Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 20.djvu/517

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501
EPIDEMIC CONVULSIONS.

my soul, so that I was often prevented from sleeping, eating, reading, writing, or preaching. I would sing a song, or exhort a few minutes, and the fire would break out among the people. I have spent nine nights out of ten (besides my day meetings, and long, hard rides) with the slain of the Lord."[1]

Granade is the preacher who gives this description of himself, which is also descriptive of his times. He was a stormy orator who drew great crowds wherever he went. He admits that he went by the name of "the distracted preacher," but says that at one of his meetings "the people fell as if slain by a mighty weapon, and lay in such piles and heaps that it was feared they would suffocate, and that in the woods." So violent was his manner, stamping with his feet and smiting with his hands, that he often broke down the stands erected for him in the woods. Once, it is told of him, he was addressing a class-meeting in the upper story of a dwelling-house, when the room below was crowded with worshipers, and, being in what the historian calls "one of his big ways," he exclaimed, "I feel like breaking the trigger of hell!" and at the same time gave a tremendous stamp with his foot which actually broke one of the joists. The people below, hearing the sudden crash, ran screaming to the door, some of them really imagining, as the writer of all these events relates, "that hell had overtaken them."[2]

Granade was of an excitable temperament and vivid imagination. His person was commanding, and, with a sounding voice and most impassioned manner, his oratory produced startling effects.

Another feature of these excited meetings, which served still further to intensify the feelings of the people who attended them for days and nights together, was the part taken in them by children. Nothing was more affecting to the congregations than the sight of a little boy or girl on a log or stump, passionately exhorting the multitude. Thus, a boy, who appeared to be about twelve years of age, is described as having retired from the stand at Indian Creek, Ohio, during the sermon, and, mounting a log and raising his voice to a high pitch, soon had nearly all the congregation with him. "With tears streaming down his cheeks, he cried aloud to the wicked, warning them of their danger, denouncing their certain doom if they persisted in their sins, expressing his love for their souls, and desire that they should turn to the Lord and be saved." A man on each side held the boy up, and he spoke for about an hour. When quite exhausted, and language failed to give utterance to his emotions, the little orator raised his hands, and, dropping his handkerchief wet with tears and perspiration, cried out, "Thus, O sinner, shall you drop into hell, unless you forsake your sins and turn to the Lord." At that moment, the writer of this account continues, "Some fell like those who are shot in battle, and the work spread in a manner which human language can not describe."[3]

  1. McFerrin's "Methodism in Tennessee."
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.