May 2002
Trip to Roselawn


New Pictoral
 

Books about
Sam Jones:


From The University of Georgia Press; Get this great book before it goes out of print.
Laughter in the
Amen Corner;

by Kathleen Minnix

 


SAM JONES
LINKS


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A Scholar's Discussion of Sam Jones, Henry W. Grady and the 'New South' emphasis
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Roselawn & Sam Jones Bio.

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Sam Small Bio.

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Bob Jones University

BJU Creed - Written by Sam Small:
"I believe in the inspiration of the Bible, both the Old and the New Testaments; the creation of man by the direct act of God; the incarnation and virgin birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ; His identification as the Son of God; His vicarious atonement for the sins of mankind by the shedding of His blood on the cross; the resurrection of His body from the tomb; His power to save men from sin; the new birth through the regeneration by the Holy Spirit; and the gift of eternal life by the grace of God."
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Read Spurgeon's account of his own salvation experience in a little independent Primitive Methodist Church

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ICyberHymnal Internet's
Premier Hymnal

 

Appreciations
 Rep. Tom Watson's Eulogy

Bishop O.P. Fitzgerald 

 J.Wilbur Chapman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Samuel Porter Jones
1848-1906
(Sam P. Jones)

Sam Jones and his Connections in History
An Analysis by Roy Greenhill

samjones.jpg (15454 bytes) SAM P. JONES of Cartersville, Georgia may be the most representative figure of  'The Old Time Religion': the major influence that defined America at the birth of the Twentieth Century. (America is now defined by 'Hollywoodism'-the entertainment industry.) And Jones remains probably history's most unusual Christian Evangelist. Certainly one of the most effective; a man of transparent courage, integrity, wit, and universal love. His most enduring monument is (in my opinion) 'The World's Most Unusual University,'  Bob Jones University, in Greenville, South Carolina.

An historic building, built in his lifetime, in his honor, Ryman Auditorium, in Nashville, Tennessee, has been an entertainment center for many years. Will Rogers transformed one aspect of his style into a remarkable career (and Jones was unconsciously mimicked  by the late Lewis Grizzard of The Atlanta Newspapers -- Lewis was our own Will Rogers). My  friend, the late Evangelist Curtis Hutson, considered purchasing Jones's Cartersville home, then in disrepair, for his own residence. The home was since purchased by an historic preservation society, and is open to the public.


But, it was south Alabama Evangelist Bob Jones, Sr. who deliberately absorbed, and expressed through his thoroughly distinctive personality, the philosophy of religion, ethics and common sense of this 'sallow faced Georgia cracker.' The fierce emphasis on ethics and righteous living made Bob Jones University an anachronism in a century dedicated, in the realm of Evangelical Theology, to Darbyite Dispensationalism, which has, for the almost hundred years since the 1st World War, been powerfully and compellingly presented by many otherwise great and devout souls. Even Billy Sunday, in his last years espoused the Darby time-table, and Dwight Moody was very instrumental in establishing the Schofield Reference Bible (the Schofield shaped the ministry of Billy Graham).  I must note that Dr Jones, Sr. rebuffed the pleadings of Dr M.R. DeHaan, MD - a truly great Bible preacher - when Dr DeHaan, in 1957(or 58), urged him to amend the BJU Creed, written by the associate of anti-millenarian Sam Jones, Sam  Small, to include the Rapture doctrine of  J.N. Darby. .Darby's influence, for now, far surpasses that of  Samuel Porter Jones of Cartersville, Georgia, and is one of the three most powerful forces in today's political and theological world - the other two being the similar world views in fundamentalist Islam and fundamentalist Judaism. The historic "Old-Time Religion" had nothing to do with Darbism.

