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[192]

For more than forty years this venerable brother has been travelling the mountains and valleys of Western Virginia as a colporter. He is probably the oldest tract man in the South. Hardly a day for twoscore years, except when hindered by sickness, but has found him in the lowly cabin comforting the sad, arousing the careless, kneeling in prayer with those who scarcely ever before had heard the voice of prayer, distributing tracts, and directing all to the “sinner's Friend.” Hundreds, it may be thousands, have professed faith in Christ in connection with his labors. Some time since, when entering a public conveyance, Brother Margrave was embraced by one, a stranger to him, who, with the deepest emotion, remarked: “I thank God for the privilege of once more meeting with you. Thirty years ago, when I was a child, you gave me a book, which under God has made me all I am.” Thus it is with many others who now occupy positions in Church and State. All they are, and all they hope to be, is traceable to the influence which this brother exerted upon them. From the very first of the war Brother Margrave has been following our armies in Western Virginia like a ministering angel, pointing to heaven and leading the way. Recently his aged companion was removed from earth to heaven; but, though greatly crushed in spirit, he falters not in his devotion to the great cause to which his life has been given. Mr. Samuel Price, of Greenbrier, so well known in Eastern as well as Western Virginia, and a Presbyterian, pays Brother Margrave a handsome tribute in a private letter just received. “I desire to say,” writes Mr. Price, “that he has been indefatigable in his labors, in visiting the sick, attending the camps, distributing tracts, etc.; and, indeed, in doing everything that an industrious, pious Christian minister could do. We should feel his loss in this section most seriously. It would be positively irreparable. He is the most efficient colporter that I remember ever to have known.” What an example have we here for those who have a heart to do good in the colportage work! If one will only continue at these labors, instead of growing weary of them, as so many do after a few months, he will, as the years pass away, see rich clusters of fruit ripening around him, and then, when called home to heaven, he will be “held in everlasting remembrance” by those whom he has won for Christ.

A. E. D.

A few days since, a lady said to Elder William G. Margrave:

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