The following day she went home, and not long afterward we heard that she was much better. After another brief interval of time we heard that her eyes were well and that she could read and sew just as she did before they became afflicted. Her friends who brought her to the meeting for healing were very much tried when we instructed her to seek salvation before healing. They thought that she would be discouraged because we did not make a specialty of her healing. After all, it turned out all right, thus showing that God's way is best.
A brother, an old man, came to an Oklahoma camp-meeting for prayer. He had been a sinner from childhood, and at the time of which I write, had been saved but little more than a year. A number of us anointed him and asked God to heal him of rheumatism and of everything else that he saw fit. One of the brother's eyes was in such bad condition that with it he could not distinguish a person from other objects. Soon after prayer was offered, he said the diseased eye had been fully restored.
One of the workers in the Chicago Home began to go blind in one of her eyes. The sight kept failing until it was entirely lost. We had prayer, claimed the healing on the authority of God's Word, and did not doubt, although the sight was not restored immediately. For two months she could tell but very little difference in the condition of her eye; but during this time, she held steadily on to God's promise and did not doubt him. At last God saw fit to give her the desire of her heart. Her faith was realized and her sight was restored.
God's Care Over Me
A number of times during my life I have been exposed to danger, but have always realized God's protecting hand. The incidents which I shall now relate, show God's goodness and tender care for me. Truly he is a present help in every time of need, and powerful to deliver under all circumstances.
One time while I was still in the old home at Windsor, Missouri, I was alone in the house. My parents had gone on a visit about twenty miles away, and two of my younger brothers were somewhere about the farm. I was in the room before the old-fashioned fireplace. Some embers had dropped out on the hearth, and ashes had settled over them, entirely hiding them from view. Presently I knelt on the hearth before the fire and began earnestly calling on God, my calico dress resting on the covered embers on the hearth. Being entirely absorbed in my devotion, I did not know that there was any danger until the flames were going up my back. I rushed to the door, calling loudly for help, in the hope that some one would hear me and come to my assistance. My next thought was to run to the kitchen, get some water, and throw it on the fire; but the thought flashed through my mind that if I should run through the hall, the fire would get such a headway that it would burn me to death. So I called on God earnestly: "O Lord, why is it that I am left here to burn to death alone?" With all my soul, I threw myself on his mercy. Like a good, loving, heavenly Father, he brought it to my mind to go to the closed door and press my back tightly against it until the flames were smothered. Although my clothes were nearly burned from my back, yet I escaped without the slightest injury. Truly God proved himself to be my wisdom and my deliverer.
While we were attending a meeting at Sturgeon, Missouri, I was a guest at a farm-house two or three miles from the town. I had no way of returning to town the next day, except to ride in on horseback. Because of my illness in early life, I had never learned to ride on horseback. My parents would never let me try, for fear that I should have a fit, fall from the horse, and be killed. At the place where I was staying, only two horses could be spared from the work on the farm—one gentle animal, too old to work on the farm, the other a fractious colt not sufficiently broken to be safe for a woman to ride. In fact, the young horse had thrown the young woman of the household a number of times.
There were three of us to go to town on these two horses—two other young women and I. The old lady had asked me if I was used to riding, and upon hearing that I was not, she said I should ride the old horse. After waiting on the Lord earnestly, however, I felt strongly impressed to ride the young, unbroken animal, trusting myself in God's hands.
The Lord had assured me that he would take care of me. The old lady did not want me to ride the colt and seemed to think that I was somewhat obstinate in my decision. Finally, however, she consented.
The girls who went with me were young and mischievous, and when they saw that I did not know how to ride and was very awkward, they began to enjoy my predicament and whipped up their horse just to have fun at my expense. I felt very awkward and scarcely knew how to keep my seat in the saddle. On the way to town the girls asked me if I expected to return to the farm that evening. I said that I did not, to which they replied that they were glad because they wanted a horse apiece coming back, so that they could have a race. There had been a heavy rainfall, and in front of the blacksmith shop at the edge of town was a large mud-puddle in which a hog was wallowing as we came up. Disturbed at our approach, the big animal arose from the puddle, splashing mud and water, and making considerable noise. The gentle horse on which the girls were riding became frightened, jumped to one side, and both girls fell off into the mud. The horse on which I was riding was scarcely frightened at all. He just made a slight movement that loosened my foot from the stirrup. Some one came to my assistance until I could get down. I realized that God had protected me.
One time not long after this a brother was taking me somewhere on a mule. It suddenly came to my mind that I had not trusted God for protection and that I must do so at once as danger was near at hand. In less than five minutes, as we were going through a bit of timber, the mule got scared and began to rear up. Then he tried his best to run with me through the timber. If he had succeeded, no doubt my brains would have been knocked out against a tree. Again an unseen hand seemed to help me, and although the mule kept rearing up and trying to get away, I was uninjured.
At a few other times in my life God has marvelously protected me under similar circumstances. Once the mule on which I was riding became frightened and threw me off. For some time I lay senseless on the ground, but the mule stood still, not moving out of its tracks until I recovered consciousness and crawled away. God answered my prayer, and I was soon all right again. At another time I fell off a horse backwards on my head. A brother and sister who were with me thought that they heard my neck break, but the Lord marvelously protected me, and I was almost as well as usual by evening. At still another time my horse slipped, and I fell off, got caught in the saddle, and was dragged some little distance. At first I called for help, but the sister with me was so frightened that she could not come to my rescue, so I called on God very earnestly, and he helped me out of the dangerous position without any hurt.
Before my brother and I began our work in Chicago, while passing through that city with Brother Kilpatrick and his company, we stopped over to visit Lincoln Park. When the street-car was near the edge of the park, one of the company jumped off, saying, "This is Lincoln Park." I had ridden so little on the street-cars that I did not know the danger of getting on or off while the cars were moving, so I jumped too, thinking that if I did not I should not get to see the park. As I jumped, I kept hold of the car and in consequence was dragged about one hundred yards. When the conductor got his car stopped, he gave me a cursing for being so foolish, but he little realized how ignorant I was. Some of our company were almost sick with fright, thinking that I was killed, but God in his mercy protected me and did not allow me to suffer serious injury.
After we had begun work in the city of Chicago, we went one day out to a little town called Naperville to visit some saints and to hold a meeting. When we came to the depot to start back, my brother found that he had left his Testament at the house where we had been staying, and he went back after it. There was a little suburban station just a short distance from the depot, and the train ran between the two. Our baggage was at the suburban station. I saw the train coming and, supposing of course that it would stop, I went across to the little station to protect our things. The train was a lightning express which did not stop at that station, and the man in charge of the crossing, seeing my danger, began to yell at me to come back. I was too far across to return, and his yelling came near confusing me, so I merely made my escape. The express was not more than a foot away as I stepped off the track.
At different times God has protected me from contageous diseases. While my oldest brother and I were out together in the work, he took the measles. I nursed him during his illness, and others were sure I was taking them. They thought they saw them coming out under my skin, but I was trusting God the best I knew how. Some of the incidents that occurred about this time were rather amusing. About the time I should have been coming down with the measles, Mother Bolds and I attended a meeting in Carthage, Mo. It was a dark night, and we had to cross a little ravine. We lost our way, got into the water, and got drenched. But no bad results came of our wetting, as I was not taking the measles at all. God had protected me.
I had my next experience of this kind at Cornell, Nebraska, when I took care of my brother George during his sickness with the measles. George was very sick. Often after giving him food or water I would find myself tasting of what was left. Then I would think, "I do not want to tempt God; what shall I do? It certainly seems I must have the affliction after being so thoughtless." But I thought of this scripture: "If they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them." I asked the Lord to verify that promise to me.
On two different nights, however, for about two hours each time, the devil seemed to come and try to impose the disease on me. It seemed that I could hear him say, "I will give you the measles; I will give you the measles." "No, you will not," I would say in reply. "I will not have them unless God wants me to have them. You are not going to give them to me." I knew it was Satan that was trying to push the disease on me. The second night it seemed as though I could resist the devil no longer, and I said, "If I do not get help, I can not stand any more." Then the Lord appeared and let me know that I should not be tried any more, and this scripture was fulfilled: "God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape." The enemy disappeared and I did not take the measles.
While in San Diego, California, a brother took George and me over the bay to Cornado Island. Before we started, God impressed me that there was danger ahead and that I should pray earnestly for protection. Thinking that I should not have time before starting, I prayed as I went. Upon reaching the island the brother went to moor the boat, and George called to him, "Are you not afraid to fasten your boat so near to the waves from the main ocean?" He answered that he thought there was no danger.
We spent a very pleasant day on the island and enjoyed the ocean air. When it came time for us to go home, I found that in walking around I had lost my scarf. The brother who was with us said he thought he knew where it was. He told my brother to hold the oars while he went to get the missing article. On his return George went to pass him the oars, but in some way one of them fell into the water. Just then the large waves began to roll in from the open sea and to fill our little boat. It looked as though death was staring us in the face. My brother saw that he could escape; but as he thought that probably the boatman and I would both be drowned, he stayed with us and did all he could to help get the oar. The boat was full of water. We were all drenched and sat there in the water until we got back to the mainland about four miles away.
