Monday, April 12, 2010

Robert Edge by Elder Belnap Part 2

[Below is the continuation of an article written by Hyrum Belap about Robert Edge. Hyrum was responsible for telling the most detailed stories about this mysterious preacher. He wrote years after the fact and for the purpose of telling it to an audience. Like most stories, his tale was more detailed than the earlier versions]

The news that a strange but eloquent preacher had come into the country spread far and near. In his first circuit thru different parts of the country this person pursued a very peculiar but effective course. Seemingly his object was to get all classes of people out to hear him. By way of illustration, when he first entered a neighborhood whose dominant sect was of the Baptist persuasion, he would speak upon some gospel principle of which this class of people were particularly fond and display its good features in a very pleasing and beautiful manner. It is needless to say that after thus speaking the Baptists would gather around him and express their appreciation of his remarks. When he entered a Methodist, Presbyterian or Campbellite neighborhood he pursued the same course regarding the good features of their respective religions. Occasionally he would intermingle his ideas upon other principles, such as free thought, independence of character, etc. By this means he gathered around him the Methodist, Presbyterian, Campbellite and the co-called sinner. His fame as a distinguished speaker grew so rapidly that people of all classes gathered to hear him from localities twenty and thirty miles distant.
By this time a great many began questioning among themselves why it was that no one had ever seen Mr. Edge either come or go any distance from the meeting house. When he would come to meeting no one remembered seeing him until after he had arrived in the crowd, or was in the pulpit. They at once appointed persons to watch him, but they, as well as these appointed were sure to lose track of him before he had proceeded very far, unless, he had, perchance accepted an invitation to accompany some of his hearers home.

Mr. Edge, being a supposed stranger in that locality, the people wondered why he did not ask concerning directions when going to another town.

One evening a gentleman who had never before seen the mysterious preacher came to his meeting and was very much pleased with his discourse. At the close of the meeting the stranger arose to his feet and asked Mr. Edge if he would be kind enough to come and speak at his house the following Wednesday. Mr. Edge dropped his head a moment as if thinking whether he could fill the appointment or not, then looked up and replied, “Yes, sir, I will be there at seven o’clock.” The gentleman lived several miles from the place where the meeting was held and therefore wondered why he was not asked the road leading to his residence, but no questions were asked of him. The family at whose home he was then stopping said that they watched Mr. Edge very closely but learned to their satisfaction that he made no inquiries concerning the gentleman’s name or his place of residence, but when the time for the meeting arrived he was in his place.

To be continued...

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