Song of Deborah—Zebulun and Naphtali—Wiley Warwick—Great Revival —A Moving Witness—Parson's Saddlebags — James H. Mellard—The Ascetic Nelson—George Dougherty.
THE religious condition of America, before, during, and after the Revolution, was not far from that of the Israelitish commonwealth in Deborah's day. "The inhabitants of the villages ceased," "the highways were unoccupied," and "travelers walked through byways." New gods were chosen; there "was war in the gates," and "not a shield or spear," of heavenly temper keen, "was seen among forty thousand in Israel." Reuben clung to his sheepfolds, Gideon dwelt beyond Jordan, Asher was on the seashore, and Dan abode in ships; and all the while Sisera was at hand. Deborah (see Barbara Heck snatching the cards from the hands of a renegade) "arose, a mother in Israel"; she called to Barak, and bade him take ten thousand of Zebulun and Naphtali and fight; even then, if help came not from heaven, all was lost; but " the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. The river Kishon swept them away." Then sang Deborah: "O my soul, thou hast trodden down strength. Then were the horsehoofs broken by the means of the prancings, the prancings of their mighty ones." No wonder the universal cry was: "Awake, awake, Deborah; awake, awake, utter a song; arise, Barak, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam!" We of this day, who rejoice in the victories won by our fathers, should never forget that "Zebulun and Naphtali jeoparded their lives unto the death in the high places of the field."
We call attention to these veterans who, though little known on earth, have abundant record on high. The very first we notice is the man, as you read back awhile, who was wrongly and maliciously accused of false swearing. From George Bright, in the Southern Christian Advocate, we learn that Wiley Warwick was born in Virginia in 1771. He was a moral though irreligious youth, remaining unregenerate until his twenty-sixth year. His marriage at twenty-one to a pious girl brought him under Methodistic influence. In 1796 he was powerfully converted inAnson county, North Carolina, where he then resided. He was licensed to preach in 1799, and labored as a local preacher until 1804. By persuasion of Bishop Asbury and other preachers he was admitted into the connection. While a local preacher he attended a camp meeting, the first ever held in that section. It was a union meeting, under direction of Dr. Brown, afterwards president of Franklin College, Georgia. Mr. Warwick walked the entire distance, arriving at the three o'clock service. When the sermon was finished, anyone was invited to exhort. Mr. Warwick arose, and under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, exhorted. The power of God was manifest; people fell in all directions, crying aloud for mercy. From then until Monday morning the good work went on, and eternity will reveal great results.
January 1, 1804, he was admitted into the Conference, held that year in Augusta, Ga. He traveled thirteen years, and failing health induced location. His last year on the Enoree Circuit was nominal, as supernumerary. He remained local until 1821, when he was employed by Bishop George to supply the Union Circuit. At the thirty-sixth session, held in Augusta, Ga., he was readmitted, traveling several years. In 1826 he suffered greatly from a pine splinter in one of the muscles of the thigh; medical skill declined its removal. Having a pad for his saddle, to relieve the pressiu'e, he traveled for years in pain. In 1822, having removed to Habersham county, Georgia, during the journey he got his little finger mashed, forcing amputation. Suffering greatly, he lost two rounds of appointments. At the Conference the presiding elder complained that he had neglected his work. He simply arose and drew forth his inflamed and mutilated hand. It was enough.
Wlule on the Bladen Circuit, in 1806, he was much annoyed by an immersionist named Lindsey. He was very bigoted, and a great enemy to Methodist "circuit riders." Once Mr. Warwick, passing through a low or swampy place, fished out of the mud and water a pair of saddlebags. They were marked with Mr. Lindsey's name in full, and a junk bottle well filled with liquor was first drawn out. At the next house he call for lodgings, but was told that circuit riders could not stay there. He delivered the saddlebags, asking the landlady to inform the parson that they were safe. She began to excuse her preacher, say
ing he had happened to pass a store that day, and fasting, had taken a little too much liquor, and had thus lost his saddlebags—begging Mr. Warwick not to tell of the little accident. The rides on this circuit were long. On one stretch there was no house, and necessity compelled him to sleep in the woods, supperless, the earth for a bed, his saddle for a pillow, and the heavens for a covering.
During the thirty years of his efficiency he traveled near 70,000 miles, preached 5,938 sermons, exhorting numberless times, and received $6,392 all told—an average of $110 per annum; rearing a family of five children, and giving them a moderate education. The last years of his life were spent in Dahlonega, Georgia, in a state of sad decrepitude. He was made perfect through suffering. His agony was often so excessive that even morphine gave no aid. No murmur escaped his lips. He died in the eighty-sixth year of his age, the fifty-seventh of his ministry, and the fifty-third of his connection with the itinerancy.