Days of Elijah; The Refining Work of God In Developing Character

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Some towns are vastly better for boys to be born in than other towns are. Furthermore, there was good blood in the Kellogg veins irrespective of their geography. They were a worthy race anywhere and in all circumstances. Among the ancestors of this prophet-named lad were men who had borne the banner of the cross in Palestine with Richard of the Lion Heart, and others who had been true and stanch men in the Wars of the Roses and during the great reigns of Henry VIII. With such an ancestry as that and with a birthplace like South Hadley, it is no wonder that we find young Kellogg at Bunker Hill, where were fired the opening guns of the Revolution; or that a little later he endured the privations of Valley Forge and fought at Monmouth.

Bible Study Guides - Another Elijah - Steps to Life

He was, however, formed for scholarship rather than for military life, and after the war he entered and graduated at Dartmouth College. In the Second Church of Portland gave him a call to their pastorate. He accepted the call, and after this time Portland was his home as long as he lived.

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Elijah Kellogg, Jr. This mother of his had once been Eunice McLellan.

Eunice, therefore Mrs. Kellogg , was a McLellan of the McLellans. The family were Scotch-Irish people, and were descended from old Sir Hugh, who was knighted in the year , and the race was one of strong family characteristics. Even at the present time they are somewhat clannish, and to this day throughout New England the name McLellan is regarded by him who bears it as a sort of patent of nobility; and all agree that there are few if any names in the country more worthy of respect and honor than that one.

Joseph McLellan was a born sailor if ever there was one, an adventurous rover of the seas, always happiest when on blue water with a good ship under his feet and a stiff breeze blowing him along his course. This man sent his own disposition down the family stream, and gave to his grandson Elijah a generous share of that same roving and ad [Pg 7] venturous spirit. The story is told that on the birth of an infant daughter to Joseph and Mary the parents decided to call her Esther, or as it was pronounced in those days, Easter. The babe was taken to the church that she might be baptized at the hands of the Rev.

That is no good name for a girl.

God's Story: Elijah

Call her after my wife. Call her Eunice. The deed was done, and the child was Eunice in spite of both father and mother. The baby thus curiously named became in due time the wife of Parson Kellogg and the mother of the subject of this sketch. The McLellans were a canny folk. They had fought for Scottish liberty in many a sharp tug with the Saxons in the old days.

They had helped fight the battles of the Covenanters at a later period, and now in the eighteenth century, transferred to America, they still kept up the fight and played their part on many a field, from Bunker Hill to Yorktown. Blood will tell. Family traits will be transmitted.

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Sons will in some degree resemble [Pg 8] sires. With an ancestry on both sides like that sketched above, it is no great wonder that the subject of this volume became the man he did. He had a good start. There was in him a goodly fund of inherited gifts. The boy was perfectly happy when listening to these tales of pioneer life, made up as they largely were of homely and commonplace incidents and yet of really adventurous deeds.

Things like these were the folk-lore of the Gorham people rather than stories of round tables and fairies and ghosts and witches. He was the man who had in himself resources that were always called out and brought into exercise when obstacles were encountered, and invariably rose superior to the obstacles and made the man complete master of the situation, however bad that situation appeared.

As he would have phrased it, he liked the man who never got whipped. The white man who could outwit an Indian or outhug a bear or outrun a pack of wolves was a man to be admired. The man who could fell a forest and clear a farm and put the soil to the production of corn and wheat was a man to be [Pg 10] admired. To the end of his days he loved that man who, using his own native strength, could bridle and ride the storm, or over the rudest billows of the ocean could bring his vessel into port.

It is almost superfluous to say that the man who wrote such books for boys as are the Elm Island and the Pleasant Cove series of stories was himself, when a lad, what would be called to-day an irrepressible. Without the least spice of malice or any suggestion of real harm in his nature, Elijah Kellogg was as full of mischief as a spring is of water, and it was simply impossible for parents and guardians to keep him within the bounds of Puritan propriety.

It weighed not one jot with him that grave ministers and dignified elders of the church were among his forbears. But he had great facility for getting out of scrapes as well as getting into them. He did not, however, always escape detection. On one occasion, for example, the Sunday morning swim and games had been too fascinating for his boyish discretion, and had held him at the water until the public services for the morning at the church had closed. Elijah went home to meet his father, who had missed the boy from his proper seat in the family pew. That meeting between father and son can be more easily imagined than described, especially if the reader happens to be the child of a stern Puritan church-goer, and has himself been guilty of escapades on Sunday.

