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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
الصفحة رقم: 4

post office, the restless townspeople occupied themselves in social chat discussing the local happenings of the day, or in reading the notices on the bulletin board.

Everybody was at the post office at this hour. School children, happy at the close of an irksome day of school, shouted boisterously at each other in the street. Laboring men, with empty dinner pails in hand, sat restfully on the curbstone just outside the post office door, and talked of the happenings of the day. The village blacksmith wiped the honest sweat from his brow, closed the shop door, and came down to the post office, where he was met by his flaxen-haired girl of three summers. She clasped her pink arms about the smith's grimy neck and told him Mama was looking for a letter from Grandma, who had gone to California for her health, and that she had come down to see how many kisses Grandma had sent her. The town doctor, with a dignified air, leaned against the side of the post office door and read the Chicago paper that a previous mail had brought to him. The schoolmaster had finished grading some test papers and had come down to the post office just in time to be the third party to an interesting fist fight in which two sixth grade boys were engaged with great zest, in the street. Two out-of-town strangers, who were guests at the hotel just across the way, came over and, seating themselves on a bench in front of the post office engaged in conversation.

Finally the task behind the window was done. The mail was sorted and placed alphabetically in the proper boxes. The postmaster flipped up the window, and there was a mighty rush and a scramble--for who is not eager to get a letter? Some received several letters and papers; some only one letter; some only a paper; some only a catalogue. Some were disappointed altogether, judging from facial expressions; some received glad messages, some sad messages, some indifferent.

When the crowd was dispersed, the two strangers who had been seated on the bench appeared at the window and called for their mail. The postmaster handed to one of them a letter addressed, Evangelist Blank. The address was written in almost an unreadable hand. The evangelist opened the letter. It ran thus:

Dobbinsville, ----, Aug. 29----

My dear Evangelist brother:

i am saved and sanctified praise God O how i rejoice in this wonderful salvashun i was a member of Mt. Olivet church fer 27 yrs. but i never knowed what it was to be saved from sin this summer i was herdin cattle down in the hills about 30 mi. from here and a most wonderful thing happened. To preachers came along and told me that Christ could save and sanctify me i fought them at first but God would not let me rest until i gave him my heart, then he sanctified me holy o how i rejoice my wife and oldest son is also saved now but say bruther how the people of my own church persecute me they say I am crazy and that a man cant be saved from sin in this life o if i had only found this salvashun when i was a young man but now i am middle aged but by god's grace i aim to do all i can to save my neighbors, i see in the holiness paper that you are a evangelist and that you go about preachin this wonderful salvashun so i want to now if you will come down here and preach to the people we can't get Mt. Olivet church but we can build a brush arber. i am sending you $20. this part of the money i urned herdin cattle for deacon gramps i promised the Lord when he saved me that i would give him part of this money so here it is so i hope you can cum your brother saved sanctified and happy

Jake Benton


CHAPTER V

As I have said before, Deacon Gramps sat on his plow handles at the close of an August day. He fairly rejoiced when he saw Deacon Brown and Deacon Jones coming toward him.

"Good evening, Brother Gramps," shouted Jones and Brown simultaneously.

"Good evening, my good brethering," responded Gramps, "I am so glad to see you. I have a great burden on my mind and I was just planning to go to your house, Brother Brown, as soon as I had unharnessed my team and eaten supper."

Brown and Jones looked at Gramps with an expectant gaze, and continued silent. Gramps went on, "It's high time we was doin' somethin' to protect our church. I have been a deacon in this church fer many a year, but to my mind this is the most dangerous time Mount Olivet has ever seen."

Brown and Jones nodded a candid assent to what was being said. Gramps continued, "For many years our church has been the strongest church in this county and everybody has counted it an honor to belong to this church, but you know, brethering, ever since our pastor died last spring, and we have been without a pastor we have been gettin' weaker and weaker. And since old Jake Benton has gone crazy over this new religion of hisen he is trien to get everybody else to go crazy. You brethering knows how I sent him down in the hills this summer to mind cattle. Well he seemed to kinder git overbalanced in his mind down there and he's found a new religion. You know how he testified in meetin' tother night. He said he was saved from sin and he said he was sanctified, and whole lot of other stuff like that. And I believe he said, didn't he, that he was just as good as Jesus Christ and gettin' better ever' day, or something like that."

"Yes, something like that," added Brown.

"Yes," said Jones, "I was there myself and heard him. I have always thought Jake Benton was a pretty good man; but when a feller gets so good as all that, then he's too good for this world. You know the Bible says there's nobody good but God."

"Yes, I've heard the best preachers that was ever pastor of Mount Olivet Church and they all say we sin a thousand times every day," remarked Gramps.

Jones spoke next: "I knew a bunch of them holiness people back in South Caroliner where I come from. They was the most outrageous bunch of people I ever saw. Why, they claimed that they couldn't sin, and that they was just as good as Jesus Christ and that nobody would get to heaven but them. I'll tell you brethering we must not let them get the start here. If they do, Mount Olivet Church is ruined. They tear down churches just as fast as they come to 'em. Old Jake Benton ought to be run out of the country or else sent to the asylum. He ain't fit to run at large. Why, he told Aunt Sally Perkins that he was wholly sanctified and that his heart was just as pure as that of his little baby that died years ago when Jake lived over on Persimmon Ridge. He talks a whole lot now about goin' to meet his baby and his mother and he seems to get so happy every time he talks about it." Jones's voice trembled slightly as he went on to say, "But brethering, it makes me feel most wonderfully queer when I hear Jake talk about meetin' his little girl. He seems to have no doubt at all about meetin' her, and say, you remember my little boy died the same fall as Jake's little girl, and to tell the truth I'm just a little fearful at times about bein' ready to meet little George."

Deacon Gramps listened to all of this from Jones rather restlessly. He spoke next with great gravity. "Brethering, since I am president of this Board of Deacons I feel it my duty to take steps to see that this new religion is stopped and that Mount Olivet Church is not torn to pieces. As I said, I have been deacon here for many years and I have never seen the church so in danger. Something must be done. I'll tell you what we need, we need a preacher--one of our very best ones to come here and fight this devilish holiness stuff."

"That's what we need, we must wipe holiness out," responded Brown, as he let go a sluice of tobacco juice.

Gramps continued, "Just today I had a letter from a cousin of mine back in Kentucky. He says they have a wonderful preacher back there by the name of Preacher Bonds. He says this Preacher Bonds feels a special call to fight holiness. I tell you, brethering, if we could get him here we would make it hot for old Benton and his bunch."

"We would

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