Visits Midway. Attends the Missouri State Convention. Reflections. Annual Sermons. Last Protracted Meeting. Kindness of Mt. Byrd, Glendale and Smithfield Churches. Gives up Office Work. Goes to Eureka, Ill. Country Home. Takes Cold at the Lexington Convention. Goes to Florida.
In October, 1879, I visited Midway, and though I had virtually closed my evangelistic labors when I began the Guide, I could not resist the desire to hold a meeting there. It is the seat of our Female Orphan School, one of our grandest enterprises. Bro. Shouse was then preaching for the church and Bro. Lucy was president of the school. Their companionship was highly enjoyable. What a feast to the soul is the companionship of wise, godly men! It has for me the highest happiness I expect to know this side of heaven. And will it not be a very prominent factor of that which constitutes heaven? Any place in the universe of God where my brethren and the Saviour are will be heaven enough for me.
In 1880 I continued at the Avenue Church, Louisville, Mt. Byrd and Glendale. The State Board of the Missouri Christian Missionary Society invited me to deliver an address before the State Convention, held that year at Moberly. In order to justify me in a visit to the State, they arranged several meetings for me -- one in connection with the convention of Audrain county, at a country church near Mexico, called Sunrise; one at New London, and one at Slater. These meetings were all enjoyable and profitable; but the one in Audrain county was only for a few days, and resulted in but few additions.
The address at Moberly was on |Our Strength and Our Weakness.| The convention was largely attended, and it was a great pleasure to meet so many brethren known only by name, and loved for their work's sake, and to renew the acquaintance of others known before.
The addresses of Haley, Procter, Jones and others were very able. That of Jones was speculative, and the basic principle of it, in my opinion, erroneous. Several of those Missouri preachers have done much harm by preaching a false philosophy instead of the gospel of Christ. Bro. Procter, whom we all allow to be one of our best men and ablest preachers, went from this convention to California and held several meetings. Within a few months I had several applications to come out there to undo some of his work, and I should have been glad to comply had my other duties permitted.
In 1881 I resigned at the Avenue Church, as they needed more pastoral labor than my other duties would allow me to perform. I gave half my time to Mt. Byrd, one-fourth to Glendale, and one-fourth to my old home church -- Pleasant Hill, in Oldham county. It was a pleasure to visit these old friends of my youth once a month. Old memories were revived, and the past, in a sense, lived over again. Besides, several members of the families related to my wife and to myself were enabled to attend. To preach to them, after years of separation, was a great pleasure. Mt. Byrd moved on in the even tenor of its way, in a prosperous condition.
In August of this year, and also the year previous, I preached the annual sermon at the Clark county, Ind., Cooperation Meeting. The county contains sixteen or eighteen churches, including those of Jeffersonville and New Albany, and for more than forty years they have had an annual county meeting. Representatives from all the churches attend, as a rule, and the condition, etc., of each church is given. It brings together a great congregation, and the day meetings are held in the woods.
In September of this year the Guide was changed to a weekly. While the monthly magazine was the most desirable for preservation, it was thought that a weekly would best serve the cause of Christ, and peculiar circumstances at that time seemed to demand it.
In November I went to Poplar Plains and held the last protracted meeting of my life. It was a pleasant one, and attended with some good results.
In 1882 I preached at Mt. Byrd, Glendale and Smithfield, that is, I engaged to preach for these churches, but my health was such that I preached but little to any. At my first visit to Smithfield, the first Lord's day in the year, I was taken sick, and I never visited them once when I was not sick. I was never able to so preach as to do them or myself justice. While this was equally so at the other churches, I did not regret it so much, since I had been laboring for them a long time. The work at Smithfield was virtually a failure, and early in the fall I had to give it up entirely. Yet they paid me for the whole year, and made me a present of about [USD]150 besides. They are a noble band of brethren, and one of the most liberal I ever knew.
The church at Glendale also paid for the entire year, though I lost much time and resigned in October. It also made me a generous present in addition.
Speaking of their generosity, reminds me that the Mt. Byrd Church continued my salary three or four years when I was able to do little or nothing in return. In 1876 I lost most of the year through spinal and rheumatic affections; I did very little in 1882; I was in the church but once in 1883, and in 1884 I attempted to talk only a few times, yet all these years my salary continued. When the Guide was sold to the present Guide Printing and Publishing Company, which relieved me of financial embarrassments which the failure of C. C. Cline & Co. had produced, I refused to longer accept support from the church.
In April, 1882, I was compelled, on account of failing health, to give up the office work of the Guide. I had been under a physician all the year, and grew constantly worse. I allowed the office work to make a heavier draft on me than some men do. I always knew every paragraph that was going into the paper, and where and how it would appear. I stood by the foreman and noticed everything that went in -- when it went in, what was put in and what was left out -- till the forms were locked up. I have never been able to get any one else to do it. But that is my idea of editing a paper. This thing of giving printers a mass of matter and telling them to put it in, leaving them to add or diminish, and put in where and what they please, is simply a burlesque on the business; and yet this is the way it is largely done. I have had no little annoyance over just that thing. Had I been willing to edit in that way I could have continued, but I would not consent to follow such a course.
In May I went to Eureka College, to preach the baccalaureate sermon. I arranged to make the trip as easy as possible, on account of my feebleness, by stopping over at Indianapolis for the night, in both going and returning. The trip was every way pleasant, and the associations there very agreeable. I hoped it would be a benefit to me in the way of recreation, but on reaching home I was taken down with typho-malarial fever. I was quite low for several weeks. I got up with a trouble in my throat, causing a constant coughing and hacking, which has increased without intermission to the present time.
In September, realizing that my health was permanently broken down, we went back to our country home. I was satisfied that if I should even continue to edit the Guide, I would not be able to assume the responsibilities of the office, and that the best place for me, under the circumstances, was my country home. After going back to the country I rallied considerably, and attended the General Convention, at Lexington, about the 20th of October. Here I took life memberships in both the General and Foreign Societies for the Mt. Byrd Church. This was the first church taking membership in those societies, so far as I am informed. It has since become quite common. Last year (1884) I succeeded in getting their constitutions so amended as to provide for this.
I took cold at the convention, and relapsed. My physicians were very fearful of tubercular trouble, and advised me to go to Florida for the winter. We went the first of December, not knowing whither we went, but it seems that the hand of Providence guided us. We knew not where to turn, but concluded to try DeLand, where we had some acquaintances, and there look out for accommodations. In a few days after reaching DeLand old Bro. Anderson, who lived two miles in the country, heard we were there and came in for us. He had formerly seen a copy of the Guide and subscribed for it. This good man rented for us a convenient house near him, paid the rent, set us up, and would not allow me to pay for anything we needed while there if he knew it and could prevent it. His wife was as kind as he, and did all in her power to make our stay in |The Land of Flowers| comfortable and inexpensive.
The Great Teacher has said, in a well-known passage, |It is more blessed to give than to receive.| What, then, must not have been the blessedness of this pious couple in thus caring for a poor broken-down invalid and his family, whom Providence had guided to their hospitable home? May God reward them richly for their kindness.