The correspondence we are now considering may be regarded by some as having been a small thing. Some may say: "It is a small thing to write a letter to the President of the United States, or to a member of his Cabinet, or to a member of Congress, or to the Governor of one's State." A small thing, no doubt; in itself quite as small as to write to any one else. It may be said that the greatness of all such correspondence depends upon the magnitude of the subject involved. Let us look at the subject involved here. We see some thousands of the most devoted Christian people the world has ever known standing in jeopardy; not one of all their number seems to know what to do. Their situation at this time reminds one of Israel camped on the mountain beside the valley of Elah, in hearing of the guttural defiance of the giant. At this critical hour, when something must be done, when some special but heretofore untried effort must be put forth to avert the impending destruction, a MAN of the Brethren, unassuming in all respects, about five feet seven inches in height, heavy-set, with a large but symmetrical face, hair down to the neck beautifully parted from the forehead across the middle of the head, voluntarily sets to work in secret through the mails to see what can be done. God only knows the full measure of Brother John Kline's service and influence in this way. It is a true saying that "to succeed is the best proof of success," and subsequent events show that Brother Kline fully realized this proof. As a humble observer of the movements of that day, and with a tolerably clear recollection of them, the Editor can only express his belief that Brother Kline's correspondence, with his other influence, contributed largely toward the enactment of the Confederate provision by which all the members of regularly organized Christian denominations or churches which have from their earliest establishment uniformly taught and practiced as one tenet of their faith non-arms-bearing and nonresistant principles, shall be perpetually exempt from all military duty to the Confederate States of America, or to any state belonging thereto, upon the payment of five hundred dollars to the person duly appointed to receive the same, for every member so exempted, and otherwise subject to military duty under existing orders.
The above is not the "Law of Exemptions" in exact words, but it is that part of it which was made for the Brethren, in exact sense.
SATURDAY, April 5. This forenoon I am about home. In the afternoon I am taken to Harrisonburg and put in the guard house. My place is in the large jury room of the court house, up stairs, with others who are captives with myself. Rain this evening.
SUNDAY, April 6. Rain and snow all last night, and continues on so all day. Have preaching in our captive hall. My subject is "Righteousness, Temperance, and a Judgment to Come." I aimed at comforting my brother captives and myself with the recollection that Paul was once a captive like ourselves, and that in this state of imprisonment he preached upon the text which I have selected for this day. I said:
Brethren, if any have cause to tremble, we have none. Those should tremble who seek to lay obstacles in the way of others who aim to do good and no evil. As a rule, prisoners are nervous and sometimes tremble when taken into court: but judges are proverbially calm and self-composed. Hence the old adage: "As sober as a judge." But this order is entirely reversed in the case of Paul before Felix. Here we see that Paul is calm, collected and self-possessed, and that Felix is first nervous, and soon trembles all over. In this trial it appears that the judge is convicted of guilt by the prisoner himself, and that the prisoner shows himself clear. But this is not the only case in which an innocent criminal has stood before a guilty judge. Felix had never heard such a sermon before. All that he had ever heard were most probably eulogistic in character, and spoken in praise of the Roman emperor and his subordinates. Felix was one of these, and it was natural for him to appropriate quite a large share of this praise to himself. But he did not find a eulogist in Paul. Panegyric had no place in Paul's earnest nature. Life and death, holiness and sin were subjects of moment too great and too real to be trifled with. If Paul would have stooped to flattery he might have quickly obtained his release, because Felix and those following him in office confessed they found no cause of death in his case. They kept him bound merely to please the flattering, deceitful Jews.
He reasoned of righteousness first. And this logic was all new to Felix, who had never thought of righteousness or justice as being the end and object of government. Herod was a pretty fair specimen of those Roman rulers or kings as they were sometimes called, and the unrighteous cause for which he had the head of John the Baptist cut off manifests the measure of his regard for justice. If history be correct, Felix was not much in advance of him in this respect. He was governor of Samaria at this time, and his headquarters and home were at Cesarea on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It was in this same city that Paul defended himself so heroically before Festus and Agrippa. Paul is silent as to the course of reasoning employed in bringing his threefold subject to bear with a weight upon the mind of Felix. We may reasonably conclude that his first point was the righteousness of civil government; contrasting the corrupt and perverted ideas of rulers as they then existed in their minds upon this feature, with what they ought rightfully to be. In this connection he did not fail to make occasional home thrusts similar to the one made by Nathan when he said to David: "Thou art the man."
It is a newly-discovered truth that the Bible reveals the only true basis of civil government. That basis, from its lowest bottom to its highest level, is love, or "good will toward men." Government founded upon any other basis is tyranny or despotism, the exact form being determined by the depth of bondage and slavery into which the governed are willing to be pressed down, and by the will of the rulers as to how low they are inclined to press them. The Constitution of the Roman government contained no trace of love. It was all force. History abundantly shows this. Neither justice in the administration of its laws, nor temperance in the demands and exaction of tributes, nor a judgment to come when accounts would be settled, was once thought of. Those in power knew nothing and thought nothing about any day of final retribution.
It is not very probable that Felix was made to tremble by anything Paul may have said concerning civil government. The mind of Felix was too firmly fixed in his own ideas of civil righteousness to be deeply moved or disturbed by anything a prisoner might say upon that point. His execution of Roman law according to his views of righteousness in their administration was satisfactory to his sovereign at Rome; and to please him, and thereby secure perpetual tenure of office, was the height of his ambition. The cause of his trembling must then be found in another quarter, or the adversary may say that Felix, just at that time, happened to be taken with an ague chill, which Paul mistook for the nervous agitation which he supposed to have been induced by the power of his discourse.
Felix was a pagan. His religion, if he had any belief at all in the supernatural, was idolatry. Paul did not appeal to his affections, to his emotional nature, but to his rational part. He reasoned upon his great subject. We may justly conclude that he proceeded in a way similar to that which he took in addressing the Athenians on Mars' Hill. "The God whom ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." And he set him forth in a rational light. He told them about God's righteousness. He told them that God had appointed a day in which he would judge the world in RIGHTEOUSNESS by that man whom he hath ordained, and of whom he hath given assurance or proof unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead. This man was Jesus Christ the Lord. Here, also, he spoke of a JUDGMENT to come. And it becomes a thing self-evident that a judgment to come is the main fact upon which all moral and religious truth depends for its power over the hearts and lives of men. Take away from man all fear of accountability in a future state, and his bestial appetites assert their sway. "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die" gives loose rein to every passion, and lust holds high carnival.
For our instruction here, it may be well to speak upon the subject of righteousness. What is it? Righteousness is obedience to law. This is its most general meaning. This is its human sense. In its divine sense it is obedience to the laws of God. Wherein the laws of men depart from the laws of God obedience to their laws is disobedience to God's laws. Here arises a conflict in which each individual may decide for himself which he will do, the will of men or the will of God. The decision of the apostles was "to obey God rather than men." By this obedience they stood righteous in the eyes of God. To be sinners in the sight of men gave them no distress, so long as they felt sure of being righteous in the sight of God.
Jesus is called Christ the righteous. He is set forth in the Word as the only example of perfect righteousness the world has ever had, for "he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." He challenged the Jews with the question: "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" They could bring up no charge. Sin is the opposite of righteousness. It is sin, or the love of sin, which is impersonated by our Lord in Matt. 10:28 as a monster of awful power: "And be not afraid of them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." The version of the same matter as given by Luke is terribly sublime: "Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, Fear him." Brethren and friends, this is the only power we have real cause to be afraid of, and this is the enemy of all righteousness. And this enemy is right in ourselves. We need not go far to find him. Paul calls him by way of eminence as well as age "the old man of sin," "the first Adam," "the outward man," because he loves what is outside of us, fleshly enjoyments. Sin, or the love of sin, is the power that destroys both soul and body in hell. Righteousness is what saves; or, rather, righteousness in heart and life is salvation. If we look to the Lord in faith and prayer, by which I mean, if we love his Word and believe it with our heart, so as to make it the law and guide of our life, at all times and in all ways, we are sure of salvation; for it is through righteousness, as well as through much tribulation, that the saints shall inherit the promises. In the Revelation we read of a great multitude which no man could number, as standing before the throne. What a high standing they have! But by way of preparation for that honor they washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The robe of each was and is his wedding garment. The Lamb is the Lord's Word, and the blood of that Lamb is the spirit and life of that Holy Word infused into our souls and made effectual unto our salvation, by living a life of heartfelt obedience to his holy precepts.
MONDAY, April 7. Rain and snow with sleet come down all day. Room very damp and cold, with insufficient fire. Several brethren come to see me to-day.
TUESDAY, April 8. Rain and snow continue as on yesterday. Our room very uncomfortable.
WEDNESDAY, April 9. Still cloudy, with rain and snow. We have some pleasant conversations in the prison, with books and papers. But all the public prints are so filled and taken up with war that they give me but little enjoyment. The minds and spirits of nearly all the prisoners are so broken down by the state and prospects of the country that interesting and instructive conversations can hardly be held.
THURSDAY, April 10. The following beloved brethren and dear sister came in to see us to-day: John Zigler, John Wine and Christian Wine, Benjamin Miller, Joel Senger, and Catharine Showalter, daughter of Brother Jacob Miller and wife of Brother Jackson Showalter. The sight and presence of these brethren refreshed us much; and the dear sister carries sunshine with her wherever she goes. Last night and this morning regiment after regiment passed through town on their way down the valley in the direction of Winchester.
SUNDAY, April 13. We have meeting to-day. I speak from Matt. 11:28, 29, 30: "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest: take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls: for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
MONDAY, April 14. To-day our two brethren, John and Joseph Cline, are released from imprisonment, and start for home to-night.
TUESDAY, April 15. I am not well. The dampness of our room and the lack of comforts in the way of bedding and fuel have given me a cold from which I am very hoarse to-night.
WEDNESDAY, April 16. There is talk that we are to be removed to New Market. The talk is correct. We leave here at twelve o'clock, and come to Bethlehem church where we stay all night. This church is between nine and ten miles northeast of Harrisonburg on the valley pike leading from Staunton to Winchester.
THURSDAY, April 17. Start for New Market; but after getting on two miles hear the cannons at Mt. Jackson. We turn and go back to Harrisonburg. News comes of the retreat of Jackson's army. Front of the Federal army at New Market. Jackson halts for the night at Lacy Springs.
FRIDAY, April 18. Great excitement and confusion in town. General Jackson with his army passes through in his retreat, and the Federal troops are hourly looked for. Gabriel Heatwohl, Joseph Berry and myself are released from the guard house. I dine at Samuel Shacklett's; then walk out to Samuel Niswander's three miles, and ride from there to Jacob Miller's, where I stay all night.
SATURDAY, April 19. Brother Benjamin Bowman brings me on my way home nearly to Christian Wine's. I walk the short distance to Brother Wine's; get a horse of him, and come home.
SUNDAY, April 20. Easter. Cough very bad.
WEDNESDAY, April 23. Federal cavalry through here now. Brother Daniel Miller was taken last night by Confederate scouts.
FRIDAY, May 9. Preach the funeral of Sister Polly Summers. Age, seventy-seven years, one month and sixteen days.
TUESDAY, May 20. Preach the funeral of Sister Polly Holsinger. Age, seventy-seven years. Three sisters in our church buried so close together in time, and all so nearly the same age!
MONDAY, May 26. Sister Debby Bowman is buried to-day. I attend. Age, forty-two years, eleven months and twenty days.
TUESDAY, May 27. Preach the funeral of Mrs. Stern. Age, fifty-six years, three months and twenty days.
THURSDAY, May 29. Start to the Annual Meeting. Dine at James Fitzwater's in the Gap; sup at Nimrod Judy's on the South Fork, and stay all night at Jacob Mongold's on the South Fork mountain.
FRIDAY, May 30. Get my pass at Petersburg; dine at James Parks's; and stay all night at Martain Cosner's, in Hardy County.
SATURDAY, May 31. Get to Thomas Clark's at three o'clock, and stay there all night.
SUNDAY, June 1. Go to meeting at Brother Rinker's. Speak from Romans eighth chapter. Meeting again at three o'clock. Speak from John seventeenth chapter. Stay all night at Brother Rinker's.
MONDAY, June 2. Come to Oakland in the morning to take the train westward, but cars are behind time. Get to Bellaire after night. Stay there all night, at Eagle Hotel.
TUESDAY, June 3. Get to Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio, at three o'clock in the afternoon. Stay all night at Brother Henry Yost's.
WEDNESDAY, June 4. Visit Christian Forrer's. Go about through the city. Then start, and get to place of Annual Meeting in afternoon. Stay all night at Brother Billheimer's.
THURSDAY, June 5. Visit Solomon Stoner's; then to Farmersville, and back to Stoner's.
FRIDAY, June 6. Visit Mary Trissel's. From there go to Abraham Aerbaugh's. From there go to meeting at Brother D. Miller's. Speak from Heb. 3:9. Fine weather.
SATURDAY, June 7. Come to the place of the Annual Meeting. Preaching in forenoon and afternoon. Fine weather. Come back to D. Miller's.
SUNDAY, June 8. An immense concourse of people. Meeting in five places, forenoon and afternoon. Fine weather continues.
MONDAY, June 9. Commence taking in questions. Queries all get in to-day. In evening I go to Brother George Miller's, and have a night meeting. Fine weather; clear and pleasant.
TUESDAY, June 10. Discuss questions. Fine weather continues. Much love and good feeling generally. Go to Salem and have evening meeting. I stay all night at Brother David Zigler's.
WEDNESDAY, June 11. Meeting continues. Get through with the discussion of questions by quarter past three o'clock. Close in the usual way; and many hands and lips are met which may never meet again until they meet where farewells are no more. Stay all night at the widow Benjamin Miller's.
THURSDAY, June 12. Go to Dayton. Visit Brother Abraham Young's. After dinner go to Midway and stay there all night with Brother Henry Zimmerman's.
FRIDAY, June 13. Get to Pittsburg in the night.
SATURDAY, June 14. Dine at Abraham Myers's, and stay all night at Martain Myers's.
SUNDAY, June 15. Love feast at the Middle Creek meetinghouse. John 1 is read. Stay all night at Jacob Miller's near by.
MONDAY, June 16. Come to Daniel Miller's at Mechanicstown. Stay all night.
TUESDAY, June 17. Love feast; part of John 14 is read. Fine day. Stay at Brother Miller's again.
WEDNESDAY, June 18. Council meeting. The case of Peter Myers and John Figa was brought up and settled. Come to David Beachley's and stay all night.
THURSDAY, June 19. Come to Frostburg in time to take the train to Oakland, where I stay all night.
FRIDAY, June 20. Come back to Brother Clark's in a hack, where I find Nell, having left her with Brother Clark. The poor brute seems glad to see me. I will never forget Brother Clark's kindness to me and Nell. Stay with him all night.
SATURDAY, June 21. Visit old Sister Parks and pray with her. Dine at Hyre's, and get to Brother John Mongold's on the mountain where I stay all night.
