My Early Ministry--Probation--Webster in the Supreme Court--The Gaines Case--F. W. Newman's Book on "The Soul"--Studying on Horseback--A Round on Stafford Circuit--Sermon at Falmouth --Samuel Janney--Quaker Meeting--Roger Brooke--Fairhill School --Correspondence with Emerson--Visits to the Widows of John Q. Adams and Alexander Hamilton--Kossuth in Washington-- Death of my Brother Peyton.
My uncle Dr. John Henry Daniel said to me, when I was leaving home, "So you are going to be a journeyman soul-saver." I did not begin life with that burden on me, and, when it came, was too young to question whether it was part of me--my hunch --or a pack of outside things like that strapped on Bunyan's pilgrim. My pack was symbolised in my saddle-bags, where the Bible, Emerson's Essays, Watson's Theology, Carlyle's Latter Day Pamphlets, Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Dying, the Methodist Discipline, and Coleridge's Aids to Reflection, got on harmoniously--for a time.
Dr. Daniel's label, " a journeyman soul-saver," told true in a sense; it was really my own enmeshed soul I had to save. I was struggling at the centre of an invisible web of outer influences and hereditary forces. I was without wisdom. How many blunders I made in my sermons, with which I took so much pains, I know not, but I remember a friendly hint from the wife of the Hon. Bowie Davis that a sermon of mine was too "agrarian." In another case the recoil was more serious; it came through my presiding elder, who said, "From what I hear, a sermon of yours on the new birth was too profound." This troubled me deeply. I had supposed that Jesus meant to be profound, and put much study into the sermon, the only favourable response to which was from an aged negro woman, who, long after I had left Methodism, laid her hand on my head and said, "I never knew what the Lord meant by our being born again until I heard you preach about it, and, bless the Lord, it's been plain ever since!"