In In the Midst of Alarms (1894) by Robert Barr, someone was talking about a man who doesn't like attending protracted meetings for converting the sinners:
He never wants to go to a protracted meeting, yet he can’t keep away. He’s like a drunkard and the corner tavern. He can’t pass it, and he knows if he goes in he will fall. Macdonald’s always the first one to go up to the penitent bench. They rake him in every time. He has religion real bad for a couple of weeks, and then he backslides. He doesn’t seem able to stand either the converting or the backsliding. I suppose some time they will gather him in finally, and he will stick and become a class leader, but he hasn’t stuck up to date.”
Does "they" here refer to the meetings or the people around him?
And what's exactly meant by "he hasn't stuck up to date", while it's already said that "they rake him in every time"?