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Full text of "Reminiscences and incidents connected with the life and pastoral labors of the Reverend John Anderson"

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Reminiscences and Incidents 

CONNECTED WITH THE LIFE AND 
PASTORAL LABORS OF THE 

Reverend John Anderson 



EDITED BY HIS SON 

REV. J. D. ANDERSON, B.A. 

BEAUHARNOIS. QUE. 



4£^ 



^^ 



TORONTO 
WILLIAM BRIGGS 

1910 



Copyright. Canada. 1910. by 
J, D. Anderson. 



PREFACE 

For many years I have had an impression that it 
was my duty to put on record some of God's won- 
derful dealings in connection with my life, and some 
brief but remarkable sketches of incidents occurring 
during my pastoral ministrations. 

This impression has been deepened through the 
urgent requests of brethren who have heard some of 
the sketches, and the fact that they are so indelibly 
engraven on my mind, and are in memory as clear 
and fresh as things that occurred yesterday. 

This remarkable fact has often been a wonder to 
myself, as well as to others, and I think I am war- 
ranted in concluding tjiat they were not designed 
to be hid, or " put under a bushel," of no practical 
benefit to others, and so to fall into oblivion at the 
end of my present existence. 

Until my retirement from active pastoral work 
took place, I could not find time to carry out my 
increasing conviction regarding this important duty. 
Now that my public engagements are lessened, I 
have concluded, after very serious consideration and 



PREFACE 

earnest prayer, to attempt it, and record a plain, 
simple narrative of facts connected with my life and 
pastoral work. 

. There is no lack of books in our age, and my 
motive in beginning this volume is not to increase 
their number, or to make any financial gain, but 
that God may use it for the salvation of immortal 
souls and the edification and spiritual growth of 
His own true people. 

To Him I dedicate it, and pray that He may 
accept it as the freewill offering of my heart. 

John Anderson. 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. PACK 

I. Days of Childhood ------ 7 

II. My First Schooling ------ 43 

III. From the Close of My School Days TiU I 

Reached America - 58 

IV. A Period Extending from My Arrival in America 

to My Apprenticeship 66 

V. From My Apprenticeship to My First Com- 
munion --------76 

VI. From My Enrolment as a Member of the Con- 
gregation to the Disruption - - - - 94 

VII. From the Disruption to My Call to the Ministry 120 

VIII. From My Call to the Ministry to My Going to 

College -------- 139 

IX. College Days 147 

X. Three Summers in the Mission Field - - 167 

XI. Encouragement in the Midst of Difficulties - 214 

5 



CONTENTS 

CHAP. PAGE 

XII. Interesting and Peculiar Experiences Connected 
with Presbytery Appointments, During the 

Early Days of My Ministry - - - - 231 

XIII. A Dark Period Preceding a Day of Special 

Grace 254 

XIV. Days of Grace 265 

XV. Young People Interested in the Work - - 283 

XVI. Visible Evidences of the Work of Grace - - 292 

XVII. Approaching Changes 301 

XVIII. New Fields of Labor 306 

XIX. Final Period in Ministerial Work - - - 317 



Reverend John Anderson 



CHAPTER I. 
DAYS OF CHILDHOOD. 

The day of my birth was the 12th of May, 1823. 
The event took place in a humble stone building at 
Lupendamph, Abernethy, Strathspey, Scotland, in 
which neighborhood there was a considerable stretch 
of moorland, or moss, as we generally called it, 
covered with short heather and dotted with small, 
scraggy pine trees of very little value. The heather 
when in bloom filled the air with a most delightful 
fragrance, while it furnished bees with excellent 
honey, and was relished also by cattle, producing 
butter of a very high grade. 

The moss was of great value, as it supplied us 
with peat, the chief fuel then in use. It reached in 
some places to a depth of ten or twelve feet, so we 
had no fear of its being exhausted. Peat-making 
was of considerable interest and importance to every 
family in the neighborhood. At such times there 
would be a gathering of neighbors at the house 

7 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

where the work was to be done. The peat was cut 
into blocks by men with instruments made for the 
purpose, about five inches square and twelve inches 
long, out of a bank of moss higher than themselves, 
and as soft as butter. These were carried in wheel- 
barrows to an old bed from which peat had been 
taken in former years; there they were dumped, 
spread and left until they were dry on the outside, 
afterwards with horse and cart they were gathered 
into large stacks near the house, where they re- 
mained in good condition as hard as wood until they 
were used. They made a beautiful fire which pro- 
duced great heat. In this connection I may mention 
that the moss in its original state was quite soft, 
and furnished the persons at work with excellent 
clods, which left their mark upon every object they 
struck, and were freely used at times when the 
workers found themselves in a humorous mood. 

Underneath this deep moss large stumps and 
trees were met with now and again by the peat cut- 
ters, buried, no doubt, for ages, but perfectly sound. 
When these were dried and cut into small strips 
they would burn like candles. Indeed, in many 
houses they were the chief light used at night. 

Near our home were the rivers Spey and Nethy. 
The latter was our fishing and bathing stream, 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



where many of my youthful days were pleasantly 
spent. Farther off high mountains were ever in 
sight, covered with heather, with pine woods at their 
base. In the midst of those beautiful scenes of 
nature my first childish ideas were formed, and 
around them my thoughts still, with deep emotion, 
recur and entwine. 

I am the youngest of a family of seven — three 
brothers and four sisters. My parents feared God 
and served Him daily. Their theology in our age 
would be called narrow, but it was deep and high 
in practice, hence they reverenced the house and the 
ordinances of God, and most regularly attended all 
the means of grace. With equal regularity did they 
maintain the worship of God both morning and 
evening in their family. Nothing of a secular nature 
was allowed to interfere with those domestic ser- 
vices. Worship consisted in singing a portion of a 
psalm or paraphrase, reading a chapter from the 
sacred volume, which father explained very fre- 
quently with great reverence and deep, earnest feel- 
ing, then on bended knees he led in prayer with a 
fluency and unction seldom met with at family wor- 
ship; thus a considerable time was occupied twice a 
day in this important domestic privilege. 

The Sabbath was kept with great strictness and 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

particularly reverenced in the family. Nothing was 
allowed to be done but what was necessary. Fuel 
and water needed for the sacred day, though con- 
venient to the house, had to be taken in on Saturday, 
and all secular talk or gossip was prohibited. 

The first movement of the Holy Spirit on my soul 
of which I was conscious, occurred at family wor- 
ship. I was then but a little child, perhaps between 
four and five years of age. After a chapter from 
Scripture, which set forth the day of judgment and 
the punishment of the wicked in eternity, and after 
speaking for a little of those solemn truths, my 
father engaged in prayer, while I on my knees beside 
my little stool was playing, when something whis- 
pered into my mind, " Oh, how dreadful it is to be 
wicked and sin against God ! If you continue doing 
bad things you shall surely be cast into hell with the 
wicked." This made a deep impression on my mind. 
It alarmed me and I could not free myself from it, 
for I was conscious that I was not as good a boy as 
I should have been, although no worse than other 
children. Some time after worship, with this arrow 
in my heart, as I stood trembling in the doorway 
looking upward toward the sun, which was shining 
brightly at the time, an opposite thought was cast 
into my young and uncultivated mind : " There is no 

lO 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



fear, for there is no God; and though there should 
be a God, He is not so cruel as to punish you, as 
daddy (as you call your father) says. Daddy is 
only trying to make us believe these things, so as to 
keep us from doing bad things." I knew not whence 
this thought came at the time, but I know now, for 
it carries on the face of it a clear evidence of its 
source. It zvas a lie, and came from " the father of 
lies," the great enemy of God and human souls. I 
was then entirely ignorant of his existence. But by 
this lie he relieved me of my fears, so my impres- 
sions soon left me. How watchful Satan is to resist 
the good seed from taking root in the heart even of 
little children. 

For some years I continued to cherish this false- 
hood. It was pleasant to my unrenewed nature. 
The enemy continued to insinuate this lie into my 
mind for a long time : " There is no fear, for there 
is no God, and if there be a God He is not so cruel 
as not to forgive you when you would weep and cry 
and show outward signs of sorrow for your past 
conduct. He is compassionate and would not exe- 
cute His threatenings against you." By reasoning 
of this nature my mind was kept calm regarding the 
future. 

But, being daily called to family worship, my 

II 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

smothered convictions began again to assert their 
authority. My thoughts became very serious, and 
I was forced to the conclusion that there must be 
a God, otherwise father would not be speaking so 
much about Him, and so regularly praying to Him. 

About this time my curiosity was excited by my 
father's prayers, and I asked my mother where he 
got his prayers. She told me that God gave them 
to him, that He put the words into his heart and 
taught him to pray. This confirmed my conviction 
that there was a God, that He was living and not 
far from us. I asked mother if God would give me 
prayers like those of my father. She told me He 
would if I asked Him to do so. From that time I 
began to ask Him to teach me to pray like my 
father. I always said the Lord's Prayer before 
going to bed. This had been taught me before I 
remember who did it and before I could read, so it 
became a habit with me as regular as bedtime itself. 
But now as the existence of the living God was a 
doctrine fixed in my mind, that He was also 
near us and giving us whatever we would ask Him, 
I added the following short sentence to the Lord's 
Prayer, " Lord, teach me to pray like father." By 
this I meant a prayer of my own composition. 

Some time after this, just as I was retiring, father 

12 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



asked me if I was saying my prayer before going to 
bed. I said, " Yes, I was saying the Lord's 
Prayer." " Well," said he, " when you finish saying 
it say also, ' Lord, show me myself for Jesus' sake.' " 
This in a spirit of obedience I did regularly, together 
with the sentence I had previously added to it 
myself. 

Soon after this my attention was drawn to a 
habit clearly seen in my father's life. I noticed that 
every evening after family worship, and before re- 
tiring to rest, he went out to the barn. This he did 
as regularly as evening came. I wondered what his 
object could be, and I determined to follow him and 
see what he was really doing. So on a certain even- 
ing, as I was quietly following him, I noticed that as 
he entered the barn he closed the door behind him 
and fastened it from the inside. This increased my 
curiosity very much, and I went quietly up to the 
door and heard his voice in earnest prayer. Al- 
though I could not properly hear what he was say- 
ing, yet I heard enough and saw enough to pierce 
my heart. Oh. how guilty I felt myself to be! 
Bitter anguish and pain seized my mind for living 
a prayerless life. It is true I was regular in saying 
my prayers, but I did not regard them as prayers, 
and they were not such prayers as my father oflFered, 



13 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

and I reasoned with myself thus : " My father is a 
good man. He knows well that there is a God who 
will punish the wicked after death, therefore he 
prays to Him every morning and evening at family 
worship, and again goes to meet Him in the barn, 
and prays to Him there the last thing he does at 
night. But I have no meetings like him with God. 
I never meet God and pray to Him as father does. I 
must just be a bad boy and will be cast into hell with 
devils when I die." 

Under this deep impression I concluded that my 
safe course was to follow the example of my father, 
and go to the barn also every evening after worship 
and hold a meeting with God in prayer. But how 
could I go to the barn when it was occupied by 
father, with its door closed to keep others from en- 
tering ? It would never do to interrupt father while 
he was meeting God there. But the good Spirit of 
God, who evidently was working on my young 
mind though I knew Him not, reminded me that 
the barn liad a back door which was seldom opened. 
Could I not meet God at that back door while father 
was inside ? I was captivated by the thought. But 
here another difficulty met me which seemed 
insurmountable; for at that time of the year the 
day was short, and it was about dark before fam- 

14 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



ily worship was over and I was afraid in the dark. 
This appeared to me more than I could do. But in 
my perplexity my true and blessed Guide suggested 
the consoling thought, which often encouraged and 
strengthened my heart in riper years, " Is not God 
to meet you at the back door of the bam, and if He 
is there will He not take care of you even in the 
dark ? Your father will be inside the barn and God 
will meet you at the door outside; you will, there- 
fore, be perfectly safe between them. Commit your- 
self to the Lord and go. No evil can befall you." 
Aided by these encouraging thoughts, I was enabled 
to carry out my cherished and sincere desire. I ven- 
tured out in the dark and found the way to the back 
door of the barn without any difficulty. At the back 
door of that little barn I regularly continued, from 
evening to evening, to hold meetings with my 
father's God, for a long period of time, I cannot say 
how long — for years. To me it was a sanctified 
spot. The peculiar state of mind often experi- 
enced by me at that barn door I cannot fully de- 
scribe, nor can it ever be effaced from my memory. 
Indeed, in connection with those meetings my soul 
had with the living God there were mysteries I can- 
not even yet unravel; but one thing I know about 
them, they were meetings which my soul enjoyed 

t 



15 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

and they influenced me for good. I was not only 
conscious of the Divine presence at the door, but it 
appeared to me that God was there in a bodily form, 
and so certain was I of this that on different occa- 
sions I stretched out my hand to feel Him in the 
dark, so as to remove any shadow of doubt of His 
being present. I knew not then the difference be- 
tween a spirit and a material object. In stretching 
out my hand nothing was felt, though I believe had 
I touched an object it would not have made me 
afraid, for I was perfectly confident that God was 
there. Hence I talked with Him as a child would 
talk to an earthly father. My little wants and 
troubles, which were of a childish nature, I related 
to Him in a childlike spirit, and with childish words, 
being fully confident that God would grant me my 
requests if they were for my good. 

In my riper experience and amid numerous 
studies I have had this peculiar experience of my 
childhood more or less in my mind. A desire for 
more light from God's unerring Word was ever 
present before me. Anything which I met in the 
Sacred Volume, or in the lives of any of God's true 
people similar to it, received my closest attention, 
nor can I say that I have, even yet, the light I 
would like on this mysterious subject. It has often 

i6 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



been insinuated to my mind that my whole experi- 
ence at the barn door was nothing more than human 
imagination, or perhaps diaboHcal impressions, 
designed to deceive ; but this idea I dare not cherish, 
for those meetings were a powerful means of lead- 
ing me in the right direction. Now God is the foun- 
tain of good, and in dispensing blessings to sinners 
He is not limited to one mode of dealing with them, 
He may not even deal with two persons alike, but 
acts according to His own sovereign and infinite 
wisdom, as He sees best for the persons with whom 
He deals. In my case I was but a child, and was 
not capable of receiving instruction through the 
ordinary means of grace, hence He condescended to 
treat me as a child, and according to a child's capa- 
city. I have had similar experiences in later years, 
to which reference will be made in due time, and 
spiritual benefit resulted from them. In dealing 
with anxious persons during my pastoral work, I 
met some who also had very peculiar experiences 
of a similar kind, and was greatly aided in dealing 
with them on account of what I had passed through 
myself. So I have concluded, as already stated, that 
in infinite condescension God adapts Himself to the 
varied capacities and conditions of men. 

Does not the Bible give countenance to this idea? 



17 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

Were not the people of God, in the Old Testament 
dispensation, frequently met by the Lord, in the 
form of a man, and at other times in the form of 
an Angel ? Three men came to Abraham's tent and 
informed him of the destruction of Sodom and Go- 
morrah, and one of them was the Lord. Who can 
fully unravel Jacob's meeting with the Lord at the 
river Jabbok, or explain the mysterious Wrestler 
who held him fast until the breaking of the day? 
When Moses earnestly prayed for a manifestation of 
the Divine presence, he received the answer : " Be- 
hold, there is a place by me; and thou shalt stand 
upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my 
glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of 
the rock, and I will cover thee with my hand, 
while I pass by; and I will take away mine hand, 
and thou shalt see my back parts ; but my face shall 
not be seen." Previous to this request, Moses en- 
joyed a most intimate communion with God, and 
a clearer manifestation of His glory than any who 
went before; yet he longed for more, or additional, 
knowledge of Him, hence he said : " Show me thy 
glory." What particular manifestation of the Div- 
ine glory he desired more than he already had, it is 
difficult to see. He knew the people were not to 
have any similitude when the Lord spoke to them, 

i8 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



lest it should lead them to corruption, or idolatry. 
Yet this prayer seems to indicate a longing for 
something additional to what he previously enjoyed. 
But whatever was the true import of his desire, 
I think a mixture of human infirmity had a place 
in it; hence Grod, while denying him what he asked, 
at the same time, in compassion for his weakness, 
granted what was better, or what would be to 
Moses a clearer evidence of His pardoning love to 
the rebellious Israelites, than any additional display 
of His glory would have been. 

But what is noticeable at present regarding this 
Divine manifestation is, that it was attended by 
some external appearance. Hence we meet in its 
description the terms, " face," "hands," "back parts." 
These terms must be viewed as figurative, and the 
whole transaction as a symbolical scenery. For 
in this life we can only see the glory of God as it 
reflects from His works, or is revealed to us in His 
Word as it shines through the Lord Jesus, who 
is "the brightness of his glory, and the express 
image of his person." Here in this life, in compas- 
sion with our weakness. He spreads a cloud over 
the throne of His glory; but when our present in- 
firmities are removed, and we become spiritual like 
Himself, capable of enduring the glory of His per- 

19 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

son, and we see Him face to face, then He will 
remove the cloud from His glorious throne, and a 
direct display of His glory will be revealed to our 
souls; for we shall see Him as He is. 

Through these encouraging visits made to me 
in my childhood days, I was sustained in my efforts 
to serve God, and was impressed with a deep sense 
of God's nearness to me, and of His unchanging 
interest in my welfare. For every time I met in 
prayer the human yet Divine presence, I experi- 
enced an inward consciousness that I was a child 
of God, and that He was with me. A simple faith 
and unshaken confidence in God characterized that 
early period of my life. God and my soul were 
on the most friendly terms; often talking to one 
another, as one friend talks to another. My little 
troubles I would in solemn earnestness present unto 
Him in prayer, fully confident that He would re- 
lieve me if it would be for my good; and although 
my troubles were generally connected with this 
life, and of a childish nature, yet direct and some- 
times immediate answers were given. An example 
or two may be of interest. I cannot give my exact 
age when these occurred. I think I was about 
seven or eight years old, as by that time certain 
duties were assigned to me. 

20 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



One day my work was to herd the sheep. My 
father sometimes had a large flock, which had to 
be watched. As I was on duty tending them, two 
wandered away. I soon missed them, and made a 
very careful and anxious search for them, but failed 
to find them. The sun was now lowering, and the 
night was drawing near, when I had to return with 
the sheep to the fold, but how could I report to those 
at home that two of the sheep were missing? Such 
a report, I knew, would not be pleasing to my 
father. I felt no blame for losing them, yet it 
troubled me very much. One thing I felt I could 
do. God was near me and I could tell Him my 
trouble. This I did. Down on bended knees I 
dropped, in the midst of the heather. There I pre- 
sented my trouble before the Lord. I set before 
Him my diligence in watching the sheep and the 
annoyance it would give my father to be told that 
two of them were lost, and earnestly asked Him to 
direct me to the place where the lost sheep were. 
Before rising off my knees, an answer came in a 
whisper, distinctly heard by the inner man, "Just 
go straight on to the trees near the pine g^ove 
beyond you, and you will find them there." I ran 
with all my might to the place, perfectly sure that 
the lost sheep were there, and so they were, in the 

21 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

very spot to which I was directed, and my young 
heart experienced the joy alluded to by our Saviour 
in Luke 15, when the Good Shepherd found His 
sheep that was lost. I was truly very happy, not 
only for the lost sheep, but also for receiving an 
answer to my prayer, which I regarded as an evi- 
dence that God was pleased with me. 

A similar occurrence took place some time after 
this. My sister, who was much older than I, and 
myself, were sent in search of some lost sheep, 
which, according to information received, had been 
seen on a certain mountain, some distance from our 
home. On reaching the mountain, we ascended 
together through very long heather, till we came 
almost to its summit, without seeing any trace of 
them. My sister proposed that we should separate ; 
that she would go to the left, and I to the right, 
and continue our journey till we would meet; thus 
we were to go round the top of the mountain. The 
proposal I did not like, but made no objection. So 
we parted and proceeded on our solitary search, 
and continued our tramp for some hours. By and 
by I began to think that we must have passed one 
another! Indeed, I began to fear that we had not 
acted wisely in parting, and that I might not be 
able to find her, or find my way home without her. 

22 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



Besides, I was pretty well played out, and com- 
pletely discouraged, as the heather was very high 
and difficult to walk through. I began to call aloud, 
and continued calling with all my might, without 
receiving any answer. My trouble can be better 
conceived than expressed. I knew not the promise 
"Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will 
deliver thee." I had no idea that such a promise 
had an existence. But the Spirit of God, who had 
been my Instructor and Guide from my birth, 
though I knew Him not, told me to direct my cries 
to God, rather than to my sister. To my knees, 
on that mountain and in heather higher than 
myself, I went. There my cry ascended to God for 
my sister's return. I was not kept long in distress, 
for deliverance came; I was comforted, and was 
assured that my sister would soon appear. Stand- 
ing up, I discovered her coming toward me as fast 
as the heather would allow. These instances of 
prayer answered are but two out of many of a 
similar nature with which I was favored in my 
early days. They are to me a clear proof that God 
hears and answers the lispings of little children 
who fear and love Him. " Out of the mouths of 
babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength." 
In those early days I had more freedom and con- 



23 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

fidence in approaching God than I have now. This 
I often deplore; nevertheless it is a painful fact in 
my experience. Human learning did not increase 
the simplicity of my faith and confidence in God. 
My knowledge, though it is far from being perfect, 
of my own heart, and of the devices of Satan, and 
of the many false theories of men regarding the 
religion of Jesus and the inspiration of the Scrip- 
tures which I had to examine during my college 
course, robbed me of that simple boldness and con- 
fidence in my approach to God which I then 
enjoyed. Nor was this freedom or intimacy with 
God of a presumptuous nature. I had a deep and 
reverential awe in my very heart toward God, and 
toward everything connected with His truth and 
worship. So sensible was I of His almighty 
power and spotless purity, and of my own weak- 
ness and sinfulness, that I shrank from making use 
of the common expression, " My Father." Indeed, 
this erroneous impression fastened itself in my mind 
to such an extent, that for a long time I felt it was 
rather daring on the part of any man to call God 
his Father. And even yet I have no sympathy 
with the very frequent use of expressions such as 
" Dear Lord," " Loving God," common on the lips 
of many during Divine worship. It is true God 

24 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



sets Himself before us in His Word as our Father, 
and it is one of our exalted privileges to call Him 
Father. Yea, the Spirit teaches us to call Him 
"Abba Father." But we have rebelled against Him, 
and are sinners both by nature and practice; and 
we cannot in our most solemn moods but partake 
to some extent of the spirit of the prodigal, when 
in the arms of his father he exclaimed : " I am no 
more worthy to be called thy son." 

About this time, while at family worship, father 
alluded to some of David's distresses, as set forth 
in certain of his Psalms ; how he " wept and even 
roared by reason of the disquietness of his heart." 
The words of our Saviour also found their way 
into my heart : " Blessed are ye that weep now, for 
ye shall laugh." And about the same time I went 
with the family to a meeting-house where worship 
was frequently conducted; a yoimg minister, just 
out of college, took part in the services. In the 
address he manifested great earnestness, and in 
his concluding prayer, being quite near to him, I 
noticed big tears rolling down his cheeks; these 
things combined made a very deep but misleading 
impression on my mind, namely, that tears were 
an essential part of Divine worship, and that my 
prayers, no matter how often I would present them, 

25 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

could not be acceptable to God, if not mixed with 
my tears. I knew that my tears were not connected 
with my prayers. This troubled me very much. If 
I could only weep like David, or like the young 
minister, then I imagined I would be all right. 

One afternoon, while attending the cattle, I spent 
most of the time in prayer, which was difficult to 
do, as they were very restless, and could not be 
let out of my sight but a few minutes at a time. 
However, the old saying is true : " Where there's 
a will, there's a way." In spite of the restless- 
ness of the cattle, I could on that morning of 
trouble find spots here and there in which to pray. 
Just at the foot of a fir tree I could have been seen 
on my knees seven times, pouring out my heart in 
prayer in broken and childlike sentences, making 
my feelings and desires known to God. While 
thus engaged, one of my sisters came to me with 
what on ordinary occasions would have been glad 
tidings; that my father was to take me with him, 
the following day, to a fair to be held in a distant 
town. I was not elated by the news; for I felt I 
would rather remain attending to the cattle, and 
talking with God among the fir trees, than go to 
the fair. On other occasions nothing would have 
given me greater pleasure. I went, but my mind 

26 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



was very much occupied with my own state before 
God. On our journey, I wished to speak to my 
father about my spiritual state, and made an attempt 
more than once to do so; but being so shy I failed 
to draw his attention to my state. Oh, how I did 
wish that he would speak to me, and tell me what 
I could do, so as to make me a better boy! For 
I was far from thinking that I was good enough, 
or better than my companions. 

This shows us how important it is for parents to 
converse with their children regarding their per- 
sonal salvation. Even some godly parents come 
far short of this duty, while others never think of 
it, probably because they themselves are entire 
strangers to vital religion. Had my father spoken 
to me personally, when my very heart cried after 
God, it would have been a blessing to me all my life. 
I needed instruction badly, and would most gladly 
have received it. For I now find that my ignorance 
was Satan's open door to my heart. I was not only 
ignorant of the way of salvation through Christ, 
but also ignorant of the deceitfulness of my own 
heart, and of the devices of the great enemy of my 
soul. Most keenly did I feel my need of some one 
to explain to me, in words that my youthful mind 



27 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

could understand, those great truths so essential 
to human salvation. 

Here I must record a very impressive dream I 
had soon after. I do not attach much importance 
to ordinary dreams ; for I believe the most of them, 
in the words of Solomon, come " through the multi- 
tude of business." But in the Old Testament times, 
God used dreams as a channel through which He 
revealed His will to men. And the prophet Joel, 
setting forth the fulfilment of Divine promises to 
His Church, declares, among other things, that " old 
men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall 
see visions." The Spirit of God has as much access 
to the human mind when we are asleep as when 
we are awake, and can, and I believe does, impress 
our minds with thoughts and ideas as He sees proper 
for the accomplishment of His own wise purposes. 
It was so in my case, at any rate. As I knew not 
then His written Word, He sometimes encouraged 
me with dreams. 

Well, in my dream, I died. And just when this 
solemn event occurred, a company of people, all 
beautifully dressed, and playing on different 
instruments of music, were marching along, and 
found me about the place where I was in the habit of 
praying. They invited me to accompany them to 

28 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



heaven. To this my heart responded with glad- 
ness; for to get to heaven was my most earnest 
desire. I left everything and joined the happy 
company. Just as we were passing our house, I 
saw my mother through an open window, spinning 
rolls of wool with her spinning-wheel. I went to 
her and asked her to come with us to heaven. But 
she gave me no answer; and the more I besought 
her to come away with us, the more she whirled 
around her wheel. With the greatest sorrow I 
decided to part from her. I did so, and joined the 
heavenly band. My sorrow in parting disappeared, 
and I began to sing with the rest. Here I awakened, 
and felt truly sorr}' that it was only a dream. Next 
morning I related this peculiar dream to my 
mother, and her looks showed clearly, even to my 
young mind, that she was concerned about it. A 
day or two after, as she and father were sitting in 
the house, not knowing that I was within hearing, 
she told him of the strange dream. They talked a 
good deal about it, but although I tried to get a right 
hold of what passed between them, I failed, but 
heard enough to cause me to think more highly of 
myself than I ought. 

My idea of heaven was of a material nature. 
To me heaven was just a nice country, far away 

29 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

from this world, and was reached after travelling a 
long distance, and at a very slow pace. I viewed it 
as a place to which all good people went after death, 
to live forever with God and the angels; a place 
which had great cities, whose streets were made of 
pure gold, copiously supplied with waters clear as 
crystal, and containing trees, planted by God Him- 
self, which produced most delicious fruits, of all 
variety, and in great abundance. Of the spiritual 
nature of the heavenly kingdom I had not the 
shadow of an idea, nor of the important truth that 
" the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but 
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy 
Ghost." 

And have we no reason to fear that this is the 
idea entertained in our day by many, not only of 
young children, but also of aged persons? The 
spiritual nature of the kingdom of God is to them 
but a vague, meaningless expression. For, " the 
natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit 
of God, for they are foolishness unto him : neither 
can he know them, because they are spiritually dis- 
cerned." This same truth is set forth by the Apostle 
in another place, where he says : " Eye hath not 
seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the 
heart of man. the things which God hath prepared 

30 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



for them that love him." This passage, though 
often erroneously quoted, and applied to the bless- 
ings in store for God's true people in heaven, yet 
clearly indicates the natural man's utter inability 
to discern spiritual truths. This seems to be what 
the Apostle is here teaching. It is true indescribable 
blessings are stored up in heaven for those who 
love God and serve Him on earth; but blessings 
are enjoyed by such people, here in this life, which 
cannot be enjoyed or perceived through natural 
senses, or even mere intellectual powers, by the 
unregenerate. A man who has only natural abil- 
ities, no matter how sagacious, how learned, how 
free from all sensual indulgences he may be, while 
in his natural state is incapable of beholding the 
spiritual nature of Christ's Kingdom. He must 
be born again, and come into possession of the Holy 
Spirit, who alone can make his inner man spiritual, 
so as to enable him to see what is spiritual. Here 
in this connection, we see the force of our Lord's 
declaration to Nicodemus, " Verily, verily, I say 
unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot 
see the kingdom of God." Without this great 
change man cannot see, or taste, or enjoy anything 
that is spiritual connected with the Kingdom of 
God, in the present life, or in the life beyond the 



31 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

grave. But when, by the grace of God, the heart 
is renewed, the person, it is true, is the same, but 
becomes, in the change, a new creature, possessing 
new perceptions, new affections, a new disposition, 
and is prepared to make a new use of all his facul- 
ties and powers, as he enters the spiritual Kingdom 
of God, to which he was before, while in his unre- 
generate state, an utter stranger. Without this 
change, he cannot receive in faith and love the 
spiritual mysteries of redemption, which are un- 
folded to the renewed soul by the cross of Christ. 
To the unregenerate these spiritual truths will, in 
one way or other, appear foolish or absurd. 
Proud and unregenerate reasoners often scoff at 
them, and turn them into ridicule. It is therefore 
no wonder that young children should form their 
ideas of heaven and heavenly things from objects 
belonging to the material world in which they 
move, as I did in my youthful days. 

Another error in my early days might be men- 
tioned. I was still clinging to the covenant of works. 
I knew nothing of Christ as the way of salvation. 
There was no lack of earnestness or of sincerity 
on my part; but I lacked knowledge of Christ, as 
the Substitute, or Surety for sinners. I had no 
idea of His atoning work, like the Jews of old, 

32 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



who, "being ignorant of God's righteousness, and 
going about to establish their own righteousness, 
have not submitted themselves unto the righteous- 
ness of God." My impression was that if I could 
do something good, as it is called — pray more, weep 
more, be like David and other godly persons whom 
I knew about — then I would be all right, and God 
would be pleased with me. Many, I fear, in our 
day live in this fatal error. Oh, it is difficult to 
get the human heart broken from the covenant of 
works! Men are prepared to do anything sooner 
than accept Christ as their Substitute, or Surety, 
and salvation through Him without money or price. 
It is contrary to the natural heart to accept pardon 
and eternal life without offering to God something 
in exchange. So it was with me. I spent many 
years in this common error, which genders bondage 
in the soul. To me it is most amazing how, in the 
midst of so many Gospel means and godly 
examples, I managed to exclude Christ as the way 
of salvation from my mind. It is, however, a hum- 
bling fact ; for I lived entirely ignorant of Him for, 
alas, many years. 

Before I proceed to another period of my life, I 
would emphasize the great importance of family 
zvorship. Is it not a solemn and deplorable truth, 

33 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

that the families who neglect this important duty 
are setting aside Divinely appointed means which 
God owns in the salvation of souls? Yea, and 
perhaps the very best means within the reach of 
parents, for the training of their children in the 
fear of God. Family worship, even in the homes 
of Christian parents, is evidently on the decline. 
This decline is gradual. It is like a decay common 
to some fruit. It begins in the heart, and gradually 
works its way to the surface, till the whole fruit 
is rotten. So it is with many a family worship. A 
decay of vital godliness begins in the heart; holy 
aspirations for communion with God give place to a 
spirit of indifference, and this inner state of heart 
and mind works its way to the outward conduct, 
hence the domestic worship is curtailed; the sing- 
ing of Divine praise is dropped, as there is no one 
in the family able, or perhaps willing, to lead; the 
prayer is shortened, or perhaps social engagements, 
and late hours, drive the evening prayer out of the 
family circle, while the pressure of early secular 
duties excludes the morning worship altogether; 
and thus the family is numbered with those that 
call not upon God. I could name a family, once 
high in Christian profession, where domestic wor- 
ship was regularly maintained until the children 

34 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



had grown up, and were able to take their share in 
the work of the farm. Then the sons protested 
against the period occupied in family worship, on 
the ground that farm work was too pressing to 
allow religious services in the family on week days. 
The parents yielded to their sons' request, and 
instead of ruling their own house, according to 
command, virtually placed the reins of government 
in the hands of their children. That family has 
had no real prosperity since. Some of its members 
have now homes of their own, but are seldom seen 
in any place of worship. Let parents neglect, or 
exclude, domestic worship from their homes 
throughout the land, then we may expect a new 
illustration of the sad truth declared in the Scrip- 
ture, of God's ancient people, that after the days 
of Joshua, and after the days of the elders that 
outlived Joshua, " there arose another generation 
after them which knew not the Lord, nor yet the 
work which he had wrought for Israel." 

Regarding this very commonly neglected duty, 
the Word of God gives no uncertain sound; hence 
we read in Eph. 6:3, " And ye fathers provoke 
not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the 
nurture and admonition of the Lord." Jeremiah 
also in addressing God says : " Pour gut thy fury 

35 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon 
the famihes that call not upon thy name." 

A parent connected with one of my charges 
unbosomed the sorrow of his heart to his pastor, 
regarding his neglect of this important duty; and 
as I believe him to be one of many who might 
easily be mentioned, who write bitter things against 
themselves for the same sad neglect, I record his 
statements in this connection. I was well acquainted 
with the individual, and of his sincerity I have no 
doubt. I knew him while he lived without God, 
in a state of most painful indifference to all spiritual 
-things; I knew him while, through the operations 
of the Spirit of God, he was laboring under deep 
conviction of sin, having the arrow of Divine truth 
sticking fast in his conscience; and I knew him 
while, through faith in the crucified One, his joy 
was overflowing. His convictions were indeed deep 
and painful, and his joy when relieved was inde- 
scribable. On one of my pastoral visitations, and 
while sitting at his table surrounded by the warm- 
hearted members of his family, among whom I 
often had a place, his earnest statements, which 
still are fastened in my very heart, were as follows : 
"Well, Mr. Anderson, many a time you were the 
means of bi:inging encouragement and joy to my 

36 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



poor soul; but I am now in trouble, and have been 
so for some time. But," said he, with his eyes 
full of tears, " I fear you cannot relieve me this 
time." " It may be so, but is there not One near at 
hand who is a present help in every time of need?" 
was my response. " Oh, yes," said he, " there is no 
lack of His ability; but I cannot expect freedom 
from my present trouble on this side of the grave." 
" Is it really so ?" said I ; " let me hear what it is." 
" Well, I'll tell you," was the reply. " The Lord was 
very kind to me in my past life, though I knew Him 
not. He caused me to prosper, and surrounded me 
with many of the comforts of life. I have raised 
a pretty large family in this place, but only those 
you now see are with me ; the rest are scattered far 
away, and some of them have gone to the spirit 
world. But what troubles me is this: Those that 
have left never saw me once on my knees in prayer. 
My influence over them was bad, and of a wordly 
nature. I knew no better ; and while I have a humble 
hope that the sins of my bad influence and indiffer- 
ence to their training in the fear of God are par- 
doned through the blood of Jesus, yet I cannot but 
feel grieved and pained when I think of the care- 
lessness regarding spiritual things which I mani- 
fested among my own children. Oh, if I could but 



37 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

gather them again around me, so that they might 
see, with their own eyes, the change that has taken 
place in my conduct, and be warned against living 
a prayerless life, as they saw me doing in the days 
of my ignorance! But this I cannot now expect." 
Here the grieved father broke down. Utterance 
failed him. Tears only spoke. Let all parents who 
read this sketch, and live in the neglect of this duty, 
be warned lest they may experience on a day yet 
to come a similar spirit of self-upbraiding, when, 
like the grieved parent here alluded to, they may 
find it too late to remedy the evil. 

A second important truth indicated by these 
early impressions is: the operation of God's Spirit 
in the hearts of young children. Children are 
naturally guilty. The guilt of the first sin of our 
federal representative is imputed unto them. " In 
Adam all die." In the words of inspiration, " they 
are shapen in iniquity, and conceived in sin." The 
human heart sustained an irreparable injury by the 
fall. Our natural proneness to sin is a disease 
which our constitution has no power to throw off, 
and which no human skill can remove. Parental 
or any human training is inadequate. Early teach- 
ing or culture is of vast importance, whether in 
the domestic circle or in the Sabbath School, but 

38 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



it does not remove the stony heart, or reach the 
inner man. All such human instructions are means of 
great importance, which the Spirit uses, but they 
cannot repair the breach made in man's nature by 
the fall. Indeed, the repairing of man's nature is 
not even attempted by God Himself; but He takes 
the stony heart away and gives a heart of flesh. 
In a word He creates the man anew in Christ Jesus. 
This inward revolution is wrought by the Spirit 
of God, who works in the child or infant as He 
does in the parent. The child is of the number of 
the lost, and shall be lost eternally, if the atoning 
work of Christ is not applied to the inner man, 
or the regenerating work of the Spirit is not accom- 
plished in the soul. And, speaking humanly, the 
Spirit has easier access to the heart of the child 
than He has to the heart of the parent, or to that 
of an adult ; but in both cases He uses means. 

This important doctrine is fixed and established 
in my innermost soul; and Scripture clearly agrees 
with what I experienced in my days of childhood. 
The Spirit used family worship as a means to 
awaken my yoiing mind to a true sense of my guilti- 
ness before God. This He did a long time before 
I knew that there was a Holy Spirit. To the praise 
and honor of His sovereign grace I record it. He 



39 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

made me sensible of my danger, though blameless 
as far as the outward eye could discern, or innocent 
as some would say ; yet conscious, in my own heart, 
of being in a guilty state before God. What but 
the Spirit of God could produce those deep impres- 
sions on my infant mind, filling my heart with fear 
and trembling, in prospect of meeting a holy and 
just God ? The Spirit then began His good work in 
the heart, which He will, I hope, carry on till He 
completes it. He then began to take possession of 
the child's heart, so as to empty it of its native vices 
and finally restore it to its original owner as a 
trophy of sovereign and unspeakable love. I would 
truly despair of the salvation of a single soul, were 
it not for the omnipotence and sovereign love of 
God's Spirit, who begins His saving work in the 
human heart when and where He, in infinite wis- 
dom, sees proper. Nothing, — nothing short of His 
power, can overcome the natural obstinacy and 
obduracy of man's heart against spiritual things, 

A third great truth seen is, a common device of 
Satan to retain and occupy the human soul. False- 
hood is a very common mode adopted by him to 
keep in peace the heart in which he reigns. He is 
mean enough, and base enough, to insinuate lies 
even into the minds of children, before they have 

40 



DAYS OF CHILDHOOD 



any knowledge of his existence, or of his wicked 
devices. It was so in my case at any rate. For the 
very first anxiety that was awakened in my mind 
regarding my future state he calmed by a lie : "Don't 
be afraid, for there is no God." And he succeeded, 
for my fears left me. His lie found a place suitable 
to its nature in the heart which he occupied. How 
he knew that my mind was anxious at that moment, 
I cannot tell. But beyond doubt he applied his false 
remedy at the best time to secure his end, and dispel 
my anxiety. He sows his own seed in the child's 
heart. Hence we read, " They go astray as soon as 
they are born, speaking lies." It comes as natural 
for a child to do wrong as it does for a grain of 
wheat cast into the soil to produce, in its season, 
fruit of its own kind; or for a young serpent to 
give a deadly bite. And why is evil fruit so natural 
to a young child? Two reasons may account for 
it. Evil is natural to the child. It is a degenerate 
plant of a strange vine ; or a stream that flows from 
an unclean fountain. Again the enemy, at the 
dawn of reason, sows it zvith his own seeds, — with 
the obnoxious seed of falsehood, error, and hatred 
against God and all spiritual truth; he fills the 
young heart with wicked thoughts and blasphemous 
imaginations, which are contrary to the pure and 



41 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

holy nature of God. The enemy finds the child's 
heart tender, and stamps it with his own impress, 
and then watches over it with great care, so as to 
resist the very first indication of the Spirit's saving 
work in the soul. 

The children of even the purest saints are num- 
bered among the lost, and in need of salvation. 
Although man came forth from the hand of the 
Great Creator pure and holy, having the Divine law 
written in his heart, yet alas, he fell from his blessed 
state; and his fall effaced this law from his heart; 
so that now there is hardly a trace of it left in his 
nature. Hence the necessity of regeneration. 
"Verily, verily," said the Saviour to Nicodemus, 
" I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he 
cannot see the kingdom of God." Nothing can 
enter in through the gates into the city above, which 
defiles or makes a lie. 



42 



CHAPTER II. 
MY FIRST SCHOOLING. 

In my youthful days children were not sent to 
school as early as they are now, and in my opinion 
the old custom was the better. For then children 
were allowed to grow and mature, to some extent, 
both in mind and body, before they had to bear the 
burden of anxiety and long confinement of the 
schoolhouse. But now they are sent, almost from 
the cradle, to the school; as though their parents 
were more anxious to get them out of their way, 
than to have them learn lessons. Before they are 
initiated into real study, they undergo a cramming 
system, so severe that if they live to see their school 
days ended, they may find their nerves so shattered, 
their spirits so broken, and their whole systems 
so weakened that years may be needed in repairing 
the injury received, through a most injudicious 
system of learning over which they had no control. 

Well, my schooling did not begin too early; nor 
was there any cramming connected with it. In the 

43 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

place of my birth, there were what we may call 
district schools, besides the regular parish school. 
The former were only open at certain times of the 
year, for the benefit of localities not convenient to 
the parish school. The teachers were engaged, from 
time to time, by the people of the neighborhood, and 
their salaries were paid by them. It was to the 
district school I was first sent, when I was about 
eight years of age. 

The parish school differed from the district 
school in that it was permanent. Its teacher was 
settled as the parish teacher for an unlimited 
period, and was entirely independent of the people 
whose children he taught. I was but a term or 
two in the district school. The alphabet, of course, 
was my first lesson. To pronounce the letters, 
after the master, according to the old Scotch pro- 
nunciation, three times each day was all I had to 
do, except to sit perfectly quiet (which was not 
easily done) during those long intervals between 
my lesson. But, like my fellows, I managed to 
get over my A B C to the formation of words 
and short sentences. I was then sent to the parish 
school, where reading, writing, spelling, and arith- 
metic were my daily lessons. This was as far as 
I was allowed to go ; for I had to bear my own share 

44 



MY FIRST SCHOOLING 



of home duties just as soon as I was capable of 
doing so. 

Scholars then at certain times of the year had 
to carry from their homes some fuel to warm the 
schoolhouse. The winter was not very cold, and 
stoves were unknown; but the house had to be 
warmed sometimes to make it comfortable for 
children. So each pupil had to carry every morn- 
ing, as it was needed, a peat, or a piece of firewood, 
which on entering the schoolhouse he threw into a 
place set apart for the fuel. The pupil in going 
to school was easily known, as he would have his 
peat under his arm, the very best he could find in 
the peat-stack. 

I had to leave school before mastering even those 
simple branches already mentioned. But very few 
of the young people in our day have any idea of 
the difficulties which children then, knowing only 
the Gaelic language, had to contend with. We could 
easily learn the letters of the alphabet, pronounce 
words correctly, and read and spell simple words, 
without knowing the meaning. Just like parrots, 
we could imitate the teacher's voice, and yet know 
not what he said or meant. Dictionaries or books 
to teach us the meanings of words or sentences 
I never knew in my first schooling, although it was 

45 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

the parish school. The teacher was independent of 
the people whose children were under his care, for 
he was not engaged by them, nor did his salary- 
come directly from them; he was therefore not 
much concerned about the progress of his pupils. 
Indeed, he could not be blamed very much for his 
indifference; for what could he do with children 
who could not understand him? He was bound to 
rule and keep them in order; and this he did, not 
through their reason, or intelligence, but rather 
through their flesh and bones; just as he would deal 
with dumb creatures, that have no reason. And so 
the tawse, that grand weapon for ruling, was con- 
stantly in active service, and seldom allowed to 
slumber, save on those peculiar occasions when the 
master took " a wee drappy too much," and found 
his desk a pillow soft enough for a good long nap. 
This, of course, was not considered a very great 
sin in the teacher, any more than in the minister; 
not an unpardonable sin at any rate. The children 
enjoyed it greatly, and their hilarity knew no 
bounds except silence, lest the slumberer at the 
desk should be awakened, as the whole school sin- 
cerely wished him a long sleep. 

