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One of the Wonders of the Age;
or,
The Life and Times
of Rev. Johnson Olive,
Wake County, North Carolina:

Electronic Edition.

Olive, Johnson, b. 1816


Funding from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition
supported the electronic publication of this title.


Text scanned (OCR) by Jamie Vacca
Text encoded by Jordan Davis
First edition, 1997.
ca. 420K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
1998.
        © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.


Call number CB 048o (North Carolina Collection, UNC-CH)


        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South, or, The Southern Experience in 19th-century America.
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Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998






One of the Wonders of the Age;
OR
THE LIFE AND TIMES
OF
REV. JOHNSON OLIVE,

WAKE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA,

WRITTEN BY HIMSELF, AT THE SOLICITATION OF FRIENDS, AND FOR
THE BENEFIT OF ALL WHO READ IT.

- WITH SUPPLEMENT -
BY HIS SON, H.C. OLIVE

RALEIGH:
EDWARDS, BROUGHTON & CO., POWER PRINTERS AND BINDERS,
1886.




Page 3


PREFACE.

        SOON after father's recovery from the deep affliction of soul through which he passed, many of his friends and acquaintances were anxious to hear his account of these sore trials.

        The movings of his mind were so clearly marked through this period that he found no difficulty in retracing his steps even to the minutest events.

        Regarding this affliction as a providence of God, he ever spoke of this period with deep interest and cheerfulness; feeling that that whereunto it had been sent had been accomplished. To make his own life and experience too prominent in his ministry he felt would be wrong. It was right that he should draw from the lessons he had learned, yet; his duty was to preach Christ and not himself Constant enquiry after incidents of his life, especially the five years of complete silence from the ministry, wherein he now felt that God in His mercy had led him, and the frequent request that he should leave a record of these mysterious dealings of the Lord, as he esteemed them to be, brought him to the consideration of writing his own life. He


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submitted his purpose to a number of friends and brethren, all of whom encouraged him in his intended undertaking.

        Accordingly, in 1866, he began the writings which have led to the volume you now hold in your hands. It was his purpose to complete the work and have it published during the few years to follow. As he approached the period of his then present existence, where his work was to end, he made some investigations as to the cost of- publication. The cost was at this time so great, and financial depression among his friends and acquaintances so wide spread, that his limited means would not justify the publication. He expressed the desire, however, if not done before, that after his decease his family should have the work completed and published, not that he desired especially for his memory to be perpetuated in the world by books and records, but feeling that the struggles he made in youth to fit himself for the great duties of life might be a stimulant to others of like surroundings. That his religious impressions and his actions towards them might be a guide to some soul when his voice should be forever silenced. That his ministerial life from his first impressions to exercise in public to its close might give some light to others who may follow. And that the fiery trials and deep afflictions which came over his soul, staid only by God's curbing hand, might


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ever stand out as a monument of his love and tender mercy towards those who love and fear him. These were the hopes that led to the undertaking. That part of the work written by father goes to the press in his own style and language. This will be readily recognized by all who knew him, and comprises about three-fourths of the work.

        We ask that the reader will not censure us for the chapter on the family history, as the design is to take this occasion to preserve the substantial facts we have gathered of the family from which the subject of this work sprang.

        The task of completing this biography has been assigned to myself, believing that my intimate acquaintance with his life from the time he ceased to write to the day of -his death gives advantages both necessary and desirable to the accomplishment of this work. In undertaking this I desire to state what I know, and what I believe from the best authority to have been true. At the time father returned to the ministry I had reached that age when the parent centers much interest in the child. Being the oldest then living, the social relation existing between father and myself was very intimate. He talked freely with me upon many subjects; much of what I write was drawn from these interviews. It is hoped that this little volume, though not sufficient to withstand harsh criticism, may


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contribute something to the great cause in which father spent his life; that it may tend to inspire all who read it to purer and holier lives and that not one soul who peruses it may ever be lost. And that it may especially prove a refreshing shower of grace, through the Holy Spirit, to the exhortations and warnings he so faithfully delivered while here in the flesh to all who heard them, and that the Holy Spirit may ever guide the heart of the reader as he peruses its pages.

H.C. OLIVE.

             APEX, N.C., August 1st, 1886.


Page 7


THE OLIVE FAMILY.

PARENTAL ANCESTORS OF JOHNSON OLIVE.

        The limited knowledge of ancestors, possessed by very many persons with whom we have met, has led the writer to treasure up from youth some leading facts connected with the Olive family in America.

        It was not expected that any great advantage would accrue to any one from this undertaking. Indeed, it was not pursued as a matter of profit and reward, but as a subject of information and satisfaction.

        When a mere child I often visited the home of my grandma Olive, and in early life I was deeply impressed with the names of many old fields and sites where houses had formerly stood, and sometimes small fields then in cultivation about these old settlements, all showing that several generations of this family had lived and died in this locality. Numerous were the enquiries put to my grandma and my uncle Calvin Olive, about the persons who had formerly lived at these places. My anxiety thus early awakened was not abated by time. As I grew older I was anxious to learn more about my family. I sought occasion to enquire of some of the oldest persons living in the community, and gather up such information as they possessed. Some of them were able to tell me


Page 8

the name of the first Olive who came to the United States, and many other facts of family history interesting to me, most of which had been substantiated by other witnesses. In substance they all agree that there is only one family of Olives in America; that this family is one of English descent; that James Olive was the first of this family to cross the Atlantic and plant the Olive branch in the United States; that he was a bound boy in England, and must have been born about 1720 or 1725. In early youth he became tired of the restraints placed upon him, and hearing of the new world the genial clime and the great liberty enjoyed by its citizens he resolved to come to the United States. He accordingly made terms with the captain of a vessel soon to sail for America and in a short time he was on board working his way to his intended new home.

        On reaching the United States he made his way to what is now Wake County, N.C., landing here about 1740. He took up a portion of land and made a temporary settlement near where the city of Raleigh has since been located. The records of the county show that soon after its organization the names of some of his descendants appear as land owners on the waters of Crabtree creek. I cannot say however that these lands are part of those formerly owned by James Olive. His direct location is thought to have included a part of the present site of the city of Raleigh. After remaining here for awhile, he moved to the western part of the county and made a permanent settlement near the line dividing Wake and Chatham counties,


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some two miles west of the present village of New Hill. Here he married and devoted his time to his chosen occupation for life, that of farming and stock raising. He is described as a stout, strong, healthy man, of good height. Possessed of a strong will, much industry and thrift, he was soon in possession of a large body of lands in that section of the county of Wake. He was no less blessed in his marriage relations. Seven sons and one or more daughters were added to his family. These all grew up to manhood and womanhood and lived to a good old age. For robust health and physical manhood this family of boys is seldom surpassed - stout healthy and active. They were all possessed of fair mental capacity. Some of them became distinguished for their intellectual attainments. They only had such education as the times in which they lived offered to country boys. They did not seek fame or distinction, and living at a time when the printing press was costly and but little in use no printed record is left of any of them, yet we are led to conclude from the impress left upon those who knew them that they were men whose characters were strongly marked, and that they were among the foremost men of their day with the early settlers and planters of their section. These seven sons were living in the early part of the nineteenth century Some persons now living have seen most of them; others tell many things about them that have been handed down to them by their parents. At the outbreak of the American revolution some of these boys were of age, and took part with the United States in


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her battles for independence. Toward the close of the eighteenth century James Olive, the father, died at his family residence, and was buried upon the premises, where it is thought his grave can now be distinguished. His wife survived him many years, and so distinguished herself by her kindness to all with whom she met, (and especially the poor, the sick, the needy and afflicted) that the name of "Granny Olive" long lived in the hearts of her neighbors. She must have lived to near a hundred years of age. The names of the seven sons were William, Abel, Jesse, James, Anthony, John and Southard. For some time they all lived in their native county, and the adjoining county of Chatham.

        After a time Abel and Anthony moved westward, and from these, with a few other members of the family who have since gone westward, has the Olive family spread through Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas, and other Western and South ern States. Abel was a professed minister of the gospel of much influence and ability. According to a custom of his day he was on several occasions drawn into public discussions with other divines upon religious subjects. In some of these discussions he greatly distinguished himself.

        The five other sons made permanent settlements in their adopted sections. They all devoted their time principally to farming and raising stock, which latter business was quite profitable in those days, as abundant range could be had. They all attained to a fair degree of success in their struggles for existence. All


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were blessed with a large family of children, usually numbering from six to ten. Indeed, a few statistics would show that the family has been wonderfully fruitful since their settlement on this side of the Atlantic.

        With only James Olive to begin with in 1740, at the close of that, the eighteenth century, when the family had only been in America sixty years, they numbered near one hundred souls. They have now been in the United States about one hundred and forty-five years. They have scattered throughout many States of the Union mostly to the South and West.

        It is reasonable to estimate that no less than ten thousand souls have been born on this continent with the blood of James Olive flowing in their veins. This seems incredible in so short a time, beginning with James Olive in 1740, and in 1886 - one hundred and forty-six years later - counting ten thousand offspring. We estimate that no less than one thousand and five hundred of his posterity are now living in the United States. So numerous are the different branches of this family springing from William, Abel, Anthony, James, Jesse, John and Southard that time and space will not permit us to pursue them all. We will therefore confine ourselves to the direct ancestors of the subject of this work, with such general statements at the close of this chapter as we may deem appropriate. We have before stated that the name of one of the seven sons of James Olive, Sr., was John. Soon after the close of the American revolution, in which he was engaged, he married a Miss Partridge and settled in Wake


Page 12

county, near the old homestead of his father. He was a farmer by occupation, and twice married. In all he had twelve children, Burrell and Rachel by his first wife, and John, Michael, Berry, Green, Gray, Bennett, Brinkley, Sallie, Frankie and Nancy by his second, whose maden name was Womble. During the early part of the nineteenth century Burrell Olive, the eldest son of John, married a Miss Polly Johnson, daughter of John Johnson, who had recently moved from Northampton county, N.C. and settled in Chatham county only a short distance from the settlement of the Olive family in Wake county.

        Burrell Olive and wife settled upon a farm within a short distance of their parents, in the county of Chatham, about one mile from the Wake line. Their second child was a son to whom they gave the name Johnson, in honor of his mother's maiden name. Burrell Olive was a modest, unassuming man. He acquired a fair education for one of his day; specimens of his writing now in existence show him to have been a man of good intellect. He did not aspire to fame, but became a successful farmer and useful and substantial citizen. His height was about five feet ten inches, weight one hundred and forty-five pounds.

        His wife, the mother of Johnson Olive, was a quiet, self possessed lady, industrious, sprightly and active, free from craft or cunning, yet moved about much without being observed. She was of small size, usually weighing from one hundred and ten to one hundred and fifteen pounds; possessed of much native intellect.

        Johnson Olive inherited much of the characteristics


Page 13

of his maternal ancestors. His head his nose, his cheeks resembled his paternal ancestors, and in other particulars he was like them.

        The Johnsons were a jovial, active people, full of life and fun, great talkers, and very much enjoyed a hearty laugh. Most of them were passionately fond of children, and often kept the child in a strait between teasing and caressing. They were quick-tempered, not ill, rather friendly but violent when aroused. As a family they were the greatest lovers of fish I ever saw. In this particular father was all Johnson.

        We have sometimes attributed the love of the finny tribe in this family to the fact that they had emigrated from a county bordering upon splendid fisheries, and that this appetite had become to some extent constitutional.

        The Olives have usually been an honest industrious people; farming has been their favorite pursuit; very few of this large family have ever sought worldly honors. One definition of the name is "emblem of peace." They have usually been advocates of peace and order, and are ever quick to resent oppression and wrong.

        From their first settlement in this country they have manifested a great fancy for stock raising. The horse, cow, sheep and hog have received a good share of attention from many of .them. They seldom fail to store away a good share of home-made pork.

        While they are a modest and unassuming people, they always inherit a good degree of will power, and


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when once settled in their opinions, are not easily moved. Liberty and freedom are favored terms with them.

        This family has not been without its Absaloms. The wayward ones, however, have not been inclined to malicious practices, but rather to mischief and merriment.

        Notwithstanding the great number born in this country, the penalties of the criminal laws have not been heard against any of them. Very few, only, have attained to great wealth. They have been among the common, well-to-do citizens of this country. All have not been professed christians, yet the Church of God on earth has had many warm advocates in this family.

        Becoming satisfied years ago that the tradition handed down by our parents and family acquaintances as to our family history was correct, we have been lead recently to make more thorough inquiry into some of the facts.

        Some six years ago we learned from a man who claimed to be a sailor that he had seen the name of Olive in London, England, whence tradition says we came. He stated he saw this name upon a signboard over a store door, in one of the streets of London, and that he had never seen the name elsewhere. This strengthened the account we already had. Accordingly, in the early part of this year, we addressed a letter to the editor of the Spectator, London, asking for the address of any persons in his country by the name of Olive. In about three weeks his answer returned, giving the names of Henry Olive, John Bone Olive,


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and John Joseph Olive, all living in London. This led to a correspondence between myself and some of the parties. I here give their reply:

GRAFTON HOUSE,
GRAFTON STREET, FITZROY SQUARE,
LONDON, ENGLAND, May, 1886.

        DEAR SIR: - We received both your letters. The first was directed to my son, who will get what information he can from persons whom he knows bearing our name. He has been too busy as yet. Being the only one of my family alive, I feel tenderly towards my relatives.

        The earliest knowledge I have of my family is that my grandmother, a widow, Rose Olive, came to the village of Castle Hedingham, Essex, a widow, with two boys. The eldest, my uncle, John Thomas, six years of age, the other, my father, Joseph Olive. I think the latter must have been about eight years old. This occurrence took place about the date 1800. Both of these boys and their mother are now dead. My uncle, John Thomas, was band-master of Life Guards and Seventh Hussars, also Queen's Boys. Afterwards a publican in Ipswick, Suffolk. He left one son, now seventy-five, whom I have seen. He knows but little of the family. He is a retired publican of Peckham Rye, Surry. When a boy he remembers riding with his father and mine to Waltham Cross, Essex, where lived one James Olive, a carpenter - I suppose a relative, but I had never heard of him before. I think my grandmother's maiden name was Atherton. She died, eighty-three, in the village where she had long resided. I could hear nothing beyond that. She went there a widow and a stranger. She was good looking - fair and tall. When I was a boy the directory only showed a Joseph Olive, a solicitor of Lincoln's Inn, who was my father. Now there are only about six. As names help, I may tell you that my cousin, whom I stated was seventy-five years of age, is named


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Daniel David Olive. He has a son, Daniel Olive, at 618 Ottowa street, Leavenworth, Kansas, United States. He went over about twenty years ago. He has a family. So you see some of our immediate family are in the United States. A brother of Daniel Olive was twenty years in the American mercantile service, under the name of Morton. His family are mostly travelers. Another brother of his has been to India as a soldier, and is now a publican here. Others of this family - Charles and Alice - are now at or near Queensland. I had one sister, Armelia, and two brothers, James and William, all of whom died young. I am now sixty-five years of age, and by trade a wood turner. The house to which you direct is mine. Being a large double house there are two rooms, one for my own trade, the other a stationery, book and music sellers, managed by two of my daughters.

        My son, John Joseph Olive, has a similar business to the latter in London, in Kentish Town Road. I have one son and three daughters; son the eldest thirty-eight years; youngest daughter thirty. I weigh eleven stone, my son the same. My youngest daughter is tall, the other two of medium height. Our family are well built and rather fair. I belong to the church of England, where myself and family attend every Sunday. I treat myself to a nonconformist place of worship about four times a year. All are the same to me if they are traveling heavenward. It has been a puzzle to us to know whether it is a lady or gentleman writing to us. My second daughter's name is Clara Hannah, the same initials as yours, but reversed in order. She is a certificated head teacher of a large London board school. With kind regards and well wishes to yourself and all the Olives who support the name so honorably, believe me to be yours truly,

JOHN BONE OLIVE.

My daughter Clara sends you her photo. with mine, hoping to have a return of yours and others of the family.

Yours truly,
J. B. OLIVE.


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        This is the first and only account we know anything of from the family in England since the days of James Olive, Sr. We had never heard anything of their circumstances or numbers. To us it is conclusive that this family and the American family are one. The average of human life being put at thirty-three years, it is about four and a half generations back to the point of separation. This appears to be the only family of this name, of which the parties have any account in England. They are one in that country, and the present family were there during the eighteenth century, and we may reasonably say were there at the time of the departure of James Olive, our great ancestor in the United States. The family names kept up in both countries would be another indication pointing to the identity of the two families, James, John, William, Joseph, Daniel and David have all been favorite names with the American family. Then we may justly conclude that our family tradition as to its history, in the main has been true. Where they first received the name Olive, and under what circumstances, I have no means of knowing. Let us hope they received this title during the early political and social commotions of England by their gentle but firm course and strong advocacy of peace and order. Be this as it may, let us seek to follow Him who come to bring peace and good will on earth; and ever be found among the wise, the peaceful, the prudent of this earth, and after death to form one common family in a land where peace shall ever abide.

H.C. OLIVE.


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THE LIFE AND TIMES
OF
REV. JOHNSON OLIVE.

CHAPTER I.

        I was born and raised in the county of Chatham, State of North Carolina. My parents were poor, but honest and industrious. They had eight children, four sons and four daughters. I was next to the oldest child; my birth took place June the 7th, A.D. 1816. My father had a small farm on which he labored, to gain a living for himself and family. I, being the first son, was taught to assist my father in cultivating his farm at a very early age, in the best manner that I was able. I had several uncles, brothers to my parents, who lived near by, and by them I was petted, and made to believe I was as smart at any boy of my age. I would do any thing that was in my power if they requested it. I always felt pleasant and safe when in their presence. My attachment towards them became as strong as life.

                        "I love them all with a free good will,
                        And upon my honor I love them still."


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        At five or six years of age my parents started me to school. The custom of the neighborhood at that time was to have a school three months in the fall of each year, spelling reading, writing, and the first or primary principles of arithmetic were the sciences taught. I soon became attached to the school. I loved my teacher, and he taught me to endeavor to excel the other boys of my age. This made me feel a little vain but I generally succeeded in standing at the head of my class. At the age of eight or ten years I was looked upon by those who knew me best as being very smart, and exhibiting some signs of more than ordinary intellect. However this might have been, I am sure they acted very imprudently in speaking of it as they did in my presence. It did me no good then and I have sometimes felt that it has injured me since.

        When about twelve years of age my health failed, not by any violent disease but I lingered into a feeble and sickly condition; my energy and courage became considerably abated. My keen and penetrating eyes, of which my friends and relatives had so often with admiration spoken in my hearing, now became dull and languid. My cheeks were pale and swarthy, and my voice was no longer cheerful as it had formerly been. I continued in this debilitated state of health for several years, never confined, but always delicate and feeble. I could generally follow the plough and assist in cultivating the farm and in the fall season go to school, but all the time regretting that I could not feel and appear like other boys who were in the


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enjoyment of good health. Notwithstanding the feeble and dormant state of my constitution there was a vein of native humor flowing from my heart and revealing itself in my life and conversation sufficient to attract attention and make my company agreeable to other boys. It was customary for the boys in the neighborhood where I lived to meet together on the Sabbath and amuse themselves in playing at ball and base, and some other games of youthful sport, and after a while they would spend a portion of that holy day in hunting game with their dogs; none of us were allowed to carry a gun. I became very much attached to this sport and would join them as often as I could; being quite small and light, and always fond of climbing trees I had become quite expert in that business so that I was selected by general consent to climb trees after squirrels while the other boys would stand around with dogs and sticks to secure the game whenever he should spring from the tree; in this way we often succeeded in taking those nimble animals. I have often regretted that I and the boys of the neighborhood were suffered to follow this dangerous sport, and that on the Sabbath day thus making it sinful as well as dangerous; but I might remark here, that religion at that period was at a very low ebb in the section of country where I was born. There were but few heads of families who were members of the church, and very few young persons who made any pretensions to religion. There was but little open profanity among the people of that neighborhood, and as a general thing they were an honest, industrious, and moral


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community. The nearest church was some four or five miles distant; my parents as well as many others generally attended preaching once a month, and in justice to our parents, I might say they did not approve of the course which their children pursued in the sports above named, but being indulgent they did not positively forbid it. Thus were spent several years of my youthful life, my health continuing to be feeble, and my growth scarcely perceptible. My two oldest sisters were growing up to maturity, and I remaining as feeble and dwarfish in appearance as ever. My sisters were anxious to visit and be in company with young people, and especially to go to preaching, and they wished me to go with them. I had no inclination to go with them to preaching, for it did not suit my taste. I would rather spend the Sabbath with my companions in the neighborhood.

        When I was about fifteen years of age I was prevailed on by my mother and sisters to go with my sisters to a camp-meeting, and as some of our relations were to tent on the camp ground we were to stay several days if we wished to do so; and as an inducement for me to go my mother got me a new suit of clothes, and my father bought me a new fur hat. This pleased me very much, and I remember after having dressed myself, that I thought all would do very well except my pale face and swarthy complexion. This I could not help but thought it spoiled my looks.

        I have no distinct recollection that I had ever felt conviction for sin up to this time. I had consented to go to the camp meeting to gratify my sisters and


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parents, and if I had any other motive in view I think it was to see and hear what would be going on. I had no idea of doing any mischief or of interfering with the meeting in any way, but if any thought of seeking religion came into my mind I have no recollection.

        We went to the meeting, and on our arriving there, we heard the noise that is generally heard at such meetings, especially when the work of the Lord seems to be prospering. Some were singing, some were mourning, and others praying. I was anxious to draw nigh in order that I might see what was going on in that place which they called the altar. It consisted of poles fastened to trees in the grove, or on posts set up for the purpose, the whole forming a square, or an oblong square with seats arranged conveniently for the mourners and the leading and active members of the church, so that the penitents might receive useful instruction on the subject of religion, and singing and prayer be made to God especially for them. At one end of the altar was the stand or platform, to be occupied by the preachers. At the close of a sermon an invitation was given for all who desired religion, and were willing to manifest the same, to come forward and kneel or take their seats in the altar. On this occasion a goodly number came forward of both sexes. Some young persons, some middle aged and some old. I was standing near the altar, I think, with my hand resting on the railing. An aged man, whom I knew to be a preacher, came down from the stand into the altar and commenced giving instruction to the


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mourners. His words were well chosen, his voice clear, and his manner indicated great earnestness and desire for the salvation of souls. He encouraged the mourners to persevere, holding up to them the invitations and promises of the scriptures. After having gone through this part of his labor, he raised his head and looked out upon the bystanders and outsiders, and in the most pathetic and affectionate language I ever heard he exhorted them to seek religion. He held up a crucified Redeemer as able and willing to save to the uttermost all who would come to God by Him. He dwelt upon the danger and misery of sin, upon the advantages and peace of religion. He instanced his own experience, saying "religion has been my support amidst all the storms and tempests of life." He spoke of having served in the revolution of 1776, and of the troubles and trials of that age, and of the support which he had always found in his ever present Friend.

        While he was thus exhorting the bystanders and outsiders I thought he fixed his eyes on me, at least my eyes met his, and such a look I had never seen before; his eyes spoke to my mind with more force than his words did to my understanding. I felt that I was in the presence of a good and pious man of God. Indeed it appeared to me as if his heart and lips had been touched with hallowed fire. I felt as I had never felt before. I believed what the man of God had said. I felt the need of religion and thought I would have given any thing that was in my power to have changed my condition for that of the good old man. I soon


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found myself suffused with tears, and my heart felt as if it would burst, but I was ashamed to be seen crying and did not wish that any person should understand my condition. I wiped my eyes and turned away from a scene which has never been erased from my mind. I walked several hundred yards from the camp ground in serious and solitary meditation. I came to the conclusion that what I had felt was not conviction for sin but only youthful excitement, and my tears were only childish sympathy, for I was at that time of the opinion if a person was truly convicted for sin he would be prostrated and helpless, and as I had not been deprived of the use of my physical powers, therefore I was not convicted, and as unreasonable and superstitious as this may appear, there are now a great many people of the same opinion. I would here warn all young people to guard against that delusion of Satan and never quench or grieve the Spirit in conviction. If you feel that you are a condemned sinner in the sight of God, that religion is necessary in order that you may be prepared to die and meet your Judge in peace. I would advise you by all means not to delay your return to God. Wait not another hour for more conviction, for Jesus stands ready to save you, full of pity, love and power.

        I will now tell you how I acted, and the bitter consequences of the same.

        I hearkened to the voice of the tempter, who said, time enough yet, wait till you are older. I hardened my heart and braced myself up as well as I could and started back to the encampment, anxious to see and


Page 26

hear what was going on there, but having no desire to become affected myself or to take any interest in the meeting further than an outside observer. When I drew near the sacred altar of prayer and praise and heard distinctly the different voices and sounds that are usual at such times and places, some mourning, some rejoicing, some praying, and others singing or exhorting, it appeared to me that the place was hallowed ground, and that some mysterious power filled the atmosphere like an enchantment around that hallowed place. I felt the sacred influences so forcibly upon my mind that my heart became affected so that I could not refrain from shedding tears; and I concluded that rather than be detected by my fellow beings in this thing, I would remain at a distance from the altar, though I was anxious to see what was going on there. So I spent the greater portion of the time in which I remained on the camp ground in the outskirts of the encampment, with many thoughts revolving through my mind. I made several efforts to go near the altar to see who were there and what was going on, but in every instance as I drew near my heart would become more affected and I turned back. All this time my mind was in darkness on all religious subjects. I thought true conviction consisted in being prostrated by some irresistible power, so that a person under true conviction for sin would, at least in the commencement of his conviction, be stricken down like Saul of Tarsus, and as I had experienced nothing of that nature of course I was only under the influence of some sympathetic feeling or some animal


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excitement. I therefore concluded that I would think as little about the subject as possible till I could leave the meeting and return home, at which time I promised myself, or rather my mind promised God, that I would take into consideration the all-important subject of religion, and if I should become convinced that it was the Spirit of God that was operating upon my mind, and that those impressions were of divine origin, and I away from all outside influences, I would then seek religion and call upon the Lord with all my heart. After I had made this vow my feelings became more calm, but I did not venture to go near the sacred altar, for fear that my feelings might return as they had done before.

        I will here offer a few reflections by way of advice, before I tell how I acted in reference to this matter. On reflection I have long since been convinced that the Spirit of God called at that time to convince me of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. In plain terms, I was then convicted, felt that I was a condemned sinner, unfit to live or die in peace, believed it to be my duty to seek God, to accept of the terms of reconciliation, to repent of my sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, but how to do this was a great mystery to me, even though I had been willing to humble myself before God and men. I was filled with a desire of doing something, but knew not as yet either the end or beginning. I have since seen that I was then not far from the kingdom of God, and there appears to have been but one step between me and religion, but the affections of my heart cleaved to the world,


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and procrastination plead for a more convenient season. I would recommend all persons, and more especially the young, to yield to the first impressions of the Spirit of God on the heart, and never to quench its sacred influences or grieve it from your breast. If you do it may cost you many bitter tears of repentance, many deep regrets and peradventure may land your soul in hell.

CHAPTER II.

        I will now tell you the course I pursued. I returned home with my vows upon me; they were indelibly impressed on my mind; I could not blot them out. I must consider the subject of religion while following my plow or hoe, which was my usual avocation; the subject would come up fresh in my mind; I would take it up as well as I knew how; I would consider it and reconsider it, think of its advantages and disadvantages, and sometimes I felt that I would rather be a christian than any other man. I sometimes became so much affected while meditating on the subject that I would suddenly leave my horse and plow at the end of a row go to the woods and try to pray, though it generally turned out that I had great difficulty in finding a suitable place to make the attempt. On those occasions I was easily frightened or excited, the breaking of a stick under my feet, or the sudden flight of a bird, would often frustrate me in my purpose or


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design. Sometimes, however, I did fall upon my knees and try to pray, but never as I recollect to my own liking or satisfaction, for indeed I felt myself to be a poor, ignorant sinner, though it would give me some momentary relief to think that I was trying to fulfill my vows. My mind was exercised in this way more or less for several months, but I used a great deal of caution about it for fear that I should be detected by some of my fellow beings. I felt that I must keep this a profound secret from all persons, and my anxiety on this subject could not have been greater if I had stolen some valuable jewel.

        At this early age of my life I disapproved of all outside appearances and more especially in religious matters. I had known some to set out to seek religion and become weary and turn back to the world; others I had known who had made great pretensions in religion turn out badly. I thought that if I should fail in this thing I would rather it should never be known. But at that time I was unconsciously acting out the same principle, for I often concealed an aching heart by a smiling face, and a troubled mind by a cheerful laugh. But I had my scripture passages for secret prayer and for alms giving, "when ye pray enter thy closet" &c., and "let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." Thus I endeavored to conceal from man what was going on in my mind and tried to justify my course in my own estimation by scripture testimony, not being very particular in regard to its true interpretation. I could not have been more


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careful in trying to keep it a profound secret if it had been some valuable jewel that I had stolen.

        Here I would recommend all, and especially the young when under the influences of the Spirit of God, to act or speak out what the Holy Spirit works or teaches within, and never to suffer shame or the fear of man to deter them from so doing. By pursuing this course you will baffle many of the temptations of the enemy and be the better prepared to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God working in you to will and to do of His own good pleasure."

        Those convictions followed me up more or less for months and years. Sometimes my impressions would become almost overwhelming, particularly while hearing the word preached, or soon after, when meditating upon what I had heard. At those times I would seek an opportunity of going to some secret place to fulfil my vows.

        About this period of my life, being about 17 or 18 years of age, I became acquainted with a number of young people who were not immediately connected with my neighborhood, and in this way I extended the circle of my acquaintance in different parts of the surrounding country. The circumstances that seems to have given rise to this extension of my acquaintance were these: I had two sisters, who were about grown, and were fond of going to meeting whenever they could get an opportunity. I, being their oldest brother, must as a matter of course, go with them to render them assistance if needful and to take care of


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them the best I could. The young people of different neighborhoods became acquainted with us and we were invited to their homes; we went, and as we were all fond of young people's company, and to be courteous, we would invite to our father's house. In this way visits became reciprocal and common, and intimacies were engendered and friendships formed.

        On reflecting upon this period of my life I remember many incidents with pleasure and some with pain. The extension of my acquaintance was calculated to benefit me in some respects and to injure me in others. I was thus drawn into new scenes of pleasure or mirth, and new temptations were crowding upon me. It was customary and fashionable at this period of my life for the young people of the different neighborhoods often to meet together at quiltings, parties, weddings or some merry-making assemblage. It was not long before I engaged in those diversions, and soon became very fond of them. I never tried to dance; neither did I have any inclination for that species of mirth, but for singing plays, and for songs, and plays of romance generally, I had a particular liking and generally indulged in them to great excess, so much so that I soon found myself looked upon by others as one of the ring-leaders in those diversions.

        While these plays and diversions were being acted or going on in my presence I seldom thought of the subject of religion except when I saw some professor of religion or member of the church engage in them, and then I thought it was very unbecoming, and concluded that if I were a christian I would not indulge


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in any of those things. At that time I loved to play, and felt there were no religious restrictions upon me, but that I had liberty to indulge and give full scope to my inclinations in these things, but my mind was so impressed with the inconsistency of christians going into these plays that I would never persuade a professor of religion to engage in them, if I knew the person to be a professor. Sinner as I was, I thought that christians should be a peculiar people and separate from the world.

        As well as I can recollect, when I was engaged in those diversions my mind was occupied with little else than vanity, and I soon found that this was the most successful way for me to pursue in order to drown or smother the workings of conviction upon my mind. Though I felt that it was a great sin to stifle the work of conviction in the heart, yet to prevent detection I have rushed headlong into these plays with all the outward appearance of being as vain and blithesome as any of the crowd. But when I left the place reflection gave me more pain than the diversion gave me pleasure. I did sometimes become very miserable in taking a retrospective view of my past conduct, and wished that I had never been born, but I must let no one know this, and thus I kept it concealed in my own bosom and appeared to have as few serious thoughts as most persons have at that age.

        I will here state a fact which many persons now living have heard me relate both in preaching and in conversation. It is this: from the time when I was first convicted at the camp-meeting till I professed


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religion, which was about five years, I never attended preaching and paid attention to the sermon without feeling more or less affected. I became satisfied that if I gave that attention to preaching which it was my duty to do, I should become so agitated in my mind that concealment would be impossible, and as I must keep it concealed at all hazards, I would often stay out of doors during the sermon and thus be better prepared to enjoy myself with young people in the evening. If I went in the house and took my seat, I would often think, now I will keep my place but I will pay as little attention to what the preacher may say as possible or I shall be detected or unfit to spend a pleasant evening. In this way I often found my impressions deepest and more intense when alone because I would then give in to meditation and reflection.

        I made many vows and promises in my mind in regard to the subject of religion but generally violated them. I would resolve and re resolve, but as often break them as I made them, and thus I found there was little confidence to be reposed in a vow or promise made in my own mind and known only to myself and God. I do not recollect that I was impressed at that time with the fact that I was committing the sin of lying to God, though I was convinced of this afterwards, and that to my sorrow; for I often felt if I died without religion and went to hell, the sin which would torment me most would be grieving the Spirit, violating vows, and breaking resolutions, which would constitute the sin of lying to the Holy Ghost I sometimes felt that I would rather appear


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before my Judge with all my other sins upon me than the grievious sin of quenching and grieving the Spirit, because I felt such awful forebodings on that subject. As time passed on, and as I was growing up to manhood, though under the medium size of young men of my age, I went to meeting nearly every Sabbath and would sometimes give a limited attention to the preaching of the Word, so that my slumbering convictions were often revived. About this period of my life, which was about the date of 1835 or 1836, there were considerable revivals of religion going on in different churches and among different denominations of christians. I would go to see some of those meetings to see and hear what was going on. I would sometimes almost get the consent of my mind to seek religion publicly by going to the mourner's bench, but something always intervened to prevent. I would sometimes see things occur in these meetings of which I disapproved, and I would make that a plea; at other times my heart appeared more hard and callous at the meeting that at other times when I was at home; and again I would cleave to my old opinion of being stricken down, and as such I could only attend those revival meetings as an observer. It was also about this period of my life that my mind was drawn out for the first time upon that mysterious subject in theology, the doctrine of election and reprobation. The difficulty seemed to be in making the foreknowledge of God harmonize with man's accountability; or, according to the more enlightened usage of those terms, to reconcile the sovereignty of God with the moral or


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free agency of man. The nearest church, where I usually attended preaching once a month, was a Baptist church, and they had for their pastor as aged man, who, though illiterate, was a very excellent preacher, noted for his piety and christian deportment. In doctrine he was considered high Calvinistic bordering on Antinomianism. I reverenced him as a teacher sent of God. Of course I knew nothing then of christian love, but I delighted to honor him. He sometimes went to my father's house, and my parents regarded him as a teacher sent of God, and taught their children to do the same. He preached there a number of years, before the times of which I am now speaking. He gained many friends and followers. He left before my connection with the church, though I have seen him frequently since and heard him preach a few times. I have heard recently that he is dead. I have no doubt about his religion; I believe he lived and died a christian, and should it be my happy lot to get to Heaven I expect to see that worthy father in Israel there. As before stated, at this period of my life those mysterious doctrines were agitating the minds of christians and people generally, more or less. Many received them, as taught and explained by Calvinistic divines, while others rejected them in part or entire. I was of the opinion at that time that ministers sent of God knew all things pertaining to their office. I had an idea that ordinary ministers called and sent of God were endowed with the same power and functions (miracles excepted.) possessed by the Apostles of Christ. I had no idea that there were any mysteries or difficulties


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in the Bible to a minister's mind, but that he understood the whole better than I did any little school-book that I had ever used. So when I heard any person say that the preacher taught a doctrine that was not true, I thought they must be very ignorant themselves or that they had dared to call in question the veracity of the preacher; for I believed that the preacher knew what the truth was whether he taught it or not. I Soon found that ministers were divided in their sentiments and opinions about this mysterious subject, and about many other doctrines contained in the Bible; and how was I to know who was right and who was wrong. All professed to be christians; all had the same Bible. The ministers who differed all professed to be called and sent by the same God to discharge the same duty and to fulfil the same design and purpose of their one great Master. I was therefore driven to the necessity of considering this subject for myself. I soon got it tangled up in my mind, and would have gladly untangled it if I had known how; but in trying to untangle it I got my mind and some of the broken threads of my subject tied together, so that when I would have gladly laid it down I was unable to do it because it seemed to be tied fast to my mind. I at length concluded that I would go to meeting and hear with good attention the old preacher's explanation, and as this was a favorite topic with him I had no doubt that he would enable me to untangle it at least so far as to enable me to loose my mind from it, for it had become very wearisome and burdensome to me. I went to the meeting, heard the good old man preach; he said a great many things


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about the foreknowledge and purposes of God, and as usual the doctrine of election was his favorite topic.

        I found at the close of the sermon my mind was more entangled than ever before but I attributed it to my weak and imperfect understanding more than to anything else. I thought I would be glad to talk with him about the matter but had neither confidence or resolution in itself to do so. In treating on this subject he had said that a man's good works did not forward him in religion, neither did his bad ones hinder him; but all depended upon the superabounding love of God shown us in Christ before the foundation of the world and that none could share this grace but the elect, or those given to Christ in the covenant of redemption. In this way he would extol the grace of God, but leave the subject lame in my dark and imperfect mind, in regard to man's accountability. I felt and believed that I was accountable to God for my conduct and that I should be judged and rewarded in the last day according to the deeds done in the body; but if a man's good works did not forward him, nor his bad ones hinder in religion, of course there was nothing that I could do to better my condition, or to alter my case in any way whatever. I thought if I could be certain that I understood his meaning clearly I would settle down in the doctrine of fate, and enter fully into the sentiment of thousands who say if I am to be saved I shall be saved and if I am to be lost I shall be lost, and attribute the whole concern to the foreknowledge or decree of God. But I felt conscious that I did not understand him correctly,


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for I remembered that he almost invariably concluded his sermons by exhorting sinners to repentance and faith. And although this appeared to my mind as a contradiction of what he had said in his preceeding remarks, yet I believed that by the light of religion he understood it clearly, and as I was in darkness, and had no spiritual discernment, therefore I could not understand it; but this did not remove the difficulty from my mind, for there were many who professed to be christians, and whose piety was undoubted, that differed as widely with the preacher on this subject as any of the world, and why was it that they could not understand it? But at last I came to the conclusion that the preacher understood his own business best, and that others had not enjoyed the same light on this subject that he had, and therefore they did not understand it clearly. I tried again to lay down the subject as too high for me, but was unable to do so from the fact that the threads of the subject were interwoven and tangled with the threads of my mind. About this time some of my companions and former associates made profession of religion. I knew some of them had been more wild and out-breaking in their habits than I had been, and why was it that they could get religion so soon, and apparently so easy, and I must grovel on in the dark without any prospect of obtaining it? I would sometimes think that this was an evidence that the doctrine of election and reprobation, as I understood it, was true: "For it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy." I


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would think he was one of the elect, therefore he is brought into the fold; I am one of the reprobates, as such I am left out. Then again I would think that my sins were of a more aggravating nature than theirs; they had sinned outwardly, I had sinned inwardly; their sins were open, mine concealed; but that difficult and tangled subject seemed to press upon my mind more or less daily. One day in midsummer, while I was hoeing corn, this subject came with considerable force to my mind, and I concluded that I would endeavor to examine it by simplification. I thus thought of myself, a poor, hard-hearted sinner, laboring and toiling with a load of guilt upon my mind, and no way to get it off; my lot appears to be a hard one, laboring and toiling all my days to support a life that I cannot enjoy, and after I have tugged through this life, with all its burdens and sorrows, lie down and die, and go to hell; but it is my lot - my destiny - and there is no way to avoid it. It has all come about in consequence of the foreknowledge, decrees and purposes of God; therefore this doctrine, as understood by myself, is true, notwithstanding all my feigned ignorance or efforts to evade it. There is no chance for me, so will make myself contented.

        I think about this time I indulged some hard thoughts about my Creator. I felt that I had had no part in bringing myself into the world, and to be compelled to live a sinner, die a sinner, and to go to hell a sinner, it was hard. While meditating on my awful condition, the impression was made on my


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mind that perhaps I did not understand this subject yet, and that if I would look at it again I would see it differently; so I concluded I would do so, as it could make my case no worse, if it made it no better. Now, said I, God does know all things, always has, and always will. I give into that sentiment heartily.

        Well, if He has all knowledge, He knew whether you would be born or not, and whether you would live to your present age or not, and knew the death that you would die, and of course whether you would be fit to go to heaven or not, and as such whether you would be saved or lost. Yet the mere fact of His knowing this does not determine it to be so, for you would have pursued the same course that you have pursued, even if it could have been unforeknown.

        I give into this also, and said let me work this rule of simplification a little further. Now, said I, God knows what I am doing here to-day, and the state of my mind is plain to Him. He knows whether I will work till night or stop short - whether I will finish this now or leave a few hills at the end. I wish I knew which way God knows it to be, then I would try to act differently, and see if foreknowledge has any restraint on my actions or not. I raised my hoe to cut up a sprig of grass near a stalk of corn, and the impression came into my mind with redoubled force: Now God doth know whether you will cut up that bunch of grass or let it stand where it is, and yet you have the physical power to do either, cut it up or let it stand; you can do as you will. I paused and considered, With my hoe suspended in the air for


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a few moments, in order to decide which I would do. I felt satisfied that I had full power and ability to do either way, and thought I wished I did know which way God knew I would act, so that I might try my ability to act differently. My motive for this was not to frustrate any of the designs or purposes of God in reference to His foreknowledge, but to try to harmonize the conflicting parts of this mysterious and perplexing subject, and to untangle it in my mind, so that I might lay it down.

        While I was thus standing, with my hoe suspended, to determine which I would do, cut it up or leave it standing, this thought rushed into my mind: Now, what is your duty - cut it up or let it stand? The answer was at hand - cut up the grass and let the corn grow. And as quick as thought another deep impression was made on my mind, which was this: Go on and do your duty, and leave the rest to God. I immediately felt relief; the subject vanished from my mind.

        I was thus enabled to lay it down, with the satisfactory evidence that the foreknowledge of God, be it what it might, imposed no restraints upon me so far as duty was concerned. And I have never felt any desire to take it up since.

        I was thus taught the truth and force of that passage of Scripture which says: "Secret things belong to God, but revealed things belong unto us and to our children forever."

        I also found that this simple incident in the history of my life removed a load from my mind, which all


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the metaphysical reasoning that I had ever heard, or anything else connected with that subject had ever been able to do. I have since learned that God often reveals to babes and sucklings what He sees fit to conceal from the wise and prudent, and thus perfects praise unto Himself.

CHAPTER III.

