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    Preachin' on Kingdom-Come

    by John Fox Jr.
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    I've told ye, stranger, that Hell fer Sartain empties, as it oughter, of co'se, into Kingdom-Come. You can ketch the devil 'most any day in the week on Hell fer Sartain, an' sometimes you can git Glory everlastin' on Kingdom-Come. Hit's the only meetin'-house thar in twenty miles aroun'.

    Well, the reg'lar rider, ole Jim Skaggs, was dead, an' the bretherin was a-lookin' aroun' fer somebody to step into ole Jim's shoes. Thar'd been one young feller up thar from the settlemints, a- cavortin' aroun', an' they was studyin' 'bout gittin' him.

    ''Bretherin' an' sisteren,'' I says, atter the leetle chap was gone, ''he's got the fortitood to speak an' he shorely is well favored. He's got a mighty good hawk eye fer spyin' out evil--an' the gals; he can outholler ole Jim; an' if,'' I says, ''any idees ever comes to him, he'll be a hell-rouser shore--but they ain't comin'!'' An', so sayin', I takes my foot in my hand an' steps fer home.

    Stranger, them fellers over thar hain't seed much o' this world. Lots of 'em nuver seed the cyars; some of 'em nuver seed a wagon. An' atter jowerin' an' noratin' fer 'bout two hours, what you reckon they said they aimed to do? They believed they'd take that ar man Beecher, ef they could git him to come. They'd heerd o' Henry endurin' the war, an' they knowed he was agin the rebs, an' they wanted Henry if they could jes git him to come.

    Well, I snorted, an' the feud broke out on Hell fer Sartain betwixt the Days an' the Dillons. Mace Day shot Daws Dillon's brother, as I rickollect--somep'n's al'ays a-startin' up that plaguey war an' a-makin' things frolicsome over thar--an' ef it hadn't a-been fer a tall young feller with black hair an' a scar across his forehead, who was a-goin' through the mountains a-settlin' these wars, blame me ef I believe thar ever would 'a' been any mo' preachin' on Kingdom-Come. This feller comes over from Hazlan an' says he aims to hold a meetin' on Kingdom-Come. ''Brother,'' I says, ''that's what no preacher have ever did whilst this war is a-goin' on.'' An' he says, sort o' quiet, ''Well, then, I reckon I'll have to do what no preacher have ever did.'' An' I ups an' says: ''Brother, an ole jedge come up here once from the settlemints to hold couht. 'Jedge,' I says, 'that's what no jedge have ever did without soldiers since this war's been a-goin' on.' An', brother, the jedge's words was yours, p'int-blank. 'All right,' he says, 'then I'll have to do what no other jedge have ever did.' An', brother,'' says I to the preacher, ''the jedge done it shore. He jes laid under the couht-house fer two days whilst the boys fit over him. An' when I sees the jedge a-makin' tracks fer the settlemints, I says, 'Jedge,' I says, 'you spoke a parable shore.' ''

    Well, sir, the long preacher looked jes as though he was a-sayin' to hisself, ''Yes, I hear ye, but I don't heed ye,'' an' when he says, ''Jes the same, I'm a-goin' to hold a meetin' on Kingdom- Come,'' why, I jes takes my foot in my hand an' ag'in I steps fer home.

    That night, stranger, I seed another feller from Hazlan, who was a-tellin' how this here preacher had stopped the war over thar, an' had got the Marcums an' Braytons to shakin' hands; an' next day ole Tom Perkins stops in an' says that wharas there mought 'a' been preachin' somewhar an' sometime, thar nuver had been preachin' afore on Kingdom-Come. So I goes over to the meetin' house, an' they was all thar--Daws Dillon an' Mace Day, the leaders in the war, an' Abe Shivers (you've heerd tell o' Abe) who was a-carryin' tales from one side to t'other an' a-stirrin' up hell ginerally, as Abe most al'ays is; an' thar was Daws on one side o' the meetin'-house an' Mace on t'other, an' both jes a-watchin' fer t'other to make a move, an' thar'd 'a' been billy-hell to pay right thar! Stranger, that long preacher talked jes as easy as I'm a-talkin' now, an' hit was p'int-blank as the feller from Hazlan said. You jes ought 'a' heerd him tellin' about the Lawd a-bein' as pore as any feller thar, an' a-makin' barns an' fences an' ox-yokes an' sech like; an' not a-bein' able to write his own name-- havin' to make his mark mebbe--when he started out to save the world. An' how they tuk him an' nailed him onto a cross when he'd come down fer nothin' but to save 'em; an' stuck a spear big as a corn-knife into his side, an' give him vinegar; an' his own mammy a-standin' down thar on the ground a-cryin' an' a-watchin' him an' he a-fergivin' all of 'em then an' thar!

    Thar nuver had been nothin' like that afore on Kingdom-Come, an' all along I heerd fellers a-layin' thar guns down; an when the preacher called out fer sinners, blame me ef the fust feller that riz wasn't Mace Day. An' Mace says, ''Stranger, 'f what you say is true, I reckon the Lawd 'll fergive me too, but I don't believe Daws Dillon ever will,'' an' Mace stood thar lookin' around fer Daws. An' all of a sudden the preacher got up straight an' called out, ''Is thar a human in this house mean an' sorry enough to stand betwixt a man an' his Maker''? An' right thar, stranger, Daws riz. ''Naw, by God, thar hain' t!'' Daws says, an' he walks up to Mace a-holdin' out his hand, an' they all busts out cryin' an' shakin' hands--Days an' Dillons-- jes as the preacher had made 'em do over in Hazlan. An' atter the thing was over, I steps up to the preacher an' I says:

    ''Brother,'' I says, you spoke a parable, shore.''
    If you're writing a Preachin' on Kingdom-Come essay and need some advice, post your John Fox Jr. essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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