Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand: The Story of Frontier Religion

Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand: The Story of Frontier Religion

Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand: The Story of Frontier Religion

Bible in Pocket, Gun in Hand: The Story of Frontier Religion

Excerpt

The Reverend Freeborn Garretson reined his horse to an abrupt halt in the deep Delaware woods and listened intently. He heard a man by the roadside ahead singing lustily. The melody lifted the spirit of the minister, riding the lonely outer fringe of his Cypress Swamp Circuit that day in 1779. Here, at last, he thought, was a happy Methodist brother, singing a hymn joyfully as he worked. He hastened toward him.

But on riding closer, he was shocked to discover that the man was singing a profane song. As was the custom of circuit riders, he sought to examine the man on his religious convictions: "Do you know Jesus Christ?" he asked.

"Sir," replied the man, "I do not know where the gentleman lives."

Thinking surely the man had misunderstood him, the minister repeated the question.

"I do not know him," he answered innocently; "he must not live in these parts."

Another circuit rider told of traveling farther out on the frontier and asking a boy by way of testing his knowledge of the Bible: "Who killed Abel? . . ."

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