        Having laid down this subject, with no desire or intention of taking it up any more, my mind was exercised about my duty to myself and to God. I felt that I was a sinner, and without repentance I must perish in my sins. I had read in the New Testament that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, and that He by the grace of God had tasted death for every man; but how to avail myself of the benefits of the death of Christ I knew not. I would sometimes think that I was not sufficiently penitent; again I would think that my convictions were not of the right kind, and that I must break off from all my sins, of whatever nature they might be, whether they consisted in act, thought, or deed; thus I would resolve to reform my life in all these particulars, thinking perhaps in this way I might make some preparation on my part to receive the grace of God; But I soon found these resolutions miscarried; for they were broken as often as made. Thus I soon found that I was under the influence of a carnal mind, which is not


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subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be; I soon found that there was no dependence to be reposed in any of my resolves. During all this time I was using the utmost secrecy in keeping all these things to myself, not willing that any human being should know what was going on in my mind. I would sometimes think if I were away from all my associates and acquaintances I would be less embarrassed about keeping it concealed; for I felt that I needed instruction, and would have gladly sought it if it had not been for shame, or for fear that my associates would find it out, as they were my besetting sins. About this time I concluded that I would leave the neighborhood, and go a distance of some twenty miles on the other side of Cape Fear river, and attend a meeting that was to be held there. I would thus be away from all those outside influences which I felt were holding me back, and preventing me from seeking religion publicly. I went to the meeting with a determination to become a mourner. On my arrival there, I found that nearly all who were at the meeting were strangers to me. I thought I would have a favorable time. I went into the house and listened to preaching, with my mind made up to present myself as a seeker of religion at the close of the sermon; but when the sermon closed my heart was less affected than usual on such occasions. I felt that if I went to the mourner's bench, in cold blood, and with a hard heart, and could not shed tears, it would do me more harm than good, and more than all it would seem like tempting God; so I


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remained where I was as an outside observer. Many thoughts revolved through my mind during the meeting. I saw that my resolutions were falling through. I could resolve well but performed badly; indeed I began to see that the heart was deceitful and desperately wicked, and who can know it? I found as many difficulties in the way of my seeking religion among strangers as I had found in the midst of my associates and acquaintances. I stayed at the meeting two days and then started home feeling that I had undertaken something and was leaving without even attempting to perform it. I think that these things occurred in the latter part of the summer of 1837. Soon after this I started to school, as my father told me that he wanted me to go about three months more; and I must learn all I could as he never expected to send me to school any more after that. I was not in a very good state of mind to learn at school; but did the best I could under the circumstances. It has often appeared to me when reflecting on this period of my life that I was under the influence of two conflicting spirits, one good and the other evil. Sometimes I would find myself yielding to one and sometimes to the other - both spirits seemed to be striving for the mastery. When under the influence of the good spirit I could shed tears freely, feel tender, and thought that I desired to be a christian, above everything else on earth; and frequently found myself in going to, or from school, in deep and prayerful meditation about the subject of religion. While on the other hand I would find myself under the influence of evil, my


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mind would be filled with vain and sinful thoughts, my temper would become irritated, my passions aroused and I would often give vent to feelings and words which I looked upon as being wicked and sinful. I would sometimes think that it was needless for me to think about reforming my life or of amending my ways, for I had so often violated my vows, resolutions and promises that the thing appeared impossible.

        As it will be necessary for me to have reference to some dreams or visions in the course of this work, I will merely state in the outset that I place no great estimate on dreams in general or particular in the present age of the world. I am no interpreter of dreams, never have been, neither do I ever expect to be, yet I have always been, from the earliest period of my recollection, a great dreamer. On reflection I think I have found my dreams, in general, have indicated the state of my mind, that is, the nature of my dreams would be good or bad, pleasant or fearful, according to the exercises or state of my mind in my wakeful hours For several years during this period of my life I was the subject of some of the most terrific and awful dreams that I have ever heard related. I shall not attempt to relate them there in full. But believing in that Scripture passage which says "Let him that hath a dream tell a dream," I will say something about them as such and hope that all who may read this book will remember that they were dreams, and that I have told them as such.

        During my sleeping hours I was very often alarmed and greatly frightened at what I conceived to be the


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Devil, who was always after me. Repeatedly and at different times he appeared in all the various shapes and forms in which he is said to transform himself. Sometimes he would come in the shape of some hideous beast of prey, sometimes more like a mammoth dog, but more frequently like a giant of a negro, ragged and filthy, generally with a chain in his hand or somewhere about him. It mattered not in what form or shape he came I always knew him and understood his errand. He was after me, and many a hard race I have run in my dreams in trying to get away from him. I would sometimes become so tired and weary that I would faintly sink to the ground. On one occasion I was thus running with might and main trying to get to my father's house, thinking if I could get to my parents they would plead, for me and that my life might be spared a little longer. I succeeded in getting near the house, though the Devil gained on me, and was near at my heels. I saw my father and mother come out of the house; they turned their backs on me and walked away very fast, but my mother turned her head and looked at me over her shoulder with a countenance filled with despair. O! that look; it is still fresh in memory.

        On another similar occasion I succeeded in getting my mother to plead for me, but the Devil told her that it would do no good, but would rather make the worse for me, even if he should spare my life a little longer, for that I would grow worse and worse the longer I lived, and that his title to me was good any way. My mother shed tears, and said she hated to see me drawn


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away from her at that time and hoped that I would do better. My mother and the Devil agreed to refer the matter to me; said that I might have my choice, go or stay longer, the Devil persisting all the while that it would only make my case worse if I chose to stay. But of course I chose to put off the evil day as long as possible, and as the Devil walked off he exultantly remarked that it would do no good for me to stay here any longer, but it made no difference with him, as he was good for me any how.

        At another time I dreamed that he came in the shape of some hideous beast, took me upon his back and trotted off with me towards his horrible den, which I found to be an awful chasm in the side of a mountain or very steep hill. He carried me to the entrance of his den. When he opened the door I saw the thick clouds of smoke issuing from the den through the door and ascending upwards. I heard the heart rending shrieks of the damned, and as he went in, leaving me at the door, I thought he had gone down to fix my place. I awoke and behold it was a dream.

        On this occasion, as well as in almost every other dream, when things were rapidly hastening to a crisis, I awoke and was pleased to find that it was not a reality, though the sufferings of my mind were great while it was going on. I do not recollect that I had many pleasant dreams during the period of five years, which includes that time of my life which I spent while under conviction for sin. I was frequently attacked by dogs, which bit and mangled me, or by snakes and serpents of enormous size. I seemed to have no power


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over the Devil or any other enemy but I was weak and easily overpowered by everything.

        A few times I dreamed of the judgment day, always unprepared and on one occasion the books were opened and the Book of Life was searched and my name was not there. I stood with awful feelings, expecting soon to hear my doom, "Depart ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels." How glad I was when I awoke and found it was a dream.

        Perhaps some who may read this book may wonder why I have never spoken more freely about my dreams. I will here give some of my reasons: At the period of my life when these dreams were passing through my mind I frequently heard people both young and old telling their dreams, but my dreams were so different from theirs and such bad ones too that I was unwilling to tell them. Another reason why I kept them to myself was because I heard some old people say that the more a person told his dreams the more he would have them, and I desired no more of the sort that I had. Thus I kept them to myself while they were passing I have since refrained from speaking much about them for the reason that I did not repose much confidence in dreams, and for the further reason that I was unable to interpret them myself and never found any person that could.

        In making the foregoing statement about dreams in general, and some of mine in particular, I have tried to state facts as they occurred to my mind. Those dreams passed through my mind some thirty years ago. They are still fresh in memory. I send them


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forth as dreams, hope you will receive them as such, and make the best of them you can. If there be any good connected with them I owe it to God; if there be anything bad I must take it to myself, and as such I drop the subject for the present.

CHAPTER IV.

        As before remarked, I was at this period of my life going to school five days in the week and as I thought it would be the last term in which I should ever go to school, I endeavored to learn all I could in such studies as would be most useful to me as a farmer's boy. I did sometimes however become so much concerned about my spiritual condition that my mind became incapacitated for my school studies. I recollect, on one occasion, I went in my wanderings to a grave- yard near by the school-house in which lay several persons with whom I had once been acquainted; especially the remains of one aged man had recently been deposited there as his resting place. I had been intimately acquainted with that old man from my first recollection. He always seemed to have something like filial affection for me, and had always appeared glad to see me. He was a very pious man, and I have no doubt a true christian. I went to his grave, looked on the mound of earth that covered his mortal remains, while many thoughts revolved through


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my troubled breast. I thought if I were a christian I would gladly go to my grave to be relieved of my trouble; but my case was this: unfit to die and unprepared to enjoy life. While musing around this silent and solemn place this thought came into my mind, I wonder if the spirit of this good old man sees me or knows what I am doing, if so he must know something of the state of my mind, and it seemed if that were a fact he must sympathize with me. I had not yet learned that sorrow could not enter Heaven. I soon found my eyes suffused in tears and walked away with a sorrowful heart. About this time of my life I would go to preaching somewhere nearly every Sabbath but did not always give attention to the sermon for fear that I would become so much affected, that I should be unprepared to spend a pleasant evening with my associates. Revivals of religion were still going on, and many of the young people of the neighborhood were giving into these things. Among others were my two oldest sisters. They had now become public mourners. I would sometimes think that they had been over-persuaded, and I seemed to fear that they were not under conviction, as they had not been stricken down helpless; for I was still under that delusion.

        About this time of my life I was under great temptations to end my earthly existence, from the fact that I saw no prospect of my ever getting any better, and feeling that I was constantly growing worse. My sins rose up before me like mountains; my .broken


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vows and promises seemed to stare me in the face; memory recalled the many instances in which I had endeavored to quench, grieve, and stifle the workings of the Spirit of God upon my heart; conscience also drew up the bill of indictment and I found myself a guilty and condemned sinner at the tribunal of God, and felt that I was justly exposed to his wrath. I felt a desire to escape, but knew not how, for I had not as yet opened the state of my mind to any human being and the weight of my load of sin and guilt became so heavy that I felt my burden was more than I could bear. I would sometimes think if I would let it be known to some christian people, and tell them the state of my mind, I would find some relief; and I have since become satisfied that if I had pursued that course it would have been better for me.

        On one occasion I resolved to try the experiment; I had an uncle and aunt living near by the place where I was going to school. They were both pious, and as I believed warm-hearted christians. I therefore concluded to go and spend a night with them, and as they were full of religion they would be apt to say something to me upon that subject, which would give me a favorable opportunity to tell them the state of my mind. I went and spent a night with them, and we talked about a great many things; and among other things, my uncle spoke of the happy meetings which had been and were still going on in almost every part of our country. He spoke of having been present at some of those meetings and the happy


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seasons of refreshing grace showered down upon christians, and of the power of God which was displayed in the conviction and conversion of sinners, the many converts, &c. I would think, now is my time to open the state of my mind and tell my feelings, but it would seem if I made the attempt I should be choked, so I kept the subject and the burden wrapped up and concealed in my own breast. My uncle said to me "there will be a camp meeting at Buckhorn in the course of a week or two and I intend going for I believe we shall have a good meeting," and asked me if I was not going. I told him that I thought I would. "Yes, said he, I want your two sisters to go, and you must go with them, for I think we shall have a glorious meeting." My heart seemed to flutter within my breast; I desired to speak and tell my feelings but did not, only consenting to go to the meeting. I left my uncle's house next morning and returned to school with an accusing conscience for having violated and broken another promise.

        Time rolled on, days and nights passed away in rapid succession, and I with a heavy load of guilt upon my heart, my mind filled with the recollection of broken vows and promises, would try to pursue my studies at school, and often think of the camp meeting, which was soon to come on. I would sometimes think of making another vow to seek religion at that meeting; but I had violated so many solemn promises, made in my own mind, and known only to God and myself, that I was fearful to make another promise, for fear that I would break that also. Indeed the


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burden of broken vows had become so heavy that I did not feel that I could bear up under the weight of many more. I would sometimes think that I would go to the meeting without any previous thought or arrangement of mind, in regard to the course which I would pursue when I got there, but that did not suit me, and I would think of the meeting, and of my going to it, and the course which I would pursue, when I should get there, in spite of all that I could do to avoid it.

        At length I made up my mind in regard to the course which I would pursue at the camp-meeting. I had a cousin who lived near the camp-ground, and who was about my age. He was a member of the Methodist Society, and appeared very pious. So I concluded, when I should arrive there, I would make myself known to him, and associate with him during my stay at the meeting, believing that he would be ready and willing at all times to render me any assistance which I might need, and he able to give, for I never doubted that he would do me all the good he could, and as little harm as possible. I also thought I would feel less embarrassed to open my mind to him than to almost any other person; and as I had determined to go there to seek religion, I desired to associate with one in whom I could at all times confide.

        The morning arrived when my two sisters and myself were to start to the meeting. New difficulties seemed to crowd upon me. I had some trouble in finding our horses, as they had left the pasture. I thought that was an unfavorable omen, as it indicated to my mind that Providence was against me, otherwise


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the horses would have been in their proper place. But as I was not long in finding them, we made haste and started in due time, but after traveling something over half the distance to the meeting I heard sad news. We met up with some person who told us that my cousin, with whom I was going to associate at the meeting, was dead, and I think he was to be buried that day. My feelings on hearing this news were indescribable. It seemed that all my plans were falling through. All my prospects for the better seemed to be blasted, and my poor heart seemed to sink within me. The thought soon came to my mind that he was prepared to go; but suppose it had been me instead of him, how dreadful would have been my condition! I felt that he had gone to rest, to live with God in glory, but if it had been me I should have gone to hell, and been venting my fruitless cries where no mercy could ever come. I also began to think that time was getting short with me, and that my case was rapidly hastening to a crisis. I felt that I desired religion above everything else, and was willing to receive it on any terms that God would be pleased to grant it; but how to obtain it I knew not. Indeed, it seemed to me that Providence was frowning upon me, for all my plans were failing before the time arrived for me to put them into execution. Something, however, must be done, and done soon, or I should be unable to survive. I was conscious of the fact that there were others who would be at the meeting, and who could and would be able and willing to do as much for me as my dear cousin could have done if he had


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not died. But I could not feel so free and open with them as I could have done with him. But the crisis was approaching, and I must take things as I found them. Delay would no longer do. I therefore could not do any better than to resolve again, though I feared it would be broken, like all my previous resolutions on the subject of religion; but as life or death seemed to be involved in my decision, I therefore determined in my own mind to present myself at the mourners' bench at the first opportunity.

        We arrived at the camp-ground just in time to hear the 11 o'clock or noon sermon. There was a large concourse of people present, and as usual, there were a great many wagons and vehicles standing in the outskirts of the encampment, and numerous tents, both of wood and cloth, arranged in regular style. I took a seat in the midst of the congregation, some distance from the preacher's stand, though near enough to hear. My feelings, during the sermon, were various and changeable. Sometimes I would feel tender, at other times my heart seemed hard and cold. There were some moments during the sermon when I felt if the invitation could be given then for anxious souls to come forward, I would be among them. I finally concluded, when the invitation should be given at the close of the sermon, I would go anyhow. I was not aware at that time of the desperate struggle I was then about to have with the powers of darkness. The battle was fierce, but not of long duration. The sermon closed, the invitation was given, but I did not go. My heart just at that moment felt so hard, and


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my eyes so dry, that I felt if I went in such a frame as was then upon me I should sin presumptuously. Many, however, did go from all parts of the congregation. I looked on and listened to their mournings, lamentations and prayers till I wished myself among them; but I was not there. I soon became so wretched and miserable that I left the crowd, and went some three-quarters of a mile to look after our horses. As I left the camp-ground I could hear the different sounds which were usual on such occasions. Some were shouting, while prayer and praise were being constantly offered up to God. It seemed there was a suitable place for everybody but me; for even the hardhearted and careless seemed delighted. But I suppose they cared for none of those things.

        I found our horses doing well. They seemed so well satisfied that I would have willingly changed conditions with them. I started back to the encampment, for I knew not what to do. I left the road and went through an old field overgrown with thick pine. I thought I would be glad to see a ghost - or even the devil himself, if it would be the means of altering my wretched feelings, and of helping me to seek religion; but I saw nothing but the waving boughs of the young pines, which seemed to bespeak the praise of God. I returned to the road, and was soon nearing the encampment. I had a long hill to ascend, at the top of which was the camp ground. My burden was so heavy that I became weary, and felt as if I could hardly go.

        As I drew near the encampment, at the top of the


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hill, I saw two men, with whom I was acquainted, in close conversation. They seemed wonderfully pleased at something, though I knew not what; and as neither of them was a professor of religion, I murmured in my own mind, because I was not permitted to feel and appear as they did. I felt the temptation, so strong in my mind, that I resolved to throw away my strange and delusive feelings, and go up and join them in their conversation. I started to them but only advanced a few steps, before the impression came into my mind that they would consider me as an intruder, and that I should be forcing myself where I was not wanted. This impression was so strong in my mind that I halted, and stood stock still, till one of them, Who, by the way, was my own dear cousin, took notice of my singular conduct, and spoke to me in a friendly way, inviting me to come up and join them in their conversation, reminding me that they were not on secrets. I now thought I can go without any difficulty; I started, but only got about half way to them when the impression came into my mind, with redoubled force, that he had only invited me, through courtesy, to join them in their conversation, but in reality neither of them wanted my presence. I halted again, under the weight of this last impression, and just at that moment the horn sounded-for evening services. A man, with whom I was acquainted, and who was also an efficient member of the church, was hastening to the stand; he passed just between me and my two friends in conversation; and by some means, I know not what, I found myself following close at his heels.


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When he arrived at the altar, he went in, and I took seat as near as I could get to the altar. I now determined to give good attention to the sermon, and at the close I would be among the first to go to the altar as a seeker of religion. The man who preached that night appeared quite young though full of zeal; his text was, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation; that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." The preacher spoke of the great salvation, wrought out by Christ, of the faithfulness of that saying, and proved it by many witnesses, some who had sealed their testimony with their blood, and others who were then living witnesses, and they all united in saying it is worthy of all acceptation. Upon the whole I thought he handled his subject well and preached a great sermon. In his closing remarks, he spoke of the great sin and danger of neglecting this great salvation, and in illustrating this truth he had reference to some cases in scripture, and to other incidents in human life. The sermon was heart-searching and soul-stirring to me. I felt that I was a great, very great sinner, and but for Paul's closing remark to the text, "Of whom I am chief," I should have despaired. This seemed to be my only plea, Jesus is able to save even the chief of sinners. I now thought I would rush into the altar at the first invitation and ask every body to pray for me; but to my surprise when the invitation was given I did not go. Some strange and unaccountable feeling passed over me and through me; I have since thought it must have been the devil's death struggle to keep me back from Christ.


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I felt so bad that I sat with my head hung down like a bullrush, and could not so much as raise my eyes towards Heaven but only smite upon my breast and say God be merciful to me a sinner. I now thought of the deceitfulness of the heart, and the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and wished myself at the altar, but was not there. While I was thus meditating on my ruined condition, some kind friend came to me and said: "My friend, don't you want religion?" I made no reply, my heart was too heavy, but I rose up when he said to me: "Come, go with us, we will endeavor to do thee good, for the Lord hath spoken well concerning this way." I could not contain my feelings any longer. I burst out into a loud cry, and was willing to go anywhere upon God's earth if it would be a means of bettering my lost condition. This friend led me into the altar, and I am sure he could not be more willing to do so than I was to go. He prepared a place for me to kneel by a seat and gave me some good advice by way of encouragement. Telling me to confess my sins to God and pray for his pardoning grace; to seek him with all my heart, for in the very day and hour I should do that He would be fond of me, &c. My good friend then left me for a short time, as I suppose to meditate on what he had said to me. My feelings soon became more calm, and I will here give as near as I can the exercises of my mind, at this important period of my life. The first thought, as well as I recollect, that came to my mind, was this: what have you come here for? My answer was to seek the salvation of my soul, and I would be glad to know what


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the Lord would have me to do. The next question was, are you willing to give up all for religion; the world with its pleasures and allurements, and all your sins, and vain amusements; in short, are you willing to deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ wherever He may call you to go for religion. I paused in my mind, before giving an answer, for fear that my poor, treacherous heart might deceive me as it had so often done before, when I thought of this passage of Scripture: "What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul; or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul." I then felt that by the help of the Lord I could do it. Then I saw in imagination my associates and companions in sin standing near by me, and I thought they looked as if they were concerned about me and wished to get me away from the place which I then occupied. The question was now proposed to my mind, can you forsake these for religion? I answered yes, if they will not go with me to Heaven, I am determined not to go with them to hell. They vanished from my mind in an instant and I saw them no more on that occasion. Then my mind seemed to take a more extensive view of the world than it had ever done before, indeed I have often said it was like the fool's eyes, wandering to the ends of the earth. The last question was now proposed, which was this, are you willing to give up the world with all of its glory; its pomp, its pleasures its wealth, its honors, and be a meek and humble follower of Christ for religion? I replied, yes, I am willing to be anything, to do anything, to suffer anything for


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the sake of religion. Only save my soul and I will submit to anything. And just here, as unexpected to me as anything could be, I lost my burden - my burden of guilt and sin, which I had carried for five long years, I mean from the time I was first struck under conviction. I was still kneeling at my seat where my good friend had left me. I did not believe it was religion but thought it was a token for good; it rolled off so easy, I knew not how, it seemed as if a gentle breeze of air had blown through my breast, and with a gentle hand had brushed my load of sin away.

        Now, I had been at the mourners' bench but a very short time - not as long, I suppose, as it has taken me to write the account of it - and as I had always considered the travail of a soul from nature to grace to commence with the public or outward sign, my travail had been too short to obtain religion; and more than that, I had not seen heaven or hell, and I had heard some say that they had seen both places, and I, of course, expected to see my Saviour, and hear Him say, arise, go in peace; thy sins, which are many, are all forgiven thee. But as none of these things had taken place with me, I could only consider what had taken place with me as only a token for good, only to inspire hope in me to persevere. I knew also that I was at a Methodist camp-meeting, and I feared they would discover some change in the exercise of my mind, from the fact that I could not pray, God be merciful to me, a sinner; Lord save a soul condemned to die, as I had done; for the weight of guilt and sin was gone. And when I would try to pray I would find myself


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laughing. So as I was fearful they would pronounce me a convert before I was satisfied with myself, I crawled under the bench where I had been kneeling, in order that they might not notice me so closely. But I did not remain there long, for my uncle, to whom I had gone on a former occasion to disclose the state of my mind, but failed to do it, was there, and had just learned that I was in the altar of prayer. He sought diligently for me, till he found me under the bench. He took great pains in getting me from under the bench, placed my head in his lap, and began to rejoice over me, that I had come to the conclusion to seek religion; gave much good advice, and told me to pray to God for renewing grace. After talking to me for a few moments, by way of encouragement I suppose, he discovered that I was not praying as he thought a true penitent should pray. My good friend, or some other good brother, said to my uncle: "Do you know that young man?" My uncle replied: "Yes; he is a nephew of mine." "Well," said my friend, "let him be whom he may, he has got religion." I wished he had kept that word back, for I was not satisfied, because I had not seen visions or heard sounds or voices from heaven.

        My uncle then began to notice me very closely, to see what was the nature of my prayer, and soon began to interrogate me on the subject of religion. He said: "You have got religion now haven't you?" I made no reply. He asked me again, and I replied that I was not satisfied. He then asked me my reason for not being satisfied, when I replied by saying it was


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too soon. He told me that God's works were not like man's works; that God only had to speak the word and the work was done; that God could convert a soul in an hour or a minute - whenever the heart was prepared, as in a month or year.

        Just at this instant my aunt, the wife of my uncle, came to me shouting and praising God for what He had done for her soul, and for what He was now doing for the souls of her people. I rose up and commenced shouting and praising God aloud; and the next thing I remember I was going over the altar, embracing in my arms christians and ministers, in token of my love to God and love to them. I thus went on shouting and praising God, till I was exhausted. I never saw before such beautiful faces. It appeared to me that everybody was happy - even the trees in the grove seemed to speak the glory of God, and the leaves in the trees seemed to speak His praise. I felt that I was heaven-born and heaven bound. I could not believe that I ever should grieve, or that I ever should suffer again.

        But how changeable are our feelings, and how little did I then know of the temptations and trials of the christian; for early next morning, as the sun was just rising, I walked out of the tent where I had been sleeping, and looking over the grove and seeing several persons whom I had seen over night, none of these things, thought I, look so beautiful as they did last night, neither do I feel that ecstasy and thrill of joy which I imagined I felt then. I began to doubt and fear that I had missed the substance and caught the


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shadow, and therefore was deceived. I was determined not to rest there; if I was deceived I desired to know it, and know it soon, in order that I might set about seeking religion again.

        I left the encampment, went some distance in the woods, and made my way to a large white oak tree. When I arrived there, I fell on my knees and commenced trying to pray to God to show me what I was and where I stood, and if deceived, to undeceive me; but I had spoken only a few words, when it seemed that the Holy Ghost came down in love, and testified to my mind that I was a child of God. I then thought I would never doubt again.

        I returned to the camp-ground feeling so light that it seemed I only softly touched the ground.

        During that day I succeeded in getting the consent of several of my acquaintances to go into the altar and seek religion. I felt very certain if I could get them to go there they would be converted, and that soon. I found, however, it was not so easy to get them out christians as it was to get them in sinners, for some of them continued mourners for years.

        I had one sister who professed religion at the same meeting.

        We stayed at the meeting three or four days, and then left for home. Our parents had heard of the conversion of my sister and myself, and I doubt not they felt glad, but neither of them were professors, as I know of.


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CHAPTER V.

        In a few days after I got home, I fell into doubting castle, and many a hard struggle I had with the tempter before I found relief. My doubts and fears were so great that I was bordering on despair. I would repair to the woods and other secret places to make known my request to God, but it seemed to me that the heavens were sealed against me, and that God's ears were deaf to my prayers, as it was more than a week before I found relief. My mother became somewhat alarmed at my situation, and feared that my uneasiness of mind would result in something serious. She sought an opportunity to talk with me on the subject. She said that all christians had doubts. "Yes," said I, "but not such as mine, for I am deceived, and I want to seek religion again." She replied that she had heard many persons relate their experiences, and that they had all been troubled with doubts and fears, and therefore she hoped I would not go crazy on the subject of religion. I knew she felt deeply concerned about me, but I felt no relief in mind from anything she had said to me. The time rolled on, when brother Dowd was to preach at Holly Springs. I determined to go, and see if I could not find some relief there. I attended meeting Saturday and Sunday without any material change in my feelings.

        As I was going home on Sunday evening, riding alone, my mind in prayerful meditation, I decided


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the question. I believed that I had been deluded. I had made a great profession, but had deceived myself and all who saw and heard me. I resolved to return to the meeting at Holly Springs next day, and present myself at the mourners' bench, and seek religion in good earnest. My mind was somewhat relieved at this decision, for I now had a plain course to pursue, and I had strong hopes that I would yet obtain religion during this time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.

        When I arrived at home my mother, as usual, wanted to know how I was getting on, and whether I had become satisfied or not. I told her that I wanted to go back to the meeting next day, and also what I intended to do. She did not object, but I thought she did not heartily approve of my course. My father said he wanted me to stay at home on Monday, as he had some particular work for me to do that day, and said I might go on Tuesday and stay longer if the meeting continued. Of course I consented, but had much rather gone on Monday.

        Tuesday morning I started to meeting, fixed in my determination to go to the mourners' bench that day. I continued in this notion till I arrived within a short distance of the meeting-house. Here I overtook some of my former associates, and learned of them that on the day before there was a great outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord, and several had professed religion, and among others, some of my former associates. On hearing this news, my feelings changed in an instant. My heart was overflowing with joy, I could scarcely


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refrain from shouting aloud. I had no doubts about my religion now. And as to my going to the mourners' bench, there was no use, for I had nothing on my own account to mourn for. I then concluded that I would go in the house, and seat myself as conveniently as I could and pay good attention to preaching.

        Brother Dowd preached one of the most heart-searching and soul-stirring sermons that I ever heard. I had made up my mind never to shout again if I could help it. I thought if I should ever be compelled to shout by an irresistible power, I could then know that I had religion, and never doubt again. Before the sermon was ended there was a great excitement in the house. Sinners were crying out, mourners praying aloud, and many christians were rejoicing. My own heart was filled with joy inexpressible and full of glory. I wanted to shout, glory to God for dying love and redeeming grace. I felt that I ought to shout, but I had vowed never to shout again if I could avoid it. So I was occupied in striving to curb down and suppress my feelings; during this struggle I felt that I was raised some eighteen inches above my seat, and was floating in the air like a feather. I shook and trembled like a leaf. This state of feeling lasted only a few minutes, and after it passed off I settled down on my seat, and the state of my mind became awful. I felt hard-hearted, cold and indifferent. It seemed to me that I had done wrong. I had quenched the Spirit; it had taken its flight, I feared never to return to me again. The devil whispered and said that I had


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committed the unpardonable sin, and I feared that it was even so. I repented of my conduct in striving against the Spirit.

        I made another vow, and that was if the good Spirit should ever return to me again, I would act out whatever the Spirit might work within. From that time till I joined the church, my feelings were fluctuating. I was often in an ecstasy of joy, shouting and praising God; and at other times greatly depressed in spirit, and filled with doubts and fears. As I was thus trying to live a christian life by frames and feelings, I had but a limited idea of living by faith. In reference to this period of my life, I have often said, I was always either doubting or shouting.

        In the latter part of this year 1837, in connection with many others, I united with the church at Shady Grove, Wake county, N.C. Two of my sisters joined at the same time, and we were all baptized by brother P.W. Dowd.

        After being thus reunited with the church by experience and baptism, I felt myself under the most solemn obligation, both- to my God and to my brethren, for my religious deportment. I soon resolved, in my own mind, the course which I would pursue. I felt that it was my duty, as a servant of God and a member of His household, to labor in His vineyard according to my ability. I was conscious that the Lord never called any into His vineyard to idle or loiter, but that it was the duty of all to labor in that part of the vineyard where Providence assigned them,


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and that every one should use his talents or abilities in that sphere in which he would be likely to accomplish most good.

        I had no idea of trying to preach the Gospel at that time, but felt it to be my duty, and the duty of every member of the church, to do all we could for the glory of God and the good of souls. I made up my mind that I would be strict in my attendance upon the public ordinances of religion, and ever be ready to assist in the support of the pastor, and in defraying the expenses of the church, according to my ability.

        The year 1838 found me a member of the church. P.W. Dowd was our beloved pastor. I lived with my father this year, and labored on the farm. I was always glad when the time come to go to the church meeting. I was pleased to meet my brethren at the place appointed for the worship of God, especially my dear pastor and my younger brethren, who came into the church at the time I did. Thus I was glad when it was said unto me, "Let us go up to the house of the Lord, and let us exalt His name together."

        It was during this year I began to have some idea of living by faith. My feelings were not so fluctuating as they had been. Religion seemed to become more firm and fixed in my mind, and consisted more in a living and abiding principle in the soul than in frames and feelings.

        It was during this year that brother Jesse Howell, Jr., commenced exercising in public by way of preaching. He was a member of the same church with myself and a zealous, warm-hearted christian. He held


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a great many meetings in private houses in the neighborhood, and great good seemed to result from the same. I often went to his meetings, and was much revived in my own mind, though I did not take part in any of the public exercises, except singing, as yet. As I had a strong voice, and would sing with animation - or for some other reason-brother Howell was of opinion that I had a gift for public prayer. There were other older brethren of the same opinion. They began to speak to me on the subject. I was very diffident and timid, and thought it a little strange that they should single me out from the rest of my young brethren and urge me to take up the cross.

        At that time I did not think that it was any more my duty to pray in public than it was the duty of other young brethren. I was firm in my belief, that it was the duty of all to do something; and that every one should engage in that part of the work for which he was best qualified. But, as this subject was often brought to bear on my mind with some weight, I thought if I had the ability I would willingly bear the cross. But why should I commence public prayer so soon, when there were many who had grown old in the church, and who had never been heard to pray in public; I did not feel that I had any special gift or calling, but only the general call to labor in the vineyard. I finally concluded that it was the duty of every male member of the church to exercise the gift of prayer in public, if he had the ability to do so, without injuring the cause of Christ. I was not disposed to push myself forward in this duty, but felt a willingness


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to make a trial whenever a favorable opportunity presented itself, and I should be called on to do so.

        About this time I attended one of brother Howell's meetings. It seemed to me that he had some idea of what had been going on in my mind, for he took me aside privately, before he commenced the exercises of the evening, and told me that I must help him, and as an inducement for me to make the attempt, he said: "After I get through with my discourse I will call on you to pray, and if you should fail for want of matter and form, I will take up the prayer and go through with it." With diffidence I consented to make my first effort. At the proper time I was called on to pray. I commenced; soon became excited in my feelings; my zeal outrun my judgment; many in the congregation seemed to be shocked; some shouted aloud and others cried. I succeeded in winding up my prayer with a shout.

        We had quite an interesting meeting that night. I felt relieved from the fact that I had endeavored to discharge a duty which I believed to be of general obligation. But afterwards on reflection, I was not so well satisfied about the course which I had pursued. I had now opened a gap in my history which I feared I would not be able to keep up. I would have no objection to trying to keep it up, provided I could always have due notice given, but to think of the probability of my being taken on surprise at every meeting which I might attend, of being called on to pray here and there, and everywhere, I felt conscious that I should not be able to command variety, form and


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matter sufficient to go through with it. And again I would think of winding up my prayer with a shout; and of praying with the spirit and not the understanding. I thought it might answer a few times from a new beginner, but if repeated too often it would wear down and become disgusting; and as such injure the cause of religion. I would sometimes wish it was not known that I had ever attempted to pray in public. But I was satisfied the fact would be known as far as I was known myself.

        About one week after my first attempt to make public prayer, I was at preaching on the Sabbath day. The house was crowded with people. I took a seat somewhere in the back part. The minister preached a very feeling and pathetic discourse. After he got through his sermon he gave an invitation to any and all to come forward who desired an interest in the prayers of the people of God. Several came forward. This seemed to animate the soul of the old preacher; he met them on the floor, and exhorted them and the congregation at large till his strength failed. He then began to call on his brethren who sat near him one after another to lead in prayer; they all declined with a shake of the head. My poor heart began to flutter. I thought they ought to have consented to try, but they did not. I wished that I was more experienced, then I would volunteer my poor efforts; but I was too young and inexperienced to do that; and more than all, it was not a Baptist meeting; but in spite of all my reasoning I did sympathize with the old man, and felt anxious to assist him. The old minister rose up


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once more and said: "Is it possible that there is not one in this congregation who is willing to help me pray for these mourners?"

        No one spoke. Just at that moment I saw a sister step to the preacher and whisper in his ear. He instantly turned his face towards me, and called me by name, and asked me if I would not help him pray for those mourners. I rose up and started to him and said, "I will try." My feelings were excited; I pitched my voice entirely too high; I prayed aloud, with spirit and animation; but the understanding was overpowered. As it was on my first attempt so it was now. There was a great shout and much crying, and I wound up my prayer as before, by shouting.

        After this I began to think more maturely about the course which I had now undertaken to pursue, and as I had commenced, I had no inclination to turn back or come short. I therefore thought I would turn my attention to the subject of prayer, and endeavor to cultivate both the spirit and form, in hopes that I might be able to wind up my next without a shout from me. I had no idea that my gift extended any further than that of praying in public. I called to mind several in the churches around who exercised in this way, and I made them my patterns I soon wore off my diffidence, and was willing to take up the cross and bear it as a fellow-helper to the truth. My brethren, unlike myself on this subject, now began to urge me to go a step further. They would urge me to give a word of exhortation. I would decline, by saying, "I have gone to the extent of my gift." Some


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of them would urge me strenuously, and when I would continue to refuse they would bluff me off by saying: "Remember Jonah who fled from the Lord." Or by saying: "Don't resist the Spirit of the Lord, for we believe you will have to preach yet."

        Of course I though differently, and believed them to be mistaken. It is true I would sometimes think I would rather be a preacher than any other man, more especially if I could preach like those who were wielding the sword of the Spirit with a masterly hand. But that was a calling too high for me and I thought that I had none of the essential qualifications of minister of the Gospel. I had neither the mental or acquired ability. And above all I felt conscious that I had not as yet received what I then conceived to be the internal call.

        I was now in my twenty-second year it behooved me to begin to think and set for myself in regard to my duty to my God to myself and to society. In my non-age I had a father to provide for my temporal wants. I must now set out upon the rough sea of life and steer my own boat.

        This was a very trying time in my history. I was poor, but had come by it honestly. I had intended it from my parents. My education was very limited but as good as my parents were able to give me. My constitution was feeble. I would think of trying to get my living by farming, but the lands were poor and no one to labor but myself, and I would become discouraged. Again, I would think of spending what little I had of this world's goods in trying to obtain


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an education and then teach school for a living; but I was now getting too old to go to school. My friends would advise me, and their advice was as various as the workings of my own mind.

        I think it was about this period of my life that I heard a sermon preached from this text: "In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths."

        I felt a desire to submit my case to the will of the Lord. but knew not how. I prayed to the Lord to direct me in all my movements. I knew not then, but think I know now, how the providential hand of God directed me.

CHAPTER VI.

        It was during this year that brother Dowd conceived the idea of getting up a school at his own home for the purpose of educating young men for usefulness. Brother Dowd's explanation of his object to me was this: "I have sought out a number of young men, mostly members of the different churches under my pastoral care, whom I desire to go to school and prepare themselves to be useful members of society, hoping that some of them may, after awhile, become ministers of the Gospel."

        I was reminded of the fact that I was one of that number and urged upon by brother Dowd to go to school Great difficulties rose up in my way. The


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cost of board and tuition; the time required to accomplish the object. And in spite of all that I could say, or brother Dowd either, my companions and friends would have their own opinion, that I was going to school to learn to preach. I knew that was not my object, yet I dreaded the reproach which that impression would bring upon me.

        Notwithstanding all those difficulties, I made up, my mind to go to school. Brother Dowd failed to make up his school; the reason assigned was that the young men preferred getting married to going to school Only two were willing to make the sacrifice. I had made my arrangements to go, and was much disappointed when I learned the result. I knew not what course to pursue, but concluded that I would go and consult brother Dowd as to what I had best do. He advised me to go to school at all hazards, and promised to assist me in making arrangements to do so. He said that brother George W. Thompson was teaching school at an academy in the district of Wake Forest, and that he was very certain that I could get in as a student. He also promised to ascertain in a few days and let me know. The arrangement was made, and I was to start to school in February, 1839. Many of my friends and relatives dissuaded me, and feared that I would regret it when too late. I have no doubt as to the purity of their motives. They were illiterate men, and knew not the advantage of an education. One good brother, a deacon of' the church, too, advised me to read my Bible, and exercise in prayer and exhortation, believing, as he said.


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that to be the best course for me to pursue. He said that he was fearful education would cool down or blunt my zeal, and thus injure my usefulness. I told him that I had no idea of preaching or trying to preach. He asked me if I should feel it my duty to try to preach if I would not yield to my convictions. I told him that I would yield to a sense of duty on that or any other subject; but that if I should ever feel it to be my duty to preach I should greatly need an education, and had no idea that I should ever regret going to school if I should ever be called to preach.

        I soon made my arrangements to leave my father's house to go to school. I had told my father that I desired what little he was able to give me to be given in that way. I had a fine mare which my father had given me. I told him to sell her and pay my board and tuition for the first ten months' schooling, which was done.

        I had never left home but for a few days at a time, and I found it hard to cut loose from those endearing ties which bind kindred hearts together. But I must now leave my kindred and friends, and go to a strange neighborhood, some thirty-five or forty miles from home, to commence the study of my native language, for I knew nothing of English grammar, history, or geography And as to definition, I had never studied it.

        I was soon introduced to brother Thompson, and became a pupil in his school. I boarded with John M. Fleming, Esq., of Wake. In him and his excellent wife I found two good and steady friends They


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treated me like a father and mother. I never shall forget their kindness to me while memory is retained.

        I have learned that Mr. Fleming died some few years ago. I hope and pray that the Lord will be a husband to his dear companion and give her grace to bear up under all her bereavements; and may his surviving children make their father's God their God; and may they find Him a stronghold in the day of trouble and a very present help in every time of need.

        I feel a delicacy in speaking much about my worthy preceptor, George W. Thompson. Nothing that I can say will add much to his worthy name and character. He is well known as a truly christian gentleman. As a teacher of youth, his name stood high. He has had the pleasure and satisfaction of seeing many of his former students promoted to stations of honor and several have become ministers of the Gospel. I shall ever hold him in grateful remembrance.

        A great change was now commencing in my history, though unperceived by me at the time. The neighborhood in which I was raised was illiterate, the people generally poor but honest and moral. The people in the district of Wake Forest were generally well educated and many of them wealthy. The state of society was quite different from that I had been accustomed to. Indeed, this part of Wake county was noted at that time as surpassing any other neighborhood in refinement, good society and wealth. I felt somewhat embarrassed for awhile but soon became familiar with the customs and fashion of the


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neighborhood. Indeed I was treated with as much respect as if I had been the son of some wealthy man. I soon formed acquaintances, and made friends of the people generally. I become intimately acquainted with the families of the Crenshaws, Thompsons, Dunns, Rogerses, Gills, Cooks, Ferrells, Joneses, and others. I also became acquainted with several of the college students. It was in this year that W.T. Brooks and Pritchard graduated and some others.

        During the ten months in which I attended brother Thompson's school I studied English grammar, history, geography and arithmetic. I succeeded in making commendable proficiency in those studies, and in leaving the school with a good name.

        My connection with that school, and with the good people of the district, has served as a passport to me in all my visits among strangers in different neighborhoods.

        It was during this year that brother Thompson's health failed so that he declined taking a school for the next year. I was anxious to go to school one more session, and that would exhaust my means. I would much rather have gone to the same man at the same place but that could not be done as there would be no school there.

        I returned home to my father's in the latter part of the year, and soon learned that there was a good school on Rocky River in Chatham county, taught by Mr. Baxter Clegg. I went up to see him and made arrangements to enter his school. Brother John C. Wilson


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went with me, and we boarded with Mr. Minter Burns, and were students of Pleasant Hill Academy, taught by Baxter Clegg.

        Mr. Burnes' wife was sister to Dr. William Brantley.

        We were treated here like sons. We cannot forget the kind treatment which we received in the house of Mr. Burns and his wife.

        I continued at this school five months, and received a complimentary recommendation from my teacher in regard to my moral and christian character; also, in reference to my proficiency in English grammar, geography, history and arithmetic. I had also formed a large circle of acquaintances in that neighborhood, and gained many strong friends. This was in the year of 1840. I now returned home to my father's again, where I soon made up a school, and taught five months. I received a communication from brother Dowd to come down to his house and board with him, and teach school in his neighborhood. This was in the latter part of 1840. In a short time the arrangements were made and I commenced teaching school near brother Dowd's, and boarded in his family. I commenced in the early part of the year 1841. I taught a school there the greater portion of this year, and boarded all the time with brother Dowd's family. This year was a very pleasant and agreeable period of my life. I found brother Dowd as agreeable at home as I had found him at other places. His wife was also very kind, interesting, and motherly to me. His two Oldest sons were quite small, but they both went to school to me. Henry A. Dowd, his oldest son, was one


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of the kindest hearted boys I ever saw, but too complacent for his own good. William C. Dowd, his second son, was a boy of great firmness; he was steady in all his pursuits and succeeded well. He graduated at the State University and died soon after. I have sometimes felt a little proud that I had the honor of laying the foundation of their education.

        It was during this year that brother Dowd tried to sound me on the subject of preaching the Gospel. I had now formed my plan and selected my occupation, which was to cultivate a small farm in spring and summer, and teach school in the fall and winter. I had no idea that I should ever try to preach, but felt that I could promote the cause of religion better in some other way. I believed that I could do more good in prayer meetings and Sabbath schools than I could ever think of doing in trying to preach; and more than all, I had no idea as yet that I had ever received a special call to the ministry. So when brother Dowd would approach me on that subject I would tell him that it was not my duty to preach, for that I had never received the special or internal call. He would ask me my opinion about the special or internal call and I would ask his. On one occasion it seemed to me that he tried to shape his explanation on that subject on purpose to take me in. I felt a little irritated, and said: "Brother Dowd, I am sorry to think that you and many others will be so badly mistaken about me. You and a number of other persons have expressed your opinion that you will one day hear me preach; and I feel certain that you will all be disappointed."


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Brother Dowd replied by saying: "Well you may say what you please and believe as you please, but my opinion is that you will have to preach." After this I do not recollect that he ever spoke to me any more on that subject while I boarded with him. I had appointed and held some few prayers meetings, and felt a willingness to assist in opening conference meetings in the absence of the minister but preaching was out of the question with me.

