My mother was restless in those mountains, a hundred miles from a railroad, fifteen miles from a post office, many miles to the old water mill, without churches and schools. The three older children left home, left mother and ten fatherless, poverty-stricken children. My father died in 1872, but in 1876 my mother decided to leave the mountains of Tennessee and migrate to Texas where her children would have a better opportunity. She sold out what little she was possessed of, a few ponies, cows, a flock of sheep, a few shotes, household utensils, and a field of corn. She went ten miles to get a man to bring his wagon and mules to haul her and her ten children to Nashville. We were three days and nights making the trip of one hundred miles.
We left the mountains on Tuesday morning, September 12, 1876; six days later we landed in the city of Dallas, Texas. We were three days on the road, coming to Nashville and three days going from Nashville to Dallas. Fifty-two years ago Dallas was only a straggling village on the banks of the Trinity river. I think there were more saloons and gambling places in Dallas than any other kind of business houses, for Dallas was the headquarters (in those days) for most of the people that came west. The reader knows that Dallas has now become a great city. Most of the traveling fifty years ago was by mule or ox wagons.
A large number of people coming to Texas were mere squatters who would pick up a homestead consisting of 160 acres of land, stay on it a short time and then pull up and return to Arkansas, Louisiana or Tennessee, and within a year or two would come back. I have known people to make eight and ten trips between Texas and Arkansas. They used to come from Arkansas in their old ox wagons, called prairie schooners, on one side of which was written, “I am a rackin’ from Rackensack, going to Texas or bust.” The next year they would come back and written on the other side of the sheet was “I am a rackin’ back to Rackensack busted.” I have seen eight and ten wagons in one company. They would strike camp, sit around the campfire at night, smoke their old cob pipe and some would cuss Texas and brag on Arkansas, while others would cuss Arkansas and brag on Louisiana. Then others would cuss Louisiana and brag on Oklahoma, but finally some old fellow would light his old cob pipe, rear back on his old rawhide bottom chair, let out a mouth full of smoke, and say, “Now boys, hear me. You will never be able to get all the coons up one tree.” He was the philosopher of the crowd. He meant by not getting all the coons up one tree, they would not get them all to agree on one state.
But those were wonderful days in the settling of the great plains of Texas. When in 1876 we landed in that part of the country, there were very few engaged in farming. It was a great stock country. You could ride for a hundred miles and scarcely see a house, nothing but horses and cattle as far as you could see. The men wore leather breeches, a big linsey shirt and broad-brimmed white hats with leather bands around them. They wore high-heeled boots, big pairs of spurs, and most of them had a six shooter buckled on them.
We were not out there long before mother put me to work on a little farm or stock ranch. The man and his wife were Universalists and preached universal doctrines. According to their theology, God brought them into the world without their consent and He would take them out without their permission, therefore if He was a merciful God, as He claimed to be, He would be in duty bound to take them to heaven. During the first week I was in their home, they taught me to play cards. A few nights later they had a big country dance. The man’s wife took me by the hand and led me out on the floor, taking me through my first eight handed country dance.
It wasn’t long before the man and his brothers ran a horse race as they owned a race mare. They took me to the race, which in the early days of Texas was very exciting for a young man. Hundreds of men with six shooters buckled on their belts which were full of gold, would pile up a great number of twenty dollar gold pieces and would tell the rider if he didn’t ride the horse for all that was in him, he would get a bullet right through his head. Dear reader, just imagine one of the riders, who was nothing more than a half grown boy, racing his mount with the understanding that if he didn’t ride the horse for everything that he could get out of him, there would be a bullet put through his head. While it was gambling under the direct control and operation of the devil, yet in one sense it was honest gambling. That is, the horse that could outrun the other would win the gold. You can picture a poor boy like myself at a country dance, playing cards, or attending a horse race. It would not be long until he would be going the downward grade.
For four years we lived that kind of a life until we became as wild as antelopes. But my old mother had been saved in the meantime and she was praying for her boy. Late one afternoon we heard somebody singing and upon looking up saw a man riding a gray pony. He came up and said that he was a Methodist circuit rider, and had come to stay all night. When I came close to him, my heart had all kinds of spells. Sometimes it would run so fast that it would flutter and then it would stand still and wouldn’t go at all. When he told me to put up his horse, water and feed him, I trembled from head to foot. I was afraid to ride the horse to water, for fear he would fall down and kill me and then I knew the devil would get me. Finally the horse was watered and fed. The boys had planned a game of seven-up for that night, but we haven’t played that game as yet and I am of the opinion that the game will never be played.
