by James Knowles
CHAPTER I. BRIEF
SKETCH OF THE
LIFE OF JAMES
CHAPTER IV. THE
CHAPTER V. THE
DEAD WHO DIE IN
CHAPTER VI. A
SKETCH OF THE
BRIEF MEMOIR OF
THE VALUE OF
CHAPTER IX. THE
STORY OF WILLIAM
CHAPTER XIV. THE
LEADING SOULS TO
THE DYING MOTHER
HELP AND LOVING
WINTER LIFE AND
THE NINETY AND
CHAPTER XXV. THE
SIN OF IDOLATRY.
DRAWN BY THE
CORDS OF LOVE.
LOVE FOR THE
LOST, BUT FOUND.
HER LOVE OF
CHILDREN AND OF
The Secret of a Beautiful Life.
In Memoriam of Mr. &Mrs. James Knowles.
Selected from Their Diaries.
They shall be Mine in that day when I come to make up My Jewels.
Edited by Rev. Duncan Mcneill Young.
New York: William Knowles, 104 East Thirteenth Street. 1887.
Copyright, 1887. By Wm. Knowles
The present volume is a purely pastoral attempt, emanating from a
fraternal affection for two of God's honored saints, and an
increasingly growing desire for the glory of God in the salvation of
In presenting the following pages to the friends, acquaintances, and
co-laborers of our departed brother and sister I desire to record my
appreciation of the good achieved by two whose example among us was as
beneficial as that of the angel at the pool of Siloam, stirring up the
sluggish waters to fresh life and utility, and teaching us that
Beyond this vale of tears
There is a life above,
Unmeasured by the flight of years;
And all that life is love.
While a proper and very natural sentiment demands that the memoirs
of the beloved ones should not appear until some time has passed away,
it is also proper that their publication should not be put off till all
trace of the facts recorded and the impressions there from made have
been forgotten. During the preparation of these memoirs nothing has
been more clearly manifest to me than the steady recurrence, throughout
their lives, of a deep and earnest unison of feeling between man and
wife, in such unfailing sweetness as to find its way at once to our
hearts and clothe it with the freshness of a living, loving presence.
The subjects whose earthly career we are about to delineate, were
whole-souled enough to elicit the respect of all who knew them, hence
they made lasting friends, whilst to their own immediate family their
loss is irreparable, and it is hard to realize that they are no more;
for who is there among us who does not know what it is to be united by
a fond and passionate affection to those who are no longer with
usever to think of the beloved ones, and to feel ourselves constantly
under the influence of the vanished presence?
It cannot be claimed for James Knowles that he was a great man, a
learned scholar, or one possessed of extraordinary intellectual culture
above his fellows, but, as Hamerton says: It is not erudition that
makes the intellectual man, but a sort of virtue which delights in
vigorous and beautiful thinking, just as moral virtue delights in
vigorous and beautiful conduct. So it was with our brother, he made
the most of the talents God endowed him with, and whatever he undertook
to do, he did with might and main; hence his success in any
undertaking, or any cause he espoused, for he seemed to realize that
success in a good cause is undoubtedly better than failure,
while the result in any case is not to be regarded so much as the aim
and effort, and the striving with which worthy objects are pursued.
Although the Elder may have been less than a Huss, a Calvin, or a Knox
in public fame, he had emulated them in self-contemplation and
As for Matilda Knowles, our missionary, she was more than a Dorcas,
and equally vigorous in spirit with a Lydia; hence we speak of her in
the sphere in which it pleased God for her to labor. Those who will
carefully read the chapters devoted to her work, will at once perceive
that little is left for me to speak of in words of praise.
Let our Bible women study the pages of this book containing the
record of her toil in the vineyard, and note the fruits thereof for
over a quarter of a century; for no work purely imaginative in its
character ever outrivalled it in intensity of interest, especially to
those who have the salvation of the unregenerate at heart. To our
children and co-workers and successors we earnestly commend it; praying
that the Divine blessing may accompany its circulation and perusal in
our own and other lands until He shall come whose right it is to reign.
With these few prefatory remarks, with no claim to literary
excellence, and a prayer for the blessing of the Holy Spirit, I commit
this imperfect production to the perusal of all co-workers in the
vineyard of the Lord.
I also sincerely trust that it will be acceptable to every
evangelical denomination, where the love of the Great Creator, and the
advancing perfection of human life predominates over all forms of sin
DUNCAN M. YOUNG.
NEW YORK, August 18, 1887.
To the Pastors, Elders, Sabbath-School Workers, and the New York
Female Bible Readers' Society, who were Intimately Associated with the
deceased in Winning Souls to Christ,
These Memoirs are Affectionately Dedicated
BY THE EDITOR.
DEDICATED TO THE MEMORY OF MR. AND MRS. JAMES KNOWLES.
They died within a week of each other, after a married life of
forty-seven years, and each at the age of seventy-five.
Ever faithful to the cause of their Master, they died as they had
livedin triumphant faith.
Hand in hand, together they trod
Through years twoscore and seven;
Their only staff was the Word of God,
Their path was the way to heaven.
Hand in hand, e'er the burning sun
Had drunk up the morning dew,
They started their earthly journey to run,
While the heavens were fair and blue.
But life's path lies not through a grassy dell,
In the cool of the morning's shade;
There are scorching sands, and torrents that swell,
As well as the flowery glade.
There are crags to climb in the mountains fast,
There are gorges, and canyons deep,
And the blinding snow, and the wintry blast
Must over the landscape sweep.
And the shoulders must bear a wearisome load,
Whether o'er mountain or moor,
Or through forest, or dusty highway, lay the road,
Or the feet be bleeding and sore.
But hand in hand we see them still,
When the sun had drunk up the dew;
They were toiling steadfastly up the hill,
Ever keeping the end in view.
They scaled the crags of the mountain steep
When the noontide sun was high;
And they forded the flood of the canyon deep,
When the sun lay low in the sky.
But their tired feet are no longer as light
As in days of the long, long past,
And their youthful tresses have turned to white
With the snows, and the wintry blast.
Now hand in hand, they stand by the shore
Of a river dark and wide;
And the songs which the seraphs are wafting o'er,
They catch from the other side.
And their faces beam with unearthly light,
In the rays of the setting sun,
As their eyes peer far beyond mortals' sight,
And they learn that life's journey is done.
Hand in hand by the river, they stray
Where the dark waves wash the shore;
And they hear the splash, and the feathery spray,
As the ferryman dips his oar.
Now the father waves a loving adieu,
As he looses his claspèd hand;
And the ferryman plies his oar anew,
Till he reaches the golden strand.
By the silent waves of the river of death,
The mother is waiting still,
With eager eye and with bated breath,
The call of the Master's will.
Now her face is illumed by a heavenly light
As sweet as angels' breath;
For she knows that the unclasped hands will unite,
Across the river of death.
GEORGE F. SARGENT.
NEW YORK, February 17, 1887.
[Illustration: JAMES KNOWLES]
CHAPTER I. BRIEF SKETCH OF THE LIFE
OF JAMES KNOWLES.
God bless thee, bairnmy bonnie bairn,
She said, an' straikit doon his hair;
O may the widow's God be thine,
And mak' thee His peculiar care!
James Knowles was born at sea, December 5, 1811, his father, the
previous day, having been swept overboard and lost. Unfortunately no
record of the misfortune was kept to be available for the present
purpose; hence we are unable to give either the name of the ship, or
the latitude and longitude it was in when his birth occurred. Picture
to yourself the deck of a vessel in mid-ocean, where the widow of a day
becomes a mother the next, the subject of this sketch being the infant
presented to her bosom, and you have a glimpse of the situationthough
it be unconnected with either a cottage, a mansion, or a palace.
The mother returned with the infant to the home of her father at
Ballymena, Ireland, where her relatives then undertook the care of the
fatherless babe, which eventually grew into healthy boyhood of the most
As a youth he made rapid progress in the elementary branches of
education, often surprising his teachers with the patience and care he
exhibited in keeping in advance of his fellow-studentsfor he was
almost always at the head of his class. He was noted for his quiet,
unobtrusive disposition, underlying which was an internal force, which
made him prompt in action, and to the point in word, when the display
of such characteristics was sometimes necessary to establish his
individual superiority with more than usual power among his
In 1826 he commenced his apprenticeship as a compositor, under the
care of Mr. Dugan, in the city of Belfast, Ireland, where he continued
until the expiration of the time of his indentures.
In 1832, after an ocean passage of sixty days in a sailing vessel,
he arrived in Philadelphia, Pa.
During this long and tedious voyage across the Atlantic, he and the
captain of the ship became very intimately attached to each other, and
he was frequently invited to dine with the officers.
After a brief stay in Philadelphia, he came to New York City, where
he found employment. Immediately after his arrival in this city, he
became a member of the Rev. Dr. McLeod's Reformed Presbyterian Church,
in Chambers Street, and continued with this church until after they had
removed to Prince Street.
In 1835 he became an employé in the office of the Journal of
Commerce. He frequently recalled that fearful night during the
great fire in New York, when the greater part of the lower portion of
the city was totally destroyed, and some of the large buildings had to
be blown up with gunpowder, to stop the ravages of the flames; he took
an active part in carrying the printing forms to a place of safety.
In 1839 he was married to Miss Matilda Darroch, who was a member of
Dr. McCarthy's Canal Street Presbyterian Church and a teacher in the
As a Christian man, at this time, we find him teaching a large
Bible-class for young men in the above church, and to the end of his
earthly career he was constantly engaged in the Sabbath-school.
In 1849 the Prince Street Church property was sold to erect a new
building on Twelfth Street, where he continued to attend the services
until the year 1850, when some of the members, being anxious to enlarge
their borders, and continue the work in the lower part of the city,
formed the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church. They organized, and
called the Rev. Spencer L. Finney to the pastorate, who commenced to
hold services in the hall of the Apprentices' Library, No. 472
Broadway, where they worshipped for one year, and then secured more
ample accommodations in which to worship God, in the rooms of the
Medical College, Crosby Street, near Spring.
In 1850 he was carefully examined, and when found qualified for the
sacred office, was duly ordained a ruling elder in the Second Reformed
During the year 1854 the Church purchased the building in Mulberry
Street, near Grand, belonging to the Lutheran body.
At this time he continued to reside on the west side of the city,
and attended two sessions of the Sabbath-school morning and afternoon,
with two preaching services, and one prayer-meeting in the evening.
As soon as the congregation were permanently settled in a church
building, he removed from the west to the east side of the city, to the
Tenth Ward, in order to be in close proximity to his church work.
He continued to worship with the Second Reformed Presbyterian
Church, under the pastorate of the Rev. S. L. Finney, who, in 1863, was
called to Princeton, N.J.
The Rev. Geo. S. Chambers was subsequently called to take the
pastoral charge. Eventually, it was found essential to change their
ecclesiastical relations from the Reformed Presbyterian Church to the
Old School, from which time (the two religious bodies having become
united), the congregation became known as the Ebenezer Presbyterian
In due course it united with the Fortieth Street Presbyterian
Church, afterward called the Murray Hill Presbyterian Church, because
at the time, though in possession of a church building, they had no
pastor. Mr. Knowles continued to attend regularly until the imperative
demands of age and time called for change, when he became united with
the Allen Street Church.
In 1870 he accepted an invitation from his uncle to visit his native
place; and he frequently afterward remarked that the scenes of his
boyhood's days had materially changed as much as he had; realizing that
change, progress, and decay were written upon all things terrestrial.
During this visit to Europe, he greatly enjoyed rambles over the
country roads, admiring the beauties of the surrounding scenery.
On one occasion, while passing the school-house of his boyhood days,
he was found by an old friend, wistfully gazing at the building, who
said, What are you looking at? And upon entering into conversation,
he discovered that he and the gentleman who addressed him had been
former schoolmates together.
We find recorded in his diary the following:
I now commence filling this book, which I brought with me from
York, in the steamship Italia. I am now in Fenagh, Ireland.
From the record of this journey, we notice that he was very careful
in watching the signs of the times, and the changing moods of the
weather. For example, he writes thus:
Sabbath, January 4, 1874.When I rose this morning, I
ground covered with snow; the first fall of the season, and
little captive Syrian maid, though far from home and friends
among comparative strangers, I do not forget God or the
Monday, January 5th.A fine day, but cold, and snow on
Tuesday, January 6th.A fine day, and a fine thaw, which
in the removal of the snow which had fallen a short time
Wednesday, January 7th (morning).A fine day. Afternoon,
gathering; lightning and thunder; came on to rain.
Thursday, January 8th.A fine day of the season.
Friday, January 9th.A fair day.
Saturday, January 10th.A fine day. I went into
and called at several places, and upon Mr. White, the printer,
did not know me, or remember anything about me. I called also
Mrs. McQuitty, who treated me in a very kindly manner. I also
on Mr. Kilpatrick's, but I only saw two of his daughters, and a
little child. On the same day I bought McComb's almanac in
Ballymena; paid two pence for it. I also bought the
Observer from Mr. White. I walked into Ballymena, and also
in like manner, only that in returning I took a circuitous
that I might see a portion of the country that I had not seen
length of time before my departure for America, in June, 1832.
Sabbath, January 11th (forenoon).I heard Mr. Moody
the 16th chapter of John, and 16th verse.
Afternoon.Nehemiah, 9th chapter and 19th verse: Yet
Thou in Thy
manifold mercy, forsookest them not in the wilderness; the
the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the
neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and
wherein they should go.
Monday, January 12th.A cold day. I received a letter
son, William Knowles, in New York City.
Wednesday, May 19, 1875.A fine day. I went to Belfast
excursion train, and called at several places, and in the
took a cabin passage for Glasgow, Scotland. I went from
Glasgow in the train; I arrived on Thursday morning in Glasgow,
about six o'clock, and went to my brother-in-law's, Mr. William
Darroch. The day is cold, blowing, and showers.
Glasgow, Sabbath morning, May 23d.Heard the Rev. Mr.
lecture from the 6th chapter of Matthew.
Afternoon.A lovely day. Heard another minister preach
same church, from the 3d chapter of Philippians, and 8th verse:
doubtless, and I count all things but lost for the excellency
knowledge of Christ Jesus, my Lord.
Tuesday, May 25th.I went with Mrs. Darroch and her
Maggie, to Edinburgh, and after visiting the castle, and a
other places of interest, returned to Glasgow the same day.
Saturday, May 29th.Returned to Belfast.
Sabbath morning, May 30th.A beautiful day. Heard Dr.
pastor of my boyhood, lecture from the 13th chapter of John;
preach from 1st Thessalonians, 3d chapter, 12th and 13th
Lecture in the evening, from the 6th and 7th chapter of
I took dinner and tea with Rev. Dr. Houston and his family. A
Before returning to this country he expressed his love and unfeigned
gratitude to the memory of his sainted mother (who early taught him the
ways of God) by erecting a substantial monument over her grave to
perpetuate her revered name.
After spending two years in Europe he returned to New York, and was
elected an Elder in the Allen Street Church.
On Easter Sabbath, April, 1877, he was regularly installed into
office as a Ruling Elder.
So I ask Thee, Lord, to give me grace
My little place to fill,
That I may ever walk with Thee,
And ever do Thy will,
And in each duty, great or small;
I may be faithful still.
Of course, the life-work of such a man as we are contemplating was
full of little peculiarities (eccentricities, society calls them),
which even his most intimate relations with the world does not divulge
to the inquisitive of his day. It is only after such men pass away and
their relatives are permitted to look into the private jewel-box, as
it were, that we come across the brilliant diamonds of thought, the
glowing rubies of expressed gratitude and, may be, some softly-tinted
pearls of faith, hope and charity, all lying together in the receptacle
which, even if humble in workmanship, is full of priceless treasures.
The Bible of our friend was very often used for over forty years,
until it showed that it was never allowed to preserve a dainty
appearance through a want of use, nor the dust to accumulate on cover
or edge by reason of its owner's non-usage of the sacred pages. It was
a useful Reference Bible, and, no doubt, of immense value and comfort
to him, for the pages are pretty well worn, even where no marks are
made indicative of favorite passages, etc.
Next among the eccentricities of our friend was the disposition to
keep a quiet order of memorandums, and a diary extending back for many
years, from which had we the space to spare in this book we would place
before the world some of the gems found in his jewel-box, as indicative
of the man's industry and the Christian's freedom from ostentatious
Help each step upon the way,
Strength sufficient for the day,
All things easy in Thy might,
Work for thee a felt delight.
Courage, patience, grace supplied,
All things needfulat Thy side;
Such my happy lot will be,
Working, dearest Lord, with thee.
Agreeably with the spirit of our labor, we will take an impartial
view of our friend as a Christian, in the eyes of the world, and among
laymen generally. That he was no drone in the Christian hive, all the
world could see; that he was active and unusually laborious for Christ
and the Church, no one who follows the spirit of the sermon eulogizing
his memory, or who reads this work, can deny; as an Elder of the
Church, he was faithful in anything he was requested to perform,
especially in public prayer-meeting, individual devotional study, and
His sympathy for suffering humanity in any form, was, indeed, very
large, in fact so easily moved, that he would habitually visit the sick
members of the Church after being relieved from such duties. To him all
men and women were brothers and sisters, the distance of relationship
(if very strained and far between in some instances), he would claim,
was closer, more congenial, and intimate in others.
As a builder among the builders, a workman among the workmen of the
temple; or as a brother among brethren of the same house, he was
meekness itself; his spirit of patience never failing him in instances
where to wait was gain, either for God, the Church, or himself.
His acquiescence in the decision of his brethren, when they at last
decided upon changing the location of their place of worship, was
secured at the price of sacrificing his own preferences in the
matterand all for the sake of peace, harmony, and continued brotherly
love. In this he was a light shining upon a hill-top.
The interest he always displayed and the anxiety he expressed for
the continued welfare of the Church, manifesting the same in the labors
performed or duties undertaken, was always profound, as it embraced
among other items of care the temporal welfare and spiritual prosperity
of the various clergymen with whom he had labored.
In his demeanor he was never in a hurry to do to-day what he should
have done yesterday, because having no faith in procrastination, he
left nothing undone to-day to be performed on the morrow, if by any
means it could be accomplished, or the duty performed at once. In going
to the House of God, he left all worry about the world on the outside
of it, the moment he entered the porch; the drudgery of every-day life
did not go with him into the pew; the prejudices of an ambiguous man
troubled him not, while the disposition to take things easy, while
others bore the burden, was never fostered by him.
But he did carry something into the house every time he entered! He
took in with him his Bible, his sweetest temper, his most charitable
disposition, a vigorous condition of soul-life, a sensible care of the
temporal body, and also the continued desire to be always walking with
God, as well as the desire for larger acquisitions of intuitive
spiritual knowledgevery proper things to take into the House of God
with you at all times; and our departed brother had enough of these,
and to spare.
But to cease from reflection, we close this chapter with one of our
friend's favorite little gems of poetry, believing that when you have
read it, you will agree with us that James Knowles was a man to be
beloved, indeed; for through these few lines his spirit breathes back
again to us from the great beyond:
If you cannot be a leader
In the crowd that pours along,
Raise the fallen, lying prostrate
Under foot, amid the throng.
Though your work be never mentioned,
Though your name may not appear,
Speak one word for Jesus only,
And the Lord, at least, will hear.
CHAPTER II. CORRESPONDENCE AND
The following letter was written to his mother while an apprentice
as a printer in the city of Belfast, Ireland:
BELFAST, January 15, 1829.
DEAR MOTHER:I write this letter to you for the purpose of
you know how I am doing. I am devoting the most of my leisure
to reading and improving my mind, some way or other. Indeed, it
not much time I have to devote to things of that nature; but
time I have I am busy. I meet with a good many advantages in
respect, where I am now. I have the advantage of having a room
apply my time to whatever study I resolve to persevere in. If I
time, I would give you a more correct account of my
through the day; but if I have time to meditate a little, I
will be enabled to give you some account of the sermons that I
as I think it would be greatly to my own interest, for if I pry
that part of information, there is no danger but that I will
success in whatever situation I am placed in life. I may be
that I have a room to read my Bible in on Sabbath days. I have
to speak to me or give me annoyance of any sort whatever. I
next letter I write you, that it will be in a more correct
hope you will write me by Johnny, when he is coming back to
and let me know how you are succeeding in work, and how Jane is
succeeding in the business of the shop. I send my love to all
friends (everyone in particular), I hope you will let me know
they are all doing; but I have nothing more to say at present.
trust you will write me in the beginning of the week. I must
conclude, as it is now too late for me to say anything more.
here are well, but Mrs. L, who is in a bad state of health.
* * * * * *
The following letter is a sample of many to his old pastors, showing
his strong attachment to those who labored with him in word and
NEW YORK, March 26, 1883.
MR. PHELPSReverend and dear friend and Christian brother: It
been my purpose for some time to write to you and yours, even
should be but a few lines, to assure you that you are not
by us; for although you are absent from us, yet your faithful
earnest appeals still live in our remembrance, and I have no
will continue to do so; and while I may not be able to recall
of the many sermons which I have heard you deliver, yet the
impressions made upon my mind while sitting under them are
I might, however, state here, that I was sorry to part with you
your family, and to feel that your pastoral relationship with
would soon be broken up; I had made up my mind to stay by the
while you remained, if I lived, as I was attached to you and
family as to personal friends.... My wife and I unite in love
and Mrs. Phelps and your son.
* * * * * *
COVENANTS WITH GOD.
Dear Lord, and shall Thy Spirit rest
In such a wretched heart as mine?
Unworthy dwelling! Glorious Guest!
Favor astonishing, Divine!
* * * * * *
The following acts of consecration will, no doubt, be of interest to
NEW YORK, Thursday, June 21, 1860.
I do solemnly resolve from this day onward to endeavor, relying
thy Holy Spirit, to serve Thee better. This is my
covenant, and I
would ask Thee to own and bless me with peace and joy in
* * * * * *
NEW YORK, Saturday, October 6, 1860.
I now promise, as I have formerly promised to do, from this day
onward, to serve God better than I have been doing; depending
God's spirit for assistance; and will now ask to be prospered
God may see good for me.
* * * * * *
NEW YORK, Friday, October 18, 1861.
I resolved to serve God with renewed efforts, determining to
alone to God for help.
 The Fulton Street Noon Prayer Meetings found him an
occasional visitor during these days of national peril,
* * * * * *
NEW YORK, Thursday, April 9, 1863.
Entered into an agreement with my Heavenly Father that, through
strength of His divine grace, I will live more for the glory of
than I have ever done.
* * * * * *
NEW YORK, Saturday afternoon, April 22, 1865.
I renewed my covenant with God in the City Hall Park while
there, which I some years ago made, and now I again renew it,
I would serve God better than formerly.
* * * * * *
NEW YORK, Thursday, April 19, 1866.
Renewed my engagement with the Lord to serve Him better than I
done before, after having prayed to Him to be justified through
faith in the righteousness of Christ; and asked for other
which I felt satisfied I would receive, for I feel my great
these, as I felt very helpless in myself, but that there was
abundant fulness in Christ.
I write this and the above on this Saturday night, the 22d of
* * * * * *
NEW YORK, Wednesday, December 5, 1866.
My birth-day, and a fine day.
I resolved on this day to endeavor to serve the Lord better, and
renewed my covenant with the Lord, which I formerly made, and
again and again sought or attempted to renew. May the Lord aid
in the future.
And thus, from these few specimens of his constantly
weakness and appeals for more spiritual strength, we get a look
the inner life of a practical Christian worker which it is rare
find among us in these days. He could not stand alone; his last
self-examination always found him short, though it consisted of
a few questions put by the spirit to the flesh at the end of
devotional service incidental to the life and work of each day,
Did I this morn devoutly pray
For God's assistance through the day?
And did I read His sacred Word,
To make my life therewith accord?
Did I for any purpose try
To hide the truth and tell a lie?
Did I my time and thoughts engage
As fits my duty, station, age?
Did I with care my temper guide,
Checking ill-humor, anger, pride?
Did I my lips from aught refrain
That might my fellow-creature pain?
Did I with cheerful patience bear
The little ills that all must share?
For all God's mercies through this day
Did I my grateful tribute pay?
And did I, when the day was o'er,
God's watchful aid again implore?
CHAPTER III. SCRIPTURE TEXTS.
I want a meek, a gentle, quiet frame,
A heart that glows with love to Jesus' name;
I want a living sacrifice to be
For Him who died a sacrifice for me.
The following extracts from his diary reveal to us his carefulness
in noting the texts of Scripture and the analysis of sermons he heard
preached on the Sabbaths and week days from 1858 up to the time of his
Thursday (fast-day), September 16, 1858.
Heard a sermon
preached by Dr. Crawford from the 57th chapter of Isaiah and
15th verse: For thus saith the high and lofty One that
eternity, whose name is holy; I dwell in the high and holy
with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to
spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite
Saturday, September 18th.Preached by Mr. Sanderson,
15th chapter of St. Luke and the 2d verse: And the Pharisees
Scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and
Sabbath, June 20, 1859.Preached by Mr. Finney, from
chapter 9, verse 10: Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it
thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor
wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest.
Sabbath, December 16, 1860.Preached by Mr. Finney, from
chapter of Isaiah and 11th verse, last clause: By his
shall my righteous servant justify many: for he shall bear
iniquities. Afternoon.Therefore being justified by faith,
have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ. It is like
love of my mother. What an inexpressible peace and love and
gentleness is launched upon you; which none but a mother can
oft do I sigh in my struggles with the hard, uncaring world,
sweet, deep security I felt, when of an evening, nestling in
bosom, I listened to some quiet tale. In my younger years I
her tender and loving voice an invaluable incentive to be good.
can never forget her sweet smile upon me. When I appear to
feel her sweet kiss of peace.
* * * * * *
A MOTHER'S LOVE.
Children, look in those eyes; listen to that dear voice; notice the
feeling of a single touch that is bestowed upon you by that gentle
hand. Make much of it while yet you have that most precious of all good
giftsa loving mother. Read the unfathomable love of those eyes; the
kind anxiety of that tone and look, and by analogy remember the
tenderness and compassion of Jesus.
New York, November 12, 1865 (Sabbath Day).Heard
preach from the Gospel according to St. Luke, 24th chapter and
verse: And they said one to another, did not our hearts burn
us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to
the Scripture? It was powerful and impressive to all present,
1. The doctrinal teaching of Christ, as understood in this part
the chapter. 2. It is scriptural. 3. It is faithful. 4. It is
pointed. 5. It is instructive to the understanding.
Friday, December 12, 1867.I attended our church, and
sermon preached from the 3d chapter of St. Matthew and the 3d
last clause: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths
straight. Afterward Mr. Chambers was ordained to the office of
gospel ministry, and the charge was given to him by Dr.
and the charge to the people by Dr. Hall. After the conclusion
the services, the congregation congratulated our newly-ordained
pastor in his new relation to us.
Sabbath, October 1st.Preached by Mr. Chambers to the
the Sabbath school, in the Fortieth Street Church, from Luke
verses 27 to 32. Simeon was led by the Spirit into the Temple,
for an important object. He had been waiting in expectancy of
great event, and at the appointed period was led to the temple,
where he became satisfied in beholding the Lord's Christ, and
his faith became constant in the fulfilment of God's promise to
and found that the desires awakened in his soul was now
and although he had been comparatively unknown to others, yet
enjoyed not only a convincing proof of God's goodness to
this occasion, with such an appearance of love, but he enjoyed
privilege of prophesying concerning his own people, and also
effects of the gospel upon the Gentile nations.
Sabbath, November 21st.Preached by Mr. Chambers, from
2d chapter and 19th verse: Thine own wickedness shall correct
and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see
it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast
forsaken the Lord
thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord
In one of his notes, as if he had just heard a sermon upon the
subject, he writes: In lives of faith and long obedience to the
command of our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, we have first
presented to us something of the operations and workings of the mind of
the depth of humility and gratitude expressed in his own words, and the
evident absence of everything of a proud spirit. Thus when the sinner
is brought to Christ, the change will become manifest not in giving
expression to similar feelings in only thankful acknowledgments in
words, but a becoming and thankful spirit will be seen in the entire
life, in proportion as Jesus is followed and kept in view. But when
Jesus is received into the heart, the recipient of this precious gift
will feel anxious to do good to others, that they, too, may partake of
the benefits of His salvation. First, then, deep repentance of sin.
Second, a heart full of gratitude to God for this free gift. Third, the
Apostle is not ashamed to acknowledge his entire indebtedness to God.
What encouragement we may have from this circumstance in common with
others to endeavor to do good; for if it was such an advantage to this
man to be made whole, how great, then, must the advantage be to those,
who are led to believe in Christ, and are delivered from condemnation,
and become heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.
New York, Sabbath, March 6, 1870.Sermon [preached by
McElroy's assistant] from 1st Thessalonians, 5th chapter, 17th
verse: Pray without ceasing.
1. By observing stated seasons for prayer.
2. Always maintain a prayerful spirit.
3. Always acting as in the immediate presence of God.
4. Turning everything into prayer.
New York, Sabbath, March 20, 1870.Sermon preached by
Chambers, to the Sabbath-school, from 6th chapter of Romans,
verse: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
1. The death of character.
2. The death of all good prospect.
3. The death of the body.
4. The death of the soul.
Fortieth Street Church, Sabbath, December 3, 1871.
preached by Mr. Chambers, from the 25th chapter of St. Matthew,
and 32d verses: When the Son of man shall come in his glory,
all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne
His glory. And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and he
shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth
sheep from the goats.
Subject, the goats and sheep.
GGo into dangerous places.
OOften annoy the sheep.
AAppear like sheep.
TTake poisonous food.
SSeek the fold.
HHear the shepherd's voice.
EEver the same.
