The Life and Experiences of a Layman by Charles Boller

Pages 78 - 82


to undergo an operation. Just as all the preparation were made and the patient was lying on the operating table a telegram arrived, stating that "the denture has been found in a apple orchard." An occurrence similar to that of my wife.

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28. A Sermon on Temperance

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It was the year 1880 on a beautiful Sunday morning when Rev. Chr. Stäbler was our minister that he read a text from Romans 14, 21: "It is better to eat no meat and drink no wine," etc. This awoke a thought in me: Oh, today we're having a temperance sermon; it's okay with me only I wonder if he will also come back to tobacco, to which he is a sworn enemy. My wife and I sat in the third pew before the pulpit.

Everything went fine until at the end he said: "today I will not say much about tobacco." But he added that after a very blessed assembly an old friend of Brother Moody's came up to the pulpit and earnestly asked him: "Brother Moody, can a person be a Christian and use tobacco?"


The answer was: "Yes, brother, but a mighty dirty one." I gave him credit for the comment. The next morning I said to my wife: "Woman, make me up a beautiful basket of pears." She asked, "What will you do with it?" I replied "I will take it to Brother Stäbler," to which she said, "Then certainly this is for the sermon which he held for you yesterday morning?" I gave the answer, "You've hit on it exactly, wife!"

When I entered the minister's residence I asked, "Is Brother Stäbler home?" The answer was, "No, he went out to visit some people." "I've brought here a basket of exquisite pears the likes of which he's never eaten before. Please give him my compliments for the sermon, which he held for me yesterday. I would only like to ask if he's going to preach on this text again to please make the sermon into two or three parts, and I am no 'dirty smoker' since each evening I smoke a fine cigar and this is appropriate for the second or third class." Two weeks later we met each other on Main St. He greeted me quite cordially with these words: "Say, Brother Boller, the pears are all gone. I must give another sermon soon on temperance."


29. Redeemed from the Use of Tobacco

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It was in the year 1901 on the evening before Thanksgiving that I brought home a very fine box of Havana cigars for the next day so that my three sons, who also smoke, could smoke with me after the meal. To be sure it would be just one for my health, (?) and in order to partake of the good life. After the meal I opened the box, took one, lit it and said to myself: "Oh that's quite fine." While making my last offering to the idol I picked up Die Deutsche Warte [The German Watch Tower] from the table and read the following: "There are many people who smoke after a meal for their health but the saliva gland must also start to work and when you begin to smoke you also start to salivate and bring up digestive juices, which should remain in the stomach in order to digest your meal. Thus the meal remains undigested in the stomach and becomes the cause for general complaints, such as indigestion."

"Oh, now that's just a newspaper fairytale," I said to myself, let out a puff and threw the newspaper on the table. But another thought emphasized the first, namely, "The newspaper was right;


for this really is my circumstance." I read the article again, quite conscientiously. Should I give up smoking or continue? For twenty-five years I had suffered from dyspepsia and spent sleepless nights and found that what the article said was true. I smoked the cigar I had in my mouth as quickly as possible until it was finished. I once again took the newspaper from the table and said to myself, "I must be a big fool if I am completely convinced that I'm shortening my life and I don't give it up. No, no, never more! I am the lord of this chinked cabin. I will no longer smoke. Done! Thus let it remain!" And since that time I smoke no more.

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30. An Important Thought

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With the permission of Minister P. Bahn the following is transcribed from the sermon of Sunday morning, June 10, 1908:

With a joyous heart I went to the New York Conference on April 22, 1908, which was being held in Rochester. The sky was bright and clear; there were no clouds on the horizon of my soul.


Suddenly a mighty storm arose which cast great waves of force on my weak ship of life and I found myself in the devil's nets and ropes. Never in my life and since the time of working in the vineyards of the Lord have I had such an experience.

No one rejoiced over it; no one wanted to be in any way responsible for this overwhelming occurrence and event. My honorable conscience, having done its best for matters of the Lord and my beloved congregation over the past years, could scarcely bear this disillusionment and this peril. I said to myself that no one was happy about this event. I must correct this. The devil has never before crippled and mystified me in my entire Christian life when he had me in this place of torment and held me here from April 23rd til August 23, and it wouldn't be wrong for me to cry out in my doubt with the little maiden:

"In dire need I cry out to Thee,
 Lord God, hear my plight.
 Graciously turn your ear to me,
 Let grace proceed from right,


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Text provided by Lockwood Library, State University of New York at Buffalo, BX8080.B65

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks