the First Week of Lent
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Spurgeon's Illustration Collection
'A minister of the Presbyterian Church, in America, delivered a series of discourses against Infidelity, in a town in Louisiana, on the Red River, some of the citizens of which were known to be skeptical. A few days afterwards he took passage in a steamer ascending the Mississippi, and found on board several of the citizens of that town, among whom was a disciple of Tom Paine, noted as the ringleader of a band of infidels. So soon as he discovered the minister, he commenced his horrid blasphemies; and when he perceived him reading at one of the tables, he proposed to his companions to go with him to the opposite side of the table and listen to some stories that he had to tell upon religion and religious men which he said would annoy the old preacher. Quite a number, prompted by curiosity, gathered around him to listen to his vulgar stories and anecdotes, all of which were pointed against the Bible and its ministers. The preacher did not raise his eyes from the book which he was reading, nor appear to be in the least disconcerted by the presence of the rabble. At length the infidel walked up to him, and rudely slapping him on the shoulder, said, 'Old fellow, what do you think of these things?' He calmly pointed out of the door, and said, 'Do you see that beautiful landscape spread out in such quiet loveliness before you?' 'Yes.' 'It has a variety of flowers, plants, and shrubs, that are calculated to fill the beholder with delight.' 'Yes.' 'Well, if you were to send out a dove, he would pass over that scene and see in it all that was beautiful and lovely, and delight himself in gazing at and admiring it; but if you were to send out a buzzard over precisely the same scene, he would see in it nothing to fix his attention, unless he could find some rotten carcass that would be loathsome to all other animals, in which case he would alight and gloat upon it with exquisite pleasure.' 'Do you mean to compare me to a buzzard, sir,' said the infidel, colouring very deeply. 'I made no allusion to you, sir,' said the minister, very quietly. The infidel walked off in confusion, and went by the name of 'The Buzzard' during the remainder of the passage.'
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Spurgeon, Charles. Entry for 'Scoffer: Silenced'. Spurgeon's Illustration Collection. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​fff/​s/scoffer-silenced.html. 1870.