I was born in New Lisbon, Columbiana County, Ohio, July 1, 1844, and was the fourth daughter of Samuel and Matilda Underwood. My parents were not Christians, therefore I was born without the religious teachings and influence with which so many homes are blessed. My father and mother joined the Disciple Church one year before my father’s death, which occurred in July, 1855. The death of my father was the first great sorrow of my life, He had gone away to harvest in usual health, and I will never forget the night he was brought home, cold in death. Some neighbor children and I were out watching a terrible storm raging, when we saw two strangers approaching the house. They came to bring the sad intelligence of what had happened, and as we looked out we saw the conveyance approaching, bringing the remains of our dear father. It was a terrible blow to our young hearts to see our father carried into the house cold and
stiff in death, and my mother fainting as fast as they could bring her to. We children were screaming and the storm was raging in all its fury. Father died of sunstroke; he was only sick a few hours, and died praying for his family.
My father was a fine looking man, very intelligent, and full of energy, but addicted to the accursed cup. He could control his appetite very well until he went to a town, or city; then when his friends would persuade him to take a drink, he was large hearted and easily persuaded; when he took one drink, he was like a crazy man for more, and thought he was rich, and would give his last penny away. Then when he had no money to buy drink with, he would pawn his clothes, and come home to his large family and broken-hearted wife without a penny to buy food, and all in rags. We little children would run and hide. Our young lives were full of terror and hardships. This is the reason we were left in poverty, with a sickly, broken-hearted mother and eight helpless children; not one in the wide world to come to our rescue.
My mother was left with eight children to provide for, and almost destitute, Then began the battle of life with us all. My mother was obliged to seek work in various ways. My oldest sisters and myself had to leave home and work by the week, We had not only ourselves to provide for, but also our brothers and sisters at home. It was very hard for my sensitive nature to go among strangers, I was discontented and homesick. I wanted to go to school where I could learn, for I longed for an education, and often cried myself to sleep over this matter. I would have my books in the kitchen, where I could read a verse and commit it to memory; then read another, and so on, thus improving every opportunity while at work. I had no opportunity of going to church from my earliest recollection. My heart went out in strong desires to know of God, when eight years old. Two of my sisters were converted in a Methodist meeting. I went once or twice. My heart was melted with the Savior’s love, but they seemed to think children had no need of salvation, and I was kept back.
At the age of thirteen I attended a meeting of the Disciple Church. My family were all Disciples at this time. When I heard the story of the cross my heart was filled with the love of Jesus. My eyes seemed to be fountains of tears.
I was seated in the back of a large audience, and was the first to make the start to seek the Lord. It seemed so far to the front seat, that it looked as though I could never make it, but I said,
“I can but perish if I go.
I am resolved to try,
For if I stay away I know
I shall forever die.”
The minister took great interest in me, and said many good things to encourage me, and prayed that my life might be a shining light. If he could have looked forward; and have seen my life’s work for the Master, he surely would have rejoiced to know how kindly be had talked to the poor little orphan girl.
But I did not get converted then. They did not believe in a change of heart, and nature; but praise the Lord, He did not leave me in the dark. The next day, as they took me down to the creek to baptize me, there was a great crowd around. I heard some one say, “Maybe she will be drowned.” It scared me a little. I thought, “Maybe I might,” but I said, “Lord, I will go through if I do” so I asked the Lord to save me fully, trusting Myself in His hands; and while going into the water, a light came over me, and I was converted. The people saw the change, and said I had fainted.
GOD CALLING ME TO THE WORK
Then began my new life of peace and joy in a Savior’s love. Then I was contented and happy, singing and praising God all the day long. I never went to any place of amusement. I attended four meetings on Sabbath and three or four during the week, I did not stay away from meeting once a year unless I was sick. I was more anxious now than ever for an education, for I wanted to work for Jesus and be useful in the vineyard of Christ. Soon after I was converted I heard the voice of Jesus calling me to go out in the highways and hedges and gather in the lost sheep,
Like Mary, I pondered these things in my heart, for I had no one to counsel with. The Disciples did not believe that women had any right to work for Jesus. Had I told them my impression they would have made sport of me. I had never heard of women working in public except as missionaries, so I could see no opening—except, as I thought, if I ever married, my choice would be an earnest Christian and then we would enter upon the mission work. A few years after this I married Mr. Woodworth.
We settled in the country, and thought by industry and honest toil to gain a little of this world’s goods to sustain these physical bodies, but my health failed, and everything we undertook seemed to be a failure. I was away from all Christian influence, and could not often attend the house of God. Often when hearing the church bells ringing, which had been the signal for me to repair to the house of worship, and knowing that I could not go, I would cry myself to sleep. I had one trial after another, and temptations and discouragements beset me on every side. The angel of death came to our home, and after hovering around for a few days he bore away our only little boy, a bright, blue-eyed darling. As he was passing away he looked up and smiled. He looked like an angel, and seemed to say: “Mamma, do not weep for me; I am going to a better world.” It almost broke my heart to lay him away in the cold grave; but I could see the loving hand of God and hear Him calling me to build up higher, to set my affections on Heavenly things and not on the things of the earth.
