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Bunsby In The Pulpit
B. Carradine
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TOPIC and SUBTOPIC: Swayed Without Substance, By Ambiguous Pulpiteers.

TITLE: Bunsby In The Pulpit

As we go around we are made confident more and more that the favorite pulpit and platform Occupant and Adorner in the eye, mind and heart of High Steeple Cathedral and the recognized Sanhedrins of the land, is the individual who can say with a fine presence and an eloquent roll of words, We are all doing nicely indeed, and Everything is quiet, Bishop.

If in addition to this he can pay a glowing tribute to the Old Flag, speak of the brave boys in blue at the front, compliment the lodges, brotherhoods and sisterhoods in the land, and conclude tearfully with the moonlight falling on his mothers grave, then his name is made, his salary and liberal remuneration secure, his popularity unbounded, and he becomes a star of the first magnitude in what we call the Terrestrial Heavens.

Taking rank with this kind of preaching, if not out-ranking it in some quarters, is what we would term the Bunsby style.

This famous pen creation of Dickens had a way of expressing himself that left the hearer much impressed, but also mystified, and really just where he was before Mr. Bunsby had delivered himself of one of his sapient utterances.

Being asked whether he thought a certain person would return who had been reported drowned, Mr. Bunsby said:

If so be he is dead, my opinion is he wont come back no more. If so be he is alive my opinion is he will. Do I say he will? No! Why not? Because the bearings of this observation lays in the application on it.

Oh! the Bunsbys all of us have heard in the pulpit and on the platform. And how deeply impressed some people were with them! And how certain little shallow heads went away saying, How profound! How deep! How scholarly! When really one of Bunsbys descendants had been standing before us, and had been paraphrasing if not repeating the words of the original head of the tribe: For why? Which way? If so, why not? Therefore!!

When a pastor in the South we once attended the widely known sea shore camp ground located between New Orleans and Mobile, great preaching by true men of God had been delivered and without much visible results at the altar in the way of penitents and seekers. And still not only good men had preached, but men who had given us new and strong thought, as well as Gospel food.

One night a preacher was put up who for fifty minutes kept a goodly company of us wondering what he was saying. He had an imposing presence, and a ringing voice and appeared to be delivering mighty thoughts when he was really saying nothing.

On self-evident propositions that not even a boy would think of disputing and that were equivalent to saying that two and two are four he would redden in the face and fairly foam at the mouth, and hit the pulpit board with his fist, and thunder forth that he asserted without fear of successful contradiction and disputation that such and such was so! In other words that two and two were four!

Then wiping his heated brow after this great victory, he would sweep forth in a flood of words, sonorous, high sounding and multitudinous when we could not conceive what he meant and at what he was aiming or driving. But the people listened breathlessly, and when the call was made for penitents, the long altar was crowded!

Christian, the eldest son of Bishop Keener, a keen-eyed observer, fine reasoner and splendid preacher was sitting by us. He had never taken his eyes off the preacher, and throughout had only indulged in a slow, thoughtful downward stroke of his moustache and short chin beard. Turning to him in amazement we whispered under our breath: What on earth brought the people to the altar?

Just then a large yellow dog came trotting up the aisle regardless of parasols, umbrellas and walking sticks that were pointed at or thrust towards him. But just as he was drawing near us, Christian Keener stooped down quickly and scooping up a handful of sawdust from the aisle, threw the light, harmless stuff at the saffron colored canine.

To this day we can never forget the panic that seemed to possess the dog. To say he fled would be to place the occurrence entirely too mildly and tamely before the eyes. If ever a four-footed beast flew, the aforesaid quadruped took an aerial excursion. He seemed to land only a few times on the earth in his frantic effort to escape, and looked like not only the Adversary but the whole universe was after him.

As the confused and frightened animal disappeared in the distance, Christian Keener turning to me with a peculiar smile, said: You have my answer in allegory form. Like the dog, the people did not know what was thrown at them. They thought it was something when it was nothing. They went down before sawdust.

Living Illustrations By B. Carradine.

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