The Ordination of Brother Walker

Adapted from Fisher's River (North Carolina) Scenes and Characters, by Hardin E. Taliaferro (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1859), p. 233.

I HAVE no doubt that men are called of God to the Christian ministry. But as to the "call" contained in the story below I shall not decide. My business is to relate the facts.

Somebody 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 ago. 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 preach, and kept "spreading the fleece," Gideon-like, to ascertain his duty in the important matter. One day as walked along the road absorbed in his pious investigations 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, someone passed by on the road with a donkey, who, as his race is wont to do sometimes, suddenly commenced to braying in a most awful and moving manner.

Walker's imagination, by his earnest "wrastlin," was wrought up to great intensity, and he converted the donkey'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 brutherin, 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 of the curiousest voices I uver 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 of 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 sound unto you?

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

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

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

Tolle lege

A man was looking for some guidance from God so he asked God to make his Bible open at the page He wanted him to read. So the man opened his bible randomly and the first verse that his eyes met was 2 Corinthians 13:12, "Greet one another with a holy kiss." A little discouraged he tried again and this time he found himself at 1 Corinthians 14:39 "Do not forbid the use of tongues."

He tried again the next day, and the first verse he found was Matthew 27:5, "he went and hanged himself." The next verse was Luke 10:37, "... go and do likewise!"