GEORGIE’S CONVERSION AND SICKNESS
One year had hardly passed by when the angel of death came again to our home and took away our baby Freddy, and at the same time I lay for weeks between life and death. In all this I could see the hand of the loving Father calling me to leave all and follow him. About this time our little daughter Georgie was converted. She was about seven years old. She was a great comfort to me. She loved to talk of the goodness of God and our Redeemer. Many happy times we enjoyed talking together of the beautiful home over the river, where her brothers had gone. I did not think she would leave
me so soon to join their ranks and raise her voice with theirs in singing salvation to our God, who sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever. She was taken sick with that dreadful disease, scrofula, and lingered about eight months. Her sufferings were great, yet she never murmured or complained, but only said it was for her good. She loved to read about Jesus, and the beautiful mansions he was preparing, and the robe and crown that were waiting for her. She would talk to all who came to see her of Jesus and his love, and tell them to meet her in heaven.
She sent messages to her Sabbath School teacher and scholars, and to her friends far and near, to meet her in heaven. For weeks before she died her face was all lighted up with the glory of God. The angels seemed to be hovering about her bed. She could hear them singing. Her body was with us, but her spirit seemed to be above the earth communing with God. She was willing to go and be with Jesus, but it seemed hard for her to leave me. She would say: “O mamma, if you could go with me I would be so happy. I hate to leave you; but oh, say, you will meet me in heaven.” I said: “Georgie, I will try.” But that would not do.’ She said: “Oh mamma, say you will: I cannot die unless you promise to meet me in heaven.” I said: “Georgie, by the grace of God I will meet you in heaven.” She said “Now I am ready; I know you will come, mamma; I shall always be looking for you, and when you die I am coming for you.”
The Sabbath before she died she called me to her bed-side and said: “Mamma, I am going to leave you this week,” and she began to set her house in order. She talked of dying as we would talk of going to visit a dear friend. She gave away all of her earthly possessions. To me she gave her testament; said she would like to see all her friends once more. She selected her burial robe and place to be buried and requested us to leave room for me to be buried by her side. She stayed with us until the last of the week, and was frequently heard to say:
“I am coming, Lord,
Coming now to thee;
Wash me, cleanse me in the blood
Which flowed on Calvary.”
She kept inviting every one to come to Jesus and be saved, Her sufferings were intense toward the last. When she could not speak, and we would ask her if she was happy, and if Jesus was with her, she would smile and nod her head. She thought she was going. She put up her mouth to kiss each one and gasped good-bye between her struggles, saying; “Meet me in heaven;” but she rallied and lived two hours. In this way she talked on till the last, and her face shone with the glory of heaven, Looking up she said; “O mamma, I see Jesus and the angels; I see my little brothers; they have come for me,” And they bore her away in triumph to the heavenly land, It seemed to me that I could see them as they went sweeping through the gates into the New Jerusalem.
It was like death to part with my darling. But Jesus was very precious to my soul. Heaven was nearer, Christ, was dearer, than ever before. I had one more treasure in glory.
My health had been very poor all through her sickness. Three weeks before her death little Gertie was born. She was the picture of ‘Georgie,’ and seemed to have her sweet disposition, and I thought as she grew older she would take her place; but the precious bud was not permitted to bloom in this world of sin. At the age of four months, the angels bore her away where the flowers never fade nor die, there to join her sister and brothers, who were waiting to welcome her at the golden gates, I could say with, David, they cannot come back to me, but I will go to them. Praise the Lord for the Christian’s hope.
“Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”—(Matt. 18:3)
“Those that seek me early shall find me”—(Prov, 8:17.)
“Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth.”—(Eccles. 12:1)
“If thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart, and with all thy soul.”—(Deut. 4:29.)
FROM the time of the sad occurrences which have just been narrated in the previous chapter, my health was very poor for a year, and many times I was brought near the brink of the grave. Every one who saw me thought I would die. But the work that the Lord was calling me to do came up before me so plainly that I thought he would raise me up and open the way; and at these times, when I seemed to be hovering between life and death, I would have such glorious visions.
At one time I was praying for the salvation of sinners; and the Savior appeared on the cross by me, and talked with me; and I laid my hand on his mangled body, and looked up in his smiling face. Another time I was meditating upon the love of God, in giving his only Son to die for sinners, and of the beautiful home he was preparing for those who love him; and I seemed to float away, and was set down in the beautiful city. Oh, the glorious sight that met my view can never be expressed by mortal tongue. Heaven is located. It is it a real city. Its inhabitants are real and not imaginary. If mothers could see their children as I saw them, in all their shining glory, they would never weep for them, but would leave all and follow Jesus. They would let nothing keep them from meeting their children in heaven, where they are shining in dazzling beauty around God’s throne, and are watching to give welcome to the beautiful city. I never think of my children as being in the grave. Oh, no. The loved form that we laid away in the cold grave is nothing but the casket that contained the jewel which is now shining in the Savior’s Crown.
