The first shed we come to the preacher was lining out a hymn. He lined out two lines, everybody sung it, and it was kind of grand to hear it, there was so many of them and they done it in such a rousing way; then he lined out two more for them to sing – and so on. The people woke up more and more, and sung louder and louder; and towards the end some begun to groan, and some begun to shout. Then the preacher begun to preach, and begun in earnest, too; and went weaving first to one side of the platform and then the other, and then a-leaning down over the front of it, with his arms and his body going all the time, and shouting his words out with all his might; and every now and then he would hold up his Bible and spread it open, and kind of pass it around this way and that, shouting, “It’s the brazen serpent in the wilderness! Look upon it and live!” And people would shout out, “Glory!- A-a-MEN!” And so he went on, and the people groaning and crying and saying amen.
– Mark Twain
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chapter 20. This passage depicts a level of religious fervor and excitement verging on hysteria. Is the author poking fun at the religious revival meeting, or seeing something genuine and good in it? The serpent reference is an allusion to various Bible passages in both the Old and New Testament (Numbers 21:8-9 and John 3:14).