        I was now about to change my manner of life. I was going to get married to a lady to whom I had been paying my addresses for several years and who had waited as patiently for me as Rachel did for old Jacob. So on the 23d day of December, 1841, I was married to Miss Martha Hunter, daughter of the late Alsey Hunter, of Wake county. This lady, like myself, had but a very limited education, and but few opportunities for improvement of any kind. She possessed some valuable qualities: a strong constitution, good natural sense, patience, and industrial habits. Indeed, I have never had cause to regret my marriage to her. Many of my brethren and friends thought that I had acted strangely in spending three years in going to school and teaching school to get just where I was in 1838. They said I could have married and settled down on my little farm three years ago just as well as I could now, and if I intended to get my living by labor it would have been better for me to have done so, as I was no better off in the world now than I was then. It seemed as if their hopes and prospects were cut off as to my future usefulness in the cause of


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Christ. I, however felt that I could go to the extent of my call as well in my present position as in any other, for I would attend to my church meetings and always be ready to bear my portion of the expenses of the church, and officiate in prayer and praise.

        I went to work and felt very pleasantly situated for a time; but sometime during the summer of 1842 I became very much concerned upon the subject of the ministry. As I would be following my plow I would think of a passage of scripture and meditate on its meaning and try to give to it its true interpretation and sometimes I would become so much taken up with this exercise of mind that I would unconsciously speak out my thoughts. Then I would think surely I am out of my line of duty, for I am not following out my plan of life. I would drop the subject and whistle or sing while following my plow. Again a text of Scripture would present itself to my mind with such force and light that I must consider its true interpretation. I would often think if I were a preacher how I would explain that passage.

        After a while I became restless for fear that my plans were about to fall through; for it seemed to me that the subject of preaching was continually before me. I tried to attribute it to the temptations of the devil, who was endeavoring to get me to undertake something I could not accomplish, and then all who beheld me would say this man commenced building but was not able to finish. About this time I went to meeting one Sabbath. Brother James Dennis preached. He called on me to pray at the close of his sermon.


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After the meeting was dismissed brother Dennis came to me and said: "Brother Olive, don't quench the Spirit; if you do you will repent it; and I fear you have been doing it already. My impression is that the Lord has a work for you to do, and you had better do it." I thought very strange of these remarks, as I had never told any human being what had been going on in my mind for some weeks or months. How should he have any idea of my situation.

        It was not long after this when I became so restless that concealment was impracticable. I first opened my mind on this subject to my wife. I told her that things were working differently from my expectation; that I had told her that I never expected to try to preach, but now it seemed I must try at all hazards. She asked me if I thought I could preach? To which I replied: "I don't know that I can, but feel that I must try, as nothing short of a trial will ever relieve my mind." I was at this time very unhappy; my former plans of life seemed to be falling through, and I must now enter upon an untried course, not knowing whether I should succeed or fail in my undertaking I had, however, become willing to bear the reproach, if any, and the shame, too, even though I should make a failure. Peace of mind was what I desired, and to have a conscience void of offence both toward God and man was my highest ambition, for with that I would be happy, but without it I must be miserable. I therefore told my wife I would make the effort, and if I failed and became convinced that I was wrong or


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mistaken in what I then conceived to be my duty, I would instantly desist and return to my former plan of life.

CHAPTER VII.

        I soon made an appointment to hold a meeting at a church. I made no appointment to preach, but intended to try when the time arrived. The day came and I was there; a good congregation also met, as I supposed, to hear what I would have to say. After singing and prayer, I read a portion of the Scriptures, and then commenced talking about what I had just read. I thus came to my text, without announcing it as a text, and made the best of it I could. I enjoyed more liberty in speaking than I had anticipated. After the services were over I started for home. I had seldom, if ever, felt more pleasant in mind than I did then. I felt that I had discharged my duty, and the consciousness of having done so gave to me a peace of mind which the world cannot bestow. I had not gone far before the tempter came to interfere with my happy frame of mind. He asked me if I thought I could preach again that evening. My answer was "no." "Then," said the tempter, "you can never be a preacher; for preachers often preach two or three times in a day; and now," said he, "suppose you had an appointment to preach to-night, what would you do; would you try to preach or not?" I felt as empty as a gun which has just been discharged of its load, and as barren as a tree whose fruit has all


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fallen off. He further said if it was my duty to preach I would not feel thus, but I would always be ready - in season and out of season - always abounding in the work of the Lord.

        I began to think that I never should try again, for that the burden which had been rolled on my mind was now rolled off, and there was nothing more for me to do in the way of preaching. The news was now circulating through the surrounding country that I had preached an excellent sermon; and the hopes and expectations of many were raised very high. I was not ignorant of what was going on in the public mind. But according to my feelings for a few days it seemed to me that I had preached my first and last sermon, for my stock of preaching was exhausted. This state of mind, however, did not last long. The burden began to roll on again; the leaven of preaching began to work again, and I soon felt anxious for the time to come for me to roll off the burden which I felt the Lord had rolled on my mind. Thus I followed up my appointments for some time. I was also often requested to fill appointments for other ministers which I frequently did. My church soon took notice of me, and passed an order of conference to grant me license to preach wherever the providence of God should call me to go. Written license I never had, as my labors were confined within the circle of my acquaintance. As such I never called for them. These things took place about the date of 1843. I will here state that at the time I commenced trying to preach there was no revival of religion in the neighborhood where I lived.


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The love of many who had joined the church about the time I did now seemed to wax cold. There was nothing perceptible to stimulate me in this undertaking but the workings of God's Spirit upon my mind. This operated on me both by day and by night in many respects similar to the workings of the same Spirit upon my heart and mind when I was under conviction for sin. I could not be contented to let the subject alone. I must consider it, and the more I thought about it the more I felt it to be my duty to make the effort.

        From the time I commenced trying to preach till I was ordained to the ministry was a period of about five years. During this time I continued trying to discharge my duty as a licentiate preacher. It is true I met with some difficulties but those difficulties pertained mostly to myself. I was naturally timid and diffident. My weakness and imperfections crowded upon me and in some few instances I was discouraged by brethren who said I was too much of an Arminian. But as a general thing, I am certain that I passed for more than my worth. Many persons would speak in high terms of commendation to my face. This always made me feel unpleasant and I am certain they acted very imprudently in doing so, for I was conscious that the expectations of both church and people were raised too high in regard to my gifts in the ministry. I was often urged by my church to accept of ordination. The same thing was urged upon me by other churches and many brethren. I would reply by saying, I have all the liberty that I desire; I can preach


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wherever the providence of God calls me to go. In this way my ordination was deferred for four or five years. For some two years previous to my ordination I was preaching statedly at different churches, which were without pastors, and as I could not administer the ordinances the churches were left in an awkward position. They were sometimes put to a great deal of trouble and delay to get a minister to administer the ordinance of baptism. It was owing to this, more than to anything else, that I consented to be sent up to the Association in 1847 to be examined and if found worthy to be ordained. I was this year preaching at Shady Grove and Holly Springs, and I think at Bell's Church. The brethren treated me with due respect and brotherly love. Large congregations generally attended on the Sabbath; and I had the satisfaction to believe that I had the good will and confidence of all classes. I felt some reluctance in taking upon myself the responsibilities of an ordained minister, but the state of things seemed to demand it, and to the request and entreaty of my church and brethren I yielded.

        Myself and brother James C. Marcom were both sent up to the Raleigh Association in the year 1847 to be examined for ordination. We were both examined together, by all the ministers present, in the presence of the whole Association. I was ordained there and then, by prayer and imposition of hands, and brother Marcom was found worthy, but at the special request of his church he was sent back to his church to be ordained there. A presbytery was


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appointed at the Association for the purpose, who soon after met at his church and ordained him. It was a serious and solemn time with me, for I felt that the vows of God were upon me. The Association was held this year with the church at Cumberland Union, Cumberland (now Harnett) county, North Carolina.

        Having been ordained to the Gospel ministry in the presence of the Raleigh Association by the worthy ministers present, who were the following, viz: John Purefoy, William Jones, James Purefoy, D.L. Williams, S. Senter, Ezekiel Holland, Robert I. Devin and James Dennis, and recommended by them as a faithful minister of the Gospel of the Baptist denomination, I felt under the strongest obligation to God and to them to endeavor to carry out the charge that was given by my aged father in the ministry, John Purefoy. I had thus received a passport from them to give me access to the churches and to the denomination at large. I desired to be enabled rightly to divide the word of truth, giving to each class of hearers their portion in due season. I must therefore study to show myself approved. I was very soon called to take the pastoral care of four churches, Shady Grove, Holly Springs, Mount Pisgah and Cedar Fork.

        I was young in the ministry and inexperienced, but I intended to do the best I could. I hired a man to cultivate my farm, and I gave myself up to the ministry. I studied the Scriptures and read religious books, and prayed the Lord to direct my steps aright. I continued to preach for those churches some two or three years, when I concluded to resign my pastoral


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charge with two of them. On leaving them I had the satisfactory evidence that they had nothing against me nor I against them; but felt that the circumstances demanded the separation. I continued my pastoral connection with the other two, viz: Holly Springs and Cedar Fork for eleven years in succession, and then resigned my pastoral collection with them, from the fact that I had previously made up my mind to leave this country and go west. I parted with them with very affectionate and tender feelings.

        The times of which I am now writing includes a period of twelve years, the most active and effective years of my life. Besides the churches above mentioned, I was chosen pastor of Salem Church, Wake county, Mount Moriah, Orange county, Wake Bethel, Wake county, and at Olive Chapel I preached for several years. I also preached a short time to the churches of Mount Moriah, in Wake County, and Ephesus, in the same county. These churches included the principal field of my labors. We had glorious revivals at several of these churches. At Mount Pisgah, Cedar Fork, Holly Springs, Shady Grove, Olive's Chapel and Salem, there were great numbers added to the church. I have no doubt that the Lord was with me while I was preaching at those places, and attended the word preached by the influences of His Holy Spirit.

        I also preached a great many funerals at private houses, and married more persons than any other man who lived in the bounds of my acquaintance. The circle of my acquaintance was not very large, extending mainly to two or three counties, but within those


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boundaries, perhaps, no man ever had more friends and fewer enemies than I did. I was treated with respect and marked attention wherever I went. The expression was often made, both by church and world, that there was a woe in reserve for me, because all men spoke well of me; however this may be, we will see by and by.

CHAPTER VIII.

        Perhaps the reader would like to know some of the maxims of life which helped to bring about the favorable opinion entertained by all classes towards me. I state this in the spirit of boasting. In the first place, I determined when quite young that I would never act or speak in a manner to disparage the character of a lady, but I would always speak and act to their praise, or have nothing to say about them; for I considered the good name and fair fame worth more to a lady than all earthly good besides. I also determined to speak and act in a way to make as many friends and as few enemies as possible. My motto was to do all the good I could and as little harm as possible. I would often think of that passage of Scripture which says, if it be possible live peaceably with all them. My motive was not to court personal applause, but to ingratiate myself into the esteem and affections of the people, in order that I might be the better prepared to produce a favorable impression on their minds upon


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the subject of religion. I was of the opinion that unless I had their confidence and good will I should not be able to do them any material good; for no man can expect to accomplish much good except the people have confidence in him. Another reason why I rose so high and stood so fair in the estimation of the people generally was, that I had no inclination or taste for religious controversy. I was firm and fixed in my own religious sentiments, both in regard to doctrine and practice, but did not indulge in fault finding with those who differed with me. I felt that I could accomplish more good in a friendly and conciliating manner than I would be likely to do in any other. From this fact more than any other I was held in high respect with other denominations. They would invite me to preach in their pulpits, and frequently call on me to preach the funeral of their departed loved ones, and perform the ceremony of marriage in their families. Another reason why I fared so well and escaped persecution was that I had a very large family connection both on my father's and mother's side, and they were generally of good moral and religious standing. Also, when I married, my wife had a large family connection who stood equally fair with my own, and in additional to all this we both had a number of strong personal friends. My labors were confined within the limits of those influences. Those relatives and friends forming a wall or hedge around me saved me from many a fiery dart from my adversary, and many a hard blow from my enemy. The tongue of slander could not assail me, and the hand of persecution was stayed.


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        I will here relate a little conversation which I had with a minister of the Gospel who was well acquainted with me from the time I first embraced religion. He said I had the smoothest road to travel of any minister he ever knew, and assigned as a reason for it the above named facts. With me, said he, it has been quite different; I have had a rough road to travel; persecution has assailed me, and the tongue of slander has been busy; if it had been you against whom they vented their spite, situated as you are and surrounded as you are, they could not have injured you, for both church and people would have stood up in your defence.

        From what I have stated in the foregoing remarks, it will be seen that the lines had fallen to me in pleasant places; that my situation in life, and the circumstances that surrounded me, were favorable to usefulness, living in the midst of numerous families of relatives and friends. Those relatives and friends were connected with the different denominations of christians, and many of them of high standing in society, and wielding a considerable influence upon the public mind. All these things taken together rendered my situation very desirable. This was my situation for a period of twelve years; that is while I was preaching as an ordained minister. I would often think of my favorable position in human life, and wonder how I had gotten there. I was poor, but contented and happy in my favorable position. I had food and raiment for myself and family, and was therewith content. I would often ask the question what hath God


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wrought? He has taken me by the hand, as it were and led me to the fountain of His grace; He has taken me into His family and given me favor in the sight of men; He has touched my heart with the fire of His love, and loosed my tongue to speak His praise. I will remember the pit from which I was dug; the quarry from which I was raised and the rock from which I was hewn. It is the Lord's doings and it is marvelous in my sight; and would close my reverie by saying: "By the grace of God I am what I am."

        I was much concerned during the years of 1857 and 1858 about my family. We had seven children, five sons and two daughters. My land was poor and my farm small, and my children growing up with little education, and no prospects of laboring to advantage.

        I began to make arrangements to leave this country and go to the far West. To this my friends and relatives generally objected, but their arguments were not sufficient to dissuade me from undertaking it. I was conscious that the Lord had abundantly blessed my labors among my relatives and friends, and many seals had been added to my ministry. The churches where I preached were generally in a flourishing condition, and they were doing as well by me as I could ask, but not enough to support my growing family without other resources. The brethren would often ask me my reason for warning to leave and tell me that my prospects for doing good were never brighter than they were then, and that the confidence of both church and people had not abated in the least. They had no idea that I would ever find a place where the


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advantages and means of doing good would be as great, or even equal to what they were here. I had preached to the parents and children for ten or twelve years, and the attachments were very strong. My manner of preaching had been of a nature to win the hearts of christians generally, and to gain the respect of all classes of hearers. (I would not have the reader to understand that every body was pleased with my preaching, for there were always some to find fault; but my meaning is, that my preaching was generally as agreeable to all classes as that of any other minister.) My greatest fears were that the people thought more highly of me than they ought to think. I was not so ignorant as not to know that my preaching talents were only ordinary; and all above that, was to be traced to other causes. Yet, some how or other, there was an impression in the minds of many that I possessed some extraordinary powers, and it was said by some that people worshipped me more than they did their Creator. Of course all this was very unpleasant to me, but I could not help it, for I never sought it, or desired it of any man.

        I was somewhat troubled in my mind one day at the remark of a wicked man, when I was informed that he had been complimenting my preaching, and said that when he died he wanted me to preach his funeral for I could come as nigh preaching a man from hell to heaven as any marl he ever heard; or that I could do that if any other man could. Now, while I knew that to be the case I did not approve of the manner in which it was uttered, and feared he was


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looking more to the creature than to the Creator, to deliver him from under the bondage of sin and Satan, and prepare him for heaven. I am yet of the same opinion. I have no doubt that many people idolized me, as they have many other men before me. I thought if I could go where I would be a stranger to the people, and they strangers to me, those outside influences would not have such an influence in waving the minds of my hearers, and that the simple truths of the Gospel, attended by the Spirit, would have a more salutary effect. My children, too, would be placed where they could labor to more advantage than they were likely to do here. I therefore persisted in my determination to move West.

        I found it hard to cut loose from my dear relatives and friends, and from those lovely churches, where I had enjoyed so many happy seasons; those endearing ties, which bind kindred hearts together seemed to draw more closely as the time drew nearer for me to wind up my concerns here. I however sold my little land and home, hoping to be better prepared to leave in a short time.

        This was in 1859. But very soon affliction in my family put this matter off for a longer time. My arrangements all fell through. I had a little son who had been an invalid for several years, but while there were no prospects of his ever being sound and healthy, he appeared to be improving. The health of our oldest child now became delicate, her constitution rapidly gave way, and in a short time she was so feeble that I could not think of leaving, with two of our


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children so unwell as to appear more like dying than living. Thus I was under the necessity of looking out for another home for my family, as I had made way with our present home. I rode about in the surrounding country for some weeks looking for a suitable home for myself and family. There was no difficulty in finding a place that would suit me in my calling as a minister of the Gospel, but to find a place suitable for my boys to labor to advantage, and have an opportunity of going to school, was not so easy. I made this memorable remark before I succeeded in getting a place: "If I ever get another home, I will never turn myself and family out of doors again."

        Late in the fall of 1859 I bought a home some fourteen miles south-east of where I formerly lived. There were some things connected with the location which suited me very well, and others were very unfavorable. The land was much better suited to farming than where I had been living, and the society was equally as good, and one of the most peaceable neighborhoods in the county of Wake. All this was favorable; but I was now to be further removed from the churches and people with whom I had been so long intimate, and would have to ride some distance to attend my appointments.

        I moved my family to the place where I now live a few days before Christmas, 1859. My daughter's health seemed to improve some; our little son continued about the same. The time was drawing near for me to enter upon a new period in the history of my life, but I was not aware of it till some few months had passed.


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        I commenced making arrangements for farming by clearing up brier patches and repairing fences during the forepart of the year 1860. I had also promised to preach for three or four churches monthly. These churches were ten, twelve and fifteen miles from home. I was closely engaged at home five days in the week, trying to prepare for my boys to make a crop. I had but little time to read or study, except at night. When Saturday morning came I must start early in order to be at the meeting-house in time, and the most of my preparations for preaching were made while riding Among to my appointments. I generally felt poorly prepared for the services, but always did the best I could under the circumstances in which I found myself placed. My presence was greatly needed at home, for our little afflicted son was almost as helpless as an infant, and the delicate health of our daughter rendered her unable to do much for the benefit of the family. Thus the burden was too heavy for my dear wife to bear without assistance. Her health and courage seemed to be giving way. I always assisted her as well as I knew how when I was at home, but being frequently called off to preach funerals and to marry young people, as well as attend my regular appointments, the labors of my wife were more than she was able to bear.

        In this way days and weeks and months passed away before I discovered any material change in myself. I had long been inclined to bow in humble submission to the Providences of God, and never to mourn or grieve for that over which I had no control.


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I knew that the affliction of our children was a providential thing, and I could only pray that it might be sanctified to our good; and of course it was my heart's desire and prayer to God that they might be restored to health. But to think of mourning or complaining, as many did under such circumstances, never entered my mind, as I have any recollection. Of course I felt some unpleasant forebodings with respect to my children and wife, but as to myself I felt that I was prepared for whatever event might occur, for I believed that I was rooted and grounded in the doctrines of Christianity, both in spirit and letter. I had often expressed myself to be resigned to the will of the Lord, under any and all circumstances, and was honest and sincere in all my expressions. But I was rapidly approaching a crisis in my history of which I was perfectly ignorant, and for which I would find myself unprepared by the decision of my own judgment.

        Early in the spring of this year I began to feel as I had never felt before since I began to preach. My mind seemed to be locked up on the subject. I found great difficulty in selecting a text, and when I had found one, the same difficulty was found in trying to keep my mind upon it for any length of time; and not unfrequently every connection of thought upon a text of Scripture would vanish from my mind, and I would be under the necessity of looking out for another. And sometimes this would be the case just before the hour of preaching. My mind would appear dark and barren, so that I would experience great


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difficulty in my attempts to preach. The cross became heavy and burdensome though I felt that I must bear it, for to think of loosening my hands from the Gospel plow after having followed it so long was unwelcome to me. Yet to continue to try to preach in that state of mind and spirit was equally intolerable.

        I soon began to dread to see the time come for me to go to my appointment. I would not however decline going unless I could render some plausable excuse. Go I must and go I did; But felt poorly prepared to preach with satisfaction to myself or benefit to the people.

        On these occasions however as well as on all others, I did the best I could. And in order to make up the deficiency of spiritual and mental defect, I would exert all my natural powers. Thus when I was done preaching I found myself nearly as wet with perspiration as if I had been dipped in water.

        All this time I had no idea of what was coming. I was conscious that there was a cause for this barrenness of soul - this darkness, this lowness of spirit In short, this great dearth in my religious experience. I was of opinion that this state of things was owing to the fact that I had been so much engaged about my domestic concerns that I had not found time to read and study as much as I had formerly done, more than to anything else.

        Now, in order to remedy this ,I promised to do better. That I would study to show myself approved a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. I commenced


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reading the Scriptures more frequently, but found great difficulty in keeping in mind anything that I read. And as to study it seemed impossible for me to keep my mind on any subject long enough to accomplish any good. Then I betook myself to secret prayer and pleading the promises. I followed up this for some time, but could never feel the spirit of prayer as I had felt on former occasions. It seemed to me that I could speak the words of prayer as well as I ever could but that there was no life in it. I would often go several times in the course of a day, and when I would rise from my knees my prayers would appear to me like poor dead things.

        I was all this time going on as if nothing had been amiss. I followed up my appointments, and attended to my domestic affairs without so much as intimating to any person the state of my mind. It is true I had hard work in trying to preach, and it has always appeared that my brethren must have noticed the difficulty under which I was laboring; but as before stated I always did the I best I could and I suppose they expected nothing more. And more than that, I exerted all my animal powers to make up the deficiency.


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CHAPTER IX.

        Time passed on, and I was growing worse daily, but hoping and praying for the better till June. It was in this month that other trials came on. Our oldest child, our beloved daughter, who had been of feeble health for several years, (but who had seemed to be improving in health for some time,) died after a short attack of typhoid fever. She lived but little over a week after being taken.

        Her mother, already weighed down with the troubles and sorrows of an afflicted family, seemed almost inconsolable under this great bereavement. I was able to bear it with patience and fortitude. I tried to reconcile my wife by telling her that our loss was our dear Sarah's gain, for it seemed that her health would not permit her to enjoy life here but she had gone to a more congenial world; for we had no reason to doubt her religion. She embraced religion when young, and united with the church soon after, and had always lived a consistent life. She was baptized by her father, and was always an obedient and dutiful child; and if it were not for my dear wife and children, I felt like I would rather leave the body and go with my dear Sarah to that better world. My faith was yet strong, and my hope was firm. Brother P.W. Dowd preached her funeral before she was buried. He preached a very consoling and pathetic discourse, and felt reconciled to the providence of God in taking her from the


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evil of the world. I could say, "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."

        But I did not see the darkness that was gathering over my poor soul. I was now in hopes that the gloom would soon pass away and that the Son of Righteousness would arise again fresh to my soul, and that I could once more have God's face to shine upon me.

        I went to some few of my appointments after the death of my daughter and tried to preach several times but found the same difficulties in the way as I had found before. Indeed, I perceived that I was growing worse. I would however, try to rally up and conceal the state of my mind as much as possible. I felt great reluctance in letting any person know that there was any thing amiss with me. I still entertained hopes that the state of my mind would soon change for the better. The cross of preaching became still more galling, until I dreaded it as bad as a child would dread to take a whipping. I also followed up secret prayer until I felt that I was committing a sin by trying to force myself upon the mercy and favor of God. My efforts all proved unavailing. The heavens were as brass over me, and the ear of God seemed closed to my importunities. Under this state of things I began to refrain from secret prayer, feeling, as I did that it would be sinning presumptuously against God. Sometimes, however, I felt so miserable that I must needs do something and as I knew nothing better I would try it again, but every time it was the poor dead thing. I also followed up preaching occasionally, till


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it seemed I could preach no more, as I appeared to have no assistance but poor self.

        About this time I began to fear that the consequences would be serious and awful. Sometimes I would think that the cause which produced this effect might be physical, at other times I would think it was a judgment sent on me for some sin which I had committed, but as I could fix on no particular sin of a heinous nature, or wilful or outbreaking sin that would seem to bring down the frowning blast of Jehovah, I was disposed to look at natural causes first. I therefore sought a private interview with a physician, told him some of my feelings, and requested him to examine me thoroughly, to see if he could detect any disease in my system which would be likely to lead to or bring on the present state of things. .He examined me, and said he could discover no symptoms of disease in my system. I then told him if it was not in my system it was in my mind, and asked him if he could do any thing to release me. His answer was: "If it be your mind, you ought to be a better judge of that than I am." And then commenced jesting me, and said he was somewhat surprised to see me with the blues, and gave me some directions how to break them. I took it all in good part, and would have rejoiced if I could have believed it to be so. But I knew enough about that disease to convince me that I was laboring under something of a more serious nature, because I had now began to doubt the reality of my religion; and finding that the doctor had pronounced me free from bodily disease, I was more thoroughly convinced that


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the cause was to be sought and found, if found at all, in something connected with my religion.

        Previous to the interview which I had with the doctor, I was in great doubts and fears about my spiritual condition. Even before I quit preaching I had some misgivings in my mind on the genuineness of my religion. I felt that God had withdrawn from me His supporting grace; and the light of His countenance was hid from me.

        I had an appointment to preach a funeral at Holly Springs - I think it was in the month of August. I tried every way I could to get some preacher to fill my appointment there. I would tell them that I did not feel that I could preach, and that I felt that it would be wrong for me to make the attempt. One minister promised to go if I would also attend, and if I did not feel better; when I got there he would preach, that is, if I would not. The day came, and I went. When I got there I found a very respectable congregation, but on enquiry, the man who made the promise was not there. I had an interview with two of the Deacons of the church, and told them I was in no condition to preach, and related to them some of my sensations and feelings. In order to console me one of them replied that "All things should work together for good to them that love the Lord." I replied that I feared that I was not entitled to that promise, as it seemed that I was destitute of all spiritual light and comfort. But as the appointment had been made for me to preach, and as the people had met, and the friends and relatives of the deceased insisted I must preach or there would


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be a disappointment, I therefore consented to try. My feelings were awful. I got up and made some apologies which I was not in the habit of doing, then commenced the services in the usual form. My text was this: "All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass; the grass withereth and the flower thereof falleth away." "So is all the glory of man," said I. And I felt that I had selected a suitable text for my own funeral. I did the best I could under the circumstances but felt that it was but a poor preach. Others spoke of it afterwards as being a good sermon, and urged that as one reason why I should go on in preaching the Gospel.

        This was my last Sermon for a period of five years; and I then thought it would be my last in this world. On reflection, I felt that I had done wrong in trying to preach so long any way but more particularly so in making the attempt that time for it seemed, on that occasion I had sinned presumptuously.

        I now determined I would preach no more unless I should find relief from my troubles. By this time my case became the topic of conversation in my neighborhood and in the circle of my acquaintance; all seemed to be concerned about me but none knew how far I was gone, nor how fast I was sinking. Even to my own mind it was not revealed. Numbers came to see me - relatives, friends and brethren all united to do all that human power could do to deliver me from that unhappy state. Meanwhile I was anxiously enquiring and searching to find the cause which had produced the effect. I examined and re-examined my


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whole christian experience, and although I had done many things which I ought not to have done and left undone many that I ought to have done, yet, upon the whole, I thought my experience was about as good as the experience of many others. In short, I thought my christian edifice looked as well as my neighbors' houses; and although there were some pieces of timber put in that I wished had been left out, and some that would have fitted better could they have been put in their places, yet I was not inclined to pull the house down, but felt that it might answer the purpose for which it was intended.

        My daily business was to search for the cause which had brought me to my unhappy condition. I retrospected all my past history, more especially the five years during which I had been the subject of conviction for sin, the manner and way, the time and place in which and where I obtained deliverance.

        And then follows on five years more while I was a member of the church but not exercising in the way of preaching; five years more while I was preaching as a licensed minister; and then the twelve years during which time I had been preaching as an ordained minister, and this would bring me through. I traveled this road backwards and forwards many times looking for that cause which bad produced such a sad state of feeling in my mind. I was daily growing worse, and my prospects of getting out became more and more gloomy. I was yet clinging to my hope, and struggling to retain my faith in God; but I felt as sensible that an awful crisis in this affair was


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approaching as I did of any future event. It did seem to me that I could feel the darkness that was brewing upon me; and although I could not tell what the result would be, I was conscious it would be something awful. Sometimes I would think perhaps I am going deranged, and if so, I would rather die than live While I was meditating on this subject I came to the conclusion in my own mind that if I could die it would be best for all - better for me, for my family, for the churches and friends, and the people generally; for I had no idea that I should ever be of any more use to any one. I would consider and reconsider those dreadful forebodings which were continually crowding on my mind. I dreaded the awful consequences which I felt must result from what was coming, though I knew not what it was; but let it be what it might, I would rather die and risk the consequences of the future than to abide the approaching crisis.

        All this time my family, my relatives and friends were attributing my case to causes which I felt had but little, if any, bearing. They were of opinion that my mind had been overburdened by affliction in my family - being frustrated in my purposes of moving, and the death of a beloved daughter - and the general impression was that I was only laboring under mental depression. I was told by my best friends to quit studying, and go on in the discharge of my duties, and it would soon wear off, for it was nothing but the hippo, or blues. I did not doubt their sincerity, or the purity of their motives, but I was satisfied they knew but little of what a warfare there was going on


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in my mind. I had not told the twentieth part. I would continue to believe that it would be better for all for me to die than to live.

        About this time I began to try to pray that I might die suddenly, as I saw no prospect of ever being of any more benefit to my family, or to any one else; I thought I would rather die than be a nuisance. I did not feel very well satisfied about the future consequences, but I was willing to risk that, as I felt I should never get any better.

        I have given some of my thoughts about dreams in a former chapter. I will here state that I am of the same opinion now as then; yet as the Bible authorizes him who has a dream to tell a dream, I will here relate one of the most forcible and affecting dreams that ever passed through my mind: I had been thinking of my unhappy condition for some time, and searching for the cause, but could not find it, till I was anxious to die, and get out of the world, and no longer be a trouble to my family and friends. I finally concluded, if I could lie down at night and die without a struggle, or go to sleep and wake up in eternity, it would be the most welcome death that I could think of. I felt that I desired it; I wished for it, and tried to pray that it might be so. Night came on; I lay down very early; my family were sitting up by the fireside; I tried to resign myself to death; hoped it would come; wished for it, and desired it; and with these thoughts revolving in my mind I went to sleep. I had not been dozing long before death came in the shape and form of a skeleton of a giant. He was tall and strong, with


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no flesh on his bones. I knew his name was death. He came up to where I was lying and asked me if I was ready to go. I replied "yes," as I felt it would be better for me and all others. He said he had come for me if I was ready to go. I told him I was; and he laid his strong, bony hand gently upon my throat and asked me again if I was ready to go. I again replied that I was, when he pressed me on the throat and asked the question again: "Are you now ready to go?" I assented, and he pressed me still harder and asked the same question and I gave a like answer, when he continued pressing harder and asking "Are you now ready to go?" Receiving the same answer from me as before for several times, my breath became doubly sweet, as it was difficult for me to breathe; yet I continued to give in by answering that I was ready to go, till I drew my last breath and knew it to be my last, from the fact that his hand gripped me so hard that it would be impossible for me to breathe any more. That was the sweetest breath I ever drew, and I wished that I could draw one more; but his hand was pressing too hard, and I began to struggle, and in my struggling I raised my hand to break his grip so that I might breathe once more, as breath was so very sweet. In my struggle I awoke, and behold! it was a dream.

        My wife, and some of my children were still sitting up by the fireside. I knew by that I had not been sleeping very long. I lay where I was, meditating upon what had just passed through my mind in a dream. I wished that I had died but it was not so.


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I thought if I had not raised my hand to break his grip I should have died and wished that I had not done it. It seemed that raising my hand to push his off was an evidence that I was not willing to die, after all my wishes, desires and prayers. I concluded if it were to do over again I would not raise my hand, notwithstanding breath was so sweet.

        When morning came I was ten fold more miserable than I had been before. I could not refrain from speaking of my forlorn condition. I told my wife that I had came near dying last night, and wished that I had. She told me it was nothing but a nightmare; that she had had many of them I said but little more then, but walked out to see how things appeared. I found myself to be the deadest man to be living that I had ever seen. I was dead to faith, hope, and religion. I felt that I was given up of God, and in the hands of the devil to be tormented by him while I lived, and punished by him after death. The awful crisis was now at hand. Hopeless despair had now laid fast hold on me. I was restless and dissatisfied anywhere and everywhere. I was constantly going from plate to place about the plantation, preferring to be alone; my mind was like the troubled sea that cannot rest. I did not believe that I could live under the load of sin and guilt which was now pressing me down. I had now found out the cause of all my misery. I had caught the shadow and missed the substance; I had built my house on the sand, instead of building on the rock. I now saw my folly; but it was too late


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to become wise. I had suffered myself to be imposed upon by-the devil, and I was now left to take care of myself, if I could.

        In looking back to my first religious experience I saw things in quite a different light from what I had ever seen them before. The devil had transformed himself into an angel of light, and made me believe him to be God; I had yielded to his temptations, and false teachings, till I ascribed to him all that I had ever experienced; and now having accomplished his design and purposes with me, he had taken off the mask to let me see what a fool he had made of me My consternation, grief and sorrow, all rushing upon me, made me feel that I had acted the part of Judas Iscariot. I felt that I had denied the Lord of Glory - crucified the Son of God afresh, and put Him to open shame; and hence, there remained no more sacrifice for sin. My doom was now sealed; my destiny was fixed; an outcast from God, a vagabond and a fugitive in the world. Forlorn and hopeless I must wander in search of rest, but find none. The worm that never dies was gnawing upon my conscience, and the fire of hell seemed to be burning in my bosom. This weight and load of trouble was daily increasing, and it seemed impossible for me to bear up under it much longer. I had said but little to any person about it, except to my wife, and she would make light of my strange imaginations, as she termed them. I at last conceived the horrid idea of ending my miserable life on earth by an act of violence. I shuddered at the first thought of taking this dreadful step. To commit


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suicide had always appeared foreign to my mind; but now the time had come when I must do something, and under the circumstances which I was now placed I could conceive of nothing better. I would reason thus: It will be better for me, for the longer I live the worse I shall get, and the sooner I find my destiny the better it will be for me. In regard to my wife and children, it would be better for them, as my past conduct would brand them forever as the wife and children of the traitor. In regard to my relatives and friends, it would save them from the stigma of ever being connected with so vile a man as I conceived myself to be; and as to the church, and the cause of religion generally, it would be better for me to die a suicide than to divulge these dreadful truths, which would be handled by the enemies of religion against the righteous. Upon mature reflection and consideration I decided upon that course, believing it to be the best thing I could do, under all the circumstances taken together. In this way I would cut the story short. I would be found dead; the verdict would be, "He committed suicide; the cause unknown, but supposed to be insanity." Thus I supposed the whole matter would soon pass away; my family, my friends and brethren would all pass through it without being materially injured thereby. It is true I dreaded the horrid step, but as it was the best thing I could do under the circumstances, I felt disposed to do it. I formed my plan, chose my weapon, fixed the time and place, and began to make arrangements to carry it into execution. I was very careful and watchful in


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all my movements, for fear of being detected. I knew if my family or friends even suspected such a thing they would prevent it if they could. My time to do this was at the dead hour of night; the place some three quarters of a mile from the house; the weapon to be used was a sharp knife, which I would use by making one desperate rip across my throat. I was conscious that nature would revolt, but I was equally conscious that I could, by one prodigious effort, extinguish life; and as I had decided this thing cooly and calmly, I was not to be turned from it by common difficulties. The night came on which I was to commit this deed. My purpose was to lie down early, taking off my outer garments, and whenever my family lay down, and were in sound sleep, I would get up and gently put on my clothes, take my shoes in my hand, and walk out softly in my socks, to prevent any noise that would be likely to wake any of my family. At a late hour of the night I found all were still, and appeared to be sleeping, I rose up as easy as possible, and after putting on my vest, coat and hat, I took my shoes in my hand and went out as slyly as possible. When I got out I discovered it was raining. I did not mind that at all. I put my shoes on my feet, and as I rose up to leave the door this impression was made on my mind: This is the last time I shall ever go out at this door.

        Now, it was as dark as well could be; I could scarcely discern my hand; I went to the gate to go out of the yard; opened it very softly, with my mind drawn out in full force upon the dreadful subject


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which lay before me. No doubt imagination was playing, for as I stepped out of the yard into the lane I imagined that I saw the devil. The sight did not terrify me in the least, for I expected to be with him very soon any way. I shall not attempt to describe his appearance on this occasion further than to say he appeared to be very subtle, and a little above the earth, and in a dancing motion. Unconscious to myself, I spoke above a whisper, and said: "Why don't you come along and take me?" He replied, not by words, but by a strong impression upon my mind: "I cannot take you while you are in the body, but if you will get out of the body I will take you." To which I replied: "I will fix that matter very soon," and started to my place.

        After going about half way, I came to a road, and as I stepped into the road I heard a strange noise - or at least thought I did. I stopped and paused to listen; the noise appeared to be at my house, and seemed to be the cries of my children, and the lamentation of my wife. Those of you who have attended a revival meeting, and left while the noise was going on, and getting a short distance from the meeting and stopped to listen, can form some idea how the noise which I heard appeared to me. I felt sure that my wife had waked up and looked for me, and I was gone. I was also conscious that she suspected that I was gone for the very purpose for which I had gone, and as such she had aroused the children, and would soon arouse the neighbors, when a general search would be made for me. I soon thought that what I was going


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to do must be done quickly, for they might find me before I had accomplished the deed. I started again in a hurry, but only went some eighty or a hundred yards when this thought rushed into my mind with great force: Now, if you attempt to commit that horrid deed with this noise ringing in your ears, you will make a failure, for you will only inflict a wound, and not accomplish your design, and then you will never have another opportunity. Your friends will confine you, and deprive you of your weapons. You had better hasten back to your family, and say to them that you had occasion to go out, and got wet in a shower of rain, and chide them for their noise and confusion. To-morrow, or at some more favorable time, you will have a better opportunity. I turned back, walked some and ran some. I soon came to the house, but was not a little surprised to find all asleep, and everything as still as when I left. I was dripping wet with the rain, and in a poor fix. I took off my coat and hat and built up a fire, intending to dry myself. While I was doing so I thought to myself: What could that noise have been which I heard so distinctly? The answer to this inquiry was: It must have been the geese, though I had never heard geese make that strange noise before.

        It appears to me now that I heard that noise, though it might have been imagination. I was soon inclined to try again, and was again defeated. I stole off from my wife, but was soon pursued by her brother, who I supposed was not in five miles of me. I could never make the attempt; for before I could get to the place


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I would be intercepted; something would frustrate all my designs. My nerves seemed to weaken in every failure until I came to the conclusion that although God had given me up to the devil, yet He would not suffer me to sneak out of the world in that way. It was a dreadful thought, yet I preferred taking my own life rather than be made a public example.

        I will here state a little circumstance, by which I was detected in this dreadful affair:

        There was a lady, who had formerly lived in our house, and who had often visited us after she was married. She had heard that I was in low spirits, and greatly troubled about something. She came to see me, in order to break my study, as she said. She was a fine woman, and very intimate with our family. She proposed to have a close chat with me, and wished me to tell her how I felt, as she believed that she had been in the same situation that I was in then. I consented to talk with her, and would tell her little by little of my feelings, taking care to keep back the main drift of my awful feelings; but she kept probing me till she got more than I intended she should in the outset. It mattered not what I told her, she would say, "I have been so myself, and even worse, and I got out of it, and I can tell you how to get out." At last, being wearied with her inquisitiveness, I said: "You have never gone as far as I have, for I have been tempted to do so," (drawing my hand across my throat.) She laughed at me, and said I need not be alarmed at that, for that was nothing more than common with persons who had the blues; that she had


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gone further than I had; she had got the rope, and started off to hang herself, and that she was now well of it, and that I would soon be out of it; just take her advice, and all would be well.

        I believed as much of what she had said as I pleased and no more. But she had accomplished her object in talking with me. She soon made known all that she had found out. I was robbed of my knife and I have never seen it since.

        But I was busy in seeking another opportunity and other means to accomplish the awful deed. I sought for my razors, but they were gone; and all other weapons that would be likely to be sought for by me were out of place. I was not disposed to enquire for anything for fear of detection.

        I stole off from my wife one day, intending to commit the deed in some way, but had gone but a short distance before I heard some one coming behind me. I looked, and saw it was my wife's brother, looking for me; I turned my course and met him, put on the best appearance I could, and proposed to go to the house with him, hoping he would soon go home, and then I would have an opportunity of carrying out my design. He did not leave that day, but stayed till next morning, and gave me some good counsel on leaving, but never intimated to me that he had any fears.


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CHAPTER X.

        About this time I was getting so restless that my family became uneasy, so much so that they sent for my brother, Calvin Olive, and my brother-in-law, F. W. Rogers, and wife, to come to see me, in order, as I suppose, to determine what course should be taken with me. I was not pleased with this step, taken by my family without my consent or knowledge. But, as it was done, I made the best of it I could. They all came; I tried to behave myself as well as I could, but found it difficult on my part to remain long in their presence. I had discovered for several days that my load of trouble was growing upon me, and it now seemed to fill me so full that if I did not let it out by way of telling it, I should burst. I had kept the dreadful thing wrapped up and concealed until it was bound to come out, unless I could prevent it by death, which I thought I would much prefer.

        To tell all the meanness which I conceived to be in me, and the sinful part which I had acted, was more than I felt willing to do.

        They tarried all night with me, and next morning I found myself worse than ever. It seemed to me that I was full up to my neck. Mental pain was great. I could not be still in any position. My brother and brother in-law would stay with me; I found no chance to get away from them. They took seats in the piazza, and I employed myself for a short time in walking to and fro across the floor. My mental agony and pain


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was so great that I became nervous; I was trembling in my knees, and as I was pacing the floor this passage of Scripture rushed into my mind: "Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting." Yes, thought I, you are like Belshazzar; you see your doom, and your knees smite together. This came with such force that I verily believed I should soon be in hell.

        Breakfast being ready, we were invited to the table to eat. I declined going, for I felt that I was already too full, and did not believe that I could eat under such a load of mental suffering. They insisted on my going, and I objected, till they told me in plain terms if I would not go neither would they; so, in order to get them to go I went. I tried to eat a little, and I think I drank one cup of coffee, and sat till they ate what they would, which was not much.

        The time for me to burst was near at hand. I was conscious that the whole thing had to come out, and that soon as I could hold it no longer. I felt that I had smothered it in my bosom so long that when I did give it vent there would be an explosion, and as I did not wish to excite my wife and children, I wished to get some distance from the house, so that they might not hear me, and thus become alarmed and cry. So, as I rose from the breakfast table, I spoke to my brother and brother-in-law, and asked them to take a walk with me, to which they assented. I led the way, and they followed; but I was in a hurry and they were not. I outwalked them. I would look back in a manner to urge them on, but it seemed to do no good, as they were determined to have their own time.


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They little knew what was coming, and coming so soon.

        After getting some one hundred yards from the house (not one fourth the distance I wished to go,) and I some twenty paces before them, I knew I could hold in no longer, for I felt my mental resistance give way. I turned back to meet them, and addressed. myself to my brother-in-law in substance as follows: "Squire, I am the meanest man that ever made a track on God's earth; I have kept the thing concealed until I can keep it no longer. Have you not seen what a desperate situation I have been in all the morning? And now, Squire, it is in me, and it has to come out." He tried to chide me, and denied the truth of what I had said. I replied: "Squire, you need not tell me this or that, I know my doom. I have betrayed my Lord and Master; I have murdered my wife and children; I am worse than Judas; I am worse than Cain!"