Although I did not drown, yet probably the wetting would have caused my death had God not answered prayer. How good the Lord was and what a lesson I got! When God impresses us with danger, it is time to lay it to heart and to pray until we know that God has given us the protection we need.
Another incident of this kind occurred in California while we were visiting a place known as the Inner Cave. When the tide was out, people could walk round in this cave and enjoy the scenery; but when the tide was in, the cave was filled with water. We supposed that we knew the time when the tide came into the cave, but we had been misinformed. When we got out into the open air again, it was within five minutes of the time for the return of the tide. Had we remained much longer, we should all have been drowned.
God has certainly been very merciful to me. Many times has he warned me before meeting with some threatened danger, and always he has protected me from serious harm.
My California Trip
For some time a brother in California had been insisting very strongly on our coming to that State to hold meetings. His letters were full of glowing accounts of the beautiful climate and the fine fruit, he thinking that would be an attraction to us. These attractions had no influence upon us. My brother George, Lodema Kaser, and I, who were then together holding a meeting, felt so strongly impressed of the Lord to accept the brother's invitation that we all thought we should go in a week or two. While in earnest prayer, however, God made it clear to me that my mother would need me at home in the near future and that we were not to go to California until a year from the following fall.
During the winter of the year in which we first felt impressed to go to California, mother got erysipelas in the face. At that time my brother and I were out in the work, and my unsaved brother put her in the hands of physicians. While we were holding meetings in Oklahoma, we received a telegram that she was very low, and started for home. At Wichita, Kansas, we telegraphed asking if she was still alive. We got the answer, "Yes, but the doctors say she can't live twelve hours." Up to this time I had the assurance that God would heal her, but when I got the doctor's word, I, like Peter, began looking at the waves and concluded that Mother would die. When I got home, however, and had to trust God, I felt ashamed of myself and decided that I would never again put a doctor's word ahead of God's promises. God spared her life, but the medicine had so reduced her strength that George and I had to stay at home and nurse her for two months.
About two weeks before we were ready to start for California, I saw in a dream a brother coming to give me twenty dollars to help pay my way to California. He said that he had wanted to use the money in some other way, but that God had shown him to use it for pushing his work in southern California. The dream came true in all its details.
Finally our preparations were completed and in November, more than a year after we first felt impressed to go to California, we took train at Newton, Kans. There were seven in our company, Brother and Sister Dansberger, Brother and Sister Gates, Sister Lodema Kaser, and my brother George and I. As we had been brought up in a comparatively level country and had never seen any mountains, the trip was to me a source of wonder and delight. After three days' travel, we reached San Diego and stepped off our train into a land of flowers. Roses were in bloom, geraniums formed a fence around some of the buildings, all nature was in the height of its beauty. We arrived on November 15, just fifteen years to a day from the time I was healed, and exactly five years from the time J. W. Byers reached the Pacific Coast. The contrast between California and the place from which we had come was very marked at this time of the year.
A house in San Diego was given us free of rent and an abundant supply of provisions was brought in by the brethren. Figs were very plentiful in that part of California, and our company enjoyed them very much. If I remember correctly, they bore three crops a year. I learned quite a lesson from the nature of this fruit. Fig-trees do not bloom like most other fruit-trees, but the fig itself pushes out at the end of the twig, just as the leaves begin on a hickory-tree. The tree has no flowers, or bloom. I was told that as the fig grew and ripened it had all the appearance of a bloom. A careful examination proved this statement to be true. The inside of the fig looks like the petals of a beautiful flower. To my mind, this beautifully illustrates the Christian who wears all the blossoms on the inside, and it is not only blossom, but genuine fruit, after all.
I learned another lesson by the ocean-tide. Certainly God's handiwork is displayed in large bodies of water. I could sit and behold his beauty and grandeur hour after hour and never grow tired. In fact, it seemed that I could see the hand of God, traces of his wonderful works and creation, until I was awed into silence and felt like saying as Job did of old, "When the Almighty speaks, I will put my hand on my mouth." The lesson I learned was this:
When the tide is out, the rocks along the shore, covered with seaweed and moss, present an unsightly appearance; but when the tide comes in, these unsightly things are all covered with water, which present the appearance of a sea of glass. When the grace of God is low in our soul, the unseemly parts of human nature are on exhibition; but when the grace of God floods the soul, then Christ is on exhibition and the unseemly parts are hidden away.
Another lesson that might be drawn is this: The coming in of the tide might be compared to the trials and the tests that flood our souls, and the going out of the tide to the subsiding of the trials, which, like the going out of the tide, leaves behind pearls and shells and other beautiful things. The beauties of the Christian life are brought to view by the waves of trial that sweep over the souls.
We went out into the country, visited the saints, and enjoyed the orange-groves for about two weeks. In the ocean we saw God's hand exhibited in might and power. Here we saw God's hand none the less, although exhibited in gentleness and beneficence. The orange-trees were a beautiful sight. They were loaded with fruit in various stages of development. On the very same tree there would be blossoms and oranges ranging in size from the small green ones to the large ripe ones.
Once while we were near the ocean, we thought it a good opportunity to visit the man-of-war that was stationed about half a mile out from the shore.
We went out to it in a little sail-boat. As we were passing under a pier, the oarsman dropped one of his oars in the water and regained possession of it only with a great deal of difficulty. One of our party, a sister, becoming greatly frightened because of our danger, took hold of one of the pier-posts and held to it with all her might. In the meantime the brother had gotten hold of his oar and was trying to make the boat move. He soon saw that there was some hindrance, and, looking around, found the sister holding to the pier-post. When asked why she was doing that, she answered, "I am afraid we shall drown." "Woman," he said, "if you will not let go of that post, you will drown every one of us." I have often thought how much like this sister some Christians act. They are afraid they will be overwhelmed, but they hold to something on the shore, to the pier-post of the world or of their own ideas, which makes it impossible for them to get out where it is smooth sailing. Some of these, however, are sincere and honest in heart, finally wake up to what they are doing, say that they have Christ as their pilot, take their hands off, and get out on the open sea of life where the waters are calmed by the Spirit of the Lord.
While we were in San Diego there came to us a woman in destitute circumstances. She and her husband had recently come from another part of the country and had not yet succeeded in finding work. They were almost at the point of starvation, and so she came to us to borrow some money. The woman herself professed salvation, but I think knew but little of the truth. Her husband was a sinner. She told us that her husband was out of work and that although he was unsaved he would not eat anything for breakfast that morning for fear there would not be enough left to keep his children from starving until he could get work. We were much moved by the compassion he had shown for his little ones, and thought how much more compassion our Heavenly Father has for his children. The Word says, "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." We felt led to divide the flour, meat, fruit, and butter we had on hands. Before the day was over, there was brought to us from the country ten miles away more provisions than we had given away. The destitute family had enough to live on until the husband got work, which was only a few days later. "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure pressed down, and shaken together, and running over."
It has been said that every false doctrine that starts from the eastern part of the United States has a through ticket to the Pacific Coast. We could readily believe this statement. California seemed to be a hot-bed of false doctrine. It was difficult to get any truth to the people or to get them free from the false doctrines of which they had partaken.
From San Diego we went to Los Angeles, where we lived in a tent and held meetings in a large tabernacle, with fairly good crowds. The gospel message was not without effect, but we found the people so filled with false doctrine that it was almost impossible to get the truth to them. Even the brother who was so anxious for us to come to California was scattering false doctrine wherever he went. Among other things, he opposed women's preaching. God put us on his trail and kept us after him until the enemy was thoroughly rebuked, and he humbled himself and asked forgiveness.
While in this place, most of our little company was under arrest for about three hours for preaching on the street. Some one had reported us to the police and had misrepresented what we were doing. Some of our company enjoyed being under arrest very much, feeling that they had a foretaste of a martyr's experience. When they were released, they came back to the tent rejoicing and praising God that they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus' sake. This did not end our street-meetings; many more were held during our stay in California.
During our stay at Los Angeles, a blacksmith, a brother in the church, while shoeing a horse, got a severe kick in the head. His condition seemed very serious. He came to the tent before meeting began and requested prayer, saying that after prayer he would return to his tent, as he was feeling pretty bad. God wonderfully answered prayer and healed him so that he was able to sit up during the meeting. About three days later one of our company was in his shop and asked him how he was getting along. The reply was that his head was all right, but that a little wound on his hand unnoticed before was giving him some trouble. "But," he added, "I thank the Lord that it is no worse." The brother replied, "Can't you thank the Lord that it is as it is?" The blacksmith stood thoughtful for a moment and then said, "Yes; why shouldn't I thank the Lord that it is just as it is?" The words had scarcely left his mouth before the healing power of God came and made his hand perfectly well.
Many other incidents occurred while we were there that space will not permit me to mention here. We remained a little over three months, doing some work in the country, although we were out of town only a few days. At the close of the meeting we moved to Alameda, one of the suburbs of San Francisco. The town at that time covered considerable ground, but had very few large buildings in it. At this place also we lived in a tent as before and held meetings in a large tabernacle. Services were held almost every night, and much precious seed was sown.
