And now a delicate dose of humor. Religion could be a dicey subject to joke with, but it was too much a part of everyday life to be granted immunity. Most often, human views and not religious ideals, were offered up for chuckles.
JOKES ABOUT RELIGION
Availing herself of her ecclesiastical privileges, the clergyman's wife asked questions which, coming from anybody else, would have been thought impertinent.
"I presume you carry a memento of some kind in that locket you wear?" she said.
"Yes, ma'am," said the parishioner. "It is a lock of my husband's hair."
"But your husband is still alive!" the lady exclaimed.
"Yes, ma'am, but his hair is gone."
A visiting minister, preaching in a town famous for its horse races, vigorously denounced the sport. The principal patron of the church always attended the races, and of this the clergyman was later informed.
"I am afraid I touched one of your weaknesses," said the pastor, not wishing to offend the wealthy one, "but it was quite unintentional, I assure you."
"Oh, don't mind that," said the sportsman genially. "It's a mighty poor sermon that don't hit me somewhere."
A READY-WITTED PARSON
The evening lesson was from the Book of Job, and the minister had just read, "Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out," when immediately the church was in total darkness.
"Brethren," said the minister, with scarcely a moment's pause, "in view of the sudden and startling fulfillment of this prophecy, we will spend a few minutes in silent prayer for the electric lighting company."
The latest American church device for "raising the wind" is what a religious paper describes as "some collection-box." The inventor hails from Oklahoma. If a member of the congregation drops in a twenty-five cent piece or a coin of larger value, there is silence. If it is a ten-cent piece a bell rings, a five-cent piece sounds a whistle, and a cent fires a blank cartridge. If any one pretends to be asleep when the box passes, it awakens him with a watchman's rattle, and a Kodak takes his portrait.
HE KNEW BRYAN
At a recent political convention two of the delegates were discussing the religious affiliations of prominent statesmen, when one of them, a Baptist, observed to the other, who was a Methodist:
"I understand that William Jennings Bryan has turned Baptist."
"What?" exclaimed the Methodist. "Why, that can't be!"
"Yes, it is," persisted the Baptist.
"No, sir," continued the Methodist; "it can't be true. To become a Baptist one must be entirely immersed."
"Yes, that is very true; but what has that to do with it?"
"Simply this," returned the Methodist: "Mr. Bryan would never consent to disappear from public view as long as that."
The Methodist minister in a small country town was noted for his begging propensities and for his ability to extract generous offerings from the close-fisted congregation, which was made up mostly of farmers. One day the young son of one of the members accidentally swallowed a ten-cent piece, much to the excitement of the rest of the family. Every means of dislodging the coin had failed and the frightened parents were about to give up in despair when a bright thought struck the little daughter, who exclaimed: "Oh, mamma, I know how you can get it! Send for our minister; he'll get it out of him!"