Often now when I am pleading with sinners to come to Jesus, and telling them of the love of God, the beautiful home in heaven, of the mansions bright and of the robe and crown, and the great multitude who have been washed in the
blood of the Lamb, the veil seems to be taken away and I feel lost in the love and glory of Christ. I feel as though the congregation was left behind, and I was floating upward in a cloud of glory. Oh, the wonderful love of God! The half has never been told. It never can be told. It will take all eternity to tell of the redeeming love, in the wonderful plan of redemption to a dying world. Dear readers, will you not give up all and follow Jesus, and meet me in that beautiful land where sorrow will never come?
I do praise God for his loving kindness to me in always raising up the best of Christian friends in my behalf. In all my sickness and trouble the ministers and people came from the different churches in the town and had prayer-meeting in my room. They prayed in the churches for my recovery. I was willing to die and leave my little girl and boy, feeling that God would care for them, but the work God was calling me to do loomed up before me. All these years God had been preparing me—for I was not willing. I felt like a worm in his sight. It seemed impossible for me to undertake the work for the salvation of souls; but the time had come to promise or die. I promised God that if he would restore my health, and prepare me, and show me the work, I would try to do it; I began to get better immediately.
THE PERISHING MULTITUDES
We then moved to a Friends’ settlement, and they came and took me to church. They had glorious meetings. God seemed to say to me, “I brought you here; go to work.” Now the struggle commenced. I was very timid, and bound as with chains in a man-fearing spirit. When I arose to testify I trembled like a leaf, and began to make excuses—“O God, send someone else!” Then the Lord in a vision caused me to see the bottomless pit open in all its horror and woe. There was weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth, It was surrounded by a great multitude of people who seemed unconscious of their danger, and without a moment’s warning they would tumble into this awful place. I was above the people on a narrow plank-walk, which wound up toward heaven; and I was exhorting and pleading with the people to come upon the plank and escape that awful place. Several
started. There was a beautiful bright light above me, and I was encouraging them to follow that light and they would’ go straight to heaven.
This vision left quite an impression on my mind. When the Spirit of God was striving with me to talk or pray in meeting, I would resist as long as I could. Then this awful vision would rise before me, and I would see souls sinking into eternal woe. The voice of Jesus would whisper, “I am with you; be not afraid.” Then I would be on my feet or knees in a moment. I would forget everything but the love of God and dying souls. God seemed to speak through me to the people. But I had so much opposition to contend with. My people were opposed; my husband and daughter fought against it; and my whole nature shrunk from going to stand as a gazing-stock for the people. But the Lord was showing in many ways that I must go and perform the work he had for me to do.
DEATH OF WILLIE
Several ministers, whom I had never seen before, told me at different times, that God was calling me to the ministry, and that I would have to go. I said, “If I were a man I would love to work for Jesus.” They told me I had a work to do which no man could do; the Lord was calling me to the West to labor for lost souls. I said, “O Lord! I cannot take Willie with me, nor can I leave him behind.” Then the Lord saw fit to take him out of the way; so he laid his hand on my darling little boy, and in a few days took him home to heaven. He was the joy of my life. He was nearly seven years old. He was very bright for one of his age—in fact, beyond his years, He was the pet of the whole neighborhood, He seemed to know when taken sick that he would not get well, He talked of dying and going to see Gorgie, who had been dead three years that month. He said, he would have to die sometime, and that he would rather go now if we could go with him; that he would never be sick any more, nor have to take any more medicine. He bid us all good-bye and said he was going to be with Jesus. He died very happy. He had talked and fretted much about his little sister, and said he could not live without her. By faith I could see her
meeting him at the beautiful gates and welcoming him into the golden, city of God. This sad bereavement nearly took my life. The dear Savior was never so near and real to me before. He was by my side, and seemed to bear me up in his loving arms. I could say, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
When alone I missed my darling so much that I wept as though my heart would break. Then I would always pray; and as I prayed I would forget everything earthly, and soar away by faith to the Golden City, and there see my darlings all together shining in glory, and looking at me and saying, “Mamma, do not weep for us, but come this way.” I would always end in praising and giving glory to God for taking them to such a happy place. Lizzie, our oldest child, aged sixteen, was all we had left of six sweet children.
SATAN HINDERS ME
In all these trials God was preparing me and opening the way for the great battle against the enemy of souls; and now the great desire of my heart was to work for Jesus. I longed to win a star for the Savior’s crown, But when I thought of my weakness I shrank from the work. Sometimes when the Spirit of God was striving and calling so plainly, I would yield and say “Yes, Lord; I will go.” The glory of God came upon me like a cloud, and I seemed to be carried away hundreds of miles and set down in a field of wheat, where the sheaves were falling all around me, I was filled with zeal and power, and felt as if I could stand before the whole world and plead with dying sinners. It seemed to me that I must leave all and go at once. Then Satan would come in like a flood and say, “You would look nice preaching, being a gazing-stock for the people to make sport of. You know you could not do it.” Then I would think of my weakness and say, “No; of course I cannot do it.” Then I would be in darkness and despair. I wanted to run away from God, or I wished I could die; but when I began to look at the matter in this way, that God knew all about me, and was able and willing to qualify me for the work, I asked him to qualify me,.
