Glossary of Terms from Go Tell It on the Mountain

Adam’s mind, the old Adam: a sinful or unrepentant state

Automat: one of a chain of self-service restaurants where food is purchased from vending machines

Cat house: a brothel

First Sunday: the first Sunday of each month, when a Communion service is held

Golden text: the Bible or a biblical passage

Gramophone: a record player

Hezekiah: a biblical king

Jeremiah: a biblical prophet

Lie-gap: a space between the upper front teeth, sometimes considered characteristic of a habitual liar

Melchizedek: a biblical priest-king

Mercy seat: a place before the pulpit where a member of the congregation kneels and asks for God’s forgiveness

Offscouring: filth or refuse that has been scoured off; an outcast or group of outcasts

Revival meeting: a gathering during which people publicly confess their sins and renew their faith

Saints: members of the congregation who are regarded as saved

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: in the Bible, three young men who miraculously survive being cast into a fiery furnace for refusing to worship a golden idol

Sister: a title or form of address for women who are members of the congregation

Son of Noah’s: Ham, who, in the Bible, sees his father naked. In response, Noah curses Ham’s son Canaan with the words “a servant of servants shall he be to his brethren.” This passage was used to justify slavery by those regarding Africans as descendants of Canaan.

Son of the Morning: the fallen angel Lucifer, whose pride caused him to challenge God and who as a result was cast into hell; Satan

Speak in tongues: to produce sounds while in an ecstatic state. May be considered a sign of profound religious experience.

Sporting-house: a brothel

Stable: a group of women who work in a brothel

Still: a photograph made from a single frame of a motion picture

Tabernacle: a house of worship

Tarry service: to wait; religious service in which members of the congregation wait for God to speak, or to inspire them

Testimony: a public statement of faith or of religious experience

Threshing-floor: a place where grain plants are beaten to separate out the edible parts. In this context, the area of the church where one undergoes a conversion experience and is separated from a past life of sin.

Tongue of fire; “Speak in tongues”: a reference to the biblical Pentecost miracle, in which flames descended from heaven onto the apostles, whose speech was heard in each listener’s native language

Winding sheet: shroud

Content last updated: April 30, 2007

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