In presenting to the public this volume of Sam Jones' sermons we feel that we are presenting the most remarkable and effective evangelical literature of the age; words that have had the effect of converting thousands to the Religion of Christ and of redeeming thousands more from drunkard's graves. The powerful truths in this book are often illustrated with keen sarcasm, irony and ridicule, the happiest anecdote, wit and humor; yet the powerful truths of the gospel are never lost sight of. We retain in this volume, in addition to the words of the evangelist, the results of his final appeals to the audience to give their souls to Christ, and it is hoped that in this permanent form the book will be the means of doing great good.
Sam Jones, as he is commonly called, was born in Chambers County, Ala., Oct. 16, 1847. He was brought up, where he resides, in Cartersville, Bartow County, Georgia. His relatives have been church-members for many years; four of his uncles were ministers of the gospel. Sam's father was a lawyer, and gave him the best possible education. His mother was, likewise, very religious.
Samuel began legal practice with brilliant prospects. He became quite dissipated. His father's death-bed exhortation caused him to reform.
Soon after, he married Miss Laura McElwain, of Eminence, Ky., who cheers him yet.
He became a traveling preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, in October, 1872. He was successful in his work. Gradually, he became a traveling evangelist. He met with extraordinary encouragement, and worked in several Southern states. He attracted the attention of Rev. T. De Witt Talmage, who employed him in a grand revival at the Brooklyn Tabernacle.
Then, after holding meetings, which attracted widespread attention, in several Southern cities, Mr. Jones attacked Satan at St. Louis. Thence his work branched out. Mr. Jones often uses slang and other uncouth language to attract attention. He is one of the most sensational preachers in the world, yet his meetings produce intense interest and an immense harvest a converts, most of who "stick." Withal, he is endorsed by leading orthodox ministers wherever he goes.
SAM W. SMALL
One of the curiosities of humanity is the history of Sam Small, the converted journalist. "Moody and Sankey" are no more inseparable than the "Two Sams." Mr. Jones' co-laborer in the Lord's work was born in Knoxville, Tenn., about 1842. He lived in Georgia and New Orleans in youth. He graduated at a Virginia college, and became a lawyer. Obeying natural impulse, he changed into a journalist.
After working on several papers, and marrying a Congressman's daughter, Mr. Small accepted a place on the staff of the Atlanta Constitution, and became official stenographer of the Atlanta Superior Court. His writings, as "Old Si," in the Negro dialect, gave him a national reputation as a humorist.
After occupying various government clerical positions, and working at the journalistic treadmill, he came to the pivotal point of his life.
He took his children, a valise, a clean shirt, and a bottle of whisky, and went to Cartersville, to see and hear Sam Jones. He became converted, and abjured whisky and journalism forever.
Sam Small is a gilt-edged, morocco-covered edition of Sam Jones. They promise to do a grand and ever increasing work. Mr. Small has more polish than Mr. Jones, and is a better speaker. Since Dec. 13, 1884, Mr. Small has done what he could for the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and has a brilliant future before him.
THE CHEERFUL CHRISTIAN
The 4th verse of the 37th Psalm —
“Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desire of thy heart.”
The Lord loves the cheerful singer, the cheerful prayer, and all who take a cheerful spirit in their work. I can't conceive where this notion that everyone who works for the Lord must be sad, originated. It must be some relic of heathenism or paganism. It is a blessing to any church to have a bright, joyous, cheerful congregation. I like to see my children happy, and when I see them sad and hang their Leads I know that there is something wrong. Suppose you had a servant at home who always wore a discontented look, and whenever you told her to do anything, she did it very reluctantly. Do you think you would keep her long? Well, I guess not. You would ask your husband to discharge her before her week was up. You would much rather do your own work.
The Lord watches us how we go about his work. If we go along sadly and discontentedly and are very reluctant in executing his labors, he will call the angel and say: “Just erase his name from the list of my servants. I will do the work myself.” Some of us profess to be servants of the Lord, but work for the devil, and come around at the end of the week and want the Lord to pay for our services. I like the servant who goes about his work with a smile and says: “I am glad I have this to do.”
When I hear a preacher talking way down in his throat in that sad and solemn voice, I want to get my hat and get out as soon as I can. If Congress should say Sam Jones could never preach another sermon in this country, I would take the first steamer for some other place. I like to preach.
THE FEAR OF DEATH AS A MORAL STIMULUS
I asked a sister this morning that if she had the choice of removing any one thing, what it would be, and she answered, “Death.” If death were to be removed, religion would amount to nothing. If everyone in St. Louis knew that they were not going to die for the next hundred years, I would have to close up shop.
The people would say, "Good-by, Jones, religion and Hell. We've got a snap on this thing for the next ninety-five years, and we've got no use for you.” Then, just before the hundred years had expired and they knew they were going to die, they would come around again and want to get religion. Death is the only thing that makes religion. Serious meetings are not recognized by God, and they are beneath the devil's contempt Do you know what the matter is? Why, nine-tenths of the members were off playing euchre or some other game.
Mr. Jones asked Rev. W. V. Tudor, who occupied a seat on the platform, about how many of his congregation played cards. Mr. Tudor replied that he didn't know of any.
"Well,” said the revivalist, “then you've got the best church in the world. Now, all who are present that don’t play cards please stand up.” About one fourth of the congregation arose.
“There’s proof for you,” continued Mr. Jones, turning to Mr. Tudor. “Well,” responded the latter, “there are none of the members of my church among them.”