GOD BAPTIZES ME WITH THE HOLY GHOST
I want the reader to understand, that at this time I had a good experience, a pure heart, was full of love of God, but was not qualified for God’s work. I knew that I was but a worm. God would have to take a worm to thresh a mountain. Then I asked God to give me the power he gave the Galilean fishermen—to anoint me for service. I came like a child asking for bread. I looked for it. God did not disappoint me. The power of the Holy Ghost came down as a bright cloud. It was brighter than the sun. I was covered and wrapped up in it. My body was light as the air. It seemed that heaven came down I was baptized with the Holy Ghost, and fire, and power which has never left me. Oh, Praise the Lord! There was liquid fire, and the angels were all around in the fire and glory. It is through the Lord Jesus Christ, and by this power that I have stood before hundreds of thousands of men and women, proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ.
The Friends wanted me to travel a year with a minister and his wife and work in revivals, and they would pay all expenses. But my husband was not willing for me to go, or to engage in the work any place.
“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Writer for these words are true and faithful.
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and. I will be his God, and he shall be my son.”—(Rev. 21:5-7)
I thought I would go through a course of study and prepare for the work, thinking the Lord would make my husband and people willing in some way to let me go out and work. But I could not get my mind fixed on my study. Everything seemed empty and vacant, and I was restless and uneasy.
The dear Savior stood by me one night in a vision and talked face to, face with me, and asked what I was doing on earth. I felt condemned, and said, “Lord, I am going to work in thy vineyard.” The Lord said, “When,” and I answered, “When I get prepared for the work,” Then the Lord said to me, “Don’t you know that while you are getting ready souls are perishing? Go now, and I will be with you.” I told Him that I could not talk to the people; I did not know what to say, and they would not listen to mc. Jesus said, “You can tell the people what the Lord has done for your soul; tell of the glory of God and the love of Jesus; tell sinners to repent and prepare for death and the judgment, and I will be with you.” Still I made one excuse after another, and Jesus would answer, “Go, and I will be with you.”
I TALK WITH THE SAVIOR IN A VISION
I told Him I wanted to study the Bible; that I did not understand it well enough. Then there appeared upon the wall a large open Bible, and the verses stood out in raised letters. The-glory of God shone around and upon the book, I looked, and I could understand it all.
Then Jesus said again, “Go, and I will be with you.” I cried, “Lord, I will go. Where shall I go?” And Jesus said, “Go here, go there, wherever souls are perishing.” Praise the Lord for his wonderful goodness in revealing his word and will in such a wonderful way, to such a poor weak worm of the dust, I saw more in that vision than I could have learned
in years of hard study. Praise His Holy Name. I saw that I must not depend on anything that I could do, but to look to Him for strength and wisdom. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,” saith the Lord. I was to be the vessel of clay God was going to use to his own glory. I was to be God’s mouth-piece, I must trust God to speak through me to the people the words of eternal life.
There was all this time a secret monitor within telling me that I should be calling sinners to repentance. I could not get clear of that reflection by day or by night. Awake or dreaming, I seemed to have a large congregation before me, all in tears, as I told them the story of the cross, Thus for months and years did I debate; and yet did I falter and hesitate, and, like Jonah, trim my sail for Tarshish. I thought if I were a man it would be a pleasure for me; but for me, a woman, to preach, if I could, would subject me to ridicule and contempt among my friends and kindred, and reproach upon His glorious cause.
KEPT MY TALENT HIDDEN
Always when I had trouble I would flee to the strong-hold of faith and grace and prayer. But when I went in secret to pray the words seemed to come to me, “You deny me before men, and I will deny you before my Father and the holy angels.” Then I would go to my Bible and search for teaching and examples.
When the Lord put his erring people in remembrance of his great blessing to Israel he said, “Did I not send thee Moses and Aaron and Miriam to be your leaders?” And again the prophets were ordained of God. And when there was trouble on hand Barak dare not meet the enemy unless Deborah led the van. And the noble woman, always ready to work for God and his cause, said, “I will surely go. God’s people must not be a prey to the enemy,” “Oh, no; call out the men of Israel; Sisera’s mighty hosts are gathering.”
GOD USED WOMEN
As I continued to read my Bible I saw that in all ages of the world the Lord raised up of his own choosing, men, women and children—Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Hulda, Anna, Phoebe, Narcissus, Tryphena, Persis, Julia, and the Marys,
and the sisters who were co-workers with Paul in the gospel, whose names were in the Book of Life, and many other women whose labors are mentioned with praise. Even the children were made the instruments of his praise and glory. See I Samuel 3:4, Jeremiah 1:6. Numbers 22:28.
The more I investigated the more I found to condemn me. There was the Master giving one, two and five talents, and the moral obligation of each person receiving them, and their several rewards. I had one talent, which was bidden away.
By the Prophet Joel we learn that one special feature of the gospel dispensation shall be, “Your sons and daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also upon my servants and handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit.” It seems by the Prophet Joel, that the last days were to be particularly conspicuous for this kind of prophesying. We cannot reverse God’s decree, for it is said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but the Word of God shall endure forever.”