There was a practice, very common in my youth- 
ful days, connected with schools, and highly appre- 

46 



MY FIRST SCHOOLING 



ciated both by masters and scholars, which is now 
justly prohibited; I refer to cock-fighting. It 
occurred every year, about Blaster, and was held in 
the schoolhouse. Our classes were suspended for 
the day, benches and desks removed, and a 
place prepared for the fight. Tickets were duly pro- 
vided, and numbered, one for every boy in the 
school. The girls took no part in the affair. The 
tickets being mixed were then put into a bag, made 
for the purpose. Afterward each boy handed out 
three pennies, and drew his ticket from the bag, 
which fixed his bird's turn in the fight. Should 
his rooster refuse to fight when its turn came, it 
was expected the bird would be killed and sent to 
the master, along with the money received for the 
tickets. The boy whose bird fought the greatest 
number of roosters was declared King in the 
school; and the second best was Queen. It was truly 
a cruel and barbarous custom. 

Certain privil^es accompanied those triumphs. 
The King was regarded as a ruler among the boys in 
their plays, and the Queen the same among the 
girls. Should any of the boys commit an offence 
during the year which deserved punishment, the 
King had the privilege, if he saw proper, to plead 
on their behalf for freedom from the punishment, 

47 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

or suggest to the master the nature or degree of 
the punishment; and the Queen had the same privi- 
lege among the girls. 

This day of sport ended with another objection- 
able custom. A ball was held, and the King and 
Queen were expected to be present, and to furnish 
the party with a certain amount of liquor, or 
whiskey, then commonly used. And just here I 
must state that in connection with this ball, patron- 
ized by the mass of the people, I received a most 
important lesson, which under the Divine favor 
saved me from many a snare in future life. On 
one occasion my rooster came out victorious, and 
I was declared King of the school. My joy knew 
no bounds. I went home with my poor wounded 
and bruised bird under my arm, as happy as if I 
were made an heir of a large estate. Mother read 
the pleasant tidings in my countenance at the first 
sight. My joy became general, for the whole 
family looked pleased. The rooster was greatly 
praised, and for the time being, at any rate, well 
fed. Father was in the barn, so with a light step 
I hastened out with the tidings. I found him 
thrashing with a flail. " I am King," was my joy- 
ful announcement. He seemed pleased, and stopped 
the flail. But my heart was not perfectly at ease. 

48 



MY FIRST SCHOOLING 



It was fluttering; for I had to follow my happy 
announcement with a request, and I was not per- 
fectly sure of success; so with a tremor I said, 
"Now, father, you must g^ve me some money to get 
whiskey for the ball to-night ; for you know the King 
has to supply the party with some whiskey." He 
looked at me (his look was rather discouraging) 
and calmly and solemnly said : " I cannot do that. 
It is wrong to give whiskey to the party at the ball ; 
the ball itself is a bad thing, and I cannot give you 
money to get whiskey, nor can I allow you to go 
there. Were you to ask me for something that is 
right, I would give it, but I cannot do what is 
wrong." His reply reached my very heart. I cried 
aloud, and with bitter tears said, "Oh, father, if 
you just let me go for this time I shall never ask to 
go any more." " I cannot do it," he reiterated. 
"You are not to go to the ball, so say no more 
about it" 

If human words ever penetrated a human 
heart, those words penetrated my innermost soul. 
They stirred up the stagnant pool of my corrupt 
nature to its very bottom; and the very worst 
thoughts and feelings conceivable regarding my 
father were aroused — thoughts and feelings 
unknown to me previously. The change in my 



49 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

mind was sudden and devilish; instead of believ- 
ing my father to be the best man in the neighbor- 
hood, I now viewed him as the very worst, the 
most cruel and tyrannical that ever existed; and as 
I noticed some of my school companions passing 
our house to the ball, while I was a prisoner under 
a most cruel treatment, the inner flame of my nature 
blazed out with greater fury. My feelings became 
uncontrollable. I cried aloud. When supper-time 
drew near father put in an appearance. He looked 
at me and said, solemnly, '* Go upstairs to your bed, 
and if I hear another murmur from you I shall go 
up with the switch." Of course, I went, and al- 
though unreconciled to the sore treatment I had to 
endure, the fear of the switch kept my mouth silent. 
I had no supper that night and but little sleep. The 
trial was indeed sore; but under God, who makes 
everything work together for good to those who 
love Him, it was a blessing to me. It saved me 
from the ballroom, and from all the snares con- 
nected with it. From that time to the present day I 
have never entered a ballroom, nor had I ever any 
inclination to do so. After I left my father's house 
I was frequently invited, and urged by my asso- 
ciates to go, but I could not consent; not simply 
because I regarded the ballroom as a very bad place, 

50 



MY FIRST SCHOOLING 



I 



but chiefly because my father forbade me going to 
it. I knew it would be a great sin on my part to 
set aside his command for self-gratification, even 
though he should never hear of it. 

When the truth as it is in Jesus came with power 
to my heart, then I discovered very clearly the 
wisdom of my father's stern discipline, and many 
times I thanked God for the firmness he manifested 
in resisting my earnest and tearful pleadings on 
this occasion; for had I once entered one of these 
chambers of vice, where would my course have 
ended? It does not require very great experience 
to discover the evil tendencies of the ballroom, and 
of all those places of sport and amusement where 
lower human nature is inflamed and excited to such 
an extent as to make it uncontrollable. But on this 
subject I need not enlarge at present, as it will meet 
us again. 

The rebellion of my heart under my father's 
stem discipline calls for some explanation. Some 
may say, " How can you reconcile this with your 
early experience, when you had such simple con- 
fidence in God? Were you not under the opera- 
tions of God's Spirit from your very infancy? 
What became of your early impressions and con- 
fidence in God recorded in the preceding chapter? 



51 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

Could a wicked, unconverted person give a clearer 
proof of being under the power of sin and Satan 
than you manifested when your desires were not 
granted?" The difficulty here can easily be ex- 
plained. My early impressions, my convictions of 
sin, my prayers, my vows and resolutions, my 
simple confidence in God and longings of soul to 
please Him and to be like His people in life and 
character, all clearly show that I was not far from 
the Kingdom of God. But my zeal was not accord- 
ing to knowledge; for I knew not Christ as the 
Saviour of lost sinners. My great wonder is not, 
that after experiencing those religious feelings, I 
gave evidences that I was in my natural state, but 
that I was ever brought out of that state after hav- 
ing grieved the Spirit of God as I did. I know that 
a living Christian may fall into sin, and may remain 
under its power for some time, but God will com- 
plete His own good work in him in due time. In 
my case it was not, as some would call it, " a falling 
from grace." For we cannot fall till we are raised 
with Christ through union to Him. We must be 
subjects of saving grace before we can fall from it. 
The wise man says in Prov. 20: 11, "Even a 
child is known by his doings, whether his work be 
pure and whether it be right." This passage im- 

52 



MY FIRST SCHOOLING 



plies that children differ in their childhood, or at 
their birth, previous to any instruction given them 
either by precept or example, and that the differ- 
ence is so marked that we can anticipate what their 
manhood will be. We can discern something in the 
budding of the young tree by which we may know 
the tree in its maturity, so by the early habits, tem- 
pers and doings of the child we can tell pretty cor- 
rectly what he will be in his maturity. If he be 
deceitful, quarrelsome, obstinate, rebellious, selfish, 
we may justly have fears of his character in matur- 
ity; but if he be docile, truthful, loving, obedient, 
generous, then we feel confident that in his man- 
hood he will be a blessing to his fellow-men. No 
doubt parental watchfulness and sound Scriptural 
training will do much to remove the natural evils 
growing up in the child, and establish in his char- 
acter principles of truth and uprightness; yet pre- 
vious to any teaching which human beings can im- 
part, we find children differ from one another in 
their infancy, and the question meets us : " What 
makes the difference?" They all come from the 
same corrupt fountain, and, in the words of the in- 
spired Apostle, they are all "children of wrath." 
Some of them, it is true, are at the very dawn of 
reason docile, loving, and apparently averse to evil, 

53 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

while others, even of the same family, are violent, 
jealous, given to lies and wickedness. To attribute 
this difference to their parents will not meet the dif- 
ficulty; for sometimes the most kind and well- 
disposed parents have the worst children, while the 
most envious and malicious parents have the most 
loving and well-disposed offspring. To explain this 
difference in children we must look beyond the 
parents to the sovereign grace of God revealed by 
the Spirit's work in the soul. God said to Jeremiah, 
" Before thou camest out of the womb I sanctified 
thee." The angel told Zacharias that his son, John 
the Baptist, was to " be filled with the Holy Ghost 
even from his mother's womb." And the Apostle 
Paul takes up this very difficult point and settles it, 
as we see in Romans, where he speaks of Jacob and 
Esau. " The elder," says he, " shall serve the 
younger, as it is written, Jacob have I loved, but 
Esau have I hated." In this passage two brothers, 
born of the same parents, are introduced, and be- 
fore they were born and had done either good or 
evil, God loved one of them, which made him to 
differ from the other — loved him, not because of 
some good thing he found in him that was not in 
his brother, but loved him of His own sovereign 
good will. This certainly made him to differ from 

54 



MY FIRST SCHOOLING 



Esau his brother, and although that favored brother, 
during his youthful days, did many things which 
he should not have done, yet in his latter days he 
gave clear evidences of being a subject of grace. His 
name has a most prominent place in the Sacred 
Volume, and shall " be in everlasting remembrance " 
in the Church of the living God. 

Another incident occurred during my first school- 
ing, which I must briefly notice before passing on 
to another period, as I received a very important 
lesson in connection with it. One day coming home 
alone from school and being very hungry, I passed 
by an orchard, and seeing a large number of apples 
lying under a tree not far from me, without a 
moment's hesitation I jumped over the stone wall 
and filled my pockets with the fruit. On my way 
home I began to eat some of the stolen spoil, but 
found it not very palatable. The fruit was small, 
hard and green, and so sour that it needed more 
courage than ordinary to eat it, so I took the greater 
part home. But my father, seeing it in my posses- 
sion, asked me where I got it. I told him. "Did 
you steal it ?" said he. " Yes," was my reply. 
" Well," said he, " you must take it back ; take it 
into the house and tell the family that you stole it 
when going home from school to-day." "Oh," 

55 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

said I, " it is of no use, they are but nasty, sour 
things." " No matter," said he, " you had no right 
to take them, you knew it was wrong and you must 
take them back right off." His words were sharp 
and keenly felt. They reached my heart and I wept 
bitterly and proposed to put them where I got them. 
No, that would not do ; but " Go with them and take 
them into the house and tell them that you stole 
them," was the stern injunction. This was 
humbling in the extreme, but there was no getting 
over it. I put the fruit all back into my pockets, 
and before getting anything to satisfy my hunger 
off I went with it. Approaching the house, the 
good lady met me just in the open door. With- 
out saying a word, I passed by her to a 
large table, and to her astonishment I began 
to pour out the spoil upon it, and said : " These 
are some apples which I stole out of your 
orchard when I was going home from school to-day, 
and my father sent me back with them." I could 
not utter another word, but my tears flowed very 
copiously. She came to where I stood, laid her 
hand on my head, and began to stroke it, saying: 
" You are a good boy to bring them back," and 
pointing to the fruit lying on the table, said : " These 
are bad apples, come you with me and I shall give 

56 



MY FIRST SCHOOLING 



you better ones." I followed her through a back 
door into the orchard. She took me to a tree loaded 
with beautiful fruit and filled every pocket I had. 
Then, clapping me on the back, she said : " When 
you want more apples just come to me and I shall 
give you lots of them." This episode completely 
cured me of apple-stealing. I often passed that 
orchard, but never coveted any of its fruit, and never 
asked the good lady for more. 



57 



CHAPTER III. 

FROM THE CLOSE OF MY SCHOOL DAYS 
TILL I REACHED AMERICA. 

I AM not perfectly sure what my age was when 
I left my first school. I think I would be about 
twelve years of age. I was sixteen years and one 
month when father, mother, two sisters and myself 
left for America. Two members of the family pre- 
ceded us, and two others were left behind. 

During these four years my chief duty in sum- 
mer was to herd my father's cattle. Early in the 
morning, taking my dinner with me, and accom- 
panied by a dog, I drove my herd of cattle to the 
common, where I watched them until about sunset, 
when, with the help of my dog, I drove them home 
to their enclosure for the night. 

As all the cattle in the adjoining neighborhood 
had access to the common, the children attending 
them had the pleasure of meeting together. Their 
plays, amusements and frolics among the hills, 
heather and trees knew no bounds, except when 
quarrels arose, which, perhaps, had to be settled with 
the fists. 

58 



THE CLOSE OF MY SCHOOL DAYS 



But the more I tasted of the sweets of those 
amusements the less was I incHned to hold meet- 
ings, as I used to call them, with God, and grad- 
ually my visits to the throne of grace became less 
frequent, until I could spend days without any 
prayer. True, my regular habits of prayer I could 
not lay aside, but they became mere forms. When, 
however, anything annoyed me, or I got myself into 
trouble, then I would go to God for help, even in 
those days of indifference, for my past experience 
taught me that my help was in Him. 

Fishing and hunting occupied a good deal of my 
thought and time during those years. These 
sports were my favorites. When I could get a fish- 
ing rod or a gun in my hand my cup of pleasure 
was full. But we were not allowed to pursue these 
sports without fear, for they were prohibited by the 
law of the land. License, no doubt, could be 
secured, but it was too expensive for people of 
limited means. The prohibition was regarded as 
oppressive and unjust, and consequently it was not 
considered a great sin to violate the law when a 
good opportunity presented itself. The people drew 
a wide distinction between the laws of God and the 
laws of men which were framed for selfish pur- 
poses. They would not kill a fish, stag or any 

59 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

creature of the field upon any consideration on the 
Sabbath day; but if a deer, or a hare, or a partridge, 
or any other kind of game came within their reach 
on a week-day they hesitated not to secure it, and 
regarded the opportunity as being given them by a 
kind Providence. So the prohibition diminished 
not their hunting propensities, but rather increased 
their sport, for they had to shun the gamekeeper. 
When in search of game, the person who could bag 
the game that was watched by the gamekeeper was 
considered most clever. 

It was certainly very provoking and well fitted 
to arouse strong feelings of indignation to see the 
rich licensed men come around at certain periods 
with pointers and hounds to sweep away the 
creatures which were fed in their fields and 
meadows during the season, and almost as tame as 
their domestic animals. To frustrate the purpose of 
such men was not viewed as an evil by the people. 

Fishing with rods in small streams was allow- 
able, but fish were not very plentiful. Speckled 
trout, however, could be caught in great abundance 
in our mountain lakes, which were frequently 
visited by our sportsmen. 

In this connection a common practice may be re- 
corded, which shows the kind of training the young 

60 



THE CLOSE OF MY SCHOOL DAYS 

people received in those days. Communion ser- 
vices were held annually in every parish, beginning 
on Thursday and ending on Monday. These days 
of communion were regarded as holidays. Some 
kept them with great care and solemnity. Very 
little work was done, and the mass of the people 
went to church. But very little attention was given 
by the Church to the spiritual state of the young. 
True, domestic training was enjoyed, and some 
person might be found in the neighborhood to con- 
duct what was called Sabbath School in the even- 
ing of that day. The services were somewhat 
similar to district prayer-meetings, going from 
house to house, and attended by young and old. 
Prayers were offered, portions of Scripture were 
read, psalms, paraphrases, questions in the Shorter 
Catechism and portions of Scripture were recited, 
and all the services were ended with singing. But 
young people were viewed as being incapable of be- 
coming the recipients of saving grace or personal 
religion. Public profession on the part of young 
persons was unknown and discountenanced. So on 
communion occasions they could go to church if 
they had a desire to do so, or remain in idleness at 
home, or spend the time in amusement with one an- 
other. Some of the boys would go fishing. On dif- 

6i 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

ferent occasions I went with them. We took our 
fishing tackle along with sufficient provision for two 
or three days. This consisted of some oatmeal and 
salt; it was plain and inexpensive, but we relished 
it. As matches were unknown, we carried in our 
pockets flint, steel and paper well soaked in salt- 
petre, which would catch the sparks. 

An important event which occurred in our family 
during this period was the marriage of my two 
eldest sisters, which took place on the same day and 
at the same place and by the same minister. One 
of them left very soon after with her husband for 
America. This made that country the topic of 
thought and conversation in our family. America, 
and nothing but America, could interest us, while 
a letter now and again from Ann kept it fresh be- 
fore our minds, until finally father, mother, two 
younger sisters and myself left for America, with 
the following certificate from the parish session : 

" We hereby certify that the bearer, James Ander- 
son, a married man with a family, is a native of 
the parish, where he has resided from his infancy, 
with- the exception of a few years that he served in 
the militia; that he has always conducted himself 
honestly and industriously, free from church cen- 
sure and public scandrl ; that his wife is also of fair 

62 



THE CLOSE OF MY SCHOOL DAYS 

and unexceptionable character; that his family are 
grown up and some of them settled in different 
quarters of the world ; and two of his daughters and 
a son accompany himself and his wife to North 
America; and that there is nothing known to us 
that might prevent his and his family's admission 
into any Christian society where they may happen 
to settle. 

"Given at Abemethy, this tenth day of June, 
eighteenth hundred and thirty-nine years, by 

" (Signed) J. Stewart, Minister. 

" (Signed) William Forsyth, Elder. 

" (Signed) William Stewart, Elder. 

" (Signed) Wm. McDonald, Session Clerk/' 

We started on our journey from Greenock on a 
sailing vessel, and were about eleven weeks at sea. 
We were not always favored with smooth water. 
Our vessel, not being very large or hea\y with 
cargo, had fearful tossings. The furious waves 
would pitch it to and fro to such an extent that one 
not accustomed to a stormy sea could not but feel 
concerned. At different times we were shut down, 
having but little light, and hearing now and again 
the water rolling over our heads, we could not but 
feel our own helplessness, and think that after all 

63 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

we were never going to see America. What made 
my case more deplorable was that for some years 
past I had been forgetting God, and actually living 
without any sense of His presence. I could well 
remember my early days when I could carry all my 
troubles to God in full confidence that He would 
relieve me. But that time was gone. Something, I 
know not what, stood between me and His presence, 
and I could not approach the throne of grace as 
once I did. But as my heart was restless and pain- 
fully missing something to relieve it from its fears, 
I discovered a spot on top of some large barrels, 
which were piled up in the hold of the vessel, where 
I could on bended knees be concealed from the rest 
of the passengers. I resolved to use it, awkward as 
it was, as a place to meet God. To this spot I was 
often driven by the boisterous waves and the un- 
governable fears of my own heart, and also, I have 
no doubt, by the secret workings of the Spirit of 
God. There on the top of those barrels I formed 
new resolutions and made promises and vows on 
bended knees regarding my future life should I ever 
reach America. I knew that God could be found 
on the ocean as well as on land, and that He could 
still the waves if He saw fit. 

But it was not always stormy. We were favored 

64 



THE CLOSE OF MY SCHOOL DAYS 

with some beautiful days, when our agitated hearts 
were cahned like the waves, and we could behold 
and admire the wonders of the ocean. So upon the 
whole I enjoyed the voyage well, grew strong and 
stout, and became a favorite with some of the 
sailors, who frequently allowed me to remain on 
deck during storms when the rest of the passengers 
were shut down. 

On reaching the quarantine isle below Quebec 
our vessel was detained for two or three days, 
where we were all examined by a physician to find 
out the state of our health. One of my sisters being 
indisposed was not allowed to proceed till she was 
recovered. Father remained with her, so the rest 
of us had to continue our journey without them, and 
in due time we reached Bytown, where Ann and her 
husband resided. 



«s 



CHAPTER IV. 

A PERIOD EXTENDING FROM MY 

ARRIVAL IN AMERICA TO MY 

APPRENTICESHIP. 

Through reports and statements previously made 
in my hearing I got an impression that in America 
I could make riches with ease and in short time. 
Full of life and health, and animated by this 
erroneous idea, I commenced to work at once about 
McLauchlan's Mills, where there was plenty to do 
and good pay for it. But God in His wise provi- 
dence had a very important lesson to teach me be- 
fore any of my ideas could be carried out. I was 
only a day or two at work when I was laid up with 
a very severe and protracted fever, which kept me 
in bed for two or three months. All hope of my 
recovery vanished. Consciousness left me for some 
days. I knew nothing of a material nature. Indeed, 
those around me declared that I was dead. But I 
was not dead, but was most active during those days 
of unconsciousness, in a world of spirits, where dis- 
coveries were made to me ^vhich shall never be 

66 



MY ARRIVAL IN AMERICA 

effaced from my mind, and which conveyed many 
blessings to my soul. I shall not attempt to explain 
what they were, whether they were dreams or 
visions or imaginations formed in my own mind. 
One thing I can truly say, that to me they had a 
deep meaning and a most powerful influence for 
good ever since. My impression was that I died, 
and that as my spirit left the body I passed into a 
long, smooth, straight path leading to the gate of 
heaven, the abode of the spirits of the just. I 
noticed others going in the same direction, not just 
on the path I was following, but very near it. They 
were before me. I could not keep up to them, as 
they were going with such speed. But suddenly one 
of them disappeared out of my sight, and shortly 
after another dropped away. I wondered where 
they had gone. But as I came up to the place where 
I last saw them I discovered deep pits into which 
they had fallen. Flames of fire and smoke were 
ascending out of these pits. I became alarmed and 
stood still. Looking around me I discovered similar 
pits on every side of me, and a very wide and dread- 
ful one just before me crossing my path. Over it 
I could not go. Indeed, I was surrounded with pits 
issuing flames and smoke, so that I could not move 
one step out of the spot in which I was standing. 

67 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

The flames appeared as if they were approaching 
me. I was waiting every moment with feelings 
that cannot be described for the flames to reach me, 
or to drop into the fiery pit beside me. While stand- 
ing in that awful, hopeless state I noticed on my 
path, but on the other side of the wide pit before 
me, an individual most beautiful in appearance and 
clothed with very comely raiment, standing and 
looking at me through the flame that was blazing 
between us. I then cried to him with all my might 
for help or deliverance. Without uttering a word 
he stretched out his arm through the flame and, tak- 
ing hold of my hand, he pulled me through. He 
then left me and I proceeded on my journey till I 
reached the gate of the heavenly mansions. But 
the gate was shut. I began to knock, and the very 
person who delivered me from the fiery pit opened 
the gate. I asked to be admitted. He looked at me 
with complacency and said : " Not yet, your work 
is not yet finished. You have to go back to the 
world, and when your work is done you will be 
admitted to this blessed city." While he was speak- 
ing to me with the gate open, I saw multitudes 
which could not be numbered, all singing most 
beautiful songs which I could not understand. I 
then pleaded more earnestly with tears to be let in 

68 



MY ARRIVAL IN AMERICA 

at once, and not to be sent back again to the world. 
But he said: "You must go back, but when your 
work is done you will return and be admitted." 
" But," said I, " how can I get over those fiery 
pits that are on the way?" " I shall help you," said 
he, "to get over them." With this I became con- 
scious and opened my eyes and saw my mother 
standing weeping over what she regarded as my 
corpse. I told her not to weep, because I was to 
get better. I also related to her the wonderful 
things revealed to me, and that I was to remain in 
the world till my work was finished, and that then 
I would be admitted into heaven to be among the 
happy people I saw yonder. 

After consciousness was restored my thirst was 
excessive. I pleaded with mother for a cold drink 
of water. But no, she said the doctor had for- 
bidden it, and she could not go against orders. 
That night the person attending me fell asleep. 
This was my chance to get some water, and noticing 
at the door, about twelve or fifteen feet from my bed, 
a pailful of water, I determined to make an effort to 
get to it. I managed to roll out of bed, and on my 
hands and knees I reached the water and drank my 
fill. I then crawled back to bed, and feeling better 

69 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

of my draught made the discovery that the doctors 
are not always correct in their instructions. 

But my thirst continued, and with more earnest- 
ness than ever I pleaded with mother, I assured her 
that I was going to get better, and that she was not 
to fear that a drink of cold water would injure me. 
I told her also how I stole a drink out of the pail 
when all were sleeping the previous night, and that 
I felt the benefit of it. I also told her of a certain 
cold spring in a little grove about a mile away, and 
that if she got me a drink from it she would see 
how quickly I would get better. At last she 
promised she would get it if I would tell no one of 
it. I took her at her word, and ofif she went at the 
break of day next morning before anyone was up. 
She brought the water and gave it to me, and I 
drank till I was satisfied. From what I heard her 
say afterwards about that water I am under an im- 
pression that her prayers and her faith accompanied 
that drink; if so, she was not disappointed, for I 
began to recover from that hour. 

Being restored to health, and having as yet no 
fixed place for a home, I felt it my duty to make 
another effort to earn some money, for my pro- 
tracted illness did not increase our funds, nor did it 
remove from my mind my ambition to accumulate 

70 



MY ARRIVAL IN AMERICA 

some money; yet I trust it was the means of modi- 
fying my mind regarding all material things. My 
question was this: What could I do? My educa- 
tion was very defective, and consequently I could 
earn nothing in that line. Father's means were 
limited, and he would need all he had to secure a 
home for the family. Idleness I hated and felt it to 
be a sin. Being a complete stranger in a new coun- 
try, with very limited knowledge and without ex- 
perience, I was shut up to manual labor. But al- 
though my health was restored, yet my strength was 
nothing to boast of. The fever had reduced it very 
much, so any heavy work I could not do ; I therefore 
engaged as an errand boy to a general merchant at 
New Edinburgh, who did a large and extensive 
business in dry goods and liquors. I remained only 
a few months with him, for I felt I was not in a 
good place. The element in which I had to move was 
far from being of a healthy kind. My associates 
were of the roughest sort, and a good deal of my 
work was connected with liquors, so I was every 
day exposed to numerous temptations. When I 
think of these things I feel that I cannot sufficiently 
praise God for having preserved me from the whirl- 
pool of those evil practices and sins with which I 
was surrounded. Nothing saved me from it but an 

71 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

unseen Power. I am not surprised from what I ex- 
perienced at that time to see young people left to 
themselves among strangers, without anyone to 
guide them, falling into snares and becoming reck- 
less in their conduct and worthless in society. 

My next move was to Bytown, where I engaged 
with a government officer, or a paymaster, as he was 
called. His office was about a mile from his house, 
to which he rode every morning on horseback. Part 
of my work was to attend to his horses — have one of 
them ready for him every morning, follow him on 
foot to the office, bring the horse back, and return 
with him at a fixed hour in the afternoon. 

I also held the position of steward and had in 
charge the silverware, any loss of which had to be 
made good if the fault should in any way be traced 
to the servant. 

On one occasion a large silver tablespoon was 
missing. Its price was twenty-five shillings, and I 
was told I had to pay for it. I did not object to 
this, though I was perfectly sure that I had placed it 
where it was kept after it was last used, yet dis- 
agreeable insinuations were thrown out as if I had 
stolen it. I had a consciousness of my own in- 
nocency, but could not be very sure that it might not 
have been stolen by one of the servant girls. For a 

7* 



I 



MY ARRIVAL IN AMERICA 

week or ten days I was sorely perplexed about the 
spoon, for to have twenty-five shillings taken out of 
my wages through no fault of mine was something ; 
but to have an insinuation thrown out regarding my 
honesty was pretty hard to bear. But what could I 
do in the circumstance? Simply nothing, except 
bear patiently the trial, having the pleasant con- 
sciousness of being innocent in every respect, and in 
hopes that God would manifest my innocency some 
way or other in His own good time, as He did in 
the case of Joseph when falsely accused. And truly 
I was not disappointed! My innocency was most 
clearly shown, not as I expected, but in a very mys- 
terious manner. On a certain night when I was 
sound asleep I saw the lost spoon sunk out of sight 
in a large jar of preserved fruit. The jar was 
standing in its place in a large pantry with the 
cover on, and the spoon buried in the fruit and 
liquid, but as visible to me as if it were in a sun- 
beam. Next morning I went to the good lady and 
asked her if she had a large stone jar with preserves 
in the pantry. She said she had. " Were you usin^ 
it of late?" I asked. " Yes," she said, " some time 
ago." " Well, ma'am," said I, " if you will be kind 
enough to look in it you will find there the lost 
silver spoon." She went at once, uncovered the 

7Z 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

vessel, and to her amazement she saw the point of 
the handle, and cried out : "I declare it is here ! 
How did you know? I now remember when I last 
took some fruit out of the jar I left the spoon in it, 
and it sank down out of sight before I put the 
cover on." 

A similar discovery was made to me many years 
after this, and because it was of the same mysterious 
nature and unexplainable by any law known to me 
I record it now. It happened when I was at Lan- 
caster, Ontario, and is as follows : 

Tidings reached our family that a young child 
near Ottawa City was lost, and that the whole neigh- 
borhood were in search of it. I knew the parents of 
the child and their home. I was also well acquainted 
with the locality, as I had taught a school near by 
one summer. There was a small creek running 
through a little bush into the Rideau River not far 
from the house of the afflicted parents. On the night 
after the painful tidings reached us, and while I 
was sound asleep, I saw the child lying dead in the 
creek, part of its body on the dry ground, but its 
head in the water. I told my family in the morning 
what I had seen in my sleep, having no idea that 
anything more would be heard about it. But a few 
days after news reached us that the child was found 

74 



MY ARRIVAL IN AMERICA 

in the very spot where I saw it, and in the very 
position already described. 

Here, then, we have two very particular incidents 
of a similar nature, two singular discoveries made 
to my mind in a similar manner which I cannot even 
yet explain. They were not made through any pro- 
cess of reasoning on my part, or through a train 
of thought, such as we may have in dreams, or 
through vivid impressions from which inferences 
might be drawn : but the lost objects were suddenly 
discovered to my mind as by a flash of lightning 
on a dark night, revealing surrounding objects; nor 
can I trace these discoveries to the exercise of faith 
and prayer. There was a time in my life when very 
striking answers were g^ven to my prayers, but at 
the times here specified, I am sorry to say, I was 
not in the enjoyment of that child-like confidence in 
God which I then experienced. My mind, it is true, 
was more or less exercised and perplexed in con- 
nection with the lost objects, but they were not made 
subjects of my prayers. I am inclined to think that 
there is a law in our nature, not yet fully under- 
stood, which, if we knew it, would clearly explain 
the whole mystery. 



75 



CHAPTER V. 

FROM MY APPRENTICESHIP TO MY 
FIRST COMMUNION. 

My services in the paymaster's house were ended 
on account of his having sold out and left the town. 
I then resolved to drop the course I had been pur- 
suing in my attempts to earn money and become a 
mechanic and learn some trade. But the kind of 
trade I should pursue had to be chosen, and the very 
important question was : " What trade should I 
follow?" My first notion was to learn watchmak- 
ing, and my next was harnessmaking. I made in- 
quiries at shops in the town connected with these 
trades, but there was no opening for me in either 
of them at that time. I then applied to Kennedy and 
Blyth, cabinet-makers, who were looking for an 
apprentice, and I agreed to engage with them. They 
bound me fast in an indenture for six years, and my 
father with me. He engaged to pay five hundred 
pounds if I failed to fulfil my part of the indenture. 
The first two years I received but a mere trifle more 
than my board, nor did I get anything to do in the 
shop but rough work. 

76 



APPRENTICESHIP AND COMMUNION 

A good deal of my time was occupied in going 
on errands, staining and varnishing the furniture, 
sweeping the wareroom and such like. But in the 
course of time I was initiated into the trade, and 
soon became expert in the business, and before my 
term was ended I was able to do anything in the line 
of cabinet-making. 

During my apprenticeship I made it my duty to 
go every Sabbath morning regularly to church, 
that IS, the Presbyterian church, which I regarded 
as the church to which I belonged. Our minister 
had no evening services, but held an afternoon ser- 
vice, which only a very few attended; neither was 
there a Sabbath School, nor prayer-meeting, nor 
any religious service on any week-day, connected 
with the congregation. Spiritual death evidently 
reigned over us, and we appeared to be satisfied with 
ourselves in our dead state. The minister was regu- 
larly in the pulpit at the stated hours of worship, 
and read very nicely his moral essays ; and that was 
all I knew of him. He never spoke to me, and I had 
no inclination to speak to him. I often tried hard 
to get hold of some of his ideas delivered in the 
pulpit, but failed completely. Whether the fault was 
in me or in the discourse I cannot say; nor did it 

77 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

then trouble me much. But I got no benefit from his 
preaching; I could not take anything he said with 
me, not even his texts. 

But a change took place after the Disruption of 
the Church of Scotland, and many vacancies ensued 
which held out greater temporal inducements to 
ministers than Bytown; hence our minister took 
leave of us. There did not appear to be much sor- 
row connected with the parting. 

The congregation being vacant, candidates for the 
pulpit were heard, and one was soon chosen who 
professed to be in full sympathy with the Free 
Church in Scotland; but when put to the test the 
following year at the Synod he forsook the Free 
Church party, remaining with the Established 
Church of Scotland till his death. His preaching, 
however, differed very much from that of his pre- 
decessor. He spoke with great earnestness, which 
impressed me more than the matter of his discourses. 
Indeed, my mind became considerably exercised 
about this time with religious things. I began to 
fear that matters were not altogether right with me, 
and my soul became very restless, nor could I calm 
it down to its former state. New resolutions were 
formed, my Bible was read more regularly, and 

78 



APPRENTICESHIP AND COMMUNION 

many good things, as people call them, connected 
with religion were done by me, but failed to impart 
peace to my soul. I frequently called, in my rest- 
lessness of mind, to see the minister, but he did not 
see the nature of my trouble. He would persuade 
me that I had no cause for fear, as I was always a 
good young man, and never guilty of any open, 
scandalous sin. At that time I saw nothing wrong 
in his attempts to relieve my anxiety, for I knew 
not then the way of salvation, and I am satisfied 
now that my minister knew not how to instruct me 
or point me to the true source of peace, but like 
the false prophets of old he was " healing the 
wounds slightly, saying Peace, peace, when there 
was no peace." In the sincerity of my heart I went 
to him again and again for instruction or aid in my 
difficulties, so as to secure relief in my mind, but 
he failed, completely failed, to direct me to the way 
that leads to real peace, only assuring me that there 
was no cause for fear. But I had a painful con- 
sciousness that there was cause for alarm. I appre- 
hended great danger. The thought of death, or 
tidings of death, or a sight of the dead alarmed me. 
Why was I afraid of death when I was not sick? 
Why could I not sleep at night, or enjoy peace of 

79 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

mind in the daytime? Why was I troubled at the 
thought of God, or of the judgment day? Why 
was I like the troubled sea, never at rest? 
An answer to these questions would have 
given me some relief, though it would not have 
removed the cause of my fears. But who was to 
answer them if the minister could not do so? It 
would have been of some relief to me had anyone 
assured me that my fears and restlessness were only 
such as were common to men, and no evidence that 
I was losing my reason ; for this was my own appre- 
hension. 

Under the circumstances, and according to my 
own way of thinking, one thing I could do, and that 
was to increase my diligence in religious matters — 
pray more frequently; read larger portions of the 
Bible, and read them on my knees ; go to some relig- 
ious meeting every Sabbath evening, and join the 
church and partake of the Lord's Supper. Surely 
the doing of these things would restore peace and 
quietness to my restless soul. But did they? No. 
I was faithful and diligent in carrying out my reso- 
lutions, but my restlessness still continued. My 
doings were but clear evidence that I was then 
groping in the dark, and seeking salvation by my 

80 



APPRENTICESHIP AND COMMUNION 

own works, and attempting to calm my conscience 
and satisfy the demands of God's Law by my own 
doings. 

My first participation in the Lord's Supper 
demands special notice, as it brought about a most 
important crisis in my life. My early training led 
me to view the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper with 
very great reverence, as an ordinance which should 
not be approached by any but the true people of 
God ; and although I had great fear that I was not a 
true believer, yet I had a strong desire to go to the 
table of the Lord, and live a better life. This desire 
was brought to a point on the Communion Sabbath 
previous to the one when I first partook of the ele- 
ments. Seeing others sitting at the table, and I 
myself among the careless and ungodly, deeply 
impressed my heart. I regarded those at the table 
as a blessed people, being on the Lord's side, and 
myself as the vilest of the vile for not obeying the 
last command of the Lord Jesus. There, on that 
Sabbath morning, I solemnly vowed to God that if 
He would spare me to see another Communion Sab- 
bath, I would if permitted take my place at His 
table. This vow, solemnly made, eased my mind for 
the time being. 

8i 
6 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

Some months after this, and in prospect of the 
next communion, an invitation was given from the 
pulpit by the minister to all who had a desire to 
come for the first time to the table of the Lord to 
meet him in the manse on a day appointed. Of 
course I went, and was not only encouraged but 
urged to come to the Lord's table. I made a number 
of visits, with others, to the manse to receive the 
instructions needful for the important duty. 

I felt it my duty to write to my father and inform 
him of my purpose; and in reply received a very 
solemn and faithful letter, not discouraging me but 
solemnly cautioning me against an unworthy 
approach to the table, and assuring me that if I 
should partake unworthily of the elements it would 
be to my great injury and condemnation. His letter 
filled me with fears and dread, for I was not sure 
that I was a true-living Christian. My application, 
however, had been made, and I was under a most 
solemn vow to go forward to the table, if spared. 
So I found myself in most painful straits. To go 
to the table without an assurance that I was a living 
Christian would be dangerous, and might lead to 
my eternal condemnation ; and to keep back would 

82 



APPRENTICESHIP AND COMMUNION 

be a breach of my solemn vow, which I knew would 
be wrong, 

Satan, the great enemy of my soul, was most 
active, though at that time I was ignorant of his 
devices. Through my ignorance of my own state 
before God, and of the way of salvation through 
Christ, he endeavored to prevent me from obeying 
the command of the Lord Jesus to His followers: 
" Do this in remembrance of me." On the week of 
the Communion he stirred up one of the journey- 
men in our shop to act unreasonably and offensively 
toward me, with the design, I believe, of prevent- 
ing me from accomplishing my duty. Every man 
in the shop had a place marked out for his bench 
on the floor; and it was expected that each man 
would keep his own bench inside the mark. My 
bench, not being fastened, encroached a little on my 
neighbor's space, unknown to me; and without 
drawing my attention to it, or uttering a word, he 
gave my head a heavy blow, and placed himself in 
the attitude of fighting. I threw my arms down to 
my sides and refused to fight, but told him I would 
give him over to the magistrate for assault. I fully 
intended to carry out my threat, but after calmer 
thoughts did not lodge my complaint, and the affair 

83 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

dropped ; but my fears in going forward to the table 
of the Lord increased very much. Could I dare 
approach the elements of the Supper, and at the 
same time be at variance with a man who was work- 
ing at my side, for we were not on speaking terms ? 
I concluded it would be wrong for me to do so, and 
Matt. 5 : 23-24 seemed to direct me to this course. 
I went to see the minister, to receive his advice. I 
told him my trouble and what I purposed doing. 
He opposed my view, and would not allow me to 
think of staying away from the table, as the offence 
was not given by me ; he advised me therefore to go 
forward to my duty, and not to allow the affair to 
trouble me any more. 

The long-looked-for Communion Sabbath now 
dawned, when according to my vague idea and 
groundless expectations great discoveries of Divine 
things would be made to my soul; clear assurance 
of my union to the Lord Jesus, and my salvation 
through Him, would be imparted; and purer joys, 
and more enduring peace, than anything I had ever 
experienced, would fill my troubled heart. On the 
morning of that wonderful day I was dead to all 
material things, shut up in myself, and most sensitive 
to every change of feeling in my heart. Indeed, feel- 

84 



APPRENTICESHIP AND COMMUNION 

ings appeared to be my very life, and my heart was 
so full of them that it could contain nothing else. 
That morning I was in church in good time, and it 
was then that my real conflict b^an. Everything 
was different from my expectation. Instead of great 
discoveries of Christ and of truth being made to my 
soul, I had extraordinary and indescribable discov- 
eries of the powers of darkness; instead of clearer 
and stronger evidences of my personal salvation and 
interest in Christ, my fears and doubts increased 
beyond anything I ever experienced ; and instead of 
purer joys and more enduring and solid peace of 
mind all my joys and comforts and pleasant feelings 
forsook me. My heart was clearly discovered to be 
the abode of devils and foul spirits, choked full of 
evil thoughts, evil imaginations, evil desires, blas- 
phemous thoughts of God and of truth, and of every- 
thing that was godlike. The very utterances of the 
minister whose words I was trying to hear were 
turned to ridicule, and I found myself cursing in my 
heart, as I never did in words, everything of a godly 
nature. Truly the discovery made to me of those 
abominable and vile thoughts, too numerous and too 

85 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

vile to mention, gave me a sight of my own heart 
which I never before or after experienced. 

The time arrived, however, when the communi- 
cants were to take their places at the table. In those 
days the table extended from one end of the church 
to the other, and not in the centre pews as with us. 
There were also a number of tables, served by differ- 
ent ministers. When a person went to the table he 
could not leave it till it was dismissed. As com- 
municants were going to the table, the struggle in 
my mind was most fierce. There was someone 
whispering in my mind everything imaginable, to 
the following effect ; " You cannot go forward, for 
you have this very morning as clear an evidence 
that you are not a true believer as you could possibly 
have. In your very heart you have been blaspheming 
and cursing God, turning the very truths preached 
in your hearing since you sat down in this pew into 
ridicule. You are also on unfriendly terms with a 
man working beside you in the same shop. Your 
father solemnly charged you that it will be to your 
eternal condemnation to partake unworthily of the 
sacred elements. Such a sin will never be forgiven." 
By whispers of this nature my instructor continued 
to urge me not to venture to the table. At the time 
I knew not who he was, but was inclined to regard 

86 



APPRENTICESHIP AND COMMUNION 

him as the Spirit of God striving with me, and 
seeking to save me from the great sin of eating dam- 
nation to myself. But, oh, how greatly was I mis- 
taken! It is not now difficult to know who my 
instructor was that morning. But the last table was 
now filling up, the last invitation was given, and I 
had to decide to go or not to go, so I rose from my 
seat saying, "Let me perish rather than violate my 
solemn vow made to God on the last Communion 
Sabbath." I moved on with the rest of the com- 
municants, talking to God in my heart, and got a 
place near the centre of the table, but found no 
relief. 

As soon as I partook of the elements, my instruc- 
tor adopted another mode of reasoning with me: 
" Now," said he, " you have done it ; you have 
accomplished your ruin; you have sinned a sin unto 
death ; you have set aside the warnings of your own 
conscience, and those of your father, and have 
grieved the Spirit of God, who all this morning has 
been striving with you. That Divine Spirit will 
now leave you forever to the curse of God and to 
everlasting flames, for now there is no hope for 
you." Thus the lying enemy continued to insinuate 
into my confused mind the most discouraging 
thoughts until the services were concluded- The 

87 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

congregation being dismissed, the people went to 
their homes, but I skulked away to the woods, for 
I had a strong desire to get away from the presence 
of all human beings, and be alone where my feel- 
ings, which were almost uncontrollable and ready 
to explode, could have a free vent. The time I spent 
in that solitary bush can never be effaced from my 
mind. I tried again and again to pray, but could 
not. Words failed me, and the state of my heart I 
could not express. I could only sigh and weep. I 
was just like the Psalmist when he said, " For mine 
iniquities are gone over mine head; as an heavy bur- 
den they are too heavy for me. I am feeble and sore 
broken : I have roared by reason of the disquietness 
of my heart." Yes, I roared, and my cry, if not 
heard by human ears, must have been heard by the 
wild creatures of the woods, which fled from my 
presence. But the Lord, whose anger made me 
afraid, heard also the voice of my weeping, though 
I knew it not; hence He led me, very strikingly, to 
what brought some relief to my agitated soul. 

