Peter Cartwright
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A Good Investment

From the Autobiography of Peter Cartwright the Backwoods Preacher, pp. 278

While I was on my way to the quarterly meeting in Mississippi circuit, at brother J. Pickett's, in what was then Madison county, south of the Macoupin creek, there had fallen a tremendous rain, and the creek there was out of it banks.  There was a little, old, crazy horse-boat; and although within a few miles of the place where the quarterly meeting was to be held, there was no chance of getting there without risking life in the old, crazy boat across this rapid stream.  When I rode up to the creek there sat a good old local preacher on the bank, holding his horse by the bridle.  After the usual salutations, he said,

"Brother, I started to go to the quarterly meeting, but I have no money, and the ferryman will not set me over, even on trust."

"How much does he charge?" said I.

He replied, "Twelve and a half cents."

"Very well, brother," said I, "go with me, and I will pay the ferriage."

So we crossed and got out safely.  That night this old brother preached, and the power of the Lord was present to kill and make alive.  Three souls were converted and six joined the Church, and we had an excellent meeting.  I state this little circumstance to show the great good that can be done with a small sum of money.  I do not think that I ever laid out twelve and a half cents to better advantage in all my little pilgrimage on earth.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

The Brimstone Angels

From the Autobiography of Peter Cartwright the Backwoods Preacher, pp. 99-101.

There was here in Marietta a  preacher by the name of A. Sargent; he had been a Universalist preacher, but finding such a motley gang...he thought--and thought correctly too--that they were proper subjects for his imposture.  Accordingly, he assumed the name of Halcyon Church, and proclaimed himself the millennial messenger.  He professed to see visions, fall into trances, and to converse with angels.  His followers were numerous in the town and country.  The Presbyterians and Congregational ministers were afraid of him.  He had men preachers and women preachers.  The Methodists had no meeting-house in Marietta.  We had to preach in the court-house when we could get a chance.  

We battled pretty severely.  The Congregationalists opened their Academy for me to preach in.  I prepared myself, and gave battle to the Halcyons.  This made a mighty commotion.  In the mean time we had a camp meeting in the suburbs of  Marietta.   Brother Sale, our presiding elder, was there.  Mr. Sargent came, and hung around and wanted to preach, but brother Sale never noticed him.  I have said before that he professed to go into trances and have visions.  He would swoon away, fall, and lay a long time; and when he would come to, he would tell what mighty things he had seen and heard.

On Sunday night, at our camp meeting, Sargent got some powder, and lit a cigar, and then walked down to the bank of the river, one hundred yards, where stood a large stump.  He put his powder on the stump, and touched it with this cigar. The  flash of the powder was seen by many at the camp; at least the light.  When the powder flashed, down fell Sargent; there he lay a good while.  In the mean time the people found him lying there, and gathered around him.  At length he came to, and said he had a message from God to us Methodists.  He said God had come down to him in a flash of light, and he fell under the power of God, and thus received his vision.

Seeing so many gathered round him there, I took a light, and went down to see what was going on.  As soon as I came near the stump, I smelled the sulphur of the powder; and stepping up to the stump, there was clearly the sign of powder, and hard by lay the cigar with which he had ignited it.  He was now busy delivering his message.  I stepped up to him, and asked him if an angel had appeared to him in the flash of light.

He said, "Yes."

Said I, "Sargent, did not that angel smell of brimstone?"

"Why," said he, "do you ask me such a foolish question?"

"Because," said I, "if an angel has spoken to you at all he was from the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone!" and raising my my voice, I said, "I smell sulphur now!"  I walked up to the stump, and called on the people to come and see for themselves.  The people rushed up, and soon saw through the trick, and began to abuse Sargent for a vile impostor. He soon left, and we were troubled no more with him or his brimstone angels.


A second account of a brimstone angel....

From the Autobiography of Peter Cartwright the Backwoods Preacher, pp.228-229

In the course of the summer of 1822 we held a camp meeting in Logan county, Kentucky, the county in which I was chiefly raised.  At this meeting there came a strange kind of preacher among us, who held that a Christian could live so holy in this life, that he would never die, but become all immortal, soul, body, and all.  He seemed like a good, innocent, ignorant kind of creature.  He asked of me the liberty to preach; but I told him that was altogether out of the question; that, as the manager of the meeting, I felt myself accountable to the people as well as to the Lord, for the doctrines advanced from the stand.

One night while I was outside of the encampment settling some rowdies, he thought, I suppose, he would flatter my vanity a little; and stepping up to me, he told me he had a heavenly message for me.

"Well," said I, "what is it?"

He said it had just been revealed to him that I was never to die, but to live forever.

"Well," said I, "who revealed that to you?"

He said, "An angel."

"Did you see him?"

"O yes," was the reply; "he was a white, beautiful, shining being."

"Well," said I, "did the angel you saw smell of brimstone?"  He paused, and I added, "He must have smelled of brimstone, for he was from a region that burns with fire and brimstone, and consequently from hell; for he revealed a great lie to you, if he told you I was to live forever!"

At this he slipped off, and never gave me any more trouble during the meeting.

Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.