He heard his father preach every Sunday, and he had become a little tired of hearing one voice, and he wanted to hear what some other man had to say. But the inquisition did not stop here; he must now give some account of the sermon. This seemed a perfectly easy matter to the young culprit. He had heard a good many sermons, and he felt very sure that he could report one even though he had not listened to it at all. But here he was caught. He had never heard anything but the rigid, old-school, Calvinistic doctrines, and it never entered his head that one minister did not always preach like another.

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It was therefore a sound Calvinistic sermon that this young reporter put into the mouth of the Methodist minister. Now I know you are lying. No Methodist minister ever preached like that.

Bible Characters and Themes

Your whole story is false. You have spent your morning down by the water. When Elijah was some ten or eleven years old he was taken to Gorham, and spent some months in the home of Mrs. Lothrop Lewis. Lewis had a young daughter whom she wished put into a Portland school, and an exchange of children was made with the Kelloggs, they taking the girl into their home and Mrs.

Lewis taking the boy into hers. This exchange [Pg 13] was in many respects a grateful one to the boy. The country was the place for him. There was more freedom there, more room and more chance for fun than in town. Perhaps, too, the fact that his father was nine miles away had its alleviations, for the presence of a father, however dearly he was loved, was a damper on the spirit of prankishness. While with Mrs. Lewis, Elijah certainly made mischief for everybody, but at the same time he made friends of everybody, for none could help loving the bright and lively fellow.

Bible Study Guides – Another Elijah

In due time the boy went back to Portland. But the city was no place for a lad like him. He chafed under its restraints, and cared but little for its schools. He was like a sea-gull shut up in a cage. As the imprisoned gull pines for the freedom of wind and wave so did the heart of Elijah Kellogg long for the free winds and the rolling waters and the ships that went sailing away to distant ports. It was a longing that could not be suppressed, and no one can really blame him that before he was thirteen years old he had found his way on board a ship and become a sailor in downright earnest.

I am sure that the boys who read his books are not sorry that the hand that wrote [Pg 14] those stories gained some of its cunning by pulling ropes, furling and unfurling sails, taking his trick at the wheel, and sharing actively in whatever pertained to the handling and management of vessels. He loved the sea, and was fascinated by the strange sights and sounds of foreign countries. He was a keen observer for a boy just entering his teens, and he gained much valuable knowledge as he wandered round the world borne along by the wings of a ship.

But in his roving he never for one moment forgot his home. His heart was warm and true to the friends who were there. Letters written to his father from different quarters of the world are now in existence, and they bear full testimony to his ardent affection for home and friends. His love for friends was perhaps the strongest element of his nature, even stronger than his love of adventure, and in due time that love brought him back from his travels no longer to sail the seas except in small boats near the shore. After returning from sea Elijah found Portland and Portland ways no more congenial to [Pg 15] him than they had been before he went away, and again he left home and went to Gorham to try life among his McLellan relatives.

He lived for a time in the family of Major Warren on a farm some two miles out of the village, matching his own strength of muscle with that of the regular farm-hands.


He was not there a great while, however. Kellogg came out from Portland and interviewed Mr. Alexander McLellan, a near relative of his own wife, and the result of that interview was that Elijah was, after the fashion of the time, indentured as an apprentice to Mr. McLellan to do general work on the place for the period of one year. His experience on the ship had been of great benefit to him. He had there learned the lessons of obedience and of industry,—lessons absolutely essential for every boy to learn if he would ever arrive at a worthy maturity. Now, instead of blocks and ropes and belaying [Pg 16] pins, his tools were the plough, the hoe, the scythe, and the axe, and while using these he could almost fancy himself a pioneer.

All this was a very wholesome kind of life and a right life in its way. Still it was no proper life for such a young man as by this time Elijah Kellogg had become. All his friends seemed to feel the incongruity of it, and the truth of this began to dawn upon himself, also. He began to feel, and to feel very strongly, that this sort of life was not up to his own level. The bird is for a life higher than the ground, and in like manner he was for something higher than the farm.

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There was a real genius in the soul of this boy that was reaching up toward intellectual exercises. Decks of ships, fields of corn, loads of lumber, were all good, but for him there was something better.