As I was wandering about among the trees I 
came on part of a prayer book lying under a tree. 
I took it up, opened it, and my eyes at once rested on 
a written prayer which expressed the very state of 
my soul. In the words of that prayer I poured out 

88 



APPRENTICESHIP AND COMMUNION 

my soul to God. I read the prayer aloud, but my 
heart, my very heart spoke as loud as my tongue. 
After prayer my agitated spirit was calmed a little, 
though my mind was far from being at rest. The 
darkness of the night was now approaching, and it 
would not do to remain in the woods during the 
night, lest my absence might alarm some and a party 
might be sent in search of me. I was, however, in 
a very unfit state of mind to go home, so I concluded 
to go to see the minister, who might aid me in my 
distress. When I reached his garden gate I had not 
the courage to enter, but passed and repassed it in 
the hope that the minister might notice and invite 
me in. But no, it was too dark to see anyone loiter- 
ing at the gate. At length compelling myself to 
enter, I knocked very gently. The door was soon 
opened, and I was shown into a room, where the 
minister came to see me. 

I could not intelligently describe my case to him, 
but managed at last to ask the question, " Can an 
unworthy communicant obtain pardon for the sin 
of eating and drinking unworthily at the Lord's 
table?" He seemed to be amazed, and I could 
easily see that he did not understand my case. So 
he went for the other minister who was aiding him 

89 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

on the occasion, and whose morning sermon I had 
been turning into ridicule. He was an old man and 
his hairs were white with age. He gave me a very 
sharp look, spoke a few words to me, and asked 
the pastor a question or two about me. Then he 
directed me to Isa. 50: 10, "Who among you that 
feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the voice of his ser- 
vant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light: 
let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon 
his God." With this passage in my mind, which I 
could not obey, I went home. Not to eat or sleep, 
for these were forgotten and had no place in my 
thoughts. The night was spent in restlessness. 

Next morning I was at my bench, vainly attempt- 
ing to hide my distress from those around me in the 
shop. But God's time of deliverance was now near 
at hand. A portion of the passage to which I was 
directed by the minister the previous night was 
still lingering in my mind — " Let him trust in the 
name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." This 
was something I could not do, and yet I was 
enjoined to do so by God's Word. But how? A 
paraphrase which I had once learned came now with 
Divine power to my memory, and drove home to my 
heart the passage alluded to : 

90 



APPRENTICESHIP AND COMMUNION 

" Trust in the Lord, forever trust, 

And banish all your fears; 
Strength in the Lord Jehovah dwells 

Eternal as His years." 

A power beyond anything I ever knew reached every 
faculty of the inner man, and caused every fibre of 
my body to spring as if new life was imparted to 
my whole spirit, soul, and body. The change was 
so sudden and visible in my outward appearance 
that it must have been seen by all around me. I 
sang aloud for joy, and the plane which I held at 
the moment in my hand seemed to be moving with 
more ease and freedom than ever before. 

In looking back to this my first communion, I can- 
not discover any exercise of faith on my part during 
the solemn services of that Sabbath morning. My 
character was rather that of a seeker than a believer. 
I went forward, not as I ought, declaring myself 
to be one of the followers of Christ, but as one 
seeking salvation, or seeking rest for a troubled 
soul. This distinction was then unknown to me, 
nor was it set before me in coming to the table. I 
have my fears also that in my first approach to the 
ordinance I used it, not as a means of grace, but 
attempted to put it in place of Christ, or to make a 

91 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

Christ of it. An anxious penitent in such a con- 
dition as to have no assurance of his being a true 
believer, yet deeply sensible of his need of pardon 
and sincerely seeking evidence of his union with 
Christ, may be advised to go forward to the table 
of the Lord and use it as a means through which he 
may attain the assurance for which his soul is long- 
ing. This seems to be the state of mind I was in at 
my first communion. 

I can now clearly see the unseen but gracious 
and compassionate hand of God in leading me 
through a course which I knew not, and fulfilling to 
me the blessed promise, " I will bring the blind by 
a way they knew not : I will lead them in paths they 
have not known : I will make darkness light before 
them, and crooked things straight. These things 
will I do unto them, and not forsake them." Many 
a time I thanked God in my very heart for His guid- 
ance on this occasion. He allowed me not to follow 
the direction of the lying instructor that was then 
determined to ruin my soul, but caused that com- 
munion, unworthy though I was, to be the means of 
unspeakable blessing unto me in after years. For 
through it I was brought to a decision to follow 
Christ henceforth, and regarded myself as under a 
sacred oath to be loyal to God and truth, and never 

92 



APPRENTICESHIP AND COMMUNION 

to go back to sin and its pleasures. Through it I 
obtained some knowledge of the devices of the great 
enemy of human souls, and of his deceitful modes 
of attack, in assuming friendly aspects, and making 
the anxious and confused penitent believe his own 
abominable suggestions to be those of the Holy 
Spirit of God. I gained some important experience 
which has been a safeguard to me all my lifetime, 
and a great help in my attempts to direct inquirers 
in the way of salvation during my ministrations. 



93 



CHAPTER VI. 

FROM MY ENROLMENT AS A MEMBER OF 

THE CONGREGATION TO THE 

DISRUPTION. 

The enrolment of my name among the members 
of the congregation introduced me to a class of per- 
sons different from those with whom I had been in 
the habit of associating; and very soon I formed 
new acquaintances. Two young men who seemed 
to be of a spirit similar to my own became my close 
companions. For prudential reasons I withhold 
their names; but as they must be frequently men- 
tioned in this chapter they shall be known by the 
initials W. L. and D. H. We came to be very much 
attached to one another, and embraced every oppor- 
tunity of meeting with each other. We would meet 
sometimes on the streets, at times in the fields, and 
at other times on the roads, after working hours. 
Our conversation was generally on religious things. 
One of us would sometimes have a book or a tract, 
and would read something which interested his own 
mind, for the benefit of the rest; and thus we 
endeavored to help one another in following our 

94 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

Christian course. There was no meeting for prayer 
connected with the congregation. Neither minister 
nor elder nor member seemed to think that anything 
of that nature was needed. " How could we have 
such?" was a question that we solemnly considered. 
We were but young in profession, and young in 
years; limited also in our knowledge of Scripture. 
Would it not then appear to be a piece of daring 
presumption on our part even to propose such a 
thing to the leaders of the congregation, who might 
be our fathers? Our difficulties appeared to be 
insurmountable. But we had the will, and were 
determined to find the way, to start a meeting for 
prayer. After a good deal of discussion we agreed 
to get the key of the church, and meet together there 
with closed doors. We succeeded in our plan. We 
would meet first outside the church at a time 
appointed with pieces of candles in our p>ockets, and 
of course, our Bibles: then we would enter the 
church, lock the door, light our candles, see that the 
blinds were down, and begin the service. We first 
sang, then read, and then on bended knees prayed. 
Each had to take his turn in leading, select some- 
thing to sing, read a portion of Scripture, and then 
lead in prayer. 

In the course of time we began to think that we 

95 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

were not doing right, and that it was selfish on our 
part to exclude all others, by our closed doors, from 
the meeting which we ourselves found so profitable. 
But how could we help it — give up our meeting? 
No, we must not think of such a thing. Should we 
take upon ourselves to conduct a meeting for prayer 
in the presence of young and old in a congregation 
where a prayer-meeting was never held and 
expose ourselves to the ridicule of the profane, 
and appear presumptuous to the cold moralist? 
W. L. was the oldest of the three, and had more 
intelligence and also a better command of lan- 
guage than either D. H. or myself, but he would 
not undertake the leadership of a meeting. After 
a good deal of consultation we concluded to visit our 
pastor and set our difficulties before him, and ask 
his help. We went to him and were well received, 
and he made us believe it would be his joy to be 
one of our number at our meetings. Next Sabbath 
he announced the meeting from the pulpit. 

The evening appointed for the meeting arrived, 
and the three boys, as they were called, were in 
church a little before the time, to open the door 
and arrange things. Then the people began to 
assemble, and came in crowds, but the minister was 
not yet present. The hour arrived, but with it no 

96 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

minister. The eyes of the people gazed upon the 
boys. " What are we to do ?" was the question 
whispered among them. " Let us wait a little yet ; 
he will be here shortly." He did not come, yet we 
continued to hope. But " hope deferred maketlt 
the heart sick." Our hearts got sick. Yet it was pi 
no use, we had to face our duty; and to face also a 
large assembly of people, many of whom came for 
curiosity's sake. " W. L.. you must begin the ser- 
vice; you are the oldest. "Well, I shall, if you 
follow." " All right, go on." The meeting was 
then commenced. We sang, we read, we prayed, 
each boy in his turn, as when the doors were locked. 

The meeting was continued from week to week 
till a division of the congregation took place in con- 
nection with the Disruption of the Church of Scot- 
land. The minister whose assistance we expected 
visited our meeting only once during its existence in 
the church, which was at his door. 

A very peculiar incident occurred at one of our 
closed-door meetings, the mysterious nature and 
cause of which, though I am unable to explain, I 
must record, for I was greatly encouraged and 
strengthened by the incident. One evening as I was 
leading the meeting I got into an indescribable state 
of mind while engaged in prayer. I have no better 

97 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

name for it than " trance." It may appear strange 
to some, and truly it is strange to myself. I lost 
all consciousness of everything of a material nature, 
and became absorbed in conversation with an 
unseen being, who directed me to Psalm 128, which 
is as follows : " Blessed is every one that feareth 
the Lord; that walketh in his ways. For thou 
shalt eat the labor of thine hands : Happy shalt 
thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife 
shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine 
house: thy children like olive plants round about 
thy table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed 
that feareth the Lord. The Lord shall bless thee 
out of Zion : and thou shalt see the good of Jeru- 
salem all the days of thy life. Yea, thou shalt see 
thy children's children and peace upon Israel." I 
am not sure whether this psalm was read or sung at 
our meeting or not. But it was written in my mind 
at any rate, and the latter part of it can never be 
effaced from it. The Unseen One who directed me 
to it assured me, made me feel and believe, that my 
own future life was there, in that Psalm. I must 
have been a good while in that mysterious state, for 
both my associates were present, and noticed some- 
thing peculiar about me. They went home with 
me, one on each side. We walked together (of this 

98 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

I was conscious) in silence. When my home was 
reached I came to myself, and walked upstairs alone 
to my room with the words of the Psalm, espe- 
cially the latter portion of it, as clearly before me as 
if my eyes were looking at them. From that night 
I never doubted that the promises of the hundred 
and twenty-eighth Psalm would be verified in my 
life. On different occasions since, so far as human 
eyes could see, my latter end was near, and those 
around me gave me over to death ; nevertheless that 
Psalm came home with power to my mind, and 
assured me that its precious promises made to me 
were not up to that date fulfilled, and therefore I 
had still to live and see them verified in every part. 
What made the promises most striking is the fact 
that the idea of a home or marriage, or anything of 
that nature, had no place in my thoughts or inclin- 
ations. 

Anyone acquainted with my history can easily 
see in my life the fulfilment of those promises. I 
record this to the praise of God, who in the midst 
of deser\'ed wrath has been remembering mercy. 
I am not sure if the promises in that Psalm are 
fully exhausted even yet, for my past life has been 
revealing to me that they contain more than I first 
discovered when they were given. 

99 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

About this time my attention was drawn to the 
fact that prayer and fasting were practised among 
the early Christians, and by eminent men of God 
in our own day; and that in the Sermon on the 
Mount fasting is spoken of as a Christian duty, the 
same as prayer, and that similar directions are there 
given for both. Hence we read, " When thou pray- 
est thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are," etc., 
and again, " Moreover, when ye fast, be not as the 
hypocrites, of a sad countenance," etc. I decided 
then to make use of both as a means whereby I 
might overcome my numerous temptations and beset- 
ments. It was not my purpose to refrain altogether 
from partaking of any food but to partake sparingly 
and give myself more fully to prayer for what I 
particularly felt myself to be in need of. This pur- 
pose I carried out in such a manner that no one in 
the house, so far as I know, suspected me of fasting. 
I continued the practice until I found it was doing 
me physical injury. As I generally suffered after 
my college studies whenever I fasted, and as I felt 
it to be wrong to do anything tending to injure my 
good constitution, I finally concluded that my fast- 
ing practice should be regulated by my own experi- 
ence; if I found that I was aided by it in the per- 
formance of my religious duties, then I was to fol- 

?Q0 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

low it ; but, on the other hand, if I discovered that 
it tended to weaken and hinder me in such duties, 
I should refrain from it. 

My first attempt I can never forget, for it was 
a time of most extraordinary conflict. It would 
seem that the powers of darkness were let loose 
to accomplish my present and eternal ruin by an 
unseen but powerfully felt influence, which no 
human tongue can describe or human power resist. 
This will appear as I relate the attack, which was as 
follows. What I purposed on the occasion was to 
partake of food sparingly on the day appointed, and 
give myself more fully to prayer ; then spend the 
night alone in the workshop in prayer and study of 
Scripture. Nothing special occurred during the day. 
When night came I went to the workshop to carry 
out my purpose, and with a candle and my Bible 
ascended to the wareroom on the second story of 
the building, where a lot of furniture was kept. 
After lighting my candle and carefully hiding its 
light from the window by putting it inside a piece 
of furniture, I began the solemn services of the 
night. But to my amazement and terror I found 
myself, as it were, in the hands of the wicked one, 
and without any power to resist his dreadful pro- 
posals. In the plainest possible manner he set be- 

lOI 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

fore me his wicked plan of my present and eternal 
ruin, and dared me to resist it. He influenced my 
mind so mysteriously and so powerfully that I felt 
myself perfectly helpless to resist his cruel and hellish 
suggestion. I regarded myself as being in his hand, 
and felt a kind of impelling influence thrown around 
me which I cannot describe, driving me forward to 
my ruin, and which I knew to be wrong. His plan 
was clearly set before me. I was to extinguish my 
light, go downstairs, out through a window and not 
by the door, then proceed to a high projecting rock 
which hangs over the Ottawa River about forty or 
fifty feet above the surface of the water, and be- 
tween two or three hundred yards from the shop; 
and from that projecting rock I was to leap into the 
river below. In obedience to his imperative com- 
mand I extinguished my light, went downstairs and 
threw up the window, but forgot to let it down 
again as I had been instructed. The night was very 
dark. I was, however, made to run through the 
darkness toward the dreadful rock, feeling the 
enemy, as it were, behind me, and impelling me for- 
ward with irresistible force. I came to a small 
cedar-bush near the point. But just there, with the 
swiftness of a thunderbolt, the thought rushed 
through my distracted mind : " Now, before you 

I02 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

do it, call to God for help !" I gave vent to a most 
dreadful and terrific cry to God for help, at the same 
time seizing the cedar-bush with a death-grip, as if 
to resist the force that seemed to be impelling me 
forward. In a moment of time another thought 
seized my mind, " Run back !" Back I went with 
all the swiftness in my power, with an impression 
that the enemy was still pursuing, to prevent my 
progress, I reached the window, and, finding it 
open, my trembling heart was afforded some relief. 
A large stick stood near it, which I grasped as if 
my life depended on it, and turning around to face 
the foe, I put myself into a fighting attitude. But 
the enemy was not to be seen with bodily eyes. So 
I hastened through the window, which I closed with 
trembling hands ; then back to the wareroom, where 
the rest of the night I spent in fear, yet attempting 
to carry out my purpose of prayer. By the grace of 
God the enemy was foiled and my unprofitable life 
was spared; but I cannot say that my special object 
was attained, for my bondage still remained. 

Another attack, somewhat similar to that now 
described, was made upon me some time after this. 
There was a Gaelic-speaking man living on a farm 
about a mile and a half from Bjrtown. It was told 
me that he was in a dying condition, without anyone 

103 . 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

saying a word to him about the salvation of his 
soul. As I spoke at that time as much Gaelic as 
English, I thought I might be of some service to 
him, and that I would go and see him. I keenly felt 
my utter unfitness to talk to anyone on religious 
topics, and especially a dying man, but longed very 
much to meet someone that would speak to me about 
my soul; for I was in great anxiety of mind, and 
had not a clear knowledge of the way of salvation, 
although I had some knowledge of Bible truths. I 
learned from the Shorter Catechism that "all men 
fell with Adam in his first transgression " ; that 
man needed to be eflfectually called by the Spirit of 
God; that by nature he was under the wrath and 
curse of God ; and that before God he was justified, 
not by anything he himself could do, " but through 
the righteousness of Christ imputed to him, and 
received by faith alone." But though these great 
truths were made known to me, and I believed 
them, yet the way of salvation through the cross 
was far from being clear to me. Therefore I hesi- 
tated very much to go and speak to the dying man 
about things that I knew not. But I felt I could 
at least read to him from the Bible in his own lan- 
guage, and might also offer a word or two of prayer, 
and so I went to see him after my day's work. I 

104 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

found him very weak and in the last stages of con- 
sumption. At my first visit I only read and prayed, 
but he soon showed an inclination to ask questions, 
which encouraged me to ask a question or two of 
him r^arding his future prospects; these he read- 
ily answered in words to the following effect: 
" Well," said he, " I think I have no cause to fear 
the future, for I never cheated anyone. I was never 
g^ven to profane language, but was always honest 
and a good neighbor ; and as God is merciful, I trust 
all will be well with me." I then asked him if he 
knew anything of a change of heart. From his 
answer I easily discovered that he knew nothing of 
that change in his own experience. I then inquired if 
he was in the habit of reading the Bible, or praying 
in secret, or in his family. He was not regular in 
any of these duties. I then asked if he was in the 
habit of going to church when in health, and trying 
to keep the Sabbath day holy. " It would be of no 
use," said he, " for me to go to church, as I could 
not understand what would be said." I then 
gathered up his answers, and endeavored to show 
him that they were not satisfactory, so far as I could 
see. All the good things he was doing were but 
a sandy foundation to rest his soul upon, and that 
living so long without a knowledge of Christ, and 

105 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

without praying or even reading the Bible, was a 
great sin in the sight of God, and needed to be re- 
moved by the blood of Christ before he could be 
prepared to meet God. I said but little on these 
solemn topics, for they were at that time too deep 
for me. But what I said was plain and simple and 
very pointed, and uttered under deep feeling; for 
I had need of pardon as well as the sick man. After 
prayer I left him, but returned in about a week, and 
found him in great trouble of mind. Both his ap- 
pearance and utterances alarmed me. He would 
smite the walls of his chamber with his elbows, con- 
demning himself in the strongest terms for his past 
life. " Oh," said he, fixing his despairing eyes on 
me, as if I were the cause of the trouble, " I could 
tear the very flesh off my bones for spending the 
days of my health so carelessly in sin! I now see, 
as you said when here last, that my honesty and 
good deeds are but a sandy foundation, and can 
never save my soul. Alas ! Alas ! I am lost ! lost ! 
lost! What can I do?" I was standing speechless 
and trembling at his bedside, feeling my own guilt- 
iness before God, and wishing in my very heart that 
I had never entered the house, and fearing that I 
had done the sick man a great iniir y by what I had 
said. The only thing I could do was to read a por- 

io6 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

tion of Scripture to him without uttering a word of 
my own to explain it. I commenced to read the one 
hundred and third Psalm. Before I was done read- 
ing I noticed that he became calmer. Before engag- 
ing in prayer I asked him if he had been helped. 
" Oh, yes/' said he, " did you not hear Him speak- 
ing to me?" "Who spoke to you?" was my 
response. " My Saviour did. Did you not hear 
Him speaking to me ? He spoke loud enough to be 
heard." "What did He say to you?" " He said," 
quoting the twelfth verse of the Psalm, " * As far as 
the east is from the west, so far has he removed my 
transgressions from me.' " " And do you believe 
that?" said I. "I do," said he; "all my sins are 
now separated from me. They can never meet me 
again. Oh, blessed Saviour, He has done it!" I 
made many visits to this man's house after the 
change took place, and from what I witnessed I 
have reason to believe that his repentance was real. 
An instance which may show the reality of the 
change may be mentioned. One Sabbath as I was 
sittii^ with him in his chamber two of his thought- 
less companions came in. He received them kindly 
and asked them to sit down. They began to speak 
of worldly affairs — of the promising appearance of 
the crops, and such like. He turned his head toward 

107 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

them, and looking very compassionately at them, 
said, " My friends, I am glad to see you, but if you 
have nothing better to talk about, be kind enough to 
leave the room, for I have had in the past too much 
of that kind of talk on the Lord's Day." And point- 
ing his hand toward me, he said, " Allow this boy 
to read something out of his Bible." His com- 
panions arose and went out. They had no heart for 
religious worship conducted by a boy. 

I now come to notice the attack of the enemy con- 
nected with these visits already alluded to. Upon 
one occasion, as I left the chamber of sickness about 
midnight, I found it to be extremely dark, and the 
following thoughts rushed through my mind with as 
much clearness and power as if a person accompany- 
vfig me uttered them : " You have now been teach- 
ing that poor dying man very falsely. By your 
erroneous doctrines you have disturbed his peace and 
confidence in God. What right had you, who know 
not the truth yourself, to attempt to teach him? 
You have more need to be taught yourself. You 
are still in your natural state, and consequently 
under the wrath and curse of God. You are making 
people believe that you are a true Christian, when 
you have no evidence that you are. Your sins are 
very great, and can never be forgiven you, and God 

io8 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

this very night is to teach you a lesson which you 
will never forget" 

My weapons of defence were but very feeble and 
few, for I knew not the Scriptures, and was unable 
to defend myself by any process of reasoning. In- 
deed, I felt that many of the enemy's insinuations 
were true. But I still hoped that if I injured the 
sick man by false teaching. God would pardon me, 
as I did it ig^orantly, and, besides, I said but very 
little ; I only read to him portions of Scripture. And 
if the reading of Scripture disturbed his peace and 
confidence in God, I was not to be blamed; and al- 
though his peace was disturbed, he was greatly com- 
forted by hearing the one hundred and third Psalm 
read, without one word of explanation on my part. 
And further, as my motives, as far as I could see, 
were pure in visiting him, I had a faint hope that 
God would protect me on my way home. 

With thoughts of this nature I was attempting 
to defend and encourage myself as I groped along. 
Gradually I gained sufficient courage to sing, now a 
few lines of a psalm, and again of a paraphrase. 

" God is our refuge and our strength. 
In straits a present aid; 
Therefore although the earth remove, 
We will not be afraid. 

109 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

" Trust in the Lord, forever trust, 
And banish all your fears; 
Strength in the Lord Jehovah dwells, 
Eternal as His years." 

As I was moving forward I noticed at my feet a 
good solid stick. I picked it up with a feeling that 
it might be of some service to me, for I expected 
that the enemy would do something to me before I 
reached home. My path led through a quarter of a 
mile of thick bush, the abode of wild beasts, and a 
hiding-place for the lowest characters of the human 
race. As I entered the bush, darkness like that of 
Egypt prevailed, and every stump or log which met 
me seemed to have life and be ready to spring upon 
me, which made me hold my club with a stronger 
grip. But I got through the bush and came to the 
limits of the town; here I had to pass through a 
lane which had a board fence on both sides about six 
feet high. On one side was a large lumber-yard, 
and as I came to a gate leading into it two large 
bulldogs sprang out, one after the other. The first 
nearly had hold of my throat, but in a moment my 
back was turned to the fence on the other side, and 
with all the might at my command my solid club 
came down on his big head. He squealed, and could 
do no more ; then came the other, which was served 

no 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

in the same manner. I left them, with some fears 
that they would die, but saying in my heart, " Let 
him come with more bulldogs if he choose." I went 
on greatly relieved, feeling that God had once more 
secured to me victory over my great enemy. 

It will be seen that I at this time was in bondage 
to fear. I was afraid of death, afraid of the Judg- 
ment Day, afraid of erroneous ideas of Divine truth, 
afraid that my reason was yielding, and that I would 
soon be a subject ripe for the lunatic asylum, afraid 
of the devices of Satan, afraid of God — in a word, 
I was afraid of everything. These fears gendered 
bondage in my soul. There was no lack of earnest- 
ness or of zeal or of activity in church work, or of 
sincerity on my part; but all these good qualities 
were put into lively exercise in working out a right- 
eousness of my own. Just like the Jews of old, 
" being ignorant of God's righteousness," I " went 
about to establish a righteousness of my own." I 
knew, intellectually, that human acts, no matter how 
good or how numerous they might be, were but a 
sandy foundation to rest the soul upon for salvation, 
as I had told the sick man I was visiting ; but at that 
time I myself had nothing else to rest upon. 

But God was not always a wilderness to me, nor 
did He leave me long in such a desperate state of 

III 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

mind, nor allow me to be tempted more than I could 
bear, but frequently led me to places of rest and 
sweet enjoyment. One Sabbath morning I was up 
early before any other in the house, and went to the 
workshop with my Bible, so as to be free from all 
distraction. I entered the shop, locked the door, 
and began to read, on my knees, the twenty-fifth 
Psalm, endeavoring to make its great truths my 
own. The peace and joy which I experienced that 
morning were beyond description. Every sentence 
of the Psalm and every expression appeared most 
suitable to my state of mind, and came home to my 
heart with extraordinary comfort. Particularly did 
my thoughts rest on verse fifteen : " Mine eyes are 
ever toward the Lord : for he shall pluck my feet 
out of the net." For the first time in my life I dis- 
covered where my strength lay. Not in my peni- 
tency, not in my repentance, not in my faith, not 
in anything I could do, but simply in the Lord, who 
alone was able to pluck my feet out of the net, and 
secure to me the liberty which my soul longed to 
possess. I left the shop that morning with Divine 
praise in my heart, thinking that it would be about 
breakfast time. But when I entered the house I 
found, to my amazement, that not only was break- 
fast over but that all the family were off to church. 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

So completely were my thoughts absorbed by the 
precious truths of the Psalm that I lost all calcula- 
tion of time and felt no need of food that morning. 

About this time I came across an old book which 
described my state of mind most minutely. It 
showed my inner man as in a mirror. Oh, how it 
encouraged me, proving to me beyond a doubt that 
others had similar trials to my own, and that no 
temptation had taken me but such as is common to 
man. 

I was now led to write to my father regarding 
my rebellion while a boy at his refusal to allow me 
to attend the ball in the school, the day I was made 
king. I had often tried to heal the wound that was 
made then, by making myself believe that balls were 
not very bad things and that my father was pre- 
judiced against them. By the thoughtless and dead 
professor such sports may be regarded as healthy 
recreation, but it is not so with the anxious sinner; 
for he soon discovers them to be devices of Satan, 
leading away from God, drowning all serious 
thought and impression, and unfitting the mind for 
Divine worship. 

In my letter to father I acknowledged the sinful- 
ness of the conduct then manifested by me and the 
wisdom of his stem command, which had been of 

113 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

great benefit to me ever since I left home, in pre- 
venting me from going to such places of mirth. I 
set forth also the change which had taken place in 
my mind regarding the ballroom, which I now re- 
garded as a snare of Satan by which he was oppos- 
ing the work of grace in the heart, and hoped that 
father would attribute my rebellious conduct to 
my ignorance, and forget it; assuring him at the 
same time that my sinful conduct had often been 
acknowledged before God, to whom I looked for 
pardon, 

I soon received a short reply, in which he did 
not so much as allude to what pained my mind, but 
in words to the following effect he said : " I am 
glad to learn from your letter that your mind is 
exercised on religious things, but sorry after read- 
ing all its contents that I did not meet, even once, 
the name of Christ or of Jesus ; and I fear it is be- 
cause you know Him not." This was a very differ- 
ent reply from what I expected. It reached my very 
heart. What ! not met even once the name of Christ, 
" because you know Him not." This was a new 
discovery to my bewildered soul, a new light to my 
darkened mind. But it was true. In the twenty- 
fifth Psalm I was directed to God as the only One 
who could pluck my feet out of the net, but now I 

114 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

was directed specially to Christ as the only source 
of freedom from the bondage of sin. It was not 
enough to know who could pluck my feet out of the 
net ; it was not enough to be freed even from the net ; 
but I had to know Christ the Anointed One, and 
become one with Him. But who is to lead me to 
Him? I know Him not, nor do I know where or 
how to find Him. This became now the great ab- 
sorbing question of my thoughts. It was a most 
humbling and deplorable truth, that with all my 
repentance, my prayers and fastings, and my painful 
conflicts with Satan, I was still ignorant of Christ 
as my surety; He had not the place in my heart 
which belonged to Him. Wonder of wonders, how 
can it be accounted for? How far a man may go 
in religious things without having a knowledge of 
Christ ; how truly he may resemble a true Christian 
without being one. This was true of me at any 
rate. The Spirit of God, no doubt, was then work- 
ing in me and preparing me during a long period of 
anxiety and conflict, though I knew it not, for 
future usefulness ; so that I could comfort others in 
trouble by the comfort wherewith I myself had been 
comforted of God. 

In my confused state of mind, is it any wonder 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

that I was restless? The secret of this restlessness 
is evident. Christ, the resting-place of the soul, was 
not known ; nor did I know anyone to care for me or 
direct me to the source of true rest, I tried the 
minister, but found him a blind guide. It would 
have been to me a great encouragement to have met 
anyone who could have pointed out the way of life. 
In the hope of having my difficulties removed I 
called on one of the elders of the congregation, 
whom I regarded as a wise and good man. I be- 
sought him with many tears to examine me and see 
if he could understand my case — tell me what was 
wrong with me and what I ought to do. He put me 
off by promising to call at the shop and have a talk 
with me. I expected him the next day, but weeks 
passed and still no visit from the elder. One even- 
ing, while standing at the shop door, I noticed my 
elder coming out of his house. Of course I con- 
cluded, as he must have seen me, that the promise 
would now be fulfilled. But no, the elder's mind 
must have been occupied with something of more 
importance to him than my state of mind, for he 
turned away in the opposite direction. I saw that 
he was to go from Upper to Lower Town, and 
across the Government Hill, and that by taking an- 

ii6 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

other road I could intercept him. This I succeeded 
in doing. I met him just on the top of the hill, no 
one being near us; a quiet spot where he had an 
excellent opportunity of talking to me. I told him I 
was glad to meet him; that I had been looking for 
a visit from him for some time; that my mind was 
still in great trouble, and that I knew not what was 
wrong with me. A large stone stood near us. " Let 
us sit on this stone," said he. I commenced to state 
my difficulties, but before uttering a complete sen- 
tence, he noticed some person a good distance from 
us, and said, " Oh, I see a person over yonder to 
whom I want to speak. Excuse me." He left me 
sitting on that cold stone (an emblem of his cold, 
stony heart), which I baptized with many tears 
before I left it. Perhaps he thought that I was 
insane, and perhaps I was; but I was in search of 
the path of wisdom, and if he knew that heavenly 
path he should have pointed it out to me. 

" What am I to do now ?" was my painful ques- 
tion. " I have tried the minister ; I have tried the 
leading elder of the congregation; I have tried the 
reading of Scripture; I have tried prayer and fast- 
ing and church meetings ; I have tried everything I 
can think of, yet I have no rest in my soul." How 

117 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

could I have rest when I knew not Christ, God's 
appointed resting-place for the immortal soul? 

I heard of a certain man who lived about three 
miles from town, whom some people called a great 
hypocrite. I concluded to try him also. I was not 
acquainted with him. Indeed, to my knowledge I 
had never seen him, and all that recommended him 
to me was that some people called him a hypocrite. 
But how could I see him ? If my shop-fellows knew 
that I went to see him about the state of my soul 
they would laugh at me and think that I was crazy. 
But crazy or not crazy, I felt I should visit the man. 
Nicodemus-like, I decided to go and see him in the 
night. So on a certain evening, as it was about 
time to retire for the night, instead of going to my 
room I slipped out of the door. The night was very 
dark, but I groped along till I reached the locality, 
where a person met me on the road. I asked him if 
he knew a man in the place called A. W. He said, 
" I do, and if you follow the road you are on you 
will come to a little shanty on your right-hand side ; 
that is A. W.'s house. It is not far, though you 
cannot see it." I moved along and soon came to 
the shanty. A. W. himself came to the door. I 
went in, and we spent the most of the night together. 
He read a number of passages of Scripture to me 

ii8 



ENROLMENT IN THE CONGREGATION 

and prayed. He then wrote out a long list of 
passages, which I was to take with me and pray 
over. He encouraged me very much, and assured 
me that my troubles were common among the 
people of God. We parted, and I reached home just 
when the day was breaking, and no one in the shop 
knew that I had been away that night. 



119 



CHAPTER VII. 

FROM THE DISRUPTION TO MY CALL 
TO THE MINISTRY. 

The principles which agitated the Church of 
Scotland and caused its disruption reached Bytown, 
and were very warmly discussed. Our minister ad- 
vocated the principles of the Free Church, and very 
soon the whole congregation was more or less in 
sympathy with her. So it was a great surprise when 
he returned from the Synod at Kingston, where the 
division of the Canadian Church took place, an Old 
Kirk man. 

A week or two after his return a meeting of the 
congregation was called to hear his report of the 
proceedings of Synod. A large number of the con- 
gregation assembled, and after devotional exercises 
the minister began to give his report of the Synod's 
proceedings, and to explain the cause of the division 
which had there taken place, at the same time 
attempting to justify his own conduct in remaining 
with the Established Church of Scotland. But there 
were some in the congregation too well posted to be 

1 20 



THE DISRUPTION 



imposed upon by a one-sided report such as he was 
giving; hence some rather awkward questions were 
put to him connected with some of his statements, 
which he found not easy to answer. It was very 
evident that many in the congregation were not sat- 
isfied with the stand he had taken, hence a motion 
was made, seconded, and ably supported, that all 
who were in sympathy with the Free Church of 
Scotland, and approved of the principles which 
caused the disruption there, retire, and withdraw 
their connection from the congregation. As the 
minister seemed unwilling to put the motion to the 
meeting, some of the congregation got a little ex- 
cited and began to gather their books. The minister 
sprang to his feet and proposed to sing the one hun- 
dred and thirty-third Psalm : 

" Behold how good a thing it is, and how becoming 
well, 
Together such as brethren are in unity to dwell." 

But he could not get any to sing, as some felt that 
purity and sound principle, truth and righteousness 
came even before brotherly love. Hence one indi- 
vidual after another, one family after another, rose 
and moved toward the door, leaving the excited 
minister, and the church, at the disposal of those 

121 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

who adhered to the Old Kirk. The party who left 
were soon organized as a congregation in connection 
with the Free Church of Scotland. 

The division reached the weekly prayer-meeting 
conducted by the three boys, who unfortunately were 
not of one mind regarding the dispute which was 
agitating the congregation, W. L. did not consider 
that the Canadian Church had anything to do with 
the quarrels of the Church of Scotland. D. H. had 
but little to say, and considered himself to be 
neutral. But I felt strongly that it was my duty to 
testify in favor of the principles of the Free Church. 
For some days W. L. and myself discussed both 
sides of the important question, but failed to agree. 
I felt that I could no longer remain in connection 
with the Established Church of Scotland, but was 
sorry to have to withdraw from the prayer-meeting 
and part with the minister, whom I still respected, 
and with whom I was on intimate terms. But my 
feelings were not to rule my reason, nor prevent 
me from carrying out my convictions. So at the 
close of the last prayer-meeting I attended in the 
church I stated with trembling words and broken 
sentences that I could not any longer remain in con- 
nection with the Church of Scotland, and that I 
felt it my duty to withdraw from the prayer-meet- 

122 



THE DISRUPTION 



ing. I stated that I was not to give up prayer, but 
purposed holding a meeting in the house of Mr, 
D. K., and that anyone who was of the same mind 
as myself might come there every week. I wished 
them all spiritual prosperity and hoped they would 
have the Divine Presence at all their meetings. 

I felt pretty sure that two or three of us would 
meet at D. K.'s house, but to my surprise the meet- 
ing was as large as that in the church. Indeed, so 
far as I could discover all who were in the habit of 
attending the meeting in the church were present, 
except W. L. and the minister's family. 

The new congregation which had been organized 
worshipped in the Methodist Church, Lower Town, 
and continued to do so until their own church was 
built. Fortunately for us a student from Queen's 
College was then teaching in a grammar school in 
the town. He was one of our number, and was 
persuaded to supply the congregation with Gospel 
services. The congregation was so thoroughly sat- 
isfied with him that they petitioned the Presbyter}' 
of Hamilton, which was then the nearest to us, to 
have him ordained and inducted as our pastor, 
though his college course was not then ended. Our 
petition was favorably received, and in due time he 

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REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

was set apart to the solemn duties of a minister of 
Christ and inducted into the charge of our congre- 
gation at Bytown. 

The student referred to is still living and well 
known in the Church as a Doctor of Divinity. The 
name of Dr. Thomas Wardrope, of Guelph, is a 
household name in the Dominion of Canada ; and to 
him Knox Church, Ottawa, owes lasting gratitude. 
He was their first minister, and he toiled in season 
and out of season in the day of their weakness among 
them. His field was rough, uncultivated and over- 
grown with all kinds of obnoxious weeds common 
to human nature ; yet he never complained, but toiled 
on and persevered in the midst of innumerable dif- 
ficulties and discouragements, fully confident that in 
due time he would reap if he fainted not. To him 
I attribute any success I may have had in my 
checkered life. He knew me in the days of my ex- 
treme ignorance, painful anxiety, restlessness of 
soul, and when I could hardly give my thoughts in- 
telligent utterance. Although my too frequent visits 
to his study could not but be to him tiresome and 
even painful to endure, yet I never once heard a 
single word uttered but what tended to make me 
feel at home, and to encourage me to follow on to 
know the Lord. To the present day I am amazed 

124 



THE DISRUPTION 



at the patience and forbearance he then manifested 
towards a person so ignorant and unattractive as 
I then was. His discourses were plain, clear, 
pointed, full of Scripture and full of unction, and 
the mind which did not receive instruction under 
his ministrations must have been obtuse indeed. But 
as his name must be mentioned after this I will say 
no more. 

The Free Church, as the congregation with which 
I identified myself was then called, being in the 
enjoyment of stated services, was favored now and 
again with visits from deputations sent out by the 
Free Church of Scotland to strengthen and encour- 
age their brethren in Canada. These deputations 
were the means of doing much good among the scat- 
tered Presbyterians in this wide country. Their ser- 
vices were very impressive, thoroughly evangelical, 
delivered with great earnestness and altogether dif- 
ferent from what we had been in the habit of hear- 
ing. I was completely captivated by these dis- 
courses. They described my state of mind most 
thoroughly, and directed me to the course I should 
pursue. What particularly attracted me was that 
they not only agreed in doctrine but also in their 
vivid description of my own personal state of mind. 
This was to me a very great mystery. I could 

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REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

understand how they would agreed in doctrine, but 
not how they could describe so minutely and so truly 
what was going on in my mind. They read, as it 
were, my personal experience. 

After a considerable period of anxious thought 
I came to the conclusion that those ambassadors of 
Christ were not only from the same school, but were 
also taught by the same Teacher, the Spirit of God, 
who gave them their messages and enabled them to 
deliver the same with power and unction, and to 
describe faithfully and correctly the condition of the 
anxious soul. 

Through their ministrations I was greatly de- 
livered from my bondage of fear, and my peace and 
joy increased just in proportion as my faith rested 
upon the gracious truths revealed to my soul; and 
having tasted a little of the good things of the king- 
dom, I had a strong desire to do something for the 
benefit of the souls of others. But what could I do ? 
My education was far behind, yet I felt something 
of the love of Christ constraining me that I should 
not henceforth live unto myself, but unto Him who 
died for me and rose again. Besides, in my Bible 
reading, I noticed that the man to whom but one 
talent was given was censured and severely punished 
for not putting his talent into use. This taught me 

126 



THE DISRUPTION 



that I was accountable even for my one talent, little 
as I felt it to be, and that by putting it to some use 
it would very likely increase. So I began to spend 
my evenings improving my mind by reading, and 
also writing letters to persons I knew regarding the 
salvation of their souls. I wrote many such letters, 
which were of great benefit to myself, and I trust 
also to the recipients. I was but a very poor pen- 
man. I could neither write nor spell, and found it 
very difficult to put my thoughts into intelligent 
sentences; yet I continued regularly to spend my 
free hours in study, when some progress was made. 

Through my attempts to aid others my own mind 
became clearer and more established in the truths 
of the Gospel. I found also the congregational 
prayer-meeting and Bible class to be excellent means 
of encouraging and strengthening my weak graces. 
Through them I was drawn into the company of 
persons who seemed to be of the same mind as 
myself. My former companion, W. L., whom I left 
in the Old Kirk, withdrew from it and joined our 
church, and we soon became as intimate as we were 
before. 

As we had no Sabbath evening service in our 
church then, we started a prayer-meeting in Lower 
Town in the house of a friend who was surrounded 



127 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

by Roman Catholics, and by many who went to no 
church. But our meetings were not in accordance 
with the mind of the great enemy of souls, hence 
he attempted to put an end to them. At our meet- 
ings we made no reference to creed or sect, but con- 
ducted a plain, simple worship. Bytown was then 
infested with a class of people who were called 
Shiners, or, as they were sometimes called, Ribbon- 
men, rough characters that feared neither God nor 
man. Through their misdoings the town was kept 
in a state of great excitement. Revengeful feelings 
also ran very high between themselves and the 
Orangemen. Should anyone be discovered wearing 
anything that was yellow or green, he was in danger 
of being beaten or badly injured, if not killed. This 
sad state of affairs continued for some years, until 
the Orangemen in the town and the country around 
mustered together, and, joined by a large num- 
ber of Protestants living in the town, offered the 
Ribbon-men a pitched battle. They fought for a day 
or two till the Ribbon-men were subdued. A good 
deal of blood was shed, and some were killed in the 
affray. 

It was during this period of excitement that W. L. 
and I were holding our Sabbath evening prayer- 
meeting. Returning home from our meeting on one 

128 



THE DISRUPTION 



occasion just about dusk, as we reached the bridge 
which crosses the canal between Upper and Lower 
Town, we saw a gang of roughs about the centre of 
the bridge carrying firearms. As we stepped for- 
ward they spread themselves out the full width of 
the bridge, and began to move slowly onward before 
us. " Now we are in for it," said W. L. ; " we had 
better turn back." "Oh, perhaps not," was my 
reply, " let us go on without fear." We both saw 
that they could very easily throw us over the bridge 
into the canal, as such things were sometimes done. 
When the roughs reached the farther end of the 
bridge, and we were about the centre, suddenly 
they turned with a hurrah, at the same time firing 
their guns. " Didn't I tell you," said W. L., " we 
had better turn back and get off the bridge?" " Oh, 
no," I whispered, " let us go forward and meet 
them; God will protect us." In an instant we met 
face to face. There was a momentary pause, and a 
sharp, stem looking into our countenances. Then 
came the command, " Let them pass !" An open- 
ing was made in the ranks before us, and we con- 
tinued our course, thankful to God for restraining 
those wicked men from doing us any violence. 

Something similar occurred a few months after- 
wards, when the Irish fever was raging in Bytown. 

129 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

On the previous year the potato crop had failed in 
Ireland, and consequently there was a great scarcity 
of food, followed by this deadly disease. It was 
similar to cholera, and became epidemic in Bytown. 
When it broke out in Ireland a large number of 
people fled to other parts of the world. They came 
to Canada in thousands, and were dying on our 
shores in masses, and many other inhabitants of 
Bytown were carried away by the deadly malady. 
A little out of the town large sheds were built for 
the accommodation of the diseased persons. From 
those sheds thirty or forty coffins were daily, for a 
time, removed to the cemetery. Whole families 
were huddled in stalls, some of them dead and others 
dying, beside one another. I was one of a goodly 
number of the town's people who felt it their duty 
to visit these sheds and endeavor to aid the dying 
in their last moments. On one occasion the Rev. 
Mr. Drummond, one of the deputation sent from 
Scotland to visit the Canadian Church, accompanied 
me. We made no attempt to converse with any of 
the sick ones personally, but moved along the cen- 
tral passage a short distance, reading a verse or 
two from Scripture loud enough for those on each 
side of us to hear, then offering a short prayer for 
the afflicted and dying. Passing on a little further 

130 



THE DISRUPTION 



we did the same thing. We were carefully watched, 
although we knew it not, by persons who had no 
sympathy wth our movements. As we left the shed 
to return home we were met by a big Irishman who 
told us in plain words that we had no right to go 
among the sick people and interfere with their re- 
ligious feelings in their dying moments. As we 
moved slowly towards the bridge the Irishman be- 
came more and more violent in his language. When 
we reached the bridge he began to shout with all his 
might and jump up into the air like a madman. Mr. 
Drummond in a calm, meek spirit patted him on the 
shoulder, saying, " Be composed, be composed, we 
were doing them no harm, only trying to help them 
by reading short passages of Scripture and offering 
a few words of prayer on their behalf." But the 
big man seized Mr. Drummond's necktie, saying, 
" Very little would make me throw you over the 
bridge," and he endeavored to make as much noise 
as he could, with the object in view, evidently, of 
gathering a crowd so as to mob us. People began 
to run in our direction. In a whisper I said to Mr. 
Drummond, " Free yourself if you can, and let us 
get off the bridge before we are mobbed." He in- 
nocently looked at me, not realizing any danger, but 
soon discovering it, he gave a sudden spring and 

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REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

freed himself from the man's grasp. Our feet then 
were our best friends, and very soon carried us off 
the bridge. As the big Irishman saw that his object 
was frustrated he cried after us, " If you enter the 
sheds again you shall not come out alive !" " To- 
morrow morning," said Mr. Drummond, " if the 
Lord will, we shall be there at nine o'clock." 

