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Beginning of the story


Our hero now travels here and yonder all over the Willamette Valley, organizing churches of Christ wherever a few Disciples could be gathered together. This, too, was done without money and without price. In these days there is very little money in the country.

Many may be the criticisms upon these early brethren for preaching without price. But there is no money to pay with; and as for me, I thank God for those few godly brethren who, when there was nothing to pay with, were disposed to preach to their brethren anyway.

We said there was nothing to pay with. There were two things, however, used as commodities - and were the only commodities - wheat, and a kind of script issued by traders and merchants. These two, wheat and script, were legal tender. Some time in May, 1891, there were some criticisms made upon these earliest workers in the Master's vineyard in Oregon relative to their laboring without compensation, and for not teaching the people more relative to their duty in giving.

Those early evangelist took the following position, which they proclaimed everywhere: There is always a power that says go, and those who respond to this call are dependent upon the party who sends them for their support. In the first commission Jesus sent his disciples -- first the twelve and then the seventy -- and they always looked to him for support. He said to them: "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses; nor script for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat" (Matt. x:9,10).

Again he said to Peter: "Lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money; that take, and give unto them for me and thee" (Matt. xvii. 27). Their understanding was that Jesus would sustain them, and he did.

When the Great Commission is promulgated, the power to send is vested in the church; hence, those going out look by divine authority to the church for support. Paul says in the first letter to the Corinthian brethren, ninth chapter and seventh to eleventh verses, "What soldier ever serveth at his own charges? Who planteth a vineyard and eateth not the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock and eateth not of the milk of the flock? Do I speak these things after the manner of men? or saith not the law also the same? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. Is it for the oxen that God careth, or saith he it altogether for our sakes? Yea, for our sake it was written; because he that ploweth ought to plow in hope, and he that thresheth, to thresh in hope of partaking. If we owed unto you spiritual things, is it a great matter if we shall reap your carnal things?"

This was taught the people by those early evangelists, especially by Bro. Waller, with all the fervor of his being. I doubt if any of us, laboring under like circumstances, could have secured greater results. We shall find, as we proceed, some practical examples of this plan.

August 18, 1850, Bro. Waller was married to Miss Mary E. Davidson, by T. J. Lovelady, elder and squire, who was elder of the first church organized on the Coast. The ceremony was performed at the bride's father's home near Buena Vista, Oregon.

Bro. Burrnet had often joked Bro. Waller about getting married, and always wound up saying: "Mac, you will never get married till you get a perfect woman. There are no such creatures in this world, so I don't believe you will ever marry."

After he hears that Bro. Waller is married and to whom, he said: "Well, Mac, you are married at last and you have got an ideal and perfect woman."

I suppose no preacher ever married a more helpful and more perfect woman. None knew her but to love her. In the hearts of many there remain fond memories of this saintly woman, who, Dec. 17, 1889, left earth to join the ransomed at the throne of God. To them in their married life was born one son and five daughters. Two of the daughters are dead.

After his marriage they settled on his claim in Polk county. Here, although he never quit regular preaching, he tries farming, etc. From the ranch he goes out anywhere and everywhere over the valley. He doesn't confine himself to the valley, but up among the Cascade Mountains, over and among the Coast Range he goes proclaiming the gospel of light to the hungering people.

This was the time when the people new from their Eastern homes, and before they began to worship the "almighty dollar," did actually "hunger and thirst" for the "good news." Is it any wonder then that wherever this old brother goes now, he meets scores of men and women who ask no greater joy here than to shake him by the hand or dine with him. This accounts largely, too, for the warm greeting we received when we began the preparation of these notes -- for from every source came exclamations of gladness.


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