Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

The Book that Illuminates

Here is a beautiful illustration of the words of David in Psalm 119:130, “The entrance of they words giveth light.”  The incident occurred sometime in the 1840’s in rural Québec.  It is recorded in Histoire du Protestantisme Français au Canada et aux États-Unis by R.-P. Duclos, first published in 1913.

Zéphirin Patenaude, was travelling the roads in the parish of Saint-D. as a Bible colporteur.  It was February and towards evening he began enquiring for a place to spend the night.  The response was icy at every home and all refused to allow him to spend the night.

Finally, he knocked on a door and only dared ask if he could come in and warm himself by the stove.  The four other men gathered around the stove knew who he was and began to talk about religion.  Mr. Patenaude hesitated to join in, fearing to be put out into the frigid night.  But his conscience would not let him be silent and he found the courage to give his testimony.  As he finished, he dared to ask if one of them could offer him shelter for the night.  One of the men said, “I’m ready to go home, come with me and I’ll give you a place for the night.”

Mr. Patenaude was served a good supper, given a warm room for the night and a hearty breakfast.  He thanked his host for his hospitality and received this response:

“I must tell you why I treated you this way.  Two weeks ago, I had a strikingly vivid dream at two o’clock in the morning.  I dreamed that a man knocked at my door, it opened and he came in.  He took a small book out of his pocket and when he opened it, the whole house was filled with light.  When I saw you come into my neighbour’s house last night, I recognized you as the man I saw in my dream.  That is why I wanted to visit with you and hear what you have to say.”


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