THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY
LIFE AND LABORS
Rev. JOSEPH H, WEBER, Evangelist,
The Converted Roman Catholic.
REV. MARTIN WELLS KNAPP,
COPYRIGHT BY R. G. CHANDLER & M. W. KNAPP.
"Revival Tornadoes; or, the Life of Rev.
J. H. Weber," by Rev. Martin Wells Knapp, has my
endorsement as being the only book in v/hich my life
and labors have been written in full. May Heaven's
smiles illuminate the readers, and when the Light of
lights we stand before, may each one be ushered into
His presence, where there is fulness of joy. Amen.
Yours under the blood,
J. H. WEBER.
The writing of this book is a surprise to myself. 1
had planned for a year of aggressive revival work, and
had also another book on my mind to write as soon as
circumstances would permit.
Unexpectedly my health, for a season, failed, and I
was compelled to give up public work altogether.
Then the question of writing this book was presented
so forcibly, clearly, and repeatedly, that I was made to
feel sure that it was of God, and have undertaken it, in
Jesus' name, with that assurance.
The opposition of tiie enemies of the cross to Brother
Weber's work, and the misconceptions of it by others,
even of God's children, the extraordinary features of
his labors, his marvelous success even in the most for-
bidding fields, and the fact that in the few years of his
ministry thousands have professed conversion, make
the publication of what God has wrought in him and
through him of intense interest both to friend and
Revivals are essential to the spiritual prosperity of
the Church. What spring is to the year, what showers
are to the thirsty earth, the seasons of spiritual refresh-
ing are to the life of God's people. Men may talk
about the (iesirability of continuous revivals, as com-
pared with revival seasons, but save in rare instances
such does not seem to be the experience of the Church.
The religious life has its variations. There are periods
of growth and development, of steady progress and ordi-
nary activity, but these are generally interspaced with
occasions of rarer displays of power and blessing, quick-
ening the spiritual vitalities, arousing the dormant relig-
ious energies, and enlisting all the powers of the soul
in an effort for conquest and an experience of victory.
Such occasions are called revivals. The Church feels
their power and profits by their fruits. Without them
the life of many professed Christians would wane and
die. Revivals keep them alive, feed them, strengthen and
encourage them, bring others to their support, brighten
their surroundings, clarify the atmosphere, tone up the
lives of fellow Christians, and help things generally.
All live Christians desire revivals, and all dead Chris
tians need them. Therefore, whatever helps to the pro-
motion of revivals should be encouraged and welcomed.
We believe the present volume will prove to be such a
help. The life and labors herein chronicled have been
blessed of God in the salvation of many souls. The
writer of the book, like its honored subject, is an effi-
cient toiler in his Master's vineyard. He understands
revival methods and conditions, and can distinguish a
genuine " revival tornado " from a sound of wind and
fury signifying nothing. Let his work be read. Let
the facts become known. Let the world understand
that there is power in our holy religion not only to
convert sinners from the error of their ways, but to
rescue deluded souls from the ignorance and supersti-
tion of popery, and make them burning and shining
lights in the free and joyous service of God.
JAMES H. POTTS.
BIRTH AND ANCESTRY.
Of the eleven children given to his parents, Louis
and Elizabeth Weber, Joseph Hulse Weber was the
second. He was born Oct. 12, 1855, in Cincinnati,
Ohio. The state so prolific of Presidents, and others
famed in the annals of political renown, has the honor
of being his birth-place.
If souls won for Christ is in a great degree to deter-
mine man's glory at the judgment and through eter-
nity, then, doubtless, of Ohio's sons this consecrated
worker will be among the most illustrious of them all.
His father was born in Alsace, and was a German.
His grandfather was a brave soldier under the first
Napoleon, and an educated man. His mother, whose
maiden name was Elizabeth Oatman, was born on Blen-
nerhaset Island, situated in the Ohio river. Her father
was born in New York State and her mother in
With the Wesleys, Mood, Bishop Taylor, and the
Booths of Salvation Army fame, he liad the honor to
spring from a large family, having five brothers and five
sisters with whom to share his sorrows and his joys.
He loves homes in which the happy voices of many
children mingle, and sometimes gives sharp thrusts at
those false standards of society that have led her
votaries to resort to criminality to keep their families
With the worthies mentioned above, Lincoln, Grant,
Garfield, John Bunyan, Bishop Simpson, Spurgeon and
hosts of others who have reached the topmost round of
earthly fame, he also was privileged with being born in
the vale of poverty and in a humble home.
His father was a cooper in the earlier part of his life,
and is now a farmer. He, himself, in his boyhood and
youth, was first a bar-tender in a saloon and then a
laborer in a paper factory.
Hence Mr. Weber adds another to the long list of
worthies that have sprung not only from homes of
poverty but from the haunts of vice and have by God's
help risen to be a boon to their fellow-men and thus a
blessing to His kingdom.
The names of such will shine on the pages of history,
and many of them in the annals of eternity, when the
memory of myriads of the children of luxury and ease
shall have dissolved like the morning mist. Such ex-
amples ought to nerve every child of poverty and toil,
yea, of ignorance and vice, with an impulse to follow
in their footsteps.