SUNDAY, June 22. Get to Brother William Fitzwater's in the Gap for dinner, and get Nell shod. This was a thing of necessity, as one of her shoes had come off crossing the mountain, and she was getting lame. Come to Brother Michael Wine's, where I stay all night.
MONDAY, June 23. Get home.
SUNDAY, August 24. At John Mongold's on the South Fork mountain. Preach Absalom Whetzel's funeral. Age, twenty-three years, eight months and twenty-one days.
Monday, August 25. Preach funeral of Isaac Rorabaugh at Adam Mallow's. Age, nineteen years, three months and twenty-one days. Stay all night at Jacob Hevner's.
TUESDAY, August 26. Forenoon meeting at the widow Henkel's. Afternoon meeting at George Cowger's on the South Fork. Stay there all night.
WEDNESDAY, August 27. Forenoon and afternoon meeting at Jesse Mitchell's. Jesse Mitchell is appointed minister of the Word, and Hughey Ratchford is elected to the deaconship.
THURSDAY, August 28. Stop at John Fulk's on top of the Shenandoah mountain, and get home in the evening.
SATURDAY, September 6. Attend the burial of Michael Homan. Age, sixty-five years and eight months. He was a highly respected citizen of our community.
SUNDAY, September 7. Am called to preach the funeral of Evaline Aubrey's child at the home of her father, William Hevner. Diphtheria is raging. It almost rivals the sword in its destruction of life. The sword cuts down the men in middle life, and diphtheria cuts down the children.
SUNDAY, September 21. Meeting on the South Fork mountain. Old mother Kesner, Jane Kesner and Jane Rorabaugh baptized by me. Stay all night at young Philip Kesner's.
MONDAY, September 22. Have night meeting and stay all night at the widow Henkel's on top of the mountain.
TUESDAY, September 23. Meeting at George Cowger's on the South Fork. After dinner I visit Jacob Hevner, who is sick, and stay with him all night.
WEDNESDAY, September 24. Cross the mountain to Jesse Mitchell's, and in the evening hold a love feast. We are disturbed by Southern scouts who are present under the pretext of hunting up deserters from the army. Stay all night at Samuel Trumbo's.
THURSDAY, September 25. Cross the Shenandoah mountain to Crab Run. Council meeting. Dine at Brother Isaac Whetzel's, and stay all night at Brother James Fitzwater's.
SATURDAY, October 4. Attend love feast at Beaver Creek meetinghouse. Stay at Martain Miller's.
SUNDAY, October 5. Meeting at the Beaver Creek meetinghouse. Speak from John 14:1, "Let not your heart be troubled." Peace is the exact opposite of trouble. And Jesus says: "Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you. Not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid."
To bring this subject to bear with due weight upon your minds I will spring this question: Did our Lord ever utter a precept with which it is impossible for man to comply? Wisdom and love answer with one voice: He never did. "Let not your heart be troubled" is a precept. It flows out of that fatherly love which ever warmed the Savior's heart. "Having loved his own, he loved them to the end." The Lord needed not that any should testify to him of man, for he knew what was in man. He knew the uttermost of human power both to understand and obey his precepts and commands. He therefore knows that we can keep our hearts from being troubled. But man of himself can not do this. Our Lord's words, "Without me ye can do nothing," apply as truly to keeping the heart from being troubled as to any other human effort. In this as in all else pertaining to natural and spiritual life, we must be coworkers with God.
MONDAY, October 6. Stop at Daniel Thomas's; dine at Jacob Thomas's; visit Solomon Garber's; and have night meeting in Dayton. Stay all night at Dr. Abraham Sager's.
TUESDAY, October 7. Attend a love feast at the Old meetinghouse. Stay all night at John Bowman's above Harrisonburg.
WEDNESDAY, October 8. Go to see my old friend, Joseph Funk, and succeed in bringing about a better state of feeling on his part toward me. He became reconciled. He had been somewhat ruffled in his feelings by my "Strictures and Reply" to his published writings on baptism and feet-washing. Dine with him; then home.
SATURDAY, October 11. Meeting and love feast at the Lost River meetinghouse. Stay all night at Celestine Whitmore's.
SUNDAY, October 12. Meet at the Lost River meetinghouse. In council Moses Myers is elected speaker. Stay all night at John Basehore's.
MONDAY, October 20. Dine at John Fulk's. Have night meeting at Jesse Mitchell's. Stay there all night.
TUESDAY, October 21. Have night meeting at George Cowger's. Stay there all night.
WEDNESDAY, October 22. Morning meeting at the widow Henkel's. Night meeting at George Kesner's. Stay there all night.
THURSDAY, October 23. Forenoon meeting at Isaac Judy's. Stay all night at Manasseh Judy's.
FRIDAY, October 24. Go to John Judy's; then to D. Henkel's and to Solomon Hours's, and back to John Judy's, where we have meeting. After preaching we repair to the clear water of Mill Creek, and I baptize seven persons. Stay all night at Jacob May's.
SUNDAY, November 2. Meeting at our meetinghouse. I this day baptize ten converts, whose names follow: David Rhodes, Daniel Zigler, George Moyers, William Fifer and wife, J. Crist and wife, Mary Whisler, Rebecca Trissel, and Katy Showalter.
SATURDAY, November 15. Council at Green Mount. Benjamin Funk and W.C. Thurman regularly elected and put in as ministers of the Word.
SUNDAY, November 16. Meeting at the Plains meetinghouse. Harrison Daugherty and Anna Prophet are baptized by Samuel Wampler, while I go and baptize Harvey Elger.
WEDNESDAY, November 19. Go to Katy Mullen's. Her sister Diana and her mother are both buried in one grave at Rader's church. Jacob Stirewalt and I speak on the occasion from Rev. 14:13. Age of Diana, fifty-three years; mother, seventy-one years.
FRIDAY, November 21. Preach the funeral of Mrs. William Hevner in the Gap. Age, seventy-first year. A kind and good mother in her family, and a friend to me has she been.
THURSDAY, December 4. Go to Henry Neff's; draw money for the brethren; go to Harrisonburg and to Solomon Garber's.
FRIDAY, December 5. Council meeting at Beaver Creek meetinghouse. Daniel Thomas is ordained. Stay with him all night.
SATURDAY, December 6. Come to Harrisonburg; fix matters of business with the Confederate government agent; pay over money for the exemption of brethren. Come home; cold day.
TUESDAY, December 16. Go to Harrisonburg; attend to seeing that the brethren get certificates of exemption as provided by the Confederate Congress.
WEDNESDAY, December 31. I have traveled in this year 4,791 miles; preached fifty-six funerals; nineteen for children under five years of age; thirteen for children over five and under ten. Diphtheria has done a fatal work. Five for persons over ten and under twenty; three over twenty and under thirty; one over thirty and under forty; fifteen over forty years of age.
THURSDAY, January 1, 1863. Meeting of thanksgiving to the Lord for his kind affection toward us in our meetinghouse. I have somewhere read that in the reign of one of the sovereigns of Great Britain, when the outlook of the kingdom was very dark and threatening, one of the king's advisors proposed appointing a day for public thanksgiving in all the churches throughout the realm. The king answered the proposition by saying that he could see nothing for which either he or the nation had cause for special thanksgiving to God. The minister responded by saying that the king and the nation both had great cause to thank God that things were no worse. The king yielded and the day was set. The Christian people assembled; the preachers recounted the blessings still left in the nation's store, with the rich promises of God to provide for the future as things should be needed, and there was a day of thanksgiving in England the like of which is not often seen.
