King David, it is evident, once thought something of becoming a church sexton, for he said, “I had rather be a doorkeeper,” and so on. But he never carried out the plan, perhaps because he had not the qualification. It requires more talent in some respects to be sexton than to be king. A sexton, like a poet, is born. A church, in order to peace and success, needs the right kind of man at the prow, and the right kind at the stern—that is, a good minister and a good sexton. So far as we have observed, there are four kinds of janitors.
He is never still. His being in any one place proves to him that he ought to be in some other. In the most intense part of the service, every ear alert to the truth, the minister at the very climax of his subject, the fidgety official starts up the aisle. The whole congregation instantly turn from the consideration of judgment and eternity to see what the sexton wants. The minister looks, the elders look, the people in the gallery get up to look. It is left in universal doubt as to why the sexton frisked about at just that moment. He must have seen a fly on the opposite side of the church wall that needed to be driven off before it spoiled the fresco, or he may have suspicion that a rat terrier is in one of the pews by the pulpit, from the fact that he saw two or three children laughing. Now, there is nothing more perplexing than a dog chase during religious services. At a prayer meeting once in my house, a snarling poodle came in, looked around, and then went and sat under the chair of its owner. We had no objection to its being there (dogs should not be shut out from all advantages), but the intruder would not keep quiet. A brother of dolorous whine was engaged in prayer, when poodle evidently thought that the time for response had come, and gave a loud yawn that had no tendency to solemnize the occasion. I resolved to endure it no longer. I started to extirpate the nuisance. I made a fearful pass of my hand in the direction of the dog, but missed him. A lady arose to give me a better chance at the vile pup, but I discovered that he had changed position. I felt by that time obstinately determined to eject him. He had got under a rocking chair, at a point beyond our reach, unless we got on our knees; and it being a prayer meeting, we felt no inappropriateness in taking that position. Of course the exercise had meanwhile been suspended, and the eyes of all were upon my undertaking. The elders wished me all success in this police duty, but the mischievous lads by the door were hoping for my failure. Knowing this I resolved that if the exercises were never resumed, I would consummate the work and eject the disturber. While in this mood I gave a lunge for the dog, not looking to my feet, and fell over a rocker; but there were sympathetic hands to help me up, and I kept on until by the back of the neck I grasped the grizzly-headed pup, as he commenced kicking, scratching, barking, yelping, howling, and carried him to the door in triumph, and, without any care as to where he landed, hurled him out into the darkness.