EEat the wholesome food.
PPeaceful and peaceable.
New York, Sabbath, December 30, 1883.Heard Rev. Dr.
preach from St. Matthew, 17th chapter and 8th verse: And when
had lifted up their eyes they saw no man save Jesus only.
1. Take Jesus as your guide.
2. Trust Jesus as your Saviour.
3. We should follow Jesus as our example.
4. We should love Jesus with a supreme love.
I heard Mr. Moody preach from the 11th chapter of Hebrews and
16th verse: But now they desire a better country, that is, an
heavenly; wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God;
he hath prepared for them a city. This he divided into three
I. The persons referred to are believers.
(a.) They lived by faith.
(b.) They died in faith.
II. They were called by His name; and realized His presence.
III. He had prepared for them a city.
Sabbath, November 21st.Preached by Mr. Chambers to the
of the Sabbath-school, from Proverbs 20th chapter and 11th
Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure,
whether it be right. Subject: How children may be known.
will take the word Lord, and let each letter stand for a word,
LLove. Love to God, etc.
OObedience. Obedience to God and to their parents.
RRespectful to their superiors.
How bad children are known:
Take one word and let each letter stand for a particular
EEnticing others to evil.
VVanity and pride.
IInsulting to their superiors.
LLove of sin.
Heard Mr. Chambers preach from the 19th chapter of St. Matthew's
gospel and the 13th and 14th verses: Then were brought unto
little children, that he should put his hands on them, and
and his disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said: Suffer little
children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is
kingdom of heaven.
A. Approach of the parents to Christ.
B. Blessing sought.
C. Conduct of the disciples.
D. Displeasure of Christ.
E. Encouragement of Christ to the parents of the children.
F. Familiar reception of those parents and the children on the
G. Gracious words of Christ.
H. Heavenly requirements.
Improvement, or instructions from lesson. Under the 8th head of
discourse, Heavenly requirements, he referred to five
characteristics of children as designated by the five letters
the word child; viz., C, Confiding. H, Happy. I, Inquisitive.
Loving. D, Dependants.
Citing another interesting sermon, he writes:
New York, September 25th (Sabbath).Heard Rev.
George O. Phelps
preach from the 3d chapter of Acts and 6th verse, Then Peter
Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In
name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. The true
followers of Christ, in their desire to do good, will
find cases to excite their sympathy. Here was a most affecting
a man lame from his mother's womb, but is suddenly cured by the
power of God. He was directed by Peter to look upon John and
himself, assuring him that they had neither silver nor gold,
such as they had he would give. He had only to look upon them,
and John, at the beautiful gate that is supposed to divide the
Gentiles from the inner Court.
1. The power of Christ displayed in such a remarkable manner on
occasion. 2. The faith of the man in doing as he was told, and
effects produced. 3. The faith of Peter and John, united with
desire to work a miracle in this man's case. 4. The gratitude
this man; he had received far more than he had expected.
Their success was even more than they had anticipated. They had
forth at the command of Christ. They had not only respect for
authority, but they gave testimony to this by their ready
to the command of Jesus, and thus far they had the satisfaction
doing the will of their Lord and Master.
It was a loving obedience, as can be seen by the results that
They commenced their work right, receiving their
their Saviour Himself. They went forth relying upon Him for the
and assistance required.
They returned again to give him their report, and they rejoiced
feel that their success was even beyond what they expected. And
while the Saviour heard their report, He cautioned them not to
their success occupy too much of their attention, but rather
because their names are written in heaven. It is pleasant to
that when we obey the Lord, as these seventy disciples did,
adhere strictly to all His words of command; and that we know
we have experienced the love of God in our hearts; but yet we
not to make this the ground-work of our rejoicing, but trust
that which is done without us than in that which is done within
Another grand characteristic of the elder was his almost
custom to watch and note the providential dealings of God with
officers of the church, whenever they met for the transaction
His fidelity in noting the texts preached from, down to the last
Sabbath he spent on earth, is a proof of his unparalleled perseverance
and painstaking in keeping his diary.
We close this part of our work by giving our readers a sample of his
carefulness at this time.
New York, October 10th (Sabbath evening).Heard
preach from the 5th chapter of Romans and 1st verse: Therefore
being justified by faith, etc., and onward, giving an account
Rome the imperial city, and its surroundings; also the triumphs
advances of Christianity notwithstanding the opposition which
church had to encounter.
The last sermon he ever heard on earth was peculiarly appropriate to
prepare his mind and heart for the peaceful closing hour of this mortal
life. He again writes:
New York, October 17th, 1886 (Sabbath evening
).Heard Mr. Young
preach from the 11th chapter of St. John's Gospel, and the 39th
verse: Jesus said, Take ye away the stone.... Said I not unto
that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of
God? Unfolding the omnipotency of Christ's love in the hour of
sickness and sorrowalso the profound sympathy with the
sisters of Bethany in their great bereavement; and His
power over death and the grave, because He said, I am the
resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he
dead, yet shall he live.
In closing this part of our work we would remark, that there are
very few men who have been so painstaking and methodical as to record
in their diary all the texts, time, and place, and the preacher's name,
in connection with the sermons to which he was permitted to listen.
Their commencement, continuation, and close, is all that space
allows for further insertion.
CHAPTER IV. THE LAST HOURS.
I often feel impatient,
And mourn the long delay,
I never can be settled
While he remains away.
But we shall not long be parted,
For I know he'll quickly come,
And we shall dwell together
In that happy, happy home.
We were about to say farewell to the loved brother whose end was
rapidly approaching. His going from this life to that beyond the grave
was one of the most remarkable for faith and hope, quietly exhibiting
the spirit of Him who went about continually doing good.
There was no attempt to argue with death, and ask for a respite to
prepare for the journey through the valley of the shadow of death to
the golden shore beyond. We cannot do better here than lay before the
reader the following communication written by their son to their former
pastor, the Rev. George O. Phelps, of Utica, N.Y. It is a brief
narrative of their last hours on earth, which were a triumphant ending
to a long life of devotion to their Master:
NEW YORK CITY, November 15, 1886.
Your kind letter was duly received and contents noted. At your
request, I will endeavor to give you a brief account of the
goings of my departed parents. In a spirit of humility I
to avoid all expressions of fulsomeness when speaking of their
lives and last moments, though it might be said that those who
at the death-bed of either, and saw them in their last hours,
have been willing to have left all to exchange places with
would say, in the words of one of old, Let me die the death of
righteous, and let my end be like theirs. As they lived so
died! As father lay down, so he never moved until he was
into the arms of Jesus.
All through his two days' sickness, as we put our ears to his
we could hear him earnestly praying for Allen Street Church,
minister and people, and for his family. Our mother would
frequently speak to him, saying:
Just one word, papa!
But he would only shake his head, without uttering a word.
The history of his going was as follows:
On Tuesday, October 19th, father left the office for the last
When Wednesday morning, October 20th, dawned, he complained of
pain in his side, remarking that he did not think he would go
the office before noon. He did not go at all.
I went to the house in the evening, to find that the doctor had
called twice, and that father had pleurisy. We passed
night watching and hoping for favorable changes; but,
the next (Thursday) morning, October 21st, pneumonia set in,
case became complicated. Already very weak, he grew more feeble
every hour. He had done his part of this life's work, and
conscious that the Universal Master was about to finish the
into which his servant was fully prepared to enter. A peaceful,
quiet Christian in the home circle; a zealous worker in the
watchful in his business relations with the world, he looked
very embodiment of peaceful repose in his last moments, and on
earthly bed of sleeping restso life-like, too, that I dare
bed of deathas he breathed his last at 2.10 A.M., Saturday,
The expressions and sentiments of many who visited the house
his sickness, and while lying in the casket (Roman Catholics,
believers, and unbelievers) were all in harmony with the idea
if ever a human being entered heaven, he had gone straight to
realm of blissful repose.
But to go back just prior to his demise, when the doctor quietly
told us he could not live another day. We tried hard to be
on that Friday night, feeling sure that the end was near. After
meeting at the Church was dismissed, the minister came to the
and remained with us until after midnight, obtaining from
the words and signs that are precious as he passed away; the
audible words to me being: William, God bless you and your
In the history of my mother's demise, I will briefly
on Saturday night, October 23d, while father lay asleep in
she went to the store, as was her life-long custom, with some
tracts, and to purchase a few things. On her return after
up-stairs she threw herself down upon the sofa with the words,
papa to come and carry up the basket for me to-night! and
sat in deep affliction, as if her heart would break.
On Sabbath night, October 24th, when quite a number of people
in the house, she very earnestly exhorted them in Christ Jesus,
allowing no one to pass unobserved. In turning to one young
heard her kindly urge, Always be cheerful and happy; don't
discourage your husband by always complaining. He will also get
discouraged. That is what ruins many a happy home. Singular to
note, my mother had scarcely got through, when she, too,
of a pain in her side, remarking, It is papa's pain.
On Monday morning she arose to eventually lie upon the sofa in
unconscious state. The funeral services over father's remains
to be observed in the Allen Street Presbyterian Church at 1
therefore the doctor came in to arouse her, and gave her a
stimulant, so that she went to the church with us, returning
instead of going to the grounds, after the services; and here I
say her pastor preached a very solemn sermon, exactly in
with the tenor of father's private and public life.
One thing happened (when the relatives were invited to step
and see the remains for the last time) that was singular, viz.:
my mother bent over to take a last look at the life-long
her joys and sorrows, her veil became attached to the handle of
casket, which my sister was compelled to stoop and unloosen.
Without being superstitious, this looked like the dead reaching
forth to the living.
At all events, on Tuesday, October 26th, mother was confined to
bed, and, as she had said, she had papa's painpleurisy. The
next day, Wednesday, October 27th, pneumonia followed, when it
required three persons to care for her in the day, and three to
attend her through the night, with no change for the better.
On Thursday there was no favorable sign to notesuspense was
in the balancing beam. Toward Friday night, October 29th, all
having vanished, my mother was quietly informed that her day
short! To which she responded: My day is short. I must finish
Then occurred a repetition of the previous call upon the Allen
Street Church, a second Friday in succession. In response, the
minister, elder, and' several young men came promptly to the
to hear the testimony of a sainted mother in Israel going to
After supplication in prayer and a hymn of praise, the minister
Have you any word for me, sister?
Turning over and taking his hand, she said:
No! you know these things yourself. Preach the gospel
To a Roman Catholic she remarked:
There are no forms about my religion!
To her daughter-in-law, my wife, she remarked:
You have a mother!
To the young men present she lovingly urged:
Avoid bad company; learn of Christ; seek to be like Him, little
To Mrs. , who is a visitor, she firmly said:
You are well liked, and can do a great deal of good; but pray
the people you visit!
Then at times she would exclaim:
Oh, I have so much to do; but I am so weak!
When Esther, my sister, soothingly said:
Mother, please do not talk so much, it weakens you; she
The doctor says my day is short!
Later on, requesting my wife to remove her stockings, she
I have got to the edge of the river! Finally: Once I was
now I am old, and have never been forsaken! were the
of testimony she left those present to bear witness to as she
asleep in the Lord.
What a blessed going for a life-long, zealous Christian who
left an orphan when only eight years of age (as seen and
in another chapter), with a rich uncle who would have done
for her if she had only married as he desired. What an
encouragement it holds forth to the living to trust everything
God, and simply follow as He may direct.
Death had no sting or terror for her. She spoke calmly of the
rites to be observed over her remains, saying she would like to
buried like Papa (father), and asked my wife if the services
would be held over her at the house, or in the church. When
informed that the service would be held in the church, she
smilingly said, Very well, and cheerfully resigned herself
earth to heaven.
Her last exhortation to myself was: Be faithful, humble, meek,
constantly keep at the Master's feet until He calls you up
Be kind, gentle, and patiently forbearing with your sister. In
discourse with my sister she was very anxious and urgent that
daughter would ultimately meet her parents in heaven, for which
pray. Her faith was great; she had no fear or thought for self;
great concern was for the heavenly welfare of those around her.
spoke and acted as if her seat or place in the realm of bliss
been long secured to herin that great faith she died, but not
before, in her parting words, she had instructed me, To gather
the books and tracts; to see that they were properly
and that not one sheet be lost, so that the work would go on
she was gone.
This second source of anxiety having been allayed, she
extended her hands to meet the angels, and raising herself up
bed, turned her head and raised her eyes as if to gaze upon the
celestial messengers sent to bear her home, before she said to
Be faithful till the Master calls! then grasping the hands
reached out to hers, she was gonegone from a finite life into
One or two other items I must note. In looking over my father's
papers, I find that he kept a private diary (which forms a part
the contents of this work) of the texts and sermons he heard on
Sabbath, from the year 1858, to the Sabbath before he died, and
much significance is given to one he heard you preach from the
of Jude, 23d verse: Hating even a garment spotted by the
feel confident that he grew in grace under the Word of Life
conveyed to him by you, and assisted by a close study of his
Bible. In his usual course of reading the Scriptures, he read
the day he was taken sick the 20th Psalm, though not permitted
again to drink from the same fountain of Eternal Life, for he
going, unconsciously, to realize the efficacy of the 21st
favorite with himand to receive the crown of gold and life
The general remarks of the outside world at the time fostered
interest in the fact of such peaceful goings from earth to
of two such worthy Christians, at dates so close to each other.
Neither of them feared death. Both had lived and worked in
for the same great end.
Both to be ultimately called up higher in one week and two hours
I desire to supplement the foregoing account of the Last Hours, by
stating that when we reached the house of sickness and death, we found
her son reading that precious portion of God's Word, the 14th chapter
of St. John's Gospel, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in
God, believe also in me. In my father's house are many mansions; if it
were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you,
etc. The scene was deeply affecting. Loved ones were gathered around
After reading the Scriptures, and prayer, we united in singing that
well known hymn,
Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll,
While the tempest still is high,
Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
Till the storm of life be past;
Safe into the haven guide;
O receive my soul at last!
The dying missionary endeavored to join in the singing though
extremely faint, and life's latest sun was sinking fast, for the hour
of her departure had come, and she heard the voice that called her
home, and at last she peacefully entered into that rest that remains
for the people of God.
Three thousand copies of the Last Hours were printed in pamphlet
form and widely scattered over different parts of the country. And the
Lord has been graciously pleased to bless their circulation to the
spiritual edification of those who had the privilege of reading them.
It was a singular coincidence that the last chapter read by the
Elder was the same as the one selected by the minister as the Lesson of
the Day, on the occasion of the celebration of the Jubilee exercises in
honor of the noble and beloved Queen Victoria, in Westminster Abbey.
CHAPTER V. THE DEAD WHO DIE IN THE
And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are
the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit,
that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow
themRev. xiv. 13.
 The substance of a sermon preached in the Allen Street
Presbyterian Church, New York City, October 25, 1886, on the
occasion of the death of Elder James Knowles, who
fell asleep in Jesus, October 23, 1886, in the seventy fifth
of his age.
