The Life of Father Joseph Weber



Revival Tornadoes;




Rev. JOSEPH H, WEBER, Evangelist,

The Converted Roman Catholic.



"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,



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.



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.



"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.