Vincent, Rev. John H., D.D. by Faye Huntington

Dr. Vincent's early home was in the Sunny South. "In the land of orange blossoms and magnolia groves," he first saw the light. Six years of his life were spent in the home of the flowers; then the family came North and settled in Pennsylvania.

Like the mothers of many of our great men, John H. Vincent's mother might fill a place in the book called "Some Remarkable Women."

She is described as "patient, amiable, living as though she belonged to heaven rather than earth. Often at the twilight hour, especially on Sundays, she would take her children to her own room, and there sweetly and tenderly tell them about the life to come, and point out their faults and spiritual needs."

Mrs. Bolton in her sketch of Dr. Vincent, in "How Success is Won," gives some amusing incidents of the childhood of our Great Man. I quote from memory, but I think it is she who tells the story of the boy of six years gathering the children of the neighborhood, and after getting them quiet by threatening them with the lash of a whip, he would preach to them. And so far did his zeal carry him, that upon one occasion he tore into several parts a small red-covered hymn book, which he valued as the gift of his pastor, and distributed the pieces through his audience, doubtless thinking it highly important that all should be supplied with hymn books. Whether they all sang together from the different parts of the book given them, we are not informed.

Very early in life the boy seems to have decided that he would do something with his life worth while; that he would do that which should help others, and realizing that there is a world to be saved, he grew up with the hope of one day becoming a minister. His studies were carried on for a time at home, afterwards at a neighboring academy. Later he engaged in teaching, continuing his studies by himself, and finally he had fitted himself for college. Not every boy would have the will and perseverance to carry on a course of study while teaching six hours or more each day. However, he did not finish his college course. Not for any want of persistence, neither did he consider such a course unimportant. But he was anxious to be about his Master's work, and thus it was that before he was twenty-one years old he set out to preach "on a thirty-mile circuit, over the mountains and through the valleys of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania."

He travelled on horseback, studying and thinking out his sermons as he journeyed. Everybody, young and old, were glad to see his bright, smiling face and feel the warm grasp of his hand. It has been said that "he never shook hands with the tips of his fingers, nor preached dry sermons."

It was during this period of his life that his mother whose parting words when he went out into the world were, "My son, live near to God; live near to God," went to be with God. One near the throne in heaven, the other living near the throne on earth; is this the secret of John H. Vincent's success in the Lord's vineyard?

At length he became a pastor, preaching for a few years in New Jersey, afterwards in the vicinity of Chicago. But all the time he was busy with plans of an educational character. These plans which were at first carried out in the establishing of Saturday afternoon classes of young people, called Palestine Classes, with the purpose of studying about the Holy Land, have at length developed a Chautauqua. I need not tell you about Chautauqua; about the C.L.S.C., nor about the C.Y.F.R.U.; you do not need to be told about the town and country clubs, nor about the society of Christian ethics. Many of you have listened to those Sunday afternoon talks in the Children's Temple, and afterwards gone to the vesper service in the Hall of Philosophy.

I ought to tell you that although Dr. Vincent postponed his college course, he never gave it up, but outside college walls, he continued his studies by himself, even in the midst of a busy life, until by regular examinations he took his degrees, and also passed through the regular theological course of study of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to which denomination he belongs.

To the boys especially I recommend the study of the life and character of Dr. Vincent. A gentleman remarked in my hearing the other day, "probably no man living is exerting a wider influence over the hearts and minds of the young people than Dr. Vincent!" And I thought, what a responsibility! and how thankful the fathers and mothers should be that he is just the man he is; that his influence is ever on the side of truth and right; that his aim is to uplift, and that Christ is ever the centre of his thought. To see and hear Dr. Vincent is to understand something of the secret of his power. The sympathy which manifests itself in every look and tone, the enthusiasm with which he enters into his work, and which tides him over the hard places, and the personal magnetism—which makes you, whether you will or not; these qualities, sanctified and consecrated, make the man a power for good.