Subject: INCIDENTS #6
Date: October 26, 1998



The Reverend John Elmore DuBois

Edited by Elizabeth A. DuBois
(c) 1998  DuBois Publishing Co. All rights reserved.

Fighting Peters; Earthquake

        During my youth and early manhood, quite a number of men served
the charges in Charleston, and many of them became so distinguished for
piety, zeal and eloquence, that their names are familiar in all
Methodist circles.  As these have many descendants that read the
Advocate, it may not be amiss to mention some of them.  I do so from
memory.  Prominent among them were: Samuel Mills, Richard Nolly, Wm.
Kennedy, S. Duwroody, F. Ward, T. Mason, R. Rumph, N. Powers, J. Capers,
Wm. Capers, S. Meek, A. Tally, J.B.Blanton, A. Center, S. K. Hodges, D.
Christopher, H.T. Fitzgerald, H. Bass, A. Morgan and Jas. O. Andrew.

I mentioned in my first paper that in the early days of Methodism in
Charleston the Church suffered from mobs, riots and various
persecutions.  These continued until I was nearly grown.  Bethel, where
my parents worshiped, was frequently annoyed by bands of rude and wicked
young men.  But, as in apostolic days, we had some fighting Peters in
the Church--men that knew no personal fear and brooked no insult with

        One night while a crowd was disturbing the assembly, one of
these fighting Methodists went out and threatened the whole of them,
telling them he could whip a regiment of such cowards; but, knowing the
pluck and spirit of the man, they took good care not to accept the

        On another occasion, while William Capers was preaching on the
divinity of Christ, a man in the congregation gave him the lie. 
Immediately Mr. Capers took his seat; whereupon some parties, not
members of the Church, hurried him to the door and thrust him down the
steps.  When quiet was restored, Mr. Capers rose and finished his sermon
as though nothing had occurred.

        Partly through curiosity, and from a desire to hear the
impassioned eloquence of the Methodist preachers, great crowds would
attend our churches at night.  This had its effect; for the gospel was
preached with such earnestness and power, that it proved to be seed sown
in good ground that brought forth an hundred fold.

        It has been noticed by all observant men that many sinners are
quite brave in times of peace, and when no danger impends, but as soon
as anything occurs to test true courage, they show the coward's flag. 
This is strikingly true of skeptics and scoffers.  Christianity has its
sentiments so deeply imbedded in their thoughts that when sudden danger
or calamity threatens them, their skepticism deserts them.

       Of the truth of this we had many striking illustrations in the
1816.  For several days in succession mother earth showed signs of
dissolution and unrest.  She shook and trembled.  Brick buildings
cracked, frail chimneys toppled over, crockery rattled on the shelves,
and fear and trembling seized upon the people.  The consternation was so
great that the churches were thrown open as places of resort for the
terror-stricken.  It was a time of great distress and anxiety.  But its
effects upon saint, and sinner, were very different.  While the former
were rejoicing that they had been making preparation for such an event,
or death in any form, the latter were crowding the altars for prayers. 
Here the actions of skeptics and infidels contradicted their
professions, and trembling and affrighted sinners shrank from deserved
wrath.  Here it was that men of boasted courage showed themselves to be
cowards, and quaked before the first mutterings of danger, while timid
Christians showed true courage.  There is a great difference between
moral and animal courage.

[to be cont.]

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