A popular writer for the Atlanta Constitution, Samuel White Small was converted from a life of dissipation at a Sam Jones Meeting which he was assigned to cover for that newspaper (here pictured at age thirty-seven in 1888). He immediately distributed a message over Atlanta inviting all to the steps of Atlanta City Hall where most a most important news item would be announced. There he told of his conversion and of his dedication to sobriety and gospel service. He became very popular with Sam as a co-evangelist. Sam Small was asked (around 1927, when he was seventy-six) to write  a mission statement and statement of faith for the new college being built by Bob Jones, Sr. (who then was thirty-nine). Though some (such as M.R. DeHaan) have pressed for the inclusion of Dispensationalism in the BJU Mission Statement,  not a word has been changed from Sam Small's inscription , written, immediately, upon Bob Jones, Sr.'s request, on the back of an envelope. Hundreds of times a year, that Creed is repeated in the Chapel and Worship services of Bob Jones University.

Protestant Christianity has lost more in this century than in any period since the 5th Century. And it is because of the prevailing view that history is over. This was a view hated and ridiculed by Sam Jones. It is obviously unlearned and uninformed (who could know, and how could anyone know?); a theory dreamed up (literally) by a sixteen year old girl (Margaret McDonald) in Scotland in the late 1820s and fleshed out by the dynamic, combative, egocentric, indefatigable and devout John Nelson Darby, a onetime effective soul-winner in Ireland, then, cultish proselytizer and builder of an apocalyptic definition of Christianity.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, of London, widely recognized as the greatest preacher in Christian History, held a low opinion of John N. Darby and his influence. It is interesting, and extremely remarkable, that Sam Jones credited Spurgeon as his teacher of preaching. Jones read and reread the Fifth Volume of Spurgeon's Sermons (Spurgeon is certainly the most published minister in history -- if we discount the works published about the Great Apostle) and learned how to preach by this study (we can be sure this was not the sole shaping force on Jones, for he lived in an age of the greatest pulpiteers). The remarkable thing, and an indicator of the genius of Jones, is that this great Methodist, in his style and content, mirrored Spurgeon, the Calvinistic Baptist, not in the least whit. But both spoke directly from the heart. ("Aim at the heart and undermine the head" was the way Bob Jones, Sr. expressed, in his own distinctive style, one of the sayings of Sam Jones.)

And Jones, like Spurgeon, hammered on a single idea across every octave in his ministry. Alexander Whyte defined preaching as "the transmission of personality, laden with truth," and every effective preacher has demonstrated this axiom. Bob Jones, Sr. was greatly influenced by the knowledge that "one day Sam Jones realized that the pulpit is a throne not a prison--and that day was a turning point in his ministry and life."

Spurgeon's single idea was the beauty of Jesus. Sam Jones's theme was the meanness of sin. "Look to Jesus" the Brit called out; "quit your meanness" the Georgian scolded in a scalding manner. Are any two concepts more needed in any age? And each demands the existence and acceptance of the other. (The distinctive note of Bob Jones's preaching was a very personal relationship--filled with profound love and loyalty-- with a very real Jesus.) Though Sam Jones was, and still is, criticized for not expressing the same emphasis as Spurgeon, the criticism has never been justified. To such a critic, Jones would reply, "Can you name anything that church members need more than a call to quit their meanness?" In every part of the country, ministers of all denominations forgot their criticisms and eagerly welcomed the holy influence of this righteous man who loved the Bible and the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, and preached repentance. Christians repent first. Then the unsaved, in and outside the churches. The great T. DeWitt Talmage, even more eloquent that Spurgeon in his preaching of Grace and Heaven, called upon the plain-spoken boy from the South to preach revival in Brooklyn.

Several months ago (1998) John Townsend and I visited Roselawn, the Jones home in Cartersville. There we met another visitor, a Baptist Evangelist who was conducting a revival in a local church. He was evidently an intense admirer of Sam Jones and his message of repentance and rectitude. He had resigned the pastorate of a large church to emulate the revivalist ministry of Sam Jones. When we inquired of this evangelist's eschatology, he eagerly espoused the Darbyite line with the sincerest conviction that it was self-evident truth. We did not pursue the subject with this brother, other than to say that we were of another persuasion in that area.. We could have pointed out, had there been an inquiry, that, although the Scofield Bible (Darby's most significant, indirect, legacy) had not yet been printed, Sam Jones was well aware of its doctrines - doctrines that often produce great zeal - and Sam thoroughly opposed them. The controlling fact, however, is that, with or without knowledge of Dispensationalism, Jones's type of revivalism was, and is, impossible to flow from such a well. "Repent for the End of the World -- or the End of History --or the coming of a New World Order -- is at hand," produces a vastly different effect than, "Quit your meanness and let God empower you to live right until you die; for after death is the Judgment, and Jesus will not be with you then if you have not let him clean you, transform you and guide you in life." Jones cautioned the careless, who, though professing Christianity, thought that they could approach death with an indifferent and sinful life: "Once in Hell, always in Hell" was his warning to the careless. He held little hope for death-bed penitents; "Get a stiff upper lip, and face Hell like a man."

Sam Jones's most famous (uncredited) saying was, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions".

Can any claim that religion that does no good is any good? That is my summation of Sam Jones, his message and The Old Time Religion.

During the height of Jones work in the final decades of the Nineteenth Century, America welcomed millions of immigrants, mostly Catholic and Jews. Dwight L. Moody, himself an admirer of Jones, ministered to these masses in a remarkable way. Some Evangelicals thought they needed to be opposed in some manner, although they had migrated to America for love. Moody certainly gave love to all. And when Sam Jones was asked why he didn't 'jump on the Catholics,' he replied, "When I get through with the Methodists, it's bedtime."

 mrsjones.jpg (12337 bytes)  ON THE VISIT TO CARTERSVILLE mentioned above, we visited the Sam P. Jones Memorial United Methodist Church. When entering the Sanctuary, one is overwhelmed with the blazing colors of the large stained-glass windows. The first one on the north side (congregation's right) is above a plaque noting Mrs. Sam P. Jones as  the donor. Mrs. Jones survived her husband by some twenty years and taught a Sunday School class in this church during those years. In her classroom is a favorite chair of Sam's. Both John Townsend and I sat for a few moments in his chair. Mrs. Jones wrote a book about her husband which is available at Roselawn, two blocks from the church.

The Jones experienced profoundest sorrow with two of  their children. In those trying experiences, Mrs. Jones was the stern voice of righteousness and Sam was the broken heart of  longsuffering pain. When Sam died at 58, Mrs. Jones excluded the offending children from the home, something not permitted while Sam was alive.

eoexcell.jpg (12090 bytes)

CHRISTIANITY AND  MUSIC are inseparable. Sam Jones co-labored with  a great musician named Edwin Othello Excell. He has several works in the hymnals. 'Since I Have Been Redeemed' is an enduring favorite. Excell was a perfect complement for Jones. He was a great and humble lover of Jesus. And he was music: "The man has swallowed a brass band," was an apt descripton from his admirers. E. O. Excell was two years younger than Jones and died in 1921 while working with Gypsy Smith. How happy and bright Heaven must be with the wit and song of this great team. How blessed Earth would be to have their quality of presence today. Maybe we do, somewhere.

VERY FEW, IF ANY, will have the intelligence to use wit, sarcasm, scorn, rebuke, invective and ridicule as Sam Jones did. The element so likely to be omitted will be universal sympathetic love. It is remarkable that Bob Jones Sr. did not try to imitate Sam's personality at all; he learned from him and perpetuated the philosophy of life and religion.

 (Bob Jones was nineteen when the hero died in 1906. Several years later, Bob Jones spent a summer in Cartersville pastoring the Tabernacle, which had been built for Sam's annual home-town meetings, and where Sam's funeral had been conducted.)

(To be Continued)


Cont'd

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(Note of  plagiarism) This page has been lifted and posted by others without attribution or linkage -at least an impolite action.
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I have edited this article today, June 20, 2010 and on March 12, 2013).