        They interrupted me again by saying it was not so, and in order to prove it not so they proposed to go with me to the house and show me that my wife and children were all living and that I had said that I had murdered them. "Ah!" said I, "Squire, I have not committed the overt act; I know that as well as you do; but I am just as guilty in the sight of God as I should be if I had cut their throats, for my conduct has murdered them."

        "What have you done?" said the Squire.

        "I have crucified the Sin of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame; I am worse than Judas, for while it is true that Judas betrayed his Lord, he had


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no wife and children to ruin, that I know of, by his dreadful sin. But I have; I am worse than Cain who killed his brother; but there were not so many to be affected by his brutal act as there are in my case."

        He asked me if I did really believe that I was worse than Judas. I replied that I did, and gave some additional reasons for my thinking so I told him that I hated it as bad as he or any other person could hate it, but it was a dreadful reality, and that I must abide the awful consequences. I told him that the mark of Cain was stamped upon me, and that I was compelled to wear it wherever I went.

        He asked me where that mark was. I told him to look in my countenance and he would see it, for that my countenance had fallen; that I could not look a person straight in the face; and that I felt meaner than a sheep-killing dog.

        He and my brother both concluded that I was deranged, and asked me if I thought it would do to let me go at large. I told them that I was not deranged, but that I had more sense then than I had ever had before.

        They of course concluded that I was making a very bad use of it, if it be as I had contended. I had made some noise in speaking, for I spoke very loud and pointed. I was heard by my wife's sister, who came running to me with extended arms of love and affection. When she got to me she laid her arms on my shoulders, her eyes streaming in tears, and in word of kindness and in accents of love, she calmed my turbulent spirit for a while. She overcome evil with


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good. I soon felt that I had now committed myself openly to the world. I had spoken nothing but what was true, but as everybody would now believe just as I did, I should soon be destitute of friends, and that even my own kindred and family would denounce me as an ungrateful and wicked wretch. I felt that I deserved no mercy from God, no pity from kindred or family, or sympathy from friends. I wished I had kept it concealed a little longer; but I had kept it as long as I could.

        My brother and brother-in-law held a consultation as to what should be done with me. They both agreed that it would not do to let me stay alone, or go at large; some one must be with me at all times. They wanted to carry me to Raleigh, in order that Dr. Fisher might examine me, to see whether or not I was insane. My brother approached me on this subject very tenderly. I told him that it would do no good, for all the men in the world could not alter my condition, as it was not in the power of man to do it; that I was under the irrevocable sentence of God, my doom was sealed, and my destiny fixed. He contended that I was mistaken, and that no one believed it to be so but myself, and that it would give satisfaction to my relatives and friends for me to go and see Dr. Fisher, if it did no other good, and he hoped I would consent to go. I then told him plainly that I should not consent to go, and if carried at all it would be by force. He said: "We hate to do that, but it will not do to let you stay by yourself. If you will not go to see the doctor you must go with me or Squire Rogers one."


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        I did not like that either; but if I must do one, I preferred going with one of them.

        So I left home to go with them. On our way we were met by a dear uncle and aunt who had started to my house to see me. I pleaded hard to return to my house with them; but they, seeing me so altered in appearance, and learning more from my brother and the Squire about the conversation I had with them that morning, they began to persuade me to go home with them, and spend a few days.

        As none of the company would listen to me about going back, I finally consented to go with them, rather than risk being carried to Raleigh. I had an utter aversion to the idea of going to see Dr. Fisher. In the first place, I had no doubt he would detect my meanness, and expose me. If he did not, he would of course pronounce me insane, and recommend my being left in the asylum. Furthermore, I believed then, as I do now, that Dr. Fisher was a wise man, and a great physician, but a thousand such men might have examined me, and all came to the same conclusion, and it could not have altered my feelings; and as such would not have changed my mind. I was like a man in the fire. I knew I was burning, (that is, I was suffering the most excruciating mental pain), therefore it was useless to tell me this or that, unless you could help me out of the fire. My heart knew its own bitterness. My friends believed that something could be done by human power or human wisdom to relieve me. I was altogether of a different opinion, and was always free to tell them so. They would argue that


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nothing should be left untried. I consented to many things, merely to give satisfaction to relatives and friends, feeling, at the time, that it would be worse than useless. In my own mind my true condition was clear. Although I was not a downright hypocrite, yet I was no better; for I had enjoyed sufficient light, suitable means, and ample time, to have made the correction, but had failed to do it. I would often say: "Oh I that I had started right; but I caught the shadow, and missed the substance. Oh! that I had heeded the first warning, when I first fell into doubts and fears and was told that it was the temptation of the devil."

        And thus I would follow my christian experience down to my then present condition, and attribute every doubt and fear as a warning from God, to induce me to set about rectifying the mistake.

        But in the face of all this light, and in defiance of all these warnings, I had rushed heedlessly on, blindfolded by the devil and led captive by him at his will. I was now given over to a hard heart and a reprobacy of mind to believe a lie and at last be damned. I had crucified the Son of God afresh, .and there remained no more sacrifice for sin. My condition was deplorable, and no way under the heavens to amend it. I verily believed that I was undone both for time and eternity. I would gladly have changed conditions with any man on earth, no matter how low or mean, in hopes thereby I might possibly escape the wrath of God and gain heaven.

        I have heard people say it was an easy matter to


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believe whatever one wished or desired to believe; but in my case I found it to be quite different. I was bound to believe just as I did believe, however unwelcome to my troubled soul. I would have believed there was no God, heaven or hell, but could not. I knew that nothing short of the power of Deity could inflict the pain I felt. I would have believed in the doctrine of universal salvation, but found myself unable to do so. I would have believed in a purgatory, where I might possibly pay the uttermost farthing, and come out, but eternity stared me in the face, and the unquenchable fire kindled in my bosom, and the worm that never dies was already gnawing on the vitals of my soul.

        All this I felt, and the half is not told. And to make my sufferings still more acute, I felt that I was suffering justly; that is, I believed that God was just, merciful and good, as He is represented in His Word, and that I justly deserved all the pain and anguish which I felt, and that I would feel, and would acknowledge the justice of God in sending me to perdition, though I did not want to go there, neither did I ever feel willing to go, only by stern necessity, in order to prevent my sins becoming more aggrivated, which I believed would augment my sufferings in hell. I would have shunned hell at any time if I could. My desire was to get out of the body, and if possible out of existence; though I knew that rocks and mountains could not hide me from the All-seeing Eye of God, and that I must appear at His bar to receive my doom.

        I will now tell how I proceeded, after going home


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with my uncle. This was about the first of November, 1860. I tried to put on the best appearance that I could, and would have forgotten the past if possible, but in spite of all my efforts I appeared and acted quite differently from what I had formerly done. My feelings underwent no change for the better. On Saturday I went to a political meeting at Green Level, Wake county. L.O.B. Branch made a speech on the state of the country, showing the critical position into which the whole South was likely to be involved. I recollect that he advocated the Breckinridge ticket. Of course I took no interest in the meeting, nor in anything that was said. I merely name this to show how retentive my memory is of all that occurred in connection with that dark period of my history. A great many of my friends and brethren were there, and they seemed anxious to talk with me, but I felt ashamed to meet them, or to speak to them. Some of them questioned me very closely as to the cause of my being in that condition. I told them that I had yielded to the influence of an evil spirit, and that I was now unable to extricate myself from his dominion. They would quote scripture to me as the flesh warring against the spirit, and, O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death But it did me no good, as I could claim no promise, either direct or implied.

        I returned that evening with my uncle to his house. After a short time another one of my uncles, Dempsey Johnson, came to see me. He was on his way home, and called to see me, and invited me home with him.


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After a short conversation with him he said I must come to see him before I returned home, for that he was going to get me out of that bad state in which I was involved. I replied: "Uncle Dempsey, you cannot do it; I wish you could." He replied: "Yes I can. Did you ever know me to undertake anything and not go through with it?"

        On the next day, being Sunday, a great many of my relatives, friends and brethren came to my uncle's to see me. I was in a poor situation to meet them, and ill prepared to talk with them. If I told them what I conceived to be my true state it would shock them, and if I told them a lie it would only make my case worse. I therefore concluded to say as little as possible to any of them. They would, however, continue to urge me to talk, and that in various ways. Some of them would take me out privately, and by close and pertinent questions insist on my answering them, to which I generally acceded. Others would ask questions, and without waiting for me to answer them, would try to help me by answering themselves, as they would have it to be. I generally denied such answers to be true. There were one or two preachers among those who came to see me on that day, and they insisted on my going forward in preaching, as the best and surest way to get rid of my bad feelings; and all agreed that I ought to make the attempt. They had conversed with me, and heard my answers to all their interrogations, and could discover no defect in my judgment, memory, or reason. Indeed, they said there was no deficiency to be discovered in my mind, only


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a depression of spirit. I would not consent to make the attempt, for I was aware that they little knew my situation, or how miserable I felt. I had just seen, in a shadow, what awaited me at the judgment seat of God. The Christians had flocked in scores to see me. They were right; I was wrong. They were justified; I was condemned; they would be saved; but I would be lost; they would enter heaven, but I would sink to hell. There were some there whom I baptized, others whom I had joined in matrimony; and nearly all had been present at different times, when the Holy Sacrament was administered by me.

        These things had been revolving through my mind during all that day. I felt that if I should attempt to preach under the circumstances which then surrounded me, I would be guilty of one of the most heinous sins which it was possible for me to commit. I believed it would be more aggravating in the sight of God than suicide. It appeared to me that I would sin presumptuously. It would be nothing less than using deception, and trying to make my brethren, and all who might hear me, believe a lie. I would not have consented to preach with all these things pressing upon my mind for my full weight in gold. Nothing short of an assurance of faith to believe that the attempt would be the means of lifting me out of my unhappy condition would have induced me to try to preach; yet I was ofttimes and repeatedly persuaded to do it by my best friends. I did not doubt the purity of their motives then, neither do I now.

        Seeing all their attempts fail to induce me to consent


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sent to try to preach, they had recourse to another expedient, which was to get my consent to go to meeting. I at first refused knowing as I did that it would bring up my former ministry and everything connected with it fresh in my memory. I believed that I would appear and feel like the man without the wedding garment. But after-long and hard persuasion I consented to go, by being assured that I should not be urged to take any part in the public exercises of the meeting. The meeting was at Olive's Chapel, brother J. C. Wilson to be the preacher. A very large congregation assembled. I was of opinion that they came more out of curiosity to see me than to hear preaching, as it had been published that I would be there. Now, this church had been built near where I had been raised, and almost in sight of my former residence, where myself and family had lived some eighteen or twenty years. I was in the midst of my relatives, friends, neighbors and brethren, all anxious to see me, and, if possible, aid in setting me right again .

        I shall never be able to describe my feelings on that occasion. No one knew what was passing through my mind, but my own heart knew its own bitterness. The preacher came, and with him a great many of the members of Shady Grove church, where my membership was and had been from my first connection with the Church of God. The preacher, who was my own dear cousin, invited me to go with him into the stand, where I had stood for years and preached to the people; but oh! with what different feelings from what I now


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had. I begged to be excused; but by his importunity I finally consented to sit in the stand while he preached. We went into the pulpit together. I took my seat, and he very soon rose to commence the services. I felt just like I was where I ought not to be. I thought that I would have given the world if it had been at my disposal to be as good a man as cousin J. C. Wilson, who then stood before me. I thought of the time when Christ and His disciples were partaking of the passover supper, and when our Saviour said: "One of you shall betray me," and when the beloved disciple asked who it was. I felt that I was a second Judas, and that cousin John was another beloved disciple. I tried to use some words of prayer asking God to change me from Judas to John, but I had neither the spirit nor the faith of prayer.

        After singing and prayer, cousin John introduced his text from Matthew, 7th chapter, 24th to the 27th verses inclusive. The subject was the wise man and the fool. The wise man built his house on the rock, but the foolish man built his house on the sand. He had selected this text on purpose to establish me on the sure foundation of the Christian religion, and to show that none of the storms or tempests of life would ever be able to demolish the Christian's edifice. That no circumstance, or combination of circumstances, nor any other power would ever be able to separate us from the love of Christ.

        The preacher took up the most of his time on the first part of his subject the wise man and his house, and its sure foundation. I would frequently use the


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words of an ejaculatory prayer in a whisper; but, as before stated, I was destitute of both the spirit and faith of prayer. In fact, I had examined this passage of Scripture before, in regard to my awful condition, when I was seeking for the cause which had produced the sad effect; and I had found here my folly in building on the sand, as I had found it when I caught the shadow and missed the substance. I had seen in imagination, and as I thought by an eye of faith, that the sand was giving way, and my house was careening, and that all my efforts to prop it or brace it up would prove unavailing and useless, as it was bound to fall, in spite of all the efforts of man to prevent it.

        While Brother Wilson was preaching, the whole subject seemed more clear and visible to my mind than ever before. I lost all the former part of his discourse, for it was clear to my mind that I had not built my house on the rock; therefore I could claim none of the promises, and I was not an heir of the promise.

        When he took up the last part of his subject, (the foolish man who built his house on the sand,) my conscience said: "Thou art the man!" Every word fitted my case; every sentence was true, though unwelcome truth to me; for I saw my folly and my dreadful doom; and great would be my fall. I wished that I had not come to meeting; for I felt that I was worse than the man who commenced building without counting the cost, and was not able to finish, when all who saw it began to look or laugh, saying: "This man began to build, but was not able to finish." I would think of getting up and making a public


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confession that I was the man who had built his house on the sand, but that would do no good, for they would be unable to help me; it would also be unpleasant to my friends; so I kept my seat till the sermon was finished and the congregation dismissed. I would have gladly disappeared, by going out through the wall, or under the stand, or in any other way which would have prevented me from being seen. But there was no way for me except to face the crowd. Hopeless despair had laid fast hold upon me. I felt more miserable, if possible, than I had ever felt before. I came down from the stand into the aisle of the church with the most dejected countenance you ever saw, where I was met by the female members of the church-loving mothers and sisters in Israel. They were hoping that the sermon had set all things right with me. Their pleasant smiles and sweet voices, while greeting me with a hearty shake of the hand, spoke volumes; but failed to give my poor heart any relief. They were filled With sympathy, and would have gladly raised their gentle hands to brush the heavy load from off my mind, which they saw too plainly was crushing me down. But my sufferings were of such a nature that I was perfectly conscious no human power could relieve me. I made my way through the aisle and out at the door as soon as I well could, feeling, as I supposed, like Judas did when he received the sop and went out.

        Things had gone too far, and my guilt was made too plain, to think of trying to make any amendments for the past, or any preparation for the future. And


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this passage of Scripture flashed through my mind: "What thou doest, do quickly," and I felt if I had an opportunity I would do as Judas did, and go to my own place.

        As I came out of the house and started off, several of the brethren followed me. When we had gone a short distance I began to make my confessions. I told them that I had started wrong; that I had caught the shadow and missed the substance; had built my house upon the sand, and not upon the rock, and now I saw my folly. My house was falling, and no way under the heavens to prevent it. They asked me why I did not take the first part of the sermon, and said I ought to have done so as it was intended for me. I told them that the preacher had pointed out my doom in the latter part of his discourse, and I was bound to submit to it. They asked me if I thought the preacher had given a true exposition of the text. I replied that I did, but that it was so much the worse for me, as I was on a sandy foundation. They asked me if I did not think a man should not speak the truth. I answered, "Yes; if he preaches at all, he should speak the truth." I then told them that I was not finding fault of the sermon at all, but that the truth was what hurt, when it fell upon a guilty mind. I furthermore told them that I regretted my condition as much as any of them could regret it, but that it was a dreadful reality, and could not be otherwise. Some of them remarked that if I had no religion there was no such thing as religion in the world. "Yes" said


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another, "I heard a good brother say the other day if you did not possess the grace of God it would be useless to look for it in any other man."

        I well understood that their object was to try to encourage me to lay hold on the hope set before me; but I was divested of all hope and faith so far as I could discover and as such they found nothing in me upon which they could operate. Some of them proposed to bring me a pen and ink to see if I would blot out the whole concern of the Christian religion. I then told them that I had no doubts upon the reality of the Christian religion; I believed the Bible to be a revelation from God to man as honestly and as firmly as I ever did, and that this way that some had of measuring their religion by other men's religion was contrary to scripture and reason; that I was not the standard by which they would be tried, but that all would be tried by the Word of God. I had been tried myself by that standard, and found that I was wanting; that I had never taught that men should believe in me or any other man, but if men would stumble over me and all into hell I could not help it.

        This was about the substance of our conversation that evening. The crowd dispersed, and I returned to my uncle's. My situation was no better. The state of my mind was rather growing worse. I had but little to say to any one, only to answer such questions as they proposed to me and of that I soon became weary.


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CHAPTER XI.

        In a day or two I left my uncle Daniel's and went over to my uncle Dempsey Thompson's, and after staying with him a few days, he made arrangements for me to return home. I was not permitted to travel alone, or left alone anywhere, except for a very short time.

        When I arrived home I felt glad to see my wife and children for a few minutes. But I soon became restless. My agony of mind was so great that nothing was of much satisfaction to me. My mental torture seemed to increase daily, so much so that I would think every day would be my last. I would frequently tell my wife and some other intimate friends that I could not survive another day under the heavy load which was pressing me down. I had sought death, but could not find it. It now appeared to me that I was constantly suffering the agonies of a sinner's death without being permitted to expire.

        My father-in-law, Alsey Hunter, was lying at the point of death when I left to go home with my uncle and aunt some week ago, and about this time he died. Brother P.W. Dowd was called on to preach his funeral. My uncle Dempsey Johnson carried me to the funeral - or rather, went with me. I felt awful.

        After my father-in-law was buried brother Dowd sought an interview with me. He asked me several questions, and tried to console me by saying: "Everybody is concerned about you, and the christians are all praying for you;" and said that some of the


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churches were uniting in special prayer for me, and that he thought I would soon be all right. I told him some of my awful feelings. He said to me: "You have never thought about taking your own life, have you?" I told him that I had. He replied "That is horrid, brother Olive. Don't let such a thought come into your mind; it is wicked and sinful."

        After giving me some good advice, which I was not prepared to reduce to practice, we parted.

        I was passing home and back again to my uncle's, or with some of my relatives, for some two or three weeks. During this time I was getting no better, but things were hastening to a more fearful crisis. I was frequently urged to go and see Dr. Fisher. I had thought that I never would go, unless I was forced to do so by arbitrary power; but words of kindness, pursuasive arguments and fair promises, induced me, for the sake of others, to go. I had no idea that it would do me any good. I dreaded Dr. Fisher, for I believed he would either pronounce me a hypocrite or insane, and I should be deprived of my liberties. Thomas J. Hunter, J. W. Rogers and wife, and my own dear wife, all united in persuading me to go. After getting my consent, T. J. Hunter, my brother-in-law, was to go with me. We started in a buggy; we had gone but a short distance when I repented my bargain. I jumped out of the buggy and started back. He sat still, and by kind words and fair promises that he would certainly bring me back again, I went back to him.

        When we had gone some two-thirds of the distance


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my heart failed again. I jumped out again, and told him he might go if he choose to do so, but that I should not. He kept his seat, as before, and by kind words and fair speeches, he brought me to terms again. He was a noble-hearted man.

        We went on to Raleigh that night, and stayed with Mr. Eldridge Smith. When we arrived there we found my brother-in-law, J. W. Rogers, and wife, were also there. I was sure that there was some preconcerted plan on foot in regard to my case. A thousand thoughts revolved through my mind. I began to doubt the sincerity of my dearest friends, for they had promised to bring me back to my family in order to induce me to consent to go; but now everything seemed to indicate that they intended to get me into the asylum. I would rather have died than go there, and I thought if I had an instrument of death I would use it. But as I had none, and no chance to get any, I must abide the consequences.

        Next morning my friends asked me if I would go with them to the- asylum to see Dr. Fisher. I told them no, not by my consent. They then asked me if I was willing that the doctor should come and see me where I was. I told them it would do no good. But they insisted that he must see me some how, and gave me my choice, to go to see him or have him invited to come and see me where I was. I replied that if I must see him I would rather he would come to me, as I should never consent to go to him.

        They then left me at Mr. Smith's and in a short time returned with Dr. Fisher. I was invited to go


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into the parlor, and in a few minutes the doctor and my brothers-in-law, Rogers, Hunter and Smith, came in. I was introduced to the doctor immediately, after which he commenced conversation with me. He asked me a great many questions relative to where I lived my age, the number of my children, my occupation, &c. He also interrogated me in regard to my habits of living; whether I used tobacco or drank spirits, &c. I told him that I used tobacco, both by chewing and smoking, but as to spirits, I never used it except as a medicine, in sickness. He then asked me about my health; said I was looking well, but that he had heard that I was ailing, and wished me to tell him what was amiss with me. I told him I was troubled in mind, and had been for some time. He asked me upon what subject I was troubled. I replied: "Upon the subject of religion." He asked me the cause which had produced that distress of mind, and I replied to him, as I had replied to others, that I supposed it was the devil. He asked me if I supposed the devil had power to force men to sin, (as I had just told him that I feared I had committed the unpardonable sin). I told him that I had not been in the habit of thinking so. He asked me what I thought about it now. I told him that the devil was very subtle and cunning, for the Scripture said that he could transform himself into an angel of light and that he had deceived and misled many. The doctor then said that he was no theologian, and that I had better talk with some old minister of the Gospel about these things. He then asked me some questions about how long I had been preaching,


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and whether I had acted honest and sincere in my professions and ministrations, and what were my views and feelings about these things now. I told him that while I had been engaged in these things I felt that I was honest, and that I had acted with a conscience void of offence both towards God and man; but now things appeared differently.

        He then asked me if I did not feel interested in my family. I told him no; not as I had done. He said I ought to feel interested ill them, for that a man's first duty was to take care of his family if he had one. I confessed the truth of what he said, but told him that it was not the case with me, for that I only felt to wish them well, but that I was doing nothing for their welfare.

        He then asked me if I knew how to work. I told him that I did, for that I was raised to work. He then asked me if I worked when I was at home. I replied: Not of late, for that I felt so wretched that I took no interest in anything. He asked me if I owned land. I told him that I did, but that it was not paid for He then told me that he would advise me what course he thought I had best pursue, which was to go home and go to work for my family; to relinquish all thoughts about preaching for the present, for that I was unfit to perform any pastoral duties in my present condition. He also said I must quit the use of tobacco - neither chew or smoke - and as a substitute to get some good whiskey and make some bitters and take two or three drams of that each day, and in two weeks come back and report to him. I made no reply.


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He asked me if I would do it. I then replied that I did not know whether I would or not, as I did not know how I should feel at that time. He said I must do it, and repeated his advice again, and said: "Will you do it?" I hesitated to answer, for I was then determined not to do it, and in particular not to come back in two weeks, for I was of opinion that they were making arrangements to get me into the asylum. He again insisted on an answer, and said I must come. I told him that I did not know where I should be, or how it would be with me two weeks hence.

        I gave him no promise to report back. The truth is, things were not working to my notion, and I expected to be dead and in hell before two weeks, but I dare not say so then.

        The doctor and my brothers-in-law then went out of the room and held a short consultation, and my mind was filled with imaginations. My feelings were wrought up to the highest pitch, and withall I was a little angry, for I believed that they had detected some of my meanness, and were about to take me off whether I consented or not.

        They soon returned, and the doctor repeated over his advice, and said I must do as he had directed, for that he had discovered that I was not a deranged man. I replied that I knew that as well as he did, but that I was laboring under some disordered state of the mind. He looked at me with a very stern and rigid countenance, and said it was a corrupted state of the heart, and left me, with a request that I should come to see him in two weeks.


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        Thus ended my interview with Dr. Fisher. I felt that he had detected enough about me to believe that I was a hypocrite, and had been a devil from the beginning. I knew that I could not avoid my condition, and although I considered myself the vilest wretch on God's earth, yet I could not help feeling offended with the doctor for telling me that it was a corrupted state of the heart. I believed that it would now be published from Dan to Bersheba, and that my name and family would become infamous, and go down to posterity with everlasting contempt. As to my own part, I eared but little, but the thing which I had feared for weeks and months was now at hand; that is, my conduct would disgrace my family and bring a reproach upon everything good with which I was connected.

        In reflecting on my interview with Dr. Fisher, I now believe that he was like all my other friends, prompted by the purest of motives in all that he done and said. I entertain a very high opinion of him, and feel under many obligations to him for condescending to meet me at the house of my brother-in-law, E. Smith.

        I think that I have given the substance of the conversation between Dr. Fisher and myself. If I have stated anything incorrectly, it is an error of the head and not of the heart.

        My friends and relatives were now making every effort to relieve me, if possible, from the unhappy condition in which I found myself plated. They had made arrangements for my uncle Dempsey Johnson, brother to my mother, to take me under his care and


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supervision. I had always had a great affection for him, and he had been my strong and steady friend. I would talk with him more freely than with any other person. He asked me many questions, and from what I had told him in the commencement of my dissatisfaction in regard to my home, he was led to believe that if I could be taken from my present location and carried back in the midst of my relatives and former neighbors, it would have the happy effect of relieving me of my troubles of mind. (I will remark here that soon after I discovered something amiss in my mind I became dissatisfied with my home, and felt that I had made a bad bargain in buying this place. I felt that it was undesirable, and wished I had never come here, for it appeared that everything was badly arranged and ill contrived, and was fast going to wreck and ruin. I made some attempt to sell or change my home for one that I thought would suit me better. And from my conversation with him and others about that time, they had come to the conclusion that it was owing to my being dissatisfied with my home which had produced my unhappy state of mind. I came to the same conclusion myself for a time, but did not continue in that notion long.) But being pressed hard to try the experiment by leaving my present home and locality, and remove back to my old neighborhood, I consented to do so.

        During the interval while things were being made ready for my removal, I was growing worse daily, and my uncle visited me often, and would take me home with him occasionally.


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        Thus, before the time arrived for me to move, I had seen and felt enough to be convinced that the cause of my uneasiness of mind was not in my home, or any other external thing; for I found that change of place did not change the state of my mind. My friends had made the necessary arrangements in providing a home for me and my family near where I was raised, and in the midst of my brothers and sisters, and near to my mother: also where I would be surrounded by long and tried friends and neighbors. No pains had been spared on their part to make my new home pleasant and comfortable when I should get there. They had also employed a man to take possession of my present home, and work the farm on shares.

        I was getting worse, and felt that another awful crisis was rapidly approaching. I regretted very much that I had ever consented to leave my present home. I felt sure that all the trouble and expense of fixing up and moving would be in vain, for the reason that it would do no good, and that the burden would fall heavy on my best friends. I believed, as I had for some time, that I was undone for time and eternity, and often wished that I had ended my present life when I made the attempt. My uncle would use all the arguments that he could think of in order to inspire faith and hope in me. He would tell me that when I got up there I would soon be all right, and then I would resume my calling, and go on in the discharge of my ministerial duties as I had formerly done. A day or two before I was to move my uncle came down to see me. I had been thinking that day that I would make another


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effort to break the chord of life. I dreaded to see my uncle. I knew he had his plan arranged, and would be sure to carry it out if within the limits of his power. I felt equally sure that after all which might or could be done, I must sooner or later die a dreadful death; and as I had no hope of amendment, I felt the tempting suggestion of the enemy which I had so often felt before: "What thou doest, do quickly."

        But I failed, as I had done before. I went home with my uncle, and stayed all night with him, and next morning I began to dissuade him from carrying on his plan any further. I insisted that he stop all his concern about moving me up to the place which had been provided for me, and to let me return home and stay there as long as I could. I told him that it would be the worst step which could be taken, as it would do no good to any person and prove injurious to many, and that I should consider myself the cause of all the evil which must result from the same. My uncle would not consent to stop short of a trial. He said the arrangements were all made, and that the plan must be carried out. On that day the wagons were to come down to my house in order to move me. The sale at my father-in-law's, Alsa Hunter, was now on hand. My wife was there. I had stayed with brother P. W. Dowd one night. Went home with him from the sale. He tried hard to inspire me with hope and faith; but all in vain. I felt perfectly dead to all spiritual things. My feelings were awful while I was with him. Reflection on the past brought fresh in my memory the many pleasant and happy hours and


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days which I had enjoyed in his company while I was a member of his family; but now all these things were departed, never to return. I thought of the great gulf between Dives and Lazarus, and I felt like the same gulf was between me and heaven, and substantially between all Christians and myself. My uncle came home with me from the sale, and the wagons were there, in order to take me and my family to our new home next day. I spent a miserable night. I slept but little, and felt that I would rather die than leave. I would throw myself on the bed and remain awhile, and then get up and walk; but found no rest to my troubled soul. When the time arrived for me to start I refused to go. But being persuaded by my best friends, and knowing that my wife and children would be carried whether I consented or not, I finally consented to go. I went to the sale, and there joined my wife in the journey to our new home. I told her that we had done wrong in giving our consent to go; but she said that she hoped it would be for the best; that her faith was strong. I replied that I was glad that her faith was strong, but that I felt as bad as if I were going to the gallows, and was conscious that it would do me no good. She replied that the step which she had taken had been recommended by my relatives and friends, and that she was willing to do anything which would contribute to my interest. The wagons had gone on with our plunder, and I and my wife went up in my buggy. When we arrived, my friends and relatives had arranged things in a very comfortable manner, but the effect on my mind was anything


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but pleasant: for I felt that it was all labor and expense for no profit. I viewed the whole procedure as ruinous to my family, and felt that I was the cause of all the unhappy consequences which must result from the same. My mental pain became more intense, and the tortures of my mind were intolerable.

        My friends now began to advise with me, and use every exertion which lay within their power to set me right. Every neighbor and friend became a preacher to me; and while I doubted not their sincerity and purpose, the purity of their motives, or the truthfulness of their teachings, I had not faith to believe, and, as such, it profited me nothing. I shall never forget the great and mighty efforts made by some of my friends to raise me out of that dark and gloomy pit into which I had fallen. Dempsey Johnson and A.C. Richardson seemed to take the deepest interest in the matter; and I fear they will never be able to preach to others with such power and energy as they did to me; if they should, I feel certain that their preaching will have a better effect on others than it did on me; for I was as the nether-millstone - no faith, no hope, in short they found nothing in me upon which they could operate.

        Being now at my new home, I felt that I was surrounded with former friends and comforters, but I was not to them what I had been, neither could they be to me what they once were. I was unfit for any social communication, I would rather be alone, and would seek every opportunity to leave company, to mood and grieve over my awful doom. At times I would


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feel a little irritated, and like Israel of old, I would murmur "against Moses and against God." That is, I would endeavor to attach blame to somebody besides myself. I would think why it was that I was suffered to go on under delusion till things had reached such an awful crisis. Why had not christians instructed me more faithfully and clearly in regard to those things? And why had God not made known the delusion in time for me to make amends? But after maturing the subject in my mind I would come to the inevitable conclusion that I alone was guilty of all the evil which had come upon me, and that I must confess God to be just in my damnation, though I was unwilling to receive justice, for I never did feel willing to go to hell; yet I believed that I should go there, and that God would be just in sending me to destruction. I told some of my friends about this time that I was not willing for justice to take place, and as such I was not a just man. They demanded of me to point to one dishonest act of my life, as it was something that no other man had ever discovered. I replied that so far as my dealings with my fellow men were concerned, that I had always tried to act on the principle of truth and justice; but being deceived myself by the devil I had used deception to others, and as such I now found that I was unwilling to submit to justice.

        I moved to my new home in the latter part of the year 1860. I had been there only a short time before I became so desperate in my words and actions, which proved an index to the state of my mind, that my


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uncle came down and took me home with him. He had concluded (and justly too), that he could do more with me than any other person. I had been in the habit of leaving every other person but him in order to get away to myself or rather to be alone. My friends had objected to this, and called it running away from them, but I had other reasons for it which I had not made public. My uncle would say: "He will not run away from me; I will take him home with me." He knew not what was going on in my mind, for it was a dreadful state of things there, and likely to be worse. The truth is, after giving in to the temptation to take my own life, and failing to do it, and repeating the effort several times, I came to the conclusion that God would not suffer me to sneak out of the world in that way. I must therefore find out some other way. My mind was daily occupied in seeking for the way and means by which that thing must be accomplished. Now, as I considered the devil to be my master, and I his slave, I must needs look to him for advice in this difficult matter. I am almost ashamed to confess it but it is nevertheless true, that I felt that I was given up of God and in the hands of the devil, to be tormented by him in life and to be punished in hell by him throughout eternity. I was thus like one tied hand and foot and unable to help myself. I told a dear friend one day that I would like to change masters, for that I had a hard one, and found myself unable to throw off his yoke. Being thus, under the influence of the wicked one, he suggested to my mind that the way in which God had


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designed for me to get out of the world was that I should murder some person, and then the laws of the land would take hold of me, and I would be publicly executed, and in this way God would vindicate His honor and His Word; for that His Word did say: "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known."

        I did not approve of this way of getting out of the world. There was not a person on earth whom I would be willing to kill except myself. I entertained no hatred or malice against any human being. But the tempter said that was the way, and that stern necessity would compel me to do it. I tried to throw away all such thoughts, knowing, as I did, that they came from the wicked one. But in spite of all my efforts these thoughts and suggestions would return with double force, until I believed that I should have to do the very thing which I had detested and revolted at in the outset. My reason, my understanding and my better judgment taught me that it was wrong; but then I was bound to do it, and as before, the sooner the better.

        I now began to think who it should be that I must kill, and strange to tell, it must be those who were nearest to me. First my dear and harmless wife - a part of myself - or my dear innocent children, who were parts of myself - bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh. The thoughts of taking any of their lives would shock me, so that when these temptations came strongly upon me, I would leave in order to avoid doing


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mischief. I dared not tell this to my friends, for I knew they would take me to the Asylum. I did, however, intimate the fact to my wife and some few others after I could keep it concealed no longer. I was now with my uncle, and I was conscious that the time was near at hand when the awful crisis would come to a head.

        About this time I began to think that Dempsey Johnson was the man who was to be murdered by me. The thoughts of taking his life seemed more than I could bear. To take the life of the man who had always befriended me, and had stood up to me like a father in every time of need, and had now imperiled his own life to save me, if possible, from disgrace and degradation. How could I bear the thought of killing so good a man as my uncle Dempsey - vile wretch as I conceived myself to be? The deed was too horrible for me. The tempter said it was not so bad as what I had already done, for that I had crucified the Son of God afresh and put Him to open shame, and that I need not be thus straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel; for Dempsey Johnson was nothing to compare with the Saviour of the world. I believed what the devil said, but was unwilling to commit the deed - the bloody deed of murdering my uncle. If I had murdered the Greatest of All, it did not follow that I would be justifiable in murdering the least.

        But as these thoughts would intrude in spite of all my efforts to prevent them, the impression grew upon my mind that under the influence of the strong temptation of the devil I would be impelled to commit the horrid deed of murdering my uncle. I sometimes


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thought that under the influence of those endearing ties which bind kindred hearts together my uncle had sinned and become a partaker of my dark deeds, and that God would so order it that he would die by the hands of the criminal he was trying to save.

        In meditating on this dreadful subject my imagination was drawn out on the awful scene which would be witnessed after the perpetration of this bloody deed. I could see my dear old uncle weltering in his blood, which was shed by my wicked hands; the inquest held over his body, his family and friends weeping and mourning around; myself brought forward to answer to the charge, and I stood guilty, trembling and speechless. All this and much more would pass before the eye of the mind in the awful picture which my imagination drew of so great a crime. I therefore made up my mind to do what I had promised never to do, which was to run away from my uncle.

        I left him, and went off and hid myself. My uncle soon set out to look for me; when he found me he said: "I thought you never would run away from me. I do not want you to do so any more. What makes you do so anyhow?" I told him that I felt it was best; but he insisted that I should never do so any more, and gently reproved me.

        I returned with him to the house, but it was not long before I left him again, and he looked me up again. I know not how often I pursued the same course, and he the same course in looking me up.

        I recollect on one occasion, when I went off early in the morning, it was some time before he found me. I


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was lying down on the ground; he came to me and raised me up, the turbulent passion was still on me, and I insisted that he should let me alone; but he took me by the arm and bade me arise and go with him to the house. I then told him that he had better let me alone, and drew back from him, as though I would break his hold on me. He reproved me, and said: "Come on, and let us go to the house." I again said: "Uncle Dempsey, you had better let me alone." He replied: "I am not afraid of you." I said: "You had better be." He contended that he was not, and I thought and contended that he had better be. He urged me to go, and I resisted, until he pulled me on a short distance, when I felt such a strong spirit of resistance that I seized hold of him and shook him with all my might, saying: "You had better let me alone." My uncle stormed out at me saying: "What do you mean? You had better behave yourself, or I will make my servants tie you, and we will take you to to the asylum."

        After a little parley we went into the house. He seated me beside the fire and went out a few minutes, and then returned. He then took his seat close beside me, and asked me what I meant by laying hold of him, and shaking him as I did out yonder. I told him that I meant what I said - he had better let me alone. He said: "You had no idea of hurting me, did you?" I told him that if I had had a weapon I thought I should have used it. He replied: "No you would not." I said I reckon I should. He then opened his shirt collar and held his head and neck


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close to me, and asked me if I had a razor in my hand if I would use it on him. I viewed this conduct of my uncle as a dare, and it roused up my turbulent feelings in an instant. I replied to him: "Yes, I should cut your throat." He said I would not, but I contended that I would, till he changed his manner and tone of voice. He drew back from me and said, in a very pitiful tone of voice: "Is it not monstrous that you will do so - want to kill your old uncle, who has done so much for you - more than anybody else, except your father and mother. Johnson, did I ever think you would come to this? What do you want to kill me for - what have I done?"

        By this time kind words and gentle means had done the work for me. I burst into cries and tears and said: "No, uncle Dempsey, I won't do it; I won't do it." Ten minutes before I thought and said I would, but now I would not for the world.

        In thinking and reflecting on this particular period of my life I have come to the conclusion that I was under the influence of the wicked one, and at times he came on me with more force than usual; and whether he took seven other spirits with him or not, he put forth all the power that he had to introduce me to act out the temptation presented. These aberrations of mind caused me to fear in my better moments of reflection that I should do mischief if I continued in company while these were upon me. I therefore generally left when I felt them come on, if not prevented.


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CHAPTER XII.

        These were the only times that I ever thought of doing immediate mischief, and the only times that I now consider that I was dangerous to any persons. No person could know when these aberrations were coming on, only by my movements. I became restless, uneasy, and gave evident signs that I wished to leave. My friends would frequently prevent me, by following me wherever I went, and some times watched me to see if I gave any signs of taking my own life.

        It was also about this time my uncle proposed to me to go with him to meeting at Olive's Chapel. I did not wish to go, for I had been there once since I had quit preaching, and felt that it me more harm than good; but as my uncle desired me to go, and talked kindly to me on the subject, I consented to go, and would have done so if I had known it would cost me my life. Indeed, I had an idea that my friends would meet there on that day to see the last of me, for I believed they intended to do something with me, and it mattered little what to me.

        We went to the meeting. No condemned criminal ever felt or looked worse that I did. I was urged to go into the house and take a seat with the old brethren, and talk with them. I did go into the house after awhile, being strenuously urged to do so by my uncle. But after getting in there I repented that I went. My uncle insisted that my old brethren should ask me questions, and I felt as mean as Judas could have felt


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after agreeing to sell his Lord and master for thirty pieces of silver. I could hardly hold up my head; my countenance had fallen lower than ever; despair was depicted in my countenance. The pains of hell gat hold on me, and I felt that rocks and mountains would be welcome to fall on me if they could but hide me from the face of God and man forever. I was displeased with my uncle for bringing me there to be held up to the public gaze as an apostate to the church and a traitor to his God.

        My uncle now told me that he had had his way about the course which I must pursue, and I now might have my own way. I felt like a man who had been led to the jumping off place and then told to go which way he pleased, but on looking around on all sides of the place where he stood, there yawned the same deep and dark abyss. I knew not what to say or where to go. My uncle urged me to make up my mind quickly, as I should have my own way. He said I might go east, west, north or south, just which I liked. I considered at first that he was trifling with me, but as he insisted that I should make up my mind quick I told him I would choose to go to my brother-in-law's, Mark Barker's. So my uncle took me there in his buggy, and after starting there awhile he left and went home. My brother Calvin was there that night, I think.

        My uncle left after awhile saying he would come back to see me the next night. I spent a very unpleasant night. I felt like everybody was getting tired of me, even my own brothers and sisters. I was so mean in my own estimation that I could not blame


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them for anything but their kindness towards me. I told some of them to let me go to the dogs, where I belonged, and yet they would continue to lavish their kindness upon me. I told them that they were thus heaping coals of fire upon my head. They would reply that they were doing the best they knew how, and only regretted that they could do no more. I was aware of my inability to render myself agreeable, for I had tried in vain to do so till my courage failed. I frequently thought if I could hide myself in some' cave or den in the earth, where no human being could ever find me, I would gladly do so. But that was impossible.

        In some of my aberrations of mind about this time I became almost ungovernable. Indeed, it seemed to me that I felt some of the torments of the damned in my flesh and bones as well as in my mind. I would wring my hands, gnash my teeth, writhe and twist, and turn in various ways. Sometimes I would jump and skip, and rub my feet and legs from the anguish and pain of mind which I felt, and which seemed to penetrate my whole system. It would generally wear off in a short time, or gradually subside, so that I would be able to compose myself, so far as these tortures of body were concerned.

        My uncle, according to promise, came back the next night to see me, and A.C. Richardson also came. These were my two strong friends, who took such a lively interest in my welfare. They had labored with me long and faithfully. They had spared no pains or expense in trying to set me right. They had been


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with me both by day and by night. They had given me line upon line and precept upon precept. All their efforts seemed likely to avail nothing. They must try some new experiment. What should be the next step? After some consultation they resolved to try coercion - that is, force me to do what I objected to. I had told them that I did not wish to leave my brother-in-law, Barker. They said I should go home to see my wife and children. I objected to going home at that time, stating as my reason that I should kill my wife. They contended that I would not, and said I should go to see them, and that they would show me I would not do as I had said.

        They probably thought that I was playing off, but they little knew what was going on in my mind. They took me out of the house, one on each side, and started with me to see my wife and children. I plead hard with them not to carry me there that night, as I felt conscious that I should do mischief. They would not listen to me, but reproved me sharply, and spoke to me roughly. They took me on my own grounds; spoke freely of my meanness; and how smart I had been in deceiving the people. I am confident that A.C. Richardson preached that night as he will never preach again. He became truly eloquent, and spoke as if his lips had been touched with a live coal from off God's holy altar. I was of the opinion then that he was moved by some irresistable influence. I have talked with him since about that matter, and his reply to me was, he should never be able to tell his feelings on that occasion. My uncle was as rigid in what he said as A. C. Richardson, but did not speak so loud.


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        They carried me about half the distance when I renewed my request that they should carry me no farther. I plead hard for them to let me go, but if they had loosed their hold on me I should have given them one race through the woods that night. I would pull backwards, but they would urge me on, and sometimes nearly drag me.

        All this tended to arouse my vile passions, and if I had had a weapon in my hand, I should have used it on them. I have no doubt now that they were actuated from the purest of motives. They were doing the best they knew; but I doubt very much whether they pursued the wiser course with me on that occasion.

