A year had rolled around since Jake Benton had been converted down in the hills. By this time it was plain to all unbiased minds that Benton was indeed earnest. Even his most bitter enemies were obliged to admit that a mighty change had come over him. His life had undergone a real transformation. His life was an entirely new life. He had unshaken faith in the God of his salvation. In his home he established a family altar, where he worshipped God as regularly as the sun rose and set. In his business relations he literally followed the Golden Rule. At church he unflinchingly declared what his new-found religion had done for him. He declared that God had saved him from his sins and had subsequently sanctified him wholly. He even waxed bold enough to tell in meeting how God had healed him of physical ailments in answer to prayer. All this greatly incensed his fellow church-members. They insisted that he had gone crazy and was no longer fit to belong to the church. Accordingly he was put out. Jake took it all in good part and rejoiced that he was counted worthy to suffer for Jesus’ sake.
But Jake was not long obliged to stand alone in defense of his profession. His simple life of trust soon began to have its effect in the community; during the year his faithfulness had been rewarded by the salvation of a number of persons in the neighborhood. Old Grandma Gray had come out boldly on Benton’s side. She said that for fifty years she had been living as best she could, but that she had all this time had a longing for the fulness of the blessing, such as Jake Benton testified to, and she arose right in the public meeting and declared herself a seeker for just such a blessing. This set Mount Olivet church all in a storm. Deacon Gramps was furious. He said Jake Benton had a legion of devils and that Grandma Gray was bewitched.
But when Grandma Gray took her stand for full salvation, the cause for which Mount Olivet stood suffered a mighty blow. Nolan Gray, a son with whom Grandma Gray had made her home for years, had been a stanch member of the church since he was a child. In fact, he had always said he had grown up in the church. Nolan Gray was a very upright man of undoubted integrity, and he stood for high moral ideals, but under the type of preaching to which he was accustomed he had never experienced a change of heart. When he saw what a change had come over his mother, he refused to be comforted with his religious profession. Jake Benton was a tenant on Gray’s farm, and from daily contact with Benton, Mr. Gray was convinced beyond a doubt that Benton’s religion was real. One night at a prayer meeting held at Jake Benton’s humble home, Mr. Gray became so convicted that resistance was impossible. He fully surrendered himself to Jesus and obtained an experience that was marvelous even in the eyes of Grandma Gray.
The news of Gray’s conversion spread like fire on a dry prairie. He was a heavy contributor to the finances of Mount Olivet. On this account it became a matter of conjecture as to whether or not he would be excommunicated. However, Mr. Gray relieved all minds of any anxiety when on the following week he quietly withdrew his membership from the church.