It has been my experience, Brethren, and I think I have heard some of you say the same, that prosperity does not always make people most truly thankful. Great success in business is apt to foster a feeling of independence. Men may forget God. It was in the days of Israel's prosperity in the goodly land of Goshen in Egypt that they forgot the name of the God of their fathers. When God appeared to Moses in Horeb, he had to tell him from out the burning bush what his name was, and also by what name he should make him to be known to his brethren in Egypt. Some of the deepest heartfelt expressions of gratitude break forth in times of misfortune. A brother once told me that he was away from home when his barn was struck with lightning and burned to the ground. At his return he beheld nothing but the smoking destruction of his gathered harvest. But when his children came running to meet him, and he saw them all safe, and their mother standing in the door unharmed, he burst into an expression of thanksgiving, which, he confessed to me, surpassed every other emotion of joy he had ever felt. Our best experiences come to us when we are made to realize properly the good that is still left us.
We must look upon our exemption from army service as one proof of those interpositions in behalf of his children which our heavenly Father has promised, and which he is constantly fulfilling. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." God has not called us to prayer in vain. He invites us to come boldly to a throne of grace. Does he do this otherwise than with a will to hear? And the apostle's exhortation is: "In every thing give thanks," for "all things work together for good to them that love God."
Let our offerings this day be from the heart; and probably the best proof we can have that they come from the heart is a willingness and cheerful readiness to give of our substance to the needy poor. We must divide out, Brethren, to those who have, on account of the war pressure, been unable to provide for themselves. Think of the barefooted, half-clad and half-fed children in our land! I do not undervalue what you have already done. I know you have done much; but we should not feel that the burden of duty has all rolled from our shoulders so long as there is one needy brother or sister or child in our land. Brethren, I speak from my heart when I say that the church has never before enjoyed such an opportunity to grow rich, as the present offers. I mean rich in good works; rich in treasures laid up in heaven; rich in her title to an eternal inheritance in heaven, which our Lord calls "the true riches."
SATURDAY, January 17. Buy of Samuel Shacklett (a merchant in Harrisonburg) one bolt of cotton cloth or muslin for Mary Hoover, for which I pay seventeen dollars; and four bunches cotton yarn for which I pay thirty dollars. This shows the measure of confidence reposed in the Confederate Government.
WEDNESDAY, February 4. Visit General Jones's camp at New Market in behalf of some of the soldiers.
FRIDAY, February 13. Attend the burial of our dear sister, Mary Frances, wife of my nephew, John Kline. We did all we could for her; but that dreadful destroyer, diphtheria, would have its way, and in much anguish of heart we submit. She was a lovely and tender plant; too tender for this world. Her age was twenty years, ten months and eight days.
SUNDAY, February 22. Meeting at our meetinghouse. Matthew 22 is read. Brother Benjamin Funk speaks. He and Brother Benjamin Driver were with me last night. Snow fell last night and to-day about ten inches deep.
SUNDAY, March 8. Jacob Silvins's little son Jacob is buried to-day. This is the third one of his children I have helped to bury within the last two weeks.
TUESDAY, March 17. I am at Nimrod Judy's. I this day had a chance to send a letter through the lines to Brother George Hoover, of Indiana.
SUNDAY, March 29. Preach funeral for three of Brother See's children. Youngest, two years, five months and five days old; next, six years, ten months and five days; oldest, nine years, five months and sixteen days. They died of diphtheria.
THURSDAY, April 2. Attend the Beaver Creek council meeting. Joseph Miller is elected to the ministry of the Word, and Daniel Miller to the deaconship.
FRIDAY, April 3. Council meeting at the old meetinghouse. Joseph Bowman and Joseph Harshberger are elected to the deaconship.
SATURDAY, April 4. Council meeting at the Mill Creek meetinghouse. Isaac Long is ordained, and Noah Flory is elected to the deaconship. Stay all night at old Daniel Wine's.
SATURDAY, April 18. About one o'clock this morning Abraham Funk came for me. A man by the name of George Sellers met with the very sad accident of having his leg broken. He had been in the Southern army, and with a company of others who, like himself, were trying to make their way to places within the Northern lines, and thus be out of the reach of further molestation, he met with this misfortune. It happened in this way: he was one of a company that was just leaving Abraham Funk's by previous arrangement, about eleven o'clock in the night. Near Abraham Funk's house, about two miles west of Broadway, the road runs along the North Fork of the Shenandoah river, where the bank is probably one hundred feet high, and very steep. This part of the road lay directly in the line of the company's route, and, unfortunately, just as they got into the road, right at this very steep place on the bank of the river, an alarm of "Rebel scouts" seized the whole company, and all together they went down to the river's edge, none seriously hurt except Mr. Sellers, who had his leg broken. I made a frame this morning to hold the fractured parts in place, and hope he may do well. We are keeping the whole matter a profound secret to save the life of a good man. He was taken back to Abraham Funk's, where he is at this time receiving treatment in secret from me.
SUNDAY, April 19. Meeting at our meetinghouse. Epistle of Jude is read. Abraham Glick is with us, and likewise Solomon Sherfey, of Tennessee. Go to Abraham Funk's. George Sellers is doing well.
SUNDAY, April 26. Meeting at the Elk meetinghouse, in Page County, Virginia. I speak from Heb. 2:3. TEXT.—"How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?"
I always feel embarrassed when I attempt to speak from this text. The subject is so vast, and the matter so important, that my best efforts fall far below the just demands of my theme. Nothing can properly be said to be saved which has never been lost or in danger of being lost. And in every case where anything is saved, the greatness of the salvation depends upon the value of the thing saved, together with the measure of effort and sacrifice required to effect it. Some years ago a very destructive fire was raging in the city of Pittsburg. A gentleman, who claimed to have been an eyewitness of the fire, related the following incident to me. He said the firemen had just rescued a family from a burning building, and thought they had all out, when one of the rescued ladies looking around screamed out, "O, save my Bessie!" "Where is she?" was cried out. "In the north room up stairs!" A noble-hearted fireman, almost exhausted, risked his life to rescue what he of course supposed to be a child; but what was his indignant surprise on reaching the room, to find that the missing "Bessie" was only a pet cat! The enraged fireman kicked the cat and cursed its mistress. But his feelings would have been different had Bessie been a little child softly sleeping in its cradle. This incident may help us to realize the truth contained in the statement already made, that the greatness of any salvation depends upon the value of the thing saved as well as upon the effort and sacrifice made to save it.
It is plain that man's salvation is the subject of the text. But is man lost? And if lost, in what sense is he lost? We read in Matt. 18:11, "For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost." It is man's life that is lost—natural or bodily life, and supernatural or spiritual life. But is man's bodily life lost? It is, "for death hath passed upon all men." The sentence of bodily death: "It is appointed unto man once to die." "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." If any supposes the death of the body to be a small thing, let such a one go to a well-filled graveyard and pass one hour in serious meditation in this silent city of the dead. Let him think of the tears that have fallen there, of the sighs of anguish that have reluctantly escaped from broken hearts. Let him think of the innocent beauty and loveliness that lie buried there, of the hopes and the joys that have been driven from the heart by the hand of the destroyer; and then let him ask himself if "the wages of sin" is a thing of small account. Let his mind run a little further, and he can but see that the graveyard's solemn tale to the end of the world must be yearly told. Death here writes his name anew every passing season in the fresh mounds raised above the dead. And not only so, but the voice of reason whispers into the ear of every passer-by the solemn word, "This place is waiting for you."