        This was the only time that my friends tried arbitrary power with me. I will now tell how it operated in my case. I was carried home to my wife and children with one on each side of me. When we got there they forced me into the house, took me into the room where my wife was sitting, placed a chair close by her side, and ordered me to sit down, and my uncle said to me: "Now kill your wife if you want to." My hands were palsied, but I made an effort to seize her by the throat, and felt that if I had had a deadly weapon I should have used it. My uncle seized my arm and drew my hand away. My poor wife commenced talking to me in the most loving and affectionate manner, and I burst out crying, and rose up hastily and ran to the bed and fell on my face. Here I lay, and would not say a word to any one for sometime. My uncle tried hard to get me to speak to him, but all in vain, I would not so much as answer a question.


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        After staying a while my two friends who had forced me to come there left. I had never met my dear companion in such a plight before, and I thank my God that I never have since. I know not whether this circumstance gave rise to my strong temptations to swear and blaspheme or not, but I do know that I suffered a great deal about this time from the dreadful temptations to use profane language. I never did use profanity in all my youthful days; I have no recollection that I ever swore an oath, except on one occasion, when I became very angry, and that was before I was grown up to manhood. But now it appeared to me that I should swear in spite of all my efforts to avoid it. These horrid oaths were constantly uprising in my mind, and I was striving against them with might and main, but they were constantly multiplying and increasing in strength till I was so full of them that it seemed to me I must give vent to them or burst asunder.

        It was about this time that I went a part of one day with my mouth open, or my tongue gripped in my teeth to prevent swearing. I told my wife, my uncle, and others that I should swear, and when I did burst forth, they had never heard the like before. These temptations to swear followed me up for a long time. Sometimes they would come upon me with great force, so much so that I felt confident that I could not hold in much longer. I would frequently tell my wife that she need not be alarmed to hear it at any time, for it would certainly have to come.

        I will here remark that I had strong temptations to


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almost every known sin. I was tormented by them day and night. To some of these temptations I partially yielded, or rather, as it appears to me, I was forced to yield. It was in this, as it was in other things, I saw the right and approved it too; I hated the wrong, and yet the wrong would I do. I recollect on one occasion I told my wife I should swear that day. She said: "I have heard you say so before, and you have not done it, and I shall never believe it till I hear it." I told her that I had hitherto succeeded in curbing it, but the temptation was becoming too strong for me, and that I was getting so full of profanity it would be bound to come. She then asked me if I thought it would do me any good to curse. I replied, "no, it will only make bad worse; but I shall be bound to let it come, as I am getting so full I shall burst." She again replied that she would never believe I could swear till she heard it. I told her she would hear it before night, to which she replied: "I do not believe you could swear if you were to try." I replied, "yes I can," and she said, "let me hear you." I then told her that I was a damned old sinner. She reproved me and said if I commenced swearing she would not live with me. But my wounded conscience reproved me more sharply than she did; for notwithstanding I had spoken what I believed to be the truth, I had used a bad word to express it.

        I am not certain that I ever tried to swear after that time, though the temptation followed me up for a long time.

        Involuntary thoughts tormented me daily, so that


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when my friends would ask me what I was studying or thinking about, I would reply to them by saying I was studying or thinking of meanness. They would tell me to quit it, and study something else; but they had just as well have told the birds not to fly over their heads.

        This was about the first of January, 1861. I was at home but little of the time. My uncle would come to see me and get me off home with him, or to my brother's or my mother's. Their motto was to keep me going from place to place. I now think it was as good a plan as they could have adopted, provided they could get me to go without force. This they could generally do by kind words and persuasive arguments. I recollect that my sister-in-law, (brother Hollaway's wife) used to come over very often when I was at home, and she almost invariably brought me to terms by her kind, gentle manner in talking with me. I would sometimes object strenuously in the outset, but she had a peculiar tact in overcoming me with kindness. As I have said before, I never could stand before kind words and gentle means. I always caved in or gave way under that kind of treatment.

        I must now come to the most mysterious and critical time of this dark period in my history. I have had occasion to speak of instances in which imagination had something to do in my experience while on the dark and dreary road of time. I shall be under the necessity of saying more on that subject hereafter. Indeed, it will be somewhat difficult in some few instances to determine which was real and which was


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imaginary, as the one seems to be blended in the other. I will, however, try to be as particular in drawing the distinction between what was real and what was imaginary as possible, believing, as I do, that upon these two hinges the whole matter turns. I will in the first place remark, that I believe I was the servant of the devil, for "to whom ye yield your members servants to obey, his servants ye are." I considered that when I yielded to the temptation of the devil to commit suicide I became his servant, and was invested with the spirit of murder. In this consideration I had acted voluntary. But when I failed to accomplish what I had voluntarily agreed to do, I would gladly have been divested of that evil spirit. I had no desire to take the life of any other person, and as such I desired the spirit of murder to depart from me. But he would not leave, neither was I able to cast him out; he must remain there to torment me for a season. This murderous spirit never got my voluntary consent to take the life of any one of my fellow beings, but he did a great deal to lead me in that direction. As I before stated, this devil or wicked spirit suggested to my mind that by taking the life of another person was the way for me to get out of the world, and that stern necessity would require me to go out that way, and the sooner the better. Now, I did not give in to this, yet I felt that I would have to do so, for I believed that the master was over the servant. This tormenting spirit continued his temptations, and led me into many difficulties; and if I had been given up of God, as I believed I was, this demon of hell would have


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Led me to endless ruin. I found myself no match for him. And if our God does not prevent, the devil will get us all.

        My uncle came down to my house and took me home with him to stay a few days, seeing, as I suppose, that I was more restless and uneasy than usual. He generally stayed with me in the day time, and lay with me at night. He had been broken of his rest and greatly troubled in mind about me, and I saw very clearly that his health was failing, and his spirit was flagging. I considered myself the cause of all that was wrong about him, and I believed, if he died I would be the cause of his death. These things made me feel awful, but it was unavoidable by me. I wished I were dead. "Oh! that I had died before mine eyes beheld the light." But I must drag along this wretched sinful life. My uncle sent for his son to come and stay with me that night, in order that he might take some rest. I was in a small room with a bed and a warm fire; my mind got into a train of thought, such as I never experienced before or since. I was meditating on my fearful doom; pouring over the miserable state of my unhappy life, when the tempter interrogated me as follows: "What would you be willing to do in order to get out of this dreadful state?" My answer was: "I am willing to do anything." Now said the tempter: "If you knew that killing a man would relieve you, would you do that?" I hesitated, but my mind voluntarily said, "Yes." Then said the tempter: "Suppose it would not take you out of it, but by taking the life of another you would be


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relieved, would you do that?" I discovered that my mind was going irresistibly in a wrong course, and endeavored to stop it by striking my head with my fist or tearing out locks of my hair; but all to no purpose, as it rushed on like a stream of water over a precipice. I answered in my mind as before. And then the question was: "How many would you kill in order to be delivered?" My mind said "Everybody." "But suppose you were not delivered then, what would you do next?" My mind said: "I would destroy the devil and hell, if I had the power." "And suppose you were still as miserable as ever, and had the power, what would you do next?" My mind answered: "I would blot out heaven." "And what next?" I knew what was coming. I scringed at the very thought; but in spite of all my powers to prevent, my mind said: "I would pluck God from His throne." I had now got to the end of my row; I had no where else to go. I had annihilated the world; destroyed heaven and hell; plucked God from His throne. The thought of what I had done threw me into convulsions. I could not lie, sit, or stand; but was hopping and skipping over the room wringing my hands and rubbing my feet. I would throw myself on the bed and in a few minutes rise up and pace the floor; sit down and rise instantly from my seat, and rub and wring my hands. My cousin, who was in the room with me, would ask me what made me do so, and would say I wish you would quit doing so. I told him that my mental pain was so great that I could not do otherwise. I


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continued in this condition more or less for some time; but at intervals I was more composed.

        An hour or two after dark there came two men to my uncle's. They came in the hall room adjoining the room in which I was. They spoke to my uncle and after the usual words of salutation they asked my uncle where I was. He told them that I was in the room and that his son Thomas was with me. I knew the men by their voice; one of them was a minister of the Gospel and the other was a Deacon of the church. I was filled with anxiety to hear what they would have to say about me. There was a window in the wall between the room where they were and the room where I was. The window was shaded with curtains, but I .was in six or eight feet of them. I was so anxious to hear that I became an attentive listener; for I verily believed that the hand of Providence was now at work against me and that those two men had come under the direction of Providence to detect in me what I conceived to be my meanness. They soon asked my uncle how I was getting along; he replied by telling them that I was in one of my worst ways that night. They said we have come over to see him, and what do you think of our going in to talk with him. My uncle said that he thought it would be inadvisable for them to go in that evening as I was averse to company. They said we do not wish to intrude or do anything which would make the case worse, but something must be done. My uncle asked what more could be done than what was already being done. To which


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they replied we do not know; but the thing has gone on until something more is obliged to be done.

        What I have stated above did occur as I have since inquired of my uncle concerning the truth of this matter. And now what follows on this particular point, I suppose, was imagination though it appears to me as real as the other. But as I have learned from good authority the things which I am now about to write did not occur I shall put them down as the result of imagination: The minister of whom I spoke continued his conversation with my uncle. He said something must be done, or some steps taken with me, for that the thing was published in the papers. My uncle asked, published where. He replied in the Biblical Recorder and the Spirit of the Age. My uncle expressed his astonishment, and said certainly it was a mistake. No, said the minister I have the paper in my pocket and he proposed to read it if my uncle desired it. My uncle said he would like to hear it; upon which the minister drew the paper from his pocket, and I heard it rattle, apparently as plainly as ever I heard a paper rattle when thus drawn out and opened. He then commenced reading in a low tone of voice, though I could distinctly hear the most of what he read. It was lengthy, embracing a period of twenty years, and giving a brief historical sketch of my life; and I considered it a very truthful sketch with a very few exceptions. The writer said that I had enjoyed, or rather possessed the means of success in the ministry; that I had a large family connection and a large circle of personal friends, and that when I married I had


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selected a woman in that respect like myself; that my labors had been almost exclusively confined within the circle of those relatives and friends; that they had stood as safeguards and as a wall of defence around me, and that I had always managed in some way to retain their confidence; that my relatives and friends had always been blind or deaf to my failings and imperfections, but that others, who had not been so closely and intimately connected with me, had seen and believed that I was not what I pretended to be, and that sooner or later the judgments of heaven would overtake me. The writer also spoke of my becoming restless and dissatisfied with my home and country, and of my having made some arrangements to move to the far west; but that Providence had interfered, and kept me from going to a distant land to impose on an innocent people there as I had done here.

        The writer went on to say that I had imposed on my best friends; that I had inveigled my brothers, and especially my brother Calvin Olive, who, by the way, unlike myself, was a very clever fellow; that I had neglected my wife and children, but by some art or ingenuity peculiar to myself I had made them believe that I was a good man, and that they were still hanging on to me, as was also my dear old uncle, who then had me under his care; that it was in consideration of my family and friends that others has borne with me as long as they had; but that they had borne with me until forebearance ceased to be a virtue, and that the good of the cause required that truth and justice should take place; that I was therefore published to the world as an imposter.


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        The part to which I objected was that the writer wished to make the impression that I had done all that I ever did from hypocritical motives. I believed it was deception - that is, I was honest and sincere in all that I had done, but had acted under Satan's delusion. Upon the whole, I was not much, if any, better than the downright hypocrite, for I was the deceived and the deceiver of others.

        This ends the present imagination. I believed it to be real, and continued to believe it for years, as nothing appeared plainer to me. And it had the same effect on my mind as if it had been true; for I believed it to be a reality, and according to my faith so was it unto me. The foregoing is one of the plainest cases of the powers of the imagination working on the fancy that I have ever experienced. I believed it to be true, and felt so miserable about it that I was not disposed to ask any questions in regard to the matter. And at that time I should not have believed otherwise even if the preacher himself had told me that I was mistaken; for at this period of my life I believed that my best friends would speak ironically to me.

        I will now tell you how this thing affected me, and the false conclusions to which it led me. I was so miserable that I would willingly have ended my life if possible, but I had no weapon. I did, however, find a pound weight which I thought of using in trying to break my head and burst my brains out, but being fearful that I should make a failure, and also knowing that my cousin was with me in the room, I laid down the weight and took it up no more. That which


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grieved me most was that I had brought such a reproach upon the cause of religion, and such a disgrace upon my family and friends. I wished that I had succeeded in taking my life in the outset. It appeared to me that it would have been better for all concerned.

        I slept but little that night; next morning I was no better. My teeth chattered; my eyes seemed to ache within their sockets. They looked red and fiery. My uncle has frequently spoken to me and others of my dreadful appearance that morning. I walked the floor exclaiming: "Ruined, ruined, ruined! I have ruined everything." My friends came in to see me, but could give no relief. I told some of my best friends that they had better not hang on to me any longer, but let me go to the dogs, where I belonged, for I felt that I was an outcast from God and man.

        It was about this time that I concluded to try to perish myself to death. I believed that every act of kindness shown me by my friends was like heaping coals of fire on my head.

        I was in bed one morning when my uncle, as usual, came to rouse me up for breakfast. I told him I did not wish to eat. He insisted that I must eat. I told him it was a sin for me to eat, and that I did not wish to eat any more. He continued his arguments for some time, but without gaining my consent to eat. He then sent his wife to me. She was a very pious woman, and she began pleading with me to go and eat breakfast with her. I replied to her as I had to my uncle, that it was a sin for me to eat, and that if she


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insisted on my eating she would be a partaker of my sins. She then told me if I would not eat she would not, saying, "if you are a wicked man, as you contend you are, I will show you that I can fast as long as you can." I asked her if she wished to heap coals of fire on my head. She said, "No." I said: "This is what you are doing every time you ask me to eat." But her kind words and importunity overcame me.

        In a day or two after I had heard the preacher read what had been published in the papers concerning me, my uncle asked me if I did not wish to go and see my wife and children. I replied that I did. He said: "Well, I will carry you to-day." Soon after we started. he looked at me and said: "Johnson, I want you to go to meeting with me next Saturday at Shady Grove. The old brethren want to see you down there." I felt confident I knew what was in hand. I had been published as an impostor; Shady Grove Church was going to excommunicate me, and they had requested my uncle to get me to go without sending a committee for me. I made no reply to my uncle at first, but he urged me again, and said: "Will you not go?" I then told him it would do no good, and that I did not expect to go. He asked me why. I told him that I did not wish to interfere with the worship of God. He wished to know how I would do that. I told him that my presence would do it, for that they would be thinking of little else execute me while I was present. He then told me that I would have to go, and that he thought I had better go then. All this forced the conviction upon my mind that the Shady Grove Church


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was going to exclude me from its fellowship and had requested my uncle to get my consent to go without being cited by a committee from the church as they felt some delicacy in doing that owing to my condition. I honestly believed that I was published to the world as an imposter and that everybody knew it, but owing to my situation they were not disposed to tell me of it; and my feelings were so wretched in regard to that fact I was not disposed to ask any questions on the subject.

        My uncle said no more to me on that matter till we reached home, when he spoke to my wife as follows: "Martha I have been trying to get Johnson to go with me to the meeting at Shady Grove next Saturday, but he seems to talk like he shall not go, but I think he will and I want you to try to get him to go, as I think it will be the best for him to go. And don't you think so too?"

        My wife joined my uncle in persuading me to go. I said but little and made no promises. But my uncle told her to have my clothes ready. as he should come early on Saturday morning to go with me to meeting. He then left for home, telling my wife that she must get me in the notion to go. I said nothing, but had no idea of going without compulsion.

        Soon after my uncle left my wife commenced talking with me, and very soon asked me if I was not going to meeting with my uncle. I told her that I reckoned not. She asked me why. I told her as I had told my uncle that it would do no good and that I did not wish to interfere with the worship of


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God. I also told her that I was not fit to go; that I should not attempt to make any defence if I went; that if they should ask me if I thought I ought to be retained as a member of the church I should tell them no. And finally I told her that I was not considered as a member of the church. She replied that she knew better and asked me what made me think so. I told her that my name might be on the church book, but that it would not be there long. She expressed her astonishment at my false notions and charged me with folly.

        After some further questions and answers I told her I was published as a vile impostor and that I knew enough about Shady Grove church to be satisfied that she would not retain in fellowship a man that was published as an impostor; and that I was not going there, for it was more than I could hear to meet the case. My wife contended that there was not a particle of truth in anything that I had said on the subject, and asked me how I came to take up such false notions. I replied that I hated it worse than anybody else could hate it but it was a dreadful reality. She said to me: "Did anybody tell you so?" "No," said I "but I heard it read." "Heard it read by whom?" I replied that I heard it read by a minister of the gospel. She asked me where. I told her at my uncle's. She then asked me if anybody heard it but myself. I told her yes, my uncle and a deacon of the church. She asked me some other questions about the papers in which it was published. I told her that the minister said it was published in the Biblical Recorder and


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the Spirit of the Age, and that I did not know which paper he read, but I heard him read from one. My wife then said to me: "I intend to ask uncle Dempsey about this when I see him," and turned off, to which I replied: "Well, you can ask him, and he may say what he pleases to you about this matter, but I know that I heard it read, and he heard it too."

        The fact is, I was of the opinion all that time that the people were trying to keep my wife and children in the dark in regard to the true situation of affairs in relation to myself. They knew that my wife was a devoted companion of her husband, and that she had told them that she would never give me up. My children, likewise, loved me with filial affection, and if the thing had been made known to them, as I conceived it to be, they would all have been heartbroken; therefore I thought our friends and relatives were disposed to keep these things concealed from them as long as possible.

        The time arrived for my uncle to come, in order to go with me to meeting. He came at an early hour, but I had made no preparation whatever. My uncle began hurrying me up. I told him I could not go; he said he knew better, and that I must go. I would not consent, but was disposed to get off from him. At last he sought an interview with my wife, and I was as anxious to hear what was said as any person could be, in order that I might find out how things were going. He asked my wife why I was so much averse to going to meeting, and she then related to him what I had said to her about being published, and about


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hearing it read in his presence, &c. She then said: "Uncle Dempsey is it so?" I was situated where I could see them both. He replied to her: "No, that will never be." But I saw in his countenance more deceit than I had ever seen before. I was now more thoroughly convinced than ever before that he was using deception with my poor wife, though I thought perhaps his motives were pure in trying to keep up the anchor of hope. He tried me again to go with him, but all to no purpose, for I had determined not to go, unless compelled.

        My uncle soon left, and my wife came to me expressing her sorrow and regret that I would not consent to go to meeting with my dear old uncle, who had put himself to so much trouble and fatigue to get me to go. I made some reply, expressing my belief that it was best for me not to go. She then said to me: "I asked uncle Dempsey about what you said concerning your being published as an impostor, and about your hearing that preacher read it at his house." I asked: "What did he say?" She replied: "He said 'no, that will never be done.' " "Yes," said I, "I heard him, and I noticed him too; he said, 'that will never be done,' but he did not tell you that it never had been done." It has been published, and there is no use of publishing it any more. Thus ended our conversation on that subject for the present.


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CHAPTER XIII.

        I was now left for a time to my miserable reflections, often walking over woods and fields and at other times trying to hide myself from the face of men, and meditating on what course I would pursue next. Sometimes I would conclude never to return home any more, but to continue to wander further from home; and then again I would conclude to return home at evening.

        I was persuade to go and stay a few weeks with my wife's relations, who always treated me with the greatest kindness, and I often wondered how it could be that they should show so much kindness to me when I had acted so ungrateful towards them.

        It was also in the early part of this year (1861) that my uncle, who had taken such a lively interest in my welfare, conceived the idea of getting up a school at my house which he said I must teach, but knowing that I would not consent to undertake the business, he employed a man to take charge of the school, and urged me to assist the teacher in giving instruction to the children. The truth is my friends thought in this way to keep me out of mischief, and if possible, to attract my mind from the gloomy subject on which it was always running and place it on something else; and also to keep me under some sort of restraint from running off from home.

        The school was made up and the teacher came. He was a good and pious man - a member of the


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Methodist Church. His name was William Long, of Chatham county. He was an old acquaintance of mine and a man whom I had always loved. Mr. Long labored hard with me in trying to set me right. We often walked off together at evening and he would pray for me and ask me to join him. I felt so dead and dull, and withall, so condemned, that I had no heart to pray. But Long prayed for me and often shed tears freely while talking with me. Despair had fast hold on me, and I felt every prayer which he offered up for me only aggravated my dreadful doom. I would frequently tell him that every act of kindness which he or any other person showed to me was heaping up coals of fire on my head. He would frequently offer me a chew of tobacco, and I would say to him: "Heap up more coals of fire on my head."

        The school went on for several weeks and brother Long would sometimes have me in the house with him as an assistant teacher; but I felt altogether unfit for the place. I would frequently get up and walk out, and be gone for hours, and then return; at other times I would not return till he or some other person would look me up and bring me back. Thus things went on for some considerable time. Meanwhile I was getting no better, but considered myself growing worse every day. Brother Long continued to labor with me more or less all the time for he seemed to possess the gift of perseverance, and a good degree of patience. But I am sure he had many hard trials with me, and at times his patience must have been nearly exhausted. I was conscious at the time that he was about to give


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me up as a hopeless case, for he would sometimes tell me that he had done what he could, and express his regret that I had no faith to receive leis instructions or to believe what he had said to me. I knew this to be a fact, but found myself unable to avoid my own conclusions. My mother and brothers and sisters would frequently come to see me, but us they had already exhausted their power and skill in trying to talk me out of my false conclusions, as they termed them, they would now seldom say anything to me on the subject of my unhappy condition. But they were still willing to do something, if they only knew what to do.

        As I was getting more restless and ungovernable at home, my friends and relatives determined to use every effort to get me to travel. They had tried to do this from the first of my troubles, but I had always opposed the idea myself, and would by no means consent. I was unwilling that any one should see me in that miserable plight.

        But the time had come when something more must be done, and as this thing had not been tried, they were now determined to get me off if possible. My uncle, Dempsey Johnson, who continued to visit me, was the man who must try to get my consent. He told me that he hall consulted doctors and preachers, the wise and the pious, and that they all recommended that course, believing that it would be the best that could be done under all the circumstances connected with my case. And he then asked me if I did not wish the best thing to be done. Of course I had to


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give my assent to the question, but told him that it would do no good. He knew that I had an aversion to company, and, as such, would not like to travel in a public way; he therefore proposed to me to take a trip down the country with a man who was going after a load of fish. I still insisted that it would do no good, but he insisted that I should make the trial, and asked me if I thought it would do me any harm. I told him no, for I thought I would be about as well off in one place as another, but must be miserable anywhere. My uncle said he had consulted a number of men on the subject, and among the rest he had consulted an old brother, William Yates, the father of Matthew T. Yates, missionary to China, and that all of them thought it would be best for me to go. I finally consented to go; but before the day arrived for us to start I got out of the notion. They had made all the arrangements, prepared a horse and wagon for me, and I was to go down with brother Ensley Council, and bring up a load of fish, have the profits of the load after reserving enough for my family. No expense on my part. All this was intended to induce me to be willing to go. But the truth of the business was, so far as I was concerned, it had no bearing at all, for I cared nothing about the profits or the fish either, only when hunger drove me to desire food. I tried hard to plead off from going, but my old uncle would hold me to my promise. He said that my friends had made the arrangements for me, believing it would be the best thing that could be done, and that I had given my consent to go, and it would never do


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for me to back out now. I would still contend that I could not go, and urge as a reason that I should never be able to get back. He would tell me that I would certainly come back, and asked me if I could doubt brother Council, who was going with me. I continued to raise my objections till the hour arrived for us to start. My uncle then told me I was bound to do something; that he had kept me from going to the asylum because I was so unwilling to go, and that he had a tender regard for me, but the time had now come when something more must be done, and if I would not go with brother Council to the fishery, I would be carried to the asylum, and he knew I had better go to the fishery if I wished to keep out of the asylum. By his many kind words and fair speeches he compelled me to consent to make a start; but before we got out of sight of the house where I left my family I refused to go any further, but by kind words and fair speeches he got my consent to go on again.

        After we got to brother Council's I endeavored to plead off from going, but my uncle would not hear to it. Indeed he was so strenuous on my going that I felt a little insulted with him. I believed that he had given me up and wished to get me off of his hands and out of his sight.

        My uncle went with us a short distance, and when he was going to turn back home he gave me his hand to bid me farewell I held on to him for some time and insisted on going back with him. I shall never forget the place, and some of my feelings on that occasion. I never expected to see him any more in this


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world, for I believed then that he had given me up for lost, and was thus endeavoring to get me out of his sight, like one of old who said: "Bury my dead out of my sight."

        I then concluded to go on with brother Council, knowing that he had always been a true friend to me. I could have trusted him if I had been in a situation to trust any man. He did all that he could by way of talking, and making fair promises to encourage me to go on with him. He said that he would certainly bring me back if his life was spared, and even if I should die he would box me up and bring my body back. I believed him to be honest and sincere, but had no idea that he would be able to do so, for I believed that things had been ordered differently, though unknown to him. My impression was that I had become not only burdensome to my family and friends, but tormenting and disagreeable to them all. My uncle had frequently told me that it would not do for me to stay too long at any one place, for if I did they would become nearly or quite as bad as myself. He intimated to me that my condition was somehow contagious, and if the same persons continued with me long, they would become partially deranged. I had also noticed that my poor wife, who had borne the burden and heat of the day with me, had shown some signs of distress and great trouble when I had continued in her presence for some time. And this rendered me so miserable that I often consented to leave home and go among my-friends when I otherwise should not I believed the time had come when all


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my relatives and friends were tired of me; and for the welfare of my wife and children they had consulted together and determined to get me far away from them, and place me somewhere in close confinement, where some person or persons would be employed to take charge of me and treat me as I deserved. My impression was that letters would be sent to my wife and children pretending that I was getting better, when the fact of the case would be I should be growing worse all the time. I thought they would do this in order to build up the anchor of hope in the bosom of my poor wife and children. These impressions were so firmly fixed in my mind that I had no faith in the fair promises of brother Council.

        After going with him about five miles I concluded to go no further. I told him he might go on, but that I was going back home; but he commenced talking to me in such kind words and in such a winning manner that he gained my consent to go on with him to the fishery.

        When we got to the City of Raleigh I lay down in the wagon, hoping that I might not be seen by any person there. As brother Council had some business to transact we were detained there some hours, and during that time several persons who had been acquainted with me for years found me out and came to see me. They all seemed to sympathize with me, and some one then tried to talk with me, but I had determined not to talk, except to answer a direct question. They inquired about my family, my health, &, but I answered in as few words as possible. I had induced


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brother Council to make solemn vows to me that he would not carry me to the asylum, or leave me in the City of Raleigh.

        We left late in the evening and travelled four miles below Raleigh that night and struck camp. We were in a neighborhood where I had preached several years, and in two miles of the church. My wretched mind, which had been in a strain all day reflecting on the past and anticipating the future, now began to settle down on the present, not to rest, but to be tormented with the scenes which now surrounded me.

        Brother Council had asked me that evening if I did not wish to see some of the old brethren of Bethel Church. I told him no. He replied that it was very strange, "for," said he, "you used to love to come down here to see them, and why not now; I know they would be glad to see you." I told him if I could see them, as I had seen them in days past, I would be glad to do so; but to see them in my present condition I had no desire for it, as it would do me no good, or them either. He said he had thought of sending some of them word to come out to our camp that night and see me. I told him he need not do it, as I did not wish to see them; but in a short time after night several persons came to our camp to see me. They all appeared glad and anxious to talk with me. I had but little to say, except to answer direct questions. They seemed disposed to make me believe that I was getting better, but I told them that I was getting worse every day. Some of them came like Job's friends, to comfort me, but I, like him, found them all miserable


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comforters. I did not doubt their sincerity or purity of motives, but I had no faith in their wisdom or power to do me any good.

        Some things which occurred that night, dreadful to my feelings then, have amused me in thinking over them since that time. There was one man in particular who annoyed me very much by his words and acts. He was no professor of religion, but a man who had often heard me preach. He had been indulging rather freely that evening, and he appeared very anxious to see me, and if possible, to find out the cause of my derangement. I had seated myself at the root of a pine tree, and appeared as dejected and forlorn as a man well could. He enquired of others where I was. They pointed me out to him. He raised himself up, and then stooping over towards me, exclaimed: "Is that Johnson Olive; is that the man whom I used to hear preach at old Bethel?" Brother Council would reply to his interrogations by saying: "Yes, that is brother Olive, and he will be preaching again some of these times." The intoxicated man would say: "Well, I never should have known him. What did put him in that fix?" Brother Council would say: "Oh, he has studied too hard; but he will soon be all right and preaching again." The man would peep at me and raise himself up, and then exclaim: "It is one of the strangest things that I ever saw. Why, I have heard that man preach at old Bethel many times, and he would get up in the stand, take the old book, and read out his text, and then close the book, and go right on, as though it were all before him. Why, he


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knew it all!" Brother Council would reply: "Yes, and he knows it all now. O! he will be all right again."

        At this juncture I felt more like a fool than anything else, for it appeared to me that I was a laughing stock for the crowd. One of my comforters, seeing my uneasiness and sympathizing with me, volunteered his services to vindicate my cause. I was sitting by the pine, saying nothing, but feeling as mean as a dumb devil. My comforter exclaimed: "Gentlemen, you don't know that man as well as I do, I have been acquainted with him ever since we were little boys. We are about the same age, for I have heard my mother say so. I shall never forget the time when I was a little boy, going to mill and let my bag fall off, and he came along and helped me up with it. I have known him ever since, and he has always been kind-hearted, friendly and obliging, and I know he cannot help his condition, for if he could he would; but," said he, "we all have our opinions about these things, and I have mine." Some one of the crowd asked him to state his opinion, to which he replied: "The Bible says before the end of time there shall be wars and rumors of wars, and these things are now upon us," (as the great battles of 61 were beginning to be fought.) "But," said he, "the Bible does not stop here, but goes on to say, that in the latter days, 'false Christ and false teachers shall arise, and go out and deceive many, and if it were possible they would deceive the very elect.' Now," said he, "all those Scriptures must be fulfilled, and there must be some person or persons


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to fulfill them, and the lot happening to fall on him, he must needs be one of them; but he should not be blamed, for he cannot help it." And he asked me if I did not view it in the same way. I replied that I did, or that I believed it was so.

        My feelings here are more easily imagined than described. I felt meaner than a thief would feel who had been caught stealing, taken up and tried, found guilty and condemned, and punished, by receiving the full penalty of the law. But afterwards, being met by the man from whom he had been stealing (in a public crowd), he speaks to him kindly, introduces him to the persons present, and very kindly reminds them this is the man that he caught stealing his goods, and that although he had taken steps to have him brought to justice - had him tried, condemned and whipped for his roguishness, yet he would not have the crowd think any the less of him on that account, for the Scriptures say that some men will steal, and they must be fulfilled; the lot happened to fall on him; he could not help it; he is kind-hearted, and a very good sort of a fellow, only he has a propensity to steal; but you should not think any the less of him on that account.

        In reflecting on these things I have received many useful lessons of instruction. I find man to be a poor, imperfect creature, at best; and when laboring under any disordered state of mind he will exhibit more clearly the depravity of human nature.

        People who had seen me but a few months and years previous to that time, and who had heard me proclaiming the glad tidings of salvation through a


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crucified Redeemer, and inviting sinners to the Gospel supper through the medium of repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ as the terms of acceptance, would scarcely recognize me now in my unhappy state, being dead to all spiritual things, and could think of nothing in connection with my former life but in a way of condemnation. I was passing through the valley of Achor; darkness had shrouded my mind; faith gone; not one ray of hope to penetrate, or even glimmer in my soul was perceptible to me. But darkness, death, and dread despair reigned in constant horrors there. And yet memory was so fresh and retentive! The past, the present and the future were constantly passing before the eye of the mind, loaded with horrid and terrific consequences.

                        My sufferings and my sorrows here,
                        No human tongue has told;
                        I would not pass through them again,
                        For my full weight in gold.

        My friends who were trying to comfort me greatly mistook my case, and every effort on their part seemed only to sink me lower in the trough of despond. I think I must have experienced some of the torments of the damned. My conscience, my reason and my judgment, all justified God in His dealings towards me, and yet I would not have borne it if I could have evaded it. Like the condemned culprit, justice was what I dreaded most. 0! the worm that dieth not, and the fire which is never to be quenched! Who can bear it? Sinner, can you?

        I have also discovered great ignorance in the minds


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of many well intended persons in their exposition of the Scriptures. Men do greatly err not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. Men have always, since the fall, been trying to hide their sins, or to exonerate themselves from guilt; and they would gladly wrest the Scriptures from their true interpretation to justify them in doing so. False Christ and false teachers are none the less criminal from the fact that they are foretold in Scriptures. Men make them a subterfuge for their sins now, but they will not be able to stand to them hereafter. Many of these false subterfuges will be swept away by the storms and tempests of God's wrath in time, and all will be swept away with a besom of destruction in eternity. Man's duty is to obey God, to fear him and keep His commandments. And when he undertakes to fathom the mind of God, and to pry into the secrets of Jehovah, to understand His decrees, his foreknowledge, his purposes and designs, he is going beyond his limits, and aspiring to be like God, and know all things; he makes himself more like the devil, and shows his folly in doing so. God has given His intelligent creatures a sense of their accountability, and hence man feels himself responsible to God for his conduct, and this is what man wishes to throw off. He does not wish to come to the light, lest his deeds be reproved. He loves darkness rather than light, because his deeds are evil. Thus he always tries to extenuate his guilt, and shift off the blame on some one else. It would be much better to come up to the touchstone at once, and let the plain, naked facts speak for themselves. In this way truth


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would be .respected, the temptation to lie would be weakened, and moral habits strengthened. In short, man would be the better prepared to serve God, promote virtue, and be useful in the world. Try this rule.

CHAPTER XIV.

        I will now return to the camp whence I left. We remained there that night, and next morning at an early hour we started on our journey to the fishery. We had not gone far before we found old brother Lewis Dupre and sister Dupre, his wife, with several other persons, waiting on the roadside to see me as I passed. The scene was very affecting to me. Old brother Dupre came up to the wagon and shook hands with me, and I saw the big tears start from his eyes, and I caught him around the neck and hugged him, though I felt that it was like the devil hugging a saint. Sister Dupre brought out some sweet bread and pressed me to take some, which I did for her sake, feeling at the time it was like coals of fire being heaped on my head.

        I have named these little things to let the reader know how fresh and retentive my mind was at that time, and how indellibly every little incident was impressed upon my memory. And this was generally the ease during that awful period of five years in the history of my life, and during which time people looked upon me as being a deranged man.


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        We went on our journey, and were soon out of the circle of my acquaintance, but strangers and everybody seemed disposed to treat me with great kindness; so much so that I believed they had been notified that I was coming, and that all intended to try to get me out of the world by over much kindness.

        I saw many beautiful farms in Pitt County, near Greenville. I also saw several companies of volunteers drilling, in order to prepare for the field of battle. I had many strange thoughts about these things, but said nothing. I thought the young men looked as if they thought they were going to a frolic, or merely to have a little fun in a child's play. They were generally profane, and would swear that they would have Lincoln's head or a lock of his hair. I was conscious that they were oversighted. I knew that the spirit of war was calculated to inflame the mind and fire the heart. Mean as I was, in my own estimation, I was sorry to see them going into the very jaws of death so little prepared. I would much rather have seen them all religious; then I should have had strong hopes of our success; but I feared that there was not salt enough to save the lump. Poor fellows! But few of them lived to return home to their relatives and friends. Yet we can but hope that the power of mercy and goodness of God reached many of their hearts before they died.

        When we arrived at Old Jamestown, in Martin county, we concluded to carry our wagons no further. We got in a boat and went down to a fishery some miles below. The owner of the sein treated me with


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the utmost kindness. He even gave up his bed for me to lie on, and would have everything served up in the nicest order for my accommodation. Anything in the way of the finny tribe that I wanted must come. I I have never yet fully understood why strangers were so kind to me.

        We soon had our wagons loaded and started for home. Nothing of special interest took place till we arrived at Clayton, in Johnston county. Here we met up with a man who had been acquainted with me for years. He was a Captain of a company of volunteers. He tried hard to get my consent to preach in the Baptist church that night, but he might as well have tried to get my consent to start to the moon, for only one thing would have induced me to make the attempt then, and that was to believe it would enable me to get out of my unhappy condition. But as I had no faith that could not be.

        We came on near Raleigh and stayed all night at the same place where we camped the first night after leaving home, where so many things occurred, a part of which I have related. We lay in the house that night, and took supper with the family.

        Next morning we came on through Raleigh, and made our way home that night. I felt glad to meet my wife and children once more, as I had expected on leaving them two weeks before never to see them any more in this world. My dear wife met me with pleasing emotions, hoping and believing that I had greatly improved. In order to encourage her, I professed to be a little better, but in reality I felt no better, only I


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was glad to see them. My relatives, friends and neighbors continued to come to see me, and ask me questions about my trip to the fishery. I now determined never to leave home so far any more, unless I was forced to do so.

        I soon became restless again, and could not remain in one place long. I would sometimes imagine that my uncle would come after me to take me off to the asylum, and I have frequently left home in the morning and stayed off all day to prevent being seen. Sometimes I would lie down, sometimes walk through the woods, up and down the banks of creeks and branches seeking rest, but finding none. In this way I often rendered my wife very unhappy, and sometimes uneasy. She had sometimes walked till she has tired herself down looking for me, and then at night I would come up like a cow to be fed. My poor wife would often reprove me for doing so, and beg me with tears in her eyes not to do so any more. I would often resolve that I never would do so again, and perhaps the very next day I would go and do the very same thing over again, or something worse. No person could condemn my course more strongly than I did in my own mind, and yet I would pursue it. I have often felt the force and truth of the words of the poet, when he said:

                        "I see the right, and approve it too,
                        I hate the wrong, and yet the wrong pursue."

        I spent the greater part of the spring of 1862 about home and visiting my relations and the relations of my wife. They would frequently come after me and


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take me home with them, in order, as I thought, to give my wife and children a little rest, for I believed that I was a tormenter to all who were with me; and for the sake of my poor wife, who had always proved so kind to me, I would consent to leave home when I I had no inclination to do so, and otherwise would not have consented to leave.

        I recollect on one occasion my wife's brother, Jackson Hunter, came after me to go home with him. I believed he was mad with me for having deceived his sister so long, and being the cause of so much trouble to her. The impression rushed into my mind that he was going to have me taken away from my family, and that his plan was to persuade me to go home with him and have a company of men there to take me off to the asylum, or to some other place, far away from my family. I refused to go. He talked kindly to me, and told me that I must go with him, as he had come on purpose to take me home with him. I still refused to go, and he then went and talked with my wife, and she came to persuade me to go with her brother. I still refused to go, and he took hold of my arm to pull me on with him; I resisted, and laid hold of the piazza post and refused to let go. He then told my wife to help him get me in the buggy with him, and she came to break my hold from the post. This act of hers irritated me a little, but I made no further resistance, for I felt that she was tired of me and wished to get me away from her. We mounted the buggy together. (I would not bid my dear wife farewell, but her brother laid his arm around me to prevent


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my jumping out and leaving him.) There was no danger however, for I had no idea of leaving, even if he had been going to throw me into prison, for I had but little care about me then.

        After going on a short distance I told him there was no use for him to be holding on to me. He said that he was afraid that I would jump out and leave him. I told him that I would not. He then loosed his arm from around me and I made no attempt to leave him.

        I remained at his house for several days and then he carried me home. He tried to talk with me a great deal, and gave me much good advice, but I was in a poor plight to receive any material benefit from good instruction.

        After remaining about home and visiting my mother, brothers and sisters I became restless and uneasy again, so much so that I was rendering my family very unhappy.

        About this time another one of my wife's brothers came to our neighborhood on business. Some one told him how I was acting and how distressing my conduct was to my wife and children. It was J.C. Hunter and I had understood long before that he had said, when talking about me, that he had no use for fools anyway. He was advised to go to my house and take me home with him awhile. He came, but I was not at home; I was over at the house of my brother-in-law, Mark Barker He followed me up till he found me. He came to me apparently very friendly. I believed that he was using deception for I felt that he was mad with me and hated me in his heart. He


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soon told me that he had come for me to go home with him and said that I had been to see all the rest, but had not yet been to see him. I tried to frame excuses and raise objections to going. He persuaded and insisted, while I continued to raise objections and refused to go; but after awhile he took me aside and with his many kind words and fair speech he caused me to yield.

        I went with him home. He and his wife and family all treated me with great kindness, but I felt undeserving, and it seemed like heaping coals of fire on my head.

        One morning while I was at J.C. Hunter's he asked me if I could not help him shed-in his barn. I told him I thought I could. "Well" said he "I want you to help me put on shingles to-day." I told him that I would try and do so.

        After breakfast we went out to the barn, threw up a quantity of shingles on the scaffold, and went up to lay and nail them on. He gave me my choice to lay down shingles or nail them on. I told him that I would lay the shingles awhile and see if I could suit him, and if not he might lay and I would nail. He soon commenced praising me and said that I could beat him. I thought he was trying to flatter me, but said nothing.

        We worked on for some time when another man came to help us. My brother-in-law told the last comer that if he wished I might lay shingles for him as he had found me to be a first rate hand at that business, and that he, my brother-in-law, would lay and


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nail for himself. The man replied that he would prefer to do his own work; that I might continue to lay for him as I had been doing. I was confident that the man did not want me about him and I was also conscious of the fact that my brother in-law had merely invited me to help him in order that I might not get away from him by running off.

        We all continued to labor on till about 10 o'clock in the morning when the sun was shining very warm. We all lolled back on the shelter to rest a few minutes. The man of whom I have been speaking was sitting near me. I do not recollect that he had spoken to me that day. He now looked me straight in the face and said: "Didn't you use to preach?" I replied to him by saying "I used to try." "Well" said he "I thought you did. Don't you reckon you'll preach again some time?" I told him "no, I had no idea of ever trying to preach any more," when he replied: "Well, you are the queerest man I ever seed." My brother-in-law knew that I did not wish to talk upon that subject; he therefore tried to turn the conversation by proposing that the man should wrestle with me on the shelter. I instantly rose up and said to the man: "If you feel like wrestling, here is at you." The man became frightened and came near running off the shelter. After this he did not choose to come near me while I remained there.

        I have since learned that he said that he did not like to stay up there with me for fear that I might get hold of him and throw him off and break his neck, as


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he had always understood that deranged persons were the strongest people in the world.

        I have related the above incidents to show how retentive my memory was and is, of all that took place during that dark period of my life. I was the most wretched and miserable person you ever saw, and yet I could not forget anything, or suffer anything to pass under my-observation unnoticed. When my brother- in-law proposed for me and that man to wrestle I felt for one moment all my mischievous propensities rise within me, and a native vein of humor ran all over me in an instant. If he had accepted my banter I should have tried to throw him, not with any desire to hurt him, for I would rather have been killed myself than to have killed him at that time.

        I continued there but a few days, and then went over to Isaac Hunter's, and from there I went to J. W. Rogers' and after staying there a few days he took me in his buggy and carried me home.

        I remained at home, and about home, for some weeks. I would continue to run off occasionally and give my poor wife more trouble and uneasiness. Sometimes my dear old mother would come and get me to go home with her, and again some brother or sister would come and persuade me to go with them. Thus I was going from place to place possessed with a dumb devil, tormented day and night myself and proving a tormenter to all who were with me.

