Chapter I

In the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia

Over the trails of the Blue Ridge Mountains a circuit rider went preaching the gospel. From Ronsevert, West Virginia, through Valley Forge and Roanoke to the East Coast of Old Point Comfort, he told the “old story.” Though he loved the hills of Virginia and the hospitable fold of that country, he was young and ambitious, and often dreamed of a large church where he could preach to the multitudes and see his visions fulfilled. Also he would be an author some day, he planned, and reach the hearts of the people not only through the spoken, but the written message. His name was John, and like the beloved disciple, he longed most of all to please his Master and have his life count to the very fullest in His service.

There were many obstacles—the severest trial, keenest sacrifices, real poverty; all these in those early days when the small town and country church gave a bare living to the old-time circuit rider. But this young man had an indomitable will, undying courage, and grim determination; which had been born in the heart of the country boy through hard work, extreme hardships, and real privations on an old farm in Ohio. These very qualities, linked with his faith in God and prayer, brought him, as it has many a country boy with the same obstacles to overcome, up from the obscure farm to the fulfillment of his dreams. Today if you will take that well-known book, Who’s Who in America, and run your finger slowly down the page through the letter “B,” you will come to his name, the name Brandt, and then the given names, John Lincoln.

NOTE: Copied from the 1933 volume of Who’s Who in America.

Clergyman, lecturer, Ordained minister of Christian (Disciples) Church; Pastorates: Denver, Terre Haute, Toledo, Valpariso, St. Louis, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Cathedral Church of Christ, Melbourne, Australia. Now pastor N. Vermont Christian Church, Los Angeles, Lyceum lecturer; extensive traveler. Mason. Author: Lord’s Supper 1888; Turning Points in Life 1890, Marriage and the Home 1892, The False and the True 1893, Soul Saving Sermons 1895. Anglo-Saxon Supremacy 1915, Great Bible Questions 1926, Finding Christ 1939. Captain Jack. Writer for magazines and religious journals.

But the part of the story with which this books has to do, began back in those Blue Ridge days when there was born in the home of the young circuit rider, a tiny baby girl, and so tiny she was, that she weighed only a few pounds. I was that baby girl, born in Ronsevert, West Virginia, and as I was such a tiny piece of humanity then, just so small do I feel in my own estimation today, as I write of my life. However, I would never tell this story if it were really of my life, but it has to do with another Life—so beautiful, so wonderful, so beyond compare that my very heart thrills at the opportunity of telling you of the wonderful thing which He did! This other Life of which I speak is that Life Divine of the matchless Christ, who says that “He came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly.” This Wonderful One, the Christ of glory, who stopped so many times along the Jerusalem road to comfort or touch the poorest and humblest of men, stopped one day at my door and stooped to touch my broken body.

Wonder of wonders that He should care for the very least! Miracle of divine Compassion that He should stoop to the lowliest! Marvel of the ages that He should so love us! And never-ceasing wonder that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. This High and Holy One, this Lovely Man from the Glory stooped so low one day as to touch my broken, blighted life, my suffering, dying body, transforming them both forever by a miracle of grace.

As a mighty rescuer, in his sacrifice and bravery is lauded, honored and loved while the rescued one receives only a passing thought, so will you, as you read, think on the mighty Savior and His wonderful love, and give only a passing thought, please, to the name and life of the rescued one. All glory to His Name!