Another delegate from the Free Church of Scot- 
land who visited our Canadian Church in the. days 
of her weakness was the Rev. W. C. Bums. He 
was greatly owned as an instrument of salvation to 
many souls. Wherever he went he left his mark for 
good. He visited Bytown some months before Mr. 
Drummond, and my acquaintance with him was 
largely blessed to my soul. I viewed him as a liv- 
ing illustration of the religion of Jesus, and through 
him impressions were made upon my mind which 
can never be effaced. It was my privilege to be in 
his company a good part of the time he spent at 
Bytown, so that I came to be more or less acquainted 
with his God-fearing, Christ-glorifying, self-deny- 
ing and sin-hating habits. What I saw in him made 
a deeper impression on my mind than anything I 
ever heard in his preaching. Indeed, he seldom 
enjoyed, while with us, the liberty in the pulpit 
which he looked for. He would not preach without 

132 



THE DISRUPTION 



tokens of the Spirit's presence, and he often sent us 
home without any preaching-. He would pray and 
read and sing, and attempt to address us from a por- 
tion of Scripture, but in his own estimation he often 
failed; the little he would say, however, came with 
power to his hearers. He could not see sin in young 
or old, in rich or poor, in learned or unlearned, with- 
out testifying- against it. and this he did in meek- 
ness and love. 

On one occasion as he was talking to two or three 
of us on a week-day near the church door after com- 
ing from a religious meeting, a rough character ap- 
proached us and asked if any of us wished to hire 
a man. Mr. Burns made a step or two toward him, 
and said, " Yes, I know a Person who is seeking 
to hire a man, and He is a good and upright Master, 
and pays His servants faithfully and regularly. I 
am sure He would treat you well, and you would 
suit Him." "Where is he?" said the man. Mr. 
Bums lifted up his hand, and pointing his finger up 
toward heaven said, " He is up there. He is the 
Lord Jesus." The man turned away at once, but 
Mr. Burns went after him, and threw his arms 
around him and said, " Don't go away. Stop a little 
till I tell you what He is." The man shook him off; 
and when Mr. Bums returned, to us large teardrops 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

were rolling down his cheeks. " Did you notice," 
said he, " how he fled when the name of Jesus was 
mentioned ?" 

Another time, as we were walking along one of 
the streets of Bytown on a Sabbath morning to a 
meeting which he was to conduct in a private house, 
he saw two boys playing marbles on the other side 
of the street. " See those boys," said he, " play- 
ing marbles. We must not pass them. Let us go 
over and speak to them." We did so. Said Mr. 
Burns, " My dear boys, this is the Lord's day. It 
is not right to play marbles to-day. Take them up 
and go into the house and tell your parents that it 
is a sin to play on the Lord's day." 

I was at this time very anxious about the salvation 
of my own soul. Indeed, I was never free from 
such anxiety during his stay at Bytown, for his 
consecrated life of godliness caused me to question 
very seriously the sincerity of my profession. On 
this account I never could say that I was happy in 
his presence. At the same time I felt I could for- 
sake everything I had in the world and follow him ; 
for his life I admired, and would, if I could, pro- 
cure the same at any price. Once when we were 
alone, returning from a funeral, I felt I had a good 
opportunity to open my mind to him and show him 

134 



THE DISRUPTION 



my difficulties, in the hope that he might say some- 
thing to aid me. I began to describe some of my 
peculiar feelings and fears. He listened for a little 
to what I was saying, and then turned around and 
with a compassionate look said, " Can you not 
speak about anything but your feelings?" He then 
crossed to the other side of the road, and we walked 
separated from one another for a long distance with- 
out uttering a single word. I felt keenly rebuked 
and could not at the time justify it. But when my 
mind became more enlightened in the way of sal- 
vation, I saw the wisdom and faithfulness of his 
conduct toward me. He evidently discovered that 
I was living too much on my feelings, and took 
his own way to correct me, and he succeeded to 
some extent in drawing me out of myself. Before 
we parted he came across to my side of the road, 
and opened up to me the way of salvation through 
Christ. Many a time I thanked God since for what 
he did. It was to me an important lesson, not 
easily forgotten. It is not in our feelings we are 
to live. They are too changeable to impart rest to 
a troubled soul. The Lord Jesus alone is the rest- 
ing-place of the soul; in Him alone we have peace 
for time and for eternity. 

All the terms of my indenture being fulfilled, I 



135 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

continued to work in the same shop, and was paid 
according to the work I performed. I was making 
money rapidly, and concluded that it was about time 
for me to prepare a home for myself ; so I bought a 
building-lot in town, gave out a contract for the 
building of a dwelling-house, and at the same time 
I commenced to make my own furniture. These 
things clearly indicated the approach of a very 
important event in my life. 

About two years previous to this I became 
acquainted with a large and very highly respected 
family at Hartwell Locks, two or three miles out of 
the town. Alexander Kennedy and his large family 
of ten young daughters and four sons were then 
well known in Bytown. To this family I was drawn, 
and the eldest daughter, being about my own age, 
had special influence over me. Her freedom from 
every semblance of ostentation, her quiet, affection- 
ate disposition, and her humble religious character, 
captivated my heart. A solemn engagement was 
then, with the consent of her parents, formed, which 
lasted for two years. But through our frequent and 
regular correspondence and my numerous visits to 
her father's house, those two years seemed but a 
few days. 

But just when we were about to be married, the 

136 



THE DISRUPTION 



house being completed, the last load of furniture 
deposited therein, the door of the house locked and 
the key in my pocket, God, in His infinite wisdom, 
had to teach me a most important lesson, which I 
greatly needed and for which I shall never be suffi- 
ciently able to praise Him. The benefits resulting 
from it in my future life were numerous and salu- 
tary. I had hardly left the locked door to return 
to my boarding-house than I had to sit down on a 
large stone by the wayside. It was with great diffi- 
culty I reached my lodgings. What was the matter ? 
What had happened ? I was in perfect health up to 
that moment, but there and then I was met by a most 
sudden and violent attack of the Irish fever. For 
six weeks I had to lie in my bed unable to help my- 
self, there being very little hope of my recovery. 

But under the good hand of God my health was 
restored. My hope and confidence in the precious 
promises given me long before, contained in the 
128th Psalm, were revived and established. I was 
assured that all its promises were to be verified in 
my case, personally, and hence the end was not yet. 
As soon as I could be removed from my boarding- 
house, I was taken away to Hartwell, where I felt 
at home, and received the very best nursing and care. 

On the 24th day of September, 1847. I was mar- 



137 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

ried to Margaret Kennedy, by our pastor, the Rev. 
Thomas Wardrope, and soon after we took up our 
abode in the home that had been prepared. It was 
not what some people would call a stylish home, 
but a nice, substantial, cosy frame building. To us 
it was no small pleasure to realize that our new 
home was our own, sweetened by the most tender 
affection and hallowed by daily worship; for an 
altar to the God of Abraham was at once erected, 
and on that altar the sacrifices of praise and prayer, 
accompanied by the reading of a portion of God's 
Word, were every morning and evening presented 
to the God of the families that call upon His name. 
Our home became also a place of public worship ; 
a weekly prayer-meeting, being highly valued by 
both of us, was started, and maintained during the 
period it was occupied by us. But this period was 
not of long duration. Sweet and hallowed as we 
found it to be, my call to the Gospel ministry 
obliged us to forsake it. This brings me to a most 
important epoch in my life, an account of which 
will form part of the next chapter. 



138 



CHAPTER VIII. 

FROM MY CALL TO THE MINISTRY TO 
MY GOING TO COLLEGE. 

My call to the Gospel ministry came to me unsolic- 
ited. Although I had a very strong desire to be in 
some way or other more actively engaged in church 
work, and had a great yearning for the salvation of 
souls, I kept it hidden in my heart. To be a minister 
of the Gospel was to me a calling most solemn and 
responsible, and far beyond my reach, as my edu- 
cation was far behind and my means limited. So 
the very thought of becoming a minister I regarded 
as presumption. On this account I endeavored, 
though I completely failed, to exclude the thought 
from my mind, and engaged myself more actively 
in religious work in the sphere in which I was 
placed. The barriers appeared to me insurmount- 
able, yet so unable was I to shake the thoughts out 
of my mind that I was led to bind myself by a very 
solemn promise or vow to Cjod, that if ever I should 
be favored with offspring that would show their fit- 
ness for the Gospel ministry, I would not only give 

139 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

them over to the Lord for His work in His vine- 
yard, but also use every lawful means within my 
power to prepare them for the public ministry of 
the Word. And in this connection I have to record 
that in looking back I cannot but magnify the faith- 
fulness and goodness of God in granting me the 
desires which then agitated my restless mind. We 
have but two sons in the family, and they are both 
ministers of the Gospel. I never urged them to 
choose their solemn profession, nor even revealed 
to them the desires of my heart regarding this 
important matter, lest I might influence them to fol- 
low a calling for which they might have no inclin- 
ation or heart. I had more to do with God in their 
calling than with them, believing that if they were 
called to the ministry God would use the means 
requisite to secure His own purposes. I left the mat- 
ter entirely in His own hand. But being led of their 
own accord, so far as I was concerned, to follow 
Christ in this service, I felt I was solemnly bound 
to do what I could to prepare them for their pro- 
fession. 

The course through which Grod in His wisdom led 
me to the ministry was very striking and interesting, 
and my duty was made so clear to my own mind 
that to have rejected it would virtually have been 

140 



MY CALL TO THE MINISTRY 

an act of rebellion against God. The Rev. David 
Wardrope, at that time a student in Knox College, 
Toronto, spent the summer with his brother, our 
pastor, at Bytown. A friendship sprang up between 
us, and upon bidding him good-bye previous to his 
return to college in the autumn, I made the remark 
that I wished I were going too. " What did you 
say?" he asked. I repeated, "I wish I were going 
with you." That was all that passed between us. 
In a day or two he left for Toronto. I never 
expected these words to meet me again. 

A few weeks after this our minister expressed a 
desire to see me. There was nothing strange in 
this, for I was on very intimate terms with him, 
being frequently in his house and an active worker 
m the church. I went to see him at once. Upon my 
arrival he led me into his study and said, " John, 
have you any desire to go to college and prepare for 
the ministry?" I felt I had to answer that question 
without any equivocation, so after a brief silence 
I said, " I cannot deny I have a desire to do so, yet 
I fear the desire is a temptation from Satan, and 
that it would be nothing short of presumption on 
my part to yield to it." " What leads you to such a 
conclusion?" said he. " Is it because you are mar- 
ried?" " Well, that is one reason," was my answer, 

141 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

" but besides that, you know my education is far be- 
hind; and all my means are laid out in property." 
" Oh," said he, " to be married may be in your favor 
while going- through college, and the other things 
you mention may be overcome. He then clinched 
the matter by putting the question, "Will you be 
willing to go if God in His providence removes all 
obstacles out of your way, and opens up your path ?" 
" Before I answer that question," said I, " I must 
have some time to consider it, for it is too import- 
ant and too solemn for a hasty answer." " There 
is no need of undue haste," was his response; 
" think it over and pray over it, and then let me 
know your answer." I went home with an anxious 
mind to consult my young partner in life. I found 
in her no objection, but everything to encourage 
me to go forward if I felt it was my duty to do so. 
She could go to her father's house, and all the 
family there would be glad to receive her. We 
made the matter a subject of earnest prayer, and 
finally there was but one answer I could give. 

In about ten days I returned to Mr. Wardrope 
with my reply ; " Regarding the question you put to 
me the other day, I can give but one answer, and 
hold fast fidelity to God, and my profession. If 
God in His providence removes all obstacles, I shall 

142 



MY CALL TO THE MINISTRY 

by His grace obey and follow the path of His 
choosing-." "That will do," said he; "come with 
me." He took me to the store of Mr. James 
Brough, a great Free Church man. He was on 
the other side of the counter when we entered, 
and Mr. Wardrope, going straight to where he 
was, said, " Mr. Brough, I want you to go down 
to John's place and buy it, for he is willing to go." 
Mr. Brough looked at him with a complacent smile 
and said, " Well, I suppose I must obey my min- 
ister." "Yes, at this time," said Mr. Wardrope. 
With that Mr. Brough jumped over the counter 
and said to me, " Come along." Mr. Wardrope 
left us, and we proceeded to the house. Having 
examined it, he said to me, " What did the whole 
cost you?" I figured out the amount on a stump. 
" I will give you that for it," said he. " If so," 
was my reply, " it is yours." The amount was to be 
paid, at my own request, by instalments, extend- 
ing well into my college course. During my first 
three years I was occupied in the summer teaching 
school. The following summers, till I was ordained, 
were spent in the mission field, and thus a little 
was added to my yearly income. So by the great 
carefulness and strict economy of my partner in life, 
who always joined me in the summer months and to 

H3 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

whom I owe much of our financial success, we were 
able to pay our way through those years of college 
preparation. Beyond doubt it was a period of excel- 
lent training for our future life. My conduct in 
disposing of my property and giving myself up to 
study was not approved of by all, and strange to 
say those most opposed were from among my rela- 
tives. The objections raised were that I had not 
been a good scholar when young, and would never 
become one, and that I had a wife to support, who, 
if I proved a failure, would have neither minister 
nor property. Both these objections I answered 
satisfactorily to my own mind. 

In looking back to those days of anxiety, I feel 
it both my duty and privilege to set up my Eben- 
ezer and inscribe upon it, "Hitherto hath the Lord 
helped us." In the midst of deserving wrath. He 
has been remembering mercy; for I have lacked 
nothing needful up to this date. The warnings 
uttered of failure in my studies and poverty in my 
purse I have not yet realized. True, economy had 
to be constantly practised, and many difficulties had 
to be surmounted, but when the struggles came 
renewed grace and stronger confidence in the 
Divine promises came also, so my trials were only 
such as I was able, by His grace, to endure. Wealth, 

144 



MY CALL TO THE MINISTRY 

after forsaking my secular calling, I never coveted, 
but endeavored to cultivate a spirit of contentment 
in the varied circumstances through which I had to 
pass. Beyond doubt God had been dealing with me 
in the past ; why then should I not place the fullest 
confidence in His faithfulness for the future? That 
wonderful promise, " There is no man that hath 
left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or 
mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, 
and the gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold 
now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, 
and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecu- 
tions ; and in the world to come eternal life," cannot 
fail; not because of any worthiness in me, but for 
His own name's sake. Hence in a spirit, not, I trust 
of presumption but of deep humiliation and grati- 
tude, I may say He has bound Himself to me in that 
blessed promise, which I feel is mine just as if I 
were the only person in the world to whom it could 
be applicable. In that day of His sovereign power 
when He made me willing to forsake all that I 
possessed — leave house, brethren, sisters, father, 
mother, wife, children and land, He placed the 
promise in my hand and in my heart, and, as it 
were, said to my soul, " This promise is yours ; hold 
it fast, for in due time it will be fulfilled in you." 

10 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

Since that day a large portion of my life has passed, 
and what do I now find? Just what the promise 
contains. I received an hundredfold, houses, 
brethren, sisters, father, mother, wife, children ; yes, 
and persecutions also. Let the sceptic or unbeliever 
examine my life in the past and present and compare 
the whole with this promise, and it will be found 
that the Lord is faithful and true in not allowing 
one word of it to fail. 



146 



CHAPTER IX. 

COLLEGE DAYS. 

In the fall of 1848 I left for Knox College, 
Toronto. The Sabbath after my arrival I attended 
Knox Church, the only Presbyterian Church then in 
Toronto, the pastor of which was Dr. Burns. When 
I left for Toronto I was filled with very pleasant 
expectations. My religious privileges, as I imagined, 
would be more abundant and of a very superior 
nature ; and through the good counsel and the deep 
spirituality of professors and students all my doubts 
and anxieties would disappear. In visiting Dr. 
Bums I expected great encouragement, but was 
sorely disappointed, for the Doctor seemed as if 
determined to extinguish every ray of courage 
lingering in my anxious mind. He led me into his 
study, and after handing him my certificate and mak- 
ing him acquainted with a little of my past life and 
my object in coming to Toronto, he began to ques- 
tion me regarding my statements. Indeed, he 
seemed to question my veracity. He did not say 

147 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

that I was an impostor, but his language indicated 
that he believed me to be one, and plainly stated 
he could not believe my story. I referred to the 
certificate, but he made light of it, saying it was only 
a certificate from a grammar school teacher. " And 
you are a married man," said he, " and parted from 
your wife. Do you think that is right?" "I am 
married," was my response, " but I learn from the 
Scripture that it is right to part with everything be- 
longing to this life for the sake of Christ. Our 
separation is only during the months I am in col- 
lege. We purpose living together during the sum- 
mer." " Were you to hear me yesterday?" he then 
asked. " Yes," was my reply. " What was the 
text?" I gave him the text. " What were the heads 
of the discourse?" he quickly asked. "Well, 
Doctor," said I, " I cannot give an account of the 
sermon, for I have not yet fully recovered from the 
effects of my voyage." " Can you not remember 
anything I said in the discourse?" said he. " I am 
sorry to say I cannot," was my answer. " Do you 
read the Bible?" was his next question. "Yes, I 
am in the habit of reading the sacred book," was 
my reply. " Describe to me the Christian armor." 
I made an attempt to do so, but neither to his nor 
my own satisfaction. " Oh," said he, " you don't 

148 



COLLEGE DAYS 



know it. Every ordinary Christian should be able to 
describe it. Have you been reading any books be- 
fore you left home?" "My reading has not been 
very extensive." " Did you not read any book at 
all ?" " Well, since I left home, and coming up on 
the boat, I tried to read a little of ' Watts on the 
Mind.' " " Capital !" said he. " That is an excellent 
book. Let me have the substance of it." " I am 
sorry that I cannot do so," was my answer, " for 
I did not read it through, nor did I get a right hold 
of what I was reading." " What is mind?" said he. 
" Has the pig a mind ?" " I cannot tell what a mind 
is," I said; " I came to Toronto to be taught that. 
The pig, I suppose, has a mind, but it differs from 
the human mind." " You have been in the 
Academy," said he ; " what have you been doing 
there ?" " I entered the Academy this morning," 
was my response, " and began the Latin Grammar." 
" Decline pena" said he. I began, " Pena, penae." 
" You are wrong," said he. I began again, " Nom, 
pena, a pen, Gen. penae, of a pen." "Oh, you are 
wrong again," shouted he, " you cannot decline it." 
I was pretty confident that I was declining it cor- 
rectly so far as he allowed me to go, but was silent 
under his rebuke. I discovered afterward, how- 
ever, that the trouble was in him and not in me, for 



149 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

I was pronouncing the Genitive as I was taught, 
according to the EngHsh pronunciation, while he was 
following the old Scotch pronunciation. I parted 
from him that evening with a wounded heart, sorely 
perplexed and grieved at my first interview with a 
leading minister of our Church, and one whom I 
very highly revered. 

Next day I was cited to appear before the Pro- 
fessors' Court, and to my grief Dr. Burns was there, 
to be one of my judges. My application to be re- 
ceived as a student for the Gospel ministry was 
taken up, A few questions were put to me regard- 
ing the object I had in view, and I was asked to 
recite " Effectual Calling." Having been taught 
the Shorter Catechism from my youth, I had no 
difficulty in answering the question. I was also 
asked to read a little out of a book, which was also 
satisfactory. But when my application was, as far 
as I could see, about to be granted, Dr. Burns gave 
a very unfavorable report of the interview he had 
had with me. I considered his report to be very 
unfair, and attempted to say a few words in self- 
defence, but the Doctor maintained his own ideas. 
He questioned the truthfulness of my story, and 
would make me out to be an impostor; nor could 
he agree to receive me as a student for the Gospel 

150 



COLLEGE DAYS 



ministry. The other professors were opposed to the 
stand he took. 

In the midst of the discussion I asked permission 
to make a statement or two. Leave being granted, I 
said : " If you can postpone your decision for a 
week or ten days, till I can get a letter from my 
minister, Mr. Wardrope, at Bytown, you will then 
see whether my words are true or false. I assure you 
that I am not an impostor, but a man of truth, who 
is fully decided to follow Christ in the Gospel minis- 
try. I have lifted up my hand unto the Lord and I 
cannot go back. If I am not received into Knox 
Collie I must apply elsewhere. My mind is fully 
made up, and I must go on with my studies." My 
request was granted. I wrote at once to Mr. Ward- 
rope, stating how matters stood. A reply very soon 
arrived, which I handed to the Professors' Court. 
In a day or two I was notified that I was received 
as a student of Knox College. In the same week I 
received a note from Dr. Burns inviting me to tea. 
I was at a loss to know whether I should accept this 
invitation or not, so I consulted one of the pro- 
fessors, who advised me strongly to go, telling me 
I would now find the Doctor's attitude toward me 
had changed. Accordingly I went, and, oh, what a 
warm reception I got! He at once apologized for 



151 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

his conduct, and assured me that I was just the 
right man for the college, that I stood well the trial 
under which he had placed me, and that I would find 
him henceforth a real friend. This proved to be 
true from that day to the end of his journey. 

My first winter in Toronto was spent in an 
academy connected with Knox College. The stu- 
dents in my day were actively engaged in mission 
work throughout the city. They organized them- 
selves as a Missionary Society, and it is pleasing to 
notice that the society still exists in connection with 
the college, and through its instrumentality much 
good is being done. At its beginning the city was 
divided into districts, and students were appointed 
to each district, where they distributed tracts, held 
prayer-meetings, and established Sabbath Schools 
where suitable places could be secured. 

Some of the students took great interest in this 
work, which was of benefit to themselves and an 
excellent training for future work. I was very 
much interested in my district, and got there a good 
insight into human nature. I visited every family. 
Some of the people received me very kindly, but 
others not only refused my tracts, but threatened me 
with personal injury if I should return with what 
they called "bad books." One stout woman, who 

152 



COLLEGE DAYS 



lived in an upper story, threatened to scald me if 
I did not speedily disappear. As the kettle was then 
boiling on the stove, and I had to descend a long, 
steep stairway, I felt myself to be at her mercy; so 
I meekly obeyed, with my eye looking upward as I 
descended, in case she should keep her word. 

An old man questioned my authority to be going 
about preaching, as he called it, and asked me if I 
was called to follow Christ as a minister of the 
Gospel. I told him that I was not a minister, but 
only a student. " Oh," said he, " that is just the 
same. You purpose being a minister." " Oh, yes," 
was my reply, " if God sees fit to prepare me for His 
work, and call me to it, I hope I shall be willing to 
obey." " Well," said he, " we are told that wonder- 
ful signs will follow those who believe and follow 
Christ in the ministry; that in the name of Christ 
they shall cast out devils, they shall speak with new 
tongues, they shall take up serpents, and if they 
drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them ; they 
shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. 
Now there is a young woman in that room " (point- 
ing to a chamber near us) ; "she has been there for 
years. If you heal her I shall believe that you are 
sent to preach the Gospel." " Very well," was my 
reply, " if she follow my prescription she shall cer- 



153 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

tainly be healed in due time. Let us go in to see 
her." " Oh, I understand," said he, " what you 
mean. She shall be healed at the resurrection." 
" Just so," was the response, " if she believe in the 
Lord Jesus she shall be made perfectly whole when 
He comes to wind up human afifairs." But the old 
man did not invite me to the sick chamber. He had 
no confidence in me, because I did not perform 
miracles. 

Another peculiar case was that of the wife of a 
laboring man, and the mother of two little children. 
I never met her husband, for he was always from 
home or at his work when I called. The young 
wife seemed to be very religious and knew a good 
deal of Scripture. She professed to be very much 
interested and profited by my visits, and I held some 
prayer-meetings in her house. For a time I re- 
garded her as a very earnest and devoted Christian. 
She could speak about religion for whole days, and 
longed, as she said, for my visits. Indeed, she was 
too sweet in words, and apparently so earnest and 
devoted in her outward conduct in my presence that 
I began to suspect her sincerity. " Could she be 
under the influence of strong drink," was a question 
which seized my mind. I determined to discover 
whether or not my suspicion was correct. One 

154 



COLLEGE DAYS 



morning upon entering her house I took a seat quite 
close to her, and discovered from her breath that 
my suspicion was well grounded. I at once said, 
" You have been drinking and deceiving me until 
now." After solemnly talking to her of the sin of 
drunkenness and of deception, she acknowledged her 
guilt, and expressed sorrow for her sinful habit and 
a desire to be freed from it, and solemnly promised 
that henceforth she would resist the temptation. 
This promise I found she did not keep, and finding 
her some time after in a condition such as I had 
never seen her in before, I urged upon her again the 
necessity of total abstinence. Our college session 
was then about to close. Next autumn when I re- 
turned I inquired for the family, and was told that 
they had left the city, but that the mother had joined 
the " Sons of Temperance," and become sober and 
respectable. 

Very different from this case was that of another 
home which I met in my district; it was that of a 
widow who lived alone in a cosy little house. The 
order and cleanliness of everything within, and 
cheerfulness of her countenance, clearly indicated 
that she was a woman who lived near to God. An- 
other student and myself held prayer-meetings there 
for two or three sessions. At the close of one of 



155 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

them, as a token of our appreciation of her kind 
attention to ourselves and meetings, we gave her a 
copy of McCheyne's works, which we knew she 
would value. When we returned next session we 
called to see her, and to make arrangements for the 
recommencement of our meetings. In relating to us 
the benefits she derived from the perusal of the book, 
she said, " I got to be very fond of it, so fond that I 
was getting more attached to it than I was to my 
Bible. Indeed, I have to acknowledge that it was 
oftener in my hands and in my thoughts than the 
Good Book was, and to wean myself from it I went 
to my trunk and laid it at the very bottom, beneath 
my clothes, so that I could not see it or get at it 
without some labor, till my Bible would gain the 
chief place in my heart again." 

The peninsula opposite the city, now an island, 
was a very interesting mission field. It was a place 
to which pleasure-seekers resorted on the Sabbath. 
Crowds of the roughest characters, both men and 
women, regularly frequented the place. Two hotels 
were kept open there during the whole Sabbath day 
to accommodate and entertain them. To make the 
place more attractive and enticing, wild beasts were 
kept and all kinds of amusements were encouraged. 
So great was the crowvl that gathered there every 

156 



COLLEGE DAYS 



Sabbath from the city that a policeman or two had 
to be sent to keep the people within bounds. The 
late Dr. Laing, of Dundas, and myself, after some 
consideration and prayer, resolved to visit the pen- 
insula and see if we could do anything for the sal- 
vation of the souls of those who lived there, and of 
those who gathered there for sinful pleasures. Tak- 
ing a bundle of tracts with us, and securing a boat, 
we crossed the bay after the morning service on 
Sabbath. We then parted, one going west and the 
other east, continuing our course till we met. In 
my course I came across a company of fishermen, 
whose " boss " was standing on a big stone giving 
instructions to the men, who were dragging a large 
net out of the lake. He was a tall, stout man, of 
great muscular strength, covered with a big, dirty, 
ragged overcoat, with long, heavy boots almost up 
to his waist. I went to where he was. He looked 
down upon me from his elevation with disdain, 
knowing, I suppose, from the tracts I had in my 
hand that my mission was not favorable to his Sab- 
bath work. " Do you know," said I, " what day 
this is ?" " I do," said he, " as well as you." " Do 
you know," I then asked, " what God says regard- 
ing it ?" " I know that, too," was his answer, and 
recited a part of the fourth commandment. " Then 



157 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

you knowingly disobey God's command," was the 
reply, " and cause these men " (pointing to those 
who were drawing the net) " to do the same?" " It 
is very well for you," said he, " with your black 
coat and shining shoes and plenty to eat and drink 
to speak to us poor fishermen in that way, but if 
you had nothing to eat but what you earned 
with your hands you would work as we do 
on the Sabbath day." " Do you mean to say 
that necessity compels you to work on the 
Sabbath ?" was the reply. To this question he gave 
no answer, but came down from his big stone with 
his large fists clenched and placed himself in a fight- 
ing posture. " Oh, you may strike me, and injure 
me," but, pointing upward, " there is a Witness 
above us who will soon be your Judge." Here I 
began with great freedom and unusual boldness to 
describe the Great White Throne at which he would 
have to stand, and endeavored to set forth the 
danger to which he was exposing himself by dis- 
obeying the command of God, and causing others 
to do the same. As I advanced in this solemn strain 
I noticed his fists relaxing, which indicated that the 
truth was reaching his heart. By this time Mr. 
Laing arrived, and he very solemnly followed the 
same line of remarks. Finally our man thanked us 

158 



COLLEGE DAYS 



for our lecture, and asked us if we would give him 
a suit of black clothes if he would promise to go to 
church. We promised we would, if he were in need, 
and directed him to a far better garment than we 
could give. He understood well what we meant and 
told us it was not ours to give. In parting, he hoped 
we would get across the water in safety, and not go 
to the bottom of the lake, which was getting rough. 
Seeing with our own eyes the wretched condition 
of the people living on the peninsula, and discover- 
ing the numerous plans by the great enemy of God 
and man to allure so many human beings into his 
dens of vice and ruin, we resolved to continue our 
visits among the people there, and try to do some- 
thing to frustrate his wicked designs. So we made 
a visit to the chief hotel and engaged the largest 
room in it, called the ballroom, for holding religious 
services every Sabbath afternoon during the whole 
winter. The hotel was owned by two brothers. 
They were Germans. They gladly complied with 
our proposal, believing, as they said, that our ser- 
vices might be a great benefit and increase their 
gains, which they did not regard as sinful. We at 
once made an appointment and announced that 
Divine service would be held in the hotel every Sab- 
bath afternoon during the whole winter. We 



159 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

arrived the following Sabbath in good time and had 
an opportunity of visiting a number of the people 
before the meeting, distributing tracts and inviting 
all we met to the service. At the hour appointed for 
the service the house was crowded. Neither Mr. 
Laing nor myself was accustomed to address such 
a strange, promiscuous multitude, and more than 
ordinary grace was needed to deliver our message 
with any degree of satisfaction, in a place where 
there was so much noise, confusion and interruption. 
The room which we occupied was situated in the 
second story, at the head of a long stair. Every now 
and again someone would rush up the stairs, making 
as much noise as human feet could ; throw open the 
door with tremendous violence, and with a disap- 
pointed and bewildered look mutter something, and 
then retrace his steps downstairs with increased 
noise. I presume they expected to find a gathering 
ready for a dance, but instead of the fiddle they saw 
the Bible. Among our hearers was an old lady 
living in the hotel, and a relative of the owners. 
Seeing the door so violently thrown open every now 
and then, and desiring to lessen the interruptions, 
she went with her chair, placed its back to the door 
and sat upon it. She failed in her good design to 
lessen the annoyance, but rather increased it, for 

i6o 



COLLEGE DAYS 



such heavy blows would be given to the door by the 
intruder that the g-ood lady, in spite of her attempts 
to fasten her feet to the floor, would be almost 
thrown to the centre of the room, and the door 
would open. Poor woman, she did what she could 
to help us, and I think, though living in such a den 
of vice, she gave evidence that she loved the truth. 
In spite of the surrounding elements and interrup- 
tions we declared fearlessly the Gospel message. A 
number of the students took an active part in the 
services. At the close of the sermon a Sabbath 
School was conducted, and great interest was awak- 
ened among the people. I may safely say that the 
Spirit of God accompanied the preached word. A 
number of the people became concerned about their 
souls. Fishing and all secular engagements were 
laid aside, and the fishermen, with their "boss" at 
their head, attended the meetings. The doors of 
the hotel were finally closed on the sacred day, 
not a drop of intoxicating drink was sold in the 
house, and a small steamer connected with the 
hotel, which kept going the whole Sabbath 
between the city and the peninsula for the conven- 
ience of pleasure seekers, was stopped, and finally 
sold. Attractions and sinful indulgences being now 
discountenanced by the owners of the hotel, the 

i6i 
II 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

crowd of course began gradually to disappear and 
gather at the other hotel. The owners of the house 
where we held our services declared that through 
our meetings they lost fifty dollars every Sabbath, 
but that they were great gainers for all that, and 
that they would not continue their sinful engage- 
ments upon any condition ; hence, the following sum- 
mer they sold out and went to the city, where they 
became prominent persons in the Church of God. 

Among the anxious ones was the big " boss " 
who threatened to do us violence at our first visit. 
His mind was greatly agitated for a long time about 
his own state before God. At one of our meetings, 
as I was attempting to set forth the wrath of God 
against transgressors, and urging sinners to repent 
and to humble themselves before the mighty hand 
of God, he sat down on the floor in a corner of the 
room where he groaned and wept during the service. 
At the close he came to where I was standing, took 
me by the hand, and was about to say something 
in favor of the discourse, but he prefaced his 
statement with a most dreadful oath. Hardly before 
it was uttered, he drew away his hand and turned 
back from the gaze of others, with a deep sigh. I 
followed him and discovered big tears rolling down 
from his eyes. " I am ashamed of myself," he said. 

162 



COLLEGE DAYS 



" Oh, it is your old habit that is still following you," 
I told him; "continue to resist it, and by Divine 
grace you shall overcome." 

The first three summers of my college course I 
spent as a teacher in the common schools of the 
countr\\ As the amount which I received from my 
property was not sufficient to meet all my expenses 
during my whole collie course, and as I had no 
other fund to draw from, I was obliged to do some- 
thing so as to add a little to my income. I was unwil- 
ling to go out as a catechist to the mission field till 
I entered theology, for I always entertained a very 
solemn and exalted view of the preaching of the 
Word, and felt it to be too great an imdertaking 
for me. 

The first school I taught was at the Rideau 
River, about two miles from Bytown, where only 
the most simple and elementary branches were 
taught. My second school was at Clarence, Ont. 
Here a few of the pupils were advanced, and needed 
special attention, which was of some benefit to my- 
self. As there was no church near the locality, and 
as many of the people went to no place of worship 
on the Lord's Day, I felt it to be my duty to start a 
Sabbath School for the special benefit of the young 
people. A large number, both young and old, gath- 

163 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

ered together every Sabbath in the schoolhouse, 
which soon became too small to accommodate the 
ever-increasing congregation, and seats had to be 
arranged outside for their convenience. Finding so 
many people assembling Sabbath after Sabbath, I 
began to prepare more suitable addresses for such a 
gathering. This attracted a still larger number. All 
denominational lines were ignored. The people in 
the section considered themselves entitled to my ser- 
vices on Sabbath as well as on the week day, and 
even spoke of the teacher at last as being their min- 
ister. The Baptists in the locality took a great 
interest in the services, and persuaded me to cross 
the Ottawa River to Lochaber, where I also held 
some religious services. 

My third and last school was at Point Fortune. 
Here I had a pretty good school, in which all the 
common branches were taught. Our nearest place 
of worship was at St. Andrew's, where there were a 
number of churches; but these were not easily 
reached, as we had to cross the Ottawa River, which 
at times was unsafe for small boats. I therefore 
started a Sabbath School, and sometimes held 
Divine worship in the schoolhouse. We had excel- 
lent meetings, and I trust the good seed of the 
Kingdom took root in the hearts of many. 

164 



COLLEGE DAYS 



The Baptist minister at St. Andrew's asked me 
to preach for him one Sabbath when he was to be 
from home. One of his people had a large canoe, 
and, although he had but one arm, he knew well 
how to manage it; so the minister appointed him 
to take me across the river and back. We got across 
in the morning without any difficulty, but coming 
back after preaching there was a big swell on the 
river. Arriving at the canoe's little wharf, we 
found several persons anxious to get across with 
us. The steersman distinctly stated to the crowd 
that he could not take them all. Having directed 
my wife and myself to seats in the canoe, as well 
as an old lady who was among the number, he said 
that he could take a few more; then the rest began 
one after another to jump in till it was overloaded. 
Our helmsman declared there were too many in the 
canoe, and that we were really in danger. To put 
his craft about and land some of his passengers 
could not be safely accomplished, and the only thing 
that could be done was to proceed and take the risk. 
We were warned that if any of us moved from our 
places we would all go to the bottom. There was 
not a paddle to be used but his own. The old lady 
dropped on her knees, and began to address God in 
solemn prayer. Not another word was heard. Her 

165 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

earnest pleading with God for His sparing mercy 
still lingers in my ears. In her appeals she seemed 
to think that she was old and worthless, and would 
hardly be missed, but that there were young people 
in the canoe whose lives might be a blessing to the 
Church and the world, and also the young man who 
was beginning to preach the blessed Gospel, and who 
had done so that very morning. She earnestly en- 
treated that they might be saved from a watery 
grave, and continued her pleadings till we reached 
the other side of the river. 



i66 



CHAPTER X. 
THREE SUMMERS IN THE MISSION FIELD 

In the spring of 1852, I consented to go out as a 
catechist to the mission field. In those days laborers 
were very scarce in connection with our church, and 
students were urged to take up mission work rather 
too soon, before they were fully qualified for such 
an important duty. My consent was given upon the 
understanding that I would not be asked to preach 
in the Gaelic language ; I was regarded as a Gaelic- 
speaking student, although I had not kept up the 
language since leaving home, when but a boy. 

The Distributing Committee, which met at To- 
ronto at the close of the college, sent me to the 
Montreal Presbytery, which in turn appointed me 
to Glengarry, the very centre of Gaelic-speaking 
people within its bounds. My first field of labor 
was very extensive, including Martintown, Wil- 
liamstown, Lancaster and Dalhousie Mills, The 
whole Sabbath was occupied at one station. I 
never attempted to supply two stations on the same 
day. The people in Glengarry would not at that 

167 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

time consent to anything of that nature, for their 
habit was to gather together from every part of the 
county to the station where the services were to 
be held. Ten, fifteen, twenty and even twenty-five 
miles was not regarded as a distance too great to 
go to church. The services were always lengthy, 
occupying from two hours and a half to three hours ; 
and when there was preaching in both languages, 
five or six hours would be the length of the time 
engaged. Not a single word of complaint would 
be heard against the length of the sermon or that 
of the prayer. The person who felt the services long 
or tedious was regarded as being dead in sin. The 
attention of the audience would be fixed, and such 
solemnity would pervade the whole assembly, that 
both speaker and hearers felt the time very short. 
The contrast between the people of those days in 
connection with their religious worship and those of 
our day is very striking. It is true our forefathers 
followed certain customs and modes of worship 
which did not help them to worship God in spirit, 
and to which Scripture gave no countenance, but 
we in our zeal for advancement discard not only 
what was imperfect in connection with their wor- 
ship, but also what was to their praise, honoring to 
God, and helpful in spiritual worship. We not only 

i68 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

depart from the beaten path of God's ransomed 
people in the ages that are past, a path which was 
owned by God and commended by His unerring 
Word, but we have also pursued a path marked out 
by worldly wisdom and worldly policies, which 
leads to practices directly opposed to the teaching of 
Divine truth. We try to keep pace with the world. 
We look around us and see progress in science and 
in art; we talk of our railroads, of our telegraphs 
and telephones and innumerable factories, and con- 
clude that the Church should make progress also 
and keep up to the world, forgetting the very im- 
portant truth that the wisdom of this world is fool- 
ishness with God, and that " the world by wisdom 
knew not God." "If any man love the world the 
love of the Father is not in him." 

What are some of the evidences of real progress 
on the part of the Church? Does progress consist 
in curtailing her religious services under the pres- 
sure of the multiplicity of secular engagements ? Is 
it an evidence of real progress to limit the prayer 
to three or four minutes on the morning of the 
Lord's Day in the house of God, which prayer ought 
to be comprehensive, so as to meet the varied cir- 
cumstances, trials, temptations and needs, not only 
of the people who regularly meet there for worship, 

169 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

but also the sad state of those who never darken 
the door of any place of worship from one year's 
end to the other? Or, is it an evidence of real 
progress to shorten the discourse to such an extent 
as to make it utterly impossible for any man to do 
justice to his subject and make it intelligible to his 
hearers? Or, is it an evidence of real progress to 
set aside those days for needful preparation, so 
highly appreciated by the people of God in the past, 
in regard to the celebration of the Lord's Supper, in 
spite of the imperative command in the New Testa- 
ment, " Let a man examine himself and so let him 
eat of that bread and drink of that cup" ? Or, is 
it an evidence of real progress to encourage to the 
Lord's table the unrenewed in heart and life, whose 
outward conduct is glaringly inconsistent with the 
solemn profession implied in that important act? 
Is it an evidence of real progress to grant the ordin- 
ance of baptism to persons who make no pretension 
of religion, but willingly absent themselves from 
the house of God, and live prayerless lives in their 
own homes, in the presence of those whom they 
solemnly engage to train up for God? Is it an 
evidence of real progress to place the reins of Church 
government in the hands of the young, setting aside 
those of matured experience, repudiating the plain 

170 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

teaching of both the Old and New Testament, that 
enjoins upon the young to " submit themselves to 
the elder," to honor their father and their mother, 
and to " rise up before the hoary head, and honor 
the face of the old man, and fear thy God " ? If these 
things are evidences of real progress, then we may 
congratulate ourselves that we are far in advance 
of our forefathers in our religious affairs. But if 
we hold up our evidences of progress before the 
mirror of Divine Truth, by which the true nature 
of what we call progress is made manifest, then we 
may painfully discover that what we r^ard as pro- 
gression in the Church is in reality retrogression. 

My first Sabbath in Glengarry was spent at Mar- 
tintown. My coming had been well announced, and 
hence a large assembly of people were gathered 
together to hear the new minister, and expected to 
hear a sermon in English and another in the Gaelic 
language. I had no idea that Gaelic services would 
be expected, but I was not long left in ignorance, 
for when I concluded the English service and pro- 
nounced the benediction, the majority of the people 
kept their seats. Just as I was about to leave the 
pulpit, one of the elders stepped up to where I was, 
and said, " Are you not going to preach in Gaelic?" 
" No, was my reply, " I cannot preach in that lan- 

171 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

guage." " Oh," said he, " we got you as a Gaelic 
student, and we cannot do without Gaelic." " I 
am sorry," was my response; "I made it a con- 
dition in consenting to go to the mission field that 
Gaelic services would not be asked of me." " Well, 
well," said he, "what are we to do? The people 
are here from great distances, and expect a Gaelic 
sermon as well as English." " I am sorry I am 
unable to preach in Gaelic," was my answer, " but 
will preach another in English, if you wish." " Well, 
that is better than nothing," said he; so I preached 
another sermon in English and pronounced the 
benediction the second time, and the assembly dis- 
missed. 

Some days after beginning my labors at Martin- 
town I received a letter from the Rev. Alex. Cam- 
eron, then stationed at Lochiel, whom I considered 
as my Bishop. His letter was short, but in plain 
words it informed me that I had to preach in the 
Gaelic language as well as in English; that he had 
gotten me from the Distributing Committee as a 
Gaelic student, and therefore I had to preach in that 
language. I sent him a reply stating the conditions 
under which I had consented to labor in the mission 
field, and that to preach in Gaelic was beyond my 
power; that if he insisted on my doing so I would 

172 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

leave the field altogether. He did not answer my 
letter, consequently I continued my labors from 
station to station, preaching only in the English 
language. 