MY FIRST MEETING
The first meeting that I undertook to hold was in a little town where we had lived some years before, right among my husband’s people. It was a cross for me to talk to those people; but I said, in the name of God, and by his sustaining grace, I will try and leave the result with him, As I rose to speak, this text came to my mind; “Set thy house in order, for thou shalt die, and not live.”
When I began to talk upon the subject the man-fearing spirit left me, and the words came to me faster than I could give them utterance. My sister-in-law broke down and left the house. We continued the meeting a few clays, and twenty claimed to be converted. People were converted all through the neighbourhood. One who came to this meeting afterward became my son-in-law.
I continued to keep house, and spent as much time in holding meetings as I could, to give my husband a chance to attend his work, I was anxious to raise money for us to go West. I would ride seven miles and hold meetings on Saturday evening, and three meetings on Sabbath—
sometimes in different churches—and then ride home over a hilly and rough road. By this time I would be nearly exhausted and hardly able to walk around to do my work, But the last of the week I would go again; and often through the week I held meetings in the towns around where I was born and raised, where we had lived since we were married.
It was a cross for me to speak before my own folks, and the people whom I had always known. But God wonderfully blessed my labors in every place. Wherever I went the house was crowded. I did not write my sermons or have sketches of sermons. I would take a text and trust God to lead me in His own way. I was holding meeting for a few days where I was raised, and the house was crowded every night. One night I could not get a text. The people came pouring in until the house was packed. I began to get frightened. A brother said to me, “The Disciples are turning out to-night,” There I was, with several hundred people before me and no text—nothing to talk about. Everything was empty. I began to plead with Jesus. I told him he had called me to preach, that here was this starving multitude and I had no bread to give them. To verify his promise and to glorify himself in manifesting his power to this people, the words came to me, “What are you going to do with Jesus, that is called the Christ?” and also the place to find the text. Jesus seemed to whisper in my ear, “I am with you - be not afraid,” I opened the meeting and repeated the text. As I did so the power came, and seemed that all I had to do was to open my mouth. The people all through the house began to weep. I talked one hour and a quarter. The power came as it did when I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It seemed as if the house was full of the glory of God. I felt as if I was drawn tip over the people, Glory to God for helping a worm of the dust.
LED IN A BAD PLACE
For the glory of God and the encouragement of those who are engaged in working for lost souls, to prove that no place is too hard for God, if we only trust Him, I will tell you
the victory God gave me at a place called “The Devil’s Den,” It was distinguished for infidelity and skepticism. There was an old free church in which no one was ever known to be converted. Some of our best ministers had tried to hold meetings here, but had gone away in disgust. This place was six miles from home. I had several times refused to go to this place, but at last concluded to go, believing God would shake the foundation of infidelity, and that there would be a shaking among the dry bones. A large crowd met me. They had come through mere curiosity, expecting to see me back out. I had to do all the talking, all the praying, and all the singing. But God was there in mighty power. Some of those infidels turned pale and trembled in their seats. For a few days I could hardly find a place to stay. I appointed day-meetings; but they said, “Oh, you cannot have meetings in daytime; no one will come,” I told them if no one else came I would go and pray for God to pour out his power upon the people. About the fourth day some were brightly converted. They went to work.
The news spread like fire, and the Christians and singers and ministers came for miles around. There were hundreds who could not get into the house. The doors and windows were open, and the order was so good that I think nearly all the people outside could hear. I held the meeting two weeks, and seventy-five came out on the Lord’s side. One old man and his wife, about seventy-five years old, and nine of their children, were converted. Nearly all who came out were over twenty years old. Some of the hardest sinners in the whole country were converted. They had to confess that God was there in wonderful power. I organized a Sabbath-School of one hundred and fifty scholars, and put in a man for superintendent who had been a noted drunkard; appointed two prayer-meetings, for each week, and established meetings every Sabbath. Different ministers promised to furnish them with preaching. The people said it was a glorious work, but that it could not last; that when I left it would go down, Bless God, I have heard of only one who went back to the world!
Praise God, the work is going on, and the wilderness of sin has been made to blossom as the rose where there was
cursing and blaspheming, there is singing and praising God. Let us never be discouraged; but lean hard on God, and He will give us victory every time, if we only trust Him and give Him the glory. Praise God for victory through faith in his promise and through the efficiency of the blood of the Lamb!
Let me say for the encouragement of those who are starting in the work of the Lord, God has promised to be with us always, even to the end. We are nothing but the clay God speaks through. It is “Not by might, but by Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts.” If the Holy Spirit is dwelling in our hearts and shining out through our lives and actions; if we, by faith, take God at his word, we will find at all times and places that his grace is sufficient, and he will give us victory every time. We must claim the victory by faith, before the walls fall. (Joshua 6:20.)
“This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”— (John 5:14.)
“He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and fire.”—(Matt. 3:11)
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.”—(Acts 1:8.)
On the way home from a revival-meeting, I took a severe cold which settled in my throat. We stopped in Columbiana, ten miles from home. While there a Methodist class-leader requested me to take charge of the prayer-meeting, and preach for them. As it was too late to announce a meeting, I told him I would go if able, and we would have a praise-meeting, as I could only speak in a whisper. The church had gone out after style, and pride, and festivals, etc,, until they had lost their power. They were in a lifeless condition. I went, and to my surprise the people were coming in crowds. They continued to come until the house was crowded—and they said the house would hold a thousand people. There I was, barely able to sit up, so hoarse I could hardly speak, with no minister or anyone to help me. I never had stood -before such a congregation, or so much style. I trembled in my seat; but oh, how I clung to God. In silent prayer I asked him to take away the cold and hoarseness; the man-fearing spirit, and everything, and give me a message for that dying people.
I thought if I could get up into the pulpit I would tell the people it was a mistake; that I had not promised to speak. It seemed so far away. But I went, and stood up to make an apology for the first time since I had started to work for the Lord. ‘As I did so this text came to mind: “I am doing a great work, and I can not come down.” I trusted God to take away my cold. The first five minutes they could hardly understand a word. Then my voice got clear and strong, and they could hear distinctly all over the house; and the words just seemed to roll out. I talked for one hour, and the power of God was wonderfully manifested. All over the house people wept, and a death-like solemnity settled over
the congregation. They wanted me to go on with a revival, but I could not. Whenever I think of that meeting it strengthens my faith, and I feel like praising God for victory through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. To Him be glory, and power, and praise forever and ever. Amen.
I had various calls to take a stationary work where I could have done well. The United Brethren wanted me to take charge of the Women’s Missionary Society, or take a circuit; the Bible Christians wanted me to unite with them, and take charge of three large churches; and the Methodists wanted me to take charge of one church. These were all within ten miles of home, and I would have received a good salary. But I felt that my mission was that of an evangelist. I felt that my work was not confined to one charge or place, but wherever the Lord was leading me. I joined with the United Brethren Church and got permission to preach and organize churches. I felt that the time had come when I must break up house-keeping and leave home and friends and our only child, to travel through the West. It was a sore trial. I had to flee to the Rock that is higher than I before could say:
“Lord, obediently I’ll go,
Gladly leaving all below;
Only thou my leader be,
And I still will follow thee.”
Up to this time I had no credentials from any source. My husband was now willing and anxious to go with me in the work. It required strong faith, for we had to start without purse or scrip, like the disciples; trusting the Lord to supply our needs.
I find the promise of Jesus verified. If we leave all for his sake, we shall have houses and lands, sisters. and brothers, and a home in heaven. I find dear mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and dear children born into the kingdom, wherever I go, who are as dear to me as my own.
Prior to going West, I held nine revivals; organized two churches—one of them with about seventy members; organized a Sabbath-school of about one hundred scholars, and appointed a prayer meeting at the same place; preached in twenty-two meeting houses and four school-houses, for eight
different denominations, and delivered two hundred sermons. This work was accomplished in about one year and a half. God blessed my labors in this short time with more glorious results than I had expected to see in years, or perhaps in a life-time of labor. Praise His Holy Name.
When we went West to engage in the work which God was calling me to do, the first place at which we stopped was at Wiltshire, Ohio. I preached in the M. E. Church the same evening, and the next day we went to Fairvie. Here Bros. S. and T. were just closing a series of meetings. The class requested me to continue the meetings, which I did for sixteen days. I never saw the power of God so wonderfully manifested as at these meetings. There had been trouble in the church for a number of years. Some of the members had left, and the church had lost its power. I felt impressed that God was going to restore love and harmony in the church. I visited those families, and the third day of the meeting the trouble was all settled. All who were present came to the altar and made a full consecration and prayed for a baptism of the Holy Ghost, and of fire, and that night it came.
MEN LAY LIKE DEAD
Fifteen came to the altar screaming for mercy. Men and women fell and lay like dead. I had never seen anything like this. I felt it was the work of God but did not know how to explain it, or what to say.
I was a little frightened, as I did not know what the people would think or what they might do to me, as I was the leader of the meeting. While the fear of God was on the people, and I was looking on, not knowing what to do, the Spirit of God brought before me the vision I had before I started out in the work of the Lord, and said: “Don’t you remember when you were carried away, and saw the field of wheat and the sheaves falling? The large field of wheat was the multitude of people you are to preach the gospel to; the falling sheaves is what you see here tonight, the slaying power of God. This is my power; I told you I would be with you and fight your battles; it is not the wisdom of men, but the power and wisdom of God that is needed to bring sinners from darkness to light.” The Lord revealed wonderful things to
me in a few moments; my fears were all gone. Those who were lying over the house as dead, after lying about two hours, all, one after another, sprang to their feet as quick as a flash, with shining faces, and shouted all over the house. I never had seen such bright conversions, nor heard such shouting. They seemed as light as a feather. The ministers and old saints wept and praised the Lord with a loud voice. They said it was the Pentecost power; that the Lord was visiting them in great mercy and power, and there was great victory coming.
It is now many years since that meeting; the Lord has poured out the Holy Ghost as he promised he would in the last days, with “Marvels and Miracles” following. He said he would give the “latter rain” of the Spirit before the notable day of the Lord came. This was to be given to gather in the last harvest of souls before Jesus comes in the clouds. Many times I have stood before congregations of thousands, preaching or singing, when the Holy Ghost fell upon them, and swept over, wave after wave, till the multitudes would sway back and forth like the trees in a forest, or grain in a storm. Many of the tall oaks would be laid prostrate over the house or campground; and, like the revival at Cornelius’s, many were converted standing, or sitting in their seats.
