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Till the mountains all were lighted, and the valleys rang
And the nations seemed to tremble with the echoes of
the sound: “ Hallelujah! hallelujah! for the Holy Cross is found !"
This is but an idle legend of another land and time; This is but an idle legend, woven through an idle rhyme, But I turn the fabric over; on the other side are
wrought Lessons of a better meaning than the ancient dreamers
thought; For to-night the cry is ringing in a clear, exultant
voice : Hallelujah! Hallelujah! we have found the cross
rejoice !" This is not the wooden symbol, but the story, grand and
true. Buried deep in men's traditions, it was nearly lost to
view; Crusted thick with mold'ring doctrines, trampled under
marching feet; Yet at last the cross is lifted ; “God be praised,” our
l lips repeat. Will you help us light our signal ? Come and pile the
fagots high ; Come and join our hallelujahs, for the precious cross is
nigh! For the story of the Saviour and His love for human
kind, Lifted from the dust that hid it in the ages just behind, Rises on the sight of mortals, and we send the tidings Lighting up the gloomy valleys where are souls in sin
and doubt, Waiting nations, long in darkness, rise and turn their
eager eyes To the westward, where the signal faintly gleams against
the skies. “Can it be,” they softly whisper, “ Can it be that hope
is there?” Come and pile the fagots higher! come and chase away
despair! From another mountain turret soon the signal light will
shine; Soon another height be glowing with the soul-rejoicing
sign. Thus the word of hope and blessing will be passed from
land to land ; Thus the hymn of exultation will be passed from band
to band; Till the Hallelujah Chorus of the ages yet to be, Rises, surges, swells, and mingles with the waves of
every sea ; Till the universal anthem beats and breaks on every
shore: "Glory, honor, power, dominion, be to God forever
more! Glory, honor, power, dominion, be to Jesus Christ, His
Son ! Praise the Lord, ye saints and angels, for at last the world is won !”
JESSIE H, BROWN.
BRUDDER YERKES'S SERMON.
S“ Brudder Yerkes” took his stand beside the desk
he began a teetering motion, swayed, perhaps, by his feelings, as a balanced rock might have been by an earthquake. Suddenly he broke into rapid and rhapsodic speech-the words poured as through a mill-race. Sentences without substantives followed sentences without predicates. Metaphors were mixed like the limbs of different trees whirled by a hurricane. The audience was soon swept along with the enthusiasm of the speaker, and showed every changing emotion on their faces, as well as by their exclamations.
At first the effect seemed to be due entirely to animal magnetism ; but close attention discovered an uncon. scious logic; a practical arrangement of ideas, and a natural sequence of feeling throughout the discourse, which no lack of grammar could vitiate. In the morning I had attended service in the most respectable Presbyterian Church in the place, and had heard a distinguished divine from the North; but I must confess that an analysis of the two sermons showed that “Brudder Yerkes” had the advantage of the learned divine in all that goes to make effective preaching. The colored man's sermon was superior in outline, in aptness of Scripture illustration, and in massing of motives, as it was in unction of delivery.
The run of the sermon may be gathered from the following scraps which have lingered in my memory :
Behold, I stand at the door and knock." “O, chillern, whar am de door? Speks yer t’ink it am de door ob hebbin. O, dem gates ob pearl in de golden city! O, de door inter de Fader's house! O, let de angels swing 'em wide open on ter de hinges ob redeeming lub! But, chillern, dat's not de door dat yer and I is a watchin' yet.
"Speks yer t'ink it am de door ob de Church. Wide door, shua nuff! big as de door ob de Ark ob de Cubbnant; an’ inter it go all de walkin' an’de creepin' tings, great an' small, rich an' poor, ffyin' saint an' crawlin' sinner. But dat's not de door we's a watchin' dis arter
“No, chillern ; de door is de door inter de heart.
“But who am a stan'in' at de door ? 'Taint no tramp come ter de shanty, like de debbil, a stan'in' roun' to eat up suthin' what he may devour. 'Taint no thief a hangin' 'bout waitin' ter snatch some soul wid de claws ob de great temptation. 'Taint no 'cendiary ter set yer
' on fire wid de 'ternal burnin'. But it's jus' de bestest frien' yer ebber could hab; wiser dan de white folks, kinder dan de fader what toted yer when yer was a baby, an' more lubbin' dan de mudder what nussed yer. It's de good Lor' a-stan'in' at de door ; His head white as de light ob de noonshine, an'a-glisterin' wid de dew, an' all ober as lubly as de rose ob Sharon. An' He done brung de bread fur de soul, an' de wine fur de sperrit, an' de pearls ob great price fur de eberlastin' rejoicin'.
“An' what am He doin' at de door? Only jus' a knockin, an'a-sayin', 'O poor sinner, let me in ! I’se come to supper wid yer! Did yer nebber hear Him a-knockin'? He knocks wid de conscience when de sin am a troublin'. He knocks wid de fear when de doctor am a-feelin' ob de pulse, an' He say, great physicianer. He knocks wid de hungerin', an'
de thirsterin' arter righteousness, when de husks ob de worlturn de stomach. He knocks soft and gentle when dar's a coffin in de cabin. He knocks like do thunder when yer won't hear Him in no tudder ways.
“Better let Him in! Let Him in, Susan ! Let Him in, Daniel! He's a callin' yer by yer name, fur He aint no stranger; knows every body a heap sight better than he knows hisself. O, chillern, let in de Lor', an' when de front door ob de heart swings wide open, de hull sky full ob glory will come a-rushin' in too, fur de Lor' am clothed wid de rainbow, an’ walks in de shoes ob sapphire.
“Now why don't yer let Him in? O! it's cause yer got de bar up-bar ob yer selfishness, bar ob yer drinkin', bar ob yer dancin', and de bar ob yer foolin'. O, take de bar down, chillern! Did yer har de screechin' dis mornin', when de fire done burnt up de cabin an' de little baby in it? O Lor', help Aunt Rachel, an' don't keep her refusin' to be comforted 'cause her baby aint
Mudder lef' de chile in de cabin an’ locked de door. When de fire was a-shootin' from de winder big men said, 'Open dis door, an' we'll save yer. But de baby couldn't open de door. O, how de tears run down yer cheeks, all fur that baby! But better cry some fur yerself, now, 'cause de flames of de eberlastin' burnin' has a-cotched on ter de cabin ob yer own life; an' Lor' Jesus He's a stan'in' at de door. But some of yer can't let Him in any more dan dat baby. Yer's frowed away yer strength ; yer's lost yer resolution ; or yer's all upsot wid de suddingness ob de hell a bustin' out in yer. O! chillern, open de door dis yer bressed minit, before it am eberlastin'ly too late.”.
The swaying motion was kept up for a few moments