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Profile of Mac Waller
Beginning of the story
REMINISCENCES OF H.M. WALLER . . . Continued
After about a year's work in Oregon, Elder Waller learned that the brethren had come to the conclusion that he was too proud.
He had been wearing his preacher's outfit he had brought with him from Illinois. This information reaching him, he proceeded at once to disabuse their minds. He secures material and has Sister Myer make him a pair of buckskin pantaloons.
His overcoat, too, has become somewhat shabby, so he has the good Sister Myer to cut this down into a frock. With his new regalia - his buckskin pants, cut down coat, new straw hat, and other things in proportion - he proceeds with the folks to the church, driving his oxen with a whip-stock fully ten feet long, and a lash fully fifteen.
He arrives in due time to meet the hearty laugh of the brethren and satisfied grin of the sisters.
As soon as the sermon is over, and it was just an ordinary sermon for him, they come around, saying, "Why, Elder Waller, that was the finest discourse of your life." So much for feathers. He hears no more about being too proud: The problem is solved by the buckskin pants and straw hat.
"If my memory serves me right, I next held a meeting near Jefferson, in Marion county."
Here he finds an infidel community. Preached here for some time without any visible results. An uncle by the name of Samuel Whitley, and a cousin, H.A. Johnson, lived here. Bro. Richardson and others came down from Stayton and attended the meeting.
The infidels had their leader in the person of a Mr. Conkwright. This man had a great reputation for "swallowing preachers." He had "swallowed" every preacher that had ever come along, and gave it out that he intended to "swallow" this man Waller, too.
Elder Waller preached, but the infidel had nothing to say to him. Two or three times Elder Waller preached there, at last the people asked: "Conkwright, why don't you devour Preacher Waller?" Soon he was obliged to give an answer for not treating this preacher as he had others who had preceded him. In his calm way he says: "I can't get at him, for every time he takes a position he planks down Jesus Christ or an apostle between himself and me. I tell you, I can't get to him."
Some time after this Conkwright sickens and is about to die of consumption. He arranges with Bro. Hiram A. Johnson, now of Salem, to go post-haste for Bro. Waller, for he wanted to see him. The orders were: "Bring him if he is alive!"
Bro. Waller was in a meeting with good interest over on the Rickreall. He sends his mother home by a messenger and starts for the home of Mr. Conkwright. Arrives there late in the evening.
When Bro. Waller walks into the house, the patient lies right in front of him, the room full of neighbors. He asks: "Mr. Conkwright, I am here; for what purpose did you call me?"
Immediately he receives the answer: "I sent for you to receive instruction relative to my becoming a Christian. Come in and take a chair right here in front of me so I can look you straight in the face."
He did so and asked him: "You wish to know what God says you must do to become a Christian, do you?"
Receiving an answer in the affirmative, he taught him of faith, what it is, why he must have, etc. Then, that repentance was more than mere sorrow, and that "godly sorrow worketh repentance."
When the evidence each time came clear and convincing, Mr. Conkwright would say: "Plenty; that will do. What next?"
Bro. Waller, weary with the journey and work, and Mr. Conkwright being weak, the preacher was permitted to retire till about day-light the next morning. Then he was called and asked to continue the preaching. He now teaches him the necessity of confessing the Christ, the apostolic practice in regard to baptism, its design, etc.
The sick man says: "It is enough, I want to confess Christ and be baptized."
"Right away. But we will wait till I can have all my infidel friends here to witness it."
Runners are sent out, and in a few hours the whole county is on hand - among them several preachers. The Methodist and Baptist preachers all get around him and try to dissuade him from being baptized, and tell him that it will kill him, for he would die in the act. Then Conkwright gave them all a sermon, and told them that he would be baptized, and if he did die while Elder Waller was carrying out his request, no blame could be put upon him, for he was only doing his duty.
A cart was prepared, the sick man's bed was put in the cart, he laid upon it, and thus he was borne into the water. The cart was driven down into the middle of the stream. Bro. Johnson lifts the sick man, and while he holds him over the water, Bro. Waller utters the solemn formula, and they two lower him into the water, and quickly he is lifted to his couch, having been buried with his Master in baptism.
Our new Bro. Conkwright shouts for joy and ceases not on the journey home to exhort the old infidel friends to obey their Savior, saying: "I was taken from my bed almost dead, and an returning stronger than when I left. My neighbors, there are no confirmed infidels unless they are confirmed fools. Every man believes more than he tells. They all believe in Deity.
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