We went out to supper, sat down and commenced eating but he said, “Hold on there, young men, we are going to ask a blessing at this table.” Everything was as still as death and the eyes of the old Universalist fairly bulged out as the old man turned his face toward heaven and returned thanks. In a moment of time my mind went back to the old hewn-log house in the mountains, where the rugged, old mountaineer had said grace at his table when I was a little boy. After the preacher said grace, all the boys went to eating as if in a hurry. He seemed to understand and he said, “Young men, don’t leave when supper is over until we have family prayers.” My, my! Think of having family prayers in one of those ranch cabins where the branding iron and lariat were lying near the door, six shooters hanging around the wall and the Winchester rifles stacked in the corner. But nevertheless, when the old preacher gave orders, we obeyed.
Supper being ended, he opened up his saddle-bags, brought out his Bible and read a long chapter about heaven. When he called us to prayer, every one of us went down on our knees. The reader can see the difference between playing seven-up and two-down. That’s the reason we never played the game, as seven-up is played with a deck of cards and two-down is played on the knees. The old preacher didn’t ask us how long he would be permitted to pray, nor how loud, nor what he was to tell the Lord. No, beloved, he did not consult us, but when he began to pray you could hear him for a quarter of a mile. He prayed as loud as he could whoop. It seemed to me he knew everything we had done for four years, and told the Lord about it. He told Him we were out there drinking, gambling, lying and stealing and that there was just one breath between us and the hot doors of damnation. It was so awful that I would get so cold that my teeth would chatter; then I would get so hot that the perspiration would break out all over me. As the old man continued in prayer he would shout at the top of his voice: “Great God, keep these men out of hell tonight.”
Beloved, that was one long night. At about the break of day, the old preacher awoke, rolled out of his bunk, went down on his knees and prayed. After dressing he went out about the barn to have his morning worship and secret prayer. While he was supposed to have been praying in secret, you could hear him all over the place. Breakfast was soon ready and he offered thanks again, read another chapter and had prayer with us. After saddling his horse, he brought his saddlebags and his Bible and mounted the gray pony. We could hear him as he went across the plains, singing in a loud, clear voice, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind but now I see.” The one thing I never shall forget was that when he was getting ready to mount the pony, he shook hands with us and held onto our hands until they ached and said so kindly, “My friends, I can’t get back to see you for a month.” No one had asked him to return but nevertheless we stood and watched as he rode away and heard the last words of that beautiful old hymn float across the prairie. Just as the sun was rolling up from behind the eastern hills, while he was singing the last verse of “Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound,” over in a ravine located about a half mile from the ranch, a great pack of wolves set up a howl until it seemed like they would wake up the dead. What a strange feeling came over us. God’s messenger singing a beautiful old hymn while the wolves were howling until the ground fairly shook. Though I was not saved, and did not know God, it seemed to me that Jesus Christ had come to the frontier of Texas, in the life of this preacher, and that the devil was in a pack of wolves, and the devil was fleeing before Christ. I suppose that in all uncivilized and unsettled countries the wolves owl by day and by night. Beloved reader, no country is civilized or settled until the preacher of the gospel appears on the scene. Whether you agree with me or not, a country has progressed a long way toward civilization when the preacher of the gospel arrives on the scene.
Sure enough, one afternoon about a month later, we heard a song and saw the old gray pony coming back to the stock ranch. The man of God had made his circuit. But oh, beloved, how different from the first time he came. When he arrived the second time, the whole crowd was down at the gate to shake hands and give him a hearty welcome. It felt as though God had come to the frontier. After shaking hands he gave us some bad news. Well, some of you may say, “What was the bad news? Had any of his loved ones died? Had some misfortune befallen him?” Oh, no, beloved, it was worse than that. He said, “I am going to stay with you two or three days on this trip.” My, my, my heart sank within me as I said to myself, “If this preacher stays here three days, I will be a dead man, for no man can stand his praying for three days.” Sure enough, for the next two or three days he prayed in the house, in the barn, behind the haystack and out in the ravine. Any time of the day or night you could hear the man in prayer. All the praying he did at the house was called family prayers, but when he was praying behind the haystack so you could hear him for a half mile, he called it secret prayer. The reader will agree with me that nowadays we need someone to have secret prayer and pray so loud that it will alarm the settlement. That man will never know how much good he accomplished on that trip. For it was his praying in secret, as he called it, that stirred every fiber of my being, until my very soul was alarmed over my condition.
