The Life and Experiences of a Layman by Charles Boller

Pages 98 - 102


compelled to do something at the Christmas festival for the Sunday school whereby the interests of the school would be promoted and the discipline and order would be better observed. Since the old bell was seemingly worn out and no longer properly audible it seemed to me in this vision that the old Sunday school bell had faithfully served its purpose and it was time to retire it and make a place for a more beautiful and larger bell. In this vision I saw a fine opportunity to surprise the Sunday school and I saw the ways and means of how to install a new bell, the joy it would provide, especially because of its form and beauty. I followed this vision and I cannot describe the great surprise and joy that it caused on Christmas in the Sunday school. May the blessing of the Lord fall upon it.

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36. My Second English Speech

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When our Sunday school reached its highpoint during my administration as Sunday school superintendent we often received visitors from Sunday school superintendents of the English-speaking


Sunday schools in our city. Our German school had the reputation of being the best in the entire city. Then city mayor, the Honorable P. Becker, told us about this reputation. The school had at the time two hundred students. Various superintendents visited our school yearly. And we received invitations to visit their Sunday schools. When the first Sunday school convention was held in the Lafayette Church I was appointed delegate to represent our Sunday school and deliver an address in the English language. I would have paid a hundred dollars if I could have bought my way out of this. This was not possible yet I was charged with the task of conducting an address in English and before a large mass- assembly. To make my fear and anxiety even greater I had been scheduled on the pulpit between two Doctors of Divinity. I feared that in the end I would succumb to cannon feaver. But behold, the Lord heard my fervent plea. All fear disappeared as the doctors orated with flowery words at the convention. The Lord helped and blessed my weakness in his service.


My Speech at the Sunday School Convention, Lafayette Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, N.Y.

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After I was introduced by the Chairman of the assembly as the young, bright Superintendent of the German School of the church at the corner of Spruce and Sycamore Sts., I delivered the following address with a quivering heart:

Mr. Chairman:
First of all I wish to relate the story of my conversion. During my first week in Buffalo, I walked the streets, aimlessly, my heart bleeding with homesickness, having left my beloved parents and friends suddenly, to evade the revolutionary war in 1848. As a fugitive, I took "french leave" and came to American, "landing" in Buffalo. It was about 8:30 o'clock in the evening that, while standing at the corner of Sycamore and Spruce Streets, without money and without friends, I heard the singing of a religious song in a small frame church on the opposite side of the street. I went across the street and opened the church door with a discouraged heart, and witnessed something which I had never before seen, namely, a so-called "Revival Meeting." It


was here that I became willing to give my sinful heart to Christ. I gave Him my whole heart, and He in return gave me sweet peace, pardon, and rest for my soul. (My confession made a deep impression on the audience, and tears flowing over the cheeks of the hearers, was an inspiration to me, to speak.)

My subject this evening is, "The Sunday School a Great Building." I being a builder by occupation, I will, with the help of God, mention our duty in constructing this building. First I want to call you attention to the way you Americans are to receive my address, to be benefited thereby. It has been said that if benefit is to be derived from the address of a German, and especially from a green German, one must not hear what he says, but what he means; and, when he states a good though in broken English, the sensible American knows how to interpret and appreciate it. Whereas, the German-born American, generally criticises [sic] the language used. I therefore ask you to be patient with me this evening.

My text is to be found literally upon the building-place of the "City Hall." I found my text there last Friday. I was in a great


dilemma as to what to say on an occasion like this. Being led to the building place of the City Hall I saw thousands of fine, beautiful, polished stones, lying here and there, upon the building place, stones transported from elsewhere and numbered, to be placed in the structure without much difficulty by the workmen. I likewise discovered several artistically hewn pillars and scientifically constructed girders. The thought came to me, that these pillars and girders did not grow out of the earth, but that they came from the hands of famous sculptors and artists. Especially, the corner girder. This girder, I said to myself, I cannot handle, but will let my predecessor, Dr. D. Von Bakin hew it. He has a fine chisel and a beautiful mallet. He learned the art at the unversity. I then saw a stone No. 500, and said to myself: I believe that stone belongs somewhere at the top of the structure. I think that I shall be able to place the same as well as anybody else.

Hence, I am with my iron square, and impressive mallet, every Sabbath morning promptly at 9 o'clock at my work, enthusiastically so that my block and stone No. 500 be


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

Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks