening, some young girls got together on an elevated place, and commenced to sing some of the oldtime camp-meeting hymns. At first not much notice was taken of them; but one and another joined with them until there were some twenty-five or thirty young women and girls in the group. The singing became louder and more animated as the number of singers increased. Others, and older ones, now began to join them, and in a short time the company had so added to its numbers that it contained not less than a hundred persons. Men, women and children were mingling their voices in holy song.

I was standing on the opposite side of the encampment in conversation with another man. We heard a loud shout, and started to see what it all meant. When we came to the place, we found the people all in confusion. Some were weeping, some were laughing, and some were singing; others were lying on the ground as if they had been stricken down by an electric shock ; man}' of them were insensible. Among the latter was my little girl, who I think was about fourteen years old at the time. I found her tying with her head on the arm of a stout, elderly woman who was beside her. I took the girl up and carried her into a tent, where she lay for an hour or more before she came to herself. This went on until the time for the evening service; and it was only after two or three fruitless efforts that order could be restored so as to commence the regular service. The Rev. E. Bristol had the control of this camp-meeting.

A Meeting at Rockwood.

Among the limestone ledges on the south side of Eramosa township is a little village called Rockwood. In a piece of woods near this place at one time there was a very nice place for camp-meetings. One of these I had the pleasure of attending during my second term on the Elma mission. At that time the Church in Loree’s neighbourhood was strong and full of life and energy. Many of those who composed the membership at that time have gone away, some are in heaven, some in Manitoba, and some in other places.

The meetings had been going on for two or three days before anything of a specialty interesting character took place.

One night after the services had closed, and most of the people had retired, a prayer-meeting was started in one of the tents. In a short time the singing attracted the attention of the people generally, then shouts began to be heard; some parties that had started for home turned back. Many of those in the tents came out to see what was going on. I had gone into the tent where my wife and I were staying. With others, I went out to the prayer-meeting. The tent was a long double one, with a door on both sides When I came to the place it was nearly full, and a crowd standing at each door. When I came up to one of the doors, I was addressed by a fine-looking young man, who did not like the noise. He said to me, “Mister, what do you think of all that racket in there,” as he pointed to the end where most of the noise came from. I looked at him and said, “Were you ever converted?” He said, “No, sir, I never was.” “Do you believe in it?” I asked him. “Yes, sir, I do ; but I never can be, if I have to do as they are doing.” “Well, my friend,” said I, “yon need not trouble yourself on that score; salvation is not noise, but sometimes a knowledge of salvation makes people noisy. Get converted first, and then do what you think is right, He said in great earnestness, “I do wish that I was a Christian,” and turning to me, he said, “Will you pray for me here?” “Yes,” I said; “let us kneel down here.” I commenced to pray for him, and he began to pray for himself. In about two minutes he was on his feet jumping and shouting and praising the Lord for what was done for him ; in fact, he made more noise than any two of the noisy lot that he was finding fault with a few moments before. Next morning I met him on the ground, and I asked him what he thought about the noise after last night.

His answer was, “Well, I never thought that getting religion was anything like what it is ! Did I make much noise.” “Yes, some,” I said; “but perhaps not any too much.”

Just after I parted from the young man, I was standing in the door of the tent, and looking on one of the wildest scenes that is to be witnessed among an intelligent Christian community, when two young women came in weeping as though their hearts were breaking. They knelt down just inside the door. As they came in I saw my wife standing in the crowd and told her to come inside. Now, she never had any faith in people falling down in meeting, and when she saw some who had fallen lying in one end of the tent, she drew back, saying she did not want to go among them. I said, “You can talk to these two girls here; no one is paying any attention to them.” “All right, she said, “I will do that.” She knelt down by them, and began to talk to them. Soon one of them was set free, and commenced to praise the Lord. My wife gave one loud shout which made me look to where she was. I found her on the floor perfectly motionless. I found no little difficulty in saving her from being trampled on by the men in the tent, who were paying no attention to any one, only each one for himself. Presently, I saw the old brother in whose tent we were staying; I motioned to him and he came to me. We took her up and pressing our way out, we carried her in and laid her on a bed for the night.

Next morning she was all right. I have never since heard any fault-finding from that quarter about falling in meeting or making too much noise. But of late years no one has had much reason to complain on that score. Methodists are getting above that.

A Series of Camp-Meetings.

Daring the four years that I was on the Huron District as Presiding Elder, we had five camp-meetings. At Hanover there were two, and two on Orangeville Circuit, and one at Teeswater. A number of conversions took place at each one of them.

The ministers on the district were generally good men for such work, and many of the people were in full sympathy with camp-meetings.

One thing that was very remarkable was the good order that prevailed at every one of them. Though hundreds of unconverted people, both old and young, attended these meetings, yet I saw but very little disorder at any of them. It has been sometimes said that people in the back settlements are uncultivated, and lack refinement. Well, however that may be, there is one thing that I am bold to say, and that is, I have seen more lawlessness and rowdyism in one religious meeting held by the Salvation Army in a frontier village than I saw at five camp-meetings in the back counties.

At some of these meetings I have seen English, Irish, Scotch, Germans and Canadians all sitting together on the camp-ground—Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Church of England, and in a few instances Roman Catholics have been heard singing the same songs of praise together.

At a love-feast held at the close of one of the meetings at Hanover, we had an honest Irish Presbyterian, who gave his testimony. He had been in the country only a few days. He said:

“I am a stranger here and in a strange land, but the kindness shown to me since I came makes me feel very much at home among you. I am a Presbyterian. Since coming here I have learned more about Methodism than I ever knew before. I have listened to the preaching, I have joined in the singing, I have heard many of the prayers, and I have mingled in Christian conversation, and I find that salvation is the burden of it all. Before I leave you I want to say that I am with you in the grand old doctrine of justification by faith and in the blessed hope of a glorious home in heaven.”

That young man is a brother to the Rev. Robert Carson, of the Guelph Conference.

A Happy Dutchman.

Perhaps no one can make “broken English” sound so much like a foreign tongue as a German. And yet perhaps no one who breaks the Queen’s English can make himself better understood than he can.

At the meeting at Hanover there were some members of the Evangelical Association. They enjoyed the services very much, and some of them did all they could to help on with the work. Their strong, manly utterances did good, although their words were broken, and their cheerful, encouraging expressions of faith, and hope, and love, endeared them to our people generally. But I will endeavour to give one quotation as nearly as I can.

“Mine Gristian frens, ven I leaves old Charmany, I vas vondering if I coot finds zome goot Gristians in dis off avay place. But I am glad to der Master dat I am not in der least disabointed. I hears dis day der same stories of Jesus and His love, as I did in der Faderlandt. 0, I am very much happy in mine soul, dis day. Praise der Lord. I am happy.”

We all believed him. His face and voice and all about him said that he was happy.

Some Wild Expressions.

At one of our meetings, a lad of some sixteen or seventeen years of age got converted. He had been a pretty wild boy, though brought up by Christian parents. He had a hard struggle to get free. When he got blest he became very noisy and went among the people on the ground, singing and shouting at the top of his voice. I heard him, but I did not pay attention to what he was saying. I had seen so many noisy conversions that I thought but little about his noise. Besides I like strong-lunged children, that let people know when they are in the world.

The next day I met a man on the encampment, who accosted me, saying:

“Mister, did you hear that rhapsody of that young fellow last night?”

I said: “I heard some one making a big noise, but I was at the time engaged, so that I did not notice what he said.”

“Well,” said he, “I never heard anything like some of his wild expressions. Among other thing she said, ‘ I shall dwell with God, and sit upon a throne with Christ.’”

“That,” said I, “is a strong expression, but are you sure that it is a wild one?”

“Well, if that is the fruit of camp-meetings, I think but very little of them,” said the man.

I replied: “The camp-meeting is not responsible either for the words nor for the sentiment. The words you complain of are the words of a youth. But the sentiment is that of a God.”

“How is that?” said he.

“Did you never read the words of Jesus, saying,‘ To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.’ The only contingency in the case, if a man is converted, is his stability and faithfulness. For to sit on the throne with Christ, is a fulfilment of the lad’s declaration.”

“Well,” said he, “I did not know that was in the Bible.”

“I suppose not,” said I. “But we see how easily men may make mistakes, when they attempt to pick people up before they are down.”

The Mark of Cain.

At the Teeswater camp-meeting, which was in Dowse’s woods, at Williamson’s Corners, in Culross, an interview with a man-slayer gave me some very sad feelings. For a couple of days I had seen a fine looking man on the grounds, who seemed to keep entirely by himself. On making enquiry as to who he was, I was told that he lived in an adjoining neighbourhood, and had the reputation of being a murderer. This gave me to see how it was that he was so much by himself. People were shy of him, and he knew it and felt it. One day he came to me and said, “ Sir, I would like to have some conversation with you, if you are willing.” We walked out into the bush by ourselves, and sat on a fallen tree. Then he said to me, “Do you recollect hearing of a melancholy affair that took place some few years ago at G. ?” “To what do you refer?” said I. He answered with a faltering voice saying, “I mean the killing of poor W. B. E.” “Ye'!,” I said, “I do remember it. And being well acquainted with some of W.'s friends made me feel a deep interest in the matter. But E. was tried and acquitted on the ground that he only acted in selfdefence, if I do not forget the facts.” “That is true,” he said, “I am E., and at the time I thought, and I still think, that I could only save my life by taking his. But it is a terrible thing to do. I often wish I had not done it. But do you think that there is mercy for me. Can I be forgiven?” “If you sincerely repent and heartily trust in the Lord Jesus you can be forgiven,” was my answer. “Well,” said he, “I am trying to do the best I can in a lonely way. My neighbours shun me as they would a poisonous reptile. Even the children will run from me as if I was some ravenous beast. My life is a very unhappy one.” Poor man, he did not look like a bad character. But he must carry with him the unhappy reflection that he took a fellow-mortal’s life, and sent a soul prematurely to its last reckoning. And even though it was done in defence of his own life the remembrance of it
must always be like a deadly shadow resting upon the spirit.

This chapter might be indefinitely lengthened by the relation of camp-meeting incidents. But prudence forbids it. One or two things might be said in regard to the contrast between the old camp-meetings and revivals, and those of the present day. But that subject may possibly be treated of in another chapter specially devoted to change and progress.

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