Page:Southern Life in Southern Literature.djvu/23

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5
DAVID CROCKETT

traveling through those states, I had no difficulty in understanding that this was a place of religious worship.

Devotion alone should have stopped me, to join in the duties of the congregation; but I must confess that curiosity to hear the preacher of such a wilderness was not the least of my motives. On entering, I was struck with his preternatural appearance. He was a tall and very spare old man; his head, which was covered with a white linen cap, his shriveled hands, and his voice were all shaking under the influence of a palsy; and a few moments ascertained to me that he was perfectly blind.

The first emotions that touched my breast were those of mingled pity and veneration. But how soon were all my feelings changed! The lips of Plato were never more worthy of a prognostic swarm of bees than were the lips of this holy man! It was a day of the administration of the sacrament; and his subject was, of course, the passion of our Saviour. I have heard the subject handled a thousand times; I had thought it exhausted long ago. Little did I suppose that in the wild woods of America I was to meet with a man whose eloquence would give to this topic a new and more sublime pathos than I had ever before witnessed.

As he descended from the pulpit to distribute the mystic symbols, there was a peculiar, a more than human, solemnity in his air and manner which made my blood run cold and my whole frame shiver.

He then drew a picture of the sufferings of our Saviour: his trial before Pilate, his ascent up Calvary, his crucifixion, and his death. I knew the whole history; but never until then had I heard the circumstances so selected, so arranged, so colored! It was all new; and I seemed to have heard it for the first time in my life. His enunciation was so deliberate that his voice trembled on every syllable; and every heart in the