        In the month of May our youngest child a little infant some six or eight months old, was taken very sick. I believed that I was the cause of its sickness


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and when it died I believed I was the cause of its death. While it was sick and languishing, I tried to do all that I could to have it cured. I recommended my wife in sending for a doctor, but I felt so miserably condemned that I dared not face the doctor. I suppose I felt somewhat like a man who in a fit of intoxication or madness had struck one of his children and given it a fatal wound or death blow; but while the child lingered in pain, and in the agonies of death the father manifested great concern for the life of the child, and would gladly do all in his power to prolong its time. Our child continued to grow worse, and the disease continued to fasten on its vitals, till it expired. I felt too mean to live, and yet I could not die. I felt that I stood guilty in the sight of God of murdering my child. I could not shed a tear, for my heart was as hard as adamant. My anguish was so great that I soon left the house, intending to go off and never return. I wandered through woods and fields, and at last I lay down to try to rest, for my burden was heavy. My brother, Holaway Olive, and Mark Barker found me, after hunting for me some time. They both reproved me for doing as I had, in leaving my poor disconsolate wife with her dead child in the house, to serve alone, and attend to the preparation for the burial of the child. I told them that I was the cause of the death of the child, and if I stayed there I should be the cause of the death of my wife, for that I felt certain she would not live long if I stayed about her. They both said I was superstitious, and that I was always taking up false notions.


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        They finally prevailed on me to go to the house. When I got there my poor wife was bathed in tears, some of my children crying, but my demon heart was as hard as ever.

        Our friends and neighbors had made all the necessary arrangements for the burial of the child. They had interrogated me and my wife concerning the place where we wanted it to be buried. Our oldest child, a beloved daughter, was buried at our place on Middle Creek. We concluded to have our little infant son carried there and buried by its sister, and not have our dead children scattered all over the world. The distance was about twelve miles, and I had never been back there since I first left. I did not wish to go now. I should there have my mind filled with the awful past and future. It was there I had attempted to take my own wretched life and failed. I must pass the very place which I had selected to commit the horrid deed. I must go with my poor heartbroken wife, whom I had already ruined, and was murdering her by degrees as fast as I could by my devilish conduct. But oh! I must carry along with me my murdered child, and myself the murderer. I must meet my old neighbors and friends at the burying, and feel that they all must know that I had been the cause of my own child's death.

        All these things, and many others, were rushing into my mind by way of anticipation. I did not feel willing to abide them. I insisted that they should let me stay at home, and leave it for others to go with my poor heartbroken wife to bury our child. My brothers


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and sisters would not hear to my excuses. They said I must go, and began to make arrangements to get off. My wife insisted on my going, and at last I consented to go with her. I sometimes wished that I was dead, and lying in a coffin beside my child. Awful feelings, but I said nothing.

        When we got to our former home, where we were to have our child buried, there were a good many people present, waiting for us to come. They met me and spoke to me kindly, but my feelings were awful in the extreme. Our child was buried in the evening, the company dispersed, and we continued there that night with brother Goodwin and his wife and family, who were living there that year.

        Next morning brother Goodwin took me off to show me his crop. I felt so mean that I could hardly hold up my head, and yet I was treated with the utmost kindness by brother Goodwin and his wife.

        I shall never be able to describe my desperate feelings about this time; for I felt and believed that I was undone for time and eternity, and no way to help myself. Sometimes I would murmur and complain at my unhappy lot; but on reflection I would feel that I was only suffering what was justly due.

        Having attended the burial of our child, and remained at our old home during the night we left for our new home next day. We traveled very slowly, for I felt as though I had killed my child and buried it, and was now taking my poor heart-broken wife home, to linger on a short time, and follow in the foot-steps of her children to the grave. And that I should


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be guilty of the death of all, because I believed I should finally wear them all out if I continued with them. Many and many times did I wish that I had succeeded in taking my own wretched life before the awful crisis had arrived which I was now passing through and doomed to witness.

        About this period of my unhappy life I had become so cowardly in my spirit, and so weakened in my resolutions and nervous system, that I made no further attempt to end my miserable life, for I was now convinced (and had been for some time), that God would not suffer me to sneak out of the world in that way. This was in the latter part of May, 1862.

        When we got home we found the rest of our family well, but the place seemed to be shrouded in gloom. Our children were sad, and whenever one of them mentioned the name, death or burial of our little Theophilus, it was like a dagger to my soul; I could not bear to hear them talk about the child. I could not remain in the presence of my family long if they talked about the child, for I felt that in some mysterious way its blood would be required at my hands.

        I remained about home for a few days, feeling all the time that I was gradually wearing out the lives of my poor wife and children. I have no doubt that I experienced some of the feelings of a murderer who is trying to escape from justice, and the judgments of heaven are overtaking him; the mark of Cain is upon him; his countenance has fallen, and a vagabond and fugitive stare him in the face wherever he goes; in


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vain he tries to hide his guilt, for the justice of God will find him out.

        I would often become so restless and uneasy that I would leave home in the morning and wander through the woods, up and down creeks and branches till night, and then return home, feeling as mean as any person can feel under any circumstances. I would be ashamed to meet my wife and children; l would resolve never to do so any more; but I would soon find myself pursuing the same course.

        When I became very troublesome to my wife and children, my friends would come and get me off home with them to stay a few days. I would soon become weary, and wander off from them, and sometimes give them no little trouble in looking me up. When this was the case they would either carry me home or get me off somewhere else. I would sometimes go with my brother, or a friend, to his field and help him work awhile, but my presence was always irksome, because I would have nothing to say.

        Thus the state of things moved on with me during the summer of 1863. I took one trip up to brother Wesley Marcom's, near Morrisville, Wake county. After staying with him and some of his neighbors about a week, he brought me home to my wife and family.

        The war was raging, and many of the young men of the country were going off as volunteers in the service. I had quit reading books, and was not disposed to read anything but war news. My friends, finding that I would read the news of the day, kept me well


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supplied with newspapers, and in this way I was pretty well posted on the progress of the war, as stated in the papers. As miserable and wretched as I was, and had been from the commencement of the war, I had my notions about things as well as others. I was opposed to secession at first, and continued so till Lincoln's proclamation calling on the State of North Carolina for troops to help put down the rebellion. When that came out, I could not bear the idea of seeing Southern men taking up arms against their own people. The idea of fighting and killing our own neighbors and kindred was revolting to reason and common sense. I did not, however, have anything to say about it, unless I was interrogated, which was very often the case. I had believed all the time that as Abraham Lincoln had been elected by a constitutional majority of the people of the United States, it was the plain duty of all to try him, and to allow no signs of resistance, unless he did plainly and culpably violate his oath of office, to "abide by and support the Constitution of the United States," and I looked upon every movement in opposition to that as being revolutionary. But as before remarked, I had nothing to say about these things, unless I was interrogated, for I felt that I had no personal or individual concern in it. I took no part in voting or even going to an election; and so far as I was concerned, it mattered little how things went on, or how they terminated, for I was undone anyway, and nothing that might come to pass in consequence of the war would alter my case in any shape or form. In my own estimation I was already


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ruined, both for time and eternity, and I cared but little what course things took, so far as I was concerned. But notwithstanding all this indifference about myself, I had some natural feelings for others. I was sorry to hear of the death of so many on the battle field, and of the bloodshed and carnage of war. I would often think that I was in part the cause of it, from the fact that I considered myself a bond servant of the devil, and I considered this war a part of his dirty work. I was sorry to hear of so many of the young men of our neighborhood going off to volunteer companies. I would never go to their festivals, to see them marching off, and bidding adieu to relatives, friends and loved ones, for I felt that they were like lambs going to the slaughter to be butchered up, in order to gratify the appetites of blood-thirsty men. I said nothing about these things then, only when questioned.

        At last the time arrived when my oldest brother Calvin Olive, the only unmarried brother I had, and who had taken such a lively interest in my welfare, began to speak of volunteering for the war. He had been a strong secessionist in principle from the commencement of the war, but owing to the fact that all my mother's children had married and left her but him, he had considered it his duty to stay and take care of his aged mother till now. The time had come for men to begin to act out their principles. My brother Calvin was an honest man, though he and I had differed in our political sentiments all the time. We had also differed in our notions and sentiments about the war, and we sometimes talked about


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these things. But he being an honest man and a brave man, could not bear the idea of staying at home, and paying his money freely to others to face cannon, and he himself stay at home, under the plea of necessity, to take care of his mother. He could not bear the idea of being told that he was an advocate of the war, but it was only to get others to go, while he himself would stay at home, under the plea of taking care of his old mother, when at the same time his object was to keep out of the way of danger, and stay at home and make money. He told me these things, and said he must go. I raised objections; told him that I did not know what I should do if he left, for he was one of my strongest friends. I also told him that I thought he ought to stay at home as long as he could, for the sake of his dear old mother. He replied to me that he was actuated in this thing from a sense of duty to his country, and that he should go, and leave the result with God. I had regretted to hear of many persons leaving before, but this was the heaviest blow on that subject yet. He soon joined the company, and after making the necessary arrangements and preparations he went into the service.

        My brother-in-law, Thomas J. Hunter, volunteered soon after the commencement of the war, and now another one, Jackson Hunter, who married my own sister, was also making arrangements to go into the war, and leave his wife and little children to get on as they could.

        All these things, in addition to my mental sufferings, helped to crush my spirit still lower. I felt that


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in one way or another I should be deprived of all my friends, and then die a miserable death, unregretted and unmourned by any. I would frequently wish that I had succeeded in taking my wretched life when I was seeking to do so. I would say to myself: "It would have been much better for me, and for all concerned. I am growing worse and worse every day, and I am such a torment to my relatives and friends that life is not very desirable to them, and therefore they have no difficulty in getting the consent of their minds to go into the war, for they would about as soon die as to live and be tormented by me."

CHAPTER XV.

        With the last chapter the subject of this memoir closed his writings on the topic of this work.

        The causes for this have been mentioned in the introductory. The outlay necessary to have the work published, and the general depressed condition of the country at the time, (1866 and 1867,) with his own limited means, are the reasons. At this point the reader is no doubt filled with sympathy and sorrow for the afflicted man. So rapidly had he arisen from the little farm boy, faithful and obedient to his parents, affectionate and kind to his brothers and sisters, and genial to all, to the youth of twenty or twenty-two years, taking a noble and worthy stand in school, in society, in church, in the neighborhood prayer meeting


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prompt and active - everywhere, exhibiting a degree of zeal, of earnestness, of spirituality and decision of character which pointed with the force of the index hand to the part he was to act in life. How the bosom swells with emotion when we behold him in the revival meeting but a timid youth; time and time again the aged minister, exhausted with labor, calls upon his brethren to know if there is not one man at least in the congregation who will help him to pray for mourning souls. There sat many who had long had their names enrolled upon the church book, who would perhaps boast of the years they had been in the service of God, of their faithfulness to attend conference days and other religious occasions, opening not their mouths.

        It was not the custom of those days with the average church member to be very active and take part in religious exercises. The aged man fixes his pitiful eye upon a modest looking youth down the aisle, addressing him by name, says: "Brother Olive, won't you pray for these penitents?"

        It was not his nature to resist duty when he felt it impressed upon him. He falls upon his knees and pours out his soul to God in behalf of saint and sinner. The earnestness of this youthful effort can well be imagined, and when we are told of the feeling awakened we are not surprised. When we follow him on through his efforts to obtain an education, and witness the sacrifices he made, against the opinion of many of his friends and acquaintances; not that he might make preparation for the ministry, for his aim


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was only to fit himself for the duties of an active citizen. When we witness such demonstrations, we are led to the truths that "A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his step." He ever believed in a Divine call to the ministry, and not until this duty rested upon him with great weight did he enter the work.

        For five years we see him as a licentiate, most of his Sabbaths filled with appointments, and a portion of his time serving as pastor of some churches, unwilling to travel faster than he had strength. He did not consent to ordination till 1847. From this time to 1860, a period of thirteen years, we see him a most active and successful preacher and pastor, laboring mainly within a circle of twenty-five miles around his home.

        During this entire time he had four regular charges, preached many funerals on fifth Sundays and during the week, performed the marriage ceremony on many occasions, and paid a great many family visits among his friends and congregations, enjoying as high a degree of love and confidence among his acquaintances as perhaps any man ever did or ever will. Amidst such success he was not vain or over self-confident.

        No man ever bore success and prosperity better. His estimate of the things of this life was not improperly formed. He appeared to be reconciled to the providences of God, and taught his brethren to so live. Seeing his labors highly blessed, and having witnessed in some degree the fulfillment of his youthful desires,


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to be useful in his day and generation, his life during this period indicated much real happiness.

        To those who were old enough to recollect, a period just before the war between the States was noted for religious revivals throughout many States of the Union. Many people have since regarded this as one of the special providences of God in offering salvation to those who were so soon to lie slain in war. Many who read this book will recollect the efforts of Johnson Olive during this season of revivals. He became fully imbued with the revival spirit. He was in the full bloom of manhood, forty-two years of age, at the zenith of his intellectual faculties. His voice was strong musical and clear. The universal confidence he enjoyed gave him great advantage in his work. He preached with a power seldom equalled and rarely surpassed for good effect. We ourselves were young, yet some of the scenes were so indellibly engraven upon our mind that time will never efface them. We see him now as he is closing his discourse, descending from the stand, his countenance all aglow with earnestness, love and tenderness; his voice reaching its highest key becomes slightly musical. As he treats of sin, righteousness, and a judgment to cyme, and holds up as sacrifice for sin and a mediator for man the crucified Lord, every heart becomes softened, sinners go by tens and by scores to the anxious seat; Christians become aroused; fear and shame are lost, and all in some way join in the work.

        It was not unusual to continue these meetings for two weeks or more. Sometimes from forty to sixty


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penitents were seen in the altar at a tine. Ten to fifteen conversions would occur during some days. At the close of the meetings, or soon thereafter, great numbers would unite with the church and go down into the water to be buried with Christ in baptism.

        There may be something of youthful fancy connected with those times. Paternal affection may make the work appear more grand, but to me these have ever been regarded as gracious seasons, the like of which I have not since witnessed.

        We have in mind many who perished in battle far away from home and earthly friends, whose conversion and baptism we witnessed. The lives of many others were spared, and they have grown up to be men and women of great usefulness in the church and in society.

        Who then could think that in so short a time they could see one whose life had been so signally blessed, in the sloughs of despond, and in the dungeons of despair, asking: "Where shall I find the grace of my God? and realize again His supporting grace?"

        We need not in this introductory to his subsequent life, rehearse this portion of his life, as by far the greater portions of his own writings are devoted to this period of time, wherein he has dealt frankly with the reader, and honest between himself and lids God, giving a minute account of his trials and temptations through this dark period. We therefore leave the reader to ponder and decide for himself or herself as to his true condition, its causes, its designs, and its


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effects. Suffice it to say, no one can ever know what his sufferings were.

        Those of us who saw him and were much with him, have but a faint idea of what they really were. He was certainly a most miserable man. The spiritual part of this man, which had but recently shined so brilliantly, now lay dormant.

        It has been a matter of great rejoicing that this soul was not continued in darkness, and that he was again permitted to see and feel the light of God's countenance. We are truly glad that he lived to see these dark clouds all disperse, and to return to his chosen work, and spend twenty years more of active life in the ministry, wherein he showed much ripeness and mellowness of soul.

                        "Be still sad heart and cease repining,
                        Behind the cloud the sun's still shining."

CHAPTER XVI.

        We are pleased to be able to follow him out of the dark and dreary way and see him again cheerful, hopeful and happy, laboring with a zeal and earnestness rarely witnessed in one of his age.

        We now proceed to take up the subject where father left off, and follow him briefly through the remaining twenty-two years of his life. As stated by him, the first evidences of this strange condition began to


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show themselves in 1860. In the early part of 1861, at the solicitation of friends and relatives, the family moved temporarily to the western part of Wake county, in the neighborhood of his relatives and life long acquaintances. Finding these associations to afford little or no relief, the advantages of living at their own home led to a return in 1862, to the south-western portion of the county, where they had located in 1859.

        The return to his former home was apparently attended with good results to father. He was not so much in company, was not asked so many questions, did not see so many places and faces to remind him of the past, and consequently became more quiet, yet he was far from being natural in either appearance or manners. He bore about him all this while the appearance of a lost, ruined, undone man. He took some interest in farm work, and in domestic affairs. His advice, directions and instructions were as good as ever. He showed very little inclination to talk, but read secular papers and war news with great eagerness, as he did also letters addressed to himself or members of his family from relatives and friends then in the army. His recovery was so gradual that it is hard to tell where it began or at what time he was fully restored.

        During the year 1863 he appeared like one becoming reconciled to his doom; he was more natural and better composed than he had been, still insisting, however, that he was an unregenerated man - a stranger to grace, having the form of godliness, but not the spirit. He never for a moment felt that he had done


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so willfully or maliciously, but through mistake. He often expressed it that he had "caught at the substance, missing it, had caught the shadow." Hope was gone, faith as to his one chance for salvation was dead - the face of God was hidden; the heavens above were covered over as brass, and no where could he find God. He desired to repent, turn to and follow God, but every avenue was to him closed. He did not question the goodness and power of Jehovah; he should have been more particular in weighing the impressions he had, that while he had acted innocently it was an awful mistake, and carried with it such terrible consequences - fifteen or twenty years of false service - and the more to be deplored because of the success of that course, and the great numbers that had been deceived thereby.

        These were some of his calm, cool and deliberate reasonings during the period of his gradual improvement. Nothing could be said to give him relief. In truth, he was rather too well posted for those who undertook to talk with and console him. He had almost every occurrence and circumstance in the Bible bearing upon what he held to be his case, as familiar as the alphabet. And thus many who came to see him, hearing that he was insane, would return saying, "crazy! he has too much sense - more than he ever had. He has done nothing for the past two or three years but study, and he knows it all."

        We were sometimes astonished during this period of time to know how well he was posted upon the events of the war then going on, even from its beginning


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down to the time. At times he would momentarily lose sight of his own case, and talk with some degree of freedom upon war topics, but as soon as he came to a close of what he had to say, his countenance grew sad, he would heave a deep sigh, and show signs of trouble in his soul.

        It was during this year (1863), that his eldest son, J. A. Olive, aged about eighteen years, died. From his childhood he had been what is usually termed a rude boy. Many who will read this book will well remember him and some of his early traits of character, not mean, vulgar or low, but appeared to think he had come into this world to have a good time. Afflicted children and such boys as he, always draw from their parents an unusual amount of care, solicitation and concern; consequently, we sometimes conclude they naturally have a more tender feeling towards them.

        As this son grew older he made a profession of religion, connected himself with the church, and soon began to show signs of usefulness in life. Up to this time he had been quite robust and active, but during this year severe pains in the legs and back began to trouble him. Late in the fall he ceased to go from home in consequence of weakness. His health continued to decline, till at length he took to bed. Father had watched his case with deep solicitude, had done for him all that physic and good attention could possibly do, all without material effect.

        At last it became evident the son must die. The evening of his death will long be remembered by those present. It was on a cold December day, the sun fast


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lowering behind the western horizon, the father, mother, brothers and sister, with a few neighbors, were gathered about the bed of the sick young man. Life is fast ebbing away; he realizes he is dying ; with some feeling, but much deliberation, he holds out his hand and begins to utter the solemn words, "good-bye, good-bye," first to his parents, then to brothers, sisters and friends - "good-bye - am gone - meet me in heaven." He then requested all to pray for him; turning his dying eyes to his father with an expression of deep earnestness, says "Father, pray for me - pray for me."

        I had never before so fully realized what was the true state of father's soul during this period. Father's face bore the deepest expressions of agony, yet it was fixed and unmoved; no occasion was more calculated to awaken sympathy for the afflicted father than this. He was sitting with his body slightly turned from the face of his dying boy, his head slightly inclined, his eyes resting upon the floor, gave a hesitating nod, lowered his head to his hand, heaved a deep sigh, and remained in this position for some time. What his feelings were he never told; they were surely horrible. The dying son then calls to him a younger brother, embraces him and bids him be a good boy, love and obey his mother, and in a few moments his spirit took its flight from the body, and there lay before us the lifeless form.

        The father bore this bereavement with apparent resignation; gave directions as to his burial, funeral, &c. On the arrival of the minister he gave instructions to


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a son to place a table, a Bible and some water in order near the door for the preacher. This the son readily did, feeling that his father ought to know what kind of conveniences and comforts were necessary or funeral occasions.

        The Rev. P. W. Dowd was invited, by suggestions of the father, to preach the funeral sermon. Sickness having prevented his attendance, Rev. J. W. F. Rogers, by request, at the appointed hour, proceeded to perform this service. His acquaintance with the deceased youth from childhood, being present on the occasion of his professing faith in Christ, and the resignation with which he bore his afflictions, as signified by quotations from the Word of God, furnished the minister topics for some very cheering and consoling thoughts.

        Afflictions, though they seem severe, often carry in their wake blessings in disguise. We believe it was so here. Three children had died within the space of about three years. An infant son, a daughter, and the young man of whom we have been writing. For all of them the father entertained the brightest hopes of heavenly joy. The death of his daughter, and the scenes of her last hours were yet fresh in his memory. How different were his feelings on that occasion from what they were upon the present! He well remembered it. It was at night, the younger members of the family had retired, when death made its approach; a message is sent to their rooms saying: "Sarah is dying; come and see her for the last time." On reaching her bedside she had her hands uplifted in a state of rejoicing, bidding those who stood around to


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"Look! look! Oh! look!!" her father and mother close by her side. Turning to her father she said in tender accents: "Pa, come and go with me." How beautifully were these words uttered! And how sweet was the reply: "Dear daughter, pa cannot go with you now, but he will soon come - , pa will soon come to join you. Sarah, lean upon the strong arm of your Heavenly Father; trust your Saviour; He has promised to be with you ill every trial, and in the last and trying hour of death not to forsake you."

        A pleasant smile lit up her face; and with her eyes directed heavenward she quietly drew her expiring breath.

        The deep anguish of soul which had previously manifested itself while meditating upon or talking of his own spiritual state had by this time greatly abated. He spoke deliberately and calmly of his case, desired above everything else to be a godly man, loved that which was pure and holy, and condemned that which was evil. He sometimes spoke of his deceased children with tenderness and affection. He was glad of the assurance he had that they had gone to a better world than this. It softened his heart much to think upon this subject and we might justly conclude that here the first rays of light began to enter the dark chambers of this wretched soul, yet he was still without hope and felt that had God taken him instead of his children that he should have been eternally lost.

        1864 found him thus situated. He read papers, letters, &c., but was rarely ever seen with a book. We have no evidence that he had read a single verse in


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the Bible since the first year of his afflictions. We feel warranted in saying he had not many times attempted to engage in secret prayer for a period of nearly three years. He described these efforts as being without unction of soul, and every avenue to his God closed - he had been cut off from all communion with God. There were evidences that during this period he sometimes tried to engage in secret prayer, but with very little satisfaction or relief. He spent most of the time in the early part of this year aiding and directing in his farm work. Sometimes working for hours in perfect silence, seemingly unmindful of the hardships he endured, manifesting but little concern about water or diet. Always possessed of a wiry constitution and great powers of endurance, he now appears to possess a double portion of these gifts. Work, manual labor, brought temporary relief to his troubled soul, and when temporary alleviation can be obtained all the powers rebound and gain strength.

        It proved so in this case, and each week showed improvement from the various influences now at work.


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CHAPTER XVII.

        It was during this year that the great battles around Petersburg, Va., were fought between the armies of the Union and the Confederacy. In one of these engagements his brother, Calvin Olive, of whom he has made mention, was mortally wounded. News came to him very soon of this occurrence, and as there were few men now at home, his relatives, among others his mother, was anxious that he should go to see his dying brother. He offered very little resistance, but proceeded at once to make the necessary arrangements, and in a short time was off for Petersburg.

        On reaching the city, he soon met with a number of acquaintances among the soldiers, many of whom had heard him preach in former days, and some who had dated their hopes of eternal life to occasions intimately connected with his past history. He was familiar with the lives of many who called to see him. His acquaintances everywhere had heard of his troubles. His presence in the camp was a great surprise, and all who knew him wished to see him. Much gladness was manifested on the part of his acquaintances in camp at his recovery. They soon saw, however, that all was not well. He knew his business as well as any one, knew for what he had come. No deficiency in his conduct indicated, yet he looks sad, his features appear fixed and unchanged, he talks readily, is very well informed upon both home and army matters, but he is not the cheerful, hopeful man


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we once met. He makes enquiry for his wounded brother, and finds such confusion now existing in consequence of the recent heavy engagements of the two armies that it is with difficulty that he can learn anything definite about him, further than that he was considered mortally wounded in the engagement a few days before. In company with some of his soldier friends he searches some of the burial grounds of the hospitals where he was supposed to have been carried. Finding no trace of him, he decides to spend the night here and make renewed search on the morrow. He is asked by some of his acquaintances if he cannot preach in the camp at night; with an expression of deep solemnity he replies: "I could preach, but I don't think you will ever hear me preach again."

        He learns on more diligent enquiry at the Brigade Hospital next day that his brother had been transferred to Winder Hospital, Richmond, Va. He is soon on board the train to this point, reaches there in due time, and soon finds his wounded brother. His arrival was unexpected to his brother, and doubtless no one on earth, save his mother, could have been a more welcomed visitor. Having placed his life upon the altar of his country to be sacrificed for her honor, if need be he had passed through two years or more of hard service, such as is experienced by the soldier who never seeks to shirk or evade a duty, however trivial, or however arduous, which had accustomed him to sights of suffering and pain. So often upon the field of battle, amid the roar of cannon and rattle of musketry had he heard the shriek and moans of his


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comrades, that he was prepared to meet this ordeal with a degree of courage and fortitude truly remarkable.

        He makes many anxious enquiries about friends and loved ones at home, and tells his visiting brother that he shall never meet them again; that he is fast dying, but that he could die freely and willingly; that he was dying in defence of his country, in a cause that he had never thought just.

        Whether introduced by father or no I cannot say; however, the conversation now turned upon his spiritual condition, his hopes beyond the Jordan of death. The dying brother states that the way was not as clear as he could wish, yet he felt no particular dread of death, or fears as to his future state; the hope he had realized in former days had not been cultivated as it had been his privilege to do, still he had hope beyond the grave.

        Father remained here near one week, and wrote some letters home during the time, giving the particulars of his brother's wound and condition generally. Ever a good nurse, he did not fail upon this occasion to render every attention necessary for the peace and comfort of his dying brother, He continued to sink, till at last the soul took its flight from the body.

        The remains were carefully provided for by the hospital authorities, aided by the surviving brother, and deposited in the hospital burying ground, with a plain small slab set up by the brother to denote his name, command, &c. He often spoke of the kindness shown himself and wounded brother by the authorities and visitors to the hospital during his stay. Nothing


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passed his notice, and many incidents here witnessed were often afterwards referred to in conversation.

        The burial of his brother being over, father now sets out for home. At this period of the war travel was attended with much difficulty, especially in going from the army. Private citizens must needs have a pass; he goes to an acquaintance in a neighboring hospital, with whom he had mingled some during his stay, tells him the circumstances, remarking to him that he knew his standing; he did not wish to practice any wrong; that he had not been preaching any for about four years; I may never preach again. To this his friend readily replied there would be no difficulty about the pass.

        Upon the statement of this friend the pass was readily obtained and he makes his way to the railroad station to take the train for home.

        I am not a Freemason. Father belonged to this order. During his affliction he had ceased to lay any claim to the privileges of the order. He revealed the fact on his return from this trip that he had met with members of this order, strangers to him, who had rendered him valuable aid.

        On reaching the station another difficulty confronts him. Railroad coaches are scarce, and the only one he sees going out on the line he is to travel has a guard stationed at the entrance, who informs him that no one can get on board this car except he is in charge of a lady. He had no lady with him, and what shall be done? He saunters to an fro awhile, awaiting developments. Soon he espies a tall, stout man in soldier's


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dress, wearing about him the marks of camp life, moving in the direction of the guarded coach. He thinks he has found his man, and moves in the direction of the car. On approaching the same, he finds a Georgia soldier with furlough in hand remonstrating with the guard, first gently then positively: "I have been in this war four years; I have not seen my people during this time; I have a furlough and I am going home, and am going on this train; I have heard the musket and the cannon, and I've smelt powder, too (with an oath); I know how to behave myself in the company of ladies as well as any body." Father draws nearer the soldier with the furlough: "You can open this door or I'll burst it down, I don't care which - with a look of vengeance.'"

        By this time the door was opened, the soldier passed in, and father just after him. The effect of the will power and decision manifested by this man here and the other traits of character exhibited as they journeyed along together in their travel, made quite an impression upon his accidental companion and beneficiary. In this after life, he often alluded to the Georgia soldier he met in Richmond.


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CHAPTER XVIII.

        The incidents of this visit to the army and to his brother, viewing personally many things of which he had heard and read, made vivid and lasting impressions upon the mind of father.

        Of all that was ever done Nothing seemed to be attended with better results. This more than anything else furnished him with a new field of thought, and those subjects of war, which were the sum and substance of almost every conversation, now had new luster bestowed upon them.

        He returned home very much resigned to the death of his brother, and with many interesting accounts of what he had seen and heard. From this time his recovery was more perceptible. These occasions had the effect to bring him into more close and intimate relation with the people, and it was not until the latter part of this year (1864), that life and animation began to reappear in his countenance. He talked now with something like the spirit and freedom that he had formerly done; confidence and hope were being gradually restored. He wrote and had published a brief but interesting account of his brother's death; also wrote and had published about the same time an account of the death of J. B. S. Rogers, a nephew of his by marriage, who died at Raleigh of disease contracted in the army. The writing of these notices set to work powers of his mind that had long been dormant; sympathy becomes quickened. He had from early


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life exhibited some poetical genius. His rhyme was not that of a Milton, a Byron or a Pope, but often glowed with beauty and knowledge of the inner movings of the soul.

        While teaching schol in former years he sometimes prepared speeches for his students in rhyme that were really interesting and amusing. Also his thoughts upon some Scripture subjects were sometimes reduced to rhyme. We will here introduce a few of his poems, to illustrate what we have just said, and more especially feeling that anything written by him just at this period will be best appreciated here. The following was written some years prior to the war between the States:

THE THIRD OF MATTHEW.

                        Go read the third of Matthew,
                        And read that chapter through,
                        It is a guide to Christians,
                        And tells them what to do.

                        Those days came John the Baptist,
                        Into the wilderness,
                        A preacher of the Gospel
                        Of Jesus and His righteousness.

                        Then out came the Pharisee,
                        For to baptized be,
                        But John forbade him, saying,
                        "Repentance bring with thee;

                        Then I'll baptize you freely,
                        When you confess your sins,
                        And own your Lord and Master,
                        And tell how vile you've been."


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                        When John was preaching Jesus
                        On that atoning land,
                        He saw the blessed Saviour,
                        And said, "Behold the man!"

                        Appointed by the Father
                        To take away your sins,
                        Then you believe in Jesus,
                        And own Him for your King.

                        Then came our blessed Saviour,
                        For to baptized be,
                        And was baptized in Jordan,
                        The Scriptures read to me.

                        He came up out of the water,
                        The Spirit from above
                        Descends and lights on Jesus,
                        In likeness of a dove.

                        The Heavens they were opened,
                        As you may plainly see,
                        A witness to all people -
                        'Twas right that it should be.

                        A voice from heaven proclaiming,
                        "This is my only Son,
                        I am well pleased with Jesus
                        In all that He has done."

                        Come you that say your Jesus,
                        And prove you love the Lord,
                        By following His example,
                        Recorded in His Word.


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                        Take up your crosses freely,
                        As Jesus did for you;
                        I leave you all with Jesus,
                        And bid you all adieu.

        The following lines were written upon the death of his brother, Calvin Olive, soon after his return from Richmond, in 1861, which has been explained elsewhere. As stated by father heretofore, he did not agree with his brother fully as to the course to be pursued by the South, yet all who knew Calvin Olive respected his views for honesty and sincerity:

                        When first secession's tune was played
                        It found a lodging in his heart;
                        He to its music reverence paid,
                        And from its truths did not depart.

                        'Tis true he heard another tune
                        Which sounded through his native State,
                        It said, "Secession is too soon,
                        The people ought to watch and wait."

                        His mind was firm, his heart was true;
                        How did his noble nature burn
                        To see his native State pursue
                        The painful lesson she did learn.

                        When Lincoln's proclamation first
                        Called out for Southern men and means
                        To crush secession in the dust,
                        Or fill the South with bloody scenes,

                        'Twas then his eye was seen to flash;
                        His heart lit up into a flame;
                        He from his peaceful home did dash,
                        And to his country gave his name.


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                        He said, "Secession is my name,
                        In freedom's land I drew my breath,
                        I'm ready to defend the same;
                        Give me my rights or give me death."

                        He's now done all that he could do;
                        He gave his precious soul to God,
                        He lies amidst the brave and true,
                        Beneath the cold and silent clod.

        At the outbreak of the war two noble hearted boys and brothers, living in the city of Raleigh, enlisted in the cause of their country. They had distinguished themselves alike at home and in the camp for kindness and urbanity. After passing through many hardships, they both fell mortally wounded in the same battle, frown which they soon died. So much affected were their neighbors, who had received so many acts of kindness at their hands, over the sad occurrence, that one of then asked father to write some lines of verse suited to the occasion. These boys were the sons of M. B. Royster.

                        Two brothers lived in Raleigh town,
                        Their hearts were kind and true,
                        Not many boys could here be found
                        To act as they would do.

                        They used to be so very kind,
                        (And they were loving, too),
                        Their like I fear you'll never find,
                        Such friendly acts to do.


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                        These brothers heard their country's call.
                        For men to meet the foe;
                        They left their peaceful homes and all,
                        And to the war did go.

                        They stood up bravely for the cause,
                        And fought for victory's mead,
                        (But let their friends here stop and pause,
                        It is for them they bleed).

                        These brothers died of wounds received
                        Upon the battle-field,
                        And many friendly hearts were grieved
                        To hear their fates were sealed.

                        We miss them here in Raleigh town;
                        With them we used to play,
                        But cruel war has mowed them down
                        Amidst their blooming day.

                        For them our tears were freely shed,
                        For them we wept and grieved;
                        Although for months they have been dead
                        Our hearts are not relieved.

                        We sometimes wish them back again,
                        But know it cannot be,
                        For those in cruel battle slain
                        We never more shall see.

                        They've now done all that they could do -
                        Their country tried to save;
                        We know they were both brave and true -
                        They fill a patriot's grave.

        The death of J. B. S. Rogers fell with such weight upon his parents, especially his mother, all of whom


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were warm friends of father, that he was moved to write the following lines, in the summer of 1864:

        "The following lines were written for a mother who lost a son in the army, and was mourning her loss. They will fit the ease of many others:

                        Ye mothers of this sunny land
                        Admit me to your mourning band;
                        Your hearts are grieved, and so are mine;
                        Where shall we go relief to find?

                        A mother's love there's none can tell,
                        But you, dear sisters, know it well;
                        Your sons are slain and mine is dead,
                        Our peace and comfort now are fled.

                        I had one only darling son,
                        (Perhaps you might have more than one),
                        Our hearts are rent and torn with grief;
                        Where shall we go to find relief?

                        My loving child, my noble son,
                        He fought and many victories won;
                        The cannon roared, the battle raged,
                        And there our boys were all engaged.

                        In deadly strife they met the foe,
                        And gave or felt the fatal blow;
                        Some were left to tell the tale,
                        And others found cold, dead and pale.

                        I stood beside my dying son
                        When all his work on earth was done;
                        My heart was like the troubled sea,
                        I cried, "Would God I'd died for thee!"


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                        Dear sisters, shall we ever rise
                        From sorrow, grief and tearful eyes?
                        Can we not look above and find
                        Some mitigation to the mind?

                        He was my loving, darling child;
                        His nature calm, his temper mild;
                        He lies beneath the silent clod,
                        And I must hope and trust in God.

                        I long to see the day roll 'round
                        When he shall rise up from the ground,
                        And I again shall see his face
                        In that bright world of God's free grace.

                        And now dear mourning friends, adieu,
                        I feel that what I've said is true;
                        Come raise your hearts in faithful prayer
                        That we may meet together there."

        Toward the close of the year 1864, as the cloud of defeat began to darken over Southern homes, the situation was truly one of sadness; neighbors, fathers, husbands, sons and brothers dead, the cause for which so much had been sacrificed lost; the future dark and uncertain. Under this feeling he bases a lamentation upon the 15th verse 31st chapter of Jeremiah.

LAMENTATION OF THE SOUTHERN LAND.

                        Where are all our brave defenders,
                        Where are all our veteran soldiers,
                        Where are now our valiant generals
                        Who have fought for Southern homes?


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                        Many fell amidst the carnage,
                        Some were maimed and some were wounded
                        Others died of wounds or sickness
                        Far away from home and friends.

                        (Lamentation - A voice was heard, &c.)

                        Where are now our sons and husbands,
                        Where are now our mothers' children,
                        Where are brothers, where are fathers,
                        Scattered o'er this sunny land?

                        Some are now in far-off prisons,
                        Others died and have been buried;
                        All have felt the fiery ordeal;
                        Few have come to home and friends.

                        Where are now their wives and sisters,
                        Where are all those helpless widows,
                        Where are now those weeping mothers,
                        Scattered o'er this sunny land?

                        Some are hungry, some are begging,
                        Some with broken hearts are dying;
                        All have felt the fiery ordeal
                        Of this dreadful scourge of war.

                        (Lamentation.)

                        Where are now those orphan children
                        Who have lost their loving fathers?
                        They are looking for protection
                        From the hands of friends and kin.

                        Some are crying, some are starving,
                        Others naked or are dying;
                        They have felt the fiery ordeal
                        Of this dreadful scourge of war.

                        (Lamentation.)


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        There are other compositions of like nature to those here given, but our taste and good judgment may already be questioned for bringing such material into this work as a part of the record of a minister's life. They were not written for this work - indeed only one or two of them were written for the press. Neither were they written, save the first one given, during his active ministry. They were his first open and public declarations, as his soul began to be liberated from a state of darkness and oppressive bondage for a period of four years; for this reason they are here given. At the time they were written they read well, and were appropriately suited to the purposes they were intended to meet. His neighbors and friends listened to him as he read with deep interest. They struck a popular cord in the hearts of his people at that time, but dike many other things in this life,. needs to be realized to be appreciated.

        While it is clear from the reading of these contributions that he was in the enjoyment of some degree of spiritual light, he was still far from realizing fully his acceptance with God. He did not yet manifest any special interest in religious matters; did not wish to go to church or religious gatherings, and preferred not to talk upon religious subjects; yet had lost none of his desire to be a good man, and had no more sympathy with wickedness or evil doing titan in his brightest days. When asked about preaching, he expressed as his opinion that he should never preach again. His soul during this period was evidently not burdened with divine messages to the people.


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        The able-bodied men of the South had about all been gathered into service of some nature. The call for the youths of seventeen years of age was now made. A short while after this call his oldest son then living became of age. He went to the school-house in an adjoining neighborhood where this son was attending school about the first of November, and informed him that he had been enrolled for service, and though young, he was now amenable to the laws of his country, and that the enrolling officers would allow him to select his own command. Many sad faces followed the father and son as they walked away from the school house. The words of the father were cheering - advising his son to go forward and meet his duty as a man.

        The son was the recipient of many kind letters and much good advice from the father during the six months spent in service.

        Father spent the fall of 1864 and the early part of 1865 around home, visiting some among his relatives and neighbors, writing some letters to friends and relatives in the army, and reading much of the news of the times we were then passing through.

        By this time he had assumed full control of his farm work and domestic cares. A fine crop was produced during the year 1864, and his supply of the necessaries of life were abundant for one of his means. His stock were never in better trim. "Splendor usually goeth before a storm." It proved so in this case, for early in March, Sherman, at the head of the Union forces in the South, had completed his famous


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march to the sea, and was turning his course through North Carolina, in the direction of Raleigh, carrying destruction of produce, fowls, and stock of every kind in his wake. Here (mainly in Durham and Wake counties) the Sherman army, composed of about 65,000 men, encamped for a space of two or. three weeks, while Johnson's army was about Greensboro. The cause of this halting of the two armies was the peace negotiations that were going on between Sherman and Johnson, near Durham, N.C., which resulted on the 18th of April in the surrender of the forces under Johnson.

        This portion of the country had suffered some by the occasional ravages of the Confederate forces which had just passed through, but the dregs of the cup were fully tested when the Sherman army arrived. The 14th and 20th army corps were stationed during this time in the neighborhood of Holly Springs, Apex, Morrisville, and Alford's Mill, Wake county. They were noted for their general bad behavior, and their general conduct here was not an exception However, it is but just to say, that among them were many very noble and worthy men, but some as low and mean as the world ever knew. The only rest to be obtained by any family in this section during this time was at night. From sun rise to sun set they crowded every house, every road, lane, yard and field, without word and without ceremony, taking everything they desired, from a common brass pin to a horse or wagon, plundering most uncivilly every drawer, private room and outhouse all through the live long day, killing fine cattle (sometimes for a mess of steak), and leaving


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the remainder to waste. Such are some of the hardships of cruel war.

        Father was unusually quiet under all this procedure. We had been informed of their manner of dealing, and were prepared to meet it. This consolation we found in this hour of trial may have been due in part to some things we knew and they did not. A few days previous to their arrival, father, by the aid of an old family servant and other members of his family, had succeeded in storing away a good share of the bountiful crop of corn, wheat, pork, &c., produced during the year 1864. He must have put into practice some of the lessons he learned in early life from climbing and hide and seek. The skill he acquired in climbing, (which up to this time had not as we could see availed him much), now. proved of real profit. (So much for learning all that is useful in early life, for it will somewhere along the journey of life be of value to us).

        In different directions from his house he took choice lots of bacon, and ascending forty or fifty feet high into the tops of trees, he would, with cords and splits; there fasten his prize. Strange to say, not a piece was lost, although the enemy infested every place, and even butchered some live hogs under one tree where bacon was hanging over head. (It may be they were not accustomed to look up for blessings).

        The corn and other produce was taken to swamps and to the newly cleared field, and stored away in leaves and bags under the brush, and amidst the thick


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bushes. Most of this was lost or wasted, but the effort did not prove entirely in vain.

        We should not feel that we had fairly represented father here were we to close this account without making mention of an humble individual, but faithful friend of father and his family through this period that brought to severe test the colored race. This individual was George, a colored man whom he had owned for about eight years. He remained true and faithful to the family, even after the arrival of the army whose presence meant his freedom. He had aided in hiding almost everything, and we have every reason for believing that be kept the secret committed to him sacred and profound, notwithstanding the persuasions, entreaties and threats of the marauders.

        So great was his attachment to his old master that he remained for sometime with the family, and rendered valuable aid in getting together their scattered effects, and in making another start for life.

        During this stay of the army described, a guard was asked for, but given too late to save the effects of the family. It proved, however, a great relief, as no admittance into dwelling houses or those adjacent was afterwards allowed. Also disorders about the premises were strictly looked after. The guard were bitter in their denunciation of these vile ones, yet from contests that sometimes arose it was plain that it was only their turn to be orderly and uphold the dignity of army discipline.

        Father found some friends among this dreaded foe. A man of Dutch decent, called by his comrades


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"Dutch," belonging to the 14th corps, and in charge of a train of wagons, called to get some forage upon the early advent of the army, and being a generous, noble-hearted man, acted most kindly toward the subjugated ones. He had here met one who could appreciate true manhood, and a very warm attachment here sprang up between them. He promised to render whatever aid he could while among us.

        A few days after the departure of the army from the neighborhood, being without horses, father went to the City of Raleigh, hoping to find some that would at least enable him to make a crop. After reaching the city, and wandering for a time in search of horses, and finding none that he could get, and almost ready to return home as he came, he very unexpectedly came up with his friend "Dutch." He soon made his wishes known, when "Dutch" drops his work, proceeds with him a short distance, and points out to him two young horses, about three years old, much jaded and badly scarred, and with all very poor. "Dutch" tells him this is the best he can do; that his coming was rather late, but these are young, take them home and treat them well, and they will make you good horses.

        He bade "Dutch" a hearty good-bye, and never again saw or heard from him. I trust they will meet in heaven.

        How much good we can sometimes do by little acts of kindness; let us not withhold them. Father ever spoke of "Dutch" with warmth and affection.