Now, an apostle says: "It doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." And another apostle, as if commenting on this passage says: "He shall change our vile bodies that they may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." I now ask, Does not this show that the salvation in the text is truly a great salvation? But I have as yet but touched the hem of the garment. And, indeed, in our low and contracted state of mental power here we are barely able with our highest and broadest reaches of thought to lay hold of more than the hem of salvation's garment. "Heaven is his throne, and the earth is the footstool of his feet." What the footstool is to the throne, nay to him that sits upon it, such are our highest and purest conceptions to the salvation which the Lord has provided. "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to know what God hath provided for them that love him."
I stated that man's life is lost. I have said something about the bodily life that is lost by sin. I now turn to say something about the spiritual life that is lost by sin. Paul says, and I am sure he means what he says: "To be carnally minded is death." Now, what is it to be carnally minded? Or, in other words, what is the carnal mind? Paul answers in a general way, that it is ENMITY against God. Such a degree of enmity that all who are carnally minded cannot and do not love God, nor take pleasure in his service. Life is love; and love is life. The spiritual life that is lost by sin is what Jesus came to redeem and save, and this life is man's love. Man's LOVE is perverted. It is turned away from the Lord God and the neighbor, and directed to self and the world. And when a man loves himself more than God, and the world with its sinful lusts and pleasures more than he does his neighbor, he is carnally minded.
Now let us turn to the Lord's words. In the Gospel recorded by Luke a certain lawyer is represented as asking the Lord this question: "Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus said unto him: "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" He answering said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." Jesus said unto him, "Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live."
Brethren, does not this look like the key to salvation? Does it not open the door to a view of eternal life and blessedness? Our Lord says: "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." When any one gives his heart to God in love like this, I think he is in a saved state. And is it not a great salvation? Perfect love of that which is good is perfect peace, because it drives evil from the heart, which is the cause of all human misery. But the Lord, and the Lord only, can change man from darkness to light and from death unto life. He is the only Savior. He saves man by his Word and Holy Spirit. He stands at every man's door and knocks. If any man will open the door, he will enter that man's heart and dwell with him forever; and Christ in the heart is salvation and eternal life.
THURSDAY, May 14. Go to Abraham Funk's. George Sellers is nearly well, and in fine spirits. At half past five o'clock I start to the Annual Meeting. Stay all night at Jacob Wine's.
FRIDAY, May 15. Dine and feed at Newman's furnace. Then go up through the Trout Run valley, cross the Church mountains and get into the Lost River valley near the place where the river disappears at the base of the mountain. Stay all night at Landes's. I have seen no scouts or pickets to-day.
SATURDAY, May 16. Get dinner at Jonathan Flory's, and stay all night at Abraham Miller's.
SUNDAY, May 17. Stay at Brother Abraham Miller's all day. Have preaching in the afternoon. Stay all night again.
MONDAY, May 18. Cross the Potomac river at Old Town; go up the towpath; pass through Gibbontown near Flint Stone, and get to Abraham Ritchey's, where I stay all night. Traveled thirty-three miles to-day.
TUESDAY, May 19. Get to Henry Hershberger's in Snake Spring valley, where I stay all night. Twenty-eight miles to-day.
WEDNESDAY, May 20. Get to Brother Adam Snoberger's before dinner; but spend balance of day there and in making a few calls. Have evening meeting at the meetinghouse one mile away. Speak from John 10:9. Stay all night at Brother Snoberger's.
THURSDAY, May 21. Come to Samuel Snider's; then to council meeting at meetinghouse; and after dinner come to Brother Daniel Snoberger's at Yellow Creek, where I stay all night. Fine day. It is ten miles from Brother Snider's to Brother Snoberger's.
FRIDAY, May 22. Meeting at the meetinghouse. Subject, Hebrews 1. After dinner go to Brother Leonard Furry's. Night meeting at the meetinghouse. I speak from Rom. 1:16. Stay at Brother L. Furry's all night. Fine day.
SATURDAY, May 23. Come fourteen miles to Clover Creek Meeting there in forenoon and afternoon. Stay all night at Brother Dellinger's.
SUNDAY, May 24. Meeting at three places to-day. A delightful day as to weather; and should be enjoyable to all in the way of good speaking.
MONDAY, May 25. Commence taking in questions in afternoon. Cloudy all day. Stay all night at Brother Dellinger's.
TUESDAY, May 26. Discuss questions all day. Cloudy all forenoon, but clears up in afternoon. Stay all night at Brother John Brumbach's.
WEDNESDAY, May 27. Discuss questions, but get through with business by two o'clock; and the Annual Meeting breaks up. I come to Brother Daniel Snoberger's, where I stay all night.
THURSDAY, May 28. Go to a store at Enterprise and buy a few articles. After dinner come through Snake Spring valley and across Bloody Run to Jesse O'Neil's, where I stay all night. Fine day.
FRIDAY, May 29. Come six miles to Chanyville; then eleven miles to Gibbon; then two miles to John Deacon's where I get dinner and have Nell fed; then twenty miles to Brother Abraham Miller's in Hampshire County, Virginia, where I stay all night. Fine day.
SATURDAY, May 30. Come ten miles to Souer's, where I dine and feed; then five miles out to the pike, and eight miles to North River; then three miles to Brother Wilson's, but to get there have to ride two miles out of the way to pass unmolested. Stay all night at Brother Wilson's. Rain to-day.
SUNDAY, May 31. Come twenty-two miles to Nimrod Stradaman's, where I dine and feed; then sixteen miles to James Fitzwater's, where I stay all night. Fine day.
MONDAY, June 1. Come ten miles to Michael Wine's; get dinner, and in afternoon cross the mountain and get home.
It may not be out of place to call the reader's attention to several points of special interest connected with this journey of Brother Kline to this the next to last Annual Meeting it was his privilege to attend. Let the reader think of the distance to be traveled over in going and coming—three hundred and thirty-four miles—all on the back of his favorite Nell. Over a good road, in a time of peace, with plenty of familiar friends by the way, such a distance with a good horse would be but a delightful recreation to one accustomed, as was Brother Kline, to horse-back riding. But a great part of his way lay through a mountainous and thinly-peopled country, with only a path in some places to direct his course; and, worst of all, he did not know where he was safe from arrest, as army lines at this stage of the war were almost constantly changing. How great, then, must have been his love for the Brethren! Where can another man be found to compare with him in fearless resolution to do what he believed would be pleasing to the Lord and the Brethren, whom he loved more than he did his own life! Neither was he encouraged by the Brethren at home to go. They advised him not to go. But his heart was fixed; and his loving soul would have been filled with melancholy sadness to have stayed at home and thought of the warm hearts and kind hands he might have met by going. He would rather see his Brethren and die, if necessary, than live without the sight.
From the time of his return from this journey to the close of the year he did not venture far from home in a northern direction. On the twelfth day of August he and Jacob Wine went on the yearly visit prior to the visit council. They had to go to the counties of Pendleton and Hardy, as the members in those counties were included in the district over which Brother Kline was one of the overseers. They held visit councils over there, and on their return home the two brethren were arrested and taken before the military authorities on the eighteenth day of August, 1863. Brother Jacob Wine came home with Brother Kline to Brother Kline's house. They had been there but a short while when they were both arrested. They gave a satisfactory account of their business in those two counties, and were accordingly released. On the twenty-fourth, just six days after the previous arrest, he was picked up again and required to give account of himself. This he did in a humble, truthful way, and was again let go. The following is on the last page of the Diary for this year.
In this year, 1863, I have traveled 4,260 miles, all on horseback. I have preached thirty-eight funerals: fourteen for children under five years of age; eight for children between the ages of five and ten years; six for persons between the ages of ten and twenty years; three for persons between twenty and thirty years; two for persons between thirty and forty years; two for persons between forty and fifty years; three for persons over eighty years of age.