Elder James Knowles is at restsweet, sweet rest. It is the rest
for which he sighed and for which he prayed. His favorite hymn was:
O land of rest, for thee I sigh,
When will the moment come,
When I shall lay my armor by,
And dwell in peace at home?
To keep an eye on the home above is consummate wisdom. Hence the
injunction of the Holy Apostle, Set your affections on things above.
This exercise of the heart can only be attained by first seeking an
interest in the atoning blood and justifying righteousness of the Lord
John looked, and, lo! a Lamb (the Lamb of God) stood on the mount
Sion, and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his
Father's name (the new name) written in their foreheads, and I heard a
voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a
great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their
harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and
before the four beasts and the elders: and no man could learn that song
but the four hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed
from the earth. Those who had here below redemption through His blood,
even the forgiveness of their sins, according to the riches of His
grace. These are they who keep the commandments of God, and the faith
of Jesus Christ. Concerning such is this solemn affirmation made,
corroborated by the attestation of the Divine voice, that the dearly
beloved John heard, saying, Write, Blessed are the dead who die in the
You know that the original signification of the word blessed means
happy. In Christ's inimitable Sermon on the Mount He declares, Happy
are the beggars in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. All
the uninterrupted felicities of the glory land are theirs at the hour
of dissolution. Their joy is augmented by the pure fellowship and
friendship of the Saviour and the saints before the throne of the
There is a broad avenue opened up to the saved of pleasing and
familiar intercourse with the general assembly, and the spirits of just
men made perfect. They share the attention and affection of the
heavenly host, and are gladdened by the presence of Him who is the King
eternal, immortal, but not now invisible, for they behold the King in
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Death to the Christian
is represented in the Scripture as a sleep. Them that sleep in Jesus
will God bring with Him. He is redeemed from the power of death. For
Christ came to deliver them, who, through fear of death were all their
life time subject to bondage. (Heb. ii. 15.) All believers, therefore,
need not dread deathhe is a conquered enemy. And so every one of us
who are here to day in Christ can say humbly, but truly, O death,
where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? No Christian,
however weak he may be, need fail to feel with Paul, and ask the same
question, Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall
tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or
peril, or sword?... Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor
life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present,
nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature,
shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ
Jesus our Lord.
The last great conflict is inevitable, but the secret of a
triumphant departure from this life is found in the language of the
Faith Psalm, Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff
they comfort me. It is not really death that we have to grapple with.
It is only the shadow of death. We do not fear the shadow of a sword,
or the shadow of a serpent. The above verse of the twenty-third Psalm
is very frequently misquoted. It is called the dark valley. But you
remember that when Bunyan's pilgrim came down to the valley it was not
dark, for Jesus, the light, was with him. The sting of death is not
simply concealed; it is completely destroyed by the death of Christ. He
conquered the great enemy. The sting of death is sin, the strength of
sin is the law; but thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus understood, the Christian is truly blessed in his death. He
cannot be separated from Christ, or from his symmetrically developed
spiritual character. Death is not the extinction of being. We must make
a distinction between natural and spiritual death. It is sin unforgiven
that gives death his power. It is a fearful catastrophe to those out of
Christ. Hence the holiness of others will not avail them at the hour of
dissolution. When the soul raves round the walls of its clay tenement,
and runs to each avenue, and shrieks for help when no help can come,
then the door of salvation is eternally shut. The last ray of hope is
then forever faded. There are no acts of pardon past in the cold grave
to which we haste. Oh, let us not content ourselves with a mere
external profession of Christianity. True wisdom consists in having the
graces of the Holy Spirit in the heart. Walking day by day by faith in
Jesus Christ, so that when the cry is made, Behold the Bridegroom
cometh, go ye out to meet Him, we go forth with joy and not with
Scriptural facts concerning death go to show that it is not an
unimportant event. To the soul who is found clothed not in his own
righteousness which is of the law, but with the righteousness of the
Redeemer, to die is gain, for precious in the sight of the Lord is the
death of his saints (or holy ones). It is then the refining process is
thoroughly completed. They are ready to be offered. The honor and favor
of the Father is now about to be received. The union formed on earth is
at death gloriously ratified in heaven.
The obedience of Christ's death is fully realized to be laid to
their account. The life and immortality brought to light by the Gospel
is then permanently enjoyed. The clouds and mysteries that cluster
around this earthly life are then dissipated. The full communion of the
populace of glory is wonderfully experienced without interruption or
restraint. The conflict is over, and the prize is won. Let me die
the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his. It is
then we view the Divine glory, for this was a part of Christ's prayer:
Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where
I am, that they may behold my glory.
You see, then, how the believer is ushered into the beauties and
blessedness of the beatic state. There is, therefore, nothing to be
dreaded by the approach of the last enemy. For, says the prophet, He
will swallow up death in victory: and the Lord God will wipe away
tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of the people shall he take
away from off all the earth; for the Lord hath spoken it. It is by a
realization of his security in death that the believer in Jesus can
calmly meditate on the hour of dissolutionthat he is blest with
longings for home; that he is soon to be delivered from the present
evil world; in short, that he is completely constituted an actuality in
the Church triumphant. He is at last brought into intimate alliance
with Christ, not now by faith but by sight, not by prayer, but by
praise; not by earthly circumscribed anticipation, but by the power of
unfathomable and constraining grace, and a deep sensibility of soul
which springs from the knowledge that he is forever with the Lord; now
the strugglings of faith are ended.
When Peter, James, and John beheld Christ transfigured on the summit
of the mount, and as they gazed upon the glory of the scene, they said,
It is good to be here. It was a sight of Moses and Elias that
enraptured their soul. That was only a transitory sight. But at death
the Christian is admitted into endless glory. It is day without a
night. It is to be admitted into the House of the Lord. The house not
made by hands, eternal in the heavens. Through much tribulation they
enter into the kingdom. Soon shall close their earthly mission; soon
shall end their pilgrim days; hope shall change to glad fruition. God
is continually guiding our feet to those mansions above, where flowers
that never fade do deck the heavenly plains. Where our loved ones gone
before shall meet us and greet us on the golden strand. Many are the
voices so sweet and tender, and true, who are calling us away to join
the holy ones, that no man can number, who stand around the throne
clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands. The angels beckon
us away to join their ranks. Truly blessed are the dead who die in the
In the Treasury Hymnal there is a Pilgrim Song by Dr. Horatius
Bonar, and the music is from Beethoven; it is very sweet and cheering
in this connection:
A few more years shall roll, a few more seasons come,
And we shall be with those that rest asleep within the tomb.
Then, oh, my Lord, prepare my soul for that great day,
Oh, wash me in my Saviour's blood, and take my sins away.
We truly spend our years as a tale that is told. But in heavenly
love abiding, no change my heart shall fear. How precious is this
thought; though friend after friend depart, For who has not lost a
friend? What though the storm of bereavement and affliction howl
without? Still, amid it all, the unbounded, uncomprehended love of God
Though our days are determined, and the number of our months are
with God; though He hath appointed the bounds that He cannot pass, yet
He will hide us in the grave; He will keep us secret until His wrath
upon the ungodly is past. We read, however, His power to redeem and
deliver His elect, even amid the wreck and ruin of years and the gloom
of the grave, for Christ is the resurrection and the life.
There is rest, yonder; only just across the river. It is only a
narrow stream. This is not my place of resting; mine's a city yet to
come; onward to it I am hastening; on to my eternal home. I go to
prepare a place for you, said Jesus. No threatening danger or death
there. It is no desert dreary. It is freedom from pain and weariness,
from sin and sadness, in the dominions of the Bridegroom. For He says,
I have betrothed thee unto me forever; I have betrothed thee in
righteousness, in the judgment, in loving kindness, and in mercy, and
In the Lord. How significant the words. It is to have the
infinite arms of love and power encircling us. It is not to receive the
spirit of bondage again to fear. It is to rise above the uncertainties
of this life to the realities of that land where congregations ne'er
break up, and Sabbaths have no end. Linked to the eternal, never broken
chain of God's goodness, what can affright? Can the consolation of God
be small with those who are His, when we are informed that He will
ransom His people from the power of the grave? Shortly it will be all
over with you in your pilgrimage journey. Watch and wait, therefore,
for the coming of the King.
On earth, here and now, those who die in the Lord have attentively
listened to His kind remonstrances, concerning reconciliation and
entire renunciation of every false hope of heaven only through faith in
the name of Jesus. They realize that God's methods of mercy are
peculiarly calculated to impart peace in the hour of sickness and
death. They see the city which hath foundations whose builder and maker
is God, where the inhabitants say, I am sick, I am weary no more.
They know that their Redeemer liveth, and though worms may destroy the
body, yet in their flesh they shall see God. They know there are realms
The voices of song never cease 'neath a burden of tears,
And the music falls sweet from those radiant spheres.
God's children on earth are remarkable for their love to Christ and
His Church, and delight to meditate on the glories of heaven. Hence
when death comes they are prepared to enter upon their purchased
possessions, for which they habitually awaited with bright
anticipations, knowing full well that He that had promised is able also
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the
kingdom of heaven, but He that doeth the will of my Father which is in
heaven. For to be carnally minded is death (death eternal), but to be
spiritually minded is life and peace.
Henry says, The Providence that removes God's saints has a
loved voice which crieth in the city to the survivors. The death of the
saints speaketh the evil of sin. It is owing to that they die, for
the body is dead because of sin. It speaks the vanities of life, and
of all its delights and enjoyments; for if the favorites of heaven are
dying daily, and going out of this world it is a sign that the things
of this world are not the best things, else those whom God loves best
would not be taken soonest from them. It speaks that all things come
alike to all, and that one event happeneth to the righteous and to the
wicked, so that none knows love or hatred by all that is before him in
this world. But he that would know it must look before him into the
invisible world. Lay your ears this day to the coffins and graves of
departed saints, who though they do not pray for us, yet preach to us
in the words of Christ, Be ye also ready. (Matt. xxiv. 44.) They are
gone, and we are going; their glass is run out, and ours is running;
and therefore it concerns us to daily die unto sin, and be alive to
holiness, standing on the watchtower, like the sentinel, with loins
girt, and lamps burning, knowing that it is not the stroke, but the
sting of death from which the imputed righteousness of the Redeemer
God's saints are like a green olive-tree, in the house of God,
because they trust in His manifold mercy. They are like trees planted
by the rivers of water, and whose leaf shall never fade. While death
can lay his cold and icy hand upon the Christian's body, yet his soul
he can never touch. While God destroys the wicked at death, and plucks
him out of his dwelling-place, and roots him out of the land of the
living, yet to die in the Lord is to sing with the Psalmist, I will
not be afraid, I will render praises unto thee, for thou hast
delivered my soul from death, and thou shalt bring me up again from
the depths of the earth.
Heaven is propitious. Streaming love flows from the fountain of
Divine compassion. God so loved the world that He gave his only
begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but
have everlasting life. Oh, this constant untiring love of our kind
heavenly father. Scarcely, says Paul, for a righteous man will one
die: yet, peradventure, for a good man some would even dare to die; but
God commendeth his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners
Christ died for us. If we would die in the Lord, we must get a
sight of Calvary. He has died that we might live. We must behold His
pierced hands and feet and side. It is this sight that saves.
Not all the blood of goats and bulls,
On Jewish altars slain,
Can give the guilty conscience peace,
Or wash away the stain.
But Christ, the heavenly Lamb,
Takes all our guilt away.
It is the free gift of grace that, through saving faith, that will
hold us until this short life is past, and then when we come to the
river of death, like our dear Elder, we will reach our home safely.
Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin hath
reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness
unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Are we all who are here to-day to this funeral in the Lord
I in them and thou in me? Perhaps, some have been living at a
distance from Him. Others may have been grieving the Holy Spirit. The
Master has come (by this death) and calls for thee. He is standing
to-day at the door of thy heart knocking and saying, If any man hear
my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with
him, and he with me. No friend so forgiving, so gentle as he. Oh, wilt
thou let Him depart? Patiently waiting, earnestly pleading, Jesus thy
Saviour knocks at thine heart. Is there some idol that you are
cherishing? Is there some secret, darling sin to which you are
clinging? Oh, what wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan without an
interest in the atoning work of Jesus? Are you still slighting the
Saviour? He waits for thee. How tender the look. He says unto you as he
said to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, How often would I have gathered
thy children together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings,
but ye would not.
Christ alone is our true Shechem, our City of Refuge. He is the
living well of Jacob and the rifled tomb of Joseph. Isaiah says, A man
shall be as an hiding-place from the wind and a covert from the
tempest, as rivers of water in a dry place, and as the shadow of a
great rock in a weary land. What boundless resources are found in
Christ. We are guilty, but He atoned for our guilt; He paid the ransom
price; He engaged in the great work of paying the penalty due to our
sin, for He was made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made
the righteousness of God in Him. We could never have been saved
without Divine interference, save from going down to the pit, for I
have found a ransom, was the declaration of the stupendous wealth of
God's free love. For it is a faithful saying, and worthy of all
acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners,
even the very chief. The mysteries of redeeming love are solved at
Listen to the sweet singer of Israel as he surveys the
administration of mercy seen anticipatively at the Cross:
I love the Lord, because my voice
And prayer He did hear;
I, while I live, will call on Him
Who bowed to me His ear.
He was greatly encouraged to serve God in view of the alliance and
assistance of Jehovah towards the redemption of Israel. In the fortieth
Psalm he illustrates this thought still further:
I waited for the Lord my God,
And patiently did bear.
He took me from the fearful pit,
And from the miry clay,
And on a Rock He set my feet,
Establishing my way.
The nature of salvation is the same all the world over. The scheme
is sovereign. The objects are poor, helpless sinners. The results are
ever the same, namely, the forgiveness of sinjustification by faith
alone; and then, at last, an abundant entrance is afforded into the
beautiful mansions of light, where friendship is changeless and
carkering care is unknown, and no more pale faces with mute hearts
breaking every day. Yonder we shall be clad in the beauteous wedding
garments of the King.
To die in the Lord will be an ample equivalent for all of earth's
sorrows and difficulties. In the meantime, we must continually say
concerning such providences as the present, Draw me, we will run after
thee. Awake, O north wind and come thou, south, and blow upon my garden
that the spices thereof may flow out. This loss will work together for
our good if we hear His voice. It calls us to the necessary duty of
immediate decision. We must not halt any longer between two opinions.
If the Lord be God follow Him, but if Baal be your God follow him no
longer. But please remember that the wages of sin is death. You are
called to decide for Christ, to decide for heaven, by this sad
bereavement. He draws you with the cords of love as with the bands of a
man. Will you run after Him?
There is no one can help you in the hour of death and the judgment
but Jesus. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve. Yield, oh! yield to
His call! Say yes, My beloved is mine and I am His; He feedeth among
the lilies until the daybreak, and the shadows flee away. Oh! turn
your eyes upwards:
Where high the heavenly temple stands,
The house of God not made with hands,
A great High Priest our nature wears,
The guardian of mankind appears.