        These little broken down colts thrived rapidly, and enabled us to make a fair crop during the year 1865'


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and for many years were great favorites in the family. We will never forget the Pennsylvania Dutchman.

        It is now May, and but little farm work done; one month at least lost out of the farms this year in the section named. If there ever was an occasion for gloom it appeared to be now upon us. Yet we are never in this life without numerous mercies for which to feel thankful. The evils of this life are as the cloudy days; the mercies are as the fair days. Let us cultivate the disposition to look more at God's smiles and less at His frowns; His frowns only tend to drive us into the path of duty.

        While this period found us impressed with many unpleasant memories, we had many things to rejoice over; we had our lands; many were permitted to exchange the ills of camp-life for the peaceful pursuits of farm-life; food, though not bountiful, was wholesome, and could be enjoyed in peace and quiet; the night's rest was no longer broken by the duties of the camp, or the long-roll. Besides all this, the health of the people was never better; the seasons were never more favorable; the small grain crops were all that could be asked. The vegetable crops were never better. Four years of war had fitted the people for the enjoyment of peace and home comforts as they had never enjoyed them before. All worked with a free, hearty good will, and everything to which they turned their hands flourished. No one who passed through these times could fail to feel that God's special providences were over the conquered States at this time.

        Father took the lead in his farm work this year,


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laboring faithfully and earnestly through the entire season. He had said to his former servant George that if he wished to remain with hint that he would share whatever food he had or might be able to have, with him; that he could not promise any wages, but should the crops prove good, he would give him something. He very readily decided to remain, and the bearing from one to the other never materially changed.

CHAPTER XIX.

        Father's condition, with some exceptions, was now much as it had been before his troubles. He was cheerful and hopeful, showing but little sign of gloom or despondency. Talked freely, read much, and wrote some. His writings were mainly of a poetical nature and directed mainly to the amusement of children. His soul, which was fast regaining its life, must give vent in some way to what was felt within. He was still disposed to shun religious topics, and was not free to talk about his own spiritual condition, and expressed no desire to attend religious services. We now concluded that his main objection to this was that he would be pressed to take part in the exercises, which he was yet unwilling to do. In talking upon this subject he gave all to understand that whenever he felt impressed to preach he should undertake it, but could not before.


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        It was now rather the conclusion of the family that he would never again attempt to preach; that he would likely return to the church and live the quiet life of a lay member the remainder of his days. He was about the same man in his family that he had formerly been, save his religious habits. He now carried with him none of the deep agitation of soul that the faithful minister sometimes exhibits while following the theme that weighs him down, nor of those sudden, quick flashes of the eye or glowing of the countenance when thought cables with the force and speed of the lightning flash. These signs, which were common to him in former days, were not now exhibited. The mind and manner indicated lighter work, and so it was when performed.

        His improvement thus far brought great relief to his family and friends. One of such genial nature and cheerful habits, with sufficient hope to inspire all around him, becoming silent and so living for years, produces a feeling akin to that of death. But there is greater relief still just ahead. He was, when himself, very fond of singing, and often in former days, while around the fireside at night, would engage in singing some favorite hymn, or some amusing song with a good moral and meaning, to the joy and amusement of his family. For about five years his voice had been silent in all public exercises. Not a word had he uttered in song since he ceased from the ministry, that any one had heard. Some of the poems he had written were full of pathos, and their meaning was best expressed in song.


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        He decided at length to sing one of these songs to his family. This occasion will long be remembered. All were gathered about the fireplace at night, the mother engaged with the usual routine of house work pertaining to the hour. Father brings forward one of his poems he had just written, and after reading it, asks his children, with a slight tremor in his voice, if they do not wish to hear him sing it. All respond "yes;" whereupon he proceeds to sing. The deep-felt joy of mother and children could hardly be expressed. His voice had become impaired by disuse, his manner was slightly embarrassed, but this act was an indication for good; the vacuum which had been so long empty was filling up; he must give vent to what he now felt within his soul.

        He related to his wife a dream which occurred to him about this period, and while he did not attach any great importance to the wanderings of the mind in sleep, it was in harmony with the great struggles between light and darkness that were going on in his own mind, and added courage and strength to the better part.

        In some of the mysterious ways into which his night thoughts led him, he met with a huge mastiff, marked with a fierce and angry look, intent upon destroying everything in his pathway. He saw no way of escape; on, on he comes most furiously. He nerves himself up for the contest, and in a moment the dog is upon him, and a life and death struggle ensues. He subdues his cruel antagonist, and with one stroke of his drawn knife cuts his throat. He saw and recognized in this


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cruel animal a type of the enemy he had been contending with for the past five years. He had at last subdued him, and whether this was from God or not it hastened the day of his deliverance.

        Here we would pause and ask if we are not too ready to cast aside all dreams and say, "Folly, folly." God does not forsake us when we fall asleep. Why not some impression for good be made upon us by night as well as by day? Who has not been perplexed and troubled, and received some impressions in his dreams that were of service to him in overcoming these difficulties? Much evil would result in our spiritualizing all dreams, and it is well for us not to teach that they are all messages from God, any more than that all the meanderings of our minds in the day are messages from Him; yet we would do well many times to meditate upon the impressions made upon our minds in dreams, and receive all the good we can from them. It may sometimes be the voice of God. We think we do not say too much when we say this. We ask pardon for mentioning an item in our own experience just here, that we may not be misunderstood upon this critical point.

        For some days a degree of unpleasantness had manifested itself on the part of a friend toward us. This tended to chill our feelings. One night we dreamed our friend was dead, and in our dream we saw him clearly surrounded by his afflicted family. The next day he used in our hearing some unguarded remark which we would ordinarily have felt like resenting. At once we saw him as he had appeared to us the night


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before; over him standing a heart-broken wife and children. We were reminded of the short time allotted us here, and of how soon this would be the case with our friend, whether he lived long or short, or whether we witnessed it or not. Under this reflection our heart softened; we saw the folly of harboring ill will and bitterness, and were enabled then and there to banish all such feelings from our heart.

        Many cases equally as striking have occurred in our history. Be not disobedient to the teachings of God, whether by day or by night; whether by His direct providences or in the mysterious unfoldings of His universal laws.

        At this period father begins to read, talk and sing with a degree of earnestness that had marked his course through former years Religious books are fully consulted; light is daily increasing; the Bible is his constant adviser; he begins to realize that throughout his past life he had been in the hands of a merciful Father; that goodness and mercy had been following him all the days of his life. Especially did it now appear plain to him that the hand of a merciful Father had been leading him for the past five years through, the deep and thick darkness that he had come. He now realizes fully that lids life had not been in his own hands, neither in the hands of Satan; that while Satan had great power, that God had all power. The promises of the Bible began now to appear more beautiful to him than ever before. He had formerly read and believed them; he had now tried and had proved them; his faith in God began to grow doubly strong;


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he could now feel and realize the force of many passages of God's Word with an understanding not hitherto possessed. He could now say with almost the assurance of David: "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thy rod and thy staff do comfort me."

        God had been with him through the dark valleys crossed by him during the years just passed. He really felt in his heart that these chastenings had not been in vain, but that they had accomplished that whereunto they were sent. He felt that he could now love and trust God as he had never done before; that like Job, this chastisement would last him to the end of his days. He never, from this time to the day of his death, entertained the least idea of its repetition. From expressions of his own, these were now the movings of his mind.

CHAPTER XX.

        It is now August, 1865. The people of his acquaintance kept informed as to his condition. They had not forgotten him during his absence from among them. Many of them had visited him during his afflictions, and by many other ways extended their sympathies. Some of the churches and congregations he had formerly served sent contributions to his family during this period, to say nothing of the many acts of individual kindness. They all rejoiced to hear of


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his improvement, and anxiously await the day when he should again mingle with them as preacher and pastor. His mother church, Shady Grove, Wake county, had at a previous meeting invited father to come to see them. Hearing of this he sends for the pastor, Rev. J. C. Wilson, to come and see him, which he does, at an early day. The relation existing between this worthy man of God and father was such as existed between very few men. Born near the same date, in the same community, brother's and sister's children, in youth attending the same schools and entering the ministry near the same date, they could approach each other with freedom and with confidence.

        The subject is introduced. He firmly believed up to this time, as stated by him in his own writings, that soon after the commencement of his troubles the church at Shady Grove withdrew fellowship from him. He stated this to his visiting friend. Upon being assured by him that such was not the case, and that the church had never even had or thought of having the case under consideration, he manifested great relief, and promised to be with the church at their August meeting.

        They now discuss numerous subjects pertaining to religion and the welfare of the church, wherein brother Wilson states father manifested the same interest of soul, freedom of speech, and soundness of judgment he had done in former years. This visit, the message borne, the information received were very consoling to father.

        He gave previous notice to the family of his


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intention to visit his church at August meeting. This was glad news to his family and friends, arid the necessary preparation was made for the journey, not supposing, however, that he proposed to preach, but was going of his own accord to attend religious services. Time soon rolled around for the August meeting.

        Early on Saturday morning he is on his way to the church, which he reaches in due time, and finds present the pastor, Rev. J: C. Wilson, and a goodly number of brethren and friends. It could not be expected after so long an absence that his manner and his bearing would be easy and natural, especially when he knew how closely every one scrutinized his course; yet he manifested a fair degree of freedom in general conversation. The pastor preached, and there was no more attentive listener than his visiting friend.

        After services the church mete in conference, and when the usual business had been transacted, and an opportunity offered, father arose and stated to the church that for five long years he had been as one dead; that he had passed through more than tongue or pen could ever describe; had been lost to all hope, and had felt that he was the meanest man on earth, and that he had been an imposter, preaching Christ while he himself was a stranger to grace; he never purposed or intended to act this part, but had been honestly mistaken, yet the evil resulting from such a course was the same, and to him it appeared the propagator of such deeds could not be held innocent, for he should have been more particular, and made the right start. This he stated in brief had been some of


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his troubles. He further stated what impression he had been under all the while relative to their withdrawal of fellowship from him. He closed by saying that these dark clouds had now passed from over his head; that the light of God's countenance had again appeared to him; that he now felt that he wished to work in his Master's vineyard, but under existing circumstances he was unwilling to proceed until he had submitted his case to his brethren, who he felt would deal honestly and candidly with him. Urging them to show him no favors in consequence of sympathy or affection, he submits himself to their action.

        There was but one sentiment among them. All wished to see him laboring again in the great cause he had once so zealously maintained. Accordingly the conference adopted the following resolutions:

        "WHEREAS, Brother Johnson Olive has been absent from us and silent on his ministeral duties for four or five years, laboring, as he says, under somewhat a delirious state of mind, which seems to have measurably abated, and he calls; upon us, the church to say what course he must pursue, or what he shall do,

         Resolved, That we recommend that brother Olive resume his ministerial duties again as before, and exorcise in public when and where he chases to do so; and furthermore, we recommend him to his former churches and to the community generally; and we furthermore believe that there is a work for him yet to perform, and that the space of time that brother Olive has been silent from the ministry seems to be the handiwork of Providence, and may have been to ripen and qualify him for that work which he has yet to perform; and as such we would say, in the language of our Saviour when he said to Peter 'feed my sheep,' brother Olive, go and do likewise."


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        The conference adjourned, with an appointment for Rev. Johnson Olive to preach on the next day, (being Sabbath). This was satisfactory to father, and accordingly he was on hand in due time on Sunday morning.

        The news of what had transpired spread rapidly, and few men could have attracted so large a crowd with so short notice.

        This appointment, as we have seen, was in the midst of a people with whom he had mingled from his childhood and youth. Many in this section had heard him from the sacred stand, the doorway or the arbor, in former days, and desired to hear him again; many were rejoiced at his recovery and return to the ministry, and wished to hear and see him, and add this token of approval. A still greater number had not seen him during the five years just passed, and desired merely to see him. Others were prompted by mere idle curiosity. With all, it seldom occurs that a more eager crowd is assembled. They were coming in early from every direction; old men and old ladies, young men and young ladies, middle aged and children, some perhaps for the first time to this church. By the time the hour for services had arrived several hundred are present; the house is soon filled to overflowing; the doorways, the aisles, the windows are crowded; a number left outside taking their positions where they might get an occasional glimpse of the preacher.

        One striking feature of this vast crowd worthy of remark was their dress. There were very few manufactories of cloth goods in the Southern States up to


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this time, and the people had not accumulated sufficient means to purchase largely from their recent opponents in war; hence the attire of the crowd was garments that had been long out of use, or made by mothers and daughters of material they had ingeniously put together during the days of the war. To their praise be it said, they had done their part well. A factory made hat, bonnet or pair of shoes was almost a show. An aged friend of ours had been to market a few days before with a load of produce, and had purchased himself a factory hat; we were so much struck with its smoothe, symmetrical appearance that we got a swap out of him next day. The preacher wears a suit of plain, home-made cassimere, divested of all showy accompaniments, and takes his position in the stand with every eye upon him. A sense of this fact, and the eager expression of the crowd, rendered him at first a little nervous. He selects and reads his hymn, which is sung with spirit and animation. After the singing he reads a selection from Job, and leads in prayer. In all he does rust is perceptible, but as he proceeds he gains strength and brilliancy. He bases his remarks upon the life and writings of Job, and for nearly two hours holds the vast crowd in silence, listening to his recital of God's dealings with Job, and of some striking analogies between the case of Job and himself. He could clearly see that God meant love to Job and valued instructions to his people in thus afflicting him . That in his own case his chastenings had been severe, but he felt they had proved a means of grace to his soul, and through


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them in some measure God's cause might be glorified. He related with feelings many of the incidents that had crossed his pathway during the five years just passed, and expressed great faith in the power of God to preserve and uphold his people, even in the dungeons of despair. Upon many points he was more firm and outspoken than in former years. It was evident from this introductory that his ministry in future would differ in some particulars from the past. Deeper convictions, more outspoken, a firm and unshaken adherence to these convictions when he had a "thus saith saith the Lord" for them.

        The impressions made upon the audience were profound. Many tears were shed, and at times the sternest hearts gave way. All. Left the church with the scenes he had depicted indellibly impressed upon their minds, feeling that the work of this man of God was but just begun.

        A deep interest in his future was now felt among his acquaintances. Some feared it was a species of insanity with which he had been troubled, and that it might return; others felt that it was the dealings of a kind Providence, and was once for all. As for father, he talked freely and cheerfully about his condition, often introducing it himself, and entertained no fears of a like trouble. He is now fully committed to his former work, and is eager to preach, and the people anxious to hear him. Through the courtesy of neighboring pastors he is invited to their churches, and had soon preached a number of discourses in the fields formerly occupied by him, much to the delight and


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satisfaction of his brethren and interesting to all. He spoke of the past with an ease freedom and cheerfulness that rather astonished. His manner at all times of representing this state was like the man who has through great trials, persecutions and afflictions, but at last has come out triumphant exonerated from all wrong and strengthened in character.

        As he was now making his second start in the ministry some changes in his own life both secular and ministerial, were impressed upon his mind. He was decided in his convictions never again to so cumber himself with worldly cares. In future he would not constitute a farm hand as he had done through much of his past ministerial life. He preferred of choice to labor some, and during his entire life never hesitated to take hold whenever and wherever it was needed. Yet when he saw these cares entangling him he would speedily extricate himself therefrom. He also felt that the customs of holding revival meetings, which had been productive of much good in the past had in latter days come to be abused; that morbid notions of true and vital religion had sprung up among the masses through this instrumentality; he was not disposed to discard a means that had been so signally blessed for the objections he saw or the evils arising out of it. He consults with some wise and experienced brethren upon these topics. His conclusion was to try to remedy these evils, as he thought them to be, so far as his labors extended. He would teach the people that religion did not consist in noise and great demonstration; that this be would not condemn when it


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proceeded from a godly spirit, but to suppose that it would produce godliness was wrong.

        We do not know that he ever talked so freely upon this subject with any person as he did with us. To these principles he conformed his subsequent ministry, and found it to be quite as successful, and lived to witness a more healthy state of spirituality among the churches of his charge. The principal objection to the former methods was that under the great excitement that often existed numbers realized a sensation that they mistook for a change of heart. Among the converts there were too many backsliders; that many would make a new profession each year that rolled round - would become mourners and make professions at each meeting for years in succession.

        Many who read this account will know the truth whereof we speak. In short while there was every evidence to believe that thousands were truly converted and added to the church each year through this medium, the percent of those whose conversions appeared not genuine was too large. To correct this evil was the subject that impressed him. We would not be understood to say that fatherís views upon the teachings of the Bible as held by his denomination (Missionary Baptist) were materially changed yet he was not strictly sectarian, and always-preferred to follow the teachings of God as he understood them to that of men, and sought not to bend the Word to suit his own peculiar views. He was in no way active in politics, yet he had his notions of civil government and regarding it as sanctioned by the laws of God ever felt it a christian


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duty to aid in establishing good laws, in harmony with the spirit and teachings of Divine revelation, and to encourage a faithful administration of the same.

CHAPTER XXI.

        During the fall of 1865 he was called to the pastorate of Shady Grove Church, Wake county, to take effect the first of January following. The beginning of the year 1866 finds him actually engaged in ministerial work. He was judged by those who heard him to be now possessed of all the clearness of mind, energy and vigor of spirit that had characterized his course in former years, with an experience from which he often drew many forcible and successful illustrations.

        The period of time immediately succeeding the war was as remarkable for dearth in religious circles as that just preceeding this crisis was for life. Many persons who had shown much interest in church work in former years had through the hardships of war and a soldier's life become cold, careless and indifferent to religious duties. This, added to the confused and unsettled state of civil government in the recently subdued States, cast quite a gloom over the church at this time. If this was a specimen, it has been truly said that war is a great demoralizer. A very unsettled state of mind existed as to secular life; no one could tell what would be the outcome of the new order of things as they then existed; some were for leaving to


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become citizens of other governments; almost every one looked to the future with gloomy forebodings; the political and domestic situation formed the chief topics of conversation. During such a state, a hard and laborious work remains for the faithful watchman who is commanded to cry aloud and spare not when he sees the enemy approaching. The faithful minister found in his congregation few of those supports which are so essential to successful work. So many absent faces and vacant seats, so little real interest manifested, rendered the average church rather a plate of gloom than of joy. The chief thoughts which seemed to occupy his mind were to arouse christians to a sense of the dangers which surrounded them, and to their duty, and to awaken sinners to the dangers which were entwining them. He sought to quiet the minds of his hearers upon the dangers which threatened, and urged them to fear God rather than man; to practice nothing which Jehovah had forbidden, though men should seek to enforce it; to live by the religion of Jesus Christ, and if need be, to die by it. In his efforts to settle the minds of his hearers upon the questions then agitating them, he was sometimes charged by some who supported the political measures of these times with preaching polities. This rather amused than offended him, for he felt that he knew his own heart in this matter and only desired to bring all the lights of Scripture he could to bear upon this subject, to the end that the minds of his people might be established.

        It was during this year that his life long friend, Rev. P. W. Dowd, died at his home in Wake county.


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He visited him in his last sickness, and talked freely with him about his disease and his prospects beyond the Jordan of death. He stated that he was rapidly sinking but experienced no pain. He had no fears of death; to die would be gain. His cool, calm resignation as he stood upon the brink of eternity greatly impressed father, and he often alluded to this circumstance in after life when speaking of the dying christian. He was present at his funeral and burial, and returned home feeling as if he had been to the funeral and burial of a father.

        He now begins to realize more fully than ever before the great responsibility that rests upon him as one of the few ministers remaining in his section of country. The number of young men entering the ministry at this time were very few, and for a period of ten years or more after the war, the work of the ministry devolved mainly upon those who had been long in the harness.

        In the midst of his labors during the fall of this year he received a friendly, though almost fatal blow from a young horse while stopping with his sister on his way home from some family visits. I was not far away from the scene at the time, and was sent for by him. There was evidence of an internal wound which might result in early dissolution. He talked of his misfortune very pleasantly, yet his intense pain led him to feel that death might be near at hand. He said death was not a terror to him, and if it was the Lord's time all was well. Soon a physician arrived and in a few hours hopes for his recovery began to


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revive. He was debarred from preaching for several weeks in consequence of this affliction.

        For the year 1867 he received calls to the pastorate of Shady Grove, Bethany and Ephesus churches, Wake county, and at Mt. Gilead, Chatham county. This was quite an active year with him. Since his returning to the ministry the people everywhere were anxious to meet him and hear him. His vacant Sundays were filled with appointments to preach funerals and fill the appointments of other pastors. He frequently rode twenty to twenty five miles to these appointments. In addition to his four churches and the labors just named, he was engaged during this year in writing his biography, which forms the basis of this work.

        By this time there was marked improvement in the country. The favorable crops of 1865 and 1866 had done much to relieve the people; prices of most farm products were enormous. Local government was gradually being re-established, and military power giving way to some extent. Some of the dark forebodings had not been realized, and the minds of the people were becoming much more settled. All this was favorable to successful church work. Congregations were larger and much more interested in religious work than formerly. A deep sense of the responsibility now resting upon the ministry, and the great need for earnest, consecrated work inflame his soul and he preaches with much zeal and fervor. His strongest impressions are to build up the waste places of Zion at home; to awaken Christians to a sense of duty, and sinners to a


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knowledge of their danger. And to these purposes he gave much of his time and talents.

        Living in the country, preaching in the country, and being intimately acquainted with the circumstances of many of his flock, (as many of them consulted him freely upon almost every subject, and kept few secrets from him), he knew well the situation of the people to whom he preached both financially and spiritually. The few years of prosperity had not relieved them from the embarrassments resulting from the late war. In this state of circumstances he did not feel it his duty to urge his charges to aid objects abroad. He was not at heart opposed to any Christian effort authorized by the Word of God. He had ever been a missionary in spirit and in practice, had given liberally all his life of his scanty means, and was still doing so, but declared that he felt no responsibility resting upon him as a pastor to urge his churches to contribute to objects abroad. Should he live to see his people differently situated he would then teach them to aid in these various objects of Christian work. The people in his charge living in a section where the enemy in the recent conflicts were disbanded were not on a par with other sections of the country, and until they had in some measure been enabled to set their own houses in order he did not feel called upon to urge them to send their contributions abroad. He expressed himself willing at all times to give any and all an opportunity to help, but could not urge it.

        This was father's position for several years after the


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war. Some sharp, though at last pleasant controversies between himself and some of his brethren grew out of this in some of the associations. Yet so far as I could ever learn they were usually conducted in a Christian spirit, and finally resulted in bringing all parties together, and in imparting moderation rather than bitterness. The masses of the people of his charges were with him in sentiment, and at times some good brethren thought division would follow. Father was far from courting anything of this kind, and had no selfish feelings to gratify in this matter; but determined to stand firm by the faith he held, and proclaim fearlessly what he thought to be the truth.

        The courage with which he maintained his convictions drew to him many followers, and only awakened the admiration of those who opposed his views. They could feel that nothing serious could come from the actions of one so generous and so full of energy, zeal and devotion to the cause of his Master. They could fully trust his honesty, and so soon as he could see his churches able he would not be a whit behind in filling the great mission of his Lord: "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

        Thus, what appeared at one time to be a serious obstacle in the way of co-operation and harmony in the bounds of his modesty, soon subsides to the satisfaction of all. He sometimes spoke of the extreme to which some of the supporters of his views were disposed to carry ideas he had advanced, and labored to correct all errors thus engendered. Subsequently the churches of his care were among the most liberal in


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contributing to the various objects of christian work of any in the Association to which they belonged. He was, however, always free to speak of extremes, and held that no amount of money and men were sufficient to convert the world to Christ without consecrated hearts and the guiding influences of the Holy Spirit. The discussions of the various objects of christian labor had the effect in many instances to awaken interest and to shed light upon on many subjects which were before but little understood.

        Father ever remained satisfied with the part he acted, and felt that he had but done justice to his people in their poverty and want, and that in the end he and others had alike been benefitted by the light that had been thrown upon the subjects under discussion.

CHAPTER XXII.

        The work of the ministry perhaps never afforded him more joy than during this period. He acted as one continually emerging into greater light. His mind was active and clear, his impressions vivid, his memory almost faultless, his energy and zeal profound and abiding, his faith strong.

        The following letter, addressed to the Rev. James Dennis, of Mississippi, one he had long known and for whom he entertained a lasting regard, will serve to show more of fatherís feelings, both as to the time of which we write and the past than anything in our


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possession. This venerable man was his senior in age and in the ministry, was present at his ordination, and ever proved himself to be a kind and faithful counsellor to father. So much did he feel indebted to him that he sometimes spoke of him as a father in the ministry. Hence this open, frank letter, which we give in full:

WAKE COUNTY, N. C., July 12, 1867.

        MY VERY DEAR BROTHER: - I have concluded to write to you another letter. I have heard from you frequently, but have received no letter from you in a long time. I sympathize with you in your troubles, for I have been a great sufferer myself.

        I understand that you have lost all your children but one. I have lost three, yet we have five living. Our two oldest and youngest are dead. You have lost a son and daughter. This, together with our other losses, is enough to cause our hearts to grieve and our drooping courage to flag. But all these things can be borne and should be borne with patience and fortitude. Yet Solomon says: "A wounded spirit who can bear." I have been the man to experience this, not willingly, but from stern necessity. I do not regret it now, for I have learned more in the school of experience and affliction than most of men, and some lessons that few if any ever learned before. As useful and instructive as these lessons have been, I have no desire to pass through that school again.

        Brother Dennis, let me speak a few words to you as a son to his father, for I feel that my faith is strong, my hope firm, and my consolation sweet. I am now a happy man, but by the grace of God I am what I am, and through much tribulation I have arrived at this state of mind. In the first place let me say to you what you have often said to others: We should never take on, or grieve inordinately, for that which is


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unavoidable on our part, because we can neither change one hair white or black, but as Jeremiah, so let us do: "Truly this is a grief, and let us bear it." "O, Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." All this, and a thousand times more have I found verified in the school of experience. In the next place, let a son say to his father: "My father, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened unto you." Do not despond at the hidings of God's face; clouds may obscure the sky of your mind, but the Son of Righteousness will beam forth again with healing in His wings to your soul.

        No man could sink lower in the slough of despond than I; not one ray of hope penetrated my dark soul, but darkness, death and long despair reigned in constant horrors there. The pains of hell got hold of me, and nothing but a fearful looking-for of the judgment to come and the fiery displeasure of a sin-avenging God awaiting me.

        And now my dear father, I see that God was leading me in a way which I had not hitherto trod, and in a way I did not know. Dark things have been made plain, and crooked ways straight. If I ever had religion, I had it then; if I did not have it then, I have it not now.

        My dear brother, "according to thy faith so be it unto thee." Faith is the great lever in religion. We live by faith we walk by faith, we stand by faith, and by faith we overcome the enemies of our souls. When faith is gone our shield is gone, and the fiery darts of the enemy will pierce us on every side. In the present unsettled state of our country, and the minds of the people partaking of this state more or less, and thus liable to be tossed by every wind of doctrine, I have studied diligently to find out the course of wisdom.

        So far as I am personally concerned these things do not greatly affect me, for I have no fear of wicked men or devils but I feel for others, for the church, and the welfare of my country.

        I am preaching for four churches this year. I have good


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congregations, good order and good attention, but as yet I have seen no great effect produced. I enjoy liberty in speaking, and my faith is so strong in the power and goodness of God that I cannot doubt of final success. Since I commenced preaching the second time, or as I sometimes feel since my resurrection from the dead, I have felt like a new man. I have lost my former diffidence, my timidity and embarrassment in preaching before any and all persons, be they ever so great or learned. I feel that I have a message to tell, and "whatsoever my God says that will I speak."

        Many new texts of Scripture and new subjects are rolled upon my mind like a burden from the Lord, and I am never satisfied till I roll it off. Sometimes nature revolts when these subjects are pointed and severe against the customs and manners that prevail, but I cannot rest till I cry aloud and spare not. It does seem to me that the time is fast approaching when every man shall be seen in his true colors. All hidden sins shall be brought to, light, and the line drawn between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. The signs of the times indicate to my mind that an invincible power is working to bring to light what is and has been going on in the heart, and all the efforts of men to evade it seem to be unavailing. I would not have you to understand that I have deviated from the old established doctrines of our holy religion as handed down by Christ and his apostles, and as taught by our fathers. My meaning is, I have had new subjects connected with that same old religion brought to bear on my mind.

        Brother Dennis, I shall take liberty in speaking, or rather in writing to you, as I have done to other old fathers in Israel. I am about to have a book published. Of course this will strike you with some astonishment, as I have never been in the habit of writing for publication.

        Not to detain you here, I will tell you some of the exercises of my mind on this subject since my return to the ministry. I soon felt a strong anxiety of mind to relate my experience during the five years that I was dead to all spiritual things.


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I was unwilling to carry all these things into the pulpit, and make this too prominent a part of my preaching, for I felt it my duty to preach the Gospel and not my experience while in a state as people looked upon as mental derangement. I consulted my brethren in the ministry in regard to this matter and they thought with me that it would be best not to bring too much of this into my sermons. I would tell my experience through these years to any one who desired to hear it. In this way a great many suggested to me that I ought to write it out and have it published, as it would be calculated to do much good, especially to the afflicted in soul and all who were troubled upon the subject of religion. So I concluded to write it up and leave it to be disposed of by my friends and brethren after my decease. In consulting with brother Dowd on this subject, he advised me to write it out and have it published as soon as possible, promising to aid me in any way he could. This I set about doing, but he was soon called away by death. I have thus far written one hundred and forty pages and am not yet through. I think the book will contain about two hundred pages. It will embrace a short history of my life. If I have it published I will try to send you a copy. Its title will be "One of the wonders of the age, or the life and times of Johnson Olive."

Your brother in Christ,
JOHNSON OLIVE.

        The reader will well understand that this was not written for publication but is here given as the best means of showing the true character of our subject at this time. As intimated through these years the preacher witnessed but slight development and growth among his members and very little increase of membership yet good was being accomplished. It was truly a time of seed-sowing and he who labored on in faith and in love doing his whole duty as though the


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harvest was at hand, leaving results with his Master, lived to see a few years later a glorious ingathering.

        Through the years of 1868 and 1869 father was pastor of Shady Grove Bethany, Ephesus and Mt. Moriah churches. During this time he was permitted to witness a great change among his churches for the better. Strange though it may appear the progress and prosperity of the church was commensurate with the political and material prosperity of the country. This may be an exception to the rule but it follows war. We would not be understood to say that during such times christian people turn from the true God, but we hope never again to see a time when there was so little thought and talk among those who claim to be the people of God of Him and His mercies. The feeling experienced by the christian man or woman was horrible. Hatred, ill-will and vengeance had had sway for years and where such feelings reign the gentle Spirit of God cannot dwell.

        This state of things was now gradually disappearing; much evil that had been looked for had not come to pass; friendly relations are everywhere being gradually established; good crops and good prices are greatly relieving the wants of the people and a bright future is opening up. Christians begin to realize some of the gentle influences of the Holy Spirit; their hearts are more tender; they love each other more, and feel more concern about the salvation of sinners. During the two or three years that now follow many churches and communities experience glorious seasons of Divine grace.


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        During these two years all of fathers' churches enjoyed a fair degree of prosperity; some of them passed through the most successful revivals of their history. There were many accessions to the church. A great many full-grown and middle aged men were brought into the fold during this period.

        I have often heard the brethren of Bethany Church, formerly near Morrisville, Wake county, speak of the revival held there about this time. They describe it as the greatest revival they ever witnessed, the pastor preaching with great clearness and power, but in his appeals to the unconverted was gentle, mild and persuasive, addressing himself only to their judgment, and when he gave his final invitation to those who would turn from the ways of sin and death to the ways of righteousness and peace, men and women, boys and girls, all ages and conditions eagerly came forward seeking Him who died that they might live. The number of converts was large and a real impetus was given to the cause of religion in this locality. Others of his churches enjoyed revival seasons quite as much blessed.

        During the few years that follow he is more consecrated to his chosen work than at any former period of his life. His own health is good. The health of his family is better than for years; his children about all grown; his churches paying him a sufficient amount for support with what he could realize from his little farm. According to a previous conviction and determination, he had as much as was possible cut loose from worldly cares and now gives himself


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almost wholly to ministerial and pastoral work. He is a constant reader. Few moments are spent in idleness. He has a fair collection of religious books, and reads and studies with a zeal and diligence characteristic of ambitious youth. His congregations everywhere are large and attentive, and his thoughts are impressed upon the hearts of many. His sayings and teachings are familiar to a number even to this day.

        It is but just to say that during this period his efforts were greatly blessed, and that many souls were brought into God's earthly kingdom during these years of his service. Many persons who will read this little volume date the beginning of divine life to these years and to his services as an humble instrument in the hands of Jehovah.

        During the two or three years that succeeded the death of Rev. P. W. Dowd father had under consideration the erection of a monument to the memory of that distinguished divine. He had by the aid of some other brethren succeeded in getting up the amount necessary for this purpose, and arrangements were made to have the same erected over his remains at Mt. Pisgah Church, Chatham county, on the 24th day of April, 1869. Owing to the active part father had taken in raising the money necessary for this undertaking, his life-long attachment to the deceased, and his intimate knowledge of his life for over twenty five years, he was selected to prepare a suitable service for the occasion. The day arrived, several hundred persons assembled at the church-yard; some have estimated the attendance at near two thousand.


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        He introduced the services by speaking of the occasion which had called them together, the deep love they bore to him whose memory they wished to perpetuate. He cited some Bible authorities for thus honoring the dead who had so distinguished themselves for good; he spoke of the abuse that had sometimes been made of it, and of the true spirit with which all such work should be done. Render to all men their dues. Under this head he spoke feelingly of the life and labors of the eminent man of God. He had not escaped the persecutor's shafts, but had born it in the spirit of his Master. He held him up as a man of broad culture, clear logic, profound eloquence; had the ability to speak what he knew to the very best advantage. As a proof of his godly character he cited to the fruits he bore, and mentioned the great sacrifices he made for the cause he so much loved, having repeatedly refused more inviting fields, but chose to spend and be spent for his Lord and Master where he could accomplish most good. He made some tender allusions to the interest he always manifested in the young men of his charges, of his tender counsels with himself in early life. The exercises closed by his reading the following lines in verse, which he had prepared for the occasion, which after reading he sang:

                        The God who reigns in heaven above,
                        And rules this world below,
                        Who sends with speed the shafts of death
                        Along the road we go.


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CHORUS.

                        We meet around the grave
                        Of him we loved so well,
                        This monument we raise
                        Above his head to tell -

                        This God did send to us a man,
                        (O! how we loved his name,)
                        A chosen vessel in His hand
                        His Gospel to proclaim.

                        Our eyes have seen, our ears have heard,
                        Our hearts have felt his truth,
                        When he was holding forth Thy Word
                        In bygone days of youth.

                        Our fathers, mothers, too have heard
                        That man proclaim Thy Name,
                        While he was holding forth Thy Word
                        They caught the sacred flame.

                        What wondrous truths our ears have heard
                        When he was in the stand,
                        And holding forth Thy precious Word
                        In this surrounding land.

                        Through storms and tempests o'er his head
                        And persecutions rife,
                        A pilgrim to his dying bed
                        He closed his mortal life.

                        The names of holy men shall live
                        To hearts imbued with love,
                        Till we to God all glory give
                        Around the throne above.


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                        Dear people, when you meet around
                        This silent, sacred place,
                        Step lightly on - 'tis holy ground -
                        Here lies a man of grace.

                        When children come upon the sod
                        This monument to view,
                        Here lies a holy man of God
                        Whose heart was just and true.

                        With reverence and with love to God
                        We now have done our part;
                        We leave our friend beneath the clod
                        With calm and peaceful heart.

CHAPTER XXIII.

        The year 1870 brings with it but few changes in the life and labors of our subject. He has lost none of his interest in church work. His charges this year are Shady Grove, Pleasant Grove, Bethany and Mt. Moriah, all of Wake county. The development and growth which had been so marked in all the churches for the past few years move steadily onward. One encouraging feature is the Sunday school interest which the country churches now begin to enter into with an effort not heretofore witnessed. This work was heartily endorsed by him, and he often spoke of the readiness of Sabbath school scholars to accept Christ. It is true many churches had engaged in this work long before this period, yet the increased facilities, and the earnest


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efforts put forth by many pastors and active lay brethren gave a new impetus to the cause of Sunday schools about this period.

        The grand results attending this work were so evident everywhere, both among christians and the unregenerated, that it gathered increased interest as it went, and in a few years was regarded by most religious denominations as one of the important means of evangelizing the world. It was the custom of most country churches in middle North Carolina to have only monthly preaching, One Saturday and Sabbath of each month was set apart for regular service. Many ministers had charge of four churches. It was usually so with father, and often in the week and on fifth Sundays he preached funeral sermons in various localities, often a great distance from home, to be traveled by private conveyance.

        As the title of this work is the "Life and Times of Johnson Olive," it may not be amiss to say more of funeral sermons, as this service has undergone some changes during the past few years, and may sound strangely to some who may read this work in years to come. From a personal knowledge of father's views upon the subject of funeral services, I do not hesitate to say that I believe they were sound, and would be so considered by all who understood him. I think it would be difficult to find a minister who had preached more funerals. This was due to several causes. He was what is sometimes termed a man from among the people; mingled much with the masses from childhood to old age, saw much of them, knew


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much of them. Being naturally possessed of a genial, jovial, kind sympathetic nature far removed from hypocrisy or deception his word always his bond; literally truthful, he made many friends. He spent his life among this people. He seldom lacked for hearers anywhere. In the circle of his acquaintance there were some people who never attended church, others who went but seldom. Often upon going to some out-of-the-way place to preach a funeral he met with such characters. He seized these opportunities to try to do them good, as well as others and often under these influences grew warm in spirit and preached some of his most effectual sermons. He lived to see much good result to the living from these sermons, and thus his interest in such services was deepened and he sought as hard to prepare himself for such occasions as any other and many thought they heard his best preaching here. All gave some idea of the feeling that permeates a vast audience assembled to pay the last tribute of respect to some man or woman of prominence, either for good or ill in the community. Upon such occasions the heart is soft and easily impressed. He seized such opportunities for good.

        That this custom was somewhat abused he was aware and sought to the extent of his work to remedy it. He objected to the custom of preaching the funerals of persons long since dead especially in case of infants, and favored all funeral services at the time of burial, or soon after; yet he preached the funerals of some long after they were dead. He was perhaps never seen to get up to preach upon such occasion that


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he did not try in the outset to set all minds right upon this custom, and to impress all that it was for the benefit of the living and not the dead that these services were held. As the tree fell so it must .lie. Hence as long as he lived this was a prominent part of his ministry. In one Association the subject of funeral sermons was under discussion. Some of the brethren thought they ought to be abolished, others entertained similar views with slight modification. Father arose and very earnestly spoke in behalf of this service and closed by saying they could pass as many resolutions as they chose condemning it but so long as he was permitted to preach anywhere he should continue this service believing that in this line of work he had been the instrument of good. His faith in this service, strengthened by what he had witnessed, perhaps better fitted him for this department of labor. Be this as it may, many who now live can bear testimony to the success of his labors under this head, for which he seemed peculiarly adapted. There was never a greater demand upon him than during the years he is now passing through for preaching funeral sermons. All his energies and powers of both mind and body are now employed to meet the demands that are upon him. He is constant and steady in his work.

        In the early part of the year 1871 his son Thomas Jasper Olive so long afflicted, dies. He was fourth child in age, and the fourth to die.

        It always appears that death falls upon those members of the family for whom some special tenderness exists. This is not always true. We do not know


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how precious opportunities for good in this life are till we see them in their flight. We do not really know our attachment to friends and loved ones till called to be separated from them.

        In the course of time that which was an impulse or passion at the beginning becomes a principle, and is fixed far below the surface. Those who have experienced it need not be told that an invalid in the family is an object of special care and affection. How quick the entire family become aroused at injury or wrong done such a one.

        This youth, now twenty-three years of age, was stricken with Pneumonia at the age of six years. A healthy robust child is suddenly prostrated, and for many long weeks is completely helpless. During this prostration an abscess is formed upon the lungs, is lanced, and for ten or twelve years remained unhealed. During most of this time he was up and moving about but never saw another well day. The side of his body in which this trouble was seated grew but little and gave to him an ill form. He spent most of his life about the home, and was never afterwards enabled to endure hardship or fatigue. He was easily affected by cold, and during the winter of 1870 became much prostrated by reason of exposure. He continued to weaken, and the violent cough with other indications pointed to an early dissolution. He continued to move from house to house and about the yard; and in the midst of the expectation of all that he would survive some weeks yet, he was one morning seated by the cheerful fire while father was sitting near by reading.


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Suddenly the father hears a struggle, turns and gathers his dying boy in his arms, with his head upon his breast, and in a few moments what had long been to him a tender affectionate boy is a lifeless form.

        He had early professed faith in Christ, and for many years been a consistent member of the church. This death was met with quiet resignation. The father often referring to the deep feelings of his soul upon this occasion.

        While he had no Elisha to go to for his dead boy, he could truly commit him into the hands of Elisha's God believing that he had gone to join his two brothers and his sister in a land that is free from pain.

        The few years that there follow, from 1871 to 1875, are not marked by any incidents of special interest. The religious work that had been organized during the five or six years just past moves steadily and successfully onward. The minister finds his work less difficult than formerly. During these years his pastoral labors are spent among the churches of Shady Grove, Pleasant Grove, Bethany and Mount Moriah. The church at Mount Moriah had soon after his entrance upon work there in 1868 given him an indefinite call, to be terminated whenever church or pastor thought from any cause a change necessary. Christian work among all of father's churches was now pleasant, and reasonably successful.

        The customs of the times was to hold a series of services once in two or three years with each church as opportunity seemed to present itself, and as the spirit lead the hearts of the people. He was permitted to


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witness many gracious outpourings of the Spirit upon his churches and congregations during this period. There was everywhere growth and development among Christians, and many accessions to the church from the ranks of the unregenerate. He preaches no new doctrines, but takes up the old, old story with warmth, earnestness and clearness. The changes that the five years of inactivity had wrought upon his ministry were often at this time the subject of discourse among his acquaintances.

        We think we here pen a verdict that was sanctioned by the great majority. He was more bold, more frank, had less desire to please men, and had more, if possible, to please God. Possessed the courage of his convictions and was more obedient to the voice of conscience. A closer and keener observer of all that passed under his knowledge. His mind clearer and his memory more tenacious.

        Many persons regarded the period of retirement as the ripening period during which time those qualities of merit he had formerly exhibited reached a rich state of maturity, and thus he was better enabled to come more boldly up to duty and take up the cross thought it was heavy. The subject of Education, Home and Foreign Missions, &c., were objects that had been receiving and were now receiving a good share of attention from the Baptists of the State, as well as many other religious denominations. He was friendly to them all, and his churches were among the most liberal country churches of the middle portion of the State. He, however, did not consider man as perfect


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or his works even in such noble causes as being without fault, and ever liable to take on sane error. He sometimes spoke freely of the abuses to which these worthy objects were subject, not however, to the detriment of true progress that I know. He favored education, and advocated an educated ministry, yet ever tried to impress upon his hearers that the grand preparation must come from God, and that the preparations that man could add, while good and commendable, were only secondary to a successful ministry. He ever plead for the humble, faithful, unlettered man of God, who was by the aid of the Holy Spirit cutting down the forest and clearing up the Gospel field with little or no reward, save what his Heavenly Father gave him. He plead that such should not be overlooked or undervalued. He was at times impressed that there was danger in relying too much upon men and money for the evangelization of the world. He did not undervalue means, but held them as subordinate; that in our zeal to bring the world to Christ we must remember that it is not by might nor by power, but "by My Spirit" saith the Lord. He believed fully in the part the Spirit was to perform, and without this there could be no effectual work done.

