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Beginning of the story


HE no sooner arrives at Waitsburg than the two factions break loose again, dictating what he shall and shall not do.

He says to the stage driver: "Drive around for me at the hotel when you go back to Walla Walla, for these people are bound to dictate what I shall do and not do."

The stage drives up; he throws in his valise and steps in and says: "All ready."

Then the brethren say: "This will never do; you must stay. Come and run the meeting."

He did stay. He goes out to the camp ground and begins preaching. He continues preaching once or twice a day right along, and little by little he sees the people mellowing and the hardness disappearing. He had called upon whomsoever he wished to at any time from either party to pray and sing, till now he sees them growing gentler, more Christlike, and they begin to mingle as one people. Soon additions are being made, until at the close something between twenty and thirty were baptized.

During this time the Methodist and Cumberland Presbyterians had started opposition meetings, but soon break down, and they attend the meeting at the Christian camp ground. The preachers and all attend en masse.

The Seventh Day Adventist were also running an opposition meeting - it being conducted by their great leaders, viz.: Waggoner, Van Horn, and Jones. Their people, too, attended the camp-meeting and many of them united on the Bible foundation. The Adventists continued their meeting till Bro. Waller's meeting had closed.

Our brother says he never preaches stronger sermons, nor did he spare friend or foe, but hewed to the line. He gave sectarianism some of the hardest strokes he ever dealt it.

The meeting was going on nicely when two Methodist with their wives came forward and wanted to be baptized, but did not want to make confession; for had they not been members of the Methodist Church for these many years, and now confess Christ just as any other sinner must?

"No," they said, "we can't make the confession."

"Very well," says Bro. Waller, "the good book says to me that unless we confess, with mouth, the Lord Jesus, he will not confess us. And 'other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.' Now, unless you will confess him I will not baptize you. I never have, and never will, baptize any man or woman who will not make the good confession, no matter what the past has been."

Near the close of the meeting they come, make the confession, and are "buried with the Lord in baptism."

Soon after he began preaching two young ladies, finely dressed, cultured and refined in appearance, came in and took the seat furthest from the pulpit. The next day they came up nearer, and still nearer the next day and the next, till one day they sat on the front seat. Just as he is coming down from the pulpit, they ask him if they can talk with him a moment.

"We are interested in your meetings, and have concluded to unite if you will let us in on certain terms. We have danced a good deal, and think it not harmful as long as we attend select balls and where all are good, and decent people. Now, if you will let us still continue to dance in these select balls, we shall unite with the church."

Bro. Waller's answer was emphatically: "The Church of Christ does not tolerate dancing. We should be glad to have you become Christians, but we can't take you in with your sins. Ladies, you seem to be sick, but you haven't died yet. The good Book tells me that we must die to sin, be buried, and rise to walk a new life. You are not dead yet, only a little sick. When you die you will be most willing to lay aside the ball-room."

They take their departure without hope and without God. The brethren now urge him with a very fine salary to take the work, locating at Walla Walla, and radiating out from there as the needs demanded. The Rev. Egan, of the Cumberland Presbyterian church, says to him: "Mr. Waller, have your people hired you yet? If so, you can have the use of our church building half the time for a year, at least, without money and without price."

The Methodist preacher then says: " Mr. Waller, you can have the use of the Methodist church building the other half of the time, and it will cost you or your people nothing."

Then since he seemed somewhat surprised at this, Rev. Egan says: "Mr. Waller, I will tell you why I have offered you our church on these terms. We have here a kind of whitewashed infidelity in these Adventist and others, and I have tried to down them. But I must confess I can't stand against them. I have put in too much time studying creedism. I have heard you preach six discourses, and you seem to be a man whose head is full of the Bible, and we must have such a man to put down this whitewashed infidelity."

"Spent too much time studying creedism!" I wonder if the popular sectarian theological schools are not in that old mist of the Middle Ages yet? Just this week (December 6, 1862) I heard a Baptist preacher and a Congregational preacher deploring the fact that in their theological schools there was not enough attention given the good old Book. To them I responded: "Our people study the Bible itself in our schools, and they are called Bible schools."

They responded that they hoped all their schools would soon make the Bible a text-book.


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