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he hoped to find some local preacher in the pulpit. He was disappointed, entered the sacred desk, and, after a few minutes spent in secret prayer, conducted the service with unusual liberty. "His performance on that occasion," says his biographer, "was spoken of with enthusiasm by the élite of the town, and served as a new reason for the increase of his congregation in future." His unaffected modesty won the hearts of his hearers; his solid good sense instructed the most intelligent; and the deep vein of piety and the holy unction which imbued his discourse, "became wine and fat things to the religious part of his audience."

With some of his own people, however, he was not so popular. His love of order and decorum, and his natural good taste, revolted from practices which, to some extent, were common in those regions at that day, and which were deemed, by the more enthusiastic, as sure evidences of the divine presence. Loud shouting, jumping, clapping of hands, and falling prostrate upon the floor, embarrassed the young man exceedingly. "We like him," said they, "well enough as a preacher; but when our meetings become lively he stops, and has nothing to say." So it was all through life. As junior preacher, when in charge of a circuit or station, as presiding elder of a district, and when in the office of bishop, he stopped and said nothing during these occasional paroxysms of excited feeling; but that was all. He uttered no language of rebuke, lest he might thereby cause Christ's little ones to stumble. He stood still, and resumed not his discourse until the storm had passed away. The result was, that when Roberts was in the pulpit, while there was always deep feeling, mingled at times with the half-stifled sobs of the penitent, the


people controlled these boisterous manifestations, and all things pertaining to divine worship were done in accordance with the apostolic direction, decently and in order.

While he was upon Montgomery Circuit, to which he was transferred at the close of his first year's labour, he was invited to attend a camp-meeting in the neighbourhood of Baltimore, the first ever held east of the Alleghany Mountains. This was in the summer of 1803. It was a time of great power. Sinners fell in every direction. The noise and confusion unfavourably affected the mind of Mr. Roberts. He became very much troubled. For two days he was in a state of sadness and dejection. He knew not what to do. Balancing the evil and the good, and endeavouring to lay aside his prejudices and prepossessions, he retired into the woods, where, after a season of secret prayer, his mind became relieved, and he was enabled to take part in the exercises. Thereafter, although he occasionally attended such meetings, and preached at them in the demonstration of the Spirit and with power, he never greatly admired them, and had doubts of their propriety; at least, in those parts of the country where there are houses of worship sufficient to accommodate the people.

For the sake of his own comments, we may here advert to an undertaking which Mr. Roberts afterward regretted. This was the building of a mill, from the profits of which he hoped to maintain his family. Thirty-seven years afterward he gives this account of the matter, with advice less needed now, we venture to hope, than in the earlier days of Methodism. "I would advise," he says, "all preachers never to quit the work of the Lord to serve tables. However fair their prospects at making money may be, they

are frequently delusive, and such ministers are losers in the end. As I had but little support from quarterage, I thought my family could be maintained by a mill, and I should be better able to travel without anxiety. But it was not so. It embarrassed my mind and took up my attention; and though for a while it did well, it eventually proved a loss."

The Conference passed a vote of censure upon his conduct for thus endeavoring to eke out the scanty pittance received for his ministerial support. It seems to us that the censure was more deserved by the people to whom he broke the bread of life. His poverty was so great on one occasion, when about to take a long journey, that all the cash he had in the world was fifty cents, with which, and the like amount borrowed from his colleague, he left the West Wheeling Circuit to attend the General Conference at Baltimore, in the year 1808. With this sum in his pocket he commenced, on horseback, a ride of three hundred miles, and reached his destination with five cents unexpended.

At the Conference he appears to have taken but little part in the public debates, though he was attentive to all the business brought before the body; and he preached in several of the churches with so much acceptance, that, by the urgent request of the people, Bishop Asbury transferred him from his circuit and gave him the pastoral charge of the church in Light-street, in the city of Baltimore. Here he maintained his reputation, and, after two years, was transferred to Fell's Point, thence to Alexandria, then to Georgetown; and in the years 1813-14 he was stationed in the city of Philadelphia. The year following he was made presiding elder of the Schuylkill District, and there being

no bishop at the session of the Annual Conference in 1816, Mr. Roberts was chosen to preside over the deliberations of that body.

In this position our unlettered backwoodsman first evinced his peculiar talent as a presiding officer. Calm, courteous, and perfect master of the rules for the government of deliberative bodies, all present, including many of the delegates from New-York and New-England, who were on their way to the General Conference at Baltimore, were perfectly charmed with him; so that, at the meeting of that body, he was elected, on the 14th of May, 1816, one of the bishops of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

His consecration to this high office made no difference in his frugal habits or his unsophisticated simplicity of character. In preference to residing within the limits of a large city, or even a central village, as many of his friends thought desirable, he located himself in the log-cabin, built by his own hands previous to his entrance upon the ministry. It had, indeed, undergone some repairs, and was somewhat enlarged when it became the episcopal residence. It was the abode of cheerfulness and hospitality, but far from being what the denizens of a metropolis would esteem comfortable. Thence he emigrated with his family to the State of Indiana, where, in the wilderness, another log-cabin had been erected for him by his brother. It was eighteen miles from the nearest mill, and their first night's rest in this new abode, where the bishop continued to reside until his death, was disturbed by the howling of the wolves. In the intervals of the Annual Conferences he devoted himself to the clearing of the woods around his dwelling, to hunting, of which he was always fond, and to the cultivation of the soil. During his whole life he might with truth

have said, "These hands have ministered to my necessities and to them that were with me."

At the same time, owing to his economical habits and his industry, he had it in his power to be hospitable and to enjoy, to some extent, the luxury of giving. Knowing the importance of education from his own lack of it, he made, during his lifetime, liberal donations to our principal seminaries of learning, and at his death made the Asbury University his residuary legatee.

In his journeyings from one Conference to another, which, until the last few years of his life, he performed on horseback, he seldom made himself known to the people among whom he tarried for rest or refreshment. His appearance was that of an honest, well-meaning farmer, simple and unobtrusive. Occasionally some direct question would cause him to reveal himself; but more frequently not until he had gone on his way did those with whom he stopped know that they had been entertaining an angel unawares.

On one of his Southern tours he reached a village in Virginia where, as he had no personal acquaintances, he stopped at a public house; and on the next day, which was the Sabbath, went to church, where, seated among the congregation, he listened to a sermon from a Methodist preacher. Another clergyman of the same denomination closed the service, with whom the bishop, being a respectable-looking stranger, was invited home to dinner. They discoursed together of the sermon they had heard, and the bishop, with his usual modesty, answered the questions which were proposed to him. At dinner the young preacher asked a blessing, and continued catechizing his guest as to whence he came, his business, and whither he

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