One day a sister called on us: She said: "Your brother said in his sermon a few nights since that we should bear one another's burdens. How can we do this if we do not open our hearts to others and tell what our burdens are? Do you think it would be all right for me to open my heart to you and tell you my burden?" "Certainly," I answered, "if your soul is burdened." "I have," said she, "a heavy burden to carry. Now, my husband no longer loves me, but he has given all his affections to my sister. They are likely to elope at any time, and my heart is broken. In fact, the grief and trouble I have endured have brought on heart-trouble." As she finished her story, we asked, "Is there anything we can do? We should be glad to do anything to help you bear your burden. Do you think it would be a good idea to have a day of fasting and prayer?" "Yes," said she, "I think it would do good." We told her to set the day, and she chose the next Friday. On that day we all fasted and prayed, especially for this man. It was not over two weeks before God got hold of his heart and gloriously saved him. A happier person than this sister I do not think you could have found. It seemed that she could not cease praising God and thanking us.
In order to defray the expenses at home, she raised poultry for the market. To show her gratitude to us, she brought chickens, eggs, and other things for our use until we were afraid she was really robbing herself. She fairly loaded us with good things, and when we called her attention to how generously she was supplying our needs and told her we were afraid she was doing too much, she would say, "Oh, no; I never can repay you for what you have done for my family." We would say, "Do not try too hard to repay us, as it was God who did the work for you." I heard of the man not many years ago, and was still sweetly saved.
In our company were Brother and Sister Gates and their three children, who had come with us from Kansas. Not only had Brother and Sister Gates helped us financially, but they had been as a father and mother to us all. They were now about to leave us, and they seemed somewhat burdened lest we should suffer need, as the people had not yet been supplying our needs very much. Of course, the reason why God had not been supplying us otherwise up to this time was not hard to find. The Lord knew that they were supplying our need and that we required no additional help from others.
Before leaving us, the sister said, "What are you going to do after we are gone?" I answered: "The Lord has always been a present help in time of need. You and Brother Gates have been very helpful to us, for which we are thankful; but, sister, you must remember that is was God working through you. If God had not been blessing your souls, doubtless we should not have received special help from you. So, after all, the help you gave us came from God. I am sure when you are gone the Lord will not forsake us."
It seemed, however, that the Lord wanted to encourage them before their departure by beginning to manifest his care for us. A baker, a stranger to us, came one morning before we were up and left half a dozen loaves of nice bread on the table in one of our tents that we used as a kitchen. The next day Sister Gates said, "Well, you have some nice bread." The following day the same number of loaves were left and the sister remarked, "I think I shall accept some of that bread to take on our journey, and I won't have to bake as I expected." Again, the third morning the usual number of loaves were left in our tent, and Sister Gates remarked: "I wish we knew who that man is, so that we could tell him to stop bringing bread. You will soon have more bread on hands than you will know what to do with." I answered, "God wants to show you how he will take care of us after you are gone." When we found out who the baker was, we asked him to leave a smaller amount of bread for us, as our company was not so large as it had been. He continued, however, to bring us bread, also buns, cookies, and cake, all of which were very much appreciated. His donations continued during most of the time we were at this place.
One of our company dropped a tract at a house near the outskirts of the city. This tract was the means of the salvation of the woman who found it. Her husband, who was a dairyman and sold milk in a certain part of the city, told my brother if he would come to a certain place which he passed daily, he could have three pints of milk every day. Two or three days before Brother and Sister Gates left us, provisions of all kinds—fruit, meat, and even baked goods—came pouring in. We had already decided that, as Brother and Sister Gates were soon going to leave us, our company would all take their dinner together on Sunday. Our table was loaded down. The meal looked more like a wedding-dinner than the meal of a few humble traveling preachers. When Brother and Sister Gates saw how bountifully God had provided for us, they were delighted and satisfied.
A sister who had come to us shortly after our arrival at Alameda told us that we had to be very careful and economical with the provisions, because we should not be so bountifully supplied here as we had been at San Diego and Los Angeles, because at those other places the church had been taught to give. "There are but few saints here," she said, "and they do not know their duty, so we need not expect large contributions." We replied, "Even if they do not know their duty, God is just the same, and they that trust him shall not be confounded." I do not know that we were better supplied at any other place in the State.
During our stay at Alameda, we went over to San Francisco and sat on the porch of the Cliff House overlooking the sea and watched the herds of seals that were playing on a little island out in the ocean about a quarter of a mile. They acted like a party of mischievous children. One of the animals would throw another into the ocean, and the one in the water would come up dripping. As we watched them, we could imagine that they entered into the fun of the sport and really felt mischievous.
At Fresno, the next place in our itinerary, a widow provided us with a furnished house, rent free, with fruit in the cellar and everything needed to make us comfortable. We remembered at this time that Elijah was provided for by a widow.
In one part of the house was a woman tenant who soon proved to be our enemy and tried to persecute us. While we were having worship, she would make fun of us and disturb us in every way she could. We made up our minds we would obey the Lord in "putting coals of fire on her head." We sought every opportunity to show little kindnesses. At first our efforts were all in vain; she spurned every advance we made. Finally, she took sick, and we went in and asked the privilege of helping her. At first she rejected, but finally consented, and we went to work to prepare her food and to do whatever else was necessary to make her comfortable. Our kindness reached her heart. After she recovered, she showed some signs of gratitude, and we improved every opportunity to accomplish our design of overcoming evil with good. At last she was won to the truth, sought the Lord, found him precious to her soul, and was ever after our firm friend. It was only about three years ago, I think, that she sent me one dollar in a letter.
The people in Fresno had heard but little of the present truth. There was one brother living in the town, however, who had done a little house-to-house work, lending books, visiting the sick, etc. Among others, he had made the acquaintance of two aged sisters, one of whom was a habitual user of morphine. She was a doctor's widow and had acquired the habit by taking morphine as a remedy shortly after their marriage. As these old ladies talked with the brother (Martin) and as they learned of what the Lord had done for the souls and bodies of different people, there was awakened in their hearts a desire to trust the Lord for deliverance.
One day a sister of our company and I had planned to do some calling. At this time we were in need of such provisions as butter, milk, eggs, etc. The sister thought, therefore, that we had better go to a sister who we felt sure would help us in our time of need. I felt more inclined to go and see the woman who was addicted to the morphine-habit, and accordingly we turned our steps in that direction. The two old ladies were much pleased to have us come, and the one who was bound by the morphine-habit desired very much to be delivered. Before we left, they wanted to know if we had a cow. We told them no, and without our asking they supplied us with all the milk, butter, eggs, and buttermilk we needed.
As we left, they requested that we should come back and pray for the sister's deliverance. Their brother also came after me the following Monday morning to go and have prayer for her. For nearly forty years she had been addicted to the morphine habit and had been given up by the doctors who had treated her. Four or five years before this, spots such as usually come on the skin of those who have long been users of morphine, appeared on her skin, showing that she was beyond the reach of medical skill. I went there, prayed for her, but felt that her case was so serious that there would be a prolonged fight, so I returned and sent Sister Kaser. She remained at the house for twelve days. For three or four days it was a life and death fight. Then the old lady began to come out from under the influence of the drug, to throw off the effects, and in twelve days she was like another person. Things that she ate began to taste natural, and her health improved. God had wrought a perfect deliverance.
It was during our stay at this place that we had the privilege of visiting the park in which are the giant redwoods of California. For thirty miles on the trip we went in a carriage, and then we took a large mountain-wagon drawn by two pair of horses. As we ascended the mountain to the park, we passed through vegetation in various conditions. At Fresno, where we began our journey, no rain falls and vegetation grows only by means of irrigation. As we ascended, we came first to where there was a small amount of moisture, and the grass was just beginning to make its appearance. As we got further up the mountain, the vegetation was more abundant and flowers were growing here and there. The further we went the greener was the foliage, the stronger the growth, and when we reached the height we were in a grove of giant trees.
Just before reaching the park we were threatened with a danger that we least expected. During the summer, government troops camped in the park, and as we came up the narrow road, we met the army-wagons coming toward us. The road was so narrow, with the sheer side of the mountain rising on one side and a precipice on the other, that to pass these wagons was impossible. We had to wait until the government-wagons passed before resuming our trip.
When we approached the grove of redwoods, the stumps looked so large that I supposed the trees would be larger than they really were and hence I was quite disappointed in their size. My disappointment, of course, was due to the effect on my senses, for the trees were really immense. I walked through a hollow log through which a lady had ridden on horseback some time before. Later, I stood on top of this log and it seemed as if I were standing on top of a house. The largest tree we measured was 103 feet in circumference at its base. The name of this monster was General Washington. People had climbed far up its sides and carved their names. In order to get a good idea of the height of these great trees, one has to lie on the ground near the base and look up. Through the roots of one tree that was visited, a beautiful spring of ice-cold water bubbled up. The spring came up through a decayed opening in the root of the tree.
California is much different from the Eastern States. In the low lands of California there is no lightning nor thunder. The rain comes so gently that sometimes one has to look out-of-doors to see whether or not it is raining. But in the mountains the thunder and lightning are very sharp. Then, too, the difference in temperature between the lowlands and the highlands seems remarkable. At Fresno the thermometer registered 109 after sundown, while on the mountain the temperature was only 60. In California the vegetable growth differs greatly from that in the East. In the East our common elders die every other year; in California they grow to be as large around as a man's body. In the East the castor-bean is an annual; in California it is a tree, many of them larger than a man's body. We had tomatoes in mid-winter from vines that had been bearing for many months, and we saw beets that had grown year after year until they were of great size, in comparison with those of eastern section.
While at Fresno we took a trip in carriages across the country to Farmersville, a small town in the interior, about forty miles away. We also attended a camp-meeting at Tulare, where we met Brother and Sister Brundage and other saints.
In the month of March, after being in California a year and four months, we took the southern route and returned East by way of Arizona. We stopped at Phoenix and held a two weeks' meeting with good success. One evening I visited a sick sister, who seemed to be suffering considerably. She did not ask for prayer, and I did not volunteer to pray for her. As I left, her little three-year-old child heard her say that she wished Sister Cole had prayed for her while there, as she wanted to be healed and go to meeting that night. "Mama," said the little one, "I will pray for you," and she stepped up and put her little hands on her mama's head. After prayer she said, "Mama, are you better now?" "No." "All right, I will pray for you again." Again she asked the Lord to make her mama well. "Mama, aren't you better now?" "No, I feel as bad as ever." "Well, I will pray for you again." By this time the mother saw that the child had more faith than she. She decided to exercise every bit of faith she had. After the little girl had prayed the third time, she said, "Mama, aren't you better now?" The mother answered, "Yes, I believe the Lord heals me." She got up and dressed herself, and sure enough she was well.
At the street-meetings we held in Phoenix, there were present Indians and a number of foreigners of different nationalities. While in this town we had the privilege of visiting our old friends, Brother and Sister Pine, who were then living a few miles out of the city. Both we and they were much delighted to meet again. A day or two more of traveling on the railway, and we were again among familiar scenes, which seemed very dear to us after so long an absence.
Visiting Relatives in the East
After our return from California I found that my body was much worn by our labors in that State. I therefore rested for a few weeks; then in company with my brother George, I attended a number of camp-meetings that summer. A little later in the year we went to visit relatives in Ohio and Indiana, stopping on the way to hold a few meetings in the city of Chicago. On this trip we visited also my mother's old home in Carroll County, Ohio, and while there saw many things, which, although new to us, seemed familiar because of her oft-repeated stories in regard to them. Although we had a pleasant time, because of the sociability and kindness of the people we visited, yet our hearts were saddened that we found none of our relatives enjoying a clear experience of salvation.
George returned to the West and I remained for sometime longer with an uncle, Mother's brother. I did what I could while I was there to lead these dear ones to see the full light of Christianity, but I do not know whether or not I accomplished anything. The time was now drawing near for me to return to the West, and I did not have money enough to pay my way. I felt ashamed to let my relatives know anything about it, as I had been telling them of God's goodness in providing for me and trying to teach them to trust God for all things. I had hoped that George, who knew something of my financial straits, would send me some money. I was expecting to hear from him, but when he did write, he sent only a postal card. My uncle's folks had spoken in a way that showed doubt as to whether I had money enough to pay my car-fare, but I had told them that I was trusting the Lord and that he would provide.
I prayed very earnestly and the Lord seemed to bring to my mind an incident connected with the crossing of the Jordan by the children of Israel. They had to prove God by stepping into the edge of the water before he saw fit to make the waters roll back, thus opening a path for them through the river. I was impressed that God wanted to test me and that I should have to be willing to go to the depot without the money. Uncle did not take me to the depot, but found a chance for me to ride with a neighbor. At the depot I met a man who professed to be a saint, and I wondered if he would not help me pay my way. He had intimated that he might help me. But he did not ask me whether I needed any money, nor did he offer to give me any. I was asking God earnestly what to do, and I had just about decided to buy a ticket to a point as far as my money would pay and then to trust God for the rest of my fare, when, looking up, I saw in the distance some one coming through the heat, and as he drew nearer, I recognized him as Uncle.
He had not come to the depot with me, as he was afraid it would be too hard for him to walk back, but now he was coming. I wondered why, and when he got near me I said, "O Uncle! why did you come through this heat?" The tears began to roll down his face, and he said, "Mary, I was afraid you didn't have enough money." "Uncle," I said, "I guess God showed you, for I didn't have enough. I lack about fifty cents." He said, "When I was at your home, your brothers were so good to help me that I felt it was my duty to see that you had enough money to pay your way." "Uncle," I said, "I won't need more than fifty cents." "Here is a dollar; take it." "No, you give me just fifty cents." He did so, and I had just a few cents more than enough to pay my fare.
I can almost see the dear old soul yet coming through the heat almost exhausted—and then to think how good the Lord was to help me in this time of need! The thought of the Lord's kindness melted me to tears, and I thanked him over and over. This incident shows, too, that many times a kind deed long forgotten is rewarded at a later time when help is much needed. Let us not forget to "scatter deeds of kindness for our reaping by and by."
A short time after this we went on a visit to the old home at Windsor, Mo. The night after we came an electric storm passed over the little town, accompanied with a high wind and torrents of rain.
While the storm was at its height, lightning struck the belfry of the Baptist chapel, two doors from our house. The meeting-house was soon in flames, and the high wind hurled great pieces of burning timbers over our house, and for a while there seemed great danger of its taking fire too. Mother was quite uneasy, but God made us to know that he would protect us.
While on this visit, George and I went about twenty miles distance in a buggy to visit a brother and a sister and their families. While on our return trip we stopped at the little town of Lincoln to water our horses, and George took the bits out of the horse's mouth to let him drink. The animal became frightened at the sound of the wind-mill where we were watering, and began to run, and as there were no bits in his mouth, the lines in my hands were useless. My brother undertook to hold the horse, but under the circumstances he could not do so. He saw that my life was in danger, and in trying to rescue me he got wound up in the lines and was hurt quite a little. I was thrown out of the buggy and dragged about a hundred yards and badly injured internally. When George got to me, I was unconscious, but I soon came to myself. Then we both called earnestly on God, who answered prayer. We were both sufficiently relieved so that when the horse got over its fright and the buggy was repaired, we started on our journey of seventeen miles home. We thanked God that the sky was clouded over; thus God held his big umbrella over us and gave us protection from the heat, as we were both very sick and in danger of fainting.
I found later that the injury I had received in the runaway was more serious than we had at first thought. I trusted God as best I could for my healing, and we soon started on our way to Neosho Falls, Kansas, to attend a camp-meeting. Within seven days after I was hurt, I was scarcely able to be up at all. My nerves were in such a condition that I could scarcely bear any noise at all, not even the sound of a person's voice. Because of the weakness and the pain I suffered, I missed most of the meeting and lay in bed for about three weeks after the meeting closed. The injury had so affected my brain that I was not capable of grasping God's promises for my healing. About this time I had a dream. I was in a large ship that was in a sinking condition. I was not in the water, but was clinging desperately to the side of the vessel. We called for help, and a tug-boat came to our rescue. Fearing I could not hold on much longer, I called to them to hurry. They replied that they must rescue Sister Martin first. I awoke, and the Lord made me to know that, owing to the condition of my brain, I could not myself obtain healing, and that I should ask the church to help bear the burden. So I got the church at Neosho Falls to fast and pray, and we also had the saints in Moundsville to agree with us in prayer. God heard prayer, healed my body, and my brother and I soon started on our journey east again.
On our way we stopped at home and stayed over one night. One of the sisters in that neighborhood begged me to remain and rest a whole year, saying if I did not I would soon be in my grave. My reply was: "I need more than a rest. God wants me to go. He can help me where I am going as well as at home. Pray for me, sister, that God will grant me all the healing I yet need." She promised me she would. From this time on I gained rapidly, but it was a month or more before I was as strong as usual.
On our way east we went through Kentucky and held some meetings with Brother Kilpatrick. George took the eczema, and after these meetings his condition became serious. For about two months he suffered greatly. During this time he could not sit down, but had to either stand or lie. Before he recovered, we got a call to come to Chicago. We started, but George was so feeble that I did not know whether or not he would live until we got to our destination. The brother with whom we had been staying insisted that we stay longer, but we felt God urging us on, so we went.
Mission Work in Chicago
On arriving in Chicago, we found Brother T——, who had charge of the work in the city, at 1612 Prairie Ave. For nearly a year my brother and I assisted him in the work, and then, as he insisted that we become responsible for the work in a general way, we took charge.
When we first went to Chicago, we were not just sure what God wanted us to do. The first winter I helped hold meetings for homeless men in the slum district. As a class, these people were so deep in sin that it was hard to reach them. A few, however, did get a real experience of salvation; but it was difficult for them to keep saved, and when they would give up, they would not stop until they had gone into the grossest kind of sin. Some of them would get converted again and again, only to be overcome by the tempter. Their characters had been so weakened by indulging in sin and giving way to their appetites that it seemed hard for them to become established. It took a great deal of patience and labor to get any of them established. The religious career of many of them was very brief, but others struggled on for a long time. No doubt some became thoroughly established and remained true to the Lord.
This work was not very satisfactory to us. True, the souls of these people are as precious in the sight of God as the souls of any other people, but we soon saw that the energy expended upon these people of the slums would, if directed toward people in the great middle walks of life, accomplish far more in the salvation of souls. Gospel workers, if the Lord leads you to take up slum-work, be sure to obey the Lord, but be equally sure that you don't attempt slum-work unless God is leading you.
