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Fisher's River
(North Carolina)
Scenes and Characters (1859)


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I have no doubts as to a call to the Christian ministry.  I concede all that is claimed for it by intelligent orthodox Christians;  but as to the "call" contained in the story below I shall not decide.  My business is to detail facts.

Somebod is always telling stories about the "Hard-shell Baptists."  Wags have the run on them, and they may as well be content and bear it.  Here follows a tale told of them not long since.  My informant locates it in the mountains of North Carolina, where the Hard-shells are quite numerous, and where they believe pretty strongly in dreams and voices.  In the important matter of a call to the ministry, a dream or a voice is a thing almost indispensable.

Now it came to pass that a man by the name of Walker felt himself considerably moved to "hold forth," and kept "spreading the fleece," Gideon-like, to ascertain his duty in the important premises.  To assist him in his pious investigations, he called at a still-house one evening to get some of the "good critter."  After refreshment, the story runs, he left for home, and on the way he felt "moved" to go into a thick grove a few hundred yards from the road, "thar to wrastle on the subjeck."  While he was "wrastlin'" most earnestly, scarcely outdone by the patriarch, some one passed the road with a long-eared animal, politely called a John Donkey, and John let off, as his race is wont to do sometimes, in a most moving and thrilling manner.

Walker's imagination, by his earnest "wrastlin'," was wrought up to great intensity, and he converted Major John's discordant music, which to most men resembles the filing of a saw-mill saw, into a call from heaven urging him to preach the Gospel.  No time was to be lost.  He rose from his knees duly commissioned, went to his church, and demanded a license, when the pastor interrogated him thus:

Pastor.  Do you believe, Brother Walker, that you are called of God to preach, "as was Aaron?"

Walker.  Most sartinly I does.

Pastor.  Give the Church, that is, the bruthering, the proof.

Walker.  I was mightily diffikilted and troubled on the subjeck, and I was detarmined to go inter the woods and wrastle it out.

Pastor.  That's it, Brother Walker.

Walker.  And while there wrastlin', Jacob-like, I hearn one ov the curiousest voices I uven hearn in all my borned days.

Pastor.  You are on the right track, Brother Walker.  Go on with your noration.

Walker.  I couldn't tell for the life ov me whether the voice was up in the air ur down in the sky, it sounded so curious.

Pastor.  Poor creetur!  how he was diffikilted.  Go on to norate, Brother Walker.  How did it appear to soud unto you?

Walker.  Why, this a-way:  "Waw-waw-ker --- waw-waw-ker!  Go preach, go preach, go preach, go preach-ee, go preach-ah, go preach-uh, go preach-ah-ee-uh-ah-ee."

Pastor.  Bruthering and sisters, that's the right sort of a call.  Enough said, Brother Walker.  That's none ov yer college calls, nor money calls.  No doctor ov divinity uver got sich a call as that.  Brother Walker must have license, fur sartin and fur sure.

The license was granted, the stor goes, and Walker, is now, doubtless, making the mountains ring with his stentorian lungs.



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