Before he left, he told us he was going to hold a campmeeting about eighteen or twenty miles below where we lived. It was to be held during the month of August in the year 1880. My mother planned to go to that campmeeting with one of our neighbors in his mule wagon. Mother told me she was going to take me with her. When the time came to go to meeting I climbed down from a Texas saddle, threw down a lariat and a branding iron and pulled off my spurs. I did not change my clothes for if I had, I would have gone without any. I had on every rag of clothing that I possessed, consisting of an old pair of gray overalls with the knees out, an old, dirty, blue hickory shirt with the elbows out, and an old pair of run-down boots with the toes out. I had neither socks nor coat to put on. I wore an old, dirty, white hat with a leather band on it. It was so greasy it would have made soap. That was my Sunday suit and my everyday clothes.
My old preacher friend was instrumental in getting a rich old ranchman converted who told the preacher that if he would arrange for an old Methodist campmeeting like they used to have in the North when he was a boy, they could kill as many of his fat cattle as were needed to make beef. He had them scattered over the plains for hundreds of miles. People living at a distance of 250 miles came to the meeting in their ox wagons. In those days the wagons were covered with old-fashioned sheets and bows which made a roof over their heads.
The men dug a big trench and put on a big wash-kettle for stewing beef. They would then go out and kill a big fat calf and put it in the kettle and stew it while the women baked big old brown-back biscuits in the skillets over the chunk fires. The biscuits had brown backs and white hearts and were so good that if a fellow should eat one he would never forget it. They made coffee in the tea-kettles. They would put big pans of biscuits on the tables which were a hundred feet long and about three feet wide, together with big bowls of stewed beef and pour the black coffee into pint cups. The people would line up on both sides of the table, sing a song and say grace. I have seen the old mothers shout until they would shake their bonnets off and the tucking combs from their hair. No charge was made for the meals. They were free to everyone.
Deep conviction had settled down on me the second day. I felt that I was lost. One day the preachers asked the workers to go down into the crowd and find a sinner and pray for him wherever they found him. A beautiful old mother with beautiful white hair and the finest face I ever saw came through the crowd. She looked like you could take a rag and wipe heaven off her face. She found me sitting on the back bench. There was no need of her saying, “Young man, are you a sinner?” She looked at me and knew no Christian ever looked like I did. She went down before me on her knees and put her hands upon my bare knees where they were sticking through my dirty overalls and prayed for me as loud as she could. The devil got up and said, “If you don’t give her a cussing she never will quit.” But it seemed the Lord said, “Don’t you cuss this woman, she is praying for your lost soul.” Then it seemed to me that the devil said, “If you don’t get up and run they are going to get you.” But beloved, God had come on the scene. I tried to get up but could not get off the bench. It seemed as though I was glued to it while the devil fairly hissed in my face. That beautiful mother prayed louder and louder and finally began to shout and rising on her knees began to beat me on the head until I thought I was going to sink through the ground into the pit. The old mother shouted as long as she wanted to and when she finally arose, looked like she was half glorified. She went back toward the platform and mourner’s bench but she did not say when she left, “Young man, come to the altar tonight.” No, beloved, she did not ask me to come to the altar. That woman was acquainted with God and knew I was coming to the mourner’s bench provided I ever was able. That was the only thing to be considered.
When the service was over, I finally pulled loose from that bench and arose but the arrow of conviction had gone through my poor heart until I couldn’t pull it out. In my agony I walked the grounds that afternoon, too sick to eat my dinner. I wished for the sun to go down. I thought if the sun would go down that it would get dark and no one could see how mean I was. When the sun went down my awful heart was not only dark on the outside but it was black on the inside. Then I felt that I would be a dead man before daylight. But, praise the Lord, they lit up the old torchlights on the ground and the congregation began to sing, “Oh, who will come and go with me, I’m bound for the promised land.” I marched up to the camp ground and had taken a back seat when I noticed a little red-headed girl that I had met somewhere on the dance floor. The devil always goes to meeting. He came to me and said, “If you can get up a courtship with that little girl on the back bench you will get easy.” But beloved, a courtship never eases a guilty conscience and a lost soul. While I tried to talk to her, I felt like a lost man.