As the work was not satisfactory to us, my brother rented a house for five years as a missionary home. The monthly rent was $25, and it was wonderful how God answered prayer and brought the means to pay the rent. Many times our support would come from a distance. For two or three years before we came to the city, Brother T—- had held meetings every Sunday afternoon in the Masonic Temple. The rent for the room in which we held services in the temple for two and one-half hours each week, was for a time $15 a month, and later $16. Besides the meeting in the Temple, we had cottage-meetings in different parts of the city.
Besides renting the home in which most of the workers lived, my brother rented for a year a house to serve as a home for workers in the slum district, paying a monthly rental of $60. As my brother was ignorant of what he was getting into, the Lord seemed to humor him for two or three months by providing the money for the rent of this building. Then my brother got into trouble. He prayed earnestly for money to pay the rent on this building, but his prayers would not go through. Heaven seemed closed against him. After making several efforts in this way, for a while without avail, my brother said that if he could not get his prayers through for money to pay the rent, he would pray that God would make the landlord willing to give up the lease. His prayers were heard, the landlord surrendered the lease, and George got out of his difficulty. Subsequent events showed that the Lord was willing to provide money for us in abundance as long as we acted in accordance with his divine plan for us.
In consideration of the facts that we paid our $40 a month for rent on our home and meeting-place, and that we enjoyed but limited privileges in holding meetings, my brother felt impressed before the five years were out that the Lord wanted us to build a home which should be permanent and which should be the property of the church. The work was begun in March, 1903, and by the blessing of God and the cooperation of the church in general, the home and chapel were both finished by Christmas. The greater part of the work was donated, one experienced carpenter giving over $600 worth of labor.
Our work in the city was a school of trust. We trusted the Lord for food, for raiment, for rent, and for everything else that we needed. Sometimes when I would have a little money laid by, an opportunity would come to use it, and I would think,
"I don't want to give this up, for I may need it later." Then the voice of the Spirit would say to me, "If you don't keep your purse open and use the means you have, God will not supply you." I obeyed God, and he never allowed me to be confounded. Many times when we did not have sufficient food for the whole day, we would get down and ask God to send either money or food. It was marvelous how our prayers were answered, and that from sources from which we should have least expected help. The Lord wonderfully encouraged our hearts in this way.
When we were building the home and chapel, a number of the workers felt led to purpose a certain sum to be paid in a year's time. The first year my purpose was $100, to be paid before December 31. I got just enough to finish paying it December 30. The workers were all encouraged in like manner. The next year some of them suggested that, as God had helped them through so marvelously the first year, we should purpose twice as much. I received sufficient money to pay the $200 by Thanksgiving, a month sooner than I had paid the $100 the year before.
We often had to trust the Lord for car-fare, and many times it came to us in remarkable ways. One day one of the sisters started out to make a call in the city with only enough money to pay her fare one way. While she was sitting in the car, she looked down into her lap and there lay a quarter. How it got there was a mystery. Sometimes even strangers passing us on the street would feel impressed to hand us enough money to pay our fares. Again, some of the workers while trusting the Lord would find just the amount needed.
The Lord showed us here in the city as he did while we were in California, that he wanted us not only to appreciate and enjoy the blessings sent us, but also to pass some of our blessings to those who were needy, and that in so doing we should be blessed as well as those who gave to us. Brethren, God's plan is an unselfish one. If we expect to grow in grace and to develop in trust and in other of his precious graces, we must unselfishly impart what God gives to us. "Freely ye have received, freely give." "He that watereth shall be watered again." "The willing and the obedient shall eat the good of the land." If we withhold blessings from others, whether it be means or any other help that we can afford them, we ourselves shall be losers, and they will be deprived of their rights.
Some little time after we located in the city we had our mother come to live with us. She had been a widow for some years. I counted it a happy privilege that I should be allowed to care for her in her old days. I had long desired to care for her and took advantage of the first opportunity of having her come to us. I had also desired that in her old days she should not lose her mind as some old people do, and that she should enjoy a good long
life. My prayers have been answered and my hopes realized.[Footnote: Nearly a year after the above account was written, on October 22, 1914, Mother died at the age of ninety-two years. She had the right use of her mind until the last. After she had lost the power to see and hear distinctly, she would recognize me by a sign to which we had agreed and would call my name, and even after speech had failed, she still attempted to say, "Mary."] We had been in Chicago only about a year when news came from Hammond, Louisiana, that my oldest brother, Jeremiah, had died at that place, October 13, 1899. While we were in California, Jeremiah came to that State and held meetings, although he was with us only a short time. For some years before his death his health had not been very good, and in the fall of 1899 he went to the South for the third time to winter. While he was holding meetings nor far from Hammond, Louisiana, October 1, he became suddenly sick while preaching and had to leave the pulpit in the middle of his discourse.
Bro. F. M. Williamson, at whose home he was staying, begged to be allowed to write or telegraph to his folks, but Jeremiah said, "No, my illness will last but a few days, and it is no use to worry my folks." He lingered until October 13, when he died. Brother Williamson, who was with him until the end, said that my brother had the confidence of everybody in that part of the country and that he died a triumphant death. Shortly before my brother's death a letter was sent us saying that he was very sick, but it did not reach us until several days after his burial.
Before going to Chicago, we had worked almost altogether in small towns and in the country. Of course, the work in such a large city as Chicago was quite different. Nevertheless, we were glad for the experience we had had and of the chance we now had for putting it in practise and of making improvement. We learned, however, that the souls of men are much the same, whether they live in a city or in the country, and that God gives his ministers authority over evil spirits wherever they may be found.
When we took the Chicago work in charge, there was in the congregation a certain man who had gotten under a wrong spirit and had led others away with him, thus causing trouble and dissension. The false spirit seemed to be strongly entrenched and very hard to get rid of. This man of whom we have spoken, and whom, for want of a better name, we shall designate as Brother B—, sent word to quite a large number of the saints in the city to be present at the meeting-place on a certain Sunday evening, as he would occupy the pulpit from five until six after the regular meeting closed. Some of our company were out of the city during that week, and on Saturday night a fearful snow-storm came, continuing on into Sunday.
I wished very much that those workers who were out of the city should return for the Sunday evening service, as I saw that we were going to have to meet the enemy in a very bold way. When I awoke Sunday morning, however, the Lord made me know that I must be willing to face the enemy with him alone, and this song rang in my heart:
"I'll go where You want me to go, dear Lord; I'll say what You want me to say."
God was my perfect sufficiency. Some of the members of the congregation who might be included under the Scriptural term "lambs" stood by me like warriors. Two of them sat in the pulpit with me, one on each side to hold my hands, as it were. God had warned me in a dream of the enemy's attack and had shown me some things that were very helpful in that very hour. In my dream I had seen the enemy in the form of a ferocious animal approaching to destroy God's children. We were in a large pavilion which was entered by a large open door. In my dream I thought that God told me to go and shut that door. I started to obey, and when I got near it, the animal was about to enter, but God made me to know that he would help me through and enable me to get the door shut. As I shut the large door, the Lord showed me another little door, saying, "Go and shut that too."
On the Sunday of which I am speaking, when I really had to face the enemy, God gave me as a subject for my sermon various instances in the history of the church where the enemy had attacked God's children and work and where God himself had defended them and defeated the enemy. I spoke of how Joseph's brethren plotted to take his life and finally sold him into Egypt as a slave; of how God made him a prince and a ruler over his brethren and finally their savior and benefactor. I spoke of Jesus—how the Jews killed him, put his body into a sepulcher, closed it with a great stone, sealed it with the king's seal; how the Lord defeated their purpose, arose from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of God. Right in the middle of the sermon God showed me what he meant by shutting the big door and made me to know that I must expose and renounce the one under the spirit of the devil who was trying to undermine the work. He showed me, furthermore, that another man who was helping him was the little door and that he wanted me to denounce him also.
As I began denouncing the spirit of error that had crept into the congregation, the poor deluded ones clamored for a chance to defend themselves, but God showed me that I should give no place to the devil. I advised all the true children of the Lord to leave the meeting-place at the proper time, and not to listen to the enemy's pouring out against God's work and cause. Most of the people took my advice and left at the proper time. Just a few backsliders and chronic grumblers remained to hear Brother B—'s message. I can not tell you how God used this victory to encourage and strengthen my soul. He seemed to humor and pet me all the next day and to bring it to me again and again that he was pleased with me. I seemed to hear him say again and again, "I am well pleased with you."
One of the company who had been with us for some time, did not seem to be making the development as a worker that we had expected him to make. He came so far short of our anticipation that we were tempted at times to conclude that we were mistaken in encouraging him to remain in the work with us. The enemy, of course, worked hard to discourage him and we were beginning to think that perhaps it would be well to discourage his remaining longer with us. When I prayed earnestly over the matter, however, the Lord made me understand that this was a worthy child of his and that in his soul there was a trueness and faithfulness not to be found in every worker. The Lord showed me that if we would exercise patience with him, development would come in good time. The outcome has been all that could be desired. For a number of years this brother's name has been familiar throughout the church, and he is still holding some of the most responsible places.
At another time this same brother was going through a fiery trial. God no doubt was permitting the trial to broaden him and to develop him for future usefulness. What he was enduring, however, became a severe trial to me. Finally it seemed as though I had endured about all that I could, so I said to him one day, "Either you or I will have to leave. I can't stand this any more." He did not answer me, but went away by himself and asked God to give me more compassion.