In the last five and one-half months of our beloved brother's life, or that portion of it which he lived between the first day of January, 1864, and the fifteenth of June, the memorable day of his death, are not very full of interest. By this it is meant that the state of war in Virginia, together with the hopeless condition of the Confederacy and the demoralizing tendency of that condition upon the soldiery of the land, raised insurmountable barriers in the way of activity on his part. We find him mostly at home, save that he was much called to see the sick and preach funerals in his immediate vicinity.
SUNDAY, May 1, he attended meeting at Green Mount for the last time. He preached from Luke 19:7. The Editor was present, and still retains some recollections of his line of thought; so that by means of these, together with the Diary notes of this discourse, a tolerably just reproduction of it may here be given. He seemed to be more than usually pathetic in his delivery. In one of his tender appeals he caught the writer's eye, and he can never forget the irresistible but refreshing flow of tears that followed.
TEXT.—"And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner."
The Bible is a unit. The sum of its love and truth culminates in the declaration that "the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost." The portion of the chapter read in your hearing, which immediately precedes my text, is a sufficient introduction to it. The history of Zaccheus therein given is, or should be, familiar to all. But my text may comprise some instructive and comforting truth to us, which we, like those who attended the steps and heard the words of the Lord in the flesh, may not so readily apprehend.
The disciples were deeply impressed with the sinless purity of their great Teacher. But they did not as yet understand the character of his mission. They could not rid their minds of the thought that his coming was for the purpose of establishing, in some way, they knew not how, an earthly reign of power and glory which would eclipse all that earth had ever beheld. Hence we read that at one time they wanted to take him by force, and make him a king. At another time the mother of two of his disciples interceded in behalf of her two sons that the one might sit on his right and the other on his left in his kingdom. What sublime visions of worldly glory she had; and how deeply were her vain imaginations rebuked! "Ye know not what ye ask."
These considerations aid us in our efforts to apprehend the character of the impediments and obstacles in the way of our Savior's glorious work of love. And here springs up a thought which I will dwell upon for a little. I can not avoid the belief, forced upon me as it is by what I see daily and have seen, that men do not widely differ now from what men were in our Lord's time in the flesh. They do not love his unqualified declaration—"My kingdom is not of this world"—any better now than men did then. National greatness, in which the rich and powerful may bear oppressive rule over the poor and weak, is the height of their ambition. Such are not willing to eat and drink with publicans and sinners. Things unseen and eternal are out of sight to mortal eyes. Men doubt the declaration of the Bible that:
"Beyond this vale of tears, There is a life above Unmeasured by the flight of years: And all that life is love."
It is this unbelief that fosters their love for the world and for themselves. And the pride of heart that naturally goes with the love of self is not willing to stoop to what is not highly esteemed among men. It is not hard to see from the words of my text that there was a very large measure of self-pride still clinging to the hearts of those who composed the crowd now in attendance upon our Lord on this his last journey from Jericho to Jerusalem. They thought it a stoop in him, and out of place that he should condescend to go to be guest with a man that is a sinner. It is plain from this that they did not know themselves. Like the Pharisee, they justified themselves, and were ready even to thank God that they were not like other men. But our Lord came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. And we should notice that by sinners he means such as feel and know themselves to be sinners. Jesus adapted himself to the felt wants of those he came to save. He had no sin-forgiving words for the self-righteous. He had no blessing for the proud in spirit. He had no promise for those who exalted themselves.
I love to contemplate this glorious feature of our blessed religion. The docile, teachable disposition of the little child, coupled with the honest confession of Peter: "I am a sinful man, O Lord," is the low plane of feeling upon which the Savior enters the soul. It was declared by a prophet respecting his first advent into the world: "Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low." Mountains and hills in this passage signify the proud and self-exalted desires and lusts of the wicked man, which are to be laid low because such states of heart and life forever oppose themselves to the meekness and gentleness of Christ. But the principle of humility, signified by a valley, is to be exalted: not that humility exalteth or can exalt itself; but this truly humble state of mind prepares man to receive the Lord's saving truth, and this exalts a man. "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
For myself, Brethren, I can say with the Apostle Paul, that "in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not. For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.... I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I perceive a different law in my members, warring against the will of my spirit, and bringing me into captivity to the sway of sin in my members." Paul here speaks of the inward man, and of the members or outward man. This takes my thought to the tabernacle in the wilderness. It had an outer court and an inner sanctuary. The tables of God's holy law were placed in this most holy place. It was right in this most holy place, over the mercy seat, which was the golden cover to the ark that contained the tables of the law, that Jehovah had his dwelling place. It was there he talked with Moses. The outer court was for offerings, and served as a place for the confession of sin and its forgiveness. Brethren, I am glad to think we are like this tabernacle, that we have a most holy place, an inner sanctuary, in the inmost of our heart, where Jesus has his dwelling place with us, and where his voice alone is heard. In this holy of holies we feel his love, and it is there we see his face. It is there that he appears to us the fairest among ten thousand, and the one altogether lovely. It is here that we sing:
"Jesus, I love thy charming name; 'Tis music in mine ear; Fain would I sound it out so loud That earth and heaven might hear.
"Yes, thou art precious to my soul; My transport and my trust: Jewels to thee are gaudy toys, And gold is sordid dust.
"I'll speak the honors of thy name With my last fleeting breath: And, dying, clasp thee in my arms, The antidote of death."
Brethren, this is what I have gained, it is what you have gained, it is what we all have gained by placing ourselves in sight of the Lord as he was passing by. In itself, it was a small thing that Zaccheus did. The tree which he ascended was not hard to climb; he was nimble, for he ran on before; and it did not take him long to climb, for he had not much time. But in motive the act was great, because it was done to get a sight of Jesus the Lord. The Lord knew this, and knew also that his motive was not one of idle curiosity, but honest desire to see him and to learn something more concerning him. And see how he was blessed. Although he was looked down upon as being a sinner, and felt in his heart that he was a sinner, still the blessed Savior regarded it not out of place for him to go and be guest with him, and crown the occasion with the joyful annunciation: "This day is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham." All who believe in the Lord from the heart are sons of Abraham, and heirs of God according to the promise.
Now, when any one goes to church to hear the Gospel preached, and thereby to learn something about the Lord that he may have knowledge of Jesus, he is doing in effect just what Zaccheus did. The same may be said with regard to reading the Divine Word. It matters not how great a sinner he may have been. No one now is likely to be a greater sinner than was Mary Magdalene out of whom seven devils were cast; and yet the Lord could say of her: "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she hath loved much." A dying saint was once heard to say: "Hunt up all my sins; pile them mountain high; one breath of faith sweeps them all away; and the more I'm forgiven the louder I'll sing."
Ah, brethren and sisters, we can rejoice that the Lord condescended to be a guest with us poor sinners. He proclaims salvation to every one of us. And inasmuch as he has come in to sup with us and we with him, let us hold him by the feet, ever welcome to our hearts, and he will abide with us forever.
It is in a feeling of unavoidable sadness we now approach the closing weeks of Brother Kline's life. We will now, with great care, trace his steps going to and returning from the last Annual Meeting he was ever permitted to attend.
FRIDAY, May 6. This is the day on which he started. He stayed the first night with Reuben Regelman, then living in the head of what was then called Germany, a remote section of Brock's Gap, and so called on account of the number of original German people who settled there near the close of the Revolutionary War. Regelman lived in a deep mountain retreat, just in the line of what appeared to Brother Kline his safest route.
