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

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‏اللغة: English
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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that," Jones chimed in.

"Brother Gramps, why don't you write and ask Preacher Bonds to come?" suggested Brown. "Although the other two members of the Board are not here, I think we just as well go ahead."

"Better bring it before the church," said Gramps, "because we've got to raise some money to get him."

Brown and Jones both agreed that Gramps was right in this respect. With the understanding that Deacon Gramps was to call a meeting of the church at the earliest possible date, the three men separated.

Gramps spent the entire following day riding about the community giving every member of Mount Olivet a personal notification that a special meeting of the church would be held on the following Wednesday evening for the purpose of considering grave problems concerning the church. Wednesday evening came; practically the whole church responded. When the appointed hour arrived, Gramps was on the spot. On every face was written expectancy. Deacon Gramps presided of course. He arose from his seat, flung his quid of tobacco out of the window, squared himself against the pulpit, adjusted his eyeglasses near the point of his nose, and looking over them he addressed the assembly thus: "My brethering and sistern, we have met as members of the grand old Mount Olivet Church. Here in this church our fathers met. Here in this church our mothers met. Here in this church our grandfathers met. Here in this church our grandmothers met. Here in this church, my brethering, we have met. And let me say to you, my dear people, that we have met here tonight in this church for a purpose. There are certain people in this community whose aim is to tear up this church; certain people, I say, whose aim is to tear down this church. There is a certain doctring--the doctring of holiness--getting into this community. This holiness doctring, my friends, is a devilish doctring, my brethering, and must be wiped out." (Amens all over the house.)

All this the Deacon said, and much more. He began his speech with considerable warmth of utterance, but as he progressed in praises of Mount Olivet and her faith he waxed hotter and hotter until his spellbound hearers were fairly deluged in a mighty avalanche of his rustic oratory, and he wound up with the sweeping statement that the doctrine of holiness must be abolished from the face of the earth.

When the Deacon had finished, and regained breath enough to put the matter to a vote, it was unanimously voted that Preacher Bonds should be secured at the earliest date possible.


CHAPTER VI

A year had rolled around since Jake Benton had been converted down in the hills. By this time it was plain to all unbiased minds that Benton was indeed earnest. Even his most bitter enemies were obliged to admit that a mighty change had come over him. His life had undergone a real transformation. His life was an entirely new life. He had unshaken faith in the God of his salvation. In his home he established a family altar, where he worshipped God as regularly as the sun rose and set. In his business relations he literally followed the Golden Rule. At church he unflinchingly declared what his new-found religion had done for him. He declared that God had saved him from his sins and had subsequently sanctified him wholly. He even waxed bold enough to tell in meeting how God had healed him of physical ailments in answer to prayer. All this greatly incensed his fellow church-members. They insisted that he had gone crazy and was no longer fit to belong to the church. Accordingly he was put out. Jake took it all in good part and rejoiced that he was counted worthy to suffer for Jesus' sake.

But Jake was not long obliged to stand alone in defense of his profession. His simple life of trust soon began to have its effect in the community; during the year his faithfulness had been rewarded by the salvation of a number of persons in the neighborhood. Old Grandma Gray had come out boldly on Benton's side. She said that for fifty years she had been living as best she could, but that she had all this time had a longing for the fulness of the blessing, such as Jake Benton testified to, and she arose right in the public meeting and declared herself a seeker for just such a blessing. This set Mount Olivet church all in a storm. Deacon Gramps was furious. He said Jake Benton had a legion of devils and that Grandma Gray was bewitched.

But when Grandma Gray took her stand for full salvation, the cause for which Mount Olivet stood suffered a mighty blow. Nolan Gray, a son with whom Grandma Gray had made her home for years, had been a stanch member of the church since he was a child. In fact, he had always said he had grown up in the church. Nolan Gray was a very upright man of undoubted integrity, and he stood for high moral ideals, but under the type of preaching to which he was accustomed he had never experienced a change of heart. When he saw what a change had come over his mother, he refused to be comforted with his religious profession. Jake Benton was a tenant on Gray's farm, and from daily contact with Benton, Mr. Gray was convinced beyond a doubt that Benton's religion was real. One night at a prayer meeting held at Jake Benton's humble home, Mr. Gray became so convicted that resistance was impossible. He fully surrendered himself to Jesus and obtained an experience that was marvelous even in the eyes of Grandma Gray.

The news of Gray's conversion spread like fire on a dry prairie. He was a heavy contributor to the finances of Mount Olivet. On this account it became a matter of conjecture as to whether or not he would be excommunicated. However, Mr. Gray relieved all minds of any anxiety when on the following week he quietly withdrew his membership from the church.

The day following the night of Nolan Gray's conversion there occurred an incident that meant much to Jake Benton, as well as to Deacon Gramps. Benton was walking along the road that led around the fence from his own home to the large, white house occupied by Nolan Gray and his family. He was on his way to milk Mr. Gray's cow. He commonly went through the field on such occasions, as it was much the shorter route, but on this particular morning he had a mysterious disposition to take the long route around the road. When he had reached a point about a quarter of a mile from his home, to his astonishment he met Deacon Gramps, accompanied by Gramps' hired hand. He saw at once that the Deacon was in a most surly mood. So in a pleasant tone of voice Benton said, "Good morning, gentlemen, nice mornin'," aiming with salutation to pass on.

Gramps was not in any sense a brave man, as you may have guessed by this time, but he always manifested great boldness where he was sure there was no physical danger.

"They say Gray got your kind of religion at the prayer meetin' last night," he said.

"Well, I guess it ain't my kind," answered Benton, "but he sure did get Bible salvation."

Then the Deacon let loose in all his fury. "Jake Benton," said he, "this religion of yours has got to be stopped, it's got to be wiped out, it's doin' more harm in this community than all the saloons in the State. It's tearing up our church. Nolan Gray and old Grandma Gray was good church-members and have been for years and years and now they are taken in with this crazy holiness stuff, and you are the hul cause of it. I tell you it's just got to be stopped and I'm going' to stop it and I'll just begin right here." With this he advanced toward Benton and struck him a terrific blow on the side of the cheek with his open hand. At this Benton only replied, "God bless you, Mr. Gramps." This served only to incense the enraged Deacon all the more, and he literally flew at Benton and easily pinned him to the ground and sat upon his chest and beat him in the face most unmercifully. Poor Benton struggled and groaned, but did not endeavor to hurt his antagonist. The Deacon's hired hand was all his time a looker-on, but he finally mustered up courage, and with great difficulty succeeded in

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