In the 19th century, street preaching, witnessing and camp-meetings were much more common than they are today. These country preachers often traveled by foot, Bible in hand, and went door to door delivering the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. They brought many to the Lord this way. Yet, it wasn’t always a safe thing to do and they sometimes met terrible and violent people. Below is an excerpt from the life and labors of preacher D. S. Warner.
“After preaching in the grove Saturday night, we walked a mile and a half to find rest for the night. The mother and two of the family are fully saved. But the husband is intemperate and desperately wicked, He does not often stop with the family, as the little home belongs to one of the sons, who, with his brothers, affords protection to their mother against their father’s abuse. The wretched man had been drinking liquor through the day, and was also well filled with the wine of Babylon’s wrath received from his sectarian neighbors, who hate any child of God that lives godly in Christ Jesus outside of her pales. He seems to have come liquored up on purpose for a row. After entering the house, the frenzied man assaulted us with shocking oaths and threats. He was desperate, just in that state of intoxication in which he had more than was his usual strength, and maddened beyond all reason. He soon struck me with all force in the forehead, but through God his blow was not more than a ball of cotton. We praised the Lord. Feeling a deep concern for the wicked man’s soul, we dropped upon our knees in the middle of the room, raised our hands, and began to pray for him. But this enraged Satan more than ever. He seized a large rocking-chair and slammed it down on us with all vengeance, but through the Lord Jesus Christ our uplifted hands turned it off with ease. The storms of oaths and slamming of furniture was terrific. It looked as though there would not be a whole piece left in the room. The infuriated man grabbed a common wood-bottom chair by the back and struck down twice or three times at our head, which was safely shielded by the hand of the Lord. Glory to God in the highest! Our soul was filled with great peace in the midst of the storm; we had not the slightest fear of suffering harm.
The kind wife and a daughter, who were gloriously sanctified at the Sandy Lake meeting, tried to protect us, when the latter received a heavy blow on the shoulder from the chair, the legs having been threshed off by previous blows, making it all the better to maul with. Seeing that they were in danger of being hurt in our protection, we arose and began to retreat. The savage monster followed us out of the yard and some rods on the road with awful curses and open threats that he would kill us. Glory to the God of our salvation! There was not a hair of our head hurt, not a scratch or mark upon our body. The next morning we felt our right wrist was slightly sprained by stopping the terrible blows, but it soon disappeared. The man soon left, shortly after which his large son came, whose delay furnished the intoxicated man his opportunity for an onslaught.
Praise God the Lord led me to do just as I had preached what a holy man should do when thus assaulted- commit our life to God, fear no evil and let him be glorified in our death or deliverance, as he shall choose. Fearing the man might return that night and our presence excite him to deeds of violence upon the family, one of the boys and I went to the barn to sleep. But I spent the night in thanksgiving to God for his sweet deliverance. Surely it is safe to trust God always.”