To Whom Shall We Liken Him?
It may not prove profitless to trace some of the correspondences between Mr. Weber andothers of the same evangelistic lineage, who have sounded the Gospel trumpet in this and in othercenturies. He is unlike Noah, in that his efforts appear much more successful; yet he resembles him inthat his own family have confidence in his religion. Since his conversion, his entire family, withthe exception of his father and one sister, have turned from Catholicism and ” entered the ark.” Thefather is standing at its entrance, and his sister is awakened.
In his deliverance from death in infancy, he reminds us of Moses; also in that the burden ofhis mission is the rescuing of captives from bondage.
Like Joshua, he is dauntless, aggressive and full of faith, daring to echo the shout of victoryin the defiant presence of Jerichos and giants, as well as to sing praises after their surrender.
Like Isaiah, he has a glowing enthusiasm, vivid imagination, and the readiness that is eversaying,
“Here, Lord, am I, send me, send me.”
He has, like Jeremiah, a special mission “to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, andto throw down, to build and to plant.” He is like him, also, in that there are seasons of which hecan say, “His word was in my heart, a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary withforbearing and could not stay”; and in that he often has a burden of soul for the people, such as ledJeremiah to say, ” Oh, that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I mightweep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!” In prevailing prayer he reminds usof Elijah on Mt. Carmel, and his meetings are suggestive of the testing there of the religion of Baaland of the living God.
Like Elisha he was called to minister in holy things from secular employment.
As with Ezekiel, God has against his enemies “made his face strong against their faces, andIsis forehead strong against their foreheads. As an adamant harder than flint.” Thus, like him, he isenabled to deal crushing blows against the sins of the day, and at the same time, without injury,receive any blows that may be returned. . His descriptive powers also remind of those of Chebar’sprophet.
Like Daniel, he weighs great men in “God’s balances,” and fearlessly declares to them Hismessages. Regardless of men’s pet and set ways of doing things, and emphasizing the ScriptureGospel of repentance, he, probably in this respect more than any other evangelist, except it may beJones, resembles John the Baptist.
Like the apostles, he forsook all to follow Christ, and like them, were it not for existingprotective laws, would doubtless meet a violent death.
Like Paul, he was converted suddenly. He says, “I did not know I was under conviction onemoment before I was saved. As soon as I saw the light, I accepted it.”
Rescued from the Church of Rome, like the evangelistic reformers of the Reformation he iszealous in exposing its errors.
In his burning zeal for souls, his scorn of all opposition and his love for sacred song, heseems akin to Wesley, while his ” magnetic” influence over a congregation, and his multiplicity ofpublic services, are suggestive of a Whitefield.
Himself receiving blessed baptisms of the Holy Ghost like Finney, with him he is a mightypower in personal persuasion and appeal, and in “holding on” to God and man until revival victorycomes.
In profligacy before conversion, and fearlessness, fervency and evangelistic successafterwards, he resembles the sainted Summerfield.
In the discouragements he met when first beginning Christian work, he reminds of Moody;also in his fearless presentation of the Word.
A part of Hyde’s description of Thomas Harrison, whose fame fills the land, appliesfittingly also to Mr. Weber. “His eyesight is keen; no movement in any part of a great congregationescapes him. His wit is ready; he knows as if by instinct how to answer a question, how toencourage a movement, and how to quell a disorder. Yet he is immensely inferior to what he isdoing. No wit nor wisdom nor speech of his is equal to what is done in his presence.” Hissermons, delivery and mode of conducting a meeting are such, that he has been frequently likenedto this successful
Like them all, he is misunderstood, and sometimes slandered, reviled and otherwisepersecuted, by the leaders of sham “society.”
He also reaches the masses with his messages, gets a hearing and sends it home with suchenergy that it will never be forgotten. Captious critics, as with them, carp at the way he sometimesdoes it, but he is too busy to be bothered by their bickerings. At their faces, like others of hisillustrious line, he rebukes men of their sins; and when they condemn him for severity in so doing,they arraign the prophets, Whitefield, Wesley and all who have been true to their message from onhigh.
As with all of the worthies mentioned, great crowds attend his ministry, and God crownshis labors, as theirs, with success, such as will more vividly appear throughout the ages of eternity.
Like theirs, his converts do not all “hold out.” A large proportion of them do, butsometimes they have to be left with teachers who are unable to lead them on unto holiness.Sometimes they are starved to death on the husks of “scientific” sermons, or are “amused” or”entertained” to death. Some are “shallow earth” and others “stony ground” hearers and others likethe seed that “fell among the thorns.”
It was so with Jesus’ ministry. Some thronged Him for the loaves and the fishes, but whenHe gave them a real spiritual talk, “many of his disciples went back and walked no more withhim.” Paul lamented sad backsliding among early converts, and Wesley takes up the same wail.Probably as large a proportion as usual of Mr. Weber’s converts remain firm.
With all the other bright stars in this wonderful evangelistic cluster, God cares for andprotects him, and will continue so to do, if faithful, and the perils of this life, the swellings ofJordan, the throes of dissolving nature, the scenes of the Judgment Day and through the cycles ofeternity.
To Him be glory forever! Amen.
Like all of those mentioned, his most eloquent eulogiums will be after he is dead and gone.Then, as with them, when the “mists have cleared away,” his work for humanity will be betterappreciated than during his life. As he sometimes says when criticized for giving merited praise,”The world needs more ‘taffy’ and less of ‘epitaphy.'”
To comprehend all the results of his evangelistic work would be as impossible as tonumber the stars in the heavens.
Through his agency God has put in motion influences that will vibrate throughout eternity.
It is thought that twenty thousand have professed conversion in his meetings. He has theknowledge of twenty-five young men converted in his meetings who are going, or have gone, intothe ministry. There are doubtless many more whom he knows not of. The church debts that havebeen paid and buildings erected, the believers perfected and backsliders reclaimed, and theservice for God rendered by his converts on earth and their successes on the shores of eternity, notongue is able to tell.
Bro. Weber’s life, in a marked manner, shows that it is the highest wisdom to hearken untoGod rather than unto men. Not that human counsel should be entirely ignored, but secondary. “Ifany man lack wisdom let him ask of God.”
Had he listened to his well-meaning advisers, and remained in the pastorate instead ofheeding, as he did, the Spirit’s voice, the probabilities are that through his agency only hundredswould have been saved where now ere have been thousands. Instead of becoming an evangelistwhose worth in the church and in heaven is reckoned by the souls he has rescued from the pit of sinto shine in Jesus’ crown, he would probably have been but a divine whose greatness the peoplewould have measured by the number of cents in his salary.
Is it possible to conceive of how he could have made more of his life than God is makingof it in the field to which He has called him? The following words of another, slightly altered,seem very fitting when applied to him, and may be a stimulus to all who, like him, are devoting alltheir energies to the salvation of souls:–
“Suppose he had set his heart on assisting the starving, hungry crowds, and, in order toaccomplish it, had gone to work to reduce taxation; to increase the opportunities of thewage-earning class to help themselves; to invent new forms of employment, or by various plans toincrease their ability to earn money. Supposing he had given himself up to this, and thus expendedhis life in the struggle; does anyone, acquainted with the main causes of poverty, think that throughany alterations in the laws, or by any other success that might have attended his efforts, anythinglike the number of poor people would have been benefited, or to anything like the extent which hasbeen the case, as the result of what he has been enabled to do in the direct work of saving themfrom sin?
“(a) Supposing he had set to work to make money in order to bestow it on the poor, and hadsucceeded, what would the scattering of a few thousand dollars have been compared with the sumthat reformed people have earned for themselves, or saved from public places and gambling hellsas the result of their regenerated characters, and of those habits of sobriety, industry and economywhich flow from salvation?
“(b) Or suppose he had started upon the track of social reform and had achievedremarkable success in that direction, which would not have been certain, the beneficial results tothe poor people must necessarily have been immensely behind what has been accomplishedthrough his revivals, by the influence of which many, saved from the poverty which serfdom to sinentailed, have transported themselves to comfortable cottages and dwellings, and in manyinstances have advanced to respectable social positions
“(c) Or suppose that, in order to alleviate the lot of the poor, he had given all his time andtaxed all his energies to shorten their hours of toil, and to cheer and alleviate their existence, andhad succeeded as well as such reformers usually do. Who would claim that the result would beginto compare with what he has accomplished?
“In thousands of homes where once nothing was known but cursing, quarreling and misery,there is now the spirit of contentment, and song of praise and gladness, while hundreds ofindividuals literally sing their way through all the hardship, persecution and difficulty they arecalled to endure in seeking to rescue their fellows from the abyss out of which they themselveshave been lifted by the glorious salvation of the cross
“(d) Suppose that, out of pity for the poor who suffer from disease, he had embarked in thestudy and profession of a physician, and sup. pose that he had prospered in this profession farbeyond an average practitioner, what success could he possibly have accomplished in the removaland prevention of disease compared with what has been wrought through these wonderfulrevivals? If cleanliness and clothing and warmth and abstinence from intoxicants and narcotics,together with the practice of morality and the use of nourishing food, with kindness, tender nursing,happiness and love, not only prevent disease, but go far in the majority of cases in effecting itscure, then what multitudes of precious children and fathers and mothers are bale and hearty today,and likely to continue so, who, but for his loyalty to the evangelistic call, would have beensuffering on sick beds or lying cold and stark in the dark and cheerless grave!
“(e) Suppose that, lured by the fascinating claims of the poor drunkard, he had thrownhimself in his behalf into any or all of the various temperance reformation enterprises. Could hehave hoped to have delivered as many hundreds from the chains of the dark fiend as through theinstrumentality of his revivals have been rescued?
“Or could he have ever dreamed, in his most sanguine moments, of being able to make anyinfinitesimal proportion of the number of abstainers that this movement has produced? Could hehave hoped to have created any such portion of enlightened public opinion on the subject, or tohave created such an amount of execration of the drink traffic and abhorrence of it as afortune-making business as he has been enabled to thus bring about. We think not; we are sure not.
“Supposing he could have produced by merely human efforts the material, earthlywell-being aimed at; if he could have removed the heavy burdens of the poor; if he could haveincreased their wages threefold; if he could have transferred them to comfortable dwellings; if thesick could have been healed, or their diseases prevented; if the drunken could on any large scalehave been made sober-would these things necessarily have brought happiness to the people? Doesmisery only dwell with the poor, the sick, the harlot and the drunkard?
“Moreover, may not all these outside evils be taken away and still leave the heart a prey tocankering cares, jealousies, envyings, strifes, lusts, bitterness, hatreds, revengeful tempers and thelike, which, together or apart, are the authors of nearly all the miseries of men, making life anintolerable burden, though passed in gilded chambers on the couches of ease, or in the possessionof health and wealth and all else that earth can give or human power create?
“Therefore, it follows that this plan for removing misery in this world-the plan to which theSpirit of God led seven years ago and in the working out of which He has sustained him — hasgone much deeper than any human methods could possibly have done, not only dealing with results,but healing the festering disease itself and opening in the soul an ever-flowing fountain of gladness,which, while it sustains the spirit in the endurance of the afflictions and hardships that remain,transmutes them into sources of blessing, both for this life and the life to come.”
His life is also a forcible illustration of the following revealed truths which challenge thefaith of every child of God.
1. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In allthy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.”
2. “Give and it shall be given unto you.” He has been an ever springing fountain ofliberality, and has bountifully proved that “he that watereth others shall himself be watered.” He isan exemplification of Wesley’s advice to “make all you can, save all you can and give all you can.”Though himself poor, yet he has been enabled to make many spiritually rich, and also to distributethousands of dollars to help assuage temporal misery, and drive wolfish want from the door of thepoor. Himself too full of trust and busy in his Master’s business to worry about his own necessitiesof this life, he has sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all “these things havebeen added unto him.”
3. “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” In what maybe termed the audacity of faith and persistent prayer, his equal is seldom met. God honors it andgrants great blessings.
4. “There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, orwife, or children, for my sake and the gospel’s, but he shall receive an hundred-fold, brethren, andsisters, and mothers, and children and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternallife.” He has given up all the comforts that come from home and association there with loved ones,and has verified the blessedness of this promise, for hundreds of homes all over the land greet himwith welcomes as tender as if he were a father, a brother or a son. Nor, as we have seen, does helack the spice of persecution, with which the Master flavors the dishes of all those whom Hedelights on earth to use and honor.
5. “If any man serve me, him will my Father honor.” Had Bro. Weber heeded the dolefulprophecies of mistaken advisers when he forsook all and entered the evangelistic field, or had hehave served self and sought his own promotion, he never would have exemplified the truth of thisblessed promise, which challenges the best thought of all who would seek and secure abidinghonors. Honors that the river of death cannot drown or the fires of judgment consume. Honorscompared with which, D. D., L. L. D., and like degrees, with all those highest in the gift ofkingdoms, empires and republics, combined with all others which worldlings love and the worldcan give, magnified a million-fold, are but like bursting bubbles which amuse for a moment onlyand then vanish forever.
These all are but flickering tallow candles, which glimmer for an instant and then go out.
Such are among the most tempting honors that this world can offer. Is it any wonder, then,that Jesus said, “I receive not honor from men,” and that thousands of His humble followers havecounted it a privilege to follow in His footsteps?
And that He also questioned, “How can ye believe which receive honor, one of another,and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?” The cup of man’s capacity of receiving honorcan contain but a limited amount. When filled with earthly honors, there is no room for those whichare enduring, and which come from God. A part of the honor which Jesus promises to them thatserve Him, He often gives while they are still on earth, as with Paul, Wesley and a host of others;but this is only as a grain of sand to the seashore, compared with what awaits beyond the honor,which, beginning with the King’s “Well done” before an assembled universe, His grand receptioninto the society of the redeemed and high, angelic hosts, continues to increase with man’scapacities to receive, as he reigns a king and priest unto God and the Father forever more.
Like many others, Bro. Weber has been given, for his encouragement, a part of this infinitereward while here on earth. God already has given him a name, among men and angels, as anillustrious soul-saver. A name more highly valued in heaven’s kingdom, and more to be coveted,than all honorary degrees and titles high of church or state. A name which bids fair to shine withincreasing luster as the “firmament” and “as the stars forever and ever.”
As this book goes to press, he is in the midst of another mighty soul-saving “Tornado,” atAlpena, Mich., in which the pastor reports the power of God being displayed in a wonderful way,over three hundred having professed conversion.
He still is a comparatively young man. He hopes yet, by God’s grace, to win thousandsmore for his Master. The story of his life will never end. We have been permitted to write andread this fragmentary, yet thrilling, section of it. It may never all be put in print, but it all is beingwritten by an unseen hand. In more attractive form than this, in the burning characters of some newlanguage, yet to be unfolded among the revelations that await us in the Celestial City, we may bepermitted to peruse it.
May we each be among the number, who, having “washed our robes and made them whitein the blood of the Lamb,” and having “turned many to righteousness,” shall, with “everlasting joyupon our heads, enter through the gates into the city, to go out no more forever! For the triumphs ofour King herein recorded, for the mighty efficiency of the cleansing blood and the indwellingSpirit, and for the soul-entrancing prospects of God’s children here and hereafter, let us each,while we live, when we die and’ throughout Eternity, “Praise the Father, Praise the Son, Andpraise the Holy Ghost.” — Amen!