If we would die in the Lord, we must recognize Christ, not only as
having died that we might live, but also as having triumphed over the
grave, and is now sitting at the right hand of God making continual
intercession for us. By day and by night He pleads our cause. Don't try
to get to heaven by the intercession of saints or angels. Christ alone
is the Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. Disobedience
in this direction will prove disastrous.
Say, who is this that cometh from Edom with dyed garments, from
Bozrah travelling in the greatness of His strength? I that speak in
righteousness, mighty to save. This is your Daysman, your Mediator. He
hath opened a fountain for sin and uncleanness.
Five bleeding wounds He bears,
Received on Calvary,
Now pour effectual prayers
And strongly speak for thee.
If you would die like our dear Brother Knowles, in the Lord,
then to-day behold His wounded hands and side. We have all sinned
against God and abused His mercy; but, oh, let us to-day consecrate
ourselves to Christ, and like the prodigal son say, I will arise and
go to my father. Christ is our great representative before the throne.
Oh, that He would ever teach us to offer this prayer:
Lord God of Hosts, my prayer hear;
O Jacob's God, give ear!
See God, our shield, look on the face
Of thine anointed dear.
I tell you, my friends, we do not want any new school theology. The
holy religion of our fathers is good enough for me. Here it is a loving
father, a crucified and triumphant and pleading saviour for us poor,
miserable and helpless sinners, and a Home beyond the flood.
I will arise now and go about the city, in the streets, on the cars,
in the workshop, on the ship, on the sea and land where-ever God may
guide my wandering footsteps through each perplexing path of life. And
I will seek Him whom my soul loveth.
They rest from their labors and their works do follow them.
The Psalmist says that our strength is labor and sorrow. The more we
toil for Christ and His church the more we honor Him and become
fruit-bearers. By a constant course of activity and devotedness for the
welfare of fallen humanity, the capacities of the soul are greatly
enlarged, and we apprehend more fully the fact that God hath put the
treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of
God and not of man. Sometimes, too, our good will be evil spoken of and
attributed to selfish motives. We may be traduced by tongues which
neither know our faculties nor our person. 'Tis but the rough road that
virtue must go through. We must not allow any discouragements or
censure to retard our aggressive work, remembering constantly that the
Master was accused of having a devil, and that he cast out devils by
the power of Beelzebub. Oh, what wrong ideas men have of the great work
of saving souls. What prejudices, what indifference, what neglect, what
lukewarmness have the true servants of Christ to encounter as they
earnestly toil in transplanting souls into the vineyard of the Lord.
The life of Christ on earth was a life of generous labor; and when
He called His disciples, He said, Follow me, and I will make you
fishers of men. Kempis, in his Imitation of Christ, says, by the
words of Christ we are taught to imitate His life and manner, if we
would be truly enlightened and be delivered from all blindness of
heart. Learn of me, said Jesus, as well as Come unto me. I have set
the Lord always before me, said David. What a glorious thing it is for
the servant of Christ to know that he is earnestly engaged in the work
of His Master. It is our labors of love that alone meets with the smile
and approbation of God, for He is cognizant of everything we try to
accomplish for His cause on earth. Oh, that we may say from the heart,
I must work the works of Him that sent me; the night cometh when no man
The trees of the Lord are full of sap, they are fat and flourishing.
We are all familiar with the work of blessed beneficence of Howard, the
great philanthropist, and Henry Martyn, the self-denying missionary. To
be a true Christian, then, requires a life of toil. For man goeth
forth unto the work and to his labor until the evening. How sweet,
then, is rest to the laboring man. When the harvest is gathered in. A
harvest of souls for Christ. Here am I, Lord, and the children which
thou hast given me. Paul said that I may so preach and labor that I may
present every one of you perfect before God. This is no mean toil. What
prayers. What watching. What toil. What tears. Ah! but at eventide it
shall be light. Strange language.
What a beautiful and touching description does Burns give, in his
Cottar's Saturday Night, of the sweet rest and joy that springs into
the soul when the weary work is over. He says:
The toil-worn cottar frae his labor goes,
This night his weekly moil is at an end,
Collects his spades, his mattocks and his hoes,
Hoping the morn in ease and rest to spend,
And weary o'er the moor his course does hameward bend.
The next stanza can be truly applied to our Elder in his Christian
The parent pair their secret homage pay,
And proffer up to heaven the warm request,
That He who stills the raven's clamorous nest,
And decks the lily fair in flowery pride,
Would in His way His Wisdom see the best,
For them and for their little ones provide,
But chiefly in their hearts with grace Divine reside.
I think this is the most descriptive, and true, and touching scene
of a Christian man's experience that can be found in any language.
Burns knew how to touch the tender chord of a human heart. An honest
man's the noblest work of God. They rest from their labor and their
works do follow them.
Paul, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, says, Beloved, we are
persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation,
though we thus speak: For God is not unrighteous to forget your work,
and the love which He showed unto His name.
Listen, then, to this sweet, silent voice calling us to go and do
Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? It is to a life of toil, not of
indolence, we are called. The fields are white already, unto harvest.
Who will bear the sheaves away? Who among our young men in this
congregation will take the place of Elder Knowles? Can you be engaged
in a grander or nobler work? He that winneth souls is wise. Is there
any purer pleasure in this world than the joy that is experienced in
the heart when souls are converted to God? Oh, young men, deeply
meditate on that precious passage. He that converteth a sinner from the
error of his ways, doth save a soul from death, and doth hide a
multitude of sins. Are not the opportunities great in this city for
doing good? Is not the wickedness great? Are not souls perishing around
you for lack of knowledge? Resolve, from this day, that, God helping
you, you will dedicate all your powers of heart, soul, and strength to
the blessed service of Christ. You are not your own. You have been
saved, that you may save others by pulling them out of the fire. Haste
then, haste to the rescue. Souls may perish, and go down to hell, while
you are deliberating.
I remember, years ago, while coming into New York Harbor, we lost a
very promising young man overboard. The life-boat was launched, and the
life-buoy was cut adrift. But through some delay, the young man
perished. What a tremendous disappointment those parents experienced as
they stepped on board the frigate at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and
learned that their darling boy had found a watery grave.
I never think of the above sad occurrence but I am forcibly reminded
that through the delays and sad neglect of Christian parents and
Sabbath-school teachers, many young persons perish, and I inquire, Who
is responsible for their destruction? Many ask the question that Cain
impudently put to the Lord, Am I my brother's keeper? We can be
guilty of other men's sins. This is a mysterious fact, but it is
nevertheless true. If you are an idler in the Master's vineyard, you
are, to a certain extent, responsible. Oh, that the Holy Spirit would
show us our duty to our fellow-men.
Our departed brother realized this truth. Just look at a man
seventy-five years old, occupied every Lord's Day teaching a large
class of youth in the Sabbath-school. But you must remember that for
six days in the week he nobly toiled as a printer, from eight in the
morning until six at night. And he seldom missed the prayer-meeting, or
other gatherings of the Church. He was, indeed, a worker that needeth
not to be ashamed.
In the absence of the pastor he frequently led the prayer-meeting,
and his expositions of the chapter read as the lesson of the night were
very scriptural, cheering, and full of encouragement.
He was familiarly acquainted with the Word of God, and his prayers
were earnest, solemn, and to the point, because his soul was surcharged
with Divine truth.
It is no wonder, then, that everybody loved himhis young men in
the various Bible-classes especially. Eternity alone will reveal the
amount of good he accomplished by his kind, gentle, meek, cheerful, and
Servant of Christ, well done; you rest from your labor, and your
works do follow you.
Let us look at his work as a ruling Elder of the Church of Christ.
Paul, in writing to Timothy, says: Let the elders that rule well,
be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the
word and doctrine (1 Timothy v. 17). An elder is one who rules the
house of God. They are, therefore, the magistrates of the Church. They
are to administer the laws of His holy sanctuary. How great and
important this work. Who is sufficient for these things? The pastor, in
apostolic times, was called an elder. But as an under-shepherd his
labors are greatly assisted and augmented by the hearty co-operation of
a judicious selection of men filled with the spirit of God, and duly
ordained for their work. Men who recognize among their fellows no moral
superiority, but that spiritually-mindedness that flows from prayer and
the study of God's Word. Their work is immortal. Their duties are
great. But their peculiar privileges are greaterto rule well the
House of God.
It is, certainly, a sad sight to see men filling this sacred office
without the requisite qualifications. The negotiations between man and
man are so stupendous, that it is not every member of the Church who is
fitted for this responsible work. We ought to study adaptation in the
selection and ordination of ruling them.
Every time I looked in the face of Elder Knowles, I was deeply
impressed with the thought that no blunder had been committed when he
was chosen and set apart in this line of Apostolic toil. For he was a
good soldier of Jesus Christ.
He knew full well how to rule his own spirit, and he that can do
that is more mighty than he who taketh a city. Self must be slain by
the sword of the spirit, if we would lead the army of the Lord on to
victory. Hence the solemn injunction of Paul: I charge thee before
God, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without
preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.... Lay
hands suddenly on no man (1 Timothy, v. 21-22).
We commend, for attentive perusal and prayerful reflection, the
qualification of an elder, as laid down by Paul, and elaborated by the
holy McCheyne, strictly germane to the life of Elder James Knowles.
They are fundamental requisites. The good McCheyne, of St. Peter's,
Dundee, says: I feel, brethren, that a minister alone is incapable of
ruling the House of God well. If a minister is to thrive in his own
soul, he must be half of his time on his knees; and therefore,
if Christ's house is to be ruled well, there must not only be pastors,
but there must be ruling elders.
The first qualification is grace. Grace in the heart. If it be a
qualification in a church member that he should have grace, then much
more ought it to be a qualification in one who rules the Church of God.
How is it possible for him to admit any to the Lord's table, when he is
but a judge himself? How is it possible to excommunicate, when he
ought to be excommunicated himself? So, brethren, a graceless elder is
a curse instead of a blessing.
We can safely say our dear departed elder had grace. This was
remarkably developed in his Christian character. Patience found a
permanent home in his heart. It occupied a significantly prominent
place there, and was strenuously cultivated. It was copied and
commented upon by all who knew him, and uniformly evoked universal
favor and approval by the various ministers and sessions of the
different Presbyterian churches in this city, in which he was an elder.
He had many trials, and we think he could say with Paul, in his
letter to the Church at Rome: We glory in tribulation, also knowing
that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience.
It seems they had some little misunderstanding in the session of one
of the churches to which he (our elder) formerly belonged. And some
remark made by the elder to the pastor was so cutting, that the
minister said unless the elder would take back what he said, that next
Sabbath he would tender his resignation to the congregation.
The elder replied that he would not take it back for him. To
preserve harmony, and be a peacemaker, Elder Knowles stepped up to his
brother in the session, and asked him if he would not take it back for
his sake, and the sake of the blessed Jesus. At this, the elder said,
with tears in his eyes, Yes, James, for your sake, I will take it
back. Perhaps the minister was partly to blame, and also the elder,
but by having the grace of patience, not only was a reconciliation
brought about, the pastor was retained, and permitted to resume his
work, and precious souls were added to the Church. Oh, how much trouble
and scandal might be averted in some of the churches if our elders and
deacons and church members would only strive to cultivate the grace of
We have great need of this grace in our hearts, as we work for the
Master. May the Holy Spirit work it in us, for, as Paul says: Ye have
need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might
receive the promise (Heb. x. 36).
The life of a ruling elder in the Church, and in the world, is like
the erection of a beautiful building. Great patience is requisite, in
order to bring it to a successful completion. So, as a wise master
buildeth for eternity, we most build the structure of Christian
character upon the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ, Himself, being
the chief corner-stone. What a model of patience is Jesus. What
difficulties He encountered. What trials clustered around Him. What
provocations he meekly endured. All through His life, and even amid His
unutterable agonies on the Cross on Mount Calvary, when His body was
shedding the last drop of blood to seal the mysterious work of
redemption, even then, amid mockings and scoffings, and tortures, the
sacred lips of the Crucified Christ uttered this prayer for his
enemies, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke
The dear Master considered this prayer essential before He could
conscientiously exclaim, Consummatum estIt is consummated, or
finished. Our dear elder was like his Lord in this respect. He could
say, with Newton,
Christ's way was much rougher and darker than mine,
Did Christ, my Lord, suffer, and shall I repine?
Again, another qualification in a ruling elder is wisdom. Be ye
wise as serpents, said Jesus, and harmless as doves. Are all these
professing Christians wise? Are all elders wise? Are all ministers
wise? Dr. Bonar says:
Be wise and use thy wisdom well.
Be what thou seemest. Live thy creed;
Be what thou prayest to be made.
Lift o'er the earth the torch Divine,
Let the great Master's steps be thine.
Blessed words these. Who can read them without thanking God for such
words and such men, that our kind Father above raises up to instruct us
in these things that pertain to our everlasting well-being? For all
well-being is the result of well-doing in time and in eternity.
Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge among you, let him
show, out of a good conversation, his works with meekness of wisdom.
This meekness of wisdom Elder Knowles preeminently possessed. The
psalmist says, concerning such: The meek shall inherit the land. And
shall delight themselves in abundance of peace. Strike, said Diogenes,
to his instructor, Antichenes, the philosopher; but you will find no
staff so hard that it will drive me away from your school. I love you,
and I have made up my mind to suffer anything for the sake of
learning. This yearning desire on the part of the true elder after
fitness for his office, ought to be willing to bear reproach for the
sake of Him who died, that we might live. There is great wisdom
displayed in bearing the Cross meekly for Jesus. If we suffer with Him,
we shall also reign with Him.
It is a blessed thing to suffer in love for Christ. To bear
injustice and conquer. Herein is consummate wisdom displayed. If ye
have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not
against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is
earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envy and strife is, there is
confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is
first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of
mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy
(James iii. 14-17).
But the wisdom of the elder now lying before us in the coffin was
displayed not only in his meekness, but in his gentleness of
His wife used to say, Why, he is just like a child. So gentle and
peaceable. So easily intreated. I remember quoting that hymn at the
I want to be like Jesus,
Meek, lowly, loving, mild;
I want to be like Jesus
The Father's holy child.
And at the close of the meeting he shook me warmly by the hand, and
the sentiment in the stanza seemed to give him unspeakable pleasure.
Once more, another qualification for the eldership that our deceased
brother possessed, was, that he had a good report from without.
(See 1 Timothy, iii. 7.) Our dearly beloved was not only highly
esteemed for his work's sake by the members of the churches and the
various pastors, as their letters in this volume testify, but his walk
and conversation was such in the outside world, that his
fellow-workmen, and those who lived in the same house with him, and had
opportunity to know him, learned to revere and love him. You know the
eyes of the world are constantly watching the Christian. I notice on
the casket to-day a lovely bouquet of flowers, and I read on the card:
Presented to James Knowles, by the printers where he was for years
This is, certainly, a token of esteem to the memory of him with whom
they were long so affectionately associated.
