Twenty Years

    on Horseback
"When I was seventeen I preached my first sermon, or, perhaps I should say, made my first public effort.  It was in an old log church on Little Flint Run, in Doddridge County.  Brother Christopher Davis, a local preacher, was holding a meeting, and as the close of the morning services announced that I would preach at night.  What a day that was to me!  How I tried to think and pray!  When I reached the church I found it full, with many standing in the aisle about the door.  I felt so unprepared--so utterly helpless--that I immediately retired to a secret place, where I again besought the Lord for help.  Returning, I started in with the preliminaries, but was badly scared.  No man can describe his feelings under such circumstances.  Many a preacher who scans these pages will appreciate my situation.  I spent a good part of the first fifteen minutes mopping my face.  I seemed to be in a sweat-box; but by the time I reached my sermon, or whatever it might be called, the embarrassment was all gone.  I still remember the text: "And I will bring you into the land concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for an heritage.  I am the Lord." It was immense; but the most of young preachers begin just that way.  At this distance from the occasion, I do not recall anything I said, and am glad I cannot.  However, there was one redeeming feature about the effort, and that was its brevity.  In twenty minutes I had told all I knew, and perhaps more.  I have never been able to understand why the people listened so patiently.  They really seemed to be interested, but why, or in what, I have never known. I have never tried that text since, and I do not think I ever shall."


The preceding is an excerpt  from Bishop William Weekley's  book Twenty Years on Horseback, published in 1909He was a Circuit Rider from approximately 1870 to1890.