In the course of five or six weeks I received 
another letter from Mr. Cameron, asking me to 
announce at all my stations that communion ser- 
vices were to be held on a certain week, and urging 
myself and the people to attend. I gladly obeyed 
this injunction. A large crowd gathered, which 
reminded me of an Old Country fair. I had hardly 
arrived at church before I was accosted by a mes- 
senger from Mr. Cameron, who said, " Mr. Cameron 
wants to see you." " Where is he?" was my answer. 
Pointing to a stone house near us, he said, " He is 
over in that house, and is very sick." This caused 
my heart to begin to flutter, as I feared services 
would be required of me. On entering the house I 
found Mr. Cameron in bed, looking very ill. " I 
am glad to see you," said he, " I am very sick and 
cannot preach ; you will have to preach for me, and 
you know the services are to be in Gaelic." " I can- 
not preach in Gaelic," was my reply ; " I never 
delivered an address in that language." "Well, 
well," said he, " what can be done ? I have no one 
else, and I cannot do it myself. People are here from 

173 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

long distances, and will be greatly disappointed; 
will you not try and say something to them?" 
" I can neither read nor speak Gaelic correctly, and 
it would be folly on my part to attempt it." "Well," 
said he, " you must go out and tell them that there 
will be no preaching to-day." " Is there not an 
elder in the congregation," said I, " who can make 
the announcement? Send for an elder and he will 
explain to them the reason why there is to be no 
preaching." Mr. Cameron appeared very much dis- 
appointed, but I could not help him. English ser- 
vices would be of no value, for in the large assembly 
gathered none cared for English. As both of us 
were in this painful suspense, a thought flashed 
through my mind to the effect that I knew two or 
three short Gaelic Psalms, which I had probably 
learned at my mother's knee ; might I not employ 
them now? And I also knew a chapter in the Old 
Testament from which I might make a few remarks ; 
but I was not sure if I could read it in Gaelic. These 
thoughts I communicated to Mr. Cameron. His 
countenance brightened, and lifting up his head he 
said, " Do you think you could ?" " Well, I can- 
not say," was my response, " but I can try." " That 
will do," said he, "Til tell you what we'll do. 
Though I feel very weak, yet I shall go with you 

174 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

to church. You will begin the service just as though 
you were master of the Gaelic language, and if I find 
you hesitating in pronouncing any word in your 
reading I shall help you to pronounce it." " Well, 
if you do so," was my answer, " I shall try to say 
something, though I should fail in my attempt." 

Into the crowded church we both went. Though 
it was a week-day, many had to remain outside at 
the windows. The question with me was not, was 
the Psalm suitable for the occasion, but could I read 
it correctly ? Then I came to the chapter ; it was the 
second of the Song of Solomon. When I was about 
to stumble over two or perhaps three words, my 
helper sitting behind me quietly pronounced them, 
and I uttered them parrot-like ; so proceeding as well 
as I could from one part of the service to the other I 
reached the close. After pronouncing the benedic- 
tion, the elder that had asked me for Gaelic at Mar- 
tintown service ran up to the pulpit stairs and took 
me by the hand, saying, " Yes, you will do, sir, you 
will do ! You did well ; keep at it and you will find 
it easy." This was the commencement of my 
Gaelic preaching. From that memorable day till 
now I never refused to preach the Gospel in my 
native tongue when called upon to do so. 

Years after this occurrence, when waiting at Dal- 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

housie Mills for applicants to the Lord's Supper, 
among the many who applied for admission was an 
old man of sixty or seventy years of age. I asked 
him if he had ever partaken of the Lord's Supper. 
" No, sir," was his reply. " Then you spent the 
most of your days without publicly professing the 
Lord Jesus ?" " Yes, for I was not worthy." " Do 
you regard yourself as being worthy now ?" " Well, 
I don't know ; I trust, however, I am not now what 
I once was." " Indeed; do you think that you have 
undergone a change of heart?" " I am not sure, I 
hope I have." " Please let me know all about it." 
" Well, I cannot say much on that subject," was his 
reply. " I spent the most of my days in ignorance of 
my Saviour, but I was brought to see my lost state. 
Do you remember that great sermon you preached at 
Lochiel Communion before you were out of college? 
I think it was the first time you ever preached in 
Gaelic; well, that was the sermon that led me to 
see my lost condition." " I well remember that 
day," I said, " and am glad to hear that it was 
blessed to your soul." The good old man was ad- 
mitted to the table, and lived for years after a con- 
sistent life, a monument of the power of the Gospel, 
and a fitting commentary on the important truth 
that the sermons to which we attach but little value 

176 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

may be the very sermons which God may own in 
the salvation of souls. For God chooseth " things 
that are despised, to bring to nought things that 
are, that no flesh glory in his presence." 

The following summer, that is, 1853, I labored at 
La Guerre, Lancaster, and Dalhousie Mills. The 
first part of the summer I spent at the former station 
and extended my labors to Dundee. The interest 
awakened at La Guerre that season extended far and 
wide, and some Roman Catholics scattered through- 
out the neighborhood, though carefully watched by 
a priest, found their way to some of our services, 
and became concerned about their salvation. A tall 
young Frenchman was present at one of our meet- 
ings at Port Lewis, and his mind became so engaged 
under the discourse that he seemed to have for- 
gotten everything but his state before God. He 
lived at St. Anicet, and in going home after the 
meeting had to go a short distance on the road to 
Huntingdon; but instead of turning off the main 
road at a certain comer, he kept straight on till he 
reached Huntingdon, which made his road to his 
residence ten or twelve miles longer. Poor fellow, 
his mind was so completely absorbed with his own 
state before God that he forgot to turn off at the 
corner. It was the houses and streets of Hunting- 

177 

13 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

don that led him to discover his mistake. After I 
was settled at Lancaster, some years later, I had 
the pleasure of baptizing him. He was a tanner by 
trade; but for following the Lord Jesus and for- 
saking the Church of his fathers his factory was 
burned to ashes. 

Another interesting character was that of a man 
who called himself a Universalist. He attended 
the church most regularly, and was among the best 
contributors in the congregation. He was also a 
great temperance worker, and so far as the human 
eye could see without a blemish in his outward con- 
duct. Indeed, if outward, good-living conduct could 
save a man, as some say, he would evidently have 
been saved. But one thing he lacked, or rather, 
he lacked the one thing needful ; as our Saviour said 
to Martha, he lacked a new heart. 

He believed there was no hell or future punish- 
ment, but that all our sufferings met us in the 
present life. This was his belief from boyhood. 
" I heard," said he, " some of the greatest men in 
Scotland when I was a boy, preaching your doc- 
trines, but I could not believe them, nor can I believe 
them yet; a benevolent God would not punish 
creatures made by Himself, eternally." Of course 
it was needless to direct his attention to God's deal- 

178 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

ings with the lost angels, for he did not believe in 
their existence, or in the natural depravity of our 
nature, and our proneness to evil, as he discarded 
the whole Scriptural account of the fall of man, 
and that of angels. Human reason was his guide. 
I told him upon one occasion that his conduct did 
not appear to me to be consistent. " You go to 
church regularly, and liberally support a minister 
who preaches doctrines which you do not regard as 
true. You surprise me." " Oh," said he, " we 
could not do without preaching. Society could not 
exist without it; for it prevents sinners from going 
on in sinful courses; therefore, I support the 
preacher, for he does a great deal of good in the 
neighborhood." 

On a certain Sabbath morning, while I was dis- 
cussing some doctrines which were not in accordance 
with the views he held, I noticed that my friend 
was deeply impressed. I resolved to visit him the 
following day and strike the iron while it was hot. 
Upon arriving I found him at work in the field. 
His niece, who was keeping house for him, urged 
me to remain all night. To this I consented. In 
due time he came in to supper, and received me with 
great warmth of heart, but had little to say at the 
supper table, which was not in accordance with his 

^79 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

usual custom. It was evident that something was 
troubling him, and he was determined not to con- 
verse on any religious topic at the time. The moment 
tea was over, he asked his housekeeper to bring 
"The Book" to Mr. Anderson. This was done. 
Immediately after worship my good friend said, '* I 
am sure you are tired, Mr. Anderson, after the 
labors of yesterday ; I will show you to your room." 
I followed him, and just as soon as I put my foot 
inside the door he took me by the hand, and said 
" Good night," and left me. I felt painfully disap- 
pointed and annoyed in finding myself mastered, 
and my special errand, as far as I could see, frus- 
trated. But looking around me in the room I dis- 
covered a library in a comer, containing a large 
number of books. I began to examine them, and 
never in my life have I seen such a mass of abom- 
inable volumes in one book-case. It was a nest of 
unclean birds enough to corrupt the whole neigh- 
borhood. Not a volume of sound literature could I 
find among them all. I found one book in which 
our standards were overhauled and an attempt made 
to turn their doctrines into ridicule. Instead of 
retiring to rest, I began to study the book so as to 
expose its errors next morning. I examined the 
first chapter or two, and then retired to rest a little 

i8o 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 



before daylight, resolving to be up early, before 
my friend would be off to his work. 

I was up early, but my friend had gained a sec- 
ond march ; he was off to the field. He had instructed 
his housekeeper to allow me to sleep as long as I 
wished, then give me my breakfast and excuse him 
to me, as he was very busy at that time. After 
breakfast I asked his housekeeper to send for her 
uncle and inform him that I wished to see him for 
a special purpose. A messenger was sent, and in a 
short time he put in an appearance. x\s he entered 
the door I met him with the book in my hand which 
I had been studying during the night. Holding it 
up before him, I said, " Is this your book ?" He 
lodced at it and said, " Yes, it is my book." " Do 
you believe its teachings?" "Yes." "Then take 
your Bible, which I know you believe to be the 
Word of God, and sit down at this table before us, 
and defend the teachings of this book; for I wish 
to expose its errors by the Word of God." He 
did so, and I compared the statements made in it 
with those of the Bible. 

My friend was silenced but not convinced. He 
declared with emphasis that he could not, and would 
not. believe my teaching; that he held his views 
from his youth, and that he could not let them go. 

i8i 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

We parted on friendly terms, but often met, and 
often talked tog-ether on the same subject, but 
could not agree. Many years after this occurred I 
was an eye-witness of his latter days, and to complete 
my sketch of him I shall record it just here as I 
saw it. 

While a minister at Lancaster I frequently visited 
La Guerre; and until he was removed by death I 
felt interested in him. Lake St. Francis intervened 
between our homes, which in winter time might be 
crossed on the ice. Some months before his death, 
and while in the enjoyment of excellent health, the 
words of Daniel 12:2 came with great power to his 
heart : " And many of them that sleep in the dust of 
the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and 
some to shame and everlasting contempt." These 
solemn words were fastened like scorpions in his 
very heart. He tried his best to shake them off, 
but failed. He visited some of his associates and 
friends in the neighborhood, to explain to them his 
view of Daniel's statement, in the hope that an 
argument with some one would relieve his pain. But 
his neighbors clearly discovered that the man was 
in great trouble, that the sword of God's Spirit was 
piercing asunder his soul and spirit, and declined 
to argue with him, or utter a word connected with 

182 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

the subject. His convictions became deeper and 
deeper, and more and more painful. His strong and 
healthy body began to yield to his mental depression. 
His appetite left him. He could neither eat nor 
drink, and soon took to his bed, in the very room 
where his pernicious books were kept. The doctor 
was then called in, but informed the anxious ones 
that he could not help him, that the sick one had 
more need of the counsels of a minister than he had 
of a doctor. 

Tidings of his sad state reached me, and the ice 
on the lake being good I at once crossed to see him. 
On my arrival his housekeeper received me gladly, 
and told me that he was in great anxiety of mmd, 
and also very weak in body. His appearance was 
terrible, and his despairing looks shall never be 
effaced from my mind. Before I had time to enter 
his room he began to address me in the following 
words : " You have come, sir, you have come. 
Why did you not come sooner? I am lost: I am 
lost! I have often told you there was no devil, 
but this room is full of devils. I have often told 
you there was no hell, but I am now in hell. I am 
now in the torments of everlasting flames. I am 
now in hell." Turning his head around to his 
sister, who was sitting at the side of his bed, he 

183 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

said to her, " Go out, go out at once to the cold 
spring, and get me some water to quench the burn- 
ing that is in me," Then looking at me he said, 
"Pray for me, sir. God may hear your prayer; He 
will not hear me, for I am lost; I am lost." I stood 
speechless before him for some time, which seemed 
to him to be very long, for he stared at me and said ; 
" Are you not going to pray for me ? God may hear 
you and deliver me from these torments." I finally 
answered him, saying : " I will pray for you, but I 
wish to speak to you first. Just listen to me for a 
little." I then read to him a few passages of Scrip- 
ture, and endeavored to open unto him the way of 
salvation through faith in Jesus. He listened with 
intense interest. Prayer was then offered, at the 
end of which he was greatly composed. He asked 
me some questions in reference to what I had been 
saying. " What then am I to believe ?" " You are 
to believe that Christ came to save sinners, such as 
you are ; and that He is now able and willing to save 
you from all your sins." " Have I to believe," said 
he again, "that God made man to damn him?" 
" No," was my answer ; " that is what your per- 
nicious books taught you. But the Bible tells us 
God created man in His own image, for His own 
glory; that He left him to the freedom of his own 

184 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

will; that he sinned against God, and to a great 
extent effaced the Divine image from his soul, and 
through his sins made himself and all his posterity 
objects of God's displeasure. You are also to be- 
lieve that God in His infinite love and mercy toward 
sinful men sent His own Son as their substitute, 
to make an atonement for their sins ; that He made 
Himself a sacrifice well pleasing to God, for all who 
will accept Him as their Saviour; and that if you 
accept Him as your Surety and your Saviour, He 
will deliver you from all your sins, and from all 
their evil effects." " Well," said he, " I can believe 
all that you have now said, but I cannot believe that 
man was made to be actually damned." 

I parted with him, intending to be back in a day 
or two; but the ice on the lake broke up, which 
prevented me from seeing him again. Tidings of 
his death reached me a week or ten days later. I 
regretted not being able to see him before his death, 
as I had intended if possible to obtain his permission 
to destroy his corrupt libran,'. But his housekeeper 
informed me that it was all burned after his death. 
She also said that she had a hope that he was led 
to rest his soul on the Rock; and that he enjoyed 
great peace of mind after my visit to him. His 
latter days and his awful utterances connected with 

185 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

his lost state made a deep and salutary impression 
on the minds of many of his friends and associates. 

The latter part of my second summer was spent 
at Lancaster and Dalhousie Mills. I preached at 
each station, in both languages, on alternate Sab- 
baths. Although our church was at the Second 
Concession of Lancaster, I went pretty regularly to 
the village and held meetings on Sabbath evenings 
in private houses or in workshops, or in other 
places which could accommodate the people. These 
meetings were not favorably regarded by many of 
the Old Kirk people, hence we could not procure the 
schoolhouse. At Dalhousie, also, after the regular 
services on Sabbath mornings, I held meetings in 
parts of the surrounding districts, where we always 
had large gatherings. 

My third and last summer in the mission field 
was spent at Lochiel. My college course being 
ended, I was sent to the Montreal Presbytery, and 
that Court took me on trial for license; and at the 
same time sent me to labor at Lochiel till exam- 
ination would be over. This took place at Van- 
kleek Hill, where the Presbytery held a special 
meeting, and where I was licensed to preach the 
everlasting Gospel, 

When I began my labors at Lochiel I discovered 

i86 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

that my last session in college had borne heavily 
on my sound constitution. While in college I hardly 
knew what weakness was. I was but once absent 
through indisposition from my classes during my 
whole course of study. But beginning my labors at 
Lochiel, I felt as if I had been shorn of my strength. 
My whole system was run down, and I could hardly 
attend my duties. Besides, a most painful irrita- 
tion was produced in my chest by every sermon I 
preached. My throat also gave me great trouble. 
As I had then but little knowledge in the art of 
speaking, a short address would cause it to inflame. 
By these thorns in the flesh, as they may be called, 
I was made to suffer about ten years. During that 
long period I may safely say that I never preached 
a sermon that was not followed by pain. I con- 
sulted physicians and tried every means to effect a 
cure, but all in vain. The doctors were baffled, and 
seemed not to understand the real cause of my chest 
trouble. My lungs were declared to be perfectly 
sound. One remedy was proposed for my throat 
trouble, and that was to give up speaking. But 
how could this be done, and follow my solemn call- 
ing? Indeed, I often had painful apprehensions 
that I would have to resign my charge and follow 
some other profession. But relief came at last 

187 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

in God's good time which appeared to me then as 
miraculous, the details of which will be referred to 
in the connection in which they occurred. 

While at Lochiel I upon one occasion went to 
Indian Lands, a distance of about twenty-two miles, 
on horseback, to assist at precommunion services. 
Returning on Saturday, as I was passing a small 
house within three miles of home, a woman ran out 
in a great state of excitement, and in the name of 
God asked me to come in, as her husband was just 
dying of cholera, and she was alone, and very much 
afraid. I knew I was very unfit to come into con- 
tact with that deadly malady, which was just then 
very prevalent. I felt unwell before I left Indian 
Lands, and had partaken very sparingly of food. I 
was also fatigued after my long ride, yet I could 
not turn a deaf ear to her entreaty, so followed her 
in. She led me to a small chamber, where I found 
her husband in his death agony. The room was not 
ventilated; I was in the midst of a very poisonous 
atmosphere. I read a short portion of Scripture, 
and made a few observations, and then led in 
prayer, remaining in the room about twenty minutes. 
After prayer the afflicted woman said : " I am 
greatly relieved. Thank you, thank you, I can 
now stand it ; I am no longer afraid. You had better 

i88 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

leave lest you take the sickness.'' I was not far 
from her house when her husband breathed his 
last 

When I reached home I found my family waiting 
for me. The table was spread, and I sat down with 
the rest, though without any inclination for food. 
As the first morsel touched my lips I was struck as 
by a deadly weapon, and had to leave the table in 
haste. Mrs. Anderson followed and asked me if I 
had been in Mr. Mc's house, and when I answered 
yes, she said that accounted for my sudden illness. 
A remedy for cholera being in the house, it was 
administered at once, with good results. I was so 
completely relieved before morning that I decided to 
occupy the pulpit as usual. It was a foolish resolu- 
tion, produced by too much zeal. I was earnestly 
advised not to preach that Sabbath, and my own 
judgment supported that advice. But I would not 
yield, as the people had assembled from great 
distances, and would be disappointed: besides, the 
church was at my door. So I went and began the 
service as usual, but was not far advanced before I 
began to waver, and would have fallen, had not 
friends come to my assistance, and helped me down 
from the pulpit, and back to the house, a wiser and 
a weaker man. 

189 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

While we were at Lochiel, a special meeting of the 
Presbytery of Montreal was called to meet at Van- 
kleek Hill, and I was cited to be present for examin- 
ation for license. The meeting was held about the 
end of August, 1854, when I successfully passed 
the required examination. Being now licensed, the 
special field of my labors had to be chosen, which 
was no easy matter, for laborers were very scarce. 
There was no difficulty in getting a call, but the 
question to be decided was, which call to accept, 
and how to know the mind of God on this imp>or- 
tant question. This difficulty I anticipated before 
leaving college; indeed, it was frequently discussed 
among the students ; and as my views differed from 
those of others, and were well known by most of 
the students, and as I carried them out in practice 
during my whole life, to the present moment, it may- 
be proper to state them just here. The question is 
the following: How may a student just licensed 
know the mind of the Lord regarding the special 
field in which he is to labor? In my judgment he 
should first consider and decide in his own mind 
after earnest prayer for guidance whether he should 
choose any special field for labor apart from the 
world at large, which is declared in Scripture to 
be the field. Second, consider with great care and 

190 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

earnest prayer the first regular call given him, and 
either accept or reject it without waiting or looking 
for another call which may be coming to him. 
Third, he should not accept a call that is not 
unanimous without special reasons, or one that is 
not unanimous in preference to a unanimous call. 
Fourth, consider whether he has the strength and 
ability to accomplish the work which he is expected 
to do, or live on the salary offered him. 

My license placed me in a position to accept a 
regular Gospel call. So unsolicited communications 
reached me from four different congregations ask- 
ing my leave to proceed with the moderation of a 
call. I had but one reply to all : " If you consider 
me a suitable person for taking charge of the souls 
of your congregation and doing the work required 
of me there, then do your duty in accordance with 
the laws of our Church to secure a pastor, and when 
your call comes to hand I hope I shall be able to 
answer according to the Divine mind. But if the 
congregation be not perfectly unanimous you need 
proceed no further, for I shall not accept a call 
which is not unanimous." These rules were a great 
help to me in dealing with calls. I never preached 
for a call, but was satisfied that my Good Master 

191 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

would lead me to the very place where He would 
have me labor. 

When the students were distributed in the spring, 
at the close of the college session, I was always 
claimed by the Montreal Presbytery, and my ser- 
vices were confined within its bounds. During my 
last session in college I was invited by a member of 
the Presbytery of London to give two Sabbaths dur- 
ing the Christmas holidays at Thamesford. The 
Rev. Mr. Bethune, our minister there, having been 
removed by death, the congregation had no supply. 
So instead of spending my holidays at the college 
in Toronto I complied with the invitation. I enjoyed 
great freedom in preaching there, and it would seem 
that the people were highly pleased with the ser- 
vices, for they continued to correspond with me till 
the day of my license, and fully decided to send me 
a call as soon as I was in a position to accept it. 
Indeed, their call was the first moderated to me, was 
perfectly unanimous, and had it not been for the 
action of the clerk of the Montreal Presbytery, who 
was a college friend of mine and well acquainted 
with my views on the subject of calls, and who was 
anxious to keep me within the bounds of his own 
Presbytery, I certainly would have accepted it. 
Having received the call from Thamesford he put it 

192 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

in a pigeon-hole, where he kept it for some weeks, 
till the quarterly meeting of his own Presbytery 
took place, without letting me know that he had such 
an important document in his possession, and till 
another call was moderated at Lancaster and Dal- 
housie Mills. The clerk took very good care that 
the latter call was put into my hand first. I was 
scrupulously careful not to do anything in connec- 
tion with calls till they reached me, therefore I made 
no inquiry about the one from Thamesford. But 
its delay I could not account for, and I cannot say 
but I felt disappointed, for to all appearance it was 
far ahead of any other call offered me then. The 
congregation was well organized, large and in- 
fluential, and had only one place of worship. The 
roads were also excellent, and everything about the 
church very convenient. 

Time moved on and a regular meeting of the 
Montreal Presbytery was held at Cornwall. A call 
from Lancaster and Dalhousie Mills, being pre- 
viously moderated, was sustained. It was perfectly 
unanimous, but had very few signatures, neverthe- 
less the names of all the people who adhered to the 
principles of the Free Church of Scotland in those 
districts were attached to it. The names of thirteen 
members at Lancaster and seven at Dalhousie Mills 

193 
13 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

and some adherents made up the call. But the 
people were in earnest and warm-hearted. The two 
churches were sixteen miles apart and the roads 
between them at certain times of the year were 
almost impassable. One of the churches was a 
rough, unpainted frame building; the other was a 
log structure. 

The call from those congregations being placed 
in my hand by the clerk of the Presbytery, I was 
asked if I could express my mind regarding it. I 
promised to do so at the next sederunt. When we 
met in the evening I stated that I could not but 
accept the call, although the difficulties connected 
with the charge were very numerous and very grave ; 
yet someone would have to face them or our cause 
would evidently suffer. The moment I uttered the 
above statement, the clerk, as if he had forgotten his 
duty, said : " Oh, Mr. Anderson, I have another call 
for you from Thamesford, in the London Presby- 
tery; perhaps I should have given it to you before 
now. Here it is," and he placed it in my hand with 
a smile. 

I shall not attempt to describe my feelings. I held 
my peace. But my judgment condemned the con- 
duct of the clerk. It was very wrong. I knew he 
did not do it from any ill-will toward me. But, 

194 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

looking' higher than man, how very strange and 
mysterious the procedure was. Here we have an 
act which cannot be justified by man or approved of 
by God yet included within the range of God's per- 
missive decree and so overruled by Him in His 
infinite wisdom that His purpose was secured: for 
I am perfectly satisfied that Lancaster and Dal- 
housie Mills was the very field assigned to me for 
the first part of my ministrations. I was led to that 
field in answer to prayer by an unseen and unerring 
hand for the glory of God and the salvation of many 
souls; for beyond doubt God endorsed and sealed 
the settlement which was then effected. 

The important day of my ordination and induc- 
tion arrived. The event took place on the eleventh 
of October, 1854. Services were held in both 
churches. The Rev. Thomas Wardrope, of Bytown, 
kindly consented to be present and took a large part 
in the services. On the following Sabbath I took 
as my text, 2 Cor. 7:3: " Ye are in our hearts to 
die and live with you," preaching in English at the 
second concession of Lancaster. The next Sabbath 
I preached at Dalhousie Mills, taking as my text 
Isa. 57 : 19 : " Peace, peace to him that is far off 
and to him that is near, saith the Lord." 

As already mentioned the two churches were so 

195 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

far apart that I never attempted to preach in both 
the same day; yet I had invariably to prepare new 
sermons for every Sabbath in the two languages, for 
a large number of each congregation attended all the 
services held in either church. Going long distances 
to church in those days was very common and 
thought but little of. I could not even use my Eng- 
lish sermon for the Gaelic service, as many of the 
people understood both languages, and being so 
greedy for preaching remained to hear the second 
sermon. 

My morning sermon was written with a good deal 
of care, then committed and thoroughly mastered. 
I tried to have it completed on Friday night and 
delivered it to the waves of the lake, which was at 
our door, on Saturday. There is a large stone at a 
point in front of the manse glebe, at the edge of 
Lake St. Francis, so secluded from all disturbance, 
so well shaped and suitable for my Saturday recita- 
tions that I often felt as if it were placed there for 
my special benefit by the hand of Providence. To 
me it is beyond doubt a Stone of Remembrance, for 
to this day it speaks to my heart every time I 
visit it. 

The sermons thus written and thoroughly pre- 
pared and preached were generally retained in my 

196 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

mind for many years, so that I had but little trouble 
in preaching them again in the course of four or 
five years. I seldom preached any of them in the 
same place in a shorter period than four years. This 
practice I continued for about ten years. It was to 
me an unalterable rule, which nothing but stem 
necessity could set aside, to write out in full one ser- 
mon each week thoroughly prepared according to 
the grace given me. I never attempted to write out 
two in the same week, nor did I ever feel that the 
prepared discourse was perfect. The opposite was 
the case, and when preached again I attempted to 
make some improvements. But after they were first 
prepared, defective as many of them were, I had 
to preach them as messages received for my people. 
But I had three discourses to deliver every Sab- 
bath ; an English and a Gaelic discourse in the mom- 
ii^, one after another, without coming out of the 
pulpit, and another in English or Gaelic in the even- 
ing. How did I accomplish this — preach three ser- 
mons every Sabbath and yet prepare but one every 
week ? Did I appear before the people unprepared ? 
No, I never yet attempted to preach without having 
something to preach, although I often found that 
the discourses to which I attached but little value 
were the very ones which God owned for the salva- 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

tion of souls, while those which I thought some- 
thing of were, as far as known to me, unfruitful. 
Regarding these two sermons my first effort was to 
select suitable texts. I then read everything within 
my reach connected with them, turning them over 
and over in my mind, until the truths they contained 
filled my thoughts, and my heart was more or less 
impressed with their importance. I then went to the 
pulpit and sought and looked for special grace to 
deliver them as in the sight of God. 

After ten years I dropped the committing of my 
sermons, but not the writing of them, and instead 
of committing them I endeavored to master all the 
heads and ideas which they contained, nor did I 
regard myself as being prepared to preach them until 
my whole subject, from the beginning to the end, 
was fully fixed in my mind, and so clearly before me 
that I could deliver the last head first, and the first 
last, if I saw proper to do so. 

A large portion of my time at Lancaster and Dal- 
housie Mills was spent in visiting my flock. The 
people were very scattered and there were long dis- 
tances between them, and although I had a good 
horse for driving around, yet I felt that I could 
hardly afford the time I had to spend on the road 
doing nothing. As the two congregations were so 

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THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

far apart, and to avoid some driving, my habit was 
to visit the congregation at Dalhousie on the Mon- 
day and Tuesday following the Sabbath I preached 
there. I endeavored to visit every family in both 
congregations once a year, and oftener where there 
was old age or sickness. It took me the whole year 
to accomplish this. Perhaps my visits were too 
lengthy for some and too religious, for they were 
not mere social and aimless calls to please natural 
minds or to converse about the affairs of the coun- 
try; but they were regular religious services held 
in each house, at which all the children and servants 
were expected to be present. The children were 
carefully examined in the Shorter Catechism and 
as to their knowledge of Scripture in the presence 
of their parents. Nor were the parents neglected in 
the interesting exercises, but were questioned re- 
garding their domestic worship, which was solemnly 
enjoined, and very generally maintained both morn- 
ing and evening. There were very few families in 
either congregation where worship was not con- 
ducted when I left them. 

Some years after my settlement I began to think 
that I should be more particular or personal in my 
visitations, and attempt to converse with each indi- 
vidual member of every household. I anticipated 

199 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

difficulties in carrying out this resolution, but found 
they were not so great as I looked for, and although 
it took me a long time in accomplishing my object, 
yet it was done, and the result was most cheering 
and encouraging. 

During the first six years of my ministrations I 
was very much encouraged in my work.- Our cause 
at Lancaster and Dalhousie Mills, in its infancy, had 
to contend with many difficulties. The Free Church 
party were few in number. There were others, 
however, who came to hear the Word preached, 
although many of them were far from being 
friendly, and some even did what they could to 
weaken and injure our cause. We were despised 
because of our fewness, and were regarded as in- 
truders; pushing ourselves on a people who did not 
want us, and who attached no value to the principles 
we advocated. Moreover, our doctrines were new 
to them. Regeneration, justification by faith with- 
out the works of the law and Christian assurance 
were to them new. In a word, we were held forth 
as disturbers of the peace of the community, and as 
seeking to shake the people's confidence in the 
Church of their forefathers by introducing new 
doctrines which were contrary to what they were 
taught. 

200 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

Another difficulty had to be met at Lancaster by 
the Free Church people. The Kirk people antici- 
pated a division in their congregation connected 
with the principles that caused the disruption in the 
Church of Scotland, and before any deputation from 
the Free Church appeared in Glengarry a legal docu- 
ment was carefully drawn out by the leaders of the 
congregation binding the subscribers to support the 
Established Church during their lifetime. The 
mass of the people very thoughtlessly and unhesi- 
tatingly signed the document, binding themselves, 
and in some cases their heirs, to support the Church 
of their forefathers to the end of their natural life, 
for at the time there was no other church known to 
them; besides they were perfectly satisfied with the 
Church in which they had been brought up and cared 
for none else. So all the subscribers to the legal 
document were bound to pay regularly to the treas- 
urer of the Kirk the sum opposite their name. Some 
supposed that these subscriptions could not be col- 
lected from those who left the Church and received 
no benefit from it, but such a supposition was not 
correct. It was tried at the civil court. One of our 
people who, with his family, had not entered the 
church for years, refused to pay his subscription. 

20 1 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

He was sued and judgment was secured against him, 
his cattle being seized and sold for payment. 

But it was pleasing to notice that this unfair and 
provoking demand tended to the purity of our 
church. Unless one was in earnest and sincere he 
would not be apt to leave the Church of his fore- 
fathers when he knew well that he had to support 
that institution after leaving it. So the legal docu- 
ment proved of spiritual benefit to the Free Church 
at Lancaster, serving as a sieve and preventing the 
corruption of the communion roll. 

In spite of these opposing elements our congrega- 
tions grew and increased in number. During the 
first six years a large number in both congregations 
were received on profession of their faith in the 
Lord Jesus into full communion. And what was 
very remarkable, most of them were men. Women 
seemed to be indifferent for the first two or three 
years after my settlement. Our weekly meetings 
were attended far better by the male than by the 
female sex. We were favored also in another very 
remarkable manner, for not a single death occurred 
in the congregation of Lancaster for the space of 
seven years. 

Though the good work was advancing and the 
congregations both at Lancaster and Dalhousie Mills 

202 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

increasing- in number, we were not without our 
troubles. It was said at the disruption of the Church 
of Scotland the best and most religious people came 
out and joined the Free Church. Perhaps this asser- 
tion was to some extent true, but on the other hand 
discontented persons, fault-finders and many trouble- 
some characters found their way into our midst. 
The Free Church was to them a convenient place 
of escape from their grievances in the Kirk. As the 
Free Church in Canada was in its infancy, some of 
these persons secured to themselves very important 
positions in our sessions and deacons' courts — ^posi- 
tions they should never have held — to the injury of 
our infant cause. At my settlement about half the 
male members of the congregation were office-bear- 
ers, some of them most unsuitable. They lacked not 
only the spiritual qualifications essential to the 
proper performance of their duties, but even that 
ordinary intelligence and sound judgment which 
would command the respect of their fellow-men. 

At Lancaster there were only four elders, an un- 
fortunate number, as they often disagreed, and the 
casting vote of the moderator had to be used too fre- 
quently. In time, however, the Session decided to 
augment their number and asked the congregation 
to elect three suitable men to the eldership. On the 

203 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

Sabbath app)ointed two men received almost all the 
votes of the congregation, while a third came very 
close. But two of the elders were sorely disap- 
pointed, as the man on whom their eyes were set 
received only two or three votes. He was a clever 
man and well versed in the law of the land, but when 
asked by the Session if I considered him suitable 
for the eldership, I had been obliged to reply in the 
negative, as he did not conduct family worship, and 
would not lead publicly in prayer, neither was he 
considered by the congregation as a spiritually- 
miinded person. After the election he challenged me 
with defamation of character, and threatened to 
starve me out. My reply to this outburst was that 
it would not be an easy thing to do, as I could live 
on potatoes and salt as well as any other. Then the 
disappointed elders began to object to the ordination 
of the two men who had received the large vote. 
One, they said, was not sound in the faith, and the 
other was a Sabbath-breaker, as being the light- 
house-keeper he was obliged to light his lamps on 
Sunday. These objections were carefully consid- 
ered. One was found to be groundless and the other 
not valid, so the ordination was proceeded with. 

The threat to starve me out proved to be no vain 
one. Mr. C, in company with his two friends, did 

204 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

their best to oust me from the place. " Starve him 
out," was their cry. " Withhold your subscrip- 
tions." " Stay away from the church," they told the 
people. The congr^ation responded by opening 
their purses wider and pouring money more liberally 
than before into the treasury of the church. They 
also visited the manse, surprised the minister and 
his family, and left behind them such a store of 
provisions as would have kept the wolf from the 
door for many a long day. 

The next move of these discontented men was to 
draw up a petition to have the minister removed, 
which they took from door to door in the congrega- 
tion. Not a soul signed it but themselves, and yet 
they had the audacity to present it at the next meet- 
ing of Presbytery. That august court did not so 
much as deign to read it. Being exasperated by 
this cold reception they resolved to try another 
method to gain their object. They scraped together 
a number of charges against me, most frivolous and 
groundless, and carried them before Presbytery. 
These the Presbytery unanimously threw aside and 
solemnly reprimanded the bearers for their un- 
worthy conduct. They were plainly told that if I 
saw proper I could take the very coats off their 
backs for slander. This plain talk had some effect 

205 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

upon them, and when they heard me asking for an 
extract from the minutes and a copy of the charges 
they became alarmed, and without delay made over 
all their possessions to their friends so as to frus- 
trate the law should action be taken against them. 

A week or two after this meeting of Presbytery 
two of my leading officers came to me with a 
message from the late John Sandfield Macdonald, 
then a lawyer at Cornwall, later Premier of On- 
tario, saying that if I gave my case into his hands he 
would see that I got justice, and that it would not 
cost me a cent. I asked both the deacon and elder 
what they would do were they in my place. They 
both urged me to take advantage of Mr. Macdon- 
ald's offer, adding that it would effectually stop the 
mouths of my enemies and make me a rich man as 
well. I then asked them what they thought the 
Saviour would do in the circumstances. They 
agreed that He would not take any such action. 
" Neither shall I," was my reply. " I could not 
enjoy such riches. I have put my case into the 
hands of my Master, and, mark my words, He will 
in His own good time defend my case, and deal 
with these men in such a manner as will cause the 
ears of some to tingle. At the same time, I thank 
you most sincerely for the interest you take in my 

206 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

welfare, and please convey my thanks to Mr. Mac- 
donald for his liberal offer." 

The future history of these mischief-makers and 
evil-doers is full of instruction. The Session bore 
patiently with them for a long time, and not until 
their conduct became glaringly inconsistent and a 
reproach to our cause did they reluctantly suspend 
them from the communion of the church. But at 
last they cited Mr. C. to appear before them on a 
certain day, the only charge mentioned being irregu- 
larity in church attendance, and the withholding of 
promised financial support. Upon the day appointed 
he was allowed to defend himself before the Session. 
His address savored very much of that which is 
often delivered at a civil tribunal, and was enor- 
mously long. At length it came to a close for want 
of matter. The court then deliberated upon the case. 
When Mr. C. saw that all but his two particular 
friends were to vote against him he became most 
abusive, and, throwing aside all restraint, tried to 
bully us. I had then to interfere, and spoke to him in 
the following manner : " Mr. C, we are here consti- 
tuted a court of the Church of God, and according 
to the law of the land. If you do not cease inter- 
rupting us I shall have you in jail before the sun 
sets." This cowed him at once and he became mute. 

207 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

The Session finally decided to suspend him until 
what time he should repent of his unbecoming con- 
duct. 

An interesting- incident in connection with this 
lengthy meeting- of Session must not pass unre- 
corded. Near the church lived a godly widow who 
noticed that the meeting was very protracted. In 
some way or other she had come to know of a very 
common infirmity of mine, one which had accom- 
panied me from my college days, and which in- 
capacitated me in the p>erformance of my duties, 
namely, should I pass a meal-time for an hour or 
two without partaking of any food I was sure to be 
sick, very sick indeed, and quite unable to do any- 
thing of an intellectual nature. Well, this kind- 
hearted woman, in sympathy for my weakness, pre- 
pared a cup of coffee and brought it with some cakes 
upon a tray to the church door. One of the disap- 
pointed elders answered her quiet knock, and in 
reply to her request that it be taken to the minister, 
rudely said : " Away with it, we have as much need 
of food as he," and closed the door against her. 
She, however, was not to be thwarted in her good 
purpose by such a repulse. Returning home she kept 
the coffee warm and watched at the window until 
she saw the church door open and the meeting dis- 

208 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

miss, then, bearing her tray a second time, came 
straight toward me, saying in the presence of all : 
" I came to the church door some time ago with this 

coffee and cake, but Elder met me at the door 

and would not take it to you ; will you accept it now, 
Mr. Anderson ?" " Accept it ! Yes, indeed, with 
many, many thanks," and stepping aside to my 
buggy, I continued, " I shall sit up here and allow 
all to see how highly I appreciate and enjoy your 
kindness." Her face fairly beamed with pleasure 
for the opportunity thus afforded to show her attach- 
ment to her pastor, and which I trust was but an 
outlet for her love to her Saviour, whose voice in 
due time shall be heard saying to her and all of her 
spirit, " Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least 
of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." 

Instead of repenting of his evil ways Mr. C. 
drifted away more and more from all means of 
grace. The frowns of God's displeasure seemed to 
rest upon him during the remainder of his days. One 
after another of his large family were removed by 
death, and finally he was left alone, a blind cripple. 

Regarding the two who were so disappointed in 
not getting Mr. C. into the eldership, Mr. F. was 
for many years, to all appearance, most zealous 
and enthusiastic in all congregational affairs. He 

209 
14 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

left us quite suddenly one Sabbath morning after I 
had preached a sermon on hypocrisy. He declared 
the sermon was preached at him and was much 
offended in consequence. He united with another 
congregation, and for many years retained his pre- 
vious good record. Finally, however, he was sus- 
pended by the Session for drunkenness, and the last 
I heard was that all his belongings had been seized 
for debt, and that he himself had been obliged to 
leave that part of the country. 

The other elder, Mr. H., in time sincerely repented 
his unseemly conduct, and went so far as to make a 
public confession in the church one morning after 
service. With a trembling voice and many tears he 
said : " I wish to acknowledge my guilt before you, 
and in the presence of God. For some years past 
I have been serving the devil, doing all I could to 
make the minister's cup a bitter one, and to oblige 
him to leave the place. I ask your forgiveness and 
your prayers." There were not many dry eyes in 
the church that morning, and after prayer was 
offered poor Mr. H. was warmly received into the 
affections of the people. 

There was another leading man at Lancaster of 
whom a short sketch may not prove uninteresting. 
He was not an elder, but owing to his loud profes- 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

sion, fluency of speech and forwardness, had a 
good deal of influence among the people. He lived 
about SIX miles from the town, and in process of 
time set up a store where he was licensed to sell 
liquor. Gradually his attendance at church became 
very irregular, and many unpleasant reports regard- 
ing the liquor business caused the Session to draw 
his attention to his unchristian behavior. They were 
plainly told by him to mind their own business, and 
he demanded his certificate of membership. When 
refused he appealed to the Presbyter>% but that 
court only sustained the Session, and gave him 
three months to redeem his character. To all 
appearance a change was very manifest. His place 
was regularly filled in church on the Sabbath, and we 
cherished the hope that the reformation would be of 
a lasting character. Exactly at the end of the three 
months, however, he again demanded his certificate. 
As he had not given anything in support of the 
means of grace for some time, he was advised to 
settle his account with the treasurer. This advice 
was not heeded, so the following lines were handed 
to him : — " It is hereby certified that Mr. R. D., 
liquor dealer, was up to this date a member in full 
communion of the Presbyterian congregation at 
Lancaster, and in connection with the Presbyterian 

211 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

Church in Canada, and leaves this congregation in 
arrears to Treasurer. J. Anderson, Moderator." He 
took the certificate and sent it to the clerk of Pres- 
bytery to be submitted to that court. Although the 
clerk favored Mr. D.'s complaint against the Session, 
yet he saw that it would be needless to submit it to 
Presbytery, as the Session could not be forced to 
remove from the certificate those clauses which Mr. 
D. regarded as of no credit to his character, inas- 
much as they were indisputable facts, well known by 
the people of the neighborhood. The clerk, however, 
wrote on Mr. D.'s behalf to our Session. He urged 
the court with all the arguments and power at his 
command to remove the offensive clauses from the 
certificate, promising at the same time to settle all 
arrears against Mr. D. in the treasurer's books. But 
the Session was immovable, and informed the clerk 
of Presbytery that their treasurer had no account 
against him; that if Mr. D. wished to settle his 
accounts, he knew where the treasurer lived, and 
that when his accounts were settled the money clause 
would be at once removed; moreover, that if Mr. 
D. wished the liquor clause removed, he could pull 
down the sign from above his shop door and give up 
selling liquor, then the liquor clause would be cheer- 
fully removed and his certificate would appear with- 

212 



THREE SUMMERS IN MISSION FIELD 

out a blemish. Further, the clerk was told by the 
Session that it would become him far better to advise 
his friend Mr. D. to get out of the liquor business, if 
he was ashamed to have his calling mentioned in 
his certificate, than to be urging the Session to 
remove from the certificate the very words which 
Mr. D. had on his sign above his shop door for the 
public to see. 

And what became of him ? This is a most solemn 
and practical question. For a time Mr. D. was re- 
spected and possessed of qualities which might, in 
the hand of God, have been useful in the Church. 
But he began a traffic which soon produced in him a 
state of indifference to all religious things. Re- 
straining grace appeared to have been withdrawn, 
and he soon showed even to the world the spirit 
he was of. His house and all its contents were 
burned to ashes, the strong impression being that 
his own hands set it on fire to get the insurance 
money. He left his wife, and cleared off with a 
low character to parts unknown. His wife kept 
possession of the farm homestead, but he managed 
to secure in some way or other all the produce, 
leaving her to starve in an empty house, dependent 
on what her neighbors would give her. Truly the 
way of transgressors is hard. " Whatsoever a man 
soweth, that shall he also reap." 

213 



CHAPTER XL 

ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE MIDST OF 
DIFFICULTIES. 