The preacher who had preached up to that night was a tall man with a long beard and hair a little inclined to baldness and wore a long coat. The man who preached that night did not fill the bill as far as I was concerned. He wore a very short coat. His beard was short and his hair stood straight up on his head. He looked dangerous. I thought he couldn’t preach a lick and would be a failure. I later learned that he was one of the greatest preachers west of the Mississippi river. He preached of a lost world without a Savior, where the devil was boss and general manager, and where people were under the awful dominion of the devil. He pictured Christ laying aside His robes of royal splendor, putting on humanity, and being born in a manger; then he pictured Christ on the cross, because He loved a lost and dying world. He made the crucifixion of Christ so real that it seemed to me He had died a week ago somewhere in Texas.
When he made his altar call, the response was so general that to all appearance the whole crowd would finally land at the altar. They went whooping, yelling, screaming and praying just as loud as they could. Two or three preachers were helping men to the altar. There were so many that they turned the benches around to make a great big pen. They actually filled it full. I stood back and wept. I wanted to go to the altar but as I knew nothing of church, preachers, meetings or salvation, I really did not know how to start or what to do.
Thank God, He will always help the boy that wants to do right. An old preacher with a long white beard and beautiful white locks came down the aisle and said, “Is there a young man back here that wants to meet me in heaven?” If so, come and give me your hand and I will pray that God may save you.” I stood and wept. One moment I said, “If Jesus loved me well enough to die for me, I will love Him well enough to fight for Him.” While in the next breath, I said, “I will shoot the first man that talks about Jesus Christ.” My gun, which was loaded, was in my pocket. As the old preacher pleaded I started, saying, “I can do that much, I can at least give him my hand.” When I reached him I was crying as loud as I could. He grabbed at my hand, missed it, but took me by the arm. He gave it a shake and when he turned me loose, I started down the aisle toward the mourner’s bench. I did not go very far until the devil stood before me and said, “If you go to the mourner’s bench, the preacher will see your ragged old breeches and make fun of you.” When he couldn’t stop me with that, he said, “They’ll see your old pistol and that will get you into trouble.” But, thank God, he didn’t stop me with that, but as I went down the aisle the old pistol felt as big as a mule; and the old deck of cards in my pocket was as big as a bale of cotton. When I would get on my right foot, I thought I was going right into the pit and I would stagger. Then when I would get on my left foot, that deck of cards weighed as much as a bale of cotton. I know today exactly what King David meant when he said, “They will reel to and fro, and will stagger like a drunken man and be at their wit’s end.”
When I reached the altar, somebody said, “Fix a seat for this young man. He is deeply struck.” Thank God, that man was a philosopher. The only mistake he made, was that I was not able to sit in a rocking chair because my hide was so full of gospel bullets that I was just about all in. I fell over the mourner’s bench and somebody got me by the heels and straightened me out. Right there I caught the devil in a lie. He told me when I started down the aisle that those people would see my old ragged breeches and make fun of me. To my glad surprise, every preacher knelt around me as I prayed and screamed as loud as I could, for God to have mercy on me and save my lost soul. My shrieks and wails seemed to touch the heart of every preacher there as they knelt around me with their faces turned toward heaven and their hands in the air. I had never heard men pray like that before.
It was a life and a death struggle. A poor soul was right on the borderland of death and destruction, but God’s mercy had reached my case. While we were praying together the bottom dropped out of heaven and my soul was flooded with light and joy until literal waves of glory rolled up and down my soul. I don’t know how I got up, but bless God, I know I got up because I am up now. When I did get on my feet, the people looked like angels. They appeared to be robed in white. It was as light as if it had been at the noon hour of the day but behold it was about eleven o’clock at night. This was on Wednesday, August 11, 1880. How well I recall that night. It will stay with me forever. No doubt the reader has heard the little song, “How well I remember in sorrow’s dark night, when the lamp of His word shed its beautiful light, more grace He has given and the burden’s removed, and over and over His goodness I’ve proved. And shall I turn back into the world? Oh, no, not I, not I.”
I believe that getting religion is the finest thing in the known world. After I hopped, skipped, jumped and shouted until midnight, I would jump the mourner’s bench from one side to the other, all the time telling the people that I had got religion. Well, thank the Lord, I got religion sure enough, and it seemed like religion had got me. After shouting until about midnight, I went down to the ravine and threw my revolver away. I kindled a little chunk fire and burnt my deck of cards. Then I crawled under an ox wagon, lay down on the bare ground, and placed my hat on a chunk for a pillow. I did not go to sleep, for sleep had left the country. I lay there and laughed like a boy at a circus. I was almost tickled to death every burden gone, my guilt gone and all sorrow and sadness gone. I forgot that I lived in poverty. I thought that I was dressed like the angels. While my heart was turning somersaults, I was laughing like a boy at a circus. I was one boy that kept company with his religion the very first night that he got it. I felt that night as though I never would be sick, sad, lonesome, hungry or in trouble. It seemed to me that heaven was three feet away.
During the night Jesus came under the wagon and called me to preach. I could see His beautiful face with a crown of thorns on His brow. I could see the sweat and blood mingled on His face, and the old purple robe over His shoulders. He was so real to me. I can never forget my first meeting with Jesus. He told me that He wanted me to preach His gospel while I told Him that I would go. I had no idea, that night, what it meant to be a God-called preacher of the gospel, but after forty-seven years of preaching almost day and night, living a lonely life, sometimes spending only one week at home during a whole year, I have learned that when God calls a man to preach, God really has something for him to do.
The night He called me to preach I saw no evening slippers, and no smoking gowns, no cigar cases, and no easy hammock, but I saw a world steeped in sin, sin-cursed, devil-ridden, hell-plodding and without hope. But thank God, His grace has never failed. I believe the Book, “My grace is sufficient for thee. Your strength is made perfect in weakness. I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. I will guide thee with mine eye.” I believe the preacher that is led by the spirit of the Master, upheld by the right hand of His righteousness, and guided with His eye, will get to the right place every time, and also get there at the right time. Beloved, I believe that you ought to ask God to help us, as preachers of the gospel! to do the right thing at the right time and do the thing in the right way.
The next morning, as day was beginning to break, I crawled from under the ox wagon and went out on the camp ground. I watched the sun rise in all its grandeur and glory. The whole heavens were lighted up. I would look in one direction and it would appear to be like mountains of oranges; in another direction, like tons of strawberries and I’d look in another direction and it was like tons of ice cream. It seemed to me that the angels were having strawberries and ice cream for breakfast. I turned and looked at a great flock of clouds in another direction and it had the appearance of a great flock of sheep with their wool on fire. Just about that time heaven came down to the earth and I was so blest that soon I was leaping up and down, clapping my hands and praising God as loud as I could shout.
About that time a man came along and said, “Are you going up to the testimony meeting this morning?” I said, “Yes, sir, I am going up.” I had never been in a testimony meeting. In fact I had never heard tell of one. As I walked up to the big arbor, I wondered what kind of meeting it would be. If it was as good as the one we had last night, it would surely be great. When we got up to the arbor the man took down a big ox horn and blew until it sounded like a bugle. They used the ox horn instead of a bell to call the people to the tabernacle. At the sound of that horn the people came from every direction. They came out of their wagons and tents until there were people all over the old camp shed. A man read a few verses of scripture; they sang I and prayed, after which the meeting was open for testimonies. I wondered what in the world it was going to be like.
A man arose and began to praise God and testify to the saving grace of God. While he testified my heart was leaping for joy, but when he sat down, another man beat me up. A big tall man with black beard and long black hair with a big woolen shirt, overalls and high-heeled boots, stood in the presence of that crowd. His frame trembled as he said, “Oh, brethren, I have been on these prairies for twenty years as a ranchman and have committed all the sins known to a ranchman. When I heard of this meeting last night about dark it made me mad. I saddled my horse and rode in last night. I came to whip every preacher on the grounds and run everybody off. But when I arrived here last night at a late hour, I beheld one of the strangest sights of my life. There would be a crowd over on one side singing, and a crowd on another side shouting. Their hands were up; their hair was hanging down their backs and their faces looked like angels. Over in another place would be a crowd down on their knees praying. Somebody would then rise up and start shouting. I said, ‘Well, I won’t whip anybody until they quit and quiet down,’ but instead of stopping, they became worse. Finally (to see just what they were doing), I made my way through the crowd to a bench right in the middle of the arbor where I could see everything that was going on. The great multitude seemingly did not know I was there but while they prayed, sang and shouted, my whole life stood before me. I saw that I was a lost man. I knew that if I should die I would go straight to hell. The burden became so awful that I fell off the bench. I got down between two benches where two or three men gathered around me. They began to sing and pray with and for me. This morning, just before day, God saved my soul.”
I could stand it no longer. I had to do something or die or simply blow up. I jumped just as high as I could; screamed as loud as I could and began to jump up and down as fast as I could. It looked like I would die with religious satisfaction. The Lord came to my relief and showed me a big post under the old arbor. I threw both arms around that post and started up just like a gray squirrel. I climbed until my head got to the brush and I could go no farther. While I was sticking there on the side of the post, God poured out His Spirit on the people.
After forty-seven years of preaching on the greatest camp grounds of the nation, I have yet to witness another such scene as took place there on that morning. I believe that the Holy Spirit was poured out on that multitude of from 150 to 300 people and they were filled with the Holy Ghost just as they were on the day of Pentecost. There were hundreds of people leaping in the air clapping their hands, praising God at the top of their voice. Men ran into each other’s arms and wrestled like athletes. The women literally danced and shouted until they looked like angels. Waves of glory swept over them until it looked like they were immersed in glory. Of course, I could not stay on the side of the post long and had to climb down. I got down on the bench and watched them.
After the glory had subsided, the preacher said they would open the doors of the church this morning. Then I wondered again what they were going to do. I could not see how they could open the doors of the church when there was no church in sight. They stood up and sang, “Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,” to the tune of the old southern melody. My! My! What music they made. While they sang the old hymn, a great multitude marched up and gave the preacher their hands, and I saw what it meant to open the doors of the church.
Being led of the Spirit, I marched up and gave the preacher my hand. He took me by the hand and with such tender love and kindness, looked down into the face of the little dirty, ragged boy and said, “My son, what church do you want to join?”
I said, “I don’t know. How many have you?” I think he mentioned Baptists, Presbyterians, Christians and then the Methodists.
I said, “Which one of these are you a member of?” He replied, “I am a member of the Methodist church.”
I said, “I want you to put me in the same church that you are in.”
Then he said to me so kindly, “I will do that. How do you want to be baptized?”
I replied, “I don’t know. When you baptize a fellow, how do you fix him up?”
He said, “Some people want to be immersed,” and told me how that was done; “some people want to have the water sprinkled on them, but other people want to take the church vows and kneel down and have the water poured on their heads.”
“Well,” I said, “I want you to fix me up that way.”
He said, “That’s the way I’ll baptize you.” He sent for a little pitcher of spring water. It was the first glass pitcher that I had ever seen. Up to that time I did not know that you could make pitchers out of glass. I stood before him and he gave me the church vows. I will never forget when he said, “Dost thou renounce the devil and all of his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, with all covetous desires? Will thou not follow or be led by them?” He instructed me how to correctly answer the questions.
I knelt down as he stood before me with the pitcher of water in his hand. I did not hear much of the ceremony but recall that he said, “My son, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” By that time, the water was pouring down in a stream over my head. I began to shout as loud as I could, but he held me down and continued to pour the water over my head. When he finished, my head and shoulders were thoroughly wet. He had baptized boys with more sense than I possessed, but he never baptized one that made more noise and received more from a baptismal service.
Thank God for the fact that I had been converted, joined the church, taken the church vows and had been baptized. I was now on the road to heaven, in poverty, yet a millionaire; without a home, yet all heaven was mine. No doubt the reader has read the book, “Twice Born Men.” I know what that means, for I was born the first time on the 27th day of January, 1860, in the mountains of Tennessee, but I was born the second time on the eleventh day of August, 1880, on the beautiful prairies of dear old Texas. Herein lies the difference between the two: I was born a rascal the first time, as one of the first recollections of my life was that of stealing something. I was born a Christian the second time and for more than forty-seven years I haven’t taken a thing in the world that did not belong to me.