SATURDAY, May 7. This day he crossed the Shenandoah mountain by a near-cut pathway, coming down into Sweedlin valley, in Pendleton County. He next crossed the Sweedlin mountain by a pathway, at the foot of which flows the beautiful mountain river called the South Fork. He followed this stream about two miles through a deep gorge between Sweedlin mountain and the South Fork mountain, and got to the widow Nelly Henkel's on top of the latter mountain in time for dinner. From there he went to Sister Mary Bargdoll's on the South Mill creek, where he stayed all night. He was now fifty miles on his way. He reports the weather as being very pleasant so far.
SUNDAY, May 8. This day he visited Enoch Hyre's. From there he went to old Brother Parks's. He then stopped on his way to read and pray with old Sister Parks, who was entirely blind. From here he went to Brother Martain Cosner's, where he had afternoon meeting, and preached from one of his favorite texts, the Lord's invitation to all, given in Matt. 11:28, 29, 30. He stayed all night at Brother Cosner's. All the families he visited this day were then living northwest of Petersburg, in Grant County, West Virginia. He reports another beautiful day. He is now sixty-nine miles from home.
MONDAY, May 9. This day he had meeting by previous arrangement at Andrew Cosner's, six miles further on in the direction of his route. His subject was 1 Cor. 15:1, 2, 3. From here he went to Brother Thomas Clark's, fifteen miles further on, where he stayed all night. Beautiful weather continues.
TUESDAY, May 10. From Brother Clark's he went to Oakland, a station on the B. & O. R.R., thirteen miles from Brother Thomas Clark's. Here he took the train at 9:30 P.M., and Nell had rest. She had carried him on her back one hundred and four miles in four and one-half days. Short stages, but terribly hard roads a large part of the way. He arrived at Bellaire at half past six the next morning. He started for Dayton, Ohio, at seven, and got there at five in the evening. He stayed all night at Brother Henry Flory's.
THURSDAY, May 12. From here he went to a love feast at the Cave Creek meetinghouse, but is silent as to how he got there. The second chapter of Hebrews was read. He stayed all night at Jonas Garber's. He says: "There was frost this morning, but a delightful day."
FRIDAY, May 13. He took the train at Brookville station, seven miles from Brother Jonas Garber's, and arrived at Hagerstown, near the place of the Annual Meeting. He stayed all night at Brother Samuel Eiler's. Another fine day.
SATURDAY, May 14. He reports meeting at the meetinghouse and a great concourse of people. Also, a little rain to-day.
SUNDAY, May 15. Preaching at six places. A wonderful gathering of people. Night meeting in Hagerstown. A little rain to-day. I stay all night in Hagerstown.
MONDAY, May 16. To-day the Annual Meeting organizes for business. Forms subcommittees; takes in queries; holds its session in meetinghouse. I stay all night at old Brother Eiler's. A little sprinkle of rain to-day.
TUESDAY, May 17. Discuss questions all day. Good order prevails. I am glad to witness the dawning of intelligence in the minds of our younger brethren in the ministry. We must keep up with the demands of the age; not in the vain show of worldly fashion and love for things new; but in our desire and power by the use of all divinely-appointed means to commend the truth to every man's conscience by making it to shine in all directions more and more unto the perfect day. I am glad to see the zeal manifest in our younger brethren, and at the same time equally glad to find it tempered with moderation.
WEDNESDAY, May 18. Finish business at half past eleven o'clock. After dinner go to Brother James Wyatt's, where I stay all night. Also visit the widow Sister Hardman.
THURSDAY, May 19. Come to Hagerstown and dine at Brother Brown's. I then take cars to Andersontown, and come to Brother Peter Fesler's, six miles away. After supper have night meeting in Columbus, where I speak from Acts 4:13. Stay all night with Jeremiah Clemmens.
Having been more than usually impressed at our meeting with the importance of Christian brethren making their conversations and lives give testimony to the sincerity and intelligence of their professions of faith in Christ, I resolved to turn my discourse to that bearing, as much so as I could. With that view I took these words: TEXT.—"And they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus."
A very plain and self-evident truth comes to mind at the opening of my discourse to-night. It is this truth, that no one can converse intelligently upon any subject he does not understand, nor accomplish any work of art without some previously acquired skill to do it. To comply with the demands imposed upon every human being by these fundamental and stubborn realities, all the means of education for the mind and training for the body are provided. Man stands alone and singular in this regard. Birds can sing and build their nests without instruction; and bees can form their delicate cells of wax without a guide.
It is also a well-recognized fact that the pupil gives evidence of the character and ability of his teacher, in all the lines of science and art. In the knowledge and practice of the things pertaining to man's spiritual life on earth it is just the same. All that man does from conscience, from what he believes to be his duty to God and to man, this he calls religious. If his faith and life are firmly based and established upon the Rock of God's eternal Truth, it can be known at once who has been his teacher, and knowledge can be taken of him that he has been with Jesus.
I do not wish to reflect particularly here upon the lack of evidences of this kind among professing Christians generally, nor do I wish to reflect censure upon the teachers under whose auspices these professions have been made; but I do say, and am sorry, that from the conduct and life of many professors of religion it would be hard to tell certainly that they were not Mohammedans or disciples of Confucius. But banishing all fancy and superstition, and ignoring all religious forms and ceremonies, there is a way of making the truth known that one has been with Jesus. The key that opens to this knowledge is wrapped up in these words of our Lord: "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, IF YE HAVE LOVE ONE FOR ANOTHER."
Let us notice how this love was shown by Peter and John. I name them here, because they are connected with my text. There lay a poor beggar, lame from his mother's womb. He was but little noticed, save as he was looked down upon with contempt. He asked an alms of Peter and John as they were about entering the temple. Peter might justly have said: "I have nothing in the way of silver or gold to give you," and have thus excused himself from all further trouble about the man. But he did not treat the poor and impotent beggar in this way. He said to him: "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." But this was not all. "He took him by the right hand, and LIFTED him up." He was not only ready to instruct, but he was ready to HELP, and that with his own hands.
But I have not told all. The two disciples took to themselves no touch of credit for the lame man's being made to walk. Their love for the Lord, and their desire to do good by publishing the news of his healing and saving power, had so filled their hearts that there was no room in them for any of the love of self and the world. Had they been so disposed they might have taken to themselves great credit for what they had done. They might have indirectly favored the impression that if the Lord was at the bottom of the miracle they were at the top, and very important factors in it. But the conduct and temper of the two disciples was far from anything like this. When the people ran together, greatly wondering, Peter said: "Why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?" He then directed the attention of the people to the crucified, risen and glorified Lord, to whose power and love they ascribed all the honor.
It is known without telling that such humility of heart and exaltation of the Lord is not natural with man. People of all grades, even the enemies of the Lord, take knowledge from such as manifest this spirit of love and meekness, that they have been and are with Jesus. In his last conversation with his disciples he lifted his eyes to heaven and said: "Father, I will, that they whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory." This prayer must have a present fulfillment in every one of the Lord's people in this world, in order that they may have a future realization of it in the world to come. To be with the Lord is to abide in him and he in us. "Abide in me, and I in you." This is the crown of all blessedness. This is the golden altar of sweet incense: the brightly burning lamp that lights the way through the door into the marriage feast.
"Forever with the Lord: Amen! so let it be: Life from the dead is in that word; 'Tis immortality."
To be with Jesus is to be with him in affection and thought; to love what he loves, and to believe what he teaches. One may be with Jesus in place, and yet be very far from him in spirit. This was exemplified by Judas. He sat at the same table with the Lord, but his heart, his mind and feelings were very far away. At that very time he was plotting his destruction, for Judas was a devil from the beginning. Even Peter, just a little while after that, caught by the Lord's eye, went out and wept bitterly. It is not, therefore, a local or personal nearness which the Lord has in mind when he prays that all whom the Father hath given him may be with him, but a nearness of heart, in the affection of love, and the obedience of faith.