They ought to rebuke every proud and haughty
Pharisee, who, with averted face and tighter grasp of
robe, passes such persons " on the farther side," and also
stimulate the Christian worker to everywhere be look-
ing for these '' diamonds in the rough," that, polished
by saving grace, shall shine in the new Jerusalem when
the names of the proud and haughty of earth, however
exalted here, shall have rotted in oblivion.
CHILDHOOD AND YOUTH — EARLY FORMATIVE
"Heredity and early environments determine the
currents of the after-life," ''As the twig is bent the
tree is inclined," are in a sense very wise and truthful
sayings, but the hero of this book is a marked exception
to the sentiments therein expressed. Herein is one of
the many mysteries that shroud his eventful life.
Among his ancestry, as nearly as we can learn, prior
to his own conversion, there had not been one really
spiritual person. Therefore, whatever may be found in
him as a Christian must be traced not to his first
birth but to his second. On the advent of a soul into
this world two forces seek to mould its character, right
and wrong. Two beings, Christ and Satan, seek to
place around it influences that will so impress it in its
earliest years as to determine its destiny. In Mr.
Weber's life wrong and Satan seemed from his earliest
moments to possess great vantage ground, and early
deprived the boy of safeguards such as Christ seeks to
throw around the young, and swept him, well-nigh
defenceless, into a current of subtle and mighty influ-
ences which, if not counteracted, would secure liis
certain ruin for time and for eternity. These were :
1. The example of unconverted parents. His father
was a slave to strong drink. His mother religious in
her way, but that way was the way of Catholicism.
2. Roman Catholicism. His ancestry on his father's
side for centuries had been stanch Roman Catholics.
His mother on her marriage espoused her husband's
faith and became one of the most ultra of the adhe-
rents of the Roman Church. Hence the children were
reared at the feet of priest and pope and baptized into
that faith. Thus by the minions of popery in the
susceptible days of childhood he was bound with influ-
ences which proved chains such as only the "Lion of
the tribe of Judah" would be able to break, not to Jesus,
but to the icy altars of Ritualism and Formality. Lest
he should early see his sad condition his eyes were
blinded by a bandage rightly named "Popish Error,"
and thus from his earliest impressions he was in dark-
ness, error, and superstition. Satan laughed and felt
his victim sure. Rome said triumphantly, "I've got the
first ten years of the child's life, I now defy Protestant-
ism to win him back." The challenge was afterwards
taken up, and with what results the coming pages will
3. Indulgence. The parents, through false views of
training children, perhaps thiiikiug that indulgence was
an index of parental love, allowed the boy to usually do
as he pleased, and so the poisonous plants of disobedi-
ence and kindred vices grew almost unchecked in his
young life. Oli, when will parents learn that such
indulgence is keenest cruelty to the child, and that
prompt obedience to the father and mother is to be the
foundation, in after-life, of obedience to the Government
and to God, and of a life of purity, happiness and use-
fulness, both in this world and the world to come !
4. Strong drink. In his very early boyhood it was
regularly given him by the hands of his own parents,
and a love for it, doubtless in part inherited, soon took
possession of him. What a marvel it will be if any
power in tlie universe shall rescue and save from this
demon, who has ruined millions in his murderous
5. Dancing. Under this deceptive syren he soon
learned to love society and the indulgences connected
with such gatherings, and all the baser elements of his
nature being thus appealed to through circumstances
entirely beyond his control, what wonder if, as one has
written of him, '4ie naturally became very wild and
hard ; he was, like Bunyan, a ' ring leader ' in all kinds of
wickedness and sin," and knowing as he does all of the
seductive wiles that this enchantress uses, first to charm
and then to ruin the young, no wonder that at times he
exposes them in tones that startle her defenders, and
cause hundreds of the young to flee from her murder-
ous thraldom. He was a great lover of music and
became owner of a violin. He then was invited to
play for the dances. He took great delight in this
and went from bad to worse. Thoughts of these
scenes of revelry, and the dissipations connected
with them as he grew older, have never ceased to
cause him pain. No wonder that he shudders, for
thousands at the dance-house have left virtue be-
hind, and arm in arm with lust have followed swiftly
in the steps of her whose *' house is the way to hell."
Some one whispers, '' But I know church members who
uphold dances." The church member who upholds
them in all the light of the way they have led and are
leading thousands, is either a fool or a farce, or both,
and is preparing an awful reckoning for the judgment.
6. Saloonmn. Twin brother to the ball-room is the
saloon. Each have blighted thousands and sent them
reeling under the cruel lashes of black despair to the
grave and an agonizing eternity. Both are paid servants
of Satan, and well do they work for him. Both are greedy
whirlpools, whose outer currents at first amuse, then ex-
citcf then startle, then, as they near the gargling centre,
affright and then engulf. On their fatal currents is
borne modesty, virtue, honor, industry, innocence, hope,
love and life itself. Both are fiends who seek to lure
with cunning wiles their victims, until they have slain
their guardian, Self-control, and then they bind them
with huge chains in the dungeons of despair, from
which none but Christ can deliver. This agent of the
enemy sought the boy who, as we have seen, though but
a lad, was already terribly tangled in the meshes of sin.