Those men who gave so much annoyance, both to 
myself and people, were united in one thing-, as one 
of them expressed it, namely, to starve me out. Dur- 
ing those years of strife two calls from large and 
well organized congregations were pressed upon me, 
but I had no hesitation in declining them, for I was 
satisfied that the Good Master was with me, and that 
I had work yet to do where I was. The influence of 
those evil-doers was, however, keenly felt by many 
of the congregation. Indeed, for a short time I was 
not sure who my friends were. Unfriendly anony- 
mous letters were sent, and here and there among 
the people I would meet unmistakable evidences of 
the diligence of my foes. But this did not continue 
long. The foul atmosphere began to clear, and the 
current of turbulent feeling began to run more 
smoothly. The dawning of better days very plainly 
appeared on a certain Sabbath morning when I was 
about to baptize a child of one of the leading dea- 

214 



ENCOURAGEMENT AND DIFFICULTIES 

cons of the congregation. When I asked the name of 
the child, " John Anderson," was the reply, which 
I rang out loud and clear to reach the farthest cor- 
ner of the church. 

About this time one of the Dalhousie people came 
to me with a request to visit his sister, who, he said, 
was acting very strangely, and to all appearance 
drawing near her latter end. I knew his sister pretty 
well, for she was very regular and attentive in 
church. She lived on a farm about eleven miles 
from the manse, with her mother and brother. I 
went to see her at once. On my arrival at the resi- 
dence I found the house full of her anxious friends, 
waiting to see her breathe her last. She was lying 
on her back in bed, her eyes closed, her arms 
stretched out at each side, with a Psalm-book in one 
of her hands, open at the fifty-third Paraphrase : 

" Take comfort. Christians, when your friends 
In Jesus fall asleep; 
Their better being never ends; 
Why then dejected weep?" 

She was the very picture of death, so much so that 
one would think her to be already dead. I first 
sat quietly among the crowd without saying a 
word, for I wished to see her peculiarities. I was 

215 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

told that she had been in this condition for two or 
three days, now and again parting with her friends, 
singing the Paraphrase and assuring them that she 
was going home, and would meet them all in heaven. 
As I approached her bedside, she at once saw and 
recognized me, and stretched out both hands to me, 
saying, " I am glad to see you. I am going home to 
be with Jesus, which is far better. I thank you from 
my heart for the sermon you preached the Sabbath 
I was led to throw myself on Jesus. Now He is 
mine, and I am His. Farewell ! farewell ! We shall 
soon meet in the happy home where friends meet to 
part no more." Then to console those left behind 
she read her favorite words. In a clear, strong 
voice she started the tune, singing with all her heart, 
some of the friends present singing with her. She 
then closed her eyes, and stretching out her hands 
as before assumed the appearance of death. But 
this time she did not continue long in death-like 
image, for her eyes gradually opened, and her coun- 
tenance gained its natural appearance. Just as she 
was about to speak again, and go over the same 
beaten course, I looked at her with a stern counten- 
ance, and in a loud voice, carrying as much author- 
ity as I had at my command, I said : " Peggy, you 
are not to go home just now. We need you here in 

216 



ENCOURAGEMENT AND DIFFICULTIES 

the church on earth. It would be unfair for you to 
run home from the service of Christ before you had 
rightly commenced His work ; it would be cowardly 
to flee from His battlefield just as soon as you 
enlisted into His army. No, no; such conduct would 
never do ! You have yet to labor for Him and fight 
His battles, and manifest the glory^ and power of His 
grace in your future life, among your companions 
and friends." Taking hold of her psalm-book, I 
said, " That is not the proper portion of Scripture 
you should sing just now," and turning to the hun- 
dred and eighteenth Psalm, I read: 

" ' I shall not die, but live, 

And shall the works of God discover; 
The Lord hath me chastened sore, 

But not to death given over/ 

This is the verse to sing. Can you read it?" She 
read it. " Read it ag^in." She read it again. " Let 
us now sing it." We sang. Then a prayer was 
offered, after which I turned toward the g^rl and 
said, " Rise up. There is nothing wrong with you. 
You are not going home just yet." Immediately she 
sat up in the bed and said, " Oh, what a load has 
been taken off me!" but she felt weak, and nearly 
fainted. Being refreshed with tea and toast, she 

217 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

very soon was able to walk about the house. She 
is still living, so far as I know. 

An old lady in the company, when she saw what 
took place, rushed to where I was standing, and tak- 
ing hold of me with both hands exclaimed, "It is 
a real miracle, Mr. Anderson, just like that of Jairus' 
daughter !" "No miracle," was my reply, " but an 
answer to prayer, connected with the use of means. 
I understood the girl's state of mind, and the Good 
Master used my poor eflforts to restore her." 

Another peculiar case was that of Mrs. Mc. On 
a certain cold, wintry night, shortly after midnight, 
a knock came to the manse door, outside of which 
stood a young boy with horse and sleigh, bringing 
a message from his mother requesting my immedi- 
ate presence at her home. Upon inquiry he told 
me that his mother was not ill, but very happy. 
I went with him at once. As I approached the door 
she opened it, and taking hold of my hand said, in 
the words of the elders of Bethlehem to Samuel, 
" Comest thou peaceably?" and I replied in the 
prophet's words, " Peaceably am I come." She 
then repjeated very correctly part of a sermon I had 
preached some weeks previously, and spoke of the 
deep conviction it had produced on her mind of her 
sinfulness before God, and of the days and nights 

218 



ENCOURAGEMENT AND DIFFICULTIES 

she had since spent in a state of restlessness, and 
without sleep. She also related with great elo- 
quence the wonderful and sudden change from sor- 
row to joy which had taken place in her mind that 
very night while lying in her bed. The intense pain 
of her heart during those days and nights of her 
distress was completely removed, and her joy 
seemed to have no tx)unds. Hence she awakened her 
husband and called in her neighbors, many of whom 
were present, to praise and thank God, with her, 
for the wonderful deliverance she had experienced. 
Pulling out of her bosom a little hymn-book, she 
b^an to read a hymn. Then she started to sing it 
with all her heart, and some of those present sang 
with her. Noticing that I did not join with the rest, 
she seemed to be greatly disappointed. After sing- 
ing, she began to describe the wonderful change 
which had come over her, and spoke of me as being 
something more than a mere man. For this 1 had to 
rebuke her, which she received with a smile, contin- 
uing, however, to speak in an orderly manner, 
although under great excitement. 

At last I called to her husband and said : " John, 
put a strong table in the centre of the room, that 
she may stand on it and speak louder, so all may see 
and hear her better. She has become a great 

219 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

preacher; though she sent for me she has no need 
of my services." This sarcasm went right to her 
heart. She became silent. When asked to proceed 
with her address not a word would she utter. 
" Have you nothing more to say?" I asked her. She 
shook her head. " Well," said I, " if you have no 
more to say, I have. The first thing is that the 
devil is present here to-night. I am not prepared 
to say that the Spirit of God is not striving with 
this poor woman, but I am perfectly satisfied that 
the devil is also striving with her, and has a special 
object in view. He is trying to fasten an evil report 
to the cause of Christ in this place, and is opposing 
the work of God's Spirit in her heart. But he will 
eventually fail in his wicked and hellish device. The 
Spirit of God in due time will complete His own 
work. Let us be still and know that Jehovah reigns. 
" The next statement I wish to make is, that we 
all return to our homes and allow Mrs. Mc. to retire 
to rest, for she needs it very badly. She has had no 
sleep for many nights." When this proposal was 
made, all the friends left at once, but I remained a 
little longer to make sure that the restless one would 
retire. This she was very unwilling to do. But 
reminding her that if she was to be one of my flock 
— for she was not then a member — she would have 

2:20 



ENCOURAGEMENT AND DIFFICULTIES 

to obey me, she accordingly retired, promising me 
she would not get up in the morning until I 
returned. 

In the morning I returned and found her just as 
I had left her. She had not slept, nor uttered a 
word during my absence. She was determined not 
to speak, but replied to my questions by nods and 
shakes of her head, so I was at my wit's end to 
know what was to be done. I asked her to get up 
and prepare me my dinner, as I was to remain until 
the afternoon, and to keep her mind and body exer- 
cised I mentioned a number of things I would like 
to have for dinner. This seemed to please her, and 
she soon was going about the house as if nothing 
were the matter. 

At dinner she refused to eat, until I said I would 
partake of nothing unless she did. She made an 
attempt to eat, but partook of very little. When 
dinner was over she suddenly became hysterical, 
weeping and laughing loudly. I asked all present 
to withdraw from the room, and then implored her 
to unburden her mind to me. She at once spoke 
out, and mentioned with trembling lips some things 
in her past life which were arrows in her conscience, 
and asked if I considered those sins to be unpardon- 
able. I had no difficulty in answering her question 

221 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

and correcting her impression regarding the unpar- 
donable sin, and directing her also to many passages 
and instances in Scripture which clearly met her 
case, removing completely the painful wounds from 
her heart, and filling her with joy in believing in 
the efficacy of the atoning blood of Christ, but with 
none of the excitement manifest the previous night. 
I spent that day with her family, and returned home 
in the evening with feelings of gratitude and praise 
to God. 

I was engaged to take part at the communion at 
Cornwall the following Sabbath, but promised Mrs. 
Mc. that I would go to see her as soon as I returned. 
At the latter end of the same week she told her 
husband that she felt the same kind of pain in her 
heart as before and asked him to go to Cornwall 
and inform me of the fact, asking me to come as 
soon as possible. He left home with the purpose of 
doing so, but, having to pass through Lancaster, he 
was persuaded not to go on to Cornwall but to take 
a doctor back with him. Upon returning he found 
his wife busy with her housework. The moment 
they entered she said to her husband, " Is this the 
minister you brought to see me? I have no need 
of a doctor of his stamp, for he knows nothing of 
my trouble, and you may just as well go back with 

222 



ENCOURAGEMENT AND DIFFICULTIES 

him, for I shall take none of his medicine." But 
he told her that the minister could not come to see 
her that day, and that he had requested him to take 
the doctor to see her. She challenged her husband's 
statement, and declared it to be untrue. He insisted, 
however, that such was really the case, and the 
doctor assured her that he had some medicine that 
would benefit her, so finally she very reluctantly 
consented to take it. In less than five minutes she 
was deprived of her strength, and was obliged to lie 
down. The doctor removed her hair and shaved 
her head, she becoming terribly excited, so much 
so that she had to be fastened to her bed with ropes. 
The worst kind of reports of her case were spread 
far and near; nor could it be denied that the poor 
woman's reason was yielding and in danger of being 
completely overthrown. 

On my return from Cornwall I went at once to 
see her. One of her brothers met me at the gate 
and forbade me entering, but I sprang past him and 
secured an entrance into the house, where a number 
of her relatives were present. Not one of them 
recognized my presence. It was clearly seen that I 
was not wanted, as I was blamed for the woman's 
state of mind. The Free Church doctrines, as they 
called them, had done the whole mischief. 

223 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

With great sublimity and eloquence the afflicted 
one was setting forth the assembling of the whole 
human race on the great day of reckoning. She 
spoke of the Judge of all, sitting upon the Great 
White Throne; of the books that were open before 
Him ; of the two great classes of the human family, 
the one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 
She announced the solemn sentence on both classes, 
and its final and eternal execution, in the gathering 
of the saints into glory, to be with Christ forever, 
and the driving away of the wicked with foul spirits, 
to the place prepared for the devil and his angels. 
When I heard the solemn declaration of Divine 
truth set forth with such clearness and power by 
her, I was not surprised to see that all the Christless 
ones around were in a state of consternation. Hard 
would the heart have been that would not have been 
moved by the solemn truths announced by a person 
who realized to the full what she was uttering. 

I stepped into the chamber. There I found Mrs. 
Mc. held fast to her bed by three men. I spoke to 
the men who were holding her, and said, " What 
are you doing to her? Please let her alone." At 
once she knew my voice, opened her eyes, and 
stretched out her hands toward me, saying, " Oh, 
you have come! Did you tell John to bring the 

224 



ENCOURAGEMENT AND DIFFICULTIES 

doctor to see me?" "No, I did not," was my reply. 
" Did he see you at Cornwall?" " No," I answered. 
Looking at her husband, who was standing near 
her bed, she said, " Oh, John, it is just as I said. 
You told me a lie, a deliberate lie!" Then looking 
to me she said, " He brought the doctor here, and 
he gave me some poisonous stuff that deprived me 
of my strength and reason, I have no need of such 
a doctor, for he knows nothing of my trouble." 
Looking at the men who were holding her down, 
she said, " These men are abusing me. If they 
would just let me alone it would be to my comfort. 
But you will take my part, and keep them from me." 
" Yes," was my reply, " they are not touching you 
now. I shall remain with you, but you must listen 
to what I have to say, and obey me." This calmed 
her mind very much and we conversed on religious 
subjects as if nothing was wrong with her, continu- 
ity to do so the whole of that day. All the strangers 
left, saying one to another, " This is wonderful ; we 
never saw anything like it. The minister has her 
under his influence, and perfectly composed." I 
was not, however, satisfied with her calmness. 
There was still an unnatural look about her eyes. 
As evening approached, she asked the servant to 
light a candle. This was done, though it was 

225 

15 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

rather too early to do so. She asked her to light 
another. "Light all the candles that are in the 
house, for we are getting into eternal darkness." 
" There is no need of more light now,'* said I. "Yes^ 
there is," was her hasty reply. " Don't you see 
eternal darkness gathering around us ? I must have 
more light, for the darkness is awful. You are not 
my minister, and I am not bound to obey you." She 
sprang from the bed, took hold of the curtains, and 
tore them from the window, saying, " I must have 
light!" She had to be taken hold of again and 
fastened down on her bed with ropes. 

"What is to be done next?" was the pressing 
question occupying my mind. All human means 
had failed. The afflicted one was in agony. Her 
sad condition was known to all around, our little 
congregation was deeply concerned about her, and 
the jeers of the ungodly were not a few. One other 
means, however, could be used, and was within the 
reach of the whole congregation, for man's extrem- 
ity is God's opportunity. Prayer was that important 
means. Many prayers were constantly presented 
to God on her behalf in the homes of the people. 
Besides, a special request was made for the prayers 
of the congregation on the morning of the Lord's 
Day. According to a good old custom, the name of 

226 



ENCOURAGEMENT AND DIFFICULTIES 

one in trouble was announced from the pulpit, and 
the prayers of the congregation were solicited. By 
this good practice the whole congregation knew for 
whom the prayer was offered, and were more likely 
to unite in the prayer presented. And truly the 
prayer of our Lancaster congregation on that Sab- 
bath morning received a most remarkable answer, 
which made the hearts of many very glad. In their 
case the words of the Lord by Isaiah were verified, 
even to the letter : " It shall come to pass, said the 
Lord, that before they call I will answer, and while 
they are yet speaking, I will hear." 

At the close of that morning service an old 
Christian man remained in the church after the con- 
gregation was dismissed, and came directly to me as 
I was descending from the pulpit, and said : " Are 
you aware that Mrs. Mc. is completely restored?" 
" How do you know that ?" was my reply. " It 
was made known to me," was his answer, "while 
we were praying on her behalf this morning. I 
know it is a fact, and am sure of it." "So am I," 
said I. "It was made known to me also, just 
while in the act of praying. God hath heard and 
answered our prayer. Blessed be His name! He 
is a very present help in time of need. While we 
were yet speaking He heard and answered." 

227 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

On my arrival at the manse, word awaited me to 
the effect that Mrs. Mc. was completely restored. 
Just at the very minute the prayer was offered on 
her behalf, as far as I could make out, she said to 
her husband, who was sitting beside her bed : ** John, 
loosen the cords that fasten me to the bed." " With 
all my heart," said John, "if you will be still and do 
no harm." "Oh, I am now relieved," was her 
answer ; " the Lord Jesus is mine, and He will take 
care of me." John removed the ropes, and his wife 
sat up, calm and in her right mind. The joy which 
filled the hearts of those who occupied that house 
was indescribable. The joyful tidings spread abroad 
through the whole neighborhood, and while many of 
the people were glad, others were filled with amaze- 
ment. Mrs. Mc. lived many years after this as a 
lively illustration of the power of the Gospel, and 
of believing prayer. Her last words to me when I 
was leaving for Tiverton were, " Though we may 
have many instructors in Christ, yet have we not 
many fathers." 

Let anyone who has no faith in prayer try and 
explain on any principle of nature or science how 
it came to pass that an afflicted person was relieved 
at the very moment prayer was offered on her be- 
half ; and that two individuals, — perhaps more; two 

228 



ENCOURAGEMENT AND DIFFICULTIES 

at any rate — were made aware of it at the very mo- 
ment it occurred. The pleasant tidings did not reach 
them through any physical channel, for no human 
being informed them of it; yet they were perfectly 
sure their information was true and reliable. Only 
one correct explanation can be given. 

Another very striking incident connected with 
public prayer occurred which may be of interest. 
On a certain Sabbath morning, before going to 
church, a young man came to me with a message 
from his father, who was very ill, and to all appear- 
ance nearing his latter end, wishing to be remem- 
bered in the prayers of the congregation that Sab- 
bath morning. Of course, I promised the young 
man that his father's desire would be attended to. 
But the solemn and important request was com- 
pletely obliterated from my mind. I forgot all 
about it, a thing I have never done before or since. 
No allusion was made in the prayers to the sick 
man. When all the services were ended and the 
people were dismissed, my neglect came before me 
like a flash of lightning. I was terribly mortified, 
and felt very much condemned for being so indiffer- 
ent regarding the state of the dying man, and my 
promise to the young man who brought me his 
father's desire. I spoke of my unworthy conduct 

229 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

to a friend at the door of the church as I came out. 
" Why," said he, " the man is dead. He died this 
morning at half-past ten, just half an hour before 
the service commenced." I then discovered why it 
was that the request of the sick man was obliterated 
from my mind, and was more convinced than ever 
that the Spirit of God leads the minds of those who 
fear Him, in their supplications at the throne of 
grace. 



230 



CHAPTER XII. 

INTERESTING AND PECULIAR EXPERI- 
ENCES CONNECTED WITH PRES- 
BYTERY APPOINTMENTS, DUR- 
ING THE EARLY DAYS OF 
MY MINISTRY. 

Laborers in the mission fields in those days were 
not numerous in our Church; hence the stated 
ministers had many duties laid upon them outside 
of their own congregations, and I had a large share 
of such duties, my Gaelic tongpie increasing them 
very much. On one occasion I was sent with an- 
other member of Presbytery to induct a minister 
at Winslow, in the Lower Province. The day 
appointed for the duty was in the middle of the 
week. We started from home on Monday, as the 
greater part of our journey had to be made on foot, 
there being neither railroads nor stages to accom- 
modate us. Our journey was a good test of our 
mettle. We soon discovered that it would be utterly 
impossible for us to reach Winslow in time to meet 
the appointment of Presbytery, nevertheless we de- 

231 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

cided to pursue our journey. It was Friday even- 
ing before we reached Ling^ick. Here we met a 
Presbytery elder, who, with two zealous women, 
accompanied us through a long, pathless forest, 
guided only by a blaze. On the afternoon of Satur- 
day we arrived at Winslow, where the minister was 
to be inducted. Our arrival was soon announced, 
the hour of the service was arranged, and a notice 
was sent out by messengers among the people, then 
scattered far and wide among the woods. In a very 
short time a large log church was packed to the very 
door with as earnest and devoted people as could 
be found, fresh from the island of Lewis. The ser- 
vice came to a close just before sunset, and the 
members of Presbytery were liberally served with 
refreshments. It was agreed that my fellow-presby- 
ter should remain over Sabbath at Winslow, preach 
there, and introduce the newly inducted minister 
more fully to the congregation. But I had to return 
under a solemn promise that same night to Ling- 
wick, and spend the Sabbath with our people there, 
who were then without any means of grace. But 
how to accomplish a journey of seventeen miles 
through a pathless forest and Egyptian darkness 
was to me a very serious question. I was even then 
pretty much exhausted. Coming from Ling^ick 

232 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

to Winslow on foot the morning of that same day 
was more than enough for a person not accustomed 
to long journeys. In the morning we had the Hght 
of the sun, and what we called the blaze, but on 
our return we could have neither one nor the other. 
The darkness was so thick that the blaze could not 
be seen. True, the good, tall and strong elder and 
the two zealous women were to be my guides and 
guards. A guard was needed, as Mr. Bruin crossed 
before us just as we were entering the woods, but 
made no attempt to dispute our right to enter his 
territory. Had he done so he would have found the 
elder more than his match. The ladies were also 
excellent guides. They seemed to know every step 
we made and every tree we met, even in the dark, 
so our journey, long and peculiar as it was to me 
at least, was on the whole very pleasant. 

But my physical strength began to yield, for more 
than half the night was now past and Lingwick 
still a long distance away. I proposed that we sit 
down and take some rest, but was told that there was 
a house about a mile further on, and that if I could 
hold out a little longer we could then have some rest. 
It was certainly a long mile, but we reached it. 
There was a small house, containing a large family, 
all sleeping in one apartment. We had to .^ait out- 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

side till they got themselves and house fixed up so 
as to receive us. They seemed to be glad to have 
their sleep disturbed so as to have an opportunity 
of relieving the exhausted stranger. They appeared 
to be living a happy life, proving that man's hap- 
piness and comfort depend, not "on the abundance 
of the things which he possesseth," but that " a 
dinner of herbs, where love is, is better than a stalled 
ox and hatred therewith." 

As soon as the good woman was informed of 
the reason we had disturbed the family at such an 
hour, she at once went to a chest lying in a corner 
of the room and pulled out a bottle and a wineglass, 
saying, " I have something here which will refresh 
him. I am glad that I have it," and bringing it 
to me was about to pour the liquid into the glass, 
when I said, " I thank you very much, but I never 
take anything of that nature; but if you can give 
me a cup of tea, I would enjoy it." " Oh, yes, I can 
make you a cup of tea," was her reply, "but this 
would refresh you at once, for it is very good." 

Tea, oatmeal cakes and butter were soon laid on 
the table, partaking of which I was wonderfully 
refreshed, and after short worship with the family 
we took our leave of them, arriving at Lingwick 
at daybreak. Here we met other kind friends, 

234 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

who had been watching for us all night. The sup- 
per table, or rather, at that early hour the breakfast 
table, was covered, loaded with everything fitted to 
refresh and strengthen our exhausted nature. But 
after having partaken so freely of the Scotch cakes 
about two hours previously only a very light break- 
fast could be enjoyed. Sleep and rest were more 
needed, so I made for my bed as soon as possible, 
asking the friends not to allow me to sleep too long, 
that I might not be late for the service in the church. 
My sleep was indeed sweet and refreshing. I had 
no dreams that morning. I awakened at half-past 
ten, and on my first look through the window saw 
to my amazement that the streets of the little vil- 
lage, and every spot around the church, were 
covered with men, women and children gathering 
to the house of God. 

I made my way to the pulpit in good time, and 
conducted two long services before I left it, one in 
English and the other in Gaelic. But after pro- 
nouncing the benediction the people sat down, and 
an elder came up to the pulpit and said, " The people 
are unwilling to dismiss till they hear another ser- 
mon." " I cannot preach again," was my reply, 
" until I get some refreshment." " Oh," said he, 
" we don't expect you to do so. We shall wait till 

235 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

you have dinner." " All right," said I, so off I went, 
got some dinner, and soon returned to the interest- 
ing people. I found the church as full as when I 
left it, if not fuller. Another long Gaelic service 
was conducted; indeed, I continued talking till the 
daylight began to fade, closed the service with 
prayer and singing, and pronounced the benediction. 
But the people, instead of dismissing, sat down 
again, and the elder ascended the pulpit stair as 
before and said, " The people are very anxious to 
hear the Word of God preached by you to-morrow. 
We are destitute of the means of grace. Could you 
preach for us to-morrow ?" " It is my purpose," 
was my reply, " to leave for home to-morrow by 
the stage." " Could you not preach before the 
stage leaves?" "How early could the people 
assemble?" was my answer; "the stage leaves 
pretty early." " We can assemble at any hour you 
may mention," was his response," and we shall not 
let the stage go without you." " Can the congre- 
gation," said I, " meet at seven o'clock in the morn- 
ing?" "Yes, at any hour you may appoint," was 
his answer. " Well, we shall meet, God willing, at 
seven o'clock to-morrow morning," was the 
announcement given. I am satisfied in my own 
mind that many of the people remained in the church 

236 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

all night, for at that early hour the church was 
packed full — not a vacant seat could be seen. Being 
assured that the stage would not leave before the 
services were over, I took my time and delivered 
another long discourse. But after the benediction 
was pronounced the people remained in their seats, 
and expressed their desire, through an elder, to hear 
the brother minister who had been left at Winslow, 
and who had just arrived at the village in time 
for the stage to Cookshire. Believing that the stage 
was under the control of some of the people inter- 
ested and would not leave till we were ready, I went 
to Mr. C. and found him in a pitiable plight, bear- 
ing clear marks of the wretchedness of his path 
through the woods. The people at Winslow had 
secured for him a horse (the only horse then in the 
settlement) to help him on his journey to Ling- 
wick. A saddle was not to be found, but a bed-quilt 
had been thrown on the horse's back. Following 
the blaze through the woods, the horse, coming to 
some soft place, sank almost out of sight, while his 
rider was thrown into the deep mud, with which he 
was besmeared from head to foot. When I met 
him and delivered my message he was without coat 
or boots, which were wet and full of mud. Point- 
ing to his trousers and feet, he said, " How can I 

237 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

go to church in this state ?" " I have a pair of slip- 
pers here," said I ; " put them on, and fix yourself 
as well as you can and go. Don't refuse." He 
went and preached an earnest, solemn sermon. The 
stage was waiting for us at the church door and 
with some difficulty we got clear of the crowd. 

Some years after this occurrence, I had occasion 
to revisit Lingwick to dispense the sacrament of the 
Lord's Supper there. On my return journey I met 
with some interesting and even thrilling incidents. 
Coming to Cookshire, I took the stage to Sher- 
brooke. It was a long, tedious drive. The stage 
left at midnight. The night was dark and piercingly 
cold, and the road passed over high and exposed 
hills. Two other gentlemen had to pass over the 
same dreary route. These men before starting pro- 
posed that we should prime ourselves with brandy. 
As we were standing in the bar-room and glasses 
were being filled, I said, " Well, gentlemen, I am 
not in the habit of taking anything of that nature, 
and I believe cold water is a better protection against 
the severity of the night than brandy." They smiled 
at my idea. " Well, let us test them," said I ; " you 
take your brandy, and I'll take cold water." The 
proposal was agreed to, and we took our seats in the 
stage and drove off. \Ye were not more than an 

238 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

hour on our way before my fellow-travellers were 
thumping the floor of the stage with their feet, and 
giving clear indications that the brandy was losing 
its protective power. They soon asked the driver 
if we were far from another hotel, and urged him 
on with all speed, as they were freezing. We soon 
reached the tavern, where they filled themselves 
again with more brandy. I kept my seat in the 
stage, and felt quite comfortable. On their return 
we had another talk about the relative merits of 
brandy and cold water as protectors against cold, 
which resulted in an acknowledgment on their part 
that I endured the cold better than they did. 
We passed a number of taverns on our way to Sher- 
brooke, and in everyone of them my friends received 
a fresh supply of liquor. As we reached the town 
we had just enough time to eat our breakfast before 
the train for Montreal arrived. Although my 
fellow-travellers sat at the breakfast-table, yet it was 
clearly seen they had no relish for any food ; their 
brandy had destroyed their appetite, while the cold 
water, together with the penetrating winds and frost 
of those exposed hills, prepared me for a good solid 
breakfast. 

When we came to Longueuil we found the St. 
Lawrence covered with ice, neither fit for boat nor 

239 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

sleigh. There was no bridge at that time. How I 
was to get across to Montreal was a mystery. There 
was, however, a ferry, which consisted of a large 
canoe thirty or forty feet long, and which was man- 
aged by expert Frenchmen. Their greatest difficulty 
was met at the start in getting the large canoe clear 
of the land to the moving ice. The passengers had 
to take their seats in it while it rested on the shore, 
for the moment it touched the floating ice off it went 
with it. Then the men had to push and draw and 
rock their craft so as to make some progress across 
the moving icy current, which, in spite of all that 
could be done, carried us down the river a long dis- 
tance ; but after hard labor we got to the other side. 
It took us a long time to get there, and we had to 
pay sweetly for our passage. 

But this did not end my eventful journey. Christ- 
mas was now approaching, and a number of things 
at that season of the year had to be taken from the 
city. Among the articles entrusted to my care were 
a can of coal-oil, which at that time was very scarce, 
and could not be procured except in large cities, and 
a nice storey-cake, which was a Christmas gift from 
a city lady to Mrs. Anderson. These two articles 
I took for safety into the car with me. Being a 
cold, dark night, I took my seat underneath a blazing 

240 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

lamp and opposite the stove, which was red hot. As 
the car was not crowded I placed my nice cake on 
the seat I was to occupy, put the oil-can on the floor 
at my feet, pulled off my rubbers and began to read 
a new book just taken from the bookstore, cutting 
its leaves as I read. Just as my book was getting 
very interesting an unearthly scream came from the 
rear of the car. I realized at once that we were off 
the track, and there was no mistake about it. A 
good deal of screaming and loud talking filled the 
car. All were in a state of confusion, not knowing 
the moment we might be rolled down a precipice or 
flung into a culvert, or dashed to pieces against some 
rock or embankment on the wayside. One vivid 
thought rushed through my mind, that in case of 
rolling down an embankment my safety would be 
better secured by fastening myself in some way to 
the seat I was occupying. So I laid myself down 
on my back and twisted my arms around the arm 
of the seat, pushed my Christmas cake into a comer, 
and held it there with my foot. But the moment this 
was done the thought of my can of oil, still loose on 
the floor, coming in contact with the hot stove, when 
it would be sure to explode, came like a thunderbolt 
into my mind. In some way or other I managed to 
extend the foot that was at liberty and reached the 

241 

16 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

oil-can, then with all the strength at my command I 
pressed it to the side. By this time I realized that 
the car was off the level, the opposite side was much 
lower than it ought to be, so the whole car was soon 
in a slanting position, and the slant increased rapidly 
as it rushed forward, till finally it lay at the 
bottom of a deep ditch. Everything on my side, 
animate and inanimate, was thrown to the other 
side, except myself, with my Christmas cake and 
can of oil. It was with some difficulty and care that 
I freed myself from the awkward, bracket-like posi- 
tion in which I was placed. My object, however, 
was secured and I could say what none of the other 
passengers on that train could say, I received no 
injury. My Christmas cake was not the least bit 
marred in its beauty, nor did the oil-can come in 
contact with the hot stove. But I came very near 
losing my new rubbers, for before I could get down 
from my very uncomfortable position they were 
seized by a mean fellow whose mind was set on 
plunder, but at my imperative command he threw 
them down. 

Once I was appointed by the Presbytery to dis- 
pense the ordinance of the Lord's Supper at La 
Guerre, in the fall of the year. To get there I had 
to cross Lake St. Francis, which was easily accom- 

242 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

plished by taking the steamer that crossed to St. 
Anicet every morning. A sailor was appointed by 
the congr^ation to row me home. It was about 
dark before we left, but the lake was very calm. 
When we were about halfway over, however, a ter- 
rific storm suddenly arose. The sailor became ter- 
rified, and, dropping the oars, stripped off his 
clothes, crying out, " We are lost, we are lost !" 
" What," said I, "are you doing to save us?" and 
with all the authority I had at my command, I said, 
" Take up your oars at once and work, or we can- 
not but be lost." He obeyed, and pulled against the 
wind and waves with all his might. But now the 
boat was heavy with water and was filling rapidly. 
There was nothing with which we could bail; but 
necessity is often the mother of invention. It was 
so in this case, for I took my hat, my black silk hat, 
and bailed out a large quantity of the water. The 
squall gradually subsided, so that we were able to 
keep the bow toward the wind. Nothing but an un- 
seen power saved us from sinking to the bottom of 
the lake on that occasion. We toiled all night, 
reaching land shortly before daylight, not far from 
the house of one of my parishioners. 

There was one thought which supported me very 
much that night. The squall broke just about the 

243 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

time the families of my flock were gathered for 
family worship, and I knew I was seldom forgotten 
m their prayers at the throne of grace. The thought 
was indeed pleasant to me in that hour of peril. And 
may I not conclude that it was through their prayers 
I was not only delivered from a watery grave, but 
also kept free from fear of death, and as calm and 
composed as ever I was in my life? 

I afterwards asked the sailor what caused him to 
act as he did that night. " Oh," said he, " I was 
afraid, for I knew the boat was not sound, but even 
rotten, and I expected it would go to pieces every 
moment. I have been eleven years at sea, and have 
encountered many storms, but never was I so afraid 
as on that night. The lightning and thunder 
alarmed me." 

Before I conclude this chapter I must record a 
few incidents regarding my faithful horse Charley, 
which was my driver during the greater part of the 
time I was at Lancaster and Dalhousie Mills. I 
often said that to me he was worth more than his 
own size in pure gold. To Charley I attributed a 
good part of my success in my pastoral work. He 
was gentle as a lamb, swift as a roe, more sagacious 
than many human beings, and was the talk of ^all 
who knew him. He was easily kept, was always 

244 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

sleek and fat; small, but full of life and ambition, 
and not easily discourag-ed. He knew not only all 
the turns, hills, dales and bridges on the road he 
once travelled, but he knew also the gates, homes 
and stables of my flock, and seemed to feel at home 
wherever he went. And so he might, for the people 
generally were glad to see him and supplied all his 
needs when they had an opportunity of doing so. 
He was a faithful servant and never needed the 
whip. 

His first trip to the railway station was to him 
a memorable day, and one which he never forgot. 
We went there to meet Dr. McLeod, of Cape 
Breton, who was on a collecting tour, securing 
means for the erection of churches among his 
people. I took a servant boy with me to mind the 
horse while I went in search of the Doctor on the 
arrival of the train. As Charley had never seen a 
locomotive he became terrified, and freeing himself 
from the boy ran away. Turning a comer the buggy 
was upset, but as buggy and harness were new 
nothing broke. Seeing a small house with its door 
open about two or three acres from the road, he 
made for it, passing over stumps, stones, logs and 
everything else that stood in his way. He entered 
the door as far as the buggy would allow, causing 

245 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

the family to disappear in great haste. When I 
arrived on the scene he was lying on the floor blow- 
ing furiously, but neither he nor the buggy nor 
harness were injured in the least. 

About the middle of winter I had to attend mis- 
sionary meetings, appointed by Presbytery in the 
Eastern Townships, as they were then called. I was 
not very well acquainted with the roads in that 
section, and they were quite new to Charley. I left 
home early on Monday morning, intending to be 
back on the following Saturday. Crossing the glare 
ice of Lake St. Francis, with which Charley was 
familiar, I came to La Guerre and then proceeded 
to Huntingdon and on to English River, one of 
the places where a meeting was to be held. The 
week was very stormy and the roads heavy, but 
Charley did not heed storms. Indeed, he seemed 
sometimes to enjoy them. As long as he was regu- 
larly supplied with his oats he could plough through 
drifts as high as himself without any hesitation, so 
with his aid I was able to meet all my appointments, 
and on the afternoon of Friday I began my return 
journey, hoping to reach La Guerre that night. 
There was a short cut through the woods and clear- 
ings that I had followed in going which lessened 
the distance three or four miles. But the darkness 

246 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

of the night overtook me, and the snow was so deep 
and the drifts so numerous that not a track could be 
seen anywhere. I wished to make my drive as short 
as possible, but hesitated to take a trackless road 
through unfamiliar woods. 

While wondering what course to pursue the 
thought struck me that possibly Charley might know 
the spot where we should leave the main road, so I 
resolved to leave it to him. I dropped the reins and 
left him to his will, not saying a word. He con- 
tinued his gait for a considerable time, but sud- 
denly he stopped and looked back to see, I suppose, 
if I was in the cutter. " Go on, Charley," said I. In 
a moment he sprang from the main road into the 
deep snow, where not even the track of a dog could 
be seen. I felt at once relieved, being confident that 
Charley's sagacity would land us safely at La 
Guerre; nor was I disappointed. 

Many were the snowstorms Charley met with, 
some of them rather too heavy and fierce for his 
strength. One Sabbath, previous to the dispensa- 
tion of the Lord's Supper at Lancaster, I announced 
from the Dalhousie pulpit three meetings to be held 
on the following Monday in different districts con- 
nected with the congregation. I had also important 
meetings previously announced connected with the 

247 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

sacrament at Lancaster for the same week, so I had 
to be home on Tuesday in order to meet some of 
those appointments. I was also expecting the Rev. 
Dr. Taylor, of Montreal, in the early part of the 
week, who was engaged to assist at the approach- 
ing communion. On Sabbath night a heavy snow- 
storm set in. A large quantity of snow had fallen 
and deep drifts were formed, which continued to 
accumulate until Charley's feet could not reach the 
bottom of some of them. On Monday morning I 
began to feel anxious about my meetings. What 
is to be done? was the pressing question. Shall I 
attempt to meet my appointments? The family 
whose hospitality I was enjoying unitedly declared 
that I could not ; that it would not be wise to attempt 
it, and that no one could attend meetings in such 
a storm. My own comfort and reason acquiesced. 
And were I to consult Charley his answer would 
be, " I am at thy disposal. I am willing to meet the 
storm and go through the drifts, if it is possible to 
do so, for I know I shall get a good feed of oats and 
a warm stable when I reach there." 

I had some hopes that the elements would become 
more propitious, and that, perhaps, the roads were 
not altogether impassable. I therefore resolved to 
make the attempt. As no one ventured out that 

248 



I 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

morning to my first meeting, I proceeded to the next 
place. Charley was in good trim, and in spite of the 
blinding snow and deep drifts brought me to the 
place in good time for the meeting. But none 
gathered there that afternoon. I had, however, an 
interesting meeting with the family, and all the com- 
forts that could be heaped upon me. The storm was 
still most furious, but the place of my next meeting 
was only about a mile and a half away, and as 
Charley was as fresh as ever I concluded, very much 
against the advice of the family, to proceed to the 
place of meeting. " Well," said one of the young 
men, " if you really purpose going I must go before 
you with a double team and see you safely there." 
"All right," was my response, "come on." Ofif we 
went, Charley following the heavy team, while wish- 
ing to be first. We arrived in good time. Not a 
soul was present save the family. 

There I remained all night, still about twenty 
miles from home. Next morning the storm was sub- 
siding, but the drifts were large and numerous, and 
according to my purpose I was to be home that day. 
But was it possible to accomplish the journey? 
" You cannot do it," said the elder. " I feel anxious 
to get home," was my answer. " A number of ap- 
plicants for the Lord's Supper are to meet me to- 

249 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

morrow. I also expect Dr. Taylor, of Montreal, so 
I must try and get home if it is possible. Charley is 
all right, and I can go a good part of the way 
through the bush, where I can escape the drifts. We 
cannot tell what we can do till we try. I shall go 
on till I can go no further." " Well, well," said the 
good elder, " if you are determined to go you had 
better start at once. I shall get the horse ready." I 
started for home. The main road was nothing but 
drifts, some of them very deep. Charley, however, 
plunged along, and with every plunge he gave a 
snort, until he reached one out of which he could not 
extricate himself. I then went before him to break 
the road, but I wore a long, heavy overcoat which 
greatly impeded my movements, so I soon found 
myself stuck as fast as Charley. It took me about 
three hours to travel half a mile. Finally I was dis- 
covered by a good friend. He did not know me at 
first, but when he made the discovery he was amazed, 
for he never imagined that his minister was so fool- 
ish as to venture out of doors in such a storm. We 
took Charley out of the cutter and drew it over the 
top of the fence into the field and Charley managed, 
in some way or other, to follow. When we reached 
my good friend's house dinner was on the table, but 

250 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

I was only half a mile nearer home than I had been 
at breakfast-time. 

By this time the storm was quite over and there 
was a perfect calm. After dinner I said to my friend, 
" Can you get me out of this clearance to the edge 
of the bush, which is not far away?" "You are 
not to leave here to-day," said he. " You are not to 
attempt to go home. It is impossible." " Well, 
what is impossible cannot be done," was my reply; 
" but I am anxious to get home as soon as I can. If 
you can put me to the edge of the bush, I think I can 
escape to some extent the drifts by taking the road 
through the bush." Reluctantly he consented. He 
went before us through the fields and led us to the 
bush. As I had anticipated, the bush road was free 
from drifts, but there was no track. After many dif- 
ficulties, and having to walk about eight miles after 
the cutter, as the horse was becoming exhausted, I 
reached home at daylight Wednesday morning, very 
tired, and with the feeling that I had acted very fool- 
ishly; nevertheless, I had the satisfaction of keeping 
all my appointments. 

One intensely dark night early in the spring when 
coming home from Dalhousie I had to descend a 
steep hill, at the bottom of which rushed a river at 
flood height. Suddenly Charley stopped. This 

251 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

being so unusual I knew something must be wrong, 
so getting out of the buggy I examined the harness 
as best I could in the dark, and found that the 
breeching-strap was broken, and Charley, trembling 
like a leaf, was holding back the buggy with his body 
from the rushing flood. Feeling he had saved me 
from a watery grave, I vowed I would see to it that 
he would never be abused so long as he lived, but 
would be carefully provided for. 

When Charley became old and my work was too 
heavy for him I began to consider where I might find 
a suitable home for him. Hearing of a poor widow 
with a large young family belonging to the congre- 
gation who had lost a horse, and thinking that she 
would be kind to Charley, I called to see her, and 
after talking to her a little about her loss I informed 
her of my promise regarding Charley, and asked 
her if she could fulfil it were I to leave him 
with her. She gladly consented to do so, saying 
that no one could abuse such a horse, which had 
spent the best of his strength and days in carrying 
the blessed Gospel throughout the county, and from 
house to house in the neighborhood. Being con- 
fident that the poor widow was sincere and would 
do as she said, I left Charley at her door. 

A year or two after this all her cattle were seized 

252 



INTERESTING EXPERIENCES 

for debt, and Charley among them. But I pro- 
tested against his being sold by auction on the 
ground that he had not been sold, that he really 
belonged to me, and was left with the widow for 
her benefit and that of the horse. My protest was 
acknowledged as valid, and Charley was not sold 
but was left still with her. Eventually poor Charley 
was drowned in the very river from which years 
before he had saved me. During the winter months 
the widow's cattle were watered from a hole made 
through the ice on the river, and in the spring of 
the year, when the ice began to melt, Charley, as 
usual, went for a drink. The ice, however, gave 
way, and down he went to his death. 



253 



CHAPTER XIII. 

A DARK PERIOD PRECEDING A DAY OF 
SPECIAL GRACE. 

The season of special grace which through the 
sovereign mercy and love of God, Lancaster and 
Dalhousie Mills enjoyed in the year 1864, was well 
known throughout the whole county of Glengarry. 
But only very few ever heard or knew anything of 
the gloomy and dark season through which those 
congregations had to pass before those days of grace 
were granted, for that period of spiritual apathy and 
slumber was not felt by the great mass of the 
people. Indeed, they regarded themselves as being 
rich and increased with goods, and having need of 
nothing. A few among them, however, did realize 
very painfully and deplore their sad condition, long- 
ing for deliverance. Their restlessness and severe 
conflicts against their spiritual foes drove them to 
the throne of grace, where in due time their cries 
were heard and their languishing hearts were re- 
vived. The following quotations from my diary 
allude to this : — 

254 



A DARK PERIOD 



" 1861, January 26th, Saturday evening. — How 
cold, lifeless and dead I am. I am afraid of to- 
morrow's services. How can I meet my people in 
this state of mind? How can I appear before God 
in His house? Lord, I am unfit to speak in Thy 
name. Wilt Thou not revive my soul? Oh, for a 
fresh baptism from on high ! * Oh, wretched man 
that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of 
this death?' 

"February nth. — I have not recorded much in 
my diary for some time back because I had nothing 
to write, I have had now a long time of deadness. 
I am quite sensible of this, and yet, alas, my 
heart is not sufficiently impressed by it. I be- 
lieve that the Lancaster portion of my flock are 
like myself. Like priest, like people. Everything 
seems to be so cold and lifeless among them. I see 
no sign of life, even among those whom I cannot 
but regard as the true people of God. What a 
change one shower of heavenly blessing would pro- 
duce! Oh, that God would so visit us with His 
grace! To Thee, O Lord, my eyes are directed. 
Come, oh come, and deliver us. 

" March 9th. — I cannot be content or happy in 
my mind while left in this cold, dead state. I am 
condemned. My heart condemns me for my cold 

255 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

and lifeless prayers, and yet I can pray no better. 
My words freeze upon my lips, and I am greatly 
straitened, but not in God. But my case is well 
known unto Him, and in due time He will visit 
my thirsty soul. Then my mouth shall show forth 
His praise. When He has tried me, He will bring 
me out purified as gold. My soul, wait thou 
patiently upon God." 

