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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Religion

A Majority on the Wrong Side

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -
…. A MAJORITY ON THE WRONG SIDE. – Several years ago a celebrated Methodist minister and revivalist, well known for his eloquence and zeal in converting souls, was preaching in Louisville. The feeling had got pretty well up, and one night, after a very “powerful” sermon, he came down from the pulpit for the purpose of receiving the mourners, while the good old hymn of –

“Canaan, oh Canaan, I’m bound for the land of Canaan”*

was struck up and chimed in by hundreds of voices. The hymn was concluded, but there were no penitents at the altar. In vain he exhorted – his words and appeals fell upon the ears of his congregation without exciting an emotion. At length he concluded to make a bold strike and follow it up with a test, and resuming the pulpit, after a few words of exhortation, he solemnly announced that he would put a question, upon which he expected all to vote in view of the estimation they placed upon their souls. With finger raised most significantly, and in a most solemn manner, he announced: -

“All those in favor of Christ will please rise to their feet.”

Only some eight or ten responded to the announcement; and while the minister was watching intensely for others to signify their position by rising, a worthy member, who was on his feet, interfered, and suggested that “the reason might be that the true disciples were too modest to vote.”

At this juncture, a loud voice was heard in the gallery: - “I say, brother -, it’s no use a talking to trying to force this vote – this congregation is for the devil by at least twenty-five hundred majority.”

*Bright Canaan - Early American folk hymn.

Canaan - Origin & Meaning.