Appreciations From Prominent Ministers

Bishop O. P. Fitzgerald
One of the Bishops of the M. E. Church, South


Sam Jones! that is what we loved to call him while he was yet with us. That is what we love to call him now since he is gone. The familiar name—a household word in all this land we love— meant so much that was dear and sacred to us. It meant more than can be known fully by any man who did not know Sam Jones.

Sam Jones! The name with us stood for a courage that stood all tests. In its mildest manifestation that courage amounted to audacity. In its highest sweep it reached a moral sublimity that it would not be easy to describe in words. Sam Jones fought real evils that had strong defenders. He knowingly roused the wrath of enemies who hated him for his cause's sake. Every evil thing felt weaker when he was in the midst.

The coming of Sam Jones always made a stir I It meant a fight between darkness and light. Sam Jones in Atlanta, Nashville and elsewhere was like Paul at Ephesus: the men who sold the whisky, shuffled the cards, and ran the faro banks in these American cities acted like the makers of the shrines of the goddess Diana. They attacked Sam Jones for the same reason; their craft was in danger as long as that voice of the man of God was left free to speak the truth. That voice burnt in their consciences like fire.

Sam Jones! To us that name stood for a faith like that described in that precious eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, telling us of "the elders who by faith obtained a good report." When the telegram went from lip to lip in Nashville saying, "Sam Jones
is dead!" great was the shock in all circles. It seemed to me almost as if an audible voice whispered in my inner ear: Another name for that list of worthies who by faith obtained a good report.

Sam Jones's faith was the secret of his power. He had the faith that took Jesus as the way, the truth, and the life. His faith was choice: the way was plain, the truth was clear, the life was real. If Sam Jones ever had doubts, he never carried them into the pulpit. No, no! he carried them to God in the secret place, that God who sees in secret and rewards openly his faithful servants. If a poor, bewildered, despondent soul came to hear the gospel as Sam Jones preached it, he felt the touch of a man with the power of a mighty faith in God.

Sam Jones spoke the language of certainty in the pulpit. Conversion as he knew it brought a great peace to the pardoned soul. Consecration as Sam Jones knew it and preached meant a complete self-dedication to God that brought from God a joy that was divine.

Sam Jones, when he drew the line between the church and the world, describing the joys that last in contrast with the things that perish with the using, had in his testimony the note of victory from a man who had fought that battle and won it. That note of certainty in his preaching was the outcome of an experience that was all his own. What he had felt and seen with confidence he told.

Sam Jones did verily possess that power of faith that produced its fruits as described by the apostle Paul in Hebrews xi. 23, 24: "Subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises."

The victories of Sam Jones were the victories of faith—the faith that chooses Christ, the faith that believes Christ, the faith that obeys Christ, the faith that receives with holy gratitude the peace, the love, the power that Christ imparts to the receptive soul.

Sam Jones was so very human that he got close to all sorts of people. That humanness in him made his pathos irresistible. Sam Jones was akin to every one who had known trouble. And that took us all in, for none have escaped. He was a follower and an apostle of that Christ who to those that were able to bear it made sorrow the badge of discipleship and the door of entrance into the larger liberty and clearer light promised to those who are told that if
they suffer with Him here they shall also be glorified together with Him.

Sam Jones's gospel was a glad gospel. His Savior was a Savior mighty to save. .

But Sam Jones, it goes without saying, was not blind to the tragic side of this world whose mysteries we can not fathom, this world whose tragedies were deep enough to bring to its rescue the Son of God, this lost world which He came to seek and to save. Sam Jones's conception of sin was bitter; he had felt its sting! He had wrestled with its mystery; he had groaned under its intolerable burden. He looked upon sin as the enemy of God and the destroyer of men. To Sam Jones Satan was no abstraction or creature of the imagination, the imaginary head of a shadowy kingdom of darkness. No, no! The hell against which Sam Jones warned his hearers he described in New Testament language. It should not be thought strange that those warnings, thus expressed, were so often attended by that strange power of conviction accompanying New Testament truth expressed in its own very words. Yes, truly, Sam Jones believed in a God who hated sin. The lurid pictures he drew of the sinfulness of sin, and of the doom of the sinner unrepentant and unpardoned could not have been drawn in milder colors by an honest preacher who believed what Sam Jones professed to believe. He was awfully in earnest, and that earnestness expressed itself in the language of the Book itself—and this was a secret of Sam Jones's power.

