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Alter Ego

A Tale

281 pages
Library of Alexandria
In the uplands of Canada was an attractive church with a spire that pointed longing souls to the skies, and the pastor of which had finished his course with joy and was now joining in the hallelujah choruses of the upper sanctuary. The authorities of the denomination to which the church belonged appointed a man to its pulpit who was progressive and independent, as well as being very broad-minded. The necessity for this lay in the fact that the population of the place represented nearly all the languages and creeds to be found in the Dominion, and consequently if a man of narrow views were appointed he would soon make shipwreck of everything. The new minister, as well as being broad and advanced, was very honorable, and would not in any way infringe upon the rights of others; but as Mount Zion was the only church in the place, he was perfectly safe from any charge of meanness, in the form of coaxing sheep away from a brother's fold. The first Sunday came upon which the Rev. Thomas Melvin was to occupy his new pulpit, and an immense congregation filled every part of the edifice. The text was from the Saviour's words, "Feed my sheep," and the preacher had not gone far when his attentive hearers discovered that he was a man of great intellect and unusual power as a speaker, and they were swayed as corn-stalks in a tempest as he reasoned of the Saviour's place in the world, and of His work, and also of man's obligations to Him, as well as to his fellows. All through the week this first fearless and powerful sermon was the talk of all who had heard it. Some, however, did not like it, as telling them of their duty caused indigestion, while others were delighted, as they loved a man who shunned not to declare all counsel, whether pleasing or displeasing. The next Sabbath disclosed the fact that Mr. Melvin was no plug either, as he said things outside the scope of the Bible and over the boundary line of prescribed theology. One old gentleman who occupied a front seat in the church, and who was of portly mould and genial disposition, and whose dinners were really of more account in his estimation than anything else, forgot said feasts for a period sufficiently long to say: "My songs! I wonder what that new preacher means, anyway!" Next day our friend, who was dean of the dinner-table faculty, called on his new pastor and said, after being asked how he liked the sermon on Sunday: "My songs! You said things that my bloomin' brain could 'ardly hunderstand." To tell the truth, Mr. Melvin was something of a statesman as well as a preacher, and with narrow bigots soon became as much hated as he was beloved by the broad and liberal minded. The bigots, however, soon ceased to be. Although those classing themselves as belonging to other denominations were in no case strong enough to form societies, yet they remained loyal to what they claimed allegiance to, but this did not hinder them from frequently hearing Mr. Melvin, who was delighted to see his countrymen, who in some cases spoke the mellow, musical tongue of France, that land of art, science, and literature, and military power. As his congregation was so cosmopolitan and contained representatives of every leading denomination, the pastor of Mount Zion preached the doctrines of the Bible in their broadest sense, and showed their most comprehensive meaning.