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Profile of Mac Waller
Beginning of the story
REMINISCENCES OF H.M. WALLER . . . Continued
About this time, Brethren Gale, Brown, and George Alkire are added to the list of preachers.
They are next found at Kinderhook, a miserable, wretched place. They found only one member here. They held a long meeting with no visible results.
The preachers now send Mac to a little town down under the Mississippi bluffs, where he meets a Univeralist preacher, with whom he lodges. This old fellow is very gruff and cutting in his remarks towards our young Timothy.
In the course of his introductory remarks he said to Mac: "There are just two classes of young men - one that can't say anything, and another that has more gab than g----." At the church he said: "Now, sir, walk straight, or I'll take you up." He then settled back in one of the front seats to listen.
Mac by this time has forgotten everything he ever knew about the Scriptures, and everything else. He manages to line and sing part of a hymn. He prays, but what or how he knew not. He reads from the third chapter of Galatians, beginning: "O, foolish Galatians," etc. Not a word he could utter. Again he reads his Scripture lesson. Never had he prayed secretly more earnestly for God to help. At last help came. His sermon was concluded, clear and bright.
He now "felt he was in the strength of Israel's God." Then turning to the Universalist preacher, he asked: "Have you anything to say now?" He answers, "Nothing, sir."
The gruff old fellow now offers apologies for his ill-treatment of Mac, and no one was ever treated more royally than he was the remainder of his stay in the wicked little city.
On his way back to join the other preachers he must pass through Kinderhook again. While riding down the street, he is stopped by a big burly fellow, with a wicked look in his eye, who says," You must stop here and preach tonight."
"I can't do so," says Mac.
"You must preach here tonight, sir," says the wicked looking Mr. Sparks.
Well, if I must I must; now get out and get your congregation."
Night came, and the house is crowded. Along with many who were there for good, came the crowd of toughs led by Mr. Sparks.
Mac preached as forcibly as he could , and had fine order. At the close he was surprised to see one fine lady coming forward to confess Christ.
He now told them he would remain enough longer to preach again in the morning, and to attend to the ordinance of Christian baptism. At the morning service another lady made the good confession, and the two were baptized the same hour of the day. Fully 800 people were present to witness the first baptism in that part of the country.
He had come to the river's brink, after baptizing the ladies, when an old gray-haired sailor came hurriedly down, and picking up Mac, carried him out into the river. He took his confession and "baptized him into Christ. The old sailor was happy, and shouted with joy.
Sparks, the tough, came up with tears in his eyes, and said, "Mr. Waller, you must stay here with us longer."
"Why sir; I have promised to be at Mr. John Richardson's aid in a meeting beginning as soon as I can get there."
Then says Sparks, "I will go and tell Mr. Richardson that you are in a meeting here, and not to look for you there."
He did so. Soon Sparks and a great many others were baptized, and when the preacher left town there was an organized Church of Christ at Kinderhook of about forty members. The other preachers were very much disposed to put the whole matter down as a fable, when they heard his experience. But the boy had come, preached and conquered.
Another incident occurred here on his return to preach. A lady made confession of her faith in Christ, but her husband set his foot down hard that she should not be baptized. If she was he should never live with her and he would shoot the preacher.
"Mac" went to see the factious husband, but could not get any better promise than that he would "shoot" if he attempted to baptize his wife.
This was the reply this young Timothy gave him: "My friend, I always want all parties willing when I baptize and yet, if your wife insists on my baptizing her I will do so, if Gen. Jackson stands on the bank with an army with loaded muskets."
The people gathered on the bank of the river. There, by the very water's brink, stands the husband with his hunting outfit strapped on his shoulders and the gun in his hands. The baptizing is done and no one is hurt. Three weeks later a messenger comes post-haste saying that the shooting husband wanted to be baptized. It was attended to and there was one more happy home.
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