But the secret that lay deepest of all is found in the fact that the Holy Ghost bore witness to the truth as it is in Jesus, according to His own promise, and in the use of His own marvelous methods. To Sam Jones the Pentecostal dispensation meant the coming of Pentecostal power whenever and wherever it was invoked under Pentecostal conditions. Sam Jones was a battery charged, and trailed directly against the forces of evil. Bless his brave, true heart 1 His answer to the threats that were sometimes made against him was usually expressed in terms of mingled defiance, ridicule and pity toward those who threatened.

That last element of Sam Jones's power—a pity that was like the
pity of the pitying Christ for sinners—was the chief element of his power as an evangelist. That pity can have but one Source. It can not be counterfeited successfully. It can not be resisted by even the coldest and hardest hearts. The preaching that lacks this pity, whatever else it may have that might commend it to the carnally minded, is only a sounding brass, and a tinkling cymbal. The love of Christ constrained Sam Jones. That love he expressed mostly in Christ's own way, reciting to the people in Christ's own words what He had said, or illustrating His love by Christ's own acts.

In one of Sam Jones's evangelistic gatherings there was usually that which reminded us of New Testament times and doings. The great crowds, the tenderness that melted all hearts, the satire that made sin look so cheap and silly, the methods that broke over all conventionalities—what came with Sam Jones was something like what is here described. It got to be so that where he came at the call of any community, a great stir of this sort was looked for, and there was no disappointment—for God was with him. The notes of victory in his last battle were still in his ears when he started to his home in the Georgia hills, but, as it proved to be, to that home prepared for him by his Lord up yonder where sin and sorrow can not enter. To that home Sam Jones had directed many in the name of his Master. They are together with Him now.

Among the readers of this chapter those who know Sam Jones as I did will repeat with me the words we find in i Corinthians i5: 57: "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Nashville, Tenn.

Rev. J. Wilbur Chapman., D.D. Secretary General Assembly's Committee on Evangelistic Work

It has been my privilege to know Rev. Sam P. Jones for a number of years. I first heard him in 1887 when I was a pastor in Albany, N. Y., and he was conducting meetings with Prof. E. O. Excell at Round Lake, not far from Saratoga Springs. I heard him preach a sermon on "All things work together for good," and I can still repeat the outline, and remember the sermon as if it were preached yesterday, and the impression it made upon me. I came away from that service with one of the most distinguished preachers in our country, and I heard him say after he had listened to the same sermon : "I have heard to-day the greatest preacher which it has ever been my privilege to hear."

I consider Sam Jones one of the most remarkable men of his generation. He was peculiarly called to God to rebuke sin. His wit and his wisdom came from an inexhaustible source of supply. He was not always understood. Now that he is gone, however, the references of all the newspapers to him, almost without exception, say that he has made his place in church history, and the followers of Jesus Christ, not only to-day, but in days to come, will rise up to call him blessed.

He loved God, as was clearly indicated in his preaching, and he loved men. Some of the greatest sermons that have ever been delivered to men flowed from his lips and rose from the depths of his heart. God not only gave him wide observation and a great experience, but he trained him through trial and suffering to be the man that he was.

And yet I am told that no one knew Mr. Jones until they had met him in his own household. I have a vivid picture in my mind now of his being at the World's Fair at St. Louis with the most of his family, and it was a constant delight to me to look across the dining room of the hotel and see his face wreathed in smiles as he talked with those whom he loved.

A friend of mine who was recently his guest, says that he was a veritable priest in his own household, and that the members of his family loved him with a passionate devotion. He was as true as steel, and as honest as the day is long.