During this period of conflict, efforts were made 
on different occasions to have me removed to other 
fields of labor, but I gave no encouragement to 
calls from other congregations. Though I was most 
restless in my mind, and could see no signs of real 
good being accomplished among my people, yet I 
had a secret impression that my work was not fin- 
ished where I was. An allusion is made to one of 
those efforts in the following: 

"July 26th. — Rev. Mr. H. and his people at 
Lachute seem to be anxious to get me as a helper 
and successor, but I cannot see it to be my duty to 
leave here yet, and have sent them word to that 
effect. I hope the Lord has something for me to do 
here yet. Now and again He encourages me, and 
such being the case, it would be wrong on my part to 
leave my present field of labor. 

"October 5th. — For nearly four weeks I have 

256 



A DARK PERIOD 



been driven to and fro in my Master's vineyard, 
and during that period I have only been three 
nights at home. But oh, how hard and cold my 
heart has been. I have but little communion with 
God connected with all my services. Oh, may the 
Lord come in His compassion and revive His own 
work in my soul. My spiritual foes are numerous 
and mighty, but through Christ, who loved me, I 
shall come forth more than a conqueror. 

" 1864, January ist. — I was afraid to write any- 
thing in my diary last year lest it might appear to 
be a false report of my Divine Master. I regard 
the past year as a lost year to my soul. My old 
sores have been opening up afresh, and consequently 
I have had but little of the comfort of my Father's 
presence. My sins have separated me from Him, 
and it is truly very strange that I should be so little 
impressed about my present state. All my hope 
now seems to be in the belief that God will not cast 
me oflF. My sins and shortcomings will not change 
His mind resp)ecting me. When He took me first 
He saw what I was, and what I would come to be. 
Oh, that it were with me as in times past! But 
thanks be to His blessed name, I am not content 
without Him, nor can I ever be; and although I 
should fall seventy times in a day, I would still 



257 

17 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

look to the blood that cleanses from sin. For I 
cannot let my Saviour go. And surely this assur- 
ance in my inner soul is an evidence that He has 
hold of me. Oh, that this year on which I have now 
entered may proye to be a year full of blessings to 
my poor soul ! May His Spirit work in me mightily. 
I have intimated to-day to the Lancaster congrega- 
tion my intention of keeping the Week of Prayer. 
I have come to this conclusion after a very painful 
consideration of the low state of religion among 
my flock, and the low state of grace in my own 
soul. Who knows but God may in His great com- 
passion visit my soul and my people with His 
Spirit." 

The foregoing quotations throw up a small cor- 
ner of the curtain carefully kept hanging between 
the darkest period of my ministry and the general 
public. They were all written during that spiritual 
conflict and before the dawn of those bright days 
of grace which the Lancaster people had the pleasure 
of enjoying. The first six years of my ministry 
was a period of unbroken revival of religion in that 
district, never to be forgotten by many. It is true 
it was a period in which we had to contend with 
many difficulties, but the very difficulties which met 
us were really in connection with removal of hin- 

258 



A DARK PERIOD 



drances which were operating against the prosper- 
ity of our cause, and which eventually resulted in 
a blessing; indeed, they were blessings in disguise. 
At the same time we were favored with clear 
evidences of the Spirit's presence in the conversion 
of sinners, and the edification of believers; and in 
due time we came out from all those contentions in 
triumph. The storm passed away and there was a 
great calm. It was here, just in this calm, our 
spiritual slumber began. What the great enemy of 
God and man failed to accomplish by storms and 
contentions, he actually accomplished through the 
calm and the harmony which God in His kindness 
bestowed on both congregations. We were evi- 
dently too much elated through our prosperity, and 
acted as if our mountain " shall never be moved, but 
shall stand strong." Our activity then became 
paralyzed, a reaction set in, and idleness and spiritual 
apathy seized all the powers of the inner man. And 
thus we came to be, to some extent, the willing cap- 
tives of our great enemy, without any power to help 
ourselves. 

I could see nothing encouraging or even hopeful 
in the congregations. There seemed to be a thick 
cloud hanging over us as a people, through which 
we could not see. Of this sad state I was more or 

2$9 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

less sensible. I stated my painful impressions to 
my elders, and as the Week of Prayer was at the 
time approaching, I proposed to hold meetings in 
the church during that week and wait on God, who 
alone was able to revive His work among us. The 
elders were not to the same extent impressed with 
our sad state, but seemed to regard my impressions 
as not altogether correct, as they had some evidence 
of good in the congregation. As to the keeping of 
the week of prayer, such was unknown at that 
time in Glengarry; the good elders did not think 
that the people would attend a series of meetings 
of this nature. 

So my proposal was not sanctioned by the Ses- 
sion. Indeed, I did not press it very much, for my 
spiritual ardor was gone, and a spirit of indiffer- 
ence and lifelessness had crept into my very being. 
Then followed a whole year of the darkest and most 
severe mental and spiritual conflict I ever experi- 
enced during the whole of my ministry. What still 
remained in me of the old man with his affections 
and lusts, and of the evil heart of unbelief, prompt- 
ing to depart from the living God, seemed to have 
revived and increased in strength to such an extent 
that I could hardly discover any evidence of the 
great change which for many previous years I had 

260 



A DARK PERIOD 



experienced, and which it had been my privilege 
to profess. The current of evil thoughts, evil de- 
sires, and evil inclinations which lead to evil actions, 
and which I had reason to believe was somewhat 
removed, and dried up through the sanctifying work 
of the Holy Spirit, began to run anew, and to rush 
into my helpless soul with increased violence. And 
into this corrupt current, so natural to my fallen 
nature, the great enemy of God and man threw all 
the hellish power imder his control, increasing its 
virulence, and making it irresistible. Truly, had 
I not been held by Divine Power, I would certainly 
have been swept away to the great g^f of everlast- 
ing despair. Oh, how can I ever cease to extol 
the sovereign grace of God which held me fast, 
while walking in a state of indifference, on the very 
brink of the pit that is bottomless ! But during that 
long year of darkness and conflict He held me fast, 
though I knew it not, and taught me lessons which 
in my future labors were of unspeakable value. In- 
deed, that year was really a blessing in disguise, a 
preparation for the work assigned me hereafter. 
Through those dark conflicts I came to know more 
clearly the power of unbelief, and the weakness of 
human nature, and the wicked devices of Satan. So 
much so, that I may say of unbelief, something 

261 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 



like what Job said of God, when he exclaimed : " I 
have heard of Thee with the hearing ear, but now 
mine eye seeth Thee, wherefore I abhor myself and 
repent in dust and ashes." So it was with me 
regarding my spiritual foes. I knew something of 
their power before, but my knowledge of them was 
vague compared with what I experienced in that 
year of conflict. It had only been like the hearing 
of them, but now I came, as it were, to see them 
with my eyes, and handle them with my hands. 
Unbelief, with all its hateful and abominable insinu- 
ations connected with the truths of Scripture, took 
fast hold of my mind, and filled it with a spirit of 
opposition against the essential truths of salvation. 
My confidence in God's Word, and even in what I 
was preaching to the people, and on which my own 
soul was resting for salvation, was shaken. For a 
time the absorbing question of my mind was — is it 
right or honest on my part to continue to preach 
doctrines of whose truthfulness I have serious 
doubts in my own mind? Of course, those abom- 
inable insinuations, constantly presented to my 
mind, disturbed any evidence I had of my own 
personal salvation. 

This sad state of affairs could not continue long. 
A crisis of some kind could not be long deferred. 

262 



A DARK PERIOD 



I was almost imperceptibly led into a desperate 
state of mind, which was becoming more and more 
unbearable. I felt most keenly at last that I would 
either have to give up preaching or be freed some 
way or other from the doubts by which I was daily 
harassed, regarding the doctrines which I was con- 
stantly preaching. Indeed, I solemnly vowed before 
God that if I did not soon find relief I would give 
up the ministry. Able authors on the Christian 
religion and brethren of ripe experience of my own 
acquaintance were consulted; more apparently 
earnest prayer and closer study of the Word of 
God were resorted to, and every expedient within 
human reach was made use of, but all was of no 
avail. 

Satan sometimes, through his hatred and rage 
against the work of God's Spirit in the human soul, 
frustrates his own purpose by carrying his wicked 
assaults too far, so as to overdo his own abominable 
operations. The inspired writer declares that when 
the enemy comes in like a flood the Spirit of the 
Lord lifts up a standard against him. So it was 
with us at Lancaster. The enemy took advan- 
tage of our calmness or freedom from strife. There 
he began his assault, which came in like a flood, 
slowly, but increased in depth and power until, fin- 

263 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

ally, all our religious activity was swept away. 
Hi's deadening influence pervaded the whole soul, 
mind and body, so that the spiritual life and activity 
of the whole man were completely carried away. 
But man's extremity is God's opportunity. Just 
when the enemy was sweeping everything that was 
spiritual from us, the Spirit of the Lord lifted up a 
standard against him, and repelled and drove out 
his evil influence from renewed hearts. 



<^ 



264 



CHAPTER XIV. 

DAYS OF GRACE. 

When that year of trial came to an end, and as 
the next year drew near, my mind was made up to 
keep the first week of it for prayer, in the church; 
consult none regarding the propriety of doing so — 
neither elder nor member — but to spend a short 
time every evening in the week, at an hour speci- 
fied, intimating on the morning of the previous 
Sabbath after preaching my intention of doing so. 
I was quite satisfied that the carrying out of my 
decision might not be viewed by all the congrega- 
tion with approbation, that some might discounten- 
ance and regard it as carrying religion too far or to 
the extreme, or, perhaps, some might view it as an 
indication that I was becoming insane. Nor did I 
myself feel very confident that my decision was a 
wise one. Besides the fears which presented them- 
selves to my restless mind I had very serious appre- 
hensions that should the people countenance the pro- 
posed meetings and largely attend them, I might 
not be able to conduct services every evening for a 

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REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

whole week, as I was suffering from that intense 
pain in my chest after speaking, which had troubled 
me ever since I left college. But something had to 
be done, for I could not continue much longer in 
the state of mind I was in ; so, on the Sabbath morn- 
ing previous to the contemplated week of prayer, 
and before the benediction was pronounced, the fol- 
lowing intimation was read without any comment 
on my part : " The first week of this year is to be 
held as a week of prayer by many in the Church of 
God throughout the world for the outpouring of 
the Spirit of God upon the souls of men. It is my 
purpose to spend a short time every evening of the 
week in the church at seven o'clock, and there wait 
on God for the baptism of His Holy Spirit. As a 
congregation we are in need of such a blessing. We 
have the promise that those who wait on the Lord 
shall renew their strength. If any of the congrega- 
tion think it proper to join me at the hour specified 
for the purpose mentioned, I shall be pleased to meet 
them." 

Well, the long-looked-for Monday evening arrived 
and I at the appointed hour was in the church. 
Three other individuals who lived near the church 
were there. Two of them were widows, and the 
hair of one of them white with the snows of many 

266 



DAYS OF GRACE 



winters; the other a maiden lady, mentally very 
weak, but a regnlar attendant at the church ser- 
vices. The minister with his three hearers sat near 
one another in a comer of the church. The meet- 
ing was then opened with prayer and a portion of 
Scripture was read. I had prepared nothing- before- 
hand for the meeting; indeed, I was unable to pre- 
pare anything, for I was very anxious. My mind 
was very dark and despondent, and my heart very 
full and ready to burst. The sight of an empty 
church and empty seats did not lessen the anguish 
of my soul, and although I was tmprepared and unfit 
to address any meeting, yet I felt I had to say some- 
thing to those three women. 

I began with stammering lips and choked utter- 
ance to speak of the deplorable state of the people, 
and of the lack of any tokens of good such as we 
had formerly enjoyed. My broken sentences came 
from my heart and went to the hearts of my three 
hearers. We all wept and the place might truly 
have been called " Bochim." The meeting was very 
short and was closed with prayer. Parting at the 
door, I said, " It is my purpose to be here to-morrow 
evening; if you think it worth while to come, I shall 
be glad to see you." 

On Tuesday evening the meeting was augmented 

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REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 



by other three women. In character it was similar 
to that of the previous night. At the close I again 
invited them to meet with me the following even- 
ing if they so desired. 

On Wednesday evening everyone who had been 
present at the second meeting was there, and be- 
tween twenty and thirty others. My mind was now 
somewhat relieved. Light was beginning to dawn. 
The pain of my heart was not so acute. Some rays 
of hope were penetrating the dark clouds of gloom 
and despondency by which I seemed for a whole 
year to have been enveloped. I tried to address 
those who were present, but had no liberty in doing 
so; I had more liberty, however, in addressing the 
throne of grace. Wonderful to relate, all present 
appeared to be very deeply affected. The meeting 
was closed in the usual way; we parted at the door 
in silence, no one feeling inclined to utter a word, 
but each person appeared as being under a sense of 
guilt. 

On Thursday evening there was a large increase, 
and still larger on Friday. Saturday evening every 
seat was occupied ; but on Sabbath evening, the last 
evening of the week of prayer, the church was 
packed to the door. The hall, passages and every 
empty spot near the pulpit were closely crowded. 

268 



DAYS OF GRACE 



So great was the throng that the fire in the stove 
was let out and the windows were thrown open to 
let in fresh air, although the weather was intensely 
cold. 

The most of those assembled were strangers to 
me and not of my flock. The attention of the audi- 
ence was very striking. A whisper could have been 
heard in any part of the church because of the in- 
tense stillness. An impressive and indescribable 
solemnity pervaded the whole assembly; but' no 
undue excitement was manifested in a single case, 
yet the tears and solemn countenances of many 
clearly revealed the anxiety of their souls. I went 
to the meeting that evening with the intention of 
concluding these special services — not that I re- 
garded them of no spiritual benefit; the very oppo- 
site was the case. I was perfectly satisfied that I 
myself, at any rate, had been greatly quickened 
and strengthened, and there were other clear indi- 
cations of the presence of the Holy Spirit. I could 
truly say that it had been no vain thing to wait upon 
the Lord. 

To my surprise the pain in my chest, instead of 
increasing, decreased, as night after night I preached 
to the people, until at the close of the services I dis- 
covered that it was entirely gone. The doctors 

269 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

then told me that the cause of the pain must have 
been the pressure of a rib against the lung-, caused, 
no doubt, by leaning against the desk during my 
long hours of study at college. The frequent speak- 
ing and consequent inflation of the lung had in time 
restored the rib to its normal position. 

But revival meetings were then unknown among 
Presbyterians, besides I was not free from misgiv- 
ings regarding the wisdom of holding them without 
consulting my elders; nor was I pyerfectly sure of 
my own ability to hold a series of evening meetings 
four miles from the manse without interfering with 
my regular pastoral work in the united congrega- 
tions. 

The first part of the service that evening was con- 
ducted in the usual manner, and nothing of a sj>eci'al 
nature could be observed. The attention of the 
crowded congregation was very marked, yet the 
sermon was but very ordinary, delivered with 
great composure and plainness, but every word 
was emphatic and pointed. It was easily real- 
ized, however, that both speaker and hearers 
were under a very peculiar and indescribable in- 
fluence which could not be accounted for by any- 
thing that was said, or traceable to anything 
human. Just as I was about to dismiss the congre- 

270 



DAYS OF GRACE 



gation and make the announcement that the special 
meetings were at an end, my mind was suddenly and 
most powerfully struck as by a thunderbolt : " Are 
you to end these meetings? Take heed what you 
do." My very heart cried out : " Lord, what shall I 
do ?" Following this earnest cry the answer came : 
" Leave it with the people." While I was hesitat- 
ing, and before I could give utterance to these 
thoughts, a cry was made by someone in the assem- 
bly : " Go on with the meeting !" A large number of 
the people were standing up with their hands 
stretched out and immediately sat down. What was 
now to be done ? The people refused to dismiss. I 
was young and without experience and very sensible 
of my inability to conduct any special services such 
as were then needed. The scene was entirely new 
to me. My very heart trembled lest I might make 
a wrong step or give a wrong touch, like Uzzah of 
old, to the ark of the Lord. In these straits, how- 
ever, one thing I considered to be safe, that was to 
follow the Spirit's guidance and speak to everyone 
whom I noticed in distress, endeavor to ascertain 
their state of mind and the special cause of their 
trouble; then mark out a passage or two of Scrip- 
ture suitable to the case. This took a long time, but 
in this way God spoke to each soul through His 



271 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

Word, and thus the anxious one was left to deal 
with God rather than with the minister. 

Such an after-meeting had hitherto been un- 
known in Glengarry. These after-meetings were 
regularly held until the close of that extraordinary 
period of grace, which extended into the middle of 
summer, when anxious individuals ceased to present 
themselves for special aid or instruction. We found 
them to be of great benefit. Indeed, I do not see 
how we could have got on without them; for, on 
the one hand, they afforded an opportunity for the 
inquirers to state their difficulties to their pastor, 
and these were very many and peculiar ; and, on the 
other, the minister had an opportunity of discover- 
ing, to some extent, the state of mind of individuals, 
and was better able to meet their case, if not then, at 
some other time before the next meeting. Besides 
those after-meetings tended to remove that natural 
barrier which too often stands between the pastor 
and his people, and prevents freedom in expressing 
their experience on personal religion. 

The continuation of the meetings became a settled 
fact that Sabbath evening. Everything was made 
clear to my mind. Monday evening soon arrived, 
for it was Monday before many of us got to our 
rest, and if the church was crowded on the previous 

272 



DAYS OF GRACE 



evening it was more so then. It could not contain 
the people who were gathered to its door. I think 
it is not too much to say that there were as many 
outside that could not enter as there were inside. 
All the windows of the church, which had not a 
spark of fire kindled in it that evening, were thrown 
open, though the night was cold and frosty. The 
people outside, who were unwilling to return home, 
drew their sleighs as near the church as they could, 
sat in them, and tried to keep themselves warm 
with their buffalo robes; and thus the crowd con- 
tinued to increase more and more, from evening to 
evening, and from week to week, during the whole 
winter. Instead of the church being kept warm by 
fire through those cold, frosty months so well 
known in Glengarry, its windows had to be kept 
wide open to secure fresh air. One evening the 
pulpit lights, for lack of oxygen, ceased to bum, 
while on the table at the base of the pulpit they 
would flame up bright and clear. To some who 
knew the cause it was a wonder that the speaker was 
able to exist in such an atmosphere. The aisles of 
the church, and every empty comer about the pulpit 
and its stairs, and even the pulpit itself, were filled 
to excess, so that I was not able to sit down myself. 
The whole church was a jam of human beings, and 



273 
18 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

although some had always to leave at the close of 
the first meeting, yet their places were soon occupied 
by those outside. 

Thus the interest increased and spread abroad 
throughout the whole township and those adjacent, 
and became the topic of conversation through the 
whole county of Glengarry. People gathered to 
the meetings from all parts of the county, remain- 
ing with friends and acquaintances for weeks, and 
returning to their homes rejoicing in Christ Jesus, 
whom they declared to have found as their own 
Saviour. Ministers of the Gospel came also from 
various places to see with their own eyes what was 
going on at Lancaster, and to find out if there was 
any truth in the reports which were reaching them. 
Most of them returned to their own fields of labor 
with joy and gladness, resolving to pray and look 
for a similar shower of spiritual favor among their 
own flock. Others, however, seemed to look upon 
our services with some suspicion; hence they were 
unwilling to open their mouth, or take any part in 
them. 

As the work advanced and the inquirers greatly 
increased, it became evident I could not speak to all 
separately, so I placed two or three together in one 
seat and requested an old and judicious Christian, 

274 



DAYS OF GRACE 



who knew the way of salvation, to direct them by 
the Word of God to the way of life through the 
Lord Jesus. At the conclusion of the meeting I 
addressed the assembled people, making mention 
sometimes of some of the difficulties I had met with, 
and which I endeavored to remove by quotations 
from Scripture. 

All other meetings of a social and secular nature 
gave way to the church meetings. People flocked 
from far and near to the Second Concession of 
Lancaster. One gentleman — the late Mr. Warden 
King — well reported in the Church of God for 
godliness and liberality in connection with the 
cause of Christ, came from the city of Mont- 
real, He was so interested with what he saw 
and heard that he said to me : " Mr. Anderson, this 
will not do. Your work is too much for you. You 
cannot stand it. It will break down your constitu- 
tion. You must get a helper." " Well, it is not 
an easy thing to get a suitable person to be of much 
service at present," was my response. " The people 
who gather here from time to time are not all of my 
flock. Most of them are unsettled in their mind, 
and I cannot very well ask them for any financial 
aid." " Oh. that is nothing," said my friend. 
" You sret a suitable man and leave that with me," 



275 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 



I wrote at once to Knox College, and through one 
of its professors secured a very suitable and excel- 
lent student, who with great zeal, devotedness 
and ability labored with me for two summers, and 
my good friend in Montreal most generously paid 
his salary. 

So numerous were the inquirers that it was found 
necessary to appoint a time each day when they 
could meet me at the manse. Many availing them- 
selves of this opportunity, the time was found to be 
too short to do more than read a verse or two of 
Scripture, and offer a short prayer with each one 
separately in the study. But so manifestly was the 
Spirit present that there was no difficulty in finding 
passages suitable for the varied cases, and many 
who came in tears returned rejoicing. 

At this time the women in the congregation be- 
came very active, even holding a women's prayer- 
meeting, going from house to house, a thing un- 
heard of before in that community. 

As the interest extended the people at Dalhousie 
Mills became most anxious to have meetings held 
in their midst. This was made possible through the 
assistance given by elders and others, who conducted 
the meetings at Lancaster when I was unable to be 
present. It was about this time my assistant from 

276 



DAYS OF GRACE 



Knox Colleg-e, Mr. Grant, arrived. He made his 
first public appearance at one of the Dalhousie meet- 
ings, and to show the impression which the first 
sight of our meetings had upon a stranger, an in- 
cident which then occurred may be related. Mr. 
Grant was duly informed that he would be ex- 
pected to address the meeting on a certain evening. 
He made no objection to the proposal, but prepared 
himself for the duty. As I concluded the opening 
exercises I introduced Mr, Grant to the people, and 
then called upon him to address the assembly. But 
Mr. Grant's head was bowed down very low, with 
his face buried in his handkerchief, and with a 
voice not soon forgotten by those who heard it, he 
said, " I cannot address them to-night. This place 
is awfully solemn. I am unable to speak a word. 
Pray excuse me." In an evening or two, however, 
he got into the spirit of the meetings and threw his 
whole heart and soul into them. 

Finding it impossible to persuade anyone to 
assist me in conversing with the anxious inquirers, 
I one evening made a most solemn appeal in the 
name of the Lord Jesus Christ to His followers then 
present who wished His work to be carried on in 
that district to come forward to my assistance. In 
response an elder arose and came forward to where 



277 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

I stood, and said with a trembling voice, " Here am 
I, what do you wish me to do?" Pointing to a 
corner at one side of the pulpit filled with the 
anxious, I said, " Go over to that corner with your 
Bible in your hand and tell those anxious ones how 
they are to obtain the salvation of their souls." He 
went, and after saying to them, " The minister sent 
me to speak to you, and to show you how you are 
to obtain the salvation of your souls, but I am unfit 
for such a duty," he did what was never seen done 
before in that Presbyterian church, threw himself 
on his knees and poured out a most fervent prayer 
before God, acknowledging his utter unfitness to 
teach others, and sought the grace requisite to enable 
him to do so. His prayer reached the very hearts 
of those who heard it. 

After the meeting was dismissed the good elder 
approached me and said, " It was a wrong thing 
you did here this evening, and you must not do it 
again." "What wrong thing did I do?" said I. 
" Was it not wrong to call on such a man as I to 
teach anxious sinners the way of salvation? It 
would be more fitting for me to be taught the way 
of truth than to attempt to teach others anything 
connected with the spiritual birth of human souls. 
Are you not aware that there are now in the world 

278 



DAYS OF GRACE 



many who bear about in their person evidences of 
the unskilfulness of the nurse at the time of their 
birth?" 

Whole families were by this time in a state 
of deep anxiety before God, each member seeking 
to be alone in some secret place for prayer. One 
afternoon while driving with one of my elders he 
began to weep. Turning to him I asked him what 
was the matter. " Oh," he replied, " everything is 
wrong with me. I now see clearly that there is not 
a spark of grace in my heart, and that I have been 
deceiving myself and others ever sfnce I professed 
faith in Christ." " Indeed," said I, " is that pos- 
sible?" "Well," he replied, "it is the truth. I 
have been a downright hypocrite. My religion has 
been but external." I asked him to tell me what led 
him to this conclusion. " I can easily tell you that," 
said he. " You know some of my habits." Here 
in passing I may say that I spent many a profitable 
day and night in his house and was well acquainted 
with the whole family; knew their habits and was 
a partaker of many of their joys and sorrows, I 
knew all the chambers of their house and had a 
chamber for myself there called the minister's room 
furnished something like that of the prophet of old, 
with a bed, a table, a stool and a candlestick. " You 



279 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

know some of my habits. Well," said he, " as I 
went up to my room after breakfast I found there 
my wife on bended knees pouring- out her heart to 
God in prayer. I quietly closed the door and went 
to your room ; there I found my son engaged in the 
same solemn exercise. I left him undisturbed and 
went to the large room; there also I found my 
daughter prostrated before God. Then I went to 
the little side room opposite to your room, and there 
another daughter was on her knees at the throne of 
grace, and there I left her. There was no other 
room left for me. Every chamber in the house was 
occupied, and I declare to you that I felt very angry. 
Now, sir, if ever I prayed for anything in my life 
I prayed for what I then saw with my eyes, and 
instead of being thankful to God for what He was 
doing in my family, and regarding it as an answer 
to prayer, I felt angry because according to my 
formed habit I had no secret place in which I could 
bend my knees, as taught me from my youth. What 
clearer evidence could I have that my religion is not 
from above, but is of human origin?" My reply 
was very brief: " May God hasten the day when 
the head of every family in this district will feel 
angry for the lack of a secret place in his own house 
in which to bend his knees in prayer at the throne 

280 



DAYS OF GRACE 



of grace." '' Oh," said the elder in response, " is 
that the way you look at it ?" Alluding to his wife, 
he said, " I never saw her in real trouble till now. 
We have been married a long time, and have met 
with many and heavy losses, sickness and death, 
but that woman would retire to her bed in the 
midst of all our afflictions, and sleep as soundly as 
if all were well, while the nights were spent by me 
in restless tossings. But it is not so with her now. 
She has no rest day or night. Her sad state before 
God gives her more trouble than anything she has 
ever experienced in this world." 

To all this I could bear testimony, for on a 
certain night, when I was in my room at her quiet 
home, I heard a gentle knock at my door with the 
request, " May I come in ?" " To be sure, come in, 
Mrs. M.," was my reply. " Sit down on this chair. 
What troubles you?" " I am a poor, lost sinner," 
was her answer. "What can I do? Is there 
pardon for such as I? My privileges have been 
very many, but I abused them. Times without 
number I sat at the end of our table hearing yourself 
and George speaking on religious topics, but I took 
no interest in any religious subject. I had neither 
heart nor ear for subjects of that nature, and now 
I am ignorant of God, and of my duty. Will you 

281 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

be kind enough to teach me? My guilt is very 
great before God." All that passed between us 
that night need not be recorded. Suffice it to say 
that she gradually came to an assurance of the 
pardon of all her sins, through the atoning blood 
of the Lord Jesus; was duly received, with some 
of her children, into the full communion of the 
church, and gave clear evidences of the genuine- 
ness of her profession in her future life. 

On the Monday following her last communion, 
as she and one of her daughters were driving home 
from the thanksgiving service, she said, " Did you 
notice what the minister said in his prayer to-day ?" 
" I am not sure," replied her daughter, " what you 
refer to. I felt it very solemn and earnest." " Did 
you notice how he prayed for those who were at 
the table for the last time?" "Oh, yes," was her 
daughter's reply. " Well, Maggie," said she, " I am 
one of them. I shall never sit at that table again." 
" Oh, mother, do not say that." " Yes, I say it, 
Maggie, and you will find it to be true." In the 
course of six weeks or two months she was laid up 
with fever. Everything that physicians could do 
for her was done. She told her family that to sat- 
isfy their own minds they might call in physicians, 
but that her time was at hand, and that she had to 
leave them, and so it proved to be. 

282 



CHAPTER XV. 

YOUNG PEOPLE INTERESTED IN THE 
WORK. 

The progress of the good work among the young 
people was very striking. Their minds became filled 
with religious subjects. Here and there would be 
seen clusters of them discussing religious topics, 
seemingly desirous of a deeper knowledge of Bible 
truth. Should anyone of experience be at hand to 
explain a passage of Scripture they would eagerly 
crowd around him to hear what he was saying. 
Many of them were attending day school and car- 
ried their religious anxiety into the school with 
them; so a number of the schoolhouses during the 
play hour, where the majority of the pupils desired 
it, became places of worship. When the teacher was 
personally concerned about the salvation of his soul 
he led the meeting. 

In one of the schools some of the pupils were not 
in favor of turning the play hour into a religious 
meeting, so those who desired it resolved to go to 
the neighboring woods for the purpose. In the 

283 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 



thickest part of the bush they selected as suitable a 
spot as they could find, and in order to shelter them- 
selves during the latter part of the winter they made 
a booth with branches cut from the trees. Between 
their booth and the schoolhouse there was a field of 
considerable width, where the snow was generally 
very deep, and through that snow both the boys and 
girls had to pass when the rest of the scholars went 
to their play. But in the school there were some of 
the pupils, not only thoughtless, but wicked. They 
were so far from having any sympathy with the 
anxious ones that they ridiculed their anxiety and 
strenuously opposed their religious meetings, and 
used every means in their power to prevent them. 
They were not pleased to see their schoolmates leav- 
ing the play ground and going to their booth in the 
woods; hence they followed them and pelted them 
and their booth with snowballs, and so persistent 
were they that those who attended the meetings 
were obliged to consider what they could do to avoid 
the interruption. They felt themselves placed in a 
disagreeable position. They could not endure the 
idea of discontinuing their meetings, allowing the 
great enemy of their souls to triumph, nor could 
they see how they could meet in their booth and be 
profited with so many interruptions. Consulting 

284 



YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE WORK 

together, some of them proposed to apply to a friend 
hVing near the schoolhouse for the use of his wood- 
shed during the play hour. All seemed pleased 
with the proposal, and just when they were about 
to make arrangements to carry it out one of their 
number said : " I am not in favor of that proposal. 
We know that we have to bear our cross if we are 
to follow Jesus, and this annoyance is just our cross, 
so let us bear it and make no change, but continue 
our meetings in the booth. Who knows but the 
boys who trouble us may yet see their sin and re- 
pent ? We must try and convince them of their sin- 
ful conduct." To this last proposal they all agreed 
and the meetings were continued in the booth. 

The following day as they were going off at the 
play hour to the usual place two of their school- 
fellows followed them, and as they were going 
through the field of deep snow pelted them with 
snowballs and called them names. But the one at 
whose proposal the meetings were to be continued in 
the booth dropped behind the rest, and turning back 
to their persecutors addressed one of them some- 
what as follows : " Sandy, why do you trouble us 
this way ? We do you no harm. We wish to spend 
our play hour with God in our booth. W^e don't in- 
terfere with you when at your play. Do you not 

285 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

see that you are sinning against God ? He sees what 
you are doing, and you have to appear before Him 
and give an account of what you are now doing to 
us." Sandy began to weep, and said, " I see now it 
was not right for us to be troubling your meetings. 
I feel sorry for what I have done, and I shall not do 
so any more." " Well," said his reprover, " if you 
are sorry for what you have been doing just come 
along with me to the meeting and we will pray for 
you and God will forgive you." Poor Sandy went 
with his faithful friend and reprover and became an 
earnest, zealous member of the little company. 

Thus the good work went on among the young 
people in the district, spreading from school to 
school until in every school in the township there 
were pupils anxious about the salvation of their 
souls. In some schools the teachers were among 
the most anxious, and where this was the case the 
religious desires and feelings of the anxious pupils 
were respected and liberty was given them to have 
religious worship when it did not interfere with the 
school hours. This extraordinary interest became 
so general that I considered it proper to begin ser- 
vices for the special benefit of young persons. 
These services were conducted in the church every 
Saturday afternoon. This gave an opportunity for 

286 



YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE WORK 

all the children to meet together in one place; and 
truly the opportunity was appreciated. Hence 
teachers and scholars, young and old, and persons 
who had no connection with the day school, came 
pouring into the church from every section of the 
township. The meetings being new, the like never 
seen in the place before, drew many probably 
through curiosity. But many of them had their 
hearts pierced to the core ; old men and old women 
being moved to tears by what they saw and heard. 

I always conducted the meeting myself, and after 
singing, reading and prayer, I preached a short ser- 
mon. Then I asked some of the boys to lead in 
prayer, which they readily did with great reverence. 
Sometimes all the boys in one seat engaged one 
after another. The prayers were short, simple, 
earnest and full of unction, and as far as man could 
see came straight from the heart. Indeed, the 
prayers of those young boys were most impressive, 
not following an old, formal rut or a beaten path, 
but childlike appeals uttered with great reverence to 
the invisible God, in which appeals sometimes the 
very names of some of their companions in school or 
their relations at home were mentioned. 

At one of our Saturday meetings a certain 
teacher, who was not very favorable to the work 

287 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

that was going on among the young people, and in 
whose school a goodly number of the pupils were in 
an anxious state of mind, was in the assembled 
crowd. He was an entire stranger to me and was 
led to the meeting through curiosity. At the close 
he remained in his seat for a little, but as soon as 
the throng passed him he rose up and came toward 
me. Suddenly he stood still. He trembled and was 
greatly agitated, so much so that he caused the very 
floor under his feet to shake. I invited him to come 
nearer and asked him what was the trouble. In a 
broken utterance he exclaimed, " I am a lost sinner, 
I know not what to do!" He sat for a little while 
beside me while the way of salvation was plainly 
set before him, and he was urged to surrender his 
heart at once to the Lord Jesus. His mind became 
calm, and after a short prayer he retired. He regu- 
larly attended after that day all the meetings, and in 
due time was received into full communion. He is 
now, after a long course of study, preaching the 
Gospel of Christ. 

One little girl between ten and eleven years of age 
was for a long time in darkness and great trouble 
of mind. Evening after evening and week after 
week she would mingle in the crowd of anxious 
ones weeping bitterly. My attention being drawn 

288 



YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE WORK 

to her unhappy state, I resolved to make a special 
visit to her home. Her mother received me very 
gladly, saying that both she and her father were 
very anxious about their daughter. The previous 
day she had been missed for some time, and a 
thorough searching of the house and outbuildings 
failed to discover her whereabouts. They were 
really afraid that in her distress she had done her- 
self some harm. " But," said her mother, " as I 
was standing by the window in that little room," 
pointing to an adjoining chamber, " I heard some- 
thing move under the bed, and looking to see what 
it could be found my dear child on her knees with 
her Bible before her wet with tears. She did not 
notice my presence, so I noiselessly left the room." 
Soon after this conversation F. herself entered the 
parlor and the mother quietly withdrew, leaving me 
to talk with the child. She told me that she knew 
that Jesus was a loving Saviour, but " He is nothing 
to me. There is no love in my heart for Him. My 
heart is so wicked I cannot control it. 1 cannot be- 
lieve or trust my soul to Him," she wailed. " Well," 
said I, " let us go on our knees and tell God all 
about it, and ask Him to enable you to believe and 
rest upon Him for salvation." Before the words 
were out of my mouth F. was on her knees. The 

289 
J9 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

prayer was short and simple, the words few and 
childlike, but they came from a full heart. Light 
shone through the darkness, and rising from her 
knees she joyfully exclaimed : " The dear Saviour 
is my Saviour ! He loves me, He is mine. I cannot 
but love and trust Him. I must run and tell 
mother," and off she went with her glad news. The 
following evening F. took her place among the 
young believers, to the great joy of her many 
friends. Her future life was a clear evidence of the 
genuineness of her profession. 

At the next communion season she was received 
into the membership, and was the youngest on the 
communion roll. On that occasion we enjoyed the 
assistance of the Rev. Dr. Watson, of Huntingdon. 
He was a man of sterling quality, with deep, clear 
and evangelical views of Divine truth, withal so 
calm and simple in his utterance that the weakest 
as well as the strongest intellect might easily follow 
him. After the tables were all served, and he was 
with great freedom bringing to a close the services 
of the day, he suddenly stopped speaking and dis- 
appeared from his audience. I at once and with 
some apprehension ascended to the pulpit fearing 
that he had been seized with some fatal malady. I 
found him with his face buried in his handkerchief 

290 



YOUNG PEOPLE AND THE WORK 

and bathed in tears. In reply to my anxious ques- 
tion, "What is the matter, Mr. Watson?' he said, 
" There is a h'^ttle girl in the centre of the church 
whose countenance seems to be more than human. 
It is angelic, and has pierced through my heart. 
I cannot proceed any further with the address." 
That little girl was F. 



291 



CHAPTER XVI. 

VISIBLE EVIDENCES OF THE WORK 
OF GRACE. 

Great changes gradually appeared in the sur- 
rounding neighborhood which were apparent to the 
most thoughtless. Previous to these meetings Lan- 
caster was overrun with worldliness. What were 
called " frolics," or dances, were most common and 
greatly deplored by the thoughtful. Hardly a night 
passed without one of these gatherings taking place. 
Now, however, they ceased, no such thing being 
heard of in the neighborhood for several years. 
The young people had other interests; as one of 
themselves said, " I have now far more pleasure 
with my Saviour and my Bible than I ever had at 
dances." 

But in the course of time persons of some influ- 
ence resolved to start again these " frolics " in their 
own homes. Once the sluices of restrained human 
nature were thrown open the rushing stream was so 
swift and violent that I actually began to fear lest 
my labor had been in vain. The work was beyond 

?92 



VISIBLE EVIDENCES OF THE WORK 

doubt thoroughly tested, and, finally, the genuine 
believers took a firm stand and came out victorious. 
Only the plants which the Heavenly Father had not 
planted were rooted up. 

A ludicrous incident in connection with the 
attempt to revive these dancing parties may not 
prove uninteresting. The husband of one good 
woman who had been greatly exercised during the 
meetings, and who had eventually foimd peace in 
believing, was desirous of holding a " ploughing 
bee." He was behind with his work, and was 
afraid that the frost would overtake him before 
he could finish his ploughing if he did not get help. 
His wife at once consented and engaged to prepare 
all that was necessary for the meals of a large party, 
and do her very best to have everything ready that 
was needed for the occasion. " But," said he, " we 
must allow the young people liberty to amuse them- 
selves on the evening of the appointed day, other- 
wise they will not come." "What kind of enter- 
tainment do you mean?" asked his wife. "Oh," 
said he, " dancing is what they generally have ; 
the young men after supper go for their friends 
and companions, and spend the evening with them 
as they see proper." " That just means," said his 
wife, "that they will turn our house that evening 

293 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

into a dance-hall. Now that is something to which 
I cannot consent. Of course you are the head of 
the family, and you can do as you see proper, 
whether I consent to it or not. But I will not pre- 
pare a late supper for a party of that kind, nor give 
it any countenance, and will prevent all the chil- 
dren from taking part in it." 

Mr. M. was not satisfied, but as he was anxious 
to have his ploughing done he had the "bee." A 
large number of young men came with their teams 
and ploughs to do the work, and Mrs. M. had abun- 
dant provisions ready for their meals, but prepared 
nothing for the midnight supper. The young men 
were made aware of this through the co-operation 
of the eldest daughter and son, and agreed not to 
use the pies and cakes and the other extras designed 
for the ordinary meals, but reserve them for the 
late supper. Accordingly they were put down into 
the cellar till they would be needed. After the tea, 
the young men went off for their companions and 
friends, and the house was soon crowded with 
lively young people. The largest room in the house 
was made ready for the dance, and was soon filled to 
excess. The mother, however, and all the minors 
of the family occupied another room, where she 
endeavored to interest them with stories from the 

294 



VISIBLE EVIDENCES OF THE WORK 

Sacred Volume. The music and dance began, but 
before long a tremendous noise shook the whole 
house. It was heard by the good mother, and think- 
ing that some judgment had overtaken them, she 
rushed out to see what had happened. To her 
amazement, the whole dancing party were in the 
cellar. The floor had given way by the dancing 
and weight of those in the room. All the merry 
party, the young men and the yoimg women, were 
thrown down on top of one another, forming a 
pile of living, screaming human beings, with pies, 
cakes and plates smashed and broken to atoms 
underneath them. As no one was seriously injured, 
Mrs. M. returned quietly to her chamber, feeling in 
her heart that good would result from the catas- 
trophe. The disappointed company, as soon as 
they got out of the cellar, returned very sheepishly 
to their respective homes. When the uproar had 
calmed down, Mr. M. came to his wife, and taking 
her by the hand, said, " Here is my hand to you, 
with the promise that I shall never have another 
such gathering against your will." 

Another visible evidence of good was manifested 
in the establishment of family worship. This prac- 
tice was not regarded as a duty by most of the 
parents. The Bible, as a matter of course, was 

295 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

found in the homes of all the people, but it was 
seldom consulted or read, nor was prayer offered; 
but now the Bible came to be highly esteemed among 
the people. Every member of the family had a 
copy of it. The young man carried it in his pocket 
to the field, or wherever he worked, and consulted 
its precious truths now and again during the 
hours of his labors. The young woman kept it 
near her in the house, where its sacred and unerring 
teachings became subjects of her earnest prayers. 
So keen and constant was the relish of the people for 
the Word of God that the Bible Depository of the 
village was frequently exhausted and had to be 
often replenished the same year. 

The thirst of the young for Bible knowledge may 
be seen from the following incident. One day when 
visiting one of my families, the door being open, I 
walked right in, and seeing a young girl about 
eleven years of age, sitting alone with her back to 
the door and reading a book, I quietly slipped up 
to her, and laying my hand on her shoulder, said, 
" I see you are reading the Good Book." Lifting 
up her head, with a blush, she said, " Yes." " Have 
you read it all through yet ?" " Oh yes," was her 
reply, " I have read it twice. I am now reading 
it through for the third time." " Have you found 

296 



VISIBLE EVIDENCES OF THE WORK 

your own name in it yet?" I asked. " Yes, I have," 
was her answer. " May I ask you what your name 
is in the Bible?" "My name," was her reply," is 
a sinner. This is my true name." When I left 
Lancaster, there were only three or four homes in 
the congregation where family worship was not 
held. 

In those days of grace, upon one occasion, a 
prominent Auld Kirk member was brought to our 
meeting by his neighbor, an elder in my congrega- 
tion. By the time they arrived the church was full, 
but Mr. R. managed to push his way through the 
crowd into a position where he might hear and see 
all that was going on. It was very evident that 
what he did hear was far from pleasing, but he 
remained until the end of the service. During the 
drive home he accused his friend of carrying tales 
about himself and his family to the minister, and 
rated him soundly for his meanness in so doing. 
His friend denied ever having carried any such 
tales, but Mr. R. would not believe him, saying, 
" How could he mention certain facts about us, if 
you or some other person had not told him?" "Ah," 
said his friend, " not only you and your family 
but we all are described at these meetings. Our 
evil doings are exposed and we are made to feel 

297 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

guilty before God." Mr. R. was unable to sleep 
that night, nor could he find peace next day. His 
mind was perplexed and agitated. " How could 
Mr. Anderson know so much about our family 
life?" was the question he asked himself again and 
again. When evening came he asked his friend if 
he might have a place in his sleigh, as he would 
like to attend another meeting. Room was will- 
ingly made for him. Arriving at the church, it 
was again found to be uncomfortably full. Mr. 
R. pushed his way forward as on the previous 
evening, and if he and his family had been des- 
cribed the night before, they were now more freely 
and pointedly referred to. Every word that was 
uttered seemed to Mr. R. as if directed especially to 
him, and came with irresistible power into his 
heart, saying in the words of Nathan to David, 
" Thou art the man." On the way home, however, 
there was no quarreling with his neighbor, or 
accusation against him as a talebearer. Instead 
came a full acknowledgment of the truthfulness of 
what had been said, and a deep sense of guiltiness 
before God. Arriving home quite late at night, he 
found his family had retired, but arousing his wife 
and children, he told them some of what he had 
heard at the meeting. Said he, " We are lost, and 

298 



VISIBLE EVIDENCES OF THE WORK 

are not aware of it We have been living ungodly 
lives, not knowing God or our great danger. Our 
only hope of salvation is in accepting the Lord 
Jesus as our Saviour, and in mending our ways." 
He then took down a Bible, covered with the dust 
of months, and read a number of passages from 
the neglected volume; pointing out, according to 
his ability, with tearful, stammering utterances, the 
sinful state in which they as a family had been liv- 
ing. He then asked them to join with him in prayer, 
and all the family for the first time in their lives 
threw themselves on their knees at the throne of 
grace, confessing their sins and imploring pardon. 
Day dawned ere they rose from their knees, but 
none had any desire for sleep. It was a never- 
to-be-forgotten night in that home. 

