Monday, May 17, 2010

Robert Edge by Elder Belnap Part 6

[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]

By this time many of the professed followers of the meek and lowly Jesus together with the pious free Masons began seeking his life. One Reverend divine went so far as to hire a gang of lawless men to hunt him down and shed his blood before sleep should overtake them.

This movement compelled Mr. Edge to confine his labors more particularly among those who were his friends. However, many who were friendly at first began dropping off as the popular feeling against him became more intense.

The course pursued by Mr. Edge in the beginning enabled him to reach all classes of people. Hence today many who severed their connections with the Church are looked upon as infidels because they believe not the dogmas of today, noting the differences in the doctrines of Christ as laid down in the scriptures.

Those who were indeed his friends by this time gathered around him and desired baptism. He answered in these words, “I would not baptize a man for my right arm.” One then said, “You have not the right to baptize them?” Mr. Edge replied, “If I have not, others have,” and he promised that all who so desired he would organize into a church of brotherly love after the apostolic order.

This proposal met their approval and some sixty persons assembled together when he laid his hands upon their heads and blessed them as they supposed for the reception of the Holy Ghost. He then selected one from among them to take charge of their prayer meeting.

Mr. Edge was not a man of many words outside the pulpit and when he did converse with his fellowmen it was mostly upon religion. “For,” said he, “my Father’s business is too urgent for me to trifle with political affairs.”

When it could be arranged he held from one to three meetings a day. He did his own singing, preaching and praying without even showing the least signs of hoarseness. He ate, on an average, only one meal a day.

Mr. Edge circulated the news that on a certain evening, he would deliver one discourse on behalf of the devil. Although popular feeling by this time was very much against him, hundreds of people thru curiosity came to hear this peculiar sermon. When the evening came, the house was packed to its utmost capacity.

On arising to speak the preacher read the following verses for a text, Matthew 4:8-9. “Again the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain and showeth him all the kingdom of the world and the glory of them. And saith unto him, all these things will I give unto thee if thou will fall down and worship me.”

He then assumed an attitude of the devil and gave his audience to understand that every word spoken by him was the same as if Lucifer had said it himself.

After showing from his text that this whole world was under his direct command he portrayed the many beauties and pleasures that were at his disposal. He then eulogized them very much upon the course they were pursuing, “I am not particular,” said he, “how you obtain money, but the idea is, get it.” He said to his assembly that should one of them have a horse to sell, his advice, as the devil, would be to take him into the back yard for a few days and there feed him well on the best of buckskin, then bring him out into the road prancing on his hind feet, take him down in town, meet some old gentlemen that knew nothing about a horse and obtain two prices for the animal, then the thing to do was to return to one’s comrades and brag how nicely it was done. He advised the young people not to lead such a penurious life, but to dress in the height of fashion, ride behind fine horses, be free with the opposite sex, and if perchance one of those fair daughters should be ruined, cast her aside to wallow in disgrace the remainder of her days while the gentleman who perpetrated the foul deed should be held up as a cunning fellow. His advice to the reverend divines was to make long prayers, pull straight faces, pretend righteousness, preach sympathetic and graveyard sermons, deceive every man’s wife they possibly could, and be sure not to forget to steal the virtue of every fair maiden who should come within their grasp. In fact, to go on just as they had been doing. “For in reality,” said he, “my kingdom is yours.” And thus he went on, keeping the audience in a continual titter for about one hour and a half while he portrayed the various crimes in society as being just the thing they ought to do. Then he stepped forward, threw his hands down by his side and exclaimed, “Get behind me Satan.” Every countenance was immediately changed and breathless silence reigned. He next began rebuking these actions in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and called upon every one to repent and turn unto the true and living God or damnation would be theirs.

One evening at a meeting composed mostly of his followers, the features of Mr. Edge turned purple. No sooner had all quieted down in their seats than he sprang to his feet and severely reprimanded them for the course they were taking. “For,” said he, “you have not only been plotting and planning among yourselves to deceive you but you have brot with you legions of devils. Why, I can see them all through the house.”

On another occasion, when Mr. Edge had returned from holding meeting in the court house at Lexington, three of his young followers were out by the yard severely criticizing the course pursued by their new preacher. One in particular thot it was the height of folly for a man in these days to pretend to be inspired of God. While they were just in the heat of their vilification Mr. Edge came out of the house which was about one hundred and fifty yards away and very calmly walked down towards the yard. The boys saw him, ceased their abuse and turned toward the house. When they met, Mr. Edge turned to the young man who had so severely criticized him and said, “Young man, you will not do. My spirit has been listening to your cowardly slanderings.” The boys, knowing they were too far from the house to be overheard grew somewhat astonished when Mr. Edge told the young man every sentence, word for word that he had uttered.

Mr. Edge came to the residence of a widow lady by the name of Telitha Cumi Reed one day about twelve o’clock, took off his hat, set aside his cane and amused himself by reading while the lady prepared refreshments. After they had sat down to the table Mrs. Reed turned and asked Mr. Edge to return thanks, when she saw a bright light encircling his head, which made a strange feeling pass over her, however, she sat perfectly quiet. After grace the light passed away.

I will relate a few of the many cases of healing that were effected by the imposition of hands during Mr. Edge’s stay among them.

This same lady, Mrs. Reed had been bowed down with rheumatism for several years. On learning that this strange preacher taught the laying on of hands for the healing of the sick she believed he was a servant of God and sent for him. Without detailing how marvelously this lady recovered I will say that two years later her walk was as free and easy as though rheumatism had never racked her frame.
The wife of James Reed, who was then said to be in the last stages of consumption, was almost instantly healed thru the imposition of Mr. Edge’s hands in the name of Jesus Christ.

To be continued...

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