It is said that, " One day, while selling brooms, he
went into a saloon to 'drive a bargain,' when he was
accosted by the proprietor with, ' I don't want a broom
but I want to buy you,' at first the boy was somewhat
startled, but upon explanation, and further conversa-
tion, a bargain was made that he should attend bar.
He was done- with brooms, matches, shoe-strings, and
fans, for he would actually be a salesman, which struck
him as being something rather elevating. He returned
home in high glee, and informed his parents of his pro-
ject. They were both unfavorable to the move, but he
prevailed on his father to go down to the saloon and
see the man. The father's better nature and judg-
ment prevailed, and Joe was informed that he must
attend school rather than tend bar. He was not to be
so easily frustrated in his coveted honors. When the
following Monday came, his mother said, 'You must
go to school,' but he desired to become a rich man,
and so went to the saloon and began work as a bar
tender. He was so small that the proprietor had to
erect a rack beliind the bar so that lie could stand to
deal out ' hell and destruction,' as he now terms it. He
was with this saloon-keeper for five months." Here his
love for liquor was further strengthened, and as if all of
these influences were not sufficient to secure both the
present and future ruin of the boy, another agency
was brought to aid those already doing all too well
their work in insuring the permanent downfall of the
7. Theatricals. It would seem as if enough agencies
were already devoted to his ruin without the last men-
tioned. Well did Satan understand, however, that, un-
less captured and kept, that his kingdom would be a
tremendous loser, and so he plied all of his most cun-
ning arts. Theatricals appeared to him as to many
others in the stolen robes of innocence, and so like many
others he thus was easily led astray. At her suggestion
an amateur minstrel troupe was organized, of which
he soon became the leading spirit, and with him, as
with many others, this was a stepping stone to that
which was even worse.
The dance-house, the rink, the saloon, the circus, and
the theatre are Satan's churches, in which he seeks to
ripen spirits in their alienation from God and in their
fitness for the penalty beyond tlie grave. Their associa-
tions chime with the chords of an unregenerate heart,
whether it beat in the breast of the openly profligate or
of the false professor. As men in poisoning rats hide
the poison in much meal, so Satan mingles the poison
with which he seeks to ruin, through these agencies,
with the meal of music and much else that is pleasing
and in other relations would be unobjectionable.
" The Sabbath to him was a day of evil and high
carnivals. His associates were all evil, as bad as he,
and together they broke all of the commands of the
Decalogue." Such was Joseph H. Weber in his early
life. Young in years, but old in vice. Quaffing iniquity
as if it were some delicious nectar, and loving the
deadly draught. Manacled by evil habits, yet caressing
the very irons that bound him ! Chained to evil com-
panions, which, as Satan's sheriffs, stand ready to bear
his spirit to the cells of hopeless doom, yet revelling in
such associations. Like Bunyan, he was a master-piece
of what sin could do. Evidently Satan has done his
work so well that it never can be undone, unless a
miracle shall interpose. By these seductive influences
" Joe," as he was then called, was pushed out into the
Niagara of sin and dissipation, and yet there were many
traits in the boy that, if redeemed from sin's service,
would be of more value than gold or precious gems.
He was horn to he a leader. At home, at school, in
sports, at his work, and wherever he moved among the
youth of his acquaintances, he was the center. This
trait, consecrated to God in after life, has done much
to help him lead on to spiritual victories.
He easily made friends. One has said of him, " He
was not without friends, for he always won them where-
ever he went. His warm heart could only invite ; he
was himself friendly."
He had mental grip. He could apply himself to his
studies, quickly master them, and then have plenty of
leisure time in which to play the rogue.
He was possessed of an iron will. Whatever he un-
dertook he persisted in. Doubtless this element was
one thing that led his parents to oppose him as little as
possible. His will was like an engine under high pres-
sure upon a down grade with no brakes, every thing
had to get out of his way or suffer. Referring to this, a
former biographer writes, "We notice here an ele-
ment of firmness cropping out, which is a requisite of
success in his present work ; this is seen prominently
in all his meetings. He has a will, and that must
He was benevolent. By nature, he knew not what it
was to be' stingy. He loved to make money, and had,
even when a child, unusual faculties to succeed in busi-
ness, but it was not that "gold fever, " which loves to
hoard, but a desire to get for the pleasure he might
have in its using. It is said of him, that he would
share the last farthing, and always delighted in giving
to the needy. It may be that we shall finally find
that the Master's teaching, " Give, and it shall be given
unto you, " found verification in his life.
These, and other traits, characterized his early life
and, like gold dust on the surface, speak of what may
yet prove a rich mine underneath. If it be there, it is
bedded so deeply beneath the adamant of sin, that no
one with less than Almighty power will ever be able to
reach it*. Perhaps he yet may come in contact with
such an One. Be patient.