Old-fashioned Methodist preachers

Peter Cartwright wrote about the life of a Methodist preacher in the early decades of the 19th century.

A Methodist preacher in those days, when he felt that God had called him to preach, instead of hunting up a college or Biblical institute, hunted up a hardy pony of a horse, and some traveling apparatus, and with his library always at hand, namely, Bible, Hymn Book, and Discipline, he started, and with a text that never wore out nor grew stale, he cried, “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” In this way he went through storms of wind, hail, snow, and rain; climbed hills and mountains, traversed valleys, plunged through swamps, swam swollen streams, lay out all night, wet, weary, and hungry, held his horse by the bridle all night, or tied him to a limb, slept with his saddle blanket for a bed, his saddle or saddle-bags for his pillow, and his old big coat or blanket, if he had any, for a covering. Often he slept in dirty cabins, on earthen floors, before the fire; ate roastingears for bread, drank butter-milk for coffee, or sage tea for imperial; took, with a hearty zest, deer or bear meat, or wild turkey, for breakfast, dinner, and supper, if he could get it. His text was always ready, “Behold the Lamb of God,” &c. This was old-fashioned Methodist preacher fare and fortune. Under such circumstances, who among us would now say, “Here am I, Lord, send me?”


3 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Methodist preachers

  1. I appreciate what the piece is about and the zeal of those in the Early Methodist Movement is applaudable and at minimal they had the foresight to read what they preached.

    There is no group, as large as those that refer to themselves as Christian, that are more ignorant of the discipline, work, history, Word and God then the Christian Community as a whole.
    Compare the many many bloggers, some teachers and way too many preachers words and education with those of Luther, Wesley, Braaten, Bailey, Spurgeon, Calvin, Lewis, Outler and others.
    The work of many today is sloppy, incomplete, misleading, opinion dominated with little basis and not well researched most of the time.


    “….who among us would now say, “Here am I, Lord, send me?”
    I think many would driven by their own ego or inspired by anything but the promotion of the Christian Faith.
    Who should? …Not many.

    1. As believers, we must hold each other up. And even we poorest of disciples are every day put into the position of explaining our faith to skeptical materialists. Because they ask.

      If we stay silent until we are ‘ready’, who will speak?
      We must pray for guidance and study hard, but never fail to point the way as best we can, while admitting our inadequacy.

  2. I agree that few would take the low road today. I do remember, and still know some, who drive from community to community throughout the month to serve more than one church. That takes serious commitment.

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