Thursday, June 29, 2017

Gilded Misery

Nashville American, June 11, 1886

Gilded Misery.
Evangelist Munday Makes a Tear of the Maisons De Joie.
Fervid Appeals to Fallen Women to Repent.
The Unfortunates ask the Prayers of All Christians.

The labors of the Rev. J. A. Munday[1], the evangelist, assumed a sensational aspect yesterday. He raised Sam Jones one point and now stands to lead as far as the novelty of evangelical work here is concerned. An American reporter learned that Mr. Munday was going to make a tour at the maisons de joie of the city a la Talmage,[2] only that the great Brooklyn orator saw News York by gaslight and the Georgia preacher[3] had determined to inspect by the light of the sun. At 2 o’clock the reporter found Mr. Munday preacher and five prominent citizens of different denominations, all of whom earnestly requested that their names be not published, were seated in earnest consultation. The Methodist preacher was timid. He thought it best to have some concert of action among the churches as to providing for reformed fallen women before any attempt was made to save them. The brethren were on the fence will to go or walk. Not so with Munday. He was determined to go and that at once He quoted Scripture to prove that the Lord would take care of the unfortunates if they would ask for mercy, and exhorted his associated to pluck up courage.

“I’m going to work among these poor women on North College street, brethren, if every man in town deserts me. If I have to saw wood to make a living while here, I’ll do it, and labor with them when I can brethren; I want to save souls.” The Georgia evangelist after delivering this appeal seized his plug [sic] and Bible [and] exclaimed: “Brethren, I’m going; will you accompany me?” The Methodist minister and the other gentlemen at this arose and filed out of the hotel, the minister protesting against the publication of his name. The party passed down Cherry street, into Cedar and thence to College. Their destination was the notorious locality in the neighborhood of Linmck’s Hotel on College street.

The reporter and the evangelist were in the lead, the others close up. Mr. Munday went to the door of the bagnio presided over by Mag Seats and rang the bell. The response was ready and the evangelist stated the object of his mission. He wanted to pray and sing and talk with inmates. The woman callously told him he was welcome, but all the girls were absent. The evangelist, nothing daunted, advanced, and with the party at his heels went to the back porch, He was handed to a rocking chair, and his associates arranged themselves on rustic benches.

“Is there no one here?” inquired the evangelist.

Very few,” replied the housekeeper.

“Well, tell them a man wants to talk with them about their souls.”

”All right.”

Five minutes passed and two girls, not over 18 years of age, with the marks of dissipation in their faces, but still bearing traces of their beauty, descended the stairs and without a blush saluted the sober group and took seats a few feet from the evangelist.

“Are these all I can get?” inquired he.

“’Bout all," was the response.

“Well, here are two precious souls, let’s try to save them, brethren,” and the evangelist announced the hymn: “What a Friend we have in Jesus.” The visitors sang it with a gusto, but the faces of the girls gave not the faintest token that a spark of sensitiveness had been aroused. Hardly had the song been concluded before the heads of a half dozen other inmates peering over the banisters at the strange group beneath were discovered. They remained there during the remainder of the service, which consisted of a prayer and short address. Occasionally a slight titter [sic] could be heard proceeding from the upper stairway, and the whole service was received with a strange callousness, The inmates regarded the preacher as a crank, and were no more moved by his fervid appeals to mend the error of their way than had his words been merely the rustling of the wind. The sight of these poor unfortunate bear reminders of their purity of a few years ago, now utterly dead to the pleadings of conscience and apparently doomed to eternal woe, the gilded trappings of sin which surrounded them and the earnest evangelist and his associates who sought to save them from ruin was a strange scene not easily forgotten. The evangelist, nothing daunted by his cold reception, went to the house of Emma Wilson, which adjoined. He explained the object of his visit; He was told that he could not be received.

“Why should you come here to save us? Who would help us if we wish to change our lives?” inquired the mistress of the house.

The evangelist seemed staggered for a moment for the comparative truthfulness of this inquiry struck him forcibly. It was a sad commentary upon Christianity.

He quickly recovered himself, however, and told her that provision would certainly be made for all who wished to turn to God. At his request, the mistress of the house politely acquiesced in his desire to visit the house this afternoon and pray with the inmates. The party next went to the neighboring house of Nettie Moore. He was ushered into the parlor and in five minutes after he had announced the object of his visit nine of the inmates were seated about him. The visitors stood up, the women occupying all the seats. There was an air of curious expectancy on their faces but nothing more.
The evangelist stepped forward to the middle of the apartment, and the hymn, “Rock of Ages,” was sung by the missioners. The girls, as it was being sung, looked askance at each other, but gave no manifestation of being touched. “Let us pray,” said the evangelist. All, including the women, knelt. He prayed as follows:


[“]Almighty God, our heavenly father, we come to thee this afternoon with profound gratitude, We thank thee for the great love wherewith thou hast loved us. We adore thy great and holy name for the plan of salvation. We rejoice to know that the fallen can look to thee and live. We are grateful for this opportunity to speak of thy loving kindness, ability and willingness to save these unfortunate women. O God, do thou look in tender mercy; upon them. Incline their hearts unto thee. Grant blessed Master that they may be so deeply convinced of their sins that they will seek thee until they shall become happy Christians. Give them we pray, the friends among Christians of Nashville who will help them; aid them in coming to Christ, Bless our meeting here this afternoon. May this be the beginning of a work of grace in some heart that shall be as lasting as eternity. Forgive our sins and save us for Christ’s sake. Amen. [“]

After this, he spoke to them for agouti fifteen minutes. Their faces were now serious. They looked curiously at each other as if half ashamed of the serious sensations which unbidden were being aroused. When the evangelist eloquently reviewed their past and appealed to them by the memory of their pure mothers, some of whom might now be in Heaven, to turn from their ways of sin, several broke down utterly and burying their heads in their laps wept as if their hearts would break. In addressing them Mr. Munday said:


“He that hath an ear. Let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” Revelations ii, 7.[sic]
My friends, when the divine hand touched the secret springs of action and bade the world receive the panoramic views, ample provision was made for out comfort and happiness in this life. For this we are exceedingly thankful, and adore the great and holy name of him by whom every great and perfect gift is given. But there is more for which we should be grateful. He has not only provided for our temporal wants, but for our spiritual welfare. “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Such was the pity of our God,
He loved the race of man so well
He sent his Son to bear the load
Of Sin, and save our souls from Hell.

