A REVELATION ON
Who is it that will
The care of Heaven, or think the immortal
When Edwin entered the
barn on the morning following his Sunday afternoon visit, he
found that Mr. Miller was there ahead of him and that the
large forkfuls of fresh hay for the horses' breakfasts were
already tumbling rapidly from the large mow above.
"As soon as he comes
down," thought Edwin, "I'll ask him about my going to that
meeting, for it'll be as good a chance as I'll have." Then as
he went about among the feed-bins, measuring grain for the
stock, he rehearsed in his mind the little speech that he had
planned, to see if it could be improved; but he decided that
it was just what he should say, and with all his heart he
hoped that his generous offer would be accepted. If possible,
he wanted to go without causing any hard feelings on the part
of his employer. Still he felt that he must go, and was
resolved to go even if Mr. Miller should be stubborn.
It was really but a few
minutes until Mr. Miller was descending the stairway that led
from the loft above, but to Edwin in his anxious state of mind
it seemed a long, long time. It was a little hard at first to
break the silence, but finally he said:
"Mr. Miller, Mr. Kunz was
telling me that the camp-meeting that is to be held on the
camp-ground before long is for the purpose of getting people
converted and that the work can be done in a week's time. I
should like to go to that meeting, but I hate to leave you,
for I know how much work there is to be done just now. But I
feel that I must get converted as soon as I can, for I don't
know how soon I may die. Now, I'll work for you as hard as I
can before I go, and when I serve the time that I've agreed to
stay, I'll work two weeks longer for you for nothing if you
will only let me go to that meeting!"
Edwin had spoken
excitedly, and every nerve in his body was on a tension when
Mr. Miller said slowly:
"Why, yes, I guess you can
go. To me this matter of getting converted doesn't seem so
important, but I think I can manage the work all right if you
want to go."
Edwin could scarcely
believe his ears, and when he found that no second offer was
necessary, it was as though a great and heavy burden had been
rolled from his heart. During the days that followed he
endeavored to live up to the agreement that he had made to
work faithfully for his master. Many times he thought of the
meeting, and as often he asked himself: "Is there anything
special that I can do to help in this matter? Is there
anything that I ought to do so as to be better able to go
through the operation?"
He even asked Mrs. Miller
if she could think of anything more that he could do, but she,
failing to understand his meaning, said: "No, there isn't much
that you can do. The things about the camp-ground are pretty
handy, and it's only a few miles away, and I will see to it
that your clothes are clean and mended." But still Edwin was
not satisfied. Every day he reviewed his conduct to see if
there was any possible way that he could improve himself.
One evening his divine
Teacher again came to his assistance. It was after supper, and
Edwin was still in the summer-kitchen. The smoking-hour, too,
was over, and his pipe and tobacco were on the shelf. Mrs.
Miller had retired to her room in the large house for the
night, and her husband was making his usual rounds about the
place to see that all the pasture-fences were secure.
Sometimes when the horses
and cows were trying to rid themselves of the tormenting flies
and mosquitoes, they would loosen the rails of the fences by
rubbing their itching sides against them. Thus an opening
would often be made, through which, if not repaired, the
entire herd might find their way and do much damage both to
themselves and to the large fields of waving corn that were
growing all around the pasture-land. For this reason it was
necessary after the animals had quieted down for the night to
see that everything was in good condition, and Mr. Miller
would trust no one to do this chore but himself.
Seated in his accustomed
place on the bench near the end of the long dining-table,
Edwin, with both elbows upon the table, was resting his face
upon his hands. Again he was thinking of the one great subject
about which he was so seriously concerned. Suddenly he seemed
not to be alone. Looking about him as though expecting to see
some person standing near, he heard a voice seemingly from
above his head, and he was told to listen.
When the voice of the
tempter had spoken discouragingly on the way from Mr. Kunz's,
Edwin had felt no fear, but now a fear that caused him to
tremble crept over him. But when the voice in tender, loving
tones said softly, "Do not be afraid, for I am your friend,"
he turned with eagerness to listen.
"You want to be prepared
for heaven," the voice continued. "Now, tobacco-using is
unbecoming and unclean in my eyes, and before you can get on
the highway that leads to heaven, you must stop using
Until then Edwin had not
been told by a living creature that tobacco was not a food, or
that it was unfit for the use of mankind, or unclean in the
sight of God; but as he listened to the words of his divine
Guide and Teacher, the great truth of the matter sank deep
within his heart, and he had no thought or desire to dispute
them. Neither did he stop to think or reason that his best
friends Mr. and Mrs. Miller, Frank Kauffman, and Mr. Kunz were
all using tobacco. Instead he arose and, going to the mantel,
selected all his smoking-materials there, opened the grate,
and dumped them one and all upon the few living coals that
were still smoldering among the ashes. He also brought from
his room in the large house a box of cigars, some pipes and
cigar-holders, and threw them in upon the other things.
When Edwin, all
unconscious of the dense smoke and the strong odor that were
beginning to arise from the old-fashioned chimney, returned to
his place by the table, he resumed his former position on the
bench and endeavored to continue his meditation as it was
before the revelation.
Outside the night was
perfect. A bright moon looked down from its lofty height among
the stars and revealed the farmer repairing a place in the
fence-corner where the rails had been loosened. Scarcely had
he finished the task, when a glance from the hollow in which
he was busy toward the hill upon which his home was located,
caused him to gasp and shudder with fear. Then with his nose
in the air he began to inhale and said, "Why, that smells like
tobacco-smoke." The time of night and the fact that the smoke
was coming in great volumes from the chimney of the
summer-kitchen made him think that the kitchen was on fire and
that the tobacco on the mantel-shelf was causing the smoke.
With anxious haste the
excited old gentleman turned his steps toward the house and
hurried forward in that direction. A few minutes later Edwin's
surprize was no less than his employer's had been; for the
latter, breathing heavily and nearly exhausted from the
exertion of climbing the hill in such haste, threw open the
door and rushed in. For the moment neither spoke, and then
after a curious glance first toward the mantel and then at
Edwin, who was still sitting calmly beside the table, Mr.
Miller hastened to the grate and, lifting the lid, gazed in
wonder upon the heap of burning tobacco.
That the old farmer was
displeased and even vexed at what he saw could be easily
detected in his features. Seeing that only Edwin's belongings
were in the fire, he hastily demanded an explanation. Edwin
replied that he had destroyed the tobacco and cigars because
he did not feel that they were fit for him to use, but he said
nothing about the manner in which he had discovered the fact.
"I put them in the fire," Edwin continued, "because I did not
want any one else to defile himself with what I could not use
myself." Then seeing that Mr. Miller was taking a few of the
cigars from the grate, he said, "If you take them out of the
fire and use them, I shall not be to blame, but I have no more
use for tobacco, and I will not give to any one else what I
consider unfit to use myself."
To Edwin the use of
tobacco had been a great source of comfort in his lonely
hours, and he had endeavored to secure for himself every
little convenience that would make its use more pleasant and
cleanly. Aside from his pipes and cigar-holders, he had
provided himself with a self-lighting match-safe for his
vest-pocket, a self-closing rubber chewing-tobacco pouch that
kept the tobacco clean and moist, and other things that
appealed to his sense of cleanliness. His efforts had always
been to do away with the filthy part connected with its use.
In fact, he had often been commended for his neatness in
regard to his tobacco; but when God said that it was unclean
and unfit for the use of any one who was seeking to be on the
highway to Heaven, he did not care for it at all. It was no
trial to give it up, and he was glad to part with everything
connected with its use.
Edwin's example should
have been a real rebuke to Mr. and Mrs. Miller, but instead,
they attributed his conduct to his ignorance and even made
almost unkind remarks about his unnecessary waste. But this
couple should not receive too much blame; for they, like
Edwin, had never been taught that the use of tobacco was
anything that should be avoided. In their home life they had
all respect for Edwin, and in their efforts to help him in his
ignorance to understand their views of the Christian life they
had been honest and earnest.
Their displeasure at his
destruction of his tobacco-supplies was due to the fact that
they had never heard that tobacco was injurious to their
bodies and not a food. In their minds Edwin's conduct was
justly worthy of criticism. Had they known that the pleasure
derived from the use of tobacco is like the sensation produced
by scratching and rubbing the skin when one has a
skin-disease, they might have understood. If it were not for
the disease, no pleasure would result from the friction.
Likewise, were it not for the disease of the tobacco-appetite,
the use of tobacco would sicken instead of give pleasure.
Tobacco contains a deadly poison. Its constant use will in
time injure both body and mind past repair. In many cases it
has been the direct cause of various diseases and insanity,
and it may land the soul in hell.
"The Lord knoweth how to
deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the
unjust... to be punished: but chiefly them that walk after the
flesh in the lust of uncleanness" (2 Pet. 2:9, 10).
"Let not sin therefore
reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts
thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of
unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as
those that are alive from the dead, and your members as
instruments of righteousness unto God." (Rom. 6:12,