Dear brothers and sisters in the ministry, right here I would sound a note of warning. Let us be careful when a young worker comes among us. Even if he does not seem promising at first, let us have patience with him and give him a chance; let him prove himself. Let us give him all the encouragement we can and do what we can to help develop him. Perhaps you can help such a one by telling him some of God's dealings with you and how he helped you out of difficulty, how he tided you over and lifted you above discouragements, how he brushed away the dark clouds. Do not be too quick to conclude, "Well, I don't believe God had his hand upon that person, after all," for we might find ourselves working against God instead of being coworkers with him.
We had not been in the city a great while until we had more calls than we could fill. People wrote asking us to call on their friends to see if we could not get the truth to them. We were called to visit places that were by no means inviting. We also had calls from suburban towns and other near-by places, and at times we were led to hold meetings for a week or two in places outside the city. Surely we fulfilled the scripture, "Sow beside all waters." We soon learned from experience that not all who came to the home telling pitiful stories of need were deserving of help. Sometimes after giving provisions and even money, we learned that our charity had been misapplied. We soon learned that it was wise to find out whether we were helping the worthy poor or impostors.
After the chapel was built, opportunities for reaching souls greatly increased. We now had meetings whenever we chose, especially on Sunday evenings, Thursday afternoon and evening, with good attendance of saints and truth-seekers. Our expenses, too, were greatly lessened in this way, especially at the time of the yearly assemblies. One year the rental of the building in which the assembly was held, was, I think, $300 for ten days. Before a certain assembly the saints had contributed freely to provide money for the coming assembly. Shortly before the meeting began the treasury was robbed of over $200.
During the ten years I spent in the Chicago work, I witnessed many wonderful deliverances from sin, from disease, and from evil spirits. The account of these experiences would of itself make a large volume; I can mention only a few here. Sister Pearl Horman, who came to the home, was taken very sick with fever. Her case was very serious, the fever being very high. The Lord rebuked the fever and in a short time she was well. Sister Myra Barrett came to a meeting we were having in the chapel one night, and remained all night in the home. Before morning she had an attack of erysipelas in the face, accompanied by a high fever. The Lord put his rebuke on the disease and not many days later she was able to resume her duties in an office in the city.
In answer to a call from Joliet, Illinois, we went to that place and anointed a brother who was very sick with the quinsy. In answer to the prayer of faith, God wonderfully healed him. One winter night a call came from the suburbs of the city for some one to come and anoint a child suffering from a violent attack of pneumonia. The snow lay deep on the ground and the weather was very cold. My brother and I answered the call. As the night was far spent, the street-cars were no longer running in the direction we had to go, and so we had to walk over a mile facing the wintry storm. God answered prayer in behalf of the child. It was better before we left next morning and was soon entirely well.
At another time we were called upon to pray for a boy who had appendicitis. The doctors who examined him said that without an operation he could not possibly live, but his father, being a saint, desired prayer. Brother Reardon and I anointed the boy, prayed the prayer of faith, and the boy was healed. God got the glory that time instead of the doctor, not to speak of the saving of a great deal of suffering and a heavy doctor-bill.
My mother was in the home at the time Sister Barrett was healed of erysipelas. About ten years before this time Mother had the same affliction, and it came near taking her life. As a result, she had an especial dread of this disease. Before coming to the home, Mother had not been able to wholly trust the Lord for healing, but when she came to live with us, she decided to trust the Lord. But when she saw Sister Barrett having such a severe attack of erysipelas, she became a little alarmed and used something as a preventive, not realizing that it would hinder her faith. In nine days she had a severe attack of erysipelas. For a number of days she had quite a fight of faith, and we sent telegrams to The Trumpet Office twice. God in his mercy rebuked the disease, and she recovered rapidly for one of her age. Although she was past eighty-one, her recovery was much more rapid than it had been ten years before, when she had trusted the doctor.
Sometime after mother was entirely well, we found the little preventive she had in her pocket and asked her about it. She confessed with tears that she had been using the preventive. We encouraged her to trust God fully for protection as well as for everything else. From that time forward she has been able to put her trust wholly in God. Some say that people get too old to trust the Lord, but in her case the older she gets, the more childlike becomes her trust in God.
A brother Jones, now of West Virginia, came to the home from a place where there was an epidemic of smallpox. He was just beginning to take the disease; in fact, a pimple or two had already appeared. He would take spells of being deathly sick, a common occurrence before breaking out with smallpox. The brother was innocent in coming to the home in that condition, thinking that he had been exposed to the chicken-pox and that he was just coming down with a bad case of that disease. He trusted the Lord wholly for healing, and we all united our faith with his against the disease.
The Monday following his arrival he, in company with my brother and others of the saints, went to the camp-meeting at Moundsville, W. Va. That same evening God made us who were left at the home to understand very definitely that the brother had the smallpox and that we should pray very earnestly that God would keep him from breaking out until the nature of the disease could be discovered and the brother be put under quarantine to protect the camp-meeting. Our greatest fears were that the whole camp would be quarantined. The Lord encouraged our hearts to continue in prayer that he would overrule the whole matter. In a few days they found out that Brother Jones was taking the smallpox, and they put him under quarantine. Very soon afterward he broke out. God had answered our prayers to keep him from breaking out, and he also protected us at the home and those at the camp-meeting. Our God is able to protect in every time of need.
Two or three days later a boy came from the same smallpox-infected district. By this time physicians in Michigan City had found out that the disease they had there was smallpox, and were going to put the house where he had been staying under quarantine. The brother who had just come thought he had sufficient faith to protect himself and others from the disease; but we who were older in the work and understood the ways of the Lord better, advised him to return, lest if he should have the smallpox in the city, they would put him in the pest-house, where he would not have the same chance to trust the Lord that he would if at home. So he returned to his home and had the disease there. Again God marvelously protected us.
A young sister came to the home for help in both soul and body. After earnest prayer in her behalf, we found that she was in no condition to get help to her soul until her body became stronger. She had greatly overworked and her mind was about to give way. It was a month before we were able to talk to her at all about her soul. Her nerves were in such a condition that when she heard a prayer, a song, or a scripture, she could scarcely keep from screaming. As soon as she was able, we did all the Lord showed us to do for her soul. We found that all that God had laid to her charge was overworking and neglecting her spiritual life. Soon everything was made right with her soul, but it took months for her nerves and brain to get back to their normal condition.
We learned a good lesson from this incident. If we neglect our spiritual lives, we shall be losers every time. The Lord is a jealous God, and if he can't be first, he won't be second. If we want him to work in and through us, we must give him a chance to keep our souls replenished and ready for work. At different times while in city-work I have myself allowed temporal things to get too much on my mind, thus causing me to neglect my devotions. My spirituality would begin to weaken, and I would become less capable of being a blessing to souls. Had I been more diligent at certain times in secret prayer and searching the Scriptures, I should have been spared some sad experiences and heartaches.
One day the sister who was doing the cooking, made up a large batch of light bread, containing, I think, fifteen or twenty pounds of flour. The sister waited the proper length of time for the bread to rise, but it showed no signs at all of rising. Some of us talked the matter over and concluded that we could not afford to throw the flour away and that we had better ask God to make the bread rise. We did so, but the bread remained as lifeless as before. Finally a number of us gathered in the kitchen, knelt down on the floor, and asked God to make the bread rise. It was not long until our prayers were answered. That batch of dough made as good bread as I have ever eaten. God wonderfully stirred up the thanksgiving in our souls for this answer to prayer.
One of the company in the home had been exposed to the measles, and they were beginning to break out on his body. The Lord brought to his mind that he did not need to have the measles and that if he would put up a fight of faith against them, the Lord would heal him. He was anointed and prayed for, and God did put his rebuke on the affliction. The following day he exercised himself too much and had to have prayer again. That was on Saturday evening. Monday morning he was sufficiently well to start on a trip to Ohio to see his people. The possibilities of faith can not be comprehended by the finite mind of man. Well did the apostle say, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Among many precious ones associated with us in the work in Chicago was Sister Clara Tuttle, now gone to her reward. She was a great help to my brother and me, and a blessing to the work in general. Shortly after she became acquainted with the truth, she asked the Lord what was her place in the body, and he told her it was to be a good mother. She filled her place well. This dear sister was not only a good mother to her own children, but to others, especially to the young workers who had no mother or whose mothers were unsaved. She not only gave good counsel to the young workers, but prayed with them in times of perplexity. Would to God there were more mothers in Israel like her! "Her children will rise up and call her blessed." I still remember the counsel she gave a brother who, was coming to the Missionary Home to stay for a time. "Now, brother, you have been acquainted with Brother Cole and his sister as gospel workers and have loved them dearly; but you have seen, them only in the pulpit and public meeting, where you have had but little opportunity to come in contact with their human weaknesses. When you go into the home to live with them, you will find that they are but human and make some mistakes. Be careful now that you do not judge them. Be careful that you don't allow these human weaknesses to hide the fact that they are ministers anointed by God to carry the gospel message to a lost world. Remember that God does not judge them from a human standpoint. If he judged any of us in that way, we should all be found wanting."
