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a liberal education was the lad's ambition. At his place by the door in summer, and at a window in winter, sitting in a constrained posture, he received the sunlight of knowledge, as it were, through a crevice in the roof, instead of by the effulgence poured in through the surrounding windows; besides the disability of sight, suffering from the incessant interruption consequent upon strict attention to the store, and the constant earvigilance necessary to distinguish customers from idlers. But the preparation for college was accomplished without assistance, except in the use of Latin and Greek dictionaries; and the Freshman class was entered in 1839, at Illinois College, situated in Jacksonville, then under the presidency of Dr. Edward Beecher. The regular course was pursued until the latter part of the Senior year (with the exception of Greek, which was discontinued on account of eyesight, at the close of the Sophomore year), and the clerkship at the store faithfully maintained. Much interest was manifested by the excellent people of Jacksonville in his progress, for he was a favourite; and all went on prosperously till the spring of 1843, his last collegiate year, when health suddenly gave way, as we have mentioned; and separation from books and a regimen of horseback riding were prescribed as essential.

"From childhood, Milburn had been the subject of religious impressions. The teachings of parents and the conversations of visiting clergy were received into a susceptible heart. The emotions, however, excited by religious truth were evanescent, like all emotions of childhood. The tide of boy-feeling ebbs and flows with a rapidity only equalled by its strength. There is the sorrow, the dash of tears, the forgetfulness, the glee, and the sky of the boy's heart as clear and blue as ever. But at fourteen, impressions became abiding, and he united with the Methodist Church.

"At a very early age, he had an unwavering presentiment that he should be a preacher; but with college life and its success, especially in declamation, debate, and composition, new ambitions were engendered, and a wider field became the object of aspiration. His father's home had always been the resort of the travelling Methodist preachers. He had listened to their

stories, their escapes, their religious experience and exhortations with absorbed interest: they were the Knight Templars of his life-romance; and through early years, all encouragement to be himself a Methodist preacher met with a responsive throb.

"Now laid aside from study, and driven to the saddle to win back the ebbing forces of life, he lent ear once more to the suggestions of the old preachers, who looked upon this experience as a providential guidance into the path of the ministry. The presiding elder urged the course of duty. His father furnished him with a horse, saddle, and saddle-bags; his mother fitted him with a greyish-blue jean suit (a homespun woollen fabric, the coarser quality of which goes under the name of linseywoolsey); and thus accoutred, with overcoat strapped on the saddle, he starts forth, in company with the presiding elder, as an itinerant preacher, to make the first acquaintance with his circuit. He had never ridden before to any amount, but at the end of two and a half days, an appointment one hundred miles distant was punctually attained. His theological course had also commenced, with the good elder as the professional corps; the Bible, his text-book; the saddle, his recitation seat; God's wide, beautiful earth, the seminary. The appointment was a quarterly-meeting, held in a double log-cabin-that is, a cabin with two rooms, on the floors of which the preachers slept at night. The meeting began at one o'clock Saturday afternoon with a sermon by the elder. In the evening, the local preacher officiated, at the close of which service, the elder, without warning, spoke out in an imperious voice-Brother Milburn, exhort;' and thus, standing up behind a splint-bottomed chair, 'Brother Milburn' made his first address to a religious assembly, and his profession was entered at the age of nineteen. Thus, during the summer, he traversed a region of one thousand miles in extent, preaching on every Saturday and Sunday, and three or four times during the week, always in company with his theological instructor, his text-book, and his seminary On September 26th, 1843, his twentieth birthday, he was admitted as a 'travelling preacher' to the Illinois Conference, and his field of labour specified."


In September, 1845, after having laboured for two



years in the work to which he was thus formally devoted, and having, as it is recorded, "suffered," as a young pioneer preacher, "almost incredible hardships among the cabins of the West," Mr. Milburn visited the Eastern and Northern States, by order of the Conference, to present and advocate the cause of education, and collect funds for the establishment of Methodist Schools and Colleges. He was everywhere received with enthusiasm. His amiable disposition and attractive social virtues endeared him to all with whom he came in contact in private life; while his high intellectual qualities and his stirring and impressive eloquence caused a deep and extensive public impression. His conscientiousness, boldness, fidelity, and power, may be illustrated by the following fact, a fact that occurred, let it be remembered, in the life of a young man of two-and-twenty.