Many shouted, others wept with a loud voice. Other times the power would sweep over the house in melting power. In a few minutes nearly every one in the congregation would be weeping, saints and sinners. The solemnity of death would rest upon the people; you could not hear a sound nor see a move; the people were held by the power of God. These outpourings of the Holy Ghost were always followed by hundreds coming to Christ. The Lord has backed up his word, as I preached it on the apostolic line, with “signs and wonders” and demonstrations of the Spirit.
He has shown me that we are in the last days. He has poured out his Spirit in all my meetings. Praise God, no difference how the Holy Ghost came, I knew the Lord was leading. How I realized this: “It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord,” Oh, how Precious these words of our loving Father: “Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it,” and “Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord.” “Thou, therefore, gird up
thy loins, and arise and speak unto them all that I command you.” “Be not dismayed at their faces, lest I come and confound you before them!” “Go, and I shall be with you.’, “Be strong and courageous,” etc. When I would feel my responsible position, and look over the crowded house, I, like Peter, would begin to sink, and cry: “Lord, help, Lord, use the clay to thy glory, and give me a message for this dying people.”
Some of those promises would come rolling in, accompanied with the Holy Ghost, until I would feel lost in Christ and see nothing but the multitude of dying people rushing on to judgment.
Oh, praise the Lord for his tender care over us, and for his wonderful salvation, that fills our souls with glory; that takes away the fear of persecution, the fear of man and the fear of devils; and makes us rejoice in the midst of trials, remembering that “All things work together for good to those that love the Lord,” etc; that takes away the fear of death, and as we look at the grave we hear a shout from Calvary, saying, “I am the resurrection and the life,” Death is the Gate, to Glory.
My next work was at Bethel Chapel, St. Mary’s Circuit, where I held a revival meeting, which lasted eleven days. The class was in bad condition. There had been trouble in the church for nine years. Sixteen members or more had left the church; but harmony and love were restored to the class, and nearly all who had left came back. Father D., who had been standing out of the church all his life, came out and joined the church, and eleven of his family followed. One brother consecrated himself to the ministry, and is now preaching the glorious gospel. An infidel became convicted and converted, and is now in the ministry. One hundred and thirty-five came to the altar; thirty-nine united with the class; Christian workers and ministers came in from all around, and we had a glorious time. The house was filled to overflowing; half the people could not get in. The seekers were trampled upon. We could not get room for the mourners. The altar and the side seats were full, and the night I closed the meeting there were thirty-two at the altar. It seemed that all who came fell under conviction.
Two young men attended the meeting all through, and were deeply convicted. I labored with them day and night. I
felt impressed that that was their last chance, and if they did not come to Jesus then their doom would be sealed. I told them that I believed death was on their track. They turned pale, but did not yield. A short time after the meeting closed they both took sick about the same time, and both were unconscious to the last, going into eternity without a ray of hope. People remembered how I had labored with them, and they thought it was a warning from God for others to flee to a Savior’s arms and escape the vengeance of a just God. Oh, it is a fearful thing to die without Christ; to take a leap in the dark and go, down into the dark waters of Jordan without Christ to lighten it with his glory.
We went to Pleasant Mills, Indiana, to hold a series of meetings, and there found the class nearly broken up. I could only find six who had any experience; they were discouraged. Even the minister had no hope of it being built up again. The Baptists were strong there, and there was contention between the churches. A good many of the brethren advised me not to go; but I thought as it was such a hard place, work was needed there worse than anywhere else. I claimed victory before the walls fell. The night I commenced there were only two members present, though the house was crowded. I spoke from the text, “I am doing a great work, I cannot coma down.” I talked principally to the church. I told them that we were brothers and sisters in Christ, and all were engaged in putting up a building for the Lord, and that each one had a part in the building.
I invited them to come out and help; that it was not only their privilege, but God commanded them to come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty; for we had a great battle to light and needed every soldier. God has said, “Cursed are ye that come not up to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” The churches all came out, and we could not tell a Baptist from a Brethren, Brother B., the Baptist minister, came out and offered to do all he could. Many of them came out in a good experience. Two came to the altar and were converted, and we were all bound together in bonds of love, which I hope will last through Eternity. No one seemed to
think the church could be built up. They would say, “If any good is done here it is more than I expect.” They had no faith; I could not depend upon them at all.
The third day two old men about sixty years old came to the altar for the first time in their lives, and were converted and one young man carne out, and they went right to work. Seeing is believing. This fired up the members, and we had a glorious time. The house was filled to overflowing every night. The meeting lasted sixteen days. Fifty-five came to the altar, and I think nearly all were brightly converted.
I PREACH MY FIRST FUNERAL SERMON
On Sabbath morning I could not find a message. When I got to the church the house was full, and still I had no text. As I stepped to the porch a brother asked me if I would preach a funeral sermon at the hour of preaching, and if so the procession would be there in a little while. I studied a moment. I thought it was all of the Lord, and I said I would. But I had never preached a funeral sermon. Oh, how I looked to God to guide me to his glory. I knew if God did not speak through me I would be confounded. This text came to my mind “He can not come back to me, but I can go to him.” I turned to the passage in the Bible, and the light of God seemed to shine on the text. It was a child that was dead and its parents were not saved. They were both convicted, and promised me not to stop until they found the Pearl of Great Price. As I stood up and read the text, its meaning unfolded, and the Spirit of God came down in great power. The people were weeping all over the house. Oh, praise the Lord for his ever-present help when we trust him.
“My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit arid of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”—(I Cor. 2:4, 5.)
“But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”—(Luke 24:49.)
The Macedonian call from Wood’s Chapel, across the Indiana line, being very urgent, I felt the Lord calling. I commenced the meeting under very discouraging surroundings. The house was new. The class had been organized principally of unconverted members. About nine years previously there had been strife in the church, and the members became scattered.
The class leader, a man tottering upon the verge of the grave, bless God, was reclaimed. His wife and nearly all his family were also brought into the fold. Another brother, who had been a great help in the cause, but had lost his power and experience, said he would never again take an interest in religion. The first night the house was crowded, and if ever I needed the prayers of the people, it was then. I was so weak I could hardly get up in the stand. I called on this man to pray. He commenced: “Lord, thou hast sent her here. If she preaches to the day of judgment no one will be saved,” and so forth, I raised my head to see who he was. I said “My good man, you will change your mind before many days; if you cannot pray for me, I can pray for myself.” And I believe it gave me strength and power.
The next night I called on him again, and the people were rejoiced to hear him change his prayer. I received twelve into the church. He was among the first to give me his hand, and he was one of my best friends. Praise God. I Those who are prejudiced or ready to fight me when I go to a new place of battle are always the first taken into the gospel net, and to invite me home with them.
Many whole families were brought into the church. There was hardly a family for three miles around where there was not one or more of its members converted in the meeting. The
meeting lasted five weeks, day and night, the interest increasing all the time. The house was crowded to overflowing most of the time. This was almost twice as long as I had ever held a meeting before at one time.
I saw a brother, a short time ago from there, who had been converted during the meeting. He said they were all standing firm at their post.
TAKING A CHANCE
During this meeting there was a woman under deep conviction, but it wore off and she became defiant. I told her she was going to wait for God to send judgments on her or her family. She said she would risk it. A few days after the meeting closed her favorite son went to work on the railroad. Two days afterward he was brought to her cut to pieces by the train. He had gone through the meeting, and refused the last call. Dear reader, take warning, and fly to the Rock, Christ Jesus, for refuge.
There was a man who had been for years trying to break up all the meetings, and had succeeded. He came to this meeting and commenced as usual. He talked about me and said all the wicked things he could think of. He did all he could to keep the people from coming to the altar. The brethren became discouraged, and said there was no mercy for him. I felt if he was ever saved it must be that night. I was very much impressed to pray to God to remove the stumbling block; if there was any mercy for him, to convert him at once, or remove him out of the way. He was in the house, and praises be to God for answering my prayer in sending conviction so deep that he was glad to cry for mercy. He said he believed that that prayer saved him. The next night I called on him to address the congregation, The people were very much surprised to see such a change.
God can and will give us victory if we only trust him.
The Methodists requested me to come to Shiloh, a quarter of a mile from Liberty. We did so. I visited the members of the United Brethren Church, and invited them to come and have a union meeting. They came over and helped, and invited us to their homes. Among the many kind brothers and sisters were the Brothers F. and their families. I shall always re-member them for their kindness.
We had a glorious meeting. Nearly every house became a house of prayer. There were three brightly converted who were past fifty years of age; also one eighty-five years old—a skeptic and infidel. He had fought all the churches, and insulted the ministers who had talked to him. I called on him at his house. I saw the old man was very intelligent and well posted on every subject, except the one of the most vital importance to him. Oh, how my heart went out to him in pity. I saw something must be done or he was forever lost. I saw him standing on the brink of the grave, and that was hell to him. He wanted to argue on every point but the right one. I would bring him back to his lost condition, telling him God sent me to lead him to Christ. I saw he was getting very uneasy, that the Spirit of God had hold of him, so I left. He became very much troubled. In a few days he sent for me to tell him what he should do to be saved, and as I talked to him he wept like a child. His wife said it was the first time she had ever seen him weep. To the surprise of all he went with us to church that night. He sat right in front of the pulpit, where he could look me right in the face and catch every word. I spoke front the text, “Prepare to meet thy God.” I talked right to and for him. He thought it a wonderful meeting. He said he never saw anything like it before. A great change came over him.
But I was not satisfied with his experience. He could not understand the change of heart. Like Nicodemus, he wanted to reason it out. He came to meeting the next day. I went to him and talked and prayed with him. He received the blessing like a little child. He gave himself fully to Jesus, and looked up to heaven for the witness; and, bless the Lord, it came.
God bless and keep the dear old father! I expect to meet him in heaven and talk of God’s wonderful mercy in saving him at the eleventh hour.
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; holding forth the Word of Life.”—(Phil. 2:14, 15)