Brethren and friends, let me say to you, that it is the duty, and not only the duty, but the highest attainment of Christian liberty, to be with Jesus and to give knowledge to all around that one has not only been, but now is every day with Jesus. True godliness, however, does not desire to make a display of itself; it seeks no prominence in the world; neither does it aspire to receive the applauses of men. It does not ride upon the tempest of religious disputes, nor clothe itself with the whirlwind of fanatical excitement. But, like the Divine Spirit from which it springs, it speaks in the still, small voice of tender compassion and love. Like its Lord, it enters a house, the house of the humble, contrite heart, and would have no man know it; but it cannot be hid.
Now, Brethren and friends, I have only touched some of the chords in the beautiful anthem of my theme. I now leave it with you, hoping that you may learn every note in it; and by the sweet music of a good life delight the ears and warm the hearts of all who hear its rich harmonies. Possibly you may never see my face or hear my voice again. I am now on my way back to Virginia, not knowing the things that shall befall me there. It may be that bonds and afflictions abide me. But I feel that I have done nothing worthy of bonds or of death; and none of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.
THURSDAY, May 19. Come to Hagerstown and dine at Brother Brown's.
FRIDAY, May 20. Visit Sister Molly Clemmens; dine at Brother Jacob Fesler's; sup at Brother Peter Fesler's, and by request have meeting again in Columbus to-night. My subject is Matt. 7:13, 14. Stay at Peter Fesler's all night. Warm and pleasant day.
SATURDAY, May 21. Visit Andrew Fertig's, where I stay till after dinner. I then come to Middletown; and from there to Fall Creek meetinghouse, to Brother David Miller's meeting. John 14 is read. I speak upon the spirit and general scope of truth comprehended in the chapter. Jacob Fry and wife are baptized. I then go home with old Brother Jacob Miller, and after supper go to Brother David Miller's, where I stay all night. Fine and warm day.
SUNDAY, May 22. Visit Absalom Painter; he is sick, and I think poorly. Attend meeting at the meetinghouse. John 3 is read. I speak upon the new birth, the most important matter that can possibly engage the thought and occupy the heart of man, inasmuch as without it, there is no salvation. Dine with Jacob Miller, who is a son of George Miller. In the afternoon visit Joseph Funk's and from there I go to George Hoover's where I stay all night. A fine but warm day.
MONDAY, May 23. Stay at George Hoover's till after dinner. In the afternoon call at Joseph's and John's, and visit the Sulphur Springs. Night meeting. Speak from First John, second chapter, last part of the twenty-ninth verse: "Every one that doeth righteousness is born of him." A righteous life is the proof that one is born of God. Charity, which is the love of doing good, is the child of the new birth. This leads to righteousness or justice in all our dealings with one another. I can not love my brother and at the same time seek undue advantage of him, or try to cheat him in any way. The same is true in dealing with those outside the Brotherhood. This righteousness shuts down the gate upon the stream of all evil affections and lusts, because it springs from that love which forever whispers in the heart: "All things, whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."
Stay all night at Brother Yost's. His wife is Brother Hoover's daughter.
TUESDAY, May 24. Take cars at seven o'clock and get to Richmond at nine, and to Higgin's Station at eleven. From there I go to Brother Nead's, five miles away; and after dinner to meeting at the meetinghouse. Speak from Rom. 1:16, 17. After meeting come to Brother Joseph Miller's, where I stay all night. Much rain this afternoon.
WEDNESDAY, May 25. Go to Arebaugh's meetinghouse. Love feast. John 1 is read. Stay all night at Brother Kensel's.
This is the last love feast Brother Kline ever attended. Tender memory will drop a tear as she looks into his loving eye and sees him take his last farewell and leave his last loving kiss on lips that his will never touch again. But we should remember that thirty-five years have passed since then. Many who took the parting hand on earth then, have, one by one, since then, taken the meeting hand in heaven: "For God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
THURSDAY, May 26. Come to Dayton; buy some articles; dine at Brother Henry Yost's, and also sup there. Take cars at half past six in the evening and arrive at Columbus soon after nine. Stay there all night.
FRIDAY, May 27. Get to Oakland in the evening, and stay all night at Rogan White's tavern. Two hundred and eighty-six miles from Columbus to Oakland.
SATURDAY, May 28. Come to Brother James Abernathy's in a hired hack, ten miles; and in afternoon come three miles to Brother Thomas Clark's, where I have night meeting and stay all night. Fine day.
SUNDAY, May 29. Come to Brother Zachariah Hendrick's, where I have meeting. Speak from John 1:17. In afternoon come through the mountain top to Sister Eve Idleman's, where I stay all night. Frost this morning.
MONDAY, May 30. Visit our old and blind Sister Parks; read for her and pray with her. Come to Enoch Hyre's and stay till after dinner. I then go to Brother John Judy's, where I stay all night. Leave appointment to preach his deceased wife's funeral on Sunday, June 26.
TUESDAY, May 31. Call at Philip Kesner's; at Samuel Kesner's; cross the mountain and call and get dinner at George Cowger's; then stop awhile at Philip Emswiler's; exchange a few pleasant words with friend Peter Warnstaff as I pass by his house; and get to Brother John Fulk's in evening, where I stay all night. Fine, pleasant day.
WEDNESDAY, June 1. Come by Michael Wine's; dine with him; then come across the mountain home.
From this time to the memorable day of his martyrdom there is nothing in the Diary demanding special notice. Notice has already been taken of his calling at George Cowger's on the South Fork in Pendleton County, West Virginia, on his way home from this his last journey. At Mr. Cowger's, while at the dinner table, he said: "I am threatened; they may take my life; but I do not fear them; they can only kill my body." This they accomplished.
WEDNESDAY, June 15, 1864. He went to a blacksmith's shop a few miles away from home; had Nell shod; and on his return was killed by, it is supposed, some concealed person or persons on a ridge of timber land a few miles away from home. Some account of his funeral has already been given in the introduction to this work. His body, when discovered, showed that it had been pierced by several bullets. But a smile rested on his face. The writer's own eyes witnessed this. It may be that this smile was the reflection of the joy that thrilled his soul as he stepped out of his broken tenement of clay into the presence and light of his Redeemer. Stephen's living face was as the face of an angel. Brother Kline's dead face was the face of a saint—no, not the face of a saint, but the face of the earthly casket in which a saint had lived, and labored, and rejoiced; and out of which he stepped into the glories of the eternal world. Amen!
He Died at His Post.
[Said to have been composed by Brother Kline on the death of Joseph Miller, who died while on a visit to Ohio.]
Away from his home and the friends of his youth He hasted, the herald of mercy and truth, For the love of his Lord and to seek for the lost Soon, alas! was his fall, but he died at his post.
The stranger's eye wept that in life's brightest bloom One gifted so highly should sink to the tomb; For in order he led in the van of his host, And he fell like a soldier, he died at his post.
He wept not himself that his warfare was done, The battle was fought and the victory won, But he whispered of those whom his heart clung to most, "Tell my Brethren for me that I died at my post."
He asked not a stone to be sculptured with verse; He asked not that fame should his merits rehearse; But he asked as a boon when he gave up the ghost, That his Brethren might know that he died at his post.
Victorious his fall, for he rose as he fell, With Jesus his Master in glory to dwell. He has passed o'er the stream and has reached the bright court, For he fell like a martyr; he died at his post.
And can we the words of his exit forget? O, no, they are fresh in our memory yet. An example so brilliant shall not be lost; We will fall in the work, we will die at our post.