He was the most generously paid man on the platform to-day, and yet he was constantly giving to those who were in distress. It was his delight to work beyond his strength that he might have wherewith to give to those who needed it.

Two of my friends who have labored with him constantly, each said the same thing, without knowing that the other said it—"Sam Jones was the cleanest, whitest and purest man in all this world." Personally, I thank God that he ever lived.


Tribute By The Rev. A. W. Lamar

The death of Rev. Sam P. Jones was a national loss. No man who has lived in America has ever spoken to so many people as he. For thirty years he went up and down the land preaching civic righteousness; preaching temperance; preaching family religion; preaching salvation. He gathered and held longer greater audiences than any man of whom history tells. There was a charm to his wonderful voice; there was a fascination in his quaint and homely way of putting things; there was a keen edge to his sarcasm; there was a spontaniety to his wit that astonished; his repartee was invincible; his humor disarming; his reasoning cogent and unanswerable; his philosophy was deep, underlying even his most trivial utterances; his eloquence was often sublime and overpowering. He had the eye of the eagle for seeing things afar, and the heart of goodness to love the truth seen. He understood human nature in all its moods and tenses, and he knew how to play upon every string of the harp of a thousand strings. He understood, as few public speakers understand, the uses of humor and pathos in public address. For this reason his spiritual surgery amputated more limbs than any other spiritual surgeon, and killed fewer patients.

Princely soul! Generous! Gentle! Fearless! Gifted above the millions of men, yet full of true humility! Lover of God, and lover of men—will this earth ever hear again the voice or throb to the footfall of another like him?


Appreciations From Distinguished Men


Sam Jones Dead: Hon. John Temple Graves

If the brief, startling message of the morning wires be verified by later dispatches, Sam Jones, of Georgia, the most famous evangelist of modern times, has been gathered swiftly and suddenly 'into reward and rest .

If it be true—and there are few possibilities of mistake—the end has come as Sam Jones would have it come. In the full flush of a glorious and militant life, on the march, in full harness, with eyes bright, with record clear, with the conscience clean, with the echoes of applause and laughter and cheers yet ringing in his ears, the dauntless evangel, the vital reformer, the militant preacher, the eloquent orator, the unequaled humorist, without suffering, without waiting and without anxiety, answers the instant roll-call and is dismissed from present service and promoted to a higher and a nobler sphere.

A brave man physically, Sam Jones was a brave man morally, and spiritually without fear. The problem of death had faced him as an imminent issue more than once during the years of feeble health about him, and we may be sure there were no coward tremors and no shrinking back when the death angel swooped with his sudden summons to the great tribunal where men must give account.

And the great evangel had small need to fear the verdict of the Supreme Justice who presided there. His was a faithful and a
fearless life. He had been true since the plighting of his faith to Christ. To strike and spare not, was the motto with which he faced the sinner. To help and rescue, was the second motto which redeemed the fearless first. He was as swift to succor as he was to smite. He was as tender in healing as he was terrible in arousement. And the terror of many an awakened sinner had been softened in the tenderness of a penitent's forgiven tears. And through terror and through conscience, through tenderness and tears, he had fought the Master's fight, he had gathered the Master's people, and roused and comforted, and wounded and healed, and in the crowds that followed him, and in the multitudes which heard him, as they heard his Master, gladly, he had justified the commission which had been given him to preach a real gospel to a dying world.

If in the darkness and loneliness of a night upon the rushing rail, the brave, bright soul of the evangelist went out to meet its Maker all alone, we may be sure that the tears and the tenderness, the love and the laughter, the fear and the faith, the hope and the heartfulness of the thousands who had followed him through life, were crowned by the "well done" of the Elder Brother who held his hand as they walked through the last shadows to the light and beauty of the Father's throne.



BY HON. WILLIAM JENNINGS BRYAN

"Sam Jones, the famous evangelist, died last week, and his death removes from the scene of action a man whose life-work resulted in great and permanent good to the world. His earnestness, his evident sincerity and his plain, common-sense way of putting things, made him a favorite with the people. No one ever was in doubt as to where Sam Jones stood on any question confronting the people, and many of his quaint and blunt sayings have passed into proverbs.