In every professional life there are daily occurrences that try
men's tempers. But by the grace of God, our brother was enabled to
adorn the doctrine of God, our Saviour, and to live unspotted from the
world. As all elders have to mingle more with the world than a
minister, how essential it is that the outside world should see that
their walk and conversation be as becometh the Gospel of Christ.
Again: another qualification of an elder, is, that he should be a
prayerful man. Our brother had all through life cultivated a
spirit of prayer. This is the Christian's vital breath. It was his
habit to shut himself up in his room, and pour out his soul in earnest
supplication to God. He prayed in his family, as well as in the church.
He had secret prayer. And thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy
closet? said Jesus. Oh, the power of prayer is marvellous. He prayed
audibly. And his wife used to say of him: He pleads with God as one
pleading for his life.
When he became so weak that he was unable longer to testify for
Christ on his death-bed, his loved ones bending over him, and putting
their ears down to his lips to catch his last articulations, they heard
him praying, not for himself, but for Allen Street Presbyterian Church
and its minister.
Lastly, an elder ought to cultivate the habit of systematic
beneficence for the support of the Gospel. This, our brother was
constantly in the habit of doing. He remembered the injunction, It is
more blessed to give than to receive. It is worthy of observation
that, during the three years during which his son was out in the late
war, he paid monthly the pew rent for his boy during his absence, until
at last his pastor would not allow him to do it longer.
Oh, that all of our office-bearers and church members would feel it
their duty to give largely and in a worshipful spirit to the cause of
their Redeemer, as the Lord has prospered them.
Blessed are such dead who die in the Lord; they rest from their
labors, and their works do follow them.
Man cannot cover what God can reveal. Says the poet Campbell:
'Tis the sunset of life gives me mystical lore,
And coming events cast their shadows before.
Their works do follow them. Where? On to the judgment. Where selfish
ambition and avarice will be exposed in its true light. Where man's
inhumanity to man will be thoroughly scrutinized. For the books will
be opened, and we will be judged according to our works.
In that great and awful day when the great white throne is erected,
and when the heavens shall be removed as a scroll, when it is rolled
up; and every mountain and island shall be removed out of their places.
And the kings of the earth, and the princes, and the chief captains,
and the rich, and the strong, shall hide themselves in the caves and in
the rocks of the mountains; and they shall say to the mountains and the
rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him who sitteth on the
throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of His wrath
is come: and who is able to stand?
Oh, let us remember that now broken hearts can be healed by the
power of the Gospel of Christ. Their works do follow them. Yonder? Yes!
Here? Yes! The salutary influence for good by the consistent life of
our elder can never be lost or forgotten.
We lay our brother's body to-day in Cypress Hills Cemetery, but his
spirit hovers o'er us.
This tenement of dust is empty, but Jesus says: I am the
resurrection and the life.
We have deep feelings to-day, for we realize that we have lost a
friend. No more. God bless you, my brother, in your work. No more
shall we see you at the prayer-meeting. Farewell, dear elder and
co-worker. We say farewell but not forever. We shall meet beyond the
And God grant
That we may stand before the throne,
When earth and seas are fled;
And hear the Judge pronounce our name,
With blessings on our head.
God's voice, by this solemn dispensation of His providence, speaks
loudly to us all. May our faith in God be greatly strengthened. May our
love for perishing souls be made more deeper and stronger. May
God help us to go out into the streets and lanes of this wicked city,
and constrain them to come in, that His house may be full.
And God grant that this deep affliction which this church has
sustained may be the means, in the hands of the Spirit, of constraining
us to have more earnest and believing prayer, for the manifestation of
His power to save unto the uttermost. That Jesus may see, of the
travail of His soul, and be abundantly satisfied.
To the bereaved son and daughters, and grandchildren, who are left
behind, let me affectionately commend you to the unchanging love of Him
who sympathized with the sorrowing sisters of Bethany. Put all your
trust in His dear name. Serve Him from day to day, by reading His
blessed Bible, and holding sweet communion with Him, by prayer and
supplication, that at last when God shall call for you to leave this
stage of action, you may go to meet your dear ones in the happy home
above, and sit with them at the marriage supper of the Lamb.AMEN.
CHAPTER VI. A BRIEF HISTORICAL SKETCH
OF THE ALLEN STREET PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH.
How lovely is thy dwelling-place,
O Lord of hosts to me,
The tabernacles of thy grace,
How pleasant, Lord, they be.
Glorious things of thee are spoken, O city of God. This saying can
be emphatically applied to the above church, for the living truths
proclaimed from her pulpit have saved and sanctified many sons and
daughters, and clad in the beauteous garments of Prince Immanuel, have
gone forth to other churches and to other lands, to lead thousands to
the same Saviour that they had found.
Let us glance at its origin.
While Christ is the head of the Church, the tried corner-stone elect
and precious, yet his members are the living stones, and have built up
a spiritual house unto the Lord. The portion of Zion to which we have
reference, originated on the corner of Catharine Street, near Madison
Street. It was duly organized on Wednesday, May 28, 1819.
The seal of the church is an open Bible, and the words Holy Bible
upon it, with the inscription surrounding it: Allen Street
The location of the place of worship was changed to Allen Street in
The Rev. Ward Stafford was appointed by the New York Female
Missionary Society, who nobly toiled, and was succeeded by the Rev.
William Gray. During the first year of its history, twenty-one members
were added to the church-roll, and as an expression of her unfeigned
gratitude to God for this mark of kindness she became the mother of the
same number of ministers of the Gospel, who were called and
commissioned, and who have courageously proclaimed the unsearchable
riches of Christ, in distant parts of the country. Among them was the
present pastor of the Church of Sea and Land, Rev. Dr. Hopper. It is
worthy of observation that this church has been able to pay its running
expenses by voluntary contributions.
In a historical discourse delivered by Rev. George O. Phelps, he
It is a source of untold satisfaction in this day of presumptuous
spires or burdensome church debts, that the Allen Street Presbyterian
Church has no such encumbrancenot one dollar of mortgage rests upon
it; that at the close of each fiscal year, by means of the voluntary
system, and the kindly aid of friends interested in the prosperity of
the church, and the maintenance of the preached word in this part of
the city, all obligations are fully discharged.
For this, we most heartily thank our God to-day, whose favor is
True as it is, that this church can be regarded at no period as
among the affluentas there are those to-day who expend more for
church music than our entire congregational expenses, so there have
ever been those who could drop into the treasury of a single board, in
a single year, more than all our contributions to benevolent objects
during fifty years, we hope it may be equally true that we have been
most definitely, spiritually pronounced.
Whatever may be said of her ecclesiastical loyalty, the evidences
are numerous of fervent loyalty to Christ, in doctrine, in the word
preached, in influence exerted, in means used for the extension of His
kingdom, and of consequent fidelity to man touching questions of social
and of national importance.
A not unimportant element of influence and success, next to a
becoming spirituality, is the social-religious element. This is
proverbial of the Allen Street Church.
Not to refer to the regular weekly prayer-meeting in this connection
would do great violence to a complete record as well as harm to many a
saint in Israel. For years this meeting has been a great power in
Christian life and work. Hundreds maybe said to date their first
serious impression, and very many their conversion, to the scenes of
that hour and place; and how perennial its influence, and refreshing
upon the host of God's people.
Among the most prominent pastors of this church, we may mention the
Rev. Henry White, D.D., regularly installed March, 1829. He resigned
March 9, 1837, and became the first Professor of Systematic Theology in
the Union Theological Seminary, New York City. He died August 25, 1850,
aged fifty years. A man of decided character.
Rev. George B. Cheever, D.D., was installed October 10, 1839, and
was dismissed April 24, 1844. He afterward became the pastor of the
Church of the Puritans on Union Square. He now resides at Englewood,
N.J., a man of vast resources, both personal and acquired, eloquent and
effective in address, in views extremely radical.
Rev. David Benton Coe, D.D., was installed October 14, 1844. He was
dismissed May 13, 1849. He became one of the secretaries of the
American Home Missionary Society. He was of a retiring habit, scholarly
attainment, instructive as a preacher, and devoted and sympathizing as
Rev. Dr. Newell was installed February 8, 1860. His pastorate ceased
February 2, 1874, being the longest pastorate of the church, embracing
one quarter of its history.
In this brother the pastor and the evangelist were happily united.
Of deep sympathies, ardent in faith, Christ crucified became the one
theme of his ministry. He was second to none in religious zeal, and
untiring in effort.
Each succeeding ministry has not been wanting in the evidences of
the Spirit, in which the being of the church seems to have been cast.
The pastorate of Mr. Lucas, for example, deserves more than a
passing notice. It was marked by two interesting works of grace: one
soon after his coming to the field (1855), and that of 1858. During
these seasons not a few of the best friends of Allen Street were
brought to Christ.
Not all were equally favored, however, with beholding what men too
often regard exclusively as signs of success. In illustration of this,
it is enough to suggest that the loss experienced yearly during a large
period of her history has by no means been supplied through additions
by letter. This source of gain alone would not have spared her the
extinction which early threatened the church through removals. On the
contrary, as previously observed, the balance has been favorable
through all these years of depletiona monument to the grace of God in
no general sense.
Perhaps it may not be disparaging to say that the revival
period of the church is embraced in the pastorate of Dr. Newell, the
fourteen years of which were distinguished for their revival spirit. I
think it may be truthfully said, that he would have deemed his own
ministry a miserable failure in the absence of revival seasons.
With two exceptions each year of his ministry was marked with
ingathering. A large proportion of those now worshipping here were
brought to the Saviour within these years; while many others are known
to be justifying the spirit of their birthplace in other communions.
The most powerful work of grace, in many respects, occurred in the
winter of 1866-67.
On March 24, 1867, one hundred and fifty-four subjects of that work
publicly professed faith in Christ; upward of two hundred joined the
church during the year.
The following notice is taken from the New York Evangelist
soon after, the editor of which was present:
A goodly sight, indeed, and worthy the words of hearty welcome
uttered by the pastor. As he led the congregation in the song,
'There are angels hovering round,' the house seemed to be full
heavenly influence. There were a large number of baptisms.
visible emotion as the symbol of purity was lifted to the brow
lady in deep mourning. Her husband (Mr. George Betts) had been
elder of the church twenty-eight years. It was his constant cry
God that he might not die until his wife became a Christian.
weeks before he had heard her examined and received by the
On his way from church he was struck with paralysis, and died.
He adds: I have never seen a better appearing multitude stand in
any church. The sexes were about equally divided.
These seasons, said the pastor, in his farewell discourse, have
not been the result of accident. They were thoroughly planned and
provided for, and sought of the Lord. We have found that appropriate
means was wisdom, that persistent concentration was power; that
enthusiasm for souls was force; and that belief in God was success.
A complete history of that one revival would occupy a volume. It was
deep, wide-spread, and confined to no particular class. The official
capacity of the church recently has been largely exercised by men
converted at that time. Men holding trusts in the Society to-day were
without hope previous to that work.
It is gratifying to record the continuance of the gracious favor,
that this last year of the century, the fifty-seventh of our existence,
should be crowned with still another work of gracegradual in
inception, first indicated by increasing interest in the ministration
of the Word, in the absence of special means, only finding in the Week
of Prayer an occasion for decided developmentcontinuing with
deepening and widening interest, until attention was necessarily
divided between this and a more general work in connection with the
coming of Messrs. Moody and Sankey to our city. As visible proof of
this quiet work, fifty-seven have been added to the churchforty-six
making profession of their faith on March 12th, of all agesyouth from
the Sabbath-schools, adults, and several heads of families.
A church of such continuous revival record ought, indeed, to raise
her Ebenezer to-day. While as patriots we fling out our Centennial
Banners, let us, as subjects of the Lord Jesus Christ, set up a
memorial to the praise of His boundless, matchless grace.
During the ministry of the Rev. George O. Phelps, the blessing of
the Lord attended his untiring and loving labors.
We cannot omit mentioning here the kindness of the Rev. Dr.
Nathaniel Conkling, who cheerfully supplied the pulpit for eighteen
months without any remuneration; and during this time the pastor's
study was neatly furnished, and the church property renovated. Also a
number of young persons were led to Christ and united with the church;
some of these young men are to-day actively engaged in the Lord's work
in the lower part of the city, at the Church, and in connection with
the Young Men's Institute, on the Bowery.
It only remains for me to speak of the Sabbath-schools connected
with this church.
Imperfect, indeed, would be this narrative, without a record of this
department of Christian work.
Mr. Samuel Kennedy was its first superintendent, which office he
held for twenty-three years. He was a man of great kindness of heart,
strict in discipline, and devoted to the interest of youth.
The present superintendent is Martin Ralph.
The following named gentlemen have held the office of Superintendent
in regular succession: John D. Camp, Benjamin N. Goldsmith, Daniel O.
Caulkins, Amos P. Hawley, Lewis S. Benedict, Mahlon T. Hewitt, William
C. Bradley, H. C. Southworth, Joseph W. Lester, Edward P. Tibballs, H.
G. Fraser, and G. A. Koos.
There is also related to this church a Mission-school, superintended
by one of its eldersMr. J. H. Owensknown as the Ludlow Street
Mission Sabbath School, at present occupying the public school
building on Ludlow Street, between Rivington and Delancey.
The superintendents are tireless in exertion, and fully devoted to
its interest, encouraged by a zealous band of officers and teachers,
the influence of whose work upon the children and the families they
represent in that locality, eternity alone can tell.
Next to Elder Knowles, as the ruling elder, we might mention the
name of Joseph W. Lester, of whom it may be said that he endeared
himself, by an unusual force of character, to a large acquaintance,
best known in connection with the Allen Street Church, but a pillar of
strength to every good work throughout the city; of strict integrity, a
judicious adviser, largely benevolent, prompt to act, of wonderful
energy, reliable everywhere, zealous to win souls, esteemed for his
business qualities, and a true patriot.
But amid all the changes to which both the church and school have
ever been subject, there remains one, who, as a dutiful son, and an apt
scholar, took his place forty-seven years ago; so now his fidelity and
constancy are no marvel, since, with the Psalmist, he is a door-keeper
in the House of the Lord, and like John the Baptist, An unshaken
* * * * * *
COMMENTS OF THE PRESS ON THE REMOVAL OF THE CHURCH.
The New York Times, of Monday, May 9, 1887, gives a brief
account of the origin of the church:
The Allen Street Presbyterian Church had its beginning in
Street, then Bancker, in 1816. A missionary society in 1817
wooden structure at a cost of a little over two thousand
near the corner of Catharine Street. The society was
as the Mission Church in the City of New York, and that title
never been changed, except by common usage. In 1823 an edifice
erected at a cost of about three thousand dollars. For years
church did not prosper, and was on the point of selling its
property, when the Rev. Absalom Peters offered to act as Pastor
a time without salary. He pulled the society through its
The present building was erected in 1833 at a cost of twenty
thousand dollars. Since then the church has been humbly
For the present, until a site is secured, the congregation will
worship in the Church of the Sea and Land, in Market Street.