        I here give a brief of a discourse he sometimes delivered upon the subject of missions. We give this that he may go upon record honestly and truthfully:


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        Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. - Phil. 2:5.

        The word mission defined - The true principle of a missionary - The negative principle.

        It does not consist in money given; a great deal has been given in the name of missions when the giver was far removed from the true missionary spirit; Christ is the true pattern of a missionary; he that has the mind or spirit of Christ is a missionary. Calculating the mission principle of men churches and associations by the amount given in money has brought about a misnomer, and has caused the name "Missionary" to sound unpleasant to the minds of some. Instance: Conversations with some persons, mission sermons, their erroneous ideas of doctrine, more money given, more souls saved, more given more will be received by the giver. Let money out at interest with God as surety. To be a missionary in the true sense of the word is to be of the mind of Christ Jesus.

        The true principle of a missionary consists in an entire concentration to God.

        These extracts are not calculated to do full justice to our subject on every occasion as they were his thoughts occurring at random and penned merely as a matter of reference, and how much revised before delivering them from the stand I do not know; yet many will recognize the man in these brief outlines. It is but reasonable to suppose that while our churches were reorganizing these grand objects of christian labor during the few years that followed the great civil conflict, that some good men in their zeal pressed some of the points referred to in the foregoing notes


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beyond the proper limits. A few years of time and thought with wise and just criticism greatly improved the means of gathering support for these objects, and the great good that soon became evident commended them to all.

         In the commencement of 1875 father began to serve as pastor of Holly Springs and New Bethel Churches, where he remained in that capacity till time of his death. He was still pastor at Mt. Moriah and Shady Grove.

        At this time it was beginning to be a custom with many churches to call for life or indefinitely. This was quite congenial to his age and present state of feeling. He is yet active and full of zeal for the cause, and is now well nigh cut loose from all worldly cares, and much consecrated to his chosen work. His expenses of living are small; he has turned over his farm mainly to others and lives principally of the means contributed to him by his churches which for the times were always liberal. The five years that now follow are years of quiet, earnest work, realizing perhaps fewer changes for the same length of time than at any other period of his life.

        In 1876 he changes his pastorate from Shady Grove to Olive's Chapel Church, and now has for a successive period of six years the pastoral charge of Olive's Chapel, Holly Spring, New Bethel and Mt. Moriah. He spends much of his time with the people of these localities. He is usually prompt in his attendance, allowing nothing save providential hinderances to keep him away.


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        During these years of service the ties of love and friendship so long existing between himself and many persons in these communities were greatly strengthened; church, congregation and pastor seemed alike pleased, and there is every reason to believe that much good in the name of the Master was accomplished during these years. His churches made fair progress in the increase of members and in the development of grace among their members. Their contributions to all christian work were liberal. All were visited with seasons of divine grace from time to time; peace and order never was less disturbed. While he never ceased to exhort sinners to repentance, towards the closing years of his life his ministry was more abounding in entreaties to the church and advice to christians, urging them to consecrate their lives to Christ and to be faithful to the end.

        As best illustrating the character of his ministry at this period we give two skeletons of sermons, the first appropriate to all, but especially to the unregenerate.

        First:

        Enter ye in at the straight gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because straight is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. - Matt. 7: 13, 14.

        The striking admonition of the text: All mankind are represented here as travelers, and all bound to one of two places, heaven or hell. These two ways are here described, and the end of each given. The one


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agreeable to the flesh, but the end is destruction. The other as being hard and disagreeable to the flesh, but the end eternal life. If you incline to the broad way, it has many things to recommend it to your choice, some of which we will name: First, you will have no difficulty in entering upon it. 'Tis a wide gate. Second, in your progress in this way you will have full scope to gratify your inclinations, for it is a broad way, and while there is but one way to heaven, and that way narrow and straight, the road to hell admits of many avenues, divisions and sub-divisions, out of which you may take your choice. Third, you will be in no want of suitable companions there, for many go this way; but remember, the end is destruction. Should there be any who incline to the straight gate, I would advise all such to first set down and count up the cost. You may find great difficulties in entering upon the way, for straight is the gate. You may meet with difficulties and hard struggles in your journey, for it is a narrow way. In pursuing this way you may have but little company, for few there be that find it.

        We say to all, life and death are set before you make now your choice.

        Second:

        Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. - Romans 14: 17.

        Peace, a blessing greatly to be desired. We should, however, not be so fond of peace as to accept it upon a sandy foundation. We should never sacrifice truth, either to make or to preserve peace. We should never attempt to preserve peace at the expense of righteousness. In order that we may follow after those things which


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make for peace we submit the following rules and observations to your prayerful consideration: Be careful to cultivate a spirit of love, guard against sin, beware of a disputatious temper, avoid a spirit of envy, guard against a sensitive disposition, strive to heal differences, encourage no tale-bearer, be ever ready to forgive. These are some of the things which we should cultivate in our minds in order that we may follow those things which make for peace. Peace is closely connected with church prosperity and to soul prosperity. Our Lord shed His blood to obtain peace between us and God. Consider its usefulness upon spectators, friends, enemies, young converts and other churches.

        Although the general spirit of father's discourses was more profound, they were not lacking in life, but still abounded in hope, and were delivered with a force and zeal not common to old age.

        We have now reached 1880. No change in the pastorate of the four churches last named has yet taken place; his health is yet reasonably good for one of his age; having a wiry constitution, he has ever withstood extremes of cold and heat better than the average man. Few men could ride so long in the cold. He perceives now that his ability to withstand such exposure is declining, and in consequence of repeated attacks of cold, resulting from long journeys in disagreeable weather to meet his appointments, he now finds it expedient to remain at home many times in winter to the disappointment of his congregation. He, however, was yet fully in the work and pursued his studies with the same interest of former years, and was as eager to meet his appointments and preach to the


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people as at any time in his life, and allowed nothing over which he had control to interfere with this duty. He was through all these years a ready talker, jovial and easy in manners almost to a fault. At no time did he enjoy a higher degree of confidence among his churches than at this time. There is now on the part of many a feeling toward him akin to that of a son or daughter for a kind father. They could approach him with a freedom and ease rarely existing between people in this life; and not a single instance can be cited where harm grew out of this confidence.

CHAPTER XXIV.

        The year 1881 will he noted for the great temperance movement in North Carolina. By act of the Legislature which assembled during the previous winter the prohibition question was submitted to the qualified voters of the State. A very interesting and exciting canvass of this question through the newspapers, circulars, tracts, and from the rostrum and the stump followed. The ministry of most denominations favored the measure. Some of them were active in instructing the people upon this important question. Father moved very quietly and slowly in this instance. Being of a conservative turn of mind generally, he feared the sacred stand might be lowered in its dignity and importance, and lose some of its power for good. He rather leaned in the outset to moral


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suasion, but as the campaign neared the end, and as he read and investigated the subject more closely, and understood the advocates of both sides, he declared his faith in the cause of prohibition, believing it to be the cause of God. He only spoke with his friends in private for awhile, but at length seeing the advocates of license using his name in their behalf, he wrote a note to the Biblical Recorder, wherein he stated that his friends very much misunderstood him if they thought he would throw his influence in the interest of the whiskey traffic. The question that had most weight with him was the idea that the government should license an evil so destructive of the welfare of her citizens, a thing directly in conflict with her purposes and aims.

        Seeing so much division among his people upon this subject, he thought it best not to agitate it among his churches, but trusted to mild, gentle influences, believing that when they came to understand and appreciate the situation, that they would do what was right. He considered how difficult it was to work a revolution in sentiment, and how slowly reforms usually move and chose to patiently await the great change that was coming. It would thereby take deeper root, and consequently result in greater good.

        During these years of his life he was really less impressed by passing events, and his ministry was constantly directed towards the cross of Christ and the shore beyond. He labored faithfully to win souls to Christ, to strengthen Christians and awaken all to active life. With great earnestness he depicted the


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horrors of sin and the beauties of- holiness; the dangers of delay, the duty of promptness.

        From 1881 he began to realize that his powers of endurance were failing, and desired to diminish his labors. He found it impossible to attend his appointments promptly. Seldom confined to his room, but often too feeble to go away from home. The churches were slow to give him up. At times his health would revive, and he would go about his pastoral work with as much eagerness as ever. Thus he spent most of the remaining days of his life. A sense of duty to himself, to his brethren and to the cause impelled him to reduce his labors. In 1882 his labors were limited to Pleasant Grove, near where he lived, New Bethel and Mount Moriah. Notwithstanding his decline in health and frequent absence, his charges were still blessed with a fair degree of prosperity. There were many lay brethren who were active workers, and would readily conduct a prayer meeting service in his absence. Besides, during these years of service several promising young ministers had been reared up in his churches, who, upon occasions of his absence, often conducted the services. In this way light and life were still preserved during his years of feebleness among the churches of his charge. Toward the close of 1883 he tendered his resignation as pastor to the church at Mount Moriah. He had served here successively since the beginning of the year 1868, a period of sixteen years. A large number of its membership then existing had come in during his pastorate. His labors here had been signally blessed. No stronger earthly


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ties could possibly exist. Their doors, their hearts, their purses were always open to him. Father's countenance always beamed with joy when he spoke of Mount Moriah and her people. He had some warm friends here whose conversions he was never permitted to witness, They contributed liberally to his support, attended his preaching, and often had him to spend a night or evening with them. May his labors and prayers for them not be in vain. Dear reader, are you that man? Try to meet him in heaven.

        The occasion of his taking leave of the church will long live in the memory of this people. He prepared some verses expressive in some degree of his feelings upon taking leave of this congregation:

"SOME VERSES

SELECTED, COMPOSED AND ARRANGED BY THE PASTOR OF MT. MORIAH CHURCH, TO BE SUNG ON HIS TAKING LEAVE OF THE CHURCH AND CONGREGATION AFTER HIS RESIGNATION.

                        Farewell, my dear brethren, farewell for awhile,
                        We'll soon meet again if kind Providence smile;
                        And when we are parted and scattered abroad,
                        We'll pray for each other and trust in the Lord.

                        Farewell, younger brethren just listed for war -
                        Sore trials await you, but Jesus is near;
                        He's full of compassion and mighty to save -
                        His arms are extended your souls to receive.


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                        The world, the devil and sin all unite
                        In bold opposition your souls to affright;
                        But Jesus, your leader, is stronger than they;
                        Let this animate you, and march on your way.

                        Farewell loving sisters, your bounty is large,
                        In love and friendship your duty discharge;
                        Although you, like Mary and Martha of old,
                        When Jesus is coming your sorrows unfold.

                        Your homes have been lovely and pleasant to me
                        When sharing your bounty and friendship so free;
                        And when I am travelling and lonely do roam,
                        I'll always rejoice to think of your home.

                        Farewell younger children in Sunday School bound,
                        While some of your members the Savior has found,
                        Although you are young and so tender in age,
                        King Jesus is coming your souls to engage.

                        Farewell friendly sinner, for you I must grieve,
                        To think of your danger while careless you live;
                        The Judgment approaches, oh! think of your doom!
                        And turn to the Savior while yet you have room.

                        Farewell Mount Moriah, the church of my care -
                        My love and affection you ever shall share;
                        And when I am absent and travelling alone.
                        I'll pray for this people who seem like my own.

                        Farewell congregation, farewell all around,
                        Perhaps we'll not meet till the last trump shall sound;
                        To meet me in glory please now take your stand -
                        Our Savior to praise in the heavenly band."

        A good brother of Mt. Moriah Church writes that no one can fully appreciate these verses and the occasion


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upon which they were used who was not present. He was very much in the spirit on that day all the powers of the soul at play. After reading the verses in a clear, impressive tone, he sang them with much power and unction, and when he had closed there were few dry eyes in the large congregation. He had a clear, musical voice, full of pathos, and could throw the whole powers of his soul into it as few men could do.

        The brother above referred to adds: "In speaking of his singing it recalls to my mind a picture I shall never forget. It was the last night he spent at my house, and was on the occasion of his last visit as pastor to Mt. Moriah Church. There were a few friends besides him with us, and the crowd had been singing, accompanied by the organ. Brother Olive was asked to sing a few pieces alone with the organ. He called for two or three of his old favorite pieces and sang while the organ played. He threw his whole soul into them and appeared to be almost oblivious to his surroundings, and carried away in the spirit to other scenes of bliss and joy, and to be enjoying an antepart of heaven. All seemed to be inspired with a feeling. akin to awe. The atmosphere of the room seemed charged, and the Holy Spirit's presence appeared to be felt. While thinking of him as he appeared that night, his age, his bright face, beaming with honesty, peace and joy, his far-away look, &c., I was forcibly reminded of St. Paul's triumphant expression: "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a


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crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me," &c., &c.

        As an evidence of the feeling on the part of Mt- Moriah Church in accepting his resignation, we here append a resolution adopted by that church at the time:

A TESTIMONIAL.

        WHEREAS, Our aged and beloved pastor, Rev. Johnson Olive, whose earnest and faithful labors as pastor of Mt. Moriah Church for the past fifteen years has been signally blessed and honored of God in the conversion of many souls, and the building up of the church, has been impelled by advanced age, failing health and the great distance from his home, to resign a charge which he has advanced from a weak and inefficient one, to one of the most prosperous, benevolent and zealous in the Raleigh Association, no less than two hundred having been added to its membership during his pastorate, among whom are many of the most zealous, active and useful christians;

        Therefore be it resolved, That while we believe it to be our faithful duty to accept his resignation as pastor, yet it is with the greatest sorrow and regret that we sever a relation which has been so dear, pleasant and agreeable in all respects, and in every way accompanied by such happy results.

        Resolved further, That Mt. Moriah Church tenders him a hearty invitation to visit us as often as he can do so, assuring him that the prayers and best wishes of this church shall accompany him wherever he may under the providence of God be called to labor. We pray that the pleasure of the Lord may continue to prosper under his hand, and that his pathway may be as the shining light that groweth brighter until the perfect day. And finally, when his labors are ended, that he may hear the welcome: "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."


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        Thus ended a long, happy and prosperous relationship. He lived but little over one year from the termination of this pleasant union. He was not permitted to be with this people much during the short time remaining to him, but we feel assured that the spirit pervading both song and resolutions was never departed from.

        During 1884 he preached at Cary Church twice each month, and at Holly Spring and New Bethel each once per month, all of these appointments being within a few hours ride of his home. Everything about the man indicated that he felt that his days were about ended; yet he was far from being sad, gloomy or despondent. At times he spoke freely and cheerfully upon this subject, and would sometimes ask his companion what she would do in case of his death, and otherwise advise with her as to her best course to pursue in case of his departure. She generally answered that she might depart first. He very feelingly stated that he did not feel so; that his time was short; that he was ready and willing to die; his feelings shrank from the thought of leaving friends and loved ones here, but there were many to join on the other shore.

        Through the greater part of the year 1884 he was enabled to attend most of his appointments. His preaching was much as it had been for several years past, and his churches were usually prosperous.

        During the fall of this year he had the most serious attack experienced thus far during his life. The cause seemed to be the loss of force about the liver. He was


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much prostrated, and at times hope of his recovery was abandoned. The least exertion resulted in sinking down and loss of all consciousness for a moment, which very much excited his family, but disappeared as soon as strength was regained. He was unable to be at his appointments during the closing months of this year. He seemed impressed with the truth that his earthly labors were drawing to a close. He had long felt deep concern for his aged companion who had entered upon life's voyage with him in the days of his youth, when hope was strong and prospects bright for a happy voyage. And in memory of her faithfulness in health, in affliction and in death in the family, and most of all her untiring devotion to him through weal and through woe, her love, her kindness, her attention never abating through his long years of darkness and despair, he at last resolved to leave his quiet, peaceful home, his kind and affectionate neighbors, and look for a home where his companion could be more in company in his absence, and have more convenient protection in case of his departure. He accordingly made selection of a home in the village of Apex, Wake county, and on the 9th day of December, 1884, entered the same with the expectation of spending here the remainder of his life. Being yet feeble, unfavorable weather kept him much at home during the few weeks that followed.

        He attended the Sunday School Christmas tree at Apex Baptist church on the night of Christmas eve, and greatly enjoyed the presence of the children. He


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seemed to have a live conception of their anxiety about the presents.

        For the year 1885 he had accepted the pastorate of Holly Spring, Swift Creek, Cary and New Bethel churches, and On the 2nd Saturday in January, having gained much strength during the past four weeks, he went to his appointment at Holly Spring and preached Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday he preached from 2nd chapter of Phillipians, 16th verse: "Holding forth the word of life that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run vain, neither labored in vain."

        This was his last regular sermon. He made no allusion to any impression on his own mind of this nature, yet he could not have selected a more appropriate text had he been so impressed. It was here in August, 1860, that he preached his last sermon before darkness came over his mind, and it was here that he preached his last on earth. Many of his brethren and sisters thought this the best sermon of his life. He returned home Sabbath evening, went by invitation to the prayer meeting that night at the Baptist church, and conducted the exercises by reading a portion of Scripture and making some remarks therefrom, occupying the floor. During the early part of the week following he was summoned to Raleigh as witness in Superior Court. On his return he appeared much revived, as he here met with many friends whole he had not seen for a great while. On his return home Wednesday night some friends stopped with him for the night. With them and some of his neighbors he


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set up to a late hour discussing the different features of his new home, his visit to the city, &c., with much animation and interest. This was the last night spent in health on earth. How little any of us know of the future. The next day the disease whereof he died set to work. At night I was summoned to go to see him. I found him laying down and in much pain, which indicated torpidity of the liver. He suffered greatly at times until about 11 o'clock, when he grew easy and rested well during the remainder of the night.

        There was no improvement from this time onward. He experienced very little pain after the first few hours from the attack, but was so much prostrated thereby that he never regained strength, but continued to grow weaker each day. No alarm was felt till Sunday morning.

        Early after breakfast I went to see him, and found him cheerful and free to talk, as far as his strength would permit. While reading some brief extracts from the papers upon subjects usually interesting to him, I saw the marks of fever upon his cheeks. He dropped to sleep and began talking. at random upon the subject suggested by our reading. Upon arousing up he showed that his condition was more critical.

        The village physician, who had been absent up to this time, (as had also his former family physician) was now summoned to his bedside. Father was acquainted of our move before the arrival of the physician, and cheerfully submitted to our wish. Every attention possible was now given; many friends and kindred called to see him; he appeared to suffer but


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little; was quiet; spoke when called upon to speak; was perfectly rational; recognized all, yet from weakness preferred not to talk, and to lie most of the time in perfect quiet. His thirst for water was insatiate, and in order to break the monotony of his continued plea in a weak voice, he occasionally repeated the language of David while in the cave of Adullam: "Oh! that some one would give me drink from the well that stands by the gate of Bethlehem."

        His inability to talk with any degree of ease led him to seek quiet through his sickness, and thus he said but little during the last few days of his life. This led many of his friends to think he did not know them, but to those who were much with him it was apparent that he knew perfectly well all that was passing around him, and readily recognized the voice of an acquaintance. When informed of the presence of any one, he gave ready recognition by a nod of the head, seldom opening his eyes for any purpose.

        One friend whom he had known from childhood, and had taught in former days as pupil, and who had ever occupied a warm place in his affections, called to see him a few days before his death. Finding him so weak he remained some time before addressing himself to father. At length he came to his bedside, and in his usual quick tone of voice and friendly appellalation says: "Johnnie, do you know me?" "I think I ought to," was the quick reply, as if to say, I have seen you in many places - in childhood, in youth and in manhood; your character has impressed me; I


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can never forget you, even here in the valley of death; I know you well.

        Day before his death his youngest son called to see him. He did not make himself known, so little of life remained to the father. The son was much around the bed of the sinking father. It was discovered that the father had his eyes about half opened, and fixed upon some object between himself and the window near by. At this moment he was informed that this, his youngest son, was present to see him. He replied very pointedly: "Don't you reckon I see him?"

        He passed Friday night quietly sleeping most of the time, and apparently in no great pain.

        When Saturday morning (January 24th, 1885) arrived, it was evident that the end was nigh. Perfectly quiet, the limbs, body and features all fixed, breathing slightly difficult, but gradually growing shorter and easier, seemingly all consciousness gone, and here for six or eight hours, as if by nature's power alone, he lay unmoved, not a word or struggle, and breathed his last.

        The death-bed is always a place of profound thought. It could not be less so upon the death of one who had lived as had the subject of this work; one who had given the greater part of his life work for the good of others, and who had so often been heard to pray for Divine guidance when this eventful hour should come, and had given so many faithful warnings to others to prepare for the sure messenger of death. How many hearts will be saddened by the news of his death; what loss will be felt! That voice that has been so


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often and so long sounding from the sacred desk, from the door-way, from the brush arbor, warning sinners to flee the wrath to come, and exhorting christians to duty, is now still in death.

        Do christians know each other in heaven; do we go at once to God when we die? Who is there to greet father when he arrives? Christ is there, the holy men of old of whom he has been so long talking, singing and preaching are all there, and during the sixty-nine years lived he has formed the acquaintance of many who have gone before. His father and mother are there; some brothers and four dear children are there; yea, this does not tell all; from Shady Grove, Holly Spring, Olive's Chapel, Bethany, Pisgah, Cedar Fork, Salem, Piny Grove, Pleasant Grove, Epheus, Cary, New Bethel, and Mt. Moriah, and other fields of labor, great crowds have gone during his sojourn of forty years among them. He will meet many dear friends there. There will surely be a happy greeting.

        Such are some of the thoughts that crowded our mind. While there were thoughts of sadness, there were more of joy. The death bed of a godly man or woman is not wholly a place of gloom. We can here thank God for heaven and for salvation through. Jesus Christ, and that we too are invited to come. Whoever has a father or mother in heaven must feel strongly drawn theretoward.

        His life, his character was so deeply impressed upon the hearts of those with whom he freely commingled that for a long while it was hard to realize that he was dead. It is not difficult now, with the eye of the mind,


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to see him zealously pouring forth the great emotions of his soul from the sacred stand, and at the close of his discourse see him straighten himself up to his full height, lean a little backward and join in singing some favorite hymn.

        The family were soon consulted as to his place of burial, funeral services, &c. It was their pleasure to have his remains deposited in the burial ground of the Apex Baptist Church, and to have the funeral discourse before interment.

        Monday was a cold, bleak day, but this did not keep the crowd away. Long before the hour of service old and young of those who had known him in life were gathering in the village. Some who had never been seen here before, and will never be seen here again, were present. Many were anxious to get a last look at one, they had so much loved.

        The following ministering brethren were present: Rev. J. C. Wilson, Rev. Jesse Howell, Rev. T. W. Young, Rev. J. M. White, Rev. J. M. Holleman, Rev. H. W. Norris, Rev. A. D. Hunter and Rev. J. W. F. Rogers.

        The funeral discourse was preached by Rev. T. W. Young, attended with masonic honors. Text 12th Daniel 3d verse: "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever."

        During the burial service the hymn so often used by the deceased at the close of his service, and perhaps the favorite of his life, was sung. These words are so much a part of him we here give them:


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                        " ĎTis religion that can give
                        Sweetest pleasures while we live;
                        íTis religion must supply
                        Solid comforts when we die;
                        After death its joys will be
                        Lasting as eternity.
                        Be thou, living God my friend,
                        And then my bliss shall never end."

        Father had accepted the pastorate of Swift Creek Church, Wake county, for the year 1885; accordingly, at the time of his death was pastor of Swift Creek, Cary, Holly Spring and New Bethel Churches.

CHAPTER XXV.

        With no desire to make a display of anything father did (for such in his lifetime would have been objectionable to him), but as a matter of information, and more as a matter of encouragement to every one who is engaged in doing good, and who may read this work, I give here some probable estimates of his life work. Leaving out whatever he may have accomplished in youth in the prayer meeting and elsewhere we have seen that his first appointment to preach was in 1842, although not licensed for the space of five years thereafter, he is most of this time actively in the ministry, and for two or three years before his ordination is the pastor of several churches. We have also seen that from August, 1860, to August, 1865, a space


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of five years,) that he was idle from the work. These accounts give about thirty-seven years of active life in the ministry. It is not unreasonable to say that during this time he preached 5,000 discourses. His usual health was good; he saw but few idle Saturdays and Sundays, and often preached in the week on funeral and revival occasions.

        The direct results of his work we have no means of knowing. Some strong and influential churches were built up under his care. He passed through many revival seasons, where the ingathering was large. In many instances God used other influences to bring about these results besides father, yet we have reason to hope that many souls were brought into the fold through him as an instrumentality. The spiritual growth and development of church members is by no means a minor part of work, and here we trust a good work was done, and thereby the Gospel leaven spread far and wide. If with the life of man his influence ended, his life services could be better estimated, but we have reason to believe that every man who takes any part in life, either for good or bad, sets in motion a train of circumstances which move on and on through all time. Even if his nation should perish, his history, a part of which he has helped to fashion, lives and has its influence upon those which survive. In view of this fact, may we not hope that the life of our subject was what he ever desired it to be, a blessing to humanity, and that his influence for good may live on and on forever.

        We give the following as an expression of the feeling


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existing on the part of his brethren and acquaintances, also the expression of his churches after. His decease:

        Rev. Johnson Olive, of this county, one of the most popular and beloved ministers of the Estate, died at his residence in Apex, on Saturday the 24th. Brother Olive was widely known and greatly loved by his brethren. He was a member of the North Carolina Baptist Ministers' Life Association. A worthy, devoted and faithful minister of the Gospel of Christ. A more extended notice of his death will appear next week. - Biblical Recorder.

REV. JOHNSON OLIVE.

        This remarkable man spent his life near the home of his birth, and was scarcely known, except by reputation, beyond the limits of Wake county. Yet he numbered among his friends a large majority of those who lived in his county and was respected and loved by neighbors and friends in the highest degree. He was possessed of a strong natural mind and a will of imperial force. In appearance he was striking and commanding; always self-possessed and reserved. He unbosomed himself to none but his most trusted and intimate friends. If he had grievances, he never told them to strangers or casual acquaintances. He kept his thoughts to himself, and acted independently of the thoughts or opinions of others. At one period of his life, extending through three or four years, he retired from the ministry, and remained silent, almost speechless. He often referred to this as "the time of his darkness." Notwithstanding this, he was before and after the period referred to, a most genial companion, cheerful and witty, yet dignified and guarded in his words and actions. As a man he was absolutely honest and fair in his every word and deed. He


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scorned hypocrisy, deceit and dishonesty. His word was more than a written bond. As a friend he was unselfish and obliging, as a counsellor he was safe. It was these traits of character that gave him his position and influence among men, and caused them to consult him and trust him in temporal as well as in spiritual matters.

        Bro. Olive was an able minister of the gospel. Without ambition for place or power, he studied to rightly divide the Word and benefit his hearers. His sermons were for the instruction of the people, not to please them. What he saw and knew he testified to. He held a commission from the Master, and ordered all his words and actions by it. His preaching was often in power and demonstration of the Spirit The people heard him gladly. The church that called him to its pastorate and asked for his ordination in 1847, retained his services to the end of his pilgrimage. His first and last sermons were preached in the same pulpit.

        Our brother was not afraid of death; he waited his appointed time: in his sixty-ninth year it came, and he spent Sunday, the 25th of January, amid the light and joy of heaven, where there is no night, and where the weary are at rest.

        The following particulars of his last hours are furnished by one who was with him through his sickness:

        "For several years it has been perceptible that his physical strength was failing. Exposure and articles of diet affected him as they did not in former years. On the evening of January 15th he was attacked with severe pain in his right side. During the early part of the night he suffered much, but grew quiet later in the night. Next day it was manifest that he had lost much of his strength from the attack the evening before. He was cheerful, patient and resigned throughout his entire illness.

        "During his illness he often repeated the language of David while in the cave of Adullam: 'Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate.' He was conscious up to the morning of his death and knew all his friends who called to see him. Yet from prostration


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he talked but little during the last three days of his life. He said but little about dying. One coming into his presence was made to feel that he had made arrangements for the supreme struggle before it came. He lived ten days after his attack. During the last few days of his life he seemed to suffer almost no pain. He died at 4 o'clock Saturday, January 24th, was buried on Monday in the church grave yard at Apex. The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Dr. T. W. Young. - Biblical Recorder Editorial.

THE LATE REV. JOHNSON OLIVE.

        In the history of the Raleigh Baptist Association, for the last twenty years, no name, either as a minister or lay member, will appear more prominent than the name of Johnson Olive. It was a name familiar to children, to the household, to members of the churches, to ministers and to the masses.

        One great secret of Bro. Olive's life was his magnanimity of soul. He scorned that which was low, sordid and mean; yet he did it not by bitter, harsh or repulsive protest, but rather by gentle, yet pointed, pleasant, forcible and instructive declaration. It was his pleasant demeanor, genial disposition and sympathy that elevated him in the estimation of the people. Of a forgiving disposition, always holding the olive branch in his hand, he walked in and out as a sweet messenger of peace. That which was praiseworthy, tending to elevate the standard of usefulness - social and moral - was to him a feast of reason and flow of soul. Hence it may be said of him, he served his generation, marking out and delineating the true aim of life, that of doing good and getting good.

        As a minister of the gospel, he was faithful and efficient; devoted to his calling, loving his flock and pleading earnestly with the unbeliever for the conversion of his soul. He loved to preach the gospel to the people, and although he was not strictly textual, nevertheless he deviated not from the essence,


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the marrow and the truth of the gospel. In his preaching he would take a wide range of thought; from the mountain top, the hill side, the valley, the running brook, the cool spring, the everlasting doctrines of the gospel distilled its sweetness over all. The people loved to hear him preach, and the churches generally were anxious to secure his pastoral labors. He had so thoroughly identified himself with the churches of the Raleigh Association that he was really a part or parcel of that body. He served as an ordained minister, principally, in the limits of the Raleigh Association for thirty-seven years. Hence many received baptism at his hands, many received the right hand of fellowship in behalf of the church, and many sermons fell from his lips. Especially did he seem to be a favorite in preaching funeral sermons. He had a poetical genius, and some of his seared poetry will be sung long after his bones have returned to dust.

        Bro. Olive was not communicative, gave little unsolicited advice, said little about grievances, imparted little of uncalled for or unexpected information. He was communicative in the way of usefulness. You could easily locate him when he took a stand in a deliberative body. He was firm, considerate and cautious in debate, always keeping the landmark before him and pressing to the centre. He was witty and sarcastic - yet his sarcasm was so tempered by his sweet nature that they were really enjoyed.

        This brother has "served his generation by the word of God and has fallen on sleep," a sleep from which none ever wake to weep, who died in the arms of Jesus. He has passed from earth to heaven. His lifeís record is a memorial of his love to his Maker's cause. He died, after a few days illness, in his sixty-ninth year, in the embrace of his family. His funeral services were attended by an unusually large congregation, and so anxious were they to see his last remains, both white and black, that the pressure was so great as to almost forbid an entrance to the room where he lay. His funeral services were conducted at the Apex Baptist church on January 24th, by Rev. Dr. T. W. Young, from Daniel 12th chapter 3d verse:


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"And they that, be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament: and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever." Precious promise, glorious recompense. His body was laid to its last resting place by the Masonic fraternity in the church graveyard at Apex, N. C. And now farewell for a little while, and as the wave-beat of farewell floats along down the passage of time, may it sparkle into a welcome! welcome! upon the other shore. T. W. Y. In Biblical Recorder, February 8th, 1885.

"B. C. B." IN BIBLICAL RECORDER.

        We regret so much the loss of our dear brother, Rev. Johnson Olive, who was loved by many, especially those to whom he preached. He wore but one face to his hearers, and a more christian-like countenance we never saw. Under the sound of his matchless voice I was converted. Can I forget the day? No, never, never Be was indeed a remarkable man. We hope some day (by God's sustaining hand) to meet brother Olive across the chilling river, where we can walk with him the crystal pavement of yonder blissful world. He has paid the debt we all must pay; sooner or later death will knock at our door; will we be ready or not? God help us to live such a life, so we can walk that crystal pavement. We will not forget the dear wife. God comfort her in her lonely hours.

RESOLUTIONS OF RESPECT.

        Shady Grove Church, Raleigh Association, in memory of Rev. Johnson Olive, who died at his residence in Apex, N. C., on the 24th of January, 1885, in the 69th year of his age, submits the following:


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        WHEREAS, It has pleased the Allwise Ruler of the universe to take from his earthly career our much beloved brother, and as he was a member of our church from the time he was baptized (which was in his early life), up to his death, having been reared in this community, and as he was pastor of this, his mother church, for many years; therefore be it

        Resolved, 1st. That it is with much sorrow that we have to take our leave of him; and yet we are profoundly grateful that his faith was strong in life, failing him not in death.

        2d. That we will ever remember with gratitude his zeal as a christian, his great usefulness and efficiency as a preacher of the Gospel of the Son of God, believing also that he is gone to that rest that remaineth for the righteous.

        3d. That it be our purpose in the future to follow him as he followed Christ.

        4th. That we do thereby tender to his bereaved widow our sympathy in this her great affliction.

        5th. That these resolutions be sent to the Biblical Recorder, with request to publish, be placed on our church-book, and a copy be sent to his widow.

B. B. FREEMAN,
S. H. WILSON,
A. C. RICHARDSON,
Committee.

        At a conference of Cary Baptist Church, held on February 28th, 1885, it was resolved to place upon the records of the church an expression of our deep sorrow at the loss, by death, of our beloved pastor, Johnson Olive, and while we sorrow and realize our loss, we know it to be his eternal gain. There has been no man in the community more beloved and faithful in the discharge of duty as pastor, preacher, neighbor and friend; and we can truly say, he has fought a good fight and finished the work of his Master, and now wears the crown. May we follow his example as he followed Christ Jesus.


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        Resolved, That a copy of these proceedings be sent to the family of our brother, and they also be published in the Biblical Recorder.

C. H. CLARKE,
SIM. HOLLEMAN,
Committee.

February 28, 1885.

        WHEREAS, We, the members of the Holly Spring Baptist Church, realize that in the death of our beloved pastor, Rev. Johnson Olive, we have been greatly bereaved; so long and so faithfully has he gone in and out before us as our shepherd, that we feel peculiarly afflicted now that-he is gone. With us he began his ministry; to us he preached his last sermon, and to many of us his last seemed his best. He was a discreet pastor, a wise counsellor, a good preacher, a lovely christian. He now rests from his labors and his works follow him. The battle is fought, the victory won, the warfare ended. Ere the body was cold we doubt not the spirit heard from his Lord: "Well done, good and faithful servant." Let us, his flock, remember his teachings, follow his examples, that we may meet him in "The Sweet Bye and Bye."

        Resolved, That a copy of this be spread on our minutes, a copy be sent to his bereaved family, assuring them of our sympathy in this their sore affliction, and that a copy be sent to the Biblical Recorder.

J. M. WHITE,
D. B. HOLLAND,
J. D. MARCOM,
Committee.

        In the dispensation of an Allwise Providence God has seen fit to take from our midst our much beloved and honored pastor, Rev. Johnson Olive, who died at his late residence in Apex, on January 24th, 1885, after several days of patient


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suffering, leaving behind him the companion of his declining years, and four children, three sons and one daughter.

        He served us faithfully in a ministerial capacity for many years, endearing himself to all with whom he associated, by his genial and pleasant manners. But in no place did he appear more attractive than in the pulpit, proclaiming the everlasting Gospel of Christ to an attentive and listening congregation, encouraging the christian, and with much pathos in his gentle manner, warning the sinner to be reconciled to God.

        And while we are lamenting the recent loss we have sustained in this sad bereavement, we bow in child-like and humble submission, believing that he is now a seraph in a brighter and happier clime, enjoying the full fruition of a blissful eternity, an everlasting joy, of which he so vividly and beautifully spoke while here on earth.

        At a called meeting of the church at New Bethel, on Saturday, February 28th, the following resolution was unanimously adopted:

        Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be sent to the family of the deceased, that a copy be placed on our churchbook, also that a copy be sent to the Biblical Recorder for publication.

ROM STURDEVANT,
JOHN S. JOHNS,
Committee.

        Biographical sketch, read before the Raleigh Association at its session with Inwood Church, October, 1885.

ELDER JOHNSON OLIVE

        was born in Chatham county, North Carolina, June 7th, 1816. His boyhood was spent on a farm, attending, at intervals, such primary schools as the neighborhood afforded. During his youth he often felt concerned for his soul's salvation. In that


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day camp-meetings were quite common. He attended one at Buckhorn, Chatham county, in 1837. Here he repented and believed, and was soon after baptized by Elder P. W. Dowd, a member of Shady Grove Church. In the neighborhood prayer-meetings he first began to lead in public prayer - then in the church. Having a good voice for singing, and being otherwise gifted, his pastor, Elder Dowd, took special interest in him, urging him to go to school and prepare himself for future usefulness, not hinting that some day he might want to preach. Taking his pastor's advice, he entered Thompson's Academy (George W. Thompson, Principal), in the northern. part of Wake county. He also attended Pleasant Hill Academy, in Chatham county, Baxter Clegg, Principal. After thus having been at school some time, he returned home. He soon began to teach in the family of his old pastor, in 1841. Elder Dowd and wife were exceedingly kind to him and interested in him, which begot in him a life-long attachment for them.

        During this year (1841), he married Martha Hunter, daughter of Alsey Hunter, of Wake county, and settled near where Olive's Chapel now is, where for a time he engaged in farming. During this time he was much impressed and concerned about his duty to enter the ministry. He felt that he must do something more than he was doing. The great question in his mind was, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" He began to make appointments for "religious services" at the neighboring churches.

        He talked with much freedom and effect. Pastors around him began to have him fill their appointments. In after life he often spoke of this period, and always made most affectionate allusions to Elders Dowd, James Dennis and Jesse Howell. He was licensed to preach soon, and five years later, by request of his church, he was ordained at the Raleigh Association, meeting at Cumberland Union Church (now in Harnett), in the year 1847. Ministers present: John Purefoy. James S. Purefoy, William Jones, David Williams, S. Senter, Ezekiel Holland, James Dennis and Robert J. Dennis. He then took


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charge of and held the pastorate for a number of years of the churches at Shady Grove, Mt.. Pisgah, Holly Spring and Cedar Fork.

        He was very active in the ministry till 1861; he then was afflicted with "spiritual darkness" - such he called it. His many friends were much saddened by it, for he ceased to preach entirely. Some thought he had lost his mind, but he always insisted that such was not the case; that his judgment, memory, mental powers, all were the same as ever. He said for some purpose the Lord had withdrawn spiritual light from him; that he could not hold communion with God as he had done before, and as he did afterwards. Be this as it may, he was for nearly four years a very miserable man. Gradually the darkness began to lift, and light and joy began to break in upon his spirit. He again, in 1865, entered actively upon his ministry, and remained at his post till the Master called him home to rest. This took place at his new home in Apex, January 24th, 1885. At the time of his death he was pastor of Cary, Holly Springs, Swift Creek and New Bethel churches. His last sermon was at Holly Springs, from the text, Phil. 2: 16., "Holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain" It seems almost prophetic. Many thought it his best sermon. His body lies in the village and church burying- ground at Apex, N. C.

J. M. WHITE.

REV. JOHNSON OLIVE'S ATTACHMENT TO CHILDREN.

        In contemplating the remarks of Rev. Johnson Olive to a young minister upon the occasion of his ordination, we very readily conclude that one of the great secrets of his success in life, in drawing the masses to him, and gaining the confidence of the people, was his peculiar attachment to and fondness for the little ones with whom he met. His admonition to that young brother just entering upon his great life-work was quite


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impressive, illustrating how first impressions are most lasting, and how in early years the taking by the hand a little boy or girl would inspire that confidence and esteem which in after years may be necessary to approach the youth successfully on the all-important subject of the soul's salvation. Our venerable brother had passed a long and useful life throwing out those influences on the right and on the left, until he was surrounded by a generation whose confidence he entirely possessed, and who only knew him best to love him most. Thus he exhorted the young brother just ordained not to forget the little folks in his efforts to be instrumental in saving souls.

A. B. F.


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FATHER AS I SAW HIM.

        Under this head we will close the present work. It gives opportunity to bring in some facts which we could not in the body of the work. One object in byographical works is to preserve the deeds and characters of men who have made themselves famous, to the end that others may profit by their lives.

        Father was not without faults. "There is not a perfect man on earth that doeth good and sinneth not." Yet it is but just to say, his faults were few and his virtues many.

        As has been intimated, he doubtless owed much of his success in life to his fondness for children and the consideration he gave them. His love for them was natural, and whatever profit it availed him in life was more the result of a natural trait of character than the purpose he had in view. He teased them, but did not fret them. He was ever cautious not to disappoint them, even in little matters, the gentle, persuasive means which he represents as ever being so effectual with himself, were often the great secrets of his success with others.

        I do not know anything connected with his intercourse with his fellow-men then gave him more permanent hold upon their confidence than his firm and implicit devotion to truth, his freedom from speculation in trade, his promptness towards his financial


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obligations. It differed not where he went or how large his congregations, there were none to say, "he owes me and will not pay; he has forfeited his obligation to me; he can preach but he will come down out of that stand and cheat you." No such feelings or thoughts were entertained. Gossiping, and dissecting of character were not countenanced by him. Notwithstanding many of his flock conversed freely with him about any and all matters, I do not know of an instance where the least confusion ever arose out of the confidence thus bestowed. He never accumulated wealth; was economical, but had little or no desire to be wealthy. Yet in all his life he knew nothing of real want. If he lacked, he had but to make it known and many among his acquaintances were ready to respond. His estimate of the things of this life were formed with judgment, and it would be difficult to find a man who bore success better than he. His presence gave life and light to his own home and to the homes of others. He was ever a welcome visitor to those who knew him.

        A true interpretation to the troubles that came upon him in 1860 we are not able to give. The opinions of his friends widely differ. There were no external causes which could possibly have led to it. The relation existing between himself and family was always pleasant. The public had lost no interest in him. There were no troubles in existence with any one, his means of support were fair,, his decline into this state was as gradual as his growth out of it. In some way he became alarmed about his spiritual condition; he


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did not feel that unction of soul that he had formerly experienced. This continued from day to day, week to week. In his efforts to preach or pray he had the words and the form, but not the spirit. This was his state for near five years. He often said he could have preached at any time, but without the spirit. Under this feeling he became alarmed about the salvation of his soul, and concluded that he knew nothing of the new birth; that during his entire ministerial life he had been as the blind leading the blind. The anguish of soul and the torture of mind produced by this belief and these feelings were surely akin to the pangs of hell. He went to and fro seeking rest and finding none, and at length desired to end his miserable existence.

        We must feel that the hand of God alone shielded him, for he was not lacking in courage, and those who knew his disposition would naturally expect when he made up his mind so fully upon this subject that death would have followed. He always felt that God's hand alone saved him. In the early stages of his trouble he sometimes expressed a fear that a judgment would be sent upon him and all he had in consequence of his course. With this exception not a strange or idle word fell from his lips during this whole period upon any subject save those connected with himself. He formed strange conclusions about himself and what he must do, yet upon any and all other questions his judgment was good. When his soul was finally freed from these troubles, he was like the bird freed from the cage, he realized the change, though gradual, very


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sensibly. As his impressions to preach came on he often remarked that he would preach if he had to preach to the trees.

        As he preached a great many funerals during his life it may be the impression of some that he flattered the name of the dead on such occasions. This was not the case. He often left the audience to feel that the man or woman was lost whose funeral sermon he preached. He generally taught that men die as they live, and that if he were asked what he thought of the prospects of any one for the future life, he would estimate then by the life they lived here.

        He died a few months before he reached his three-score and ten. His last days appeared to be his best days. Although he left no immediate dying message, his dying messages are yet ringing in the ears of many. He had not waited for this critical hour but had all along through his life given faithful warnings, and was now permitted to die in peace.