Next forenoon, tidings of what had taken place 
reached me, and I hastened to call upon the family, 
and set before them more fully the way of salvation. 
In the evening it was not necessary for Mr. R, to 
ask a seat in his neighbor's sleigh. From that time 
forward his own horses and sleigh were to be seen 
regularly on the way to the meeting, taking with 
them all who had any desire to attend. In course 
of time Mr. R. found that he would be obliged to 
withdraw from the church of his fathers. He and 

299 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

his family were admitted into full communion with 
us, and became very active, earnest, consistent mem- 
bers of our congregation. 

Many years after, when I was re-visiting my first 
parish, I was told that Mr. R. was in a dying con- 
dition. He fully realized that his days were num- 
bered, and was quite reconciled to the fact. One 
thing, however, he earnestly desired, should it be 
according to God's will, and that was, that he might 
remain in his earthly tabernacle until he would 
once more see his old pastor. Accordingly I 
drove, without delay, to his home. His wife met 
me, saying, " John is very low and has been praying 
that the Lord would spare him to see you. I am 
so glad you have come." I asked to be allowed to 
enter his chamber first to see if my friend would 
recognize me. At the first glimpse he cried out, 
"My old pastor! Thank God! He has given me 
my heart's desire," and seized me by both hands 
with a death-grip. He told me of all the devices 
the evil one had employed in the attempt to shake 
his faith, and of how conscious he was of the pres- 
ence of the Saviour to strengthen and comfort in 
the hour of trial. He had found the promise true, 
" At evening time there shall be light." 



300 



CHAPTER XVII. 
APPROACHING CHANGES. 

When the usual time arrived for the Spring- Com- 
munion, our Session deemed it proper to postpone 
the dispensation of the ordinance in case any, 
through excitement, might apply for admission to 
the ,table of the Lord without the knowledge and 
requisite preparation so essential. 

After a course of special instruction and per- 
sonal examination, sixty-four earnest applicants 
were received, and admitted into the full member- 
ship of the congregation at Lancaster. At the 
Second Concession, and Dalhousie Mills, about the 
same number were received. The breaking up of 
the roads in the spring increased our labors very 
much. To meet the needs of both congregations, 
and the pressing calls of anxious individuals, both 
public and private meetings had to be arranged for 
m various localities. An extract from my diary 
dated May 12th, 1865, reads : " It is now more than 
a year since I wrote anything in this book. I have 
had no time to do so. During the past year many 

301 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

encouraging things have met me, but there have 
also been many discouragements. . . . Satan 
seems to use every power at his disposal to frus- 
trate the work of the Lord in this place; he leaves 
no stone unturned. May Jehovah rebuke him, and 
may his attacks lead us to be more earnest at the 
Throne of Grace." But the shower of Divine 
grace with which the people had been so highly 
favored gradually ended. It was indeed a fine 
shower, in many ways resembling a natural shower, 
beginning with a drop here and there, increasing in 
number and weight, until a flood was formed which 
covered the whole country, sweeping away a great 
deal of dead and decayed rubbish, and turning the 
barren fields of God's own heritage into fruitful- 
ness. The Good Spirit of the Lord, in the words 
of the Psalmist, "came down like rain upon the 
mown grass as showers that water the earth." 
But the light clouds passed over, and a period of 
drought set in. The "heavens became as brass, 
and the earth as iron." Meetings for prayer and 
religious instruction were numerous and well 
attended, but the presence of the Holy Spirit was 
not experienced as in former days. Years of 
struggle were endured in the attempt to resist the 
enemy's attack on myself as well as on the congre- 

30« 



APPROACHING CHANGES 



gation. No sooner was one assault over than an- 
other of an entirely different nature was commenced. 
The enemy was imable to destroy God's good work 
in the heart of true believers, but he did what he 
could to belittle it, and mar its outward appearance 
and fruit. These long-continued conflicts and the 
lack of any direct tokens of the Divine presence 
led me to think that perhaps my labors in Lancaster 
and Dalhousie Mills should end. At this very time, 
when in this restless and unsettled state of mind, 
two calls reached me, one from Vankleek Hill, and 
the other from Tiverton, Ont. Previous calls had 
not been considered, but at this juncture I felt that 
the time had come when it would be wisdom to let 
the calls come before Presbytery. "January 3rd, 
1869. My people in both congregations are at pre- 
sent in an unsettled state. Edicts anent my trans- 
lation have been served. The people are attached to 
me and I to them. It will be hard to leave them." 
"January 20th. Still undecided as to the sphere 
of my future labors. Never have I been in such 
straits. Strong claims are urged in favor of both 
Vankleek Hill and Tiverton: while the Lancaster 
people have decided to attempt the support of a 
pastor without the aid of Dalhousie. The people 
at the latter place although fewer in number are 

303 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

willing to do the same, but I have my doubts regard- 
ing their ability to do so." 

The Presbytery met in Montreal, and there were 
present on that occasion the Rev. John Eraser, in 
support of the Tiverton call, other persons to sup- 
port that from Vankleek Hill, and a strong depu- 
tation from Lancaster and Dalhousie Mills to op- 
pose the translation of their pastor. The two calls 
were considered by the Presbytery, the persons 
most concerned being heard in support of their re- 
spective claims. I was then called upon to express 
my opinion, but as I was rising to do so a petition 
from Lancaster, consented to by Dalhousie, was 
laid upon the table, praying for the disjunction of 
the two congregations, and asking that the services 
of the pastor might be confined to the former con- 
gregation alone. At this stage it was moved and 
seconded by members of Presbytery, and carried 
unanimously, that this petition be dealt with before 
taking procedure regarding the two calls. The 
result was that the petitioners got all they demanded, 
and this act of Presbytery, for which I was not in 
any way responsible, made my path of duty very 
clear. I at once declined both calls, and became 
pastor of the Lancaster congregation alone. My 
connection with Dalhousie Mills terminated on 

304 



APPROACHING CHANGES 



April I St, 1869. My labors were in this way very 
much lessened, and my health, which had been yield- 
ing under pressure of the previous heavy strain, was 
improved, but I was far from being contented. 

Although the disjunction had been brought about 
in the most friendly manner possible, it did not 
prove satisfactory. I had a more than ordinary 
attachment to that part of my flock from which I was 
now separated. The great majority were the fruits 
of my own labors. I knew their religious life inti- 
mately, and now I missed their earnest prayers and 
godly influence. Although T had very many noble, 
warm-hearted friends in Lancaster, I was restless, 
and could not settle down to work, therefore when 
in December of the same year a second call came 
to me from Tiverton. I decided to accept it in 
spite of the opposition of the people. I was con- 
vinced that in my unsettled and restless state of 
mind I could no longer benefit them, and that a 
new minister would accomplish more and better 
work. Accordingly, when on January 27th, 1870. 
the second call from Tiverton was placed in my 
hands by the Presbytery of Montreal, I signified 
my desire to accept it. and arrangements were 
made for my release from Lancaster on the fif- 
teenth day of the following month. 

305 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

NEW FIELDS OF LABOR. 

" 1870, March 2nd. — ' Hitherto the Lord hath 
helped me.' To-day I have been inducted at Tiv- 
erton by the Presbytery of Huron. Rev. John 
Fraser, of Kincardine, preached a very impressive 
sermon. His subject was, * The Cross.' In an- 
swering the questions put to me at the induction, I 
felt very much my inability to j>erform the duties of 
a minister of the Gospel. Oh, that God would give 
me more grace and wisdom to enable me to do His 
will in my new sphere." My first impression of 
my new field of labor is indicated in the following 
entry which I now quote from my diary. " 1870, 
May 2nd. For the last two months I have been 
putting forth all my strength in visiting my new 
flock. I have visited over one hundred and twenty 
families, who regard themselves as connected with 
my charge. There are many yet to visit. I find 
the people generally far behind in spiritual things. 
What a field of labor the Lord has now opened up 
to me." 

306 



NEW FIELDS OF LABOR 



Mr. John Thorrington, who was an active elder 
in the congregation, drove me in his own buggy to 
visit all the families regarded as Presbyterian. 
Underwood formed, at that time, part of the 
charge, and regular services were held in both 
languages, English and Gaelic. Kincardine, on the 
one hand, and Centre Bruce, on the other, were 
the nearest congregations, and people came from 
great distances to the services, which though very 
protracted were highly appreciated. Buggies were 
not then in common use, but the people, old and 
young, male and female, came on foot, and no com- 
plaints were uttered among them regarding the 
roughness of the roads or the length of the ser- 
vices. Indeed, they seemed to show no weariness in 
listening to the message. 

But there were some things not in accordance 
with Presbyterian order which had to be changed. 
The Sabbath School was regarded as a Union 
School, and the teachers were to a large extent per- 
sons not in sympathy with our standards. Hence 
the Shorter Catechism had been laid aside, and the 
teachers were all allowed to set forth any views of 
Divine truth which they themselves saw proper. I 
had therefore to msist upon the uniformity of the 
teaching in the Sabbath School with that of the 

307 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

pulpit, and hence the Shorter Catechism had to be 
taught. A meeting of the teachers was called, and 
a resolution embracing my proposal was discussed, 
and carried, by the casting vote of the minister. As 
the result of this change some of the teachers with- 
drew from the school, and went to other churches. 
Another difficulty that had to be met was in rela- 
tion to the ordinance of baptism. Previously, my 
rule was to baptize only the children of parents in 
full communion with the church. Parents who were 
not in that relationship, and who applied for bap- 
tism for their children, had to be examined regard- 
ing their faith in Christ Jesus. They had to appear 
before the Session, and if considered worthy, were 
admitted into full communion, and then they re- 
ceived the ordinance, and their names were enrolled 
as members in good standing. But at Tiverton this 
order was not followed, for baptism was given 
to all parents who applied for it, no matter how 
indifferent they were regarding the salvation of 
their own souls. This state of affairs drove me 
to a very careful study of the subject, but I was 
not able to discover any reason to change my views, 
and my mind became more convinced than ever that 
only the children of believing parents were eligible, 
or could benefit by baptism. 

308 



NEW FIELDS OF LABOR 



The weekly prayer-meetings, also conducted in 
English and Gaelic, in the church, were largely 
attended. But as the people were very much scat- 
tered throughout the country, and as they could 
not all very well attend prayer-meeting at the 
church, I held services on week days in various 
districts. One of the places where these week-day 
services were conducted was Inverhuron. The 
Gaelic-speaking people there were numerous, and 
had had the benefit of a religious training 
in the land of their birth, before coming 
to this country. They were regular in their 
attendance on the means of grace, both on the Sab- 
bath and at week-day meetings. The greater num- 
ber of the heads of families conducted worship in 
their homes, but their children seemed to have been 
neglected, and hence they grew up in a state of 
indifference to all religious duties. Indeed, at that 
time, all the young people at Inverhuron 
showed but little concern about religious worship. 
They appeared as if they had no need of 
troubling themselves with such teachings, which 
they thought were above their comprehension. 
It was all right and proper for their par- 
ents, and sick people, and people of learning to 
attend worship, but youth, according to them, was 



309 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

the time for pleasure, and they most naturally pur- 
sued those things which gratified their own unre- 
newed hearts, and excluded all serious thought 
from their minds. 

In starting a week-day service at Inverhuron, 
patience had to be exercised. They came to the 
meetings just as they would go to a secular or 
political gathering — not a Bible to be seen in the 
hand of any of them. So, of course, there was no 
such thing as the turning up of the text when it was 
announced, and to take part in the singing of 
Divine praise was never attempted. Besides, light 
in those days was very scarce. A lamp was gen- 
erally placed before the minister, and perhaps 
another fastened about the door of the schoolhouse, 
in which the meetings were held. Was not the lack 
of outward light an emblem of the thick darkness 
which covered the unrenewed minds of the most 
of those who gathered to those meetings? 

But this deplorable state of things at Inverhuron 
underwent, in the course of time, a great change. 
The number attending the meetings continued to 
increase. Many of the young people became inter- 
ested, professed faith in Christ Jesus, united them- 
selves to the church, and took an active part at the 
prayer-meeting, and in the work of the church. A 



NEW FIELDS OF LABOR 



Sabbath School was also organized, and an excellent 
library secured which was highly appreciated both 
by young and old. And now I question if there 
is another district within the limits of the congrega- 
tion where a larger week-day meeting can be secured 
than at Inverhuron. A large number of the people 
of that district left the place and are now scattered 
abroad in the world, giving evidence, I trust, that 
they have been with Jesus. 

Affairs connected with both congregations were 
advancing. Interest in religious things was becom- 
ing more and more manifest. Financially they got 
a little behind, for the church had to be enlarged, 
the glebe was full of large stumps, which had to be 
removed, and a manse had to be erected. After 
these things were done, a considerable amount of 
debt was incurred, and at that time money was 
very scarce and interest very high. A number 
of the people labored willingly with their own 
hands, yet the work could not be done without some 
money. The financial committee, which was com- 
posed of excellent men, who had the cause at heart, 
failed to see how they might meet their obligations. 
To use such questionable means to raise church 
funds as were adopted by some congregations, 
was not for a moment to be thought of. The 



3" 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

committee held regular meeting's, but could not 
agree on any special plan, and were rather dis- 
couraged. One of their number came to consult 
me on the important plan, explaining to me their 
difficulties, and asking my advice. " The best plan 
I can suggest is for us to face the debt, and 
wipe it off at once," was my reply. " We can- 
not do it," said he, " it is too much for the 
congregation." " Oh," said I, " I think it can be 
accomplished. I will undertake to do it, and will 
just begin with you. How much will you give to 
have the debt removed? Give a hundred dollars 
and this debt will never trouble you more." There 
was a short pause, then the good friend replied, 
" Well, if you are in earnest, I shall give fifty dol- 
lars to have it removed, and should you fail in your 
object, after appealing to the people, I shall give 
you the balance of the hundred." " That will do," 
said I ; " you will not utter a word to anyone about 
my purpose till I see the people in their homes." 

Having a pretty fair idea of the temporal circum- 
stances of my flock, I wrote out a list of their names 
and attached to each a certain sum which, accord- 
ing to my judgment, would be the share of each 
on my list, and which would completely wipe out 
the debt. Early next morning I began to make 

312 



NEW FIELDS OF LABOR 



my calls among the people, and when the nature of 
my errand was made known to them their surprise 
was complete. Some of them were pleased, and 
with smiling- countenances said, " Yes, we shall pay 
the sum attached to our name." One lady added, 
" Mr. Anderson, if you remove that debt from the 
congregation, I shall give you a tall hat besides," 
a promise which she faithfully fulfilled. The rest 
of the people whose names were on the list, while 
they jocularly might ask, " Who placed my name 
on your list?" yet cheerfully agreed to pay the sums 
opposite their names, on condition that the debt 
would be removed. Not one of them refused to 
pay the amounts proposed, for they were in earnest 
and had a mind to give liberally to the cause of 
Christ. The result was that before dinner-time 
I had over nine hundred dollars promised, and some 
of it in cash, to meet the debt. In two or three days, 
I had the pleasure of having a subscription of over 
twenty-seven hundred dollars, which was enough 
to pay the debt, and make large improvements in 
the church. 

Friends belonging to the Underwood congrega- 
tion were deeply interested in our work at Tiverton 
and contributed liberally, though they had no church 
they could call their own, but were worshipping 



313 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

in a Union Church, which had been erected by Pres- 
byterians and Baptists. As the Presbyterians, in 
course of time, outnumbered the Baptists, they 
bought over their share of the property and it be- 
came an independent Presbyterian congregation. 

The debt against the Tiverton congregation hav- 
ing been removed, the people enjoyed a period of 
great prosperity. The church, though enlarged, be- 
gan to be crowded with an attentive and earnest 
audience. Large numbers were added to the com- 
munion roll. Then a general desire pervaded the 
whole congregation to have all the services of the 
minister confined to Tiverton, This imphed a 
separation from Underwood, which required an act 
of Presbytery. The Presbytery of Huron, under 
whose jurisdiction they were, granted them their 
desire and separated them from that congregation. 

After this separation the Tiverton congregation 
enjoyed regular services in both languages every 
Sabbath morning and evening. But every two 
weeks, instead of an evening sermon, a lecture was 
delivered upon the doctrines contained in the stand- 
ards of our Church. These fortnightly services were 
of a catechetical nature, and designed to prove and 
defend by passages of Scripture the doctrines set 

314 



NEW FIELDS OF LABOR 



forth in our catechisms and confession of faith. The 
hearers were expected to take notes of the lectures so 
as to be able to answer questions put to them at the 
next meeting, when the lecture was carefully re- 
viewed. They had also the privilege of asking ques- 
tions connected with the subjects under discussion, 
which they could either write out and hand to the 
minister or present personally at the meeting. 

This mode of instruction enlightened the minds 
of the congregation in the doctrines of the Church ; 
for many of them had no settled views of the doc- 
trines which they professed to believe. Indeed, 
many had no views at all on religious subjects 
and knew not what they believed; hence they saw 
but little difference between the varied teachings of 
the denominations around them. It was, therefore, 
necessary to instruct them so as to enable them to 
distinguish truth from error, and to give a reason 
for the hope which they entertained regarding the 
salvation of their souls. 

This catechetical mode of instruction came to be 
very popular. The church became crowded. Great 
interest was awakened among the hearers in the 
study of the Bible. Some of them became experts 
in turning up passages of Scripture in proof of the 
points under discussion. To avoid the prejudice of 



315 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

some who were sceptical and directly opposed to 
Presbyterianism, the terms confession, or cate- 
chism, or standards were excluded from the lec- 
tures. But the doctrines contained in our standards 
were prominently set forth, and many of the hear- 
ers were not aware that the lectures had anything 
to do with the standards till they were ended. The 
result of those lectures in due time was most evi- 
dent. Some declared that they received more 
benefit through them than ever they did through 
preaching. One man said : " I cannot account for 
it, Mr. Anderson, but it is a fact that when you 
came to this place I could not agree with your teach- 
ing, but a change has taken place so that now we 
are of the same mind, and I have no doubt but you 
hold forth the same truths which Paul declared." 
He did not know how the change took place. I 
could have enlightened him, but kept the secret to 
myself. It was brought about by the careful study 
of his Bible, which he highly respected and loved. 



316 



CHAPTER XIX. 

FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL 
WORK. 

The first year or two after parting with Under- 
wood nothing very remarkable occurred. Interest 
in rehgious affairs continued to advance in the con- 
gregation. The people gathered from all parts of 
the county to hear the Word preached, and all ap- 
peared to be well satisfied with the services; all, ex- 
cept the minister, who felt the lack of clear evidence 
of the presence of the Holy Spirit. A sentence or 
two from my diary at the beginning of the year 
1873 will reveal a little of my mind: " I have had 
but little to encourage me during the year now 
ended. I am a wonder to myself. How can I be 
contented so long without seeing some real spiritual 
growth among my flock ? But contented I have not 
been. Spiritual conflicts regarding my own state 
have engaged my thoughts of late. How can I 
take care of my flock when I cannot take care of 
myself? Lord, help me to fight the fight of faith. 
Make me more than a conqueror through Him that 

317 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

loved me. Surely if God were now to pour out His 
Spirit on my dear flock I could not take any of the 
glory of such a blessing to myself, for I am so weak 
and so vile a creature." 

In the state of mind thus indicated, and with an 
humble hope that God would revive His work in the 
congregation in answer to the prayers of His needy 
people, I decided to hold the week of prayer. 

Every evening, except Saturday, for about three 
weeks the meetings were continued, and as a result 
a goodly number of those who attended became 
deeply impressed with a sense of their sin. Besides 
preaching I made it my duty to visit through the 
day the homes of those whom I noticed were attend- 
ing the meetings. This gave me the opportunity of 
speaking to them personally regarding the salva- 
tion of their souls, and secured to me some know- 
ledge of the nature of their difficulties. These 
visits increased the interest in the evening meetings 
and supplied me with suitable thoughts for the ser- 
vices. 

They were conducted in a similar manner to those 
already referred to in Lancaster. As the month 
drew to a close I was burdened with a sense of the 
need of the people at Inverhuron, who, on account 
of the distance, were unable to attend these special 

318 



FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL WORK 

meetings, I therefore arrang-ed with some of my 
elders to continue the meetings at Tiverton, allow- 
ing me to start special services in this place. These 
were conducted chiefly in Gaelic and were of a cate- 
chetical nature. They were well attended and con- 
tinued for several weeks, and in course of time re- 
solved into a regular monthly meeting. Soon after 
this I was asked to take charge of a Congregational 
Church meeting on the tenth of Kincardine. The 
people were without a pastor at the time, and al- 
though my own duties were heavy I agreed to con- 
duct an occasional service on a week-day evening. 
These meetings continued for seven weeks, and the 
little church was crowded in spite of the wintry 
storms. Anxious persons became numerous and 
there were several very marked instances of the 
power of the Holy Ghost manifested in convincing 
men and women of sin and leading them to re- 
pentance. 

The Session was very careful about admitting 
persons into full communion, but after a course of 
instruction and examination of those who declared 
themselves to be new creatures in Christ Jesus, 
sixty-four were received. A goodly number of 
them were baptized on their own profession, not 
having been baptized in their infancy. 

319 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 



The young people held meetings of their own, 
and some of the young men took an active part in 
the services and made good progress in their new- 
life. Thus the pastor was encouraged in the mul- 
tiplicity of his labors. But those times of blessing 
were not to continue forever. A reaction gradually 
set in, and perhaps no one realized it more keenly 
than I did. 

Some time after this I was invited by Knox con- 
gregation, Harriston, to dispense the Lord's Sup- 
per, as they had no minister at the time. The result 
of this was a unanimous call. My mind was very 
much exercised regarding it, and I felt it could not 
be set aside without due consideration. While the 
Tiverton congregation seemed to be well satisfied 
with my services and were increasing in number, 
yet I had failed to discover any real spiritual fruit 
among them for some time. I felt, too, that there 
might be some in the congregation who would like 
a change. I concluded, therefore, to allow the call 
to take its regular course, and come to me through 
the Presbytery. Hence the Tiverton congregation 
was cited to appear for their interests at Port Elgin 
in the beginning of May, 1878. This citation pro- 
duced great excitement in the congregation. The 
elders visited the manse and assured me that there 

320 



FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL WORK 

were none in the congregation who desired a change 
of minister, and that they were to oppose my trans- 
lation. The elders also decided to visit their dis- 
tricts to ascertain more fully the mind of the people 
regarding the matter. Their report, which they 
submitted, was of the nature of a call. All the 
people without exception signed a written docu- 
ment opposing the translation. A large deputation 
from Tiverton attended the meeting of Presbytery, 
where the Harriston call was ably supported. After 
hearing both sides the Presbytery deliberated on the 
case, and then agreed to leave the whole matter to 
my own decision. I told them that I failed to see 
any good reason why I should leave my present 
charge. I was sure the Good Master had called me 
to Tiverton, and my ser\'ices were to some extent 
owned, and I felt I should have a very good reason 
for leaving the place to which I was so certain I had 
been sent. I thanked the congregation at Har- 
riston for their hearty and unanimous call, and 
hoped that the Good Shepherd of the sheep would 
direct them to one more worthy of their confidence 
than I was. 

After the long period of hard work, day and 
night, through which I passed during the special 
meetings in the congr^ation, I began to feel in 

321 

31 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

need of rest. In those days there were no such 
things as holidays for ministers. There was, how- 
ever a great demand for more laborers in mission 
fields. Manitoulin Island was at that time one 
of our mission fields, and two young men, students 
of our college, were laboring there with success and 
desired the Presbytery to send them an ordained 
minister to organize congregations and dispense 
ordinances on the island. The Presbytery recog- 
nized the importance of the proposal, and the min- 
ister at Tiverton was chosen, and with his consent 
appointed with full Presbyterial authority to pro- 
ceed to organize congregations. The Presbytery 
undertook to supply his pulpit during his absence. 
As the season was now far advanced and I was 
anxious to return before the cold weather, I lost 
no time in starting out on the journey. As I could 
not get a boat at Kincardine I had to drive to Owen 
Sound. From there I proceeded to Little Current, 
where I met Mr. Hugh McKay, an earnest, devoted 
student of Knox College. It was decided to begin 
at Gore Bay, where I spent a whole week visiting 
families and receiving applicants for the Lx)rd's Sui>- 
per. Here I found a small family of more than 
ordinary interest, which I must briefly notice. The 
parents were very earnest in their attempts to train 

323 



FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL WORK 

up their children in the fear of Gk)d. Their know- 
ledge, however, was very limited. As I entered 
their little home with my Bible in my hand and sat 
down to read some passages, the whole family gath- 
ered around me. As I b^an to give a short ex- 
position of the passage the father drew the atten- 
tion of his wife to it, in words to the following 
effect : " That is the passage we were reading the 
other day and which we could not understand. See 
that you get right hold of what he says, so that we 
may understand it after this." I made a number of 
visits to their home that week and was satisfied of 
their sincerity. The parents surrendered themselves 
to the Lord, professed faith in the Lord Jesus, 
dedicated their children to the Lord in baptism, and 
were admitted into full communion. The Lord's 
Supper was dispensed at the close of that week. 

In this connection an unusual difficulty presented 
itself. The Lord's Supper had never been dispensed 
in that district before. The people had made no 
preparation for the ordinance. They had no church, 
nor any building in the village suitable for the occa- 
sion, large enough to accommodate the people. 
Then a more serious difficulty arose. There was no 
wine to be got in the village. The discovery was 
not made until Saturday, so there was no time to 

323 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

send for any. What was to be done ? To cancel the 
service would be a sore disappointment to the people, 
who were looking forward to it with great interest. 
After considering the matter I decided to use rasp- 
berry wine instead of the juice of the grapes. 
Fortunately the lady in whose house I was board- 
ing knew how to make it, and her children were 
sent to gather the berries, which, though late in the 
season, were easily got. Before bedtime on Satur- 
day night we had everything ready for the Sabbath 
services. Before we retired to rest it was reported 
that a boat would likely call at the wharf before 
morning, and a friend was appointed to watch, and 
if such a vessel came, to secure a bottle of wine for 
the ordinance. Fortunately a steamer did come that 
night and the wine was secured, as pure as could be 
got, but it was not so pure as the raspberry wine. 
The communion day was very favorable. A large 
congregation assembled and a goodly number com- 
memorated the death of our Lord Jesus for the first 
time. To many it was a day not to be forgotten. 

The services at Gore Bay being concluded, we be- 
gan our journey back again to Little Current. We 
went most of the way in a sailboat, my guide, Mr. 
McKay, our missionary student, being an excellent 
boatman. About half-way between Gore Bay and 

324 



FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL WORK 

Little Current we stopped over night at a lumber 
camp, visited the families and held service. 

At Little Current we visited a number of families 
and held public services on Sabbath, but no ordin- 
ances were administered. Early in the week we 
started in our boat for Manitowaning. In that vil- 
lage there was a hotel just about to be opened for 
the accommodation of travellers. Here we man- 
aged to secure a room for the night. After break- 
fast next morning I had to part with my faithful 
and good guide. The weeks I had spent in his com- 
pany afforded me a splendid opportunity of seeing 
his devotion to duty, his zeal, his desire to lead sin- 
ners to Christ, and his concern for the Indians that 
were scattered around the island. In handing in 
my report of my labors on the island I had the 
pleasure of recommending him as the right man in 
the right place, and in every way suited for the work 
among the Indians. The recommendation was well 
received by the brethren of the Presbytery, and re- 
sulted in his being unanimously appointed by the 
church as our Indian missionary. 

Parting with Mr. McKay, I proceeded with Mr. 
Baird, another student whose field of labor was 
very extensive, but who proved himself quite equal 
to the difficulties he had to contend with. Mani- 

325 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

towaning was one of his stations, but he lived at 
Fossil Hill, where he held regular meetings. His 
principal stations were Manitowaning, Michael Bay 
and Providence Bay. Accordingly it was decided 
to have sacraments dispensed at these three stations. 
( There were a number of other places where he held 
meetings, but our time did not admit of our visit- 
ing them all.) Here a very grave obstacle stood 
in my way. Mr. Baird had no horse, but went regu- 
larly to all his stations on foot, and did not seem 
to heed it. He was the best walker I ever knew. 
But I felt the distances were too long for me to 
attempt, so Mr. Baird went in search of a horse, for 
such animals were very scarce in those districts. 
They could not be had for love or money. After 
spending the best part of a day in the search he 
succeeded in obtaining an old horse and saddle, so 
we proceeded to Michael Bay without further delay. 
Here we held several meetings. Applicants for the 
Lord's Supper were received, and all the prepara- 
tion necessary for the solemn ordinance, which was 
to be administered on Sabbath, was attended to. 

On Saturday afternoon we started for Providence 
Bay, reaching there about sunset. Next morning 
we walked four or five miles inland to a place called 
Old Woman's Lake, where we met the Sabbath 

326 



FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL WORK 



School and a nice little congregation in the school- 
house. Both sacraments were administered. We 
then had to get back to Michael Bay in time for the 
evening service. My old horse knew the road very 
well, but was slow. He could not keep up with Mr. 
Baird's walking. Nor did I feel inclined to force 
him, for I was very tired of the saddle. To make 
our journey more trying we were overtaken by a 
heavy shower of rain, and having nothing to pro- 
tect us we were soon wet to the skin. Part of the 
road was only a footpath, so narrow that the 
branches of the trees met overhead and hung so 
low that the horse had to press through them, caus- 
ing them to empty their burden of rain on the rider, 
filling his boots as full of water as they could hold. 
Although the old horse was slow, yet he was safe. 
Had it not been so his rider might have been left 
as Absalom of old, hanging in a tree which had 
fallen on the path. The horse did not distinguish 
the fallen tree from the overhanging branches, and 
was determined to press through its very centre; 
but the moment he was told to stop he obeyed, so I 
was able to free myself from the entanglement. 
We arrived at Michael Bay an hour or two after 
the time appointed for the service, but the people 
were patiently waiting, and the schoolhouse was full 

327 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

of expectant persons. Before we got our wet 
clothes removed and ourselves fit to appear before 
the people, the evening was far advanced. We pro- 
ceeded, however, with the services, preached and 
administered the Lx)rd's Supper, concluding a little 
before midnight. 

The following morning I felt pretty well ex- 
hausted, and hence we decided to remain where we 
were all the day to recuperate our strength for the 
next day's journey and work. On the following 
day we reached Mr. Baird's boarding-house, where 
some services were held. The most of our time that 
week was to be spent at Manitowaning. But here a 
new difficulty arose. My old horse had to go home, 
and the distance to Manitowaning was too great for 
me to walk. There was only one farmer in the 
neighborhood who had horses and wagons, but as he 
did not come to any of Mr. Baird's meetings we 
could not ask him for any assistance. As he was a 
Presbyterian I decided to call and see him. I found 
him in the field with a cradle in his hand, just about 
to begin to cut down a beautiful field of wheat. I 
introduced myself to him as a minister from the 
Presbytery of Bruce, appointed to the island for 
four Sabbaths to preach the Gospel and administer 
the sacraments. I told him that I had been now 

328 



FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL WORK 

three weeks attempting to fulfil my appointments, 
but that the stations were so far apart, and the 
people so scattered, I was very much exhausted, 
not being accustomed to travel so much on foot, 
and said I had come to him for assistance, as I saw 
he had horses and vehicles about. He listened to 
what I had to say with great attention, and then 
said, " Well, we have a great need of the preaching 
of the Gospel in this place. They have been sending 
us young boys to preach among us. But they don't 
know what the Gospel is, and they don't preach it. 
They cannot impose on some of us, for we have had 
the privilege of hearing it before we came to this 
country, and cannot accept the stuff they offer as 
Gospel. I was a hearer of Dr. McDonald before I 
came to Canada. He was the man that could preach 
the Gospel. But," said he, looking at his fine field 
of wheat, and then at the cloud that was in the 
horizon, " you have come on a very unfavorable 
day for me. I am anxious to get this cut and have 
it secured while the weather is favorable." There 
was then a short pause. But my mind was aroused 
at his words, and with more than ordinary liberty I 
spoke to him in a strain somewhat similar to the 
following : " You have been a hearer of Dr. Mc- 
Donald ? Is this the fruit of his preaching in you ? 

329 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

Were he here just now he would be ashamed of you. 
You complain that the Gospel is not preached by 
those who are sent to preach it. I have been preach- 
ing it on this island for nearly three weeks, and 
sometimes at your very door, yet I have failed to 
see you at any of the meetings, and how can you 
tell whether I preach the Gospel or not when you do 
not come to hear what I preach? Why, your con- 
duct is not worthy of Dr. McDonald. It is enough 
to make him rise out of his grave, if it were within 
his power, and rebuke you for attempting to excuse 
yourself under the circumstances." As I was pour- 
ing in the man's ear expressions of this nature, he 
cried out, "Stop! stop! say no more. I will go 
with you." And so he did. He laid aside his 
cradle, fixed up his wagon, and got his horses 
ready in a very short time. I had no more trouble 
after this in getting to the meetings while I was on 
the island, for he was always ready with his wagon 
to take me wherever I wished to go. 

The communion services were conducted at Mani- 
towaning on Sabbath afternoon. This was not the 
first communion that had been dispensed at that 
station, for there was a very nice little congregation 
which had been organized there some time previous. 
That evening I had to part with Mr. Baird. I was 

330 



FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL WORK 

not at all surprised when, in later years, he was ap- 
pointed as one of the professors in our college at 
Winnipeg. 

Some time after my return home I agreed to go 
to the aid of one of our ministers at his communion 
services in Algoma. It was a long and expensive 
journey, but I felt it my duty to comply with the 
urgent invitation of the minister. So I took my 
journey to Owen Sound, where I could secure a 
boat. I left early on Monday morning in hope of 
reaching Port Finlay in good time for the prepara- 
tory services that were to begin on the following 
Thursday forenoon. The first part of my journey 
was pleasant, but on reaching Little Current we 
found the channel full of lumber forced in by a 
strong wind from the lake, which made it impos- 
sible for our vessel to proceed. This hindrance was 
a great disappointment to all on board, and we were 
crowded with passengers. No one had any idea 
when we could get away, as we were at the mercy 
of the winds. I had a little talk with the captain of 
the vessel, telling him the object of my journey and 
my promise to be at Port Finlay on Thursday in 
time for the morning service, which I was to con- 
duct. He told me very plainly that it would be im- 
possible to reach Port Finlay by Thursday morn- 

331 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

ing. He was powerless and could not help matters 
in the least degree. " I wonder," said I, " if there 
be none in this large crowd of passengers who have 
faith in God, and who would ask Him to cause the 
winds to blow from the opposite direction, and 
drive out the lumber to the lake so that we might 
have a clear channel." The captain only smiled at 
my idea, regarding it, I suppose, as a piece of folly, 
but within twenty minutes a cry was heard, " The 
wind is changed ! The wind is changed !" and an- 
other cry equally vigorous, " The lumber is moving 
out!" Then came the command from the captain, 
" Let go the cables." And in an instant we were 
moving out towards the lake with the lumber. 
Whether this was in answer to the prayers of some- 
one on the vessel or not I am not prepared to say, but 
there were many prayers offered by earnest souls 
that day for the success of our journey. 

Port Finlay was reached on Thursday evening, 
and on stepping ashore I inquired of the minister 
how he had succeeded with the morning service. 
He told me that he had spoken a few words in Eng- 
lish, but as most of the people were Gaelic-speak- 
ing, they were disappointed and refused to go 
home. " They have remained in the church all day 
praying for your safe arrival," said he. " Well," 

332 



FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL WORK 

was my reply, "drive me to the church at once." 
" Had you not better go to the manse first and par- 
take of some refreshment ?" " No, no," I urged, 
" I can wait till the services are over." In a very 
short time we arrived at the church, a nice frame 
building of a good size, and crowded to the door 
with people. One man was standing at the front 
pouring out his heart in prayer to God that the min- 
ister who was to break to them the bread of life 
might be protected by the way, and brought to 
them in safety. This part of the prayer I heard, for 
I stepped forward on my arrival at the door and 
got to the pulpit before the prayer was ended. 

I introduced myself to the large assembly as the 
object of their prayers, and as they had had the pre- 
liminary services already I proceeded with my 
sermon. 

In the beginning of December, 1893. my mind 
began again to be considerably exercised regarding 
the state of my flock. Indeed, I felt somewhat dis- 
couraged on account of the apathy manifested by 
many of the members of the congregation regard- 
ing their spiritual life. This was clearly seen by 
their irregularity at Divine service on Sabbath 
morning, and at the weekly prayer-meeting. There 
was also a tendency among them to wander away 

333 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

from the evening service to other places of worship. 
These things had a very depressing effect upon me ; 
and although I was not conscious of any lack of 
energy, what I discovered among the people led me 
to seriously and prayerfully examine myself in case 
the cause of indifference among the people might lie 
in myself. As I was seriously investigating the 
matter the question pressed heavily upon my mind : 
" Are you doing all you can to awaken a deeper 
interest among your flock regarding spiritual 
things?" I could not answer this question in the 
affirmative. My health was excellent, and I felt it 
might be well to conduct some special services. 
Without revealing the state of my mind to anyone 
except to the Good Master Himself, I resolved to 
make some calls among friends and feel their pulse 
regarding the matter. As I entered the homes, 
without any prompting on my part, the conversation 
turned upon the benefit of special religious meet- 
ings, and strong desires were expressed in two or 
three families that such might be held. These ex- 
pressions, in conjunction with the previous exercise 
of my own mind on the subject, resulted in the 
arranging of a series of meetings in the school- 
house at Inverhuron. The interest in these meet- 
ings grew from week to week; people who seldom 

334 



FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL WORK 

attended church flocked to the schoolhouse, and a 
number of young men, who had never been seen at 
any religious meeting, now came night after night. 
Our hearts were made glad by the evidence of the 
Spirit's presence amongst us. 

But this shower of Divine grace at Inverhuron 
did not appear to reach the bulk of the congrega- 
tion. Their absence made it very manifest that their 
sympathies were not with us. Many of those who 
enjoyed special favor at our last season of grace, 
and had become active workers in the congregation, 
had emigrated to other countries, while death had 
also claimed a large number. This naturally weak- 
ened the congregation very much, and made it very 
clear that something had to be done to prevent it 
from getting into financial arrears. I therefore re- 
solved that if no improvement, spiritual or financial, 
was manifested in the course of a certain period of 
time, definitely fixed in my own mind, I would 
resign and allow another to occupy the field. This 
resolution was not made known, and in the mean- 
time I endeavored to labor faithfully, and increased 
my liberality that the people might not be over- 
burdened. I do not know that the latter was the 
wisest course to pursue, but at any rate it served to 
show the congregation that I was not there for the 

335 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 



sake of making money. At the time appointed I 
accordingly announced my resignation at the 
annual meeting of the congregation, and forwarded 
it to the Presbytery. 

The Presbytery professed great reluctance in 
accepting the resignation and deferred it for six 
months. I was released from active service on the 
15th day of July, 1894, thus bringing to a close a 
pastorate in Tiverton of twenty-four years and four 
months. 



Upon the jubilee of Mr. Anderson in the ministry 
the following address (illuminated) was presented 
to him by the Presbytery of Bruce: 

"Dear Brother, — The Presbytery of Bruce, of 
which you have been for many years a highly 
esteemed member, desires to convey to you its 
earnest and heartiest congratulations on this your 
jubilee. Many also beyond the bounds of this Pres- 
bytery rejoice with you on this happy occasion, and 
unite in rendering sincere thanks to the Lord and 
Master for sparing you so long to proclaim the un- 
searchable riches of Christ. 

" During all those years you have been a most 
diligent, faithful and successful laborer in the Lord's 
vineyard. Your sermons always bore evidence that 
you were a close and intelligent student of the Word 
of God, and as a result of such study your preaching 

336 



FINAL PERIOD IX MINISTERIAL WORK 

has been very instructive and acceptable to your 
hearers. You have not shunned to declare the whole 
counsel of God, and kept back nothing that was pro- 
fitable to your people, and preached a free and full 
salvation, and ably, lovingly and earnestly ex- 
pounded and defended the doctrines of God's Word. 

" You tenderly and faithfully warned the erring, 
counselled the perplexed and comforted the sor- 
rowing. 

" Diligence and tender care have always char- 
acterized you in your oversight of the flock. You 
have been with your people in times of joy and sor- 
row, * rejoicing with those who did rejoice, and 
weeping with those who wept.' Many a discour- 
aged soul has been cheered by your words of 
sympathy and strengthened by your prayers. 

" Your Christian walk and conversation have 
been such as powerfully to influence for good both 
old and young with whom you have associated. 

" We believe that when the Lord shall come to 
summon His own home that many will arise to call 
you blessed. 

" The great King and Head of the Church gave 
you very clear tokens of His approval. He has 
highly honored your ministry by the ingathering of 
a large number of sinners into the fold of Christ, 
and in the edification of the saints. 

"As a member of Presbytery you have always 
taken an active part, and readily and efficiently per- 
formed the duties to which you were appointed. 

337 

22 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

" The Presbytery desires also to extend very 
hearty congratulations to Mrs. Anderson, who 
equally with you has faithfully and acceptably per- 
formed her duties. She has with you borne the 
burden and heat of the day, and our prayer is that 
the Lord may cause His richest blessings to descend 
upon both of you in your declining years, and when 
His wise and holy purposes with you here are ful- 
filled, that each of you may hear Him say, * Well 
done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been 
faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler 
over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy 
Lord.' 

"May you as parents, together with your sons 
and daughters, meet as an unbroken family * without 
fault before the throne of God,' where there is ful- 
ness of joy and where there are pleasures forever- 
more. 

" Signed on behalf of the Bruce Presbytery. 

"H. McQUARRIE, 
"A. TOLMIE. 

*' October nth, 1904." 

Mr. Anderson lived fourteen years after his 
retirement. During this time nothing gave him 
greater pleasure than the opportunity of supplying 
some ministerial brother's pulpit. Latterly he was 
laid aside by sciatica, and the last time he entered a 
pulpit he could not walk without limping. 

338 



FINAL PERIOD IN MINISTERIAL WORK 



On the 14th of August, 1906, his wife, Margaret 
Kennedy, was taken home. As he had always de- 
pended greatly on her, he felt her loss most keenly. 
They were not, however, long separated. In less 
than two years he also passed away. 

The experiences of his last illness were quite in 
keeping with those of his early life. His physical 
suffering was most intense; his strong constitution 
resisting death to the very last. The enemy, taking 
advantage of his enfeebled condition, attacked him 
relentlessly, sweeping away every promise of EHvine 
truth upon which he was wont to rely. Coming 
once again out of the horror of great darkness, his 
end was full of peace and joy in believing. One 
morning, as one of his sons approached his bed- 
side, he said : " It is all right now. I know 
now why I have been kept on this bed of 
suffering so long. They say a drowning man 
sees all his life pass before him in a moment 
of time, and I too have had such a vision. The 
Good Master has spread out before me all I have 
ever tried to do for Him, and the sky is full of 
stars — stars that I have won for Him. I can see 
where they begin, but I cannot see where they end." 
This thought that he had really been instrumental in 
gathering stars for the Master's crown filled him 

339 



REVEREND JOHN ANDERSON 

with the deepest joy. The stars seemed to be with 
him to the end, and when he became too weak to 
speak much, he would murmur, "Happy, happy!" 
and softly clap his hands, requesting- those who were 
round to clap with him. 

His intellect remained bright to the very last, and 
so long as he had strength he discussed freely the 
truths of God's Word, with which he was so 
familiar. Within half an hour of his death, when 
told he would soon be with the saints in glory, he 
made one more effort to say " Happy " and clap his 
hands. He passed away on April 22nd, 1908, sur- 
rounded by all his children, who had gathered 
around his bedside to render him what comfort they 
could during his last hours upon earth. 



340 



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