On the same date, under the heading of After Fifty-four Years, and
The Last Services in the Old Allen Street Church, the same paper
Another of New York's old churches will soon be torn down.
Yesterday the last services were held in the Allen Street
Presbyterian Church, near Grand Street. For many years the
has been a sort of half-way house between up and down town, and
congregation has been an ever-changing one. It has never been a
large nor a rich church, although it has had among its members
who are to-day wealthy, and its total membership, since its
organization, is much greater than that of many a larger
The last services were made interesting, not only by the
of nearly all the present members, but of members of twenty and
twenty-five years ago, who came from churches further up town
from Brooklyn. In the afternoon there was a union service of
church, Sunday-school, and the Ludlow Street Mission. Later the
young people held a prayer-meeting, and in the evening reunion
services were held. The pastor, the Rev. D. McNeill Young, read
letters from many former members who had left New York, all
regretting the necessity for demolishing the old building. The
reading of the letters was interrupted by the puffing and
the elevated trains directly in front of the doorone of the
principal causes of a change of locationthat made more
the fact that, though sentiment might desire to save the
could never again be a pleasant place of worship. After the
were read familiar hymns were sung, and, without any formality,
older members and their former associates gave reminiscences of
early days of their church.
As a proof of its spiritual power not less than fourteen hundred
and forty-three persons have been connected with it in the service
of the Master, the number of active members at the time of changing
location being five hundred and sixty three, showing that though
old in years it still retains its usefulness.
The New York Evangelist of April 21, 1887, under the heading
of Another Land-mark to be Obliterated, says:
The old Allen Street Presbyterian Church building, where God's
people have continued to battle against sin and Satan for some
sixty-four years, has at last yielded to the pressure of the
advancing tide of business on Grand Street, and been sold. The
present expectation of the Church is to remain in the
and it is hoped that a more desirable location may be obtained,
a building, suited to the times and the needs of the people,
thereon. Farewell services will begin on Friday evening, May
with the preparatory lecture, to be followed by an earnest
prayer for the divine blessing on the exodus. On Sabbath, May
the farewell communion service will be held at 11 A.M. A union
meeting of the Home and Ludlow Street Sabbath-schools will be
in the main audience room of the church building at 2 P.M. The
exercises of the Young People's Prayer and Conference Meeting
take place at seven o'clock, followed by the closing farewell
service in the Church at 7.45 P.M. Then the last good-by will
said in the dear old home which has been the spiritual
of many, many precious souls. It is earnestly hoped that these
services will bring together many who can tell of former
times from the presence of the Lord, and of hallowed
within the sacred walls of the old Allen Street Church. It is
expected that some of the former pastors will be present to add
interest to the occasion. It is well understood that this
church property has been purchased by Messrs. Ridley &Co. for
$75,000. They thus secure large additional space for their
mercantile business. It should, perhaps, be known that the
of the Elevated road, just in front, has greatly injured Old
Street, as it was popularly called, for all church purposes.
noise of the passing trains was very annoying, especially in
weather, when windows and doors were open. The sum realized
is hoped, enable the congregation to build elsewhere in the
The New York Daily Tribune, of the same date, thus comments
on the old church:
LEAVING THEIR OLD CHURCH HOME.
Yesterday the Allen Street Presbyterian Church held their last
service in their present home. The building has been sold to
Messrs. Ridley &Sons for mercantile purposes. The church moves
temporarily to Market Street, where they will worship with the
Church of the Sea and Land. There were the regular morning
services, followed by communion. The church was tastefully
decorated with flowers, the gift of the Bethany Society of the
Church, in commemoration of their last services. On May 28,
the church was organized, although the building had been
on October 25, 1817. This building was in Madison Street, and
it became too small they moved to their present place in 1834.
In the afternoon the home Sunday-school and the Mission school
Ludlow Street held a reunion in the home church. The programme
the afternoon and evening consisted of short addresses and
It was a reunion of old members and new, of old pastors and
of old officers and those whom they were accustomed to oversee.
Rev. N. D. Conkling, assisted the pastor, the Rev. D. M. Young
the services, preaching the morning sermon. There were twelve
persons received into the church on profession of faith.
RESOLUTIONS OF THE ALLEN STREET CHURCH.
NEW YORK, March 2, 1887.
Whereas, It has pleased Almighty God, our kind and
heavenly Father, in the solemn dispensations of His providence
remove from our midst by death, our dear and highly esteemed
and brother, Elder James Knowles, and his wife, Matilda
the Allen Street Presbyterian Church; and
Whereas, It becomes us not only as brethren in Christ,
but as a
Session of said church, to express our hearty appreciation of
work in and worth to the cause of Christianity, which they so
loved; and while we bow in humble submission to the Divine
nevertheless we strongly realize that, as co-workers together
them in the Master's vineyard, we have sustained a severe and
irreparable loss by this sad bereavement;
Therefore be it Resolved, That as a Session now
assembled, we do
hereby tender our heartfelt sympathy and sorrow to the bereaved
family in their great grief; and we do earnestly and sincerely
commend them to God and the Word of His grace, that is able to
them from falling, and to give them an abundant entrance into
everlasting kingdom; and be it further
Resolved, That the Clerk of Session be requested to enter
resolutions on the records of the church, and that a copy be
immediately forwarded to the family of the deceased.
DUNCAN M. YOUNG, Pastor.
J. H. ALLEN, M.D.,
J. M. MORRISON,
J. R. BATTY,
JEROME H. OWENS,
Clerk of Session.
[Illustration: MATILDA KNOWLES]
BEING THE RECORD OF A CONSECRATED MISSIONARY
WOMAN'S WORK FOR OVER A QUARTER OF A CENTURY
IN THE TENTH WARD OF NEW YORK CITY.
She hath done what she could.
CHAPTER VII. BRIEF MEMOIR OF MATILDA
They walk with God whom none can shame
From trusting in His holy name;
Who looking for a glorious morn,
Shrink not before the lip of scorn.
The subject of this memoir was born in Tichon, near Ballymena,
County Antrim, in the north of Ireland, March 22, 1811. Her ancestors
fled from Scotland during the dark days of persecution, when the
minister's home was the mountain and flood. Little can be gleaned of
her early history. Her mother died when she was six years old, leaving
a sister older than herself, and a brother, a baby eight months old.
Her father died shortly after her mother. When she was only eight years
old, she went to the corner of the house, and asked the Lord to be a
father and a mother to her. She was ultimately taken to her uncle's, at
which place she resided until she came to America.
During her stay with him, she became acquainted with a young girl,
who told her of the love of Jesus, and shortly before her death, she
would frequently say how good God was to her, in bringing her in
contact with her friend, who early told her of the life of the Saviour,
and His never-dying love. At the same place, being filled with those
desires, and having those Christian principles instilled into her
heart, and not having conveniences to study and pray in the house, she
would repair to the barn, to attend to her devotional duties,
experiencing the truthfulness of God's Word, They that seek me early
shall find me. At this time she committed to memory the Psalms, and
the Book of Proverbs, and several passages of the New Testament.
It seems that certain influences were brought to bear upon her, for
the purpose of getting her settled in life, contrary to her own wishes;
but the party so chosen was without Christian character, and although
every inducement was offered, so far as wealth was concerned, she
remembered the injunction of the Scriptures, Be ye not unequally yoked
to unbelievers, and like Moses, who refused to be called the son of
Pharaoh's daughter, but chose rather to suffer affliction, penury, and
loss with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a
season, she declined to enter into the proposed matrimonial connection.
And then she decided to emigrate to the United States, friendless and
In 1833the time of the great cholera epidemic in this countryshe
was left by herself, in a house where all its occupants had fled
through fear. Trusting in the God of Israel for protection, she
experienced the full force of those sublime words of King David: He
that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under
the shadow of the Almighty. He shall cover thee with His feathers, and
under His wings shalt thou trust. Thou shalt not be afraid for the
terror by night, nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the
pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that
wasteth at noon-day. On arriving in New York, she immediately
connected herself in church fellowship with the Canal Street
Presbyterian Church, under the ministry of the Rev. Dr. McCarthy, and
became a Sabbath-school teacher. Some of the first impressions made on
her mind by her pastor were continually repeated, even up to the hour
of her death.
In one address, delivered to young people, he begged them not to
allow Satan to get even his little finger in, for he generally
commenced with little sins, and by and by he would get his two fingers
in, and then his whole hand, and twist you around as he chose, instead
of allowing you to obey the commands of God.
Shortly after she landed in this country she was invited by an
acquaintance to go to Brooklyn, to church. She consented, and attended
the service; but, on her return, while stepping off the ferry-boat, she
slipped, and fell into the river, and narrowly escaped drowning. She
resolved, by God's grace, that she would never put her foot on a
ferry-boat on the Sabbath again, while she lived, which vow she kept to
the close of her life.
It was her usual custom on the street, if she heard any person using
profane language, to reprove them, by saying, Don't dare take the name
of my Saviour in vain.
In the year 1839 she was married to Elder James Knowles, by the Rev.
Dr. McLeod, of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church, Prince's Street.
At this time she joined the above church, that she might be in full
fellowship at the same communion-table with her husband.
In her earnest endeavors to faithfully serve her Lord and Master,
she was sorely tried by a woman who lived in the same house with her.
And herein do we see the goodness of God, in imparting grace to her to
strenuously resist temptation. This woman did all in her power to lead
her astray by offering her strong drink. She would visit her frequently
after her husband had gone to his business, and bring the bottle and
glass. She determined to change her place of residence, and before her
husband returned home, she had engaged new apartments, and had her
furniture all removed. Even after her removal, the woman followed her
up, and became a tenant in the same house, and the same temptations
were renewed. She once more got up and moved out of the house, never
once yielding to the woman's persistent temptation.
In the summer of 1848 she met with a narrow escape in a burning
building. In trying to extinguish the flames, she was badly burned from
the points of her fingers up to her shoulders. In this house she
succeeded in getting some people to attend church; and at this time,
seeing some women ordained to go to India, she earnestly desired to be
in their place.
In 1860, when in her fiftieth year, she removed to the Tenth Ward,
the scene of her future labors. When her son William went to the war,
she was recommended by Mrs. Warren to Rev. Mr. Finney, who engaged her
as a Bible Reader and Visitor in the district.
In the spring of 1862, during the great fratricidal war, she started
a sewing-school in Rivington Street, which eventually merged into the
Harper and Fiske Industrial School in Ludlow Street, which met every
Saturday. Gathering together from seventy-five to one hundred children,
she taught them to sew, and endeavored to lead them to Him who said,
Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for
of such is the kingdom of heaven.
CHAPTER VIII. THE VALUE OF PRAYER.
Oh, teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart;
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.
Mrs. Knowles's life, throughout, was characterized by great
sincerity and steadfastness of purpose. As an evidence of it, I will
give a sketch of her experience and work from her own pen, illustrating
how the closing hours of her life were chiefly devoted to Gathering
Jewels for Christ, as the secret of a truly beautiful life.
In my field of labor I have met with much success and
encouragement, though, indeed, there are more cases very trying
painful to witness, but all difficulties can be encountered,
many overcome, by prayer. I feel more and more the blessedness
the privilege I enjoy in being permitted to labor for Christ in
salvation of so many poor souls, and in being the means of
so many who are sick, cast down, and discouraged. How many
who neglect the house of prayer from the contagion of bad
around them, and the want of a kind word of invitation, until
habit becomes fixed, and it needs urging to remind them of
duty? I often think of the words of Christ: 'Compel
them to come
in.' Yes, compulsion of the right kind is very needful, and
of interest and encouragement such a help. One poor woman whom
visited a short time since, told me her lot was the hardest in
worldthat she had seven children all out of Christ. I told
to be disheartened; that if she could say God was her God, she
say he was the God of her seed, and that Jesus had said:
ye shall ask in my name, believing, ye shall receive.' She
have hoped so long, but now I am discouraged.' I told her the
of St. Augustine said she had prayed for fourteen long years
son, and her friend said to her: 'I tell you the subject of so
long and earnest prayers cannot be lost.' And that son, of whom
was then in search, and whom she met a short time afterward,
then under deep conviction, and soon afterward brought to
and became an earnest and devoted minister; 'and you, my
need not be discouraged, for the same Spirit can work as
on the hearts of your children as on his.' I prayed with her,
left her begging me to pray for her; calling on her a few days
since, she met me with a cheerful countenance, and told me what
had said, together with reading the promise of an answer to
had greatly encouraged her, and that her eldest son, who was
most unruly of all, had accompanied her to church on the last
Sabbath, and she believed now the rest would be led to follow
example. I told her to doubt no longer, and with a word of
Here I will make a few comments on the above.
All difficulties can be encountered, and many overcome by prayer.
How true and weighty is this remark. Remembrance of this would guard
and govern aright the actions of Christians, and deliver them from all
unprofitable and injudicious murmurings. It suggests the only true
antidote for the ills of life. A pleasant path to tranquillity of mind
is prayer. Whether amid the crowded city or in the quiet hamlet, on
land or on sea, at home or abroad, no matter where we are, God's ear is
always open to the cry of His children. Prayer is the divinely
appointed means to the attainment of peace. It lifts the soul above the
cares and vicissitudes of life. Its effect is nearness to God. Earth's
sighs are numerous. The tears flow thick and fast. Tears of affright.
The enemy comes in like a flood, but the Lord lifts up a standard
against them all; and the blest remembrance of the promise, Cast thy
burden by prayer on the Lord, and He will sustain thee, imparts fresh
courage amid the conflict. The man who forgets to pray in the hour of
trial is like one who has lost his way on a dark, stormy night; he is,
indeed, a benighted traveller on a lonesome, dreary road. But let us
thank God that
From every stormy wind that blows,
From every swelling tide of woes,
There is a calm, a sure retreat;
'Tis found beneath the Mercy Seat.
I feel more and more the blessedness of the privilege I enjoy, in
being permitted to labor for Christ in the salvation of so many poor
souls.When we labor with an eye to the glory of God, and the
exaltation of the name of Jesus in the salvation of lost sinners, it
always imparts perpetual pleasure. It was for the joy that was set
before Jesus that He endured the Cross. Pure pleasure springs from the
motive of doing good. This was the standard from which Christ labored.
His compensation consisted in clarifying the natural and spiritual
vision of those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death. This is
the true explanation of His mysterious patience with those who
frequently repelled His teachings and doings, when they were attributed
to the power of the Prince of the Air. But the incarnate Son of God
fainted not in His work, until He exclaimed, It is finished. It is
even so with all faithful missionaries. They feel it to be an
unspeakable privilege to be co-workers with Christ; recognizing the
fact that it is not their work but God's, and while they acknowledge
their utter inability to save a single soul, yet, doubtless, their joy
and satisfaction in all their work springs from the sacred
consciousness that there is not only rejoicings and gladness of heart
experienced on earth, but joy in the presence of the angels of God
over one sinner that repenteth.
I often think of the words of Christ, Compel them to come in.