"Many years ago Sam Jones was engaged in a great union revival meeting at Plattsburg, Mo. One of the visiting ministers asked him one day why he did not use better language and refrain from so many 'slang' expressions. 'My dear brother,' replied Mr. Jones,
'I am a fisher of men. I judge the efficacy of my bait by the results 1 get. When one of your soft-spoken, namby-pamby little preachers can show a bigger string of fish than I can I'll try his kind of bait.'

"For a quarter of a century Sam Jones was a prominent figure in the pulpit and on the lecture platform, and if life is measured by what men put into it, instead of what men get out of it, then Sam Jones's life was a success.

"Sam Jones had a great mind, directed by a great heart; an eloquent tongue enlisted on the side of humanity; a marvelous energy employed for the improvement of society."



In Memoriam—Sam Jones
By Hon. Thomas E. Watson


"That was bad about Sam Jones, wasn't it ?" he asked, meaning, of course, the sudden death of the great evangelist on a railway car.

No, it was not bad. It was, in many respects, an ideal departure from this terrible world. He had lived his brightest day, had done his best work—and he fell in the midst of his renown, before the benumbing murmur began to buzz in his ears, "He is not what he once was."

He had just closed a great series of religious meetings. For days and days he had been doing the Master's work, living face to face with the Most High. Not lecturing for money. No! Preaching the Gospel of the good life, of the salvation free for all.

With the benediction on his lips he passed away. With a prayer in his soul, his great heart ceased to throb.

Like the soldier who falls in the battle-line, after he has fought a good fight and won the field, so fell Sam Jones.

Bad? No, by the splendor of God! It was a glorious death, a beautiful death, an enviable death.

The night before he was killed, Caesar heard his companions discussing the question of what kind of death was most to be desired. He was busy with affairs of state, but he paused in his work to express his opinion of the death which was most to be desired: "That which is least expected." Next day he got it .

Think of what was spared to Sam Jones. There was no heartrending torture of protracted pain. There was no dreary martyrdom of bedridden sickness. The wife of his youth was at his side; the infinite peace of God was in his heart.

What more? There had been no pitiable decay of intellect, no saddening decline of influence, no loss of the ear of the world, no dropping away of friends.

Yet he must have known that, if he continued to live, from year to year, inexorable fate would drag him nearer the bleak regions of old age wherein one's joys steadily diminish and one's sorrows remorselessly multiply.

Bad? No, it was not bad. Providence let him win success when it was still sweet to the taste, and then mercifully took him away from the horrors of that pathetic decay, that appalling process of going back to childhood—that second childhood which has all the helplessness of the first, with nothing to disguise, alleviate or offset its repulsiveness.

Did I not see the once lordly Robert Toombs totter about in the care of a man-servant, too feeble of mind and body to be trusted to travel alone? Did not Alexander H. Stephens linger upon the stage until it gave one the heartache to hear him try to make a speech ?

Would it not have been a mercy of heaven if the stroke of paralysis which struck down William H. Crawford at the height of his fame, and powers, had stretched him dead? What did it leave of that greatest of Georgians but a broken mind in a broken body ?

Ah, give me that beautiful death which saves me from the unutterable miseries of senility and decay.

God knows there's little enough in life, even at its best; but the crudest weakness which nature curses us with is the timorous clinging to life when there's nothing left to live for.

Marlborough in his dotage—too melancholy to contemplate!

Dean Swift a driveller and a show—the mind recoils from the spectacle.

Sir Walter Scott still trying to write when all the force and fire and creative genius were gone—pitiful to the last degree.

Napoleon in captivity, fat to unwieldiness, querulous, vainly beating his broken wings against the bars of his cage, garrulously holding forth upon the glories of his past—it is too sad for words. Better, a thousand times better, had he died at Waterloo with his face to the front—spur on heel, blade in hand.

Mozart died beautifully—while they chanted the Requiem which marked the high-tide of his genius.

Mirabeau died grandly—while he still stood in the midst of the French people, an Atlas bearing social order upon his back.

William Pitt died enviably—in the prime of his strength, while still the uncrowned monarch of Great Britain.

Stonewall Jackson died gloriously—with the praise of his chief warming his heart, the shouts of victory gladdening his ears, and the faith of a Christian robbing death of its sting.

Henry Grady died a lamentable death—for he seemed to die too soon. His serious life-work seemed just begun. To be stricken down and consigned to chill darkness and forgetfulness when his youthful strength was so abundant, his blood so warm and eager, his feet so ardent for the march, his arm so strong for the fight— it seemed a hard, unmeaning fate.

But Sam Jones was nearing threescore years. The heat and burden of the day were behind. The best of his strength was spent. The glory of the afternoon had come—and the twilight could not be far away. Better that he should wear out and not rust out, better that he should fall with his armor on, victorious to the last, than fret and pine away amid the shadows of mocking memories.

To me, then, it seems that he died as he would have chosen to die—in a blaze of glory. Sooner or later the few, the very few,' who really love us must weep at our graves—a difference of a few days, or a few months, will not lessen the sorrow. Not all the preaching since Adam has made death other than death; and the grief of those who survive the beloved dead is a burden which humanity allows no affectionate soul to escape.

God pity the bereaved wife! God pity the stricken children.

As to Sam Jones himself, he had lived a great life, and he met a glorious death. No braver soldier of the cross ever stormed the
citadel of sin. No uniformed follower of Lee or Grant ever marched with greater purpose or fought with greater pluck. Against vice in all its forms, he brought every weapon known to the armory of right, and he used them with a force and skill and tireless energy which made him the most powerful evangel of Christ that recent history has known.

Brilliant, witty, wise, eloquent, profound in his knowledge of the human heart, no man ever faced an audience who could so easily master it.

From laughter to tears, from indifference to enthusiasm, from levity to intense emotion, he could lead the multitude at his will. Under his magnetism and will-power the brazen libertine blushed for shame, the hardened criminal trembled in fear, smug respectability saw its shortcomings, sham Christians forgot to be self-complacent, social hypocrites fell upon their knees, and the miser opened his purse.

I met Sam Jones in i879, when he was poor and unknown. He came, unheralded, to conduct a revival in our town. I heard him preach a few times, recognized a genius, and predicted his renown. His wonderful career, afterwards, was no surprise to me. Since that day, in i879, when we took each other by the hand—two poor and unknown young men—I have been his admirer, his friend, ever glorying in his rise.

Yet, in all our passing to and fro, we met but twice in the subsequent twenty-seven years, and then for a moment only. Now and then we hailed each other from a distance, through the newspapers, but we met no more. He moved in his orbit, I in mine, an each had his work to do. And now his is done, and well done.

He was the greatest Georgian this generation has known; the greatest, in some respects, that any generation has known.

"Duty is the sublimest word in the language," said Robert E. Lee, himself the flower of Anglo-Saxon manhood.

That Sam Jones fell at the post of sacred duty—died with the Master's message to erring man fresh from his lips—seems to me beautifully fitting, superbly appropriate.

Once he said, touchingly, "When all grows dark and doubtful—
human wisdom failing—and I can not see my way, I lift my helpless hand, and pray: 'Father, take Thou my hand.'"

Somehow, somewhere, it must be that heroic souls find, in better worlds than this, tasks which are worthy of their diviner gifts. All this, and more, some day we'll understand. "Father, take Thou my hand," the loyal soul prayed; and now, in His own good time, He has taken it.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Softly and Tenderly
in
The Sam P Jones
Gospel Tabernacle,
Nashville, Tn.

More recently known as
Ryman Auditorium/Grand Old Opry.

Enlarge the screen for great view
[packed to capacity when Jones there]
faced by Sam Jones
and E.O. Excell