To speak of the goodness, mercy and great love of God is my mission here this afternoon. Notwithstanding your wickedness acquiescent to the sin of adultery and fornication, God has provided mansions in heaven for every one of you who will come to him and be saved. The text shows just what is required is to be saved and give you an eternal home in the glorious realms of bliss. “To him that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” This is a glorious promise.

First, by whom is it made? This question is answered in the text. “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirith saith.” This teaches that it is the God of heaven who promises the eternal life to those who forsake their sins. Being made by God it will certainly be fulfilled. Men sometimes make promises with honest intentions, fully expecting to comply with them. But often because of circumstances over which they have no control and wholly unknown to them at the time they obligated themselves, they fail to comply with the requisitions of their promises. All promises, however, made by men ‘are not broken because of inability.’ There are many trifling scoundrels who have no idea of filling a promise when they make them. Perhaps some for you are the victims of such men. Do not some of you now well remember when you were pure, the darling of some precious mother’s heart, and when you sat in the dear old home parlor with a man whom you believed to be a gentleman, but was an infernal scoundrel, and with the voice of the devil and a promise to marry you, stole your virtue and subjected you to this life of shame? Oh, my friends, men may deceive us; they may not, although honest, be able to fulfill their promises; but not with God. Every promise made by him will be fulfilled. Just turn to him and believe this.

2. To whom is this promise made? The text also answers this question – “to him that overcometh.” There is something, my dear friends, to be overcome. First the temptation of the devil. Perhaps it has not been a great while since, when you begin to think of the past and felt kindly towards God, wished you had never sined [sic] against Him, and was almost ready to resolve that you would turn to him, when the devil suggested all sorts of objections to such an act on your part. This you must overcome. When the devil comes to you with obstacles just say “Get thee behind me satan [sic]."[sic]” Resolve that you will seek God regardless of what the devil may whisper in your ear.

3. Malice. We must overcome this. The Bible says, “Let all bitterness and wrath, and anger and clamor and evil speakings, be put away from you, with all malice. If you have malice in your heart against anyone, go to that person and be reconciled; for God says “If ye forgive men their trespass, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if your forgive not men for their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

4. There are besetting sins we must overcome. (1) Drunkenness. Of this, said the speaker, I will not take time go speak; but I will state that God declares no drunkard shall enter the kingdom of heaven.  (2) Adultery and fornication are damning sins and must be overcome.

Grievously have you sinned in the sight of God and grievously are you suffering, but God is able and anxious to wash you and make you pure as snow. He is willing to raise you unto himself and give you a seat with the angels in heaven. Turn your face toward the pearly gates and you will find here on earth those who will rally about you and help you lead a new life. There are many hypocrites in the Church who would not aid you but these have not the grace of God in them. I tell you, though that if you want to turn to God your hands shall be held up.

The Promise: it is a great and glorious one. If we overcome our sins God will give us a home in heaven. Hear the text again: “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; to him that overcometh wiil I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

At the conclusion of the sermon the Methodist minister sang the touching gospel hymn “Where is My Wandering Boy To-night,” the word girl being inserted for boy to make the some more appropriate. The tender love and reproachfulness which this composition breathes touched the heart of every woman of every woman and when the last notes had died away, not an eye was dry and several were weeping as the song was in progress as if their hearts would break. While the song was in progress a well-known young society man of this city entered the front door. He was slightly under the influence of liquor. He paused a moment and catching the sound of the hymn advanced to the parlor, and in a deep fine bass voice joined in the song.

After the hymn “I’m Praying for You,” Mr. Munday asked all of the women who desired to have the prayers of Christians to stand up, and every one of them, with tears in their eyes arose. Mr. Munday invited them to attend the prayer-meeting this afternoon, and the party left. Mr. Munday means to prosecute his work in this direction to the fullest extent. “Let the good people of Nashville know what I’m trying to do for these women and then they’ll rally to me, I hope,” said he to the reporter. He proposes to have a service this Sunday afternoon in the open air in that part of the city, to which every fallen woman in the city is invited.

[1] There is nothing about this person available on Google.
[2] Reverend Dr. Thomas De Witt Talmage(January 7, 1832 – April 12, 1902) was a preacher, clergyman and divine in the United States who held pastorates in the Reformed Church in America and Presbyterian Church in Brooklyn, NY. He was one of the most prominent religious leaders in the United States during the mid- to late-19th century, equaled as a pulpit orator perhaps only by Henry Ward Beecher. He also preached to crowds in England. During the 1860s and 70s, Talmage was a well-known reformer in New York City and was often involved in crusades against vice and crime. Despite his being called a "pulpit clown" and "mountebank" for his sensational sermons, Talmage attracted a growing audience. Attending Talmage's sermons became one of the most popular religious experiences of the era. His sermons were regularly printed in newspapers across the country. The performance aspect was lost in print, however. In addition, tastes were changing. Talmage's popularity began to wane after his resignation from the pastorate in 1899.
[3] This must mean Munday.

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