The scene is changed. From prayer in the closet, to kindly compulsion
in the lanes and streets of the city. Here the reader will find the
true secret of her beautiful life; namely, frequent reflection on the
words of Christ, relative to Christian work in the world. Go ye out
into the highways and lanes, etc. This is the only method by which we
can have communication with the souls of men and women who are
perishing for lack of knowledge. The question has often been asked by
the philanthropic men of the present day, How can we reach the masses?
How can we save the non-churchgoers? It is calculated that with a
population of almost a hundred thousand souls in the Tenth Ward alone,
of New York, only about one-fourth attend any place of worship. These
facts and figures are startling, but they are, nevertheless, true.
These precious souls, for whom Christ died, must be made the object of
our affection. Our knowledge of the spiritual destitution of the
down-town masses is strictly based upon our experience and observation.
And hence we say that a house to house visitation, systematically
arranged, constitutes one of the essential characteristics of
Christ-like work. He labored not only in the temple and the synagogue,
but in the market-place, and on the streets. His pulpit was the
stern-sheets of the ship, on the Sea of Galilee.
With a word of cheer left her.Think of the power of a kind
word. Amid all the busy scenes of life, is there no time for a cheerful
word? When the Chief Priests and Pharisees sought to lay hands on
Jesus, they feared the multitude because they took him for a prophet.
What rays of celestial sunshine sometimes stream into the soul of the
disheartened one when the missionary whispers, Put all your trust in
Jesus, and he will care for you. There is balm in Gilead, and there is
a physician there. Look at the power of a kind word uttered by the
Master. Are there no tumultuous fears allayed in the breast of those
two blind men as they sit by the wayside to Jerusalem? They cry, Have
mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David. Is there not a stupendous
wealth of kindness and potency portrayed in yon scene when Jesus stood
still and called them, and uttered those strange kind words: What will
ye that I should do unto you? How sad is the sight of a blind person!
How intensely dark their surroundings! How they excite our pity! How
many, alas! are blinded by sin, sickness, and sorrow. They say unto
him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. Jesus had compassion on them
and touched their eyes, and immediately their eyes received sight and
they followed him. Is there any wonder that the whole city was moved,
saying, Who is this? This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth, of
Galilee. Now the Saviour said, As the Father hath sent me, even so
send I you into the world. Kind Christian words contain the rich
unction of encouragement and inspiration to the sorrowful, heavy-laden
heart. So daughter, be of good cheer, thy sins, which are many, are all
CHAPTER IX. THE STORY OF WILLIAM THE
Oh, fill me with Thy fulness, Lord,
Until my very heart o'erflow
In kindling thought and glowing word,
Thy love to tell, Thy praise to show.
Our Missing Link, a journal devoted to missionary work, has
given many graphic recitals of the good work she accomplished in
numerous fields, but none of much livelier interest than the case of
WILLIAM AT ST. LUKE'S
William is a young Englishman. He came to this country eight years
ago. He is now about twenty-four. I first saw him some time last
winter. His sister, who lives with her family in our mission block, had
told me that she had a brother in New York, who was out of health and
out of employment, and was very unhappy in consequence.
I expressed my sympathy, but not knowing of anything that I could
do, asked no questions at the time. A few days after she came to say
that the brother referred to was in her room; that it had become
evident that he was in consumption. He would like to talk with me. I
was alone, and bade her invite him in. He came immediately. A tall,
thin young man, with a pleasant face and easy manners. I did not speak
to him very directly on religious subjects. I believe that I perceived
in this first interview that his views were not very clear. I
encouraged him gradually to tell me about his circumstances. His
confidence was easily won, and in the course of this and subsequent
interviews I learned that his only home was with an aged father, who
was himself out of work and in straitened circumstances. William's
clothing was too thin for the inclement weather we were then
encountering, and it was plain he could not have the nourishing food
his declining appetite required. The sister who first introduced him to
me was anxious about him, but her tenement was too small to accommodate
her own family, and her husband's wages hardly equal to the wants of
his own household. William's great desire was to procure employment. He
would work to the utmost of his failing strength if only he could get
work to do. I obtained from the Sick Relief Fund a few shillings' worth
of groceries per week for him; but employment, means to help himself,
was his one aspiration. I felt sure he was not able to work, but was
anxious, nevertheless, though in vain, to gratify his wish. One evening
I communicated to him a slight hope of an opening to some employment.
The increased brightness of his eye, the red spot on each cheek, and
his sleeplessness that night, proved that he was not able to bear even
the excitement of a sudden hope. Poor fellow! it was plain he would
never work much more.
I must mention here that William's constitution had received the
seeds of disease while at sea during the war. He ran away from home and
engaged in the revenue service. He also served in the army. He has
never been well since his return. His friends tell me that he has been
wild, not that he was immoral, to use their own expression. He had been
religiously trained in England, did nothing that the world would call
bad; but he was wayward, and the occasion to them of great anxiety and
As I said before, we did not talk much at first about religion, not
that he avoided the subject. He was very conscious of his own situation
as far as the uncertainty of his life was concerned, but he had
apparently no sense of sinfulness before God. Perhaps the reserve was
on my side. I think I never felt so much as in this case the utter
powerlessness of human influence to bring the soul to God. He spoke
calmly of death; but when I asked him what was the ground of his hope
beyond the grave, he replied:
I have never done any one harm; I have tried to live right.
I replied earnestly: Do not trust to any such refuge as that.
I then warned him against any hope not founded on Christ alone. He
acknowledged that what I said was true, and seemed for a moment
disturbed. I cannot recall another conversation in our earlier
acquaintance, in which I was able to speak with any earnestness, or in
which he seemed at all impressed. I could only pray: Lord, open his
eyes! It is very wonderful to me, on looking back, to see how God was
leading him all this time. Once he told me of a sermon which he had
heard months before, upon the text: Set thine house in order, for thou
shalt die, and not live. He had never been so impressed by a sermon;
he could not forget it.
Occasionally, I observed that his mind was well stored with the
Prayer Book version of the Psalms. Sometimes he would quote a petition,
telling me it had been specially upon his mind. Upon inquiry, I found
that at home in England, he had been a chorister boy at church. He has
since told me he used to sing the Psalms without any sense of their
meaning. Probably the words were never explained to him, or impressed
upon him in any way. It was a mere form of a church which confirmed its
members at fifteen years old, with very little cognizance of their
spiritual life. William, however, had not been confirmed. It would seem
from his subsequent life that the words he had chanted, from Sunday to
Sunday, had no effect on him, but now, in his last days, God was
bringing them home to his heart, over all the years of his
carelessness, and accomplishing that which he pleased. It has helped me
to believe that it is not in vain to store the mind of thoughtless
Sunday-school scholars with the Word of God, and that in the most
formal Christian Church the words of Scripture are not lost.
But all this time William's temporal wants were increasingly
pressing. His father had been obliged to sell their little stock of
furniture, and the house was broken up. One night his sister told me
that William had not so much as a place to sleep in. She took him in
with her own children for a few days. I recommended that he should go
into St. Luke's Hospital for a month. Perhaps the rest and nourishment
he would find there would enable him to get through the trying spring
weather, and in the summer he might be better. While this plan was
under consideration, William found that he could stay in the room that
his father had just quitted until the end of the month, which was half
gone. Still clinging to the hope of finding employment, he gave up the
hospital plan, while in his almost empty room was neither food nor
fuel. His sister did what she could. I applied to the Sick Relief
Society for some coal, which was immediately granted. All this time I
had not applied to my Superintendent, whose kind and ready sympathy
never fails me. The reason was, I have constantly on my heart and hands
so many cases of suffering that I cannot represent them all, and am
anxious to get through difficulties, as far as possible, without
unusual assistance. But in this case God's plans were above my reach.
One day Mrs. Knowles called at my room. While we were talking about
some mission business, there was a knock. It was William. I had an
instant sense that he had providentially called.
Come in, I said, and tell your story to my Superintendent. This
interview was the beginning of better times for poor William. Mrs.
Knowles immediately provided him with better clothing. I had only
succeeded in getting some flannel from the Society. Her kindness did
not stop here. In a few days she procured him a job of cutting wood.
A Difficulty.William did his first day's work with all the
energy his feeble strength would allow, but on being summoned to the
same place again, an unfortunate circumstance occurred. I think it
right to state the facts, because it shows how wonderfully God's grace
can overrule. He commenced his work as before, but his strength giving
out, he accepted an invitation from a lady in an adjoining house to
come in and rest. His delicate appearance enlisted sympathy. She had
had some conversation with him in his previous day's work, and was now
prepared to express the kindest feelings, especially as she herself had
lost a brother with consumption. Observing his exhausted state, she
brought forward a glass of whiskey, which she made him swallow,
strongly advising him to procure more and use it as a stimulant. The
lady's intention was only kind, but, unfortunately, William acted
indiscreetly upon the advice. Encouraged by the momentary relief
afforded by the exhilarating beverage, he did procure more. Whether it
was the same day or the next, I am not quite sure, but he went to his
sister's at last, sadly under the influence of liquor. His weak state,
the uncomfortable condition of his affairs, acting with the liquor upon
his brain, caused him for a day or two to behave in a very inconsistent
and unnatural manner. He seemed even to vary from his habitual
truthfulness. Much disgusted, his sister rebuked him sharply, declared
that she would tell me, and of course, the inference was that I should
tell Mrs. Knowles. But that good woman knew about it as soon as I did.
She was grieved and disappointed at what had occurred, but her uniform
kindness did not fail. It was evident he was no longer able to make any
exertion for himself, and she procured him admission into St. Luke's
He went, in the midst of these trying circumstances, not coming to
bid me good-by, and knowing that his sister was seriously displeased.
Poor William! disgraced, unhappy, and sick, he went to that bed which
was about to become to him as the gate of heaven. I went to see him as
soon as possible. I went, intending to talk over with him what had
passed, but found him so humble and so suffering that I had no heart to
make any allusion to it. We neither of us spoke directly upon the
subject. In fact, I said very little upon any subject, for as he lay
there with the tears upon his thin face, expressing brokenly his pain
and his penitence, I felt that God was teaching him, and taking hold of
the very lesson to show him his true character. He was now coming upon
a new ground never understood before.
The Blessed Change.Mrs. Knowles saw William before I went
to him a second time. She, too, forbore alluding to the unpleasant
circumstances, but she talked to him of our human sinfulness before
God, and our need of a Saviour. Some of his most interesting
conversations have since been with her. The second time I visited
William his bodily strength had greatly failed, but his face was
beautiful with a new light I had never seen there before.
I feel very differently now, he said, God has forgiven all my
He then went on to express his sense of his own unworthiness; not
that he had led a vicious life, but he felt he was a great sinner
before God. In the course of conversation I told him his sister had
inquired kindly about him; his eyes filled with tears, and he said:
Tell her I have been converted; I am very happy. The week before
Easter, when the Bishop visited the hospital to administer
confirmation, William was placed in a chair to receive the rite, and on
Easter Day partook of his first communion. It was a glorious day for
him. Mrs. Knowles visited him on that day.
A few days after, as I sat by his bedside, he was speaking, as he
always did now, of his sense of sinfulness, and his sense of pardon,
when I reminded him of the early conversation, before alluded to, in
which he had rested on his own moral character for acceptance with God.
Yes, he replied, I used to think so, but I have been all wrong.
Now I have no dependence but upon Jesus Christ.
A little before this, he had said to Mrs. Knowles: I never knew
that just trusting in Christ would give me such peace.
He has said repeatedly: This sickness is the best thing that has
ever happened to me. If it had not been for this, I should have gone on
William has never been accustomed to the common religious
phraseology. He is such a babe in such things, that his expressions are
sometimes strikingly artless. At one time I was speaking of his
sufferings, he looked up with a smile, and hesitating how to express
the thought in his mind, said:
I think it is out of his affections God afflicts us.
His sister had wept much when I delivered his message. As I returned
a kind reply from her, he said:
Tell her I pray for her and her family every day. Then, when after
a little conversation I had bidden him good-by, he called me back, and
Be sure and tell my sister I pray for her. He frequently said to
I pray for you everyday; and on saying this to Mrs. Knowles, he
added, at one time:
I speak your name to God when I pray.
When he says this with so much earnestness, we always feel that his
prayers are a rare treasure, since the helpless, self-renouncing
prayers are most prevalent in Christ. The tenderness with which William
speaks of his sister's family has sometimes touched me. There is
nothing like the peace of God to beget good will to man. Knowing that
the family had many trials with his sister's ill health and scanty
means, he often sends by me messages of sympathy. A few days since it
was suddenly discovered that their youngest child, two years old, and a
little pet of William's, was in danger of being crippled for life. This
new and unexpected sorrow filled the family with great distress. I
accompanied the father when the child was brought to St. Luke's for
examination. After the physician's opinion had been given, and
arrangements made for placing it in the Children's Ward, we went to see
William. The unexpected appearance of his brother-in-law, whom he had
not seen since coming to the hospital, affected him much. Indeed, the
interview was trying to both. I left them alone, and on my return
shortly afterward, found William still in tears. He was not so well
that morning, and grief for the child, and the sight of the brother
reviving the painful memory of their late alienation, was too much for
him; yet his peace was not greatly disturbed, for all alienation from
man, as from God, had been healed for him.
The Tried Word.I went to see the little child the next
morning, and then reported him to his uncle, whose first words were a
question, rather anxiously put, concerning the little one. Wishing to
set his mind at ease, I said:
Oh, it is all well with him. I just met him coming down, stairs
with a flock of children, and his hands full of bread and butter.
He gave a smile of quiet amusement, which showed the playfulness of
other days might yet be touched. I then went on to tell him the case
was not likely to prove as serious as we had feared, and suggested he
should get the nurse, when convenient, to bring the child in her arms
to his bedside. He was pleased with the idea; but presently the
conversation fell off from the subject. William's eyes wandered to the
texts of the Silent Comforter at the foot of his bed. With the air of
one who caught the sight of unutterable things, and has not much more
to do with the world:
See, said he, I have a good verse for this morning. He began to
read: Fear not, I am with thee.
Beginning to cough, I went on: When thou walkest through the
waters, they shall not overflow thee; and through the fire, thou shalt
not be burned. That is just right for you, William.
Yes, he replied, with his own peculiarly beautiful smile.
I notice, said I, that the very words of God are best for you.
You love the hymns, but, after all, God's own words are the safest to
Yes, he replied, I live upon those texts. When the nurse comes
in, in the morning, to turn the leaf over, I am eager.
I did not speak, but watched him as he lay, his longing eyes fixed
upon the words before him, with an absorbed and admiring gaze, as if
all else were forgotten. His soul was hanging its eternal destiny on
the words of God. A few days before this he had said to Mrs. Knowles:
You remember when we first talked of the Shepherd's Psalm, I said I
should be glad when I could say: 'When I walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, I will fear no evil' Now, he added, emphatically,
I can say it. I fear no evil, for thy rod and thy staff they comfort
His listener then went on to speak of the beautiful figure of the
rod and staff.
Sunshine and Shadow.God leads his little ones gently, the
Good Shepherd bears the lambