The Newfoundland Memoirs of Rev. C. Ernest Smith
Charles Ernest Smith (1855-1939) was the Church of England minister in Heart’s Content from 1880 to 1889.
As his first Easter in the community neared, he began looking about for a topic for his sermon. He made the assumption that his people were inadequately “acquainted with the evidences for an intelligent and reasonable belief in the resurrection of Christ” which, he suggested, is “that one essential and cardinal miracle of Christianity.”
To deal with their perceived ignorance, he devoted his “sermon to the marshalling of all the evidence” favouring the Resurrection. Indeed, he left no stone unturned as he “dwelt upon the testimony furnished respectively by the change which the reappearance of the risen Lord made in the disciples whereby, from timid, shrinking men, they became veritable heroes.
“I directed attention to the fact of the Resurrection, as evidenced by the breaking of the sealed stone, and the terror of the Roman guard. I was especially earnest [no pun intended!] in describing the dilemma of the Jews in being unable to produce the body of Christ and in exposing their lame and impotent subterfuge that the disciples had come by night and had stolen the body, and so forth.
“Finally I brought the sermon to a close by expressing the hope that there was no one person there present who was not abundantly satisfied with the proofs of the resurrection of Christ.”
Pleased with his presentation, the minister “retired that night to rest, with the soothing conviction that I had done a great piece of work that day for the salvation of men and the honour of the Lord and Master.”
The next day, Smith met a parishioner, Mr. Perry, who was influential in the community.
“ He was coming towards me,” Smith recalled, “ but on the other side of the street. So I crossed to his side, hoping that he would have something to say about the wonderful sermon I had preached the day before. I was not disappointed!”
“May I speak to you about yesterday’s sermon?” Perry asked.
“ Yes, indeed, Mr. Perry,” Smith answered. “I shall be delighted.”