"On his journey, he found himself on board of an Ohio river steamer, on which were three hundred passengers. From the number of days the passengers had been together, Mr. Milburn had become well informed of their character, and he found most prominent among the gentlemen, were a number of members of Congress on their way to Washington. These gentlemen had attracted his attention on account of their exceptionable habits. On the arrival of Sabbath morning, it was rumoured through the boat that a minister was on board, and Mr. Milburn was hunted up and called upon to give a discourse.' He promptly consented, and in due time commenced Divine Service. The members of Congress to whom we have alluded were among the congregation, and by common consent had possession of the chairs nearest to the preacher. Mr. Milburn gave an address suitable to the occasion, full of eloquence and


pathos, and was listened to throughout with intense interest. At the conclusion, he stopped short, and turning his face, now beaming with fervent zeal, towards the honourable gentlemen,' he said: 'Among the passengers in this steamer are a number of members of Congress; from their position, they should be exemplars of good morals and dignified conduct; but from what I have heard of them, they are not so. The Union of these States, if dependent on such guardians, would be unsafe, and all the high hopes I have of the future of my country would be dashed to the ground. These gentlemen, for days past, have made the air heavy with profane conversation, have been constant patrons of the bar, and encouragers of intemperance; nay, more, the night, which should be devoted to rest, has been dedicated to the horrid vices of gambling, profanity, and drunkenness. And,' continued Mr. Milburn, with the solemnity of a man who spoke as if by inspiration, there is but one chance of salvation for these great sinners in high places, and that is, to humbly repent of their sins, call on the Saviour for forgiveness, and reform their lives.'


"As might be supposed, language so bold from a delicate stripling, scarcely twenty-two years of age, had a startling effect; the audience separated, and the preacher returned to his state-room, to think upon what he had said. Conscious, after due reflection, that he had only done his duty, he determined at all hazards to maintain his position, even at the expense of being rudely assailed, if not lynched. While thus cogitating, a rap was heard at his state-room door: a gentleman entered, and stated that he came with a message from the members of Congress; that they had listened to his remarks; and in consideration of his boldness and eloquence, they desired him to accept a purse of money which they had made up among themselves, and also their best wishes for his success and happiness through life.

"But this chivalrous feeling, so characteristic of Western men when they meet bold thought and action combined, carried these gentlemen to more positive acts of kindness. Becoming acquainted with Mr. Milburn, when they separated from him, they offered the unexpected service of making him Chaplain to



Congress; a promise which they not only fulfilled, but through the long years that have passed away since that event, have cherished for the 'blind preacher' the warmest personal regard, and stand ever ready to support him by word and deed.”

His election to the office of Chaplain to the Congress, so honourably conferred, brought him, it would seem, before the nation, and his name became familiar in every part of the Union. His health still being delicate, in the year 1847, he went South for the advantage of a mild climate, and took charge of a church in Alabama. For six years he laboured industriously in Montgomery and Mobile, and in four years of that time, preached one thousand five hundred times, and travelled over sixty thousand miles. The following account of a crisis in his inward life will be read with deep sympathy, and by some, it may be, with advantage :

"During the two years at Montgomery, he came into the sad experience which seems inevitable to active minds-the season of questionings and doubts, when the cold fog closes down upon life's river, and the mariner creeps anxiously along, with constant soundings and tolling bell. The time has come to settle the great questions and solve the problems of life and religion. There is no longer escape from them. And as he will not preach further than he has lived, it is not strange that his ministrations lacked the pungency and daring which are popular in the Methodist Church. So, when the time came to leave his people, he told them of his state. 'I have been to you,' said he, 'but as "the voice of one crying in the wilderness." I know you have gathered little good from preaching. My spiritual eye has been like my natural.



I trust that he who "comes after me" will be to you a

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