In Memory of February 5, 1822
Time moves on, and on, and onward, Piling up its teeming years; Each unfolds its store of blessings, Each one brings its joys and tears. Ninety years have thus been numbered Since one cold and wintry morn, On the fifth of February, When "our Mother Cole" was born.
While her little life was tender, Only in its babyhood, God removed her loving mother To a world more pure and good. Left now the little helpless baby Without mother's love or care, Many shadows o'er it hovered, Many sorrows it must share.
But her father kind and faithful Bro't much sunshine in her life; Tenderly he loved and blest her Until she became a wife. As a mother she was noble, Bore her lot with fortitude, Worried not o'er "sad tomorrows," But looked forward to the good.
When Life's cares and trials oppressed her, She had One in whom to trust; Lovingly He bore her sorrows, And in Him her soul was blest.
She had always words of kindness For the sad and those alone; And she often bore their sorrows As if they had been her own.
Old age does not foil the beauty Of her sweet unselfish ways; She still clings to Christ her Savior, On her lips are words of praise. Tho' upon her bed she lingers, There's no sorrow in her room, For her cheery words of comfort Dispel darkness and the gloom.
Like a sunbeam softly falling As if on an errand of love, Cheering up some lonely hour, Pointing to a world above; Or, the lily rich with fragrance, Shedding forth its sweet perfume, So the life of our dear mother Cheers and brightens up her room.
When her pilgrimage is ended, And her days are numbered here, She will only bloom the sweeter In that paradise o'er there. Soon the angels will be coming, Bear her to that land of rest, Where she'll ever be with Jesus, To rejoice among the blest.
A Battle with Smallpox
Soon after we began work in the city, my brother George went out to assist in a meeting at Edgewood, Iowa. A mother desired prayer for her little girl, so my brother and another minister laid hands on her and prayed for her healing. The mother said that some one thought her child was taking smallpox, but that she was sure it was a mistake. The ministers saw a few little pimples on the child's lip and asked her if the same breaking-out was on other parts of her body. The mother's answer was, "None to speak of," and they reached the conclusion that the pimples on her lip were fever-sores. Under the impression that the child had nothing seriously wrong with her, my brother went to Roseville, Illinois, to begin a series of meetings. When the meeting had continued about a week, my brother began to be sick. Still in ignorance as to the nature of his sickness, he continued the meetings a few days longer. His illness increased and the first fever came upon him. The congregation was exposed before he knew what was the matter, but God overruled, answering the prayers of his children to protect all in attendance. When the nature of my brother's disease came to be fully understood, it seemed that all hopes of doing good at that place were blasted. Nevertheless, some seed had fallen on good ground, and these later brought forth precious fruit.
A sister who had been present at my brother's meetings, accepted the truth, got a good experience, and began living the life of a saint. Her nephew, Bro. John Murphy, now a minister of the church at Farmersville, California, came to visit her, bringing with him Bro. John Hauck. These two young men had been attending a Baptist college at Ottawa, Kans. A traveling minister who visited that place preached the doctrine of entire sanctification and these two young men sought and obtained the experience. The next morning after receiving the baptism of the Spirit, they started out like Abraham of old, not knowing whither they went, nor did they know where the Lord was leading them until they reached the home of Brother Murphy's aunt. Here they found a copy of The Gospel Trumpet.
As soon as they read The Trumpet, they knew where the Lord was leading them. They made their way to The Gospel Trumpet office, where Brother Murphy remained as a worker for two or three years and Brother Hauck for nearly ten years. Both are now ministers in this reformation. At least four ministers and four other workers at The Trumpet office, besides a score of other souls, have entered God's service through this sister's influence. So in spite of the fact that my brother thought that his labors at Roseville ended without results, many souls have been brought into the kingdom. "Cast thy bread upon the waters, and thou shalt find it after many days." "Drop a pebble in the water, just a splash and it is gone; but there are half a hundred ripples circling on, and on." "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing bringing his sheaves with him."
My brother wrote me a card that he was not feeling well. On its receipt I was greatly burdened and felt led to go where he was, though I knew nothing about his condition. I waited until I received another message from him, which said that he was worse. I thought that God was leading me to go to him and felt a great burden as though I were going to meet something very serious, quite out of the ordinary. A number of other workers and I met and prayed for an hour before I went. I sent a telegram that I was coming. Some of the saints thought that I should wait until I got an answer to my telegram before starting; but I said, "No, God wanted me to telegraph that I was coming, and then start as quickly as possible." The Lord gave me this scripture: 1 Peter 4, commencing at the twelfth verse. The thirteenth verse was an especial comfort to me. I understood that I was going to meet something unusual, that I was going to have a severe battle in some way; but with this knowledge I had the admonition, "But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings." Two weeks before this God gave me the same scripture, with the impression that I should see its fulfilment in the near future.
I arrived at Roseville about twelve days after my brother had prayed for the little girl and found him already beginning to break out. We learned that the other minister who had been with him, took the disease about the same time. For a day or two after my arrival, however, we were not certain that my brother had the smallpox. As soon as we were convinced of the nature of the disease, we sent for a physician to come and quarantine us so that others would be protected, and the battle began.
The doctor called every day, said he had to come to protect the home where we were staying. He vaccinated quite a number, including me and Sister Elizabeth Hill, who was helping me care for brother George. Sister Hill trusted the Lord that the vaccination would not take. Her faith proved effectual. I thought I had to let the vaccination take, did not resist, and so had a severe time of it. I was the sickest when my brother needed the greatest attention—just as the scales were falling off.
The doctor did his best to get a chance to treat my brother. He worked by strategy and seemed to have some new scheme every day. He shut me out of the room and tried to force my brother to take medicine when he was too weak to think. He made my brother promise to use the medicine and then tried to make me promise that I would see that it was used. I told him I would do as my brother said. After the doctor's departure, I had a little talk with George, and he decided to continue trusting the Lord.
From the very beginning he had put his case in God's hands. When the fever reached its height and the disease was at its climax, God rebuked it, and soon my brother was on the road to recovery. Inside of an hour the fever was going down and in twelve hours it was entirely gone. The same evening the fever was rebuked, the doctor came. My brother said, "Doctor, I am better." "Yes," he answered, "But not permanently so." "Yes," said my brother, "permanently, and I know where the healing came from. God sent it, and I know I shall not get worse." From that time forward his improvement was rapid.
Soon after that the effects of the disease settled in his eyes, and for a time it seemed that his sight would be destroyed, but in answer to prayer his eyes began to recover and were soon all right again. Then the pox attacked his nose, closing the nostrils so that it seemed almost to kill him to breathe. It was during one of these times that the doctor was most determined to push his remedies on him, and he succeeded, too, in a small measure. The medicine was applied once or twice, but God made it very clear to me that he had the case in his own hands, and we applied ourselves to prayer. In less than an hour the obstructions were removed from his nose, and he breathed like a little child, so easily that we could scarcely hear his breath across the room.
Then came the doctor's last attempt to push remedies on us. He said we needed something to keep his face from pitting, declaring that unless some remedies were used it would pit badly. Again we sought the Lord in prayer. There was but one pit left on his face, and that would not be noticed unless attention were called to it. God proved the doctor wrong in every point by not leaving a trace of the disease on my brother's body.
After the fever went down, it was with difficulty that my brother was kept warm. It was late in the fall, the weather was cold, and my brother's blood was so thin it would have been very easy for him to take cold. The doctor carried out smallpox laws to the extreme, putting up a wet sheet in my brother's door as he was scaling off. I felt rather bold: as said of one of old, I wasn't afraid of the king's command. So at night I put the wet sheet back so that my brother could get the warmth of the fire. In the morning I put the sheet back across the door before the doctor came.
But we had not fought this battle through alone. His church in general were praying earnestly for us. It seemed when we plead the promises we touched an agreement, and it was like a mighty cable. We felt so secure and were so hedged in by prayer and faith that when I thought of the danger of taking the smallpox, it seemed I could exercise faith so easily in agreement. It was very easy for me to say, "By faith I know God will not let me take it." After I was vaccinated, some one said to me, "Now you feel more safe, don't you?" My answer was "No, I have no confidence in that at all. My confidence is in the Lord. It is he who has protected me. He shall have all the glory."
What few letters we had a chance to write, had to be dictated to some one standing about thirty yards away from us. During this time I concluded that if ever there was a disease followed by the persecutions of the devil, it was the smallpox. Before this I had sometimes thought that Job's affliction was the small pox, but I now came to the conclusion that I was mistaken. Had his disease been smallpox, his three comforters would not have hung around him as they did to torture him.
The enemy tried to inflict punishment upon us in every way he could. A great many in the neighborhood felt hurt because George had unconsciously brought the disease to that part of the country. Then the doctor, besides trying to push his remedies upon us and to make us as uncomfortable as possible in trusting the Lord, created all the sentiment he could against us in the neighborhood. At the same time he was making all the money he could by vaccinating others. One woman that was vaccinated at that time, had varioloid, so the doctor said. The county built a pest-house for her and her husband. This, together with his other charges, cost the county eight hundred dollars. This woman, so I was informed, thought she was immune from the disease and when smallpox broke out the next fall, undertook to nurse those who were having it. Again the doctor's words were proved false. She took the smallpox and died. It will always do to trust God; man is weak at best.
When George was about to recover, the authorities wanted to raise the quarantine too soon, thus exposing others to danger. Defeated in this attempt, their next move was to hold us longer than necessary. I had been praying that if the enemy tried to work in either way, God would defeat their purpose.
I am sure it would have done your soul good to hear my brother when he had recovered sufficiently to get up and walk around. He walked the floor singing this song:
"How can you part with Jesus, So loving, so kind and gracious! His service to me is precious; I am happy as I can be.
I love my Lord; He loveth me. The life of a Christian suits me; I am happy as I can be."
He would sing the song over and over and then praise God. It was good of the Lord to so wonderfully sustain and protect him and all of us through this affliction.
I do not know that any of us are able to appreciate as we should even the prayers of the saints during this trying time; not to speak of the generous offers of help made by some of the dear ones in the Lord and the unsaved members of my own family.
One of my unsaved brothers and a sister minister, both having families, volunteered to come and help me care for George if I needed them. But I felt that to accept their offer would endanger their families unnecessarily, and told them that the Lord would help us and that we would get along. It touched our hearts, however, to think that they would risk their lives for our help and comfort. We appreciated all this to the extent of our abilities, and our hearts were melted in real thanksgiving because of such kindness.
Every now and then during the quarantine I would get real hungry for encouragement and consolation. At such times my prayer was, "O Lord, give me some scripture that will be a help to me." The Lord would invariably point me to 1 Peter 4:12 and 13, laying emphasis especially on the thirteenth verse. The Lord showed me that he wanted me to rejoice more. I would reply: "Lord, I thought I got out of that scripture all there was in it. I thought I had rejoiced all I could." At such times his answer would be, "You can rejoice more; there is more in it for you yet." Like a good teacher, he held me to the lesson until I learned it well.
When we are in affliction, remember there is some lesson in it for us which we must leam. If we do not get it, the Lord will have to repeat the experience—give us the lesson over—because it was not learned the first time. By learning the lesson thoroughly the first time, we avoid its repetition.
I remember a prayer that was much on my lips during this trial of which I have been speaking: "Lord, help me to get out of the fire what you have in it for me, and help me to leave in the fire what you want me to be rid of." Even with the preparation this trial gave me, I was none too well prepared to encounter some things I had to meet soon afterward. God knew his business. He knew what was coming, knew the lesson I needed and gave it to me at the proper time. It pays to be submissive to God. If we are fully submitted into his hands, he will prepare us by the proper schooling for every test of life and in every difficulty bring us off more than conquerors.
While my brother's illness was so severe, we were so wonderfully held up by the prayers of God's children that we did not feel the weight of the affliction that we were passing through. When my brother was sufficiently recovered, however, that the church got the news that he was getting better, their prayers were not so constant. By that time the sister at whose home I was staying and who had assisted me so faithfully in caring for my brother, was almost overcome by the long strain she had undergone. In fact, we were both almost ready to collapse. In our weak condition we felt the need of the prayers of others, but as the church had the impression that my brother was so far recovered that he no longer needed help, we had to fight the battle alone. I learned this, that no matter how much others help us by their prayers in time of trial, when we become able to take on responsibility ourselves, God requires us to do all we can for our own help and protection. It was at this time that I felt very keenly that I should have rejoiced more when the trial was on.
Camp-Meetings in Various States
While engaged in the work in Chicago I had the privilege of attending camp-meetings in a number of States. While at a camp-meeting at Grand Forks, N. Dakota, I received an invitation to attend a meeting at Hammond, Louisiana, about 1,500 miles south. For some time I had had a desire to go to that part of the country for different reasons, and therefore gladly embraced this opportunity. I went by way of Chicago, remaining at the home for about a week.
The kindness of my reception in the South gave me the impression that people in the South are very hospitable and large-hearted. I think that in this respect they excel many of our Northern and Eastern people. I found that in the South much is expected of ministers coming from the East or the North. The responsibilities of the meeting, therefore, were all that I could go through, even with the help of the Lord. It was July, and the weather was so warm that we could not use the tabernacle during the heat of the day, but had to resort to a little grove near by.
During this meeting I went twelve miles and visited my brother's grave; on this trip I also called on some saints who lived in that part of the country. I had a pleasant drive and also got a chance to enjoy some of the Southern figs which grow in those parts. Notwithstanding I was much fatigued when I returned that evening and thought I would not go out to meeting at all. Then I thought I would go for the first of the service and return to my lodging before the meeting closed, as I would be too tired to remain. But God planned otherwise. He showed me that I must trust him for strength and be prepared to preach that evening. God delivered the message through me and blessed it to the salvation of a number of souls.
Soon after the camp-meeting I returned to Chicago. As I started homeward, I found that the oppressive heat had greatly reduced my strength. Because of the heat, too, I had been tempted to drink too much ice-water, lemonade, etc. When about sixty miles from home, my heart began to fail, and I saw that unless the Lord helped me I was not going to be able to get through. I can not express to you how earnestly I called upon God. Almost every moment of the time from there on I trusted the Lord to hold me up, for it seemed that in spite of myself my heart would fail. The Lord came to my rescue. I reached my destination all right, and suffered no serious harm later.
One fall I went to the camp-meeting at Carthage, Mo. At this meeting I met some of my old friends from Maries County, Missouri, and other places, some of whom I had not met for more than twenty years. One of them was a brother whom I first met near Rolla, Mo. Seeing him reminded me of an incident that occurred in connection with his mother-in-law, old Sister Bell, at the time I was holding meetings in that part of the country. She was a large woman. One winter she slipped on the ice and came near breaking her back. The accident occurred in the middle of the week, and until the following Sunday morning she was paralyzed.
The meeting that Sunday was at the Bell home. We found her lying helpless. As we talked to her about her healing, she seemed anxious to be healed. She was a good, pure saint, and lived close to the Lord. In the prayer before preaching we were especially burdened for her and prayed earnestly that God would heal her. God encouraged our hearts. After preaching we again talked to her a little while and quoted some of the promises. I told her how God had heard and answered prayer for my healing; I had had an attack of some disease a day or two before, and God had wonderfully delivered me from it. As we talked, her faith seemed to grow by bounds and leaps. We asked her if she was willing to die. She said she was; and again, if she was willing to live if the Lord wanted her to, and again she answered yes. Then we asked her if she believed the Lord would heal her. She said she did. Her husband and oldest daughter were standing by, expecting her to die any minute. Her mother, who was a skeptic, was also present. She wanted me to persuade her daughter to take medicine. I replied that I would talk to her daughter, but did not tell her what I would say.
When I found out that the sister's faith was strong in God, I did what I could to encourage her to trust God for immediate healing. All at once, while we were talking, she said, "The Lord heals me." Her husband, fearing that the death-struggle was coming on, went to hold her in bed. I told him to let her go—that this was of God and that he would take care of her. She bounded out of bed and went running through the house, saying that God had healed her and that a sluice of praise was going through her soul. Her son-in-law was not present, so I hastened over to his house to tell him the good news. "Do you know what came to me first?" said he. "No," I answered. "Well, it came to me that she was lying in bed all this time to have a chance to show off on Sunday, but I know she isn't a hypocrite, and therefore it isn't that way. But I am glad I wasn't there, for fear I should have had to believe." When I met this brother at Carthage, Missouri, he was not, I am sorry to say, as strong in the faith as was his privilege. He had made great improvement, however. How cruel is unbelief! It makes God a liar and causes one to believe the devil.
From Carthage I went to Webb City, Missouri, where I visited friends and saints whom I had known years before. Among the number was mother Sunderland. [Footnote: Since the above statement was written, Mother Sunderland has gone to her reward.] From Webb City I went to Chanute,
Kansas, and visited two saints, old friends of mine who needed encouragement. While at Chanute I ate something that did not agree with me. I partly recovered, and then went on to Neosho Falls, Kansas, where I remained for two weeks and held a few services. As I still had severe sick spells, I sent for prayers to The Trumpet office and the saints in Kansas City and Chicago. The sister with whom I was staying held on to God, pleading the promises in my behalf like a hero, and with such importuning faith that I was soon able to pursue my journey.
I made my next stop at Kansas City, remaining there for nearly a month, I think. When I first arrived at that place, I was quite weak. I did not fully comprehend how sick I had been. Bro. James Peterman, who had charge of the home, was called away the first Sunday after I arrived, and so I had charge of both services. I walked three-quarters of a mile three times that day and preached twice. The next day I walked a mile and a half, most of the way up hill. My exertions proved entirely too much for me, and I endured some rather severe suffering. My body was badly worn out, and as a result my mind got into a sad, discouraged mood. My meditations were something like this: I shall soon be getting old and helpless, and not able to do much in the work. If I live, it will not be long until I shall be a burden upon some one else.
It was a late hour before my nerves got sufficiently quieted so that I could rest. The next morning I had a dream. I saw a little child about two years old playing on the floor. Some one came by and stepped on the little one's fingers, and it began to cry with pain. His father came along, took him up in his arms and caressed him, and very soon the pain was all gone, and the little fellow was all right again. It seemed that the father had such love and pity for the child that I felt the effects of it in my own soul. When I awoke I said, "Lord, what is there in this dream for me?" I realized that no doubt God had permitted it for my good. Immediately this scripture came to me: "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him." The Lord seemed to say to my soul, "Now I want to pity you." I accepted his kindness as best I knew how.