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قراءة كتاب The Deacon of Dobbinsville A Story Based on Actual Happenings

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The Deacon of Dobbinsville
A Story Based on Actual Happenings

The Deacon of Dobbinsville A Story Based on Actual Happenings

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
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The Deacon of Dobbinsville

A Story Based on Actual Happenings

By John A. Morrison


Publisher's Preface

This narrative, written and first printed some 45 or 50 years ago, depicts the contrast in that day between the nominal religious professors on the one hand, and on the other the individuals who had been soundly converted, made new creatures in Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit and rejoicing on the "highway of holiness." There is a distinct line of demarcation "between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."

The Apostle Paul warned: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." 2 Tim. 4:4, 5. The religious world has apostatized much more since Paul's day, even to the extent in this modern age that professors of Christianity are proclaiming the blasphemous "God is dead" philosophy.

The author, John Arch Morrison, kindly granted this publisher his permission to reprint this book. Here are his words in his own handwriting dated October 26, 1965: "Dear Bro. in Christ, I have no objection to you printing any number of 'The Deacon of Dobbinsville.' Cordially, John A. Morrison."

Then hardly two months later, on December 23, 1965, and before this book was printed, the author was taken suddenly from this life by a heart attack at Anderson, Indiana in his 73rd year.

Time is rapidly bearing us all on to eternity. How all-important it is that we remember constantly the words of the Psalmist: "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." The Wise Man writes: "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." Eccl. 12:13.

March, 1966 --Lawrence D. Pruitt, Publisher


CHAPTER I

Mount Olivet church at the time of which I am about to write had received the zenith of her glory. She was possessed of a full measure of the denominational pride and prejudice common to the day and the community in which she existed. Since Mount Olivet church is to occupy so conspicuous a place in my narrative, it is fitting that I should take time and space right here to describe her. I must also give my readers an idea of the community of which Mount Olivet church formed the hub and center.

Well, to begin with, Mount Olivet church was old. And like, all other things old she had a history, partly respectable and partly otherwise. The date of her organization reached back into the fifties, before the days of the Civil War. Some great notables had lived and died in this church. Tradition had it that one of the charter members of this church was a candidate for president of the United States against James Buchanan. Of course he was not elected, as you know, and I suppose you have noticed nothing in our national history about this particular man running for president, but you recall that the history of a nation and the history of a local country district have a way of reading differently.

But this aspirant to the presidential office was not the only great man who had been a member of Mount Olivet church. The older citizens told of a certain Preacher Crookshank who was pastor of this church during and prior to the Civil War and was also a member of the State Legislature; and, according to these biographers, he was the sole cause of the State remaining in the Union. It seems from all reports that Preacher Crookshank was not only a statesman of renown, but also a masterful theologian of Mount Olivet's particular faith. It is reported how he defended his theology with his splendid oratory, and how when this failed he resorted to his fists. His oratory was said to be simply overwhelming. They recounted how, in his oratorical frenzies, he used to fling his homespun coat in the air and crack the heels of his red-topped boots together with an emphasis that would stop the mouth of the most impudent gainsayer. They told how by this masterful eloquence opposers were silenced, heretics were brought to orthodoxy, and infidels were converted. Preacher Crookshank flourished contemporaneously with John Barleycorn. To be frank, he and John were bosom friends. In fact, it was reported that Crookshank was never at his best in preaching except when he had an infilling of the "spirit" of the Barleycorn type. He had a certain long-tailed coat, said to have been given to him by a fellow member of the Legislature. This coat had large pockets in the tail wherein was carried a bottle of whiskey. This was a source of much inspiration to Crookshank throughout his long and eventful career.

But I must leave off any further description of this notable. Those who are further interested I refer to the blue-grass cemetery just back of Mount Olivet church, where a tombstone is to be found bearing this inscription: "Rev. John Crookshank--Statesman, Preacher, Orator. Died June 6, 1867."

As before stated, Mount Olivet church flourished. She was nestled among the picturesque Ozark Hills, about midway between Ridgetown and Dobbinsville. Everybody in the community, almost, who had any religious inclination, and some who had none, belonged to Mount Olivet. She boasted in being the largest church in all Randolph County--the churches at Ridgetown and Dobbinsville not excepted. When I say that Mount Olivet church flourished, I do not mean that she flourished in spiritual things. Indeed, her candle of vital religion had well-nigh flickered out. Scarcely a member could be found who would testify to a real experience of salvation from sin. There were three things for which the members of this particular church were remarkable, namely, they were great sticklers for the faith of their church, they were all holiness-fighters, they all used tobacco in some form.


CHAPTER II

Deacon Gramps sat on his plow-handles. The sultry August day was drawing to a close. The sun was just ready to roll its bright red disk behind the western horizon. The Deacon seemed to be in a deep meditation. He cast a glance at his beautiful farm as it stretched itself out for a mile toward the river on the one side and nestled snugly against the foot of the limestone hill on the other side. The large white farmhouse with green trimming cozily planted on a blue-grass knoll across the brook seemed to bid him be at rest. The large red barn just back of the house stood out in sharp contrast against the green-foliaged mountain. The gold-colored balls on the lightning rods glistened in the farewell rays of the receding sun. Mount Olivet Church reared her white walls modestly from the brow of the blue-grass knoll a quarter of a mile eastward. Deacon Gramps was, at the close of this peaceful summer day, indulging in a mental congratulation of himself on being so favorably situated in life. Everybody recognized Farmer Gramps as being the wealthiest man in all Spruce Township. He owned the finest and fattest horses that were driven to Mount Olivet Church. His cattle roamed the forests for miles around, and his hogs cracked acorns on every hillside.

Apart from his worldly wealth he was the most distinguished member of Mount Olivet church. For years he had been deacon in said church, and was president of the official board. In fact, he was as truly a part of the Church as was the pulpit on the platform or the bell in the steeple. No meeting was complete without him. He was an indispensable part of the service. He always sat in the same pew, and none coming into the Church previously to Deacon Gramps ever dared sit in his pew any more than they dared to monopolize the preacher's chair in the pulpit. He always enjoyed the double pleasure of chewing his tobacco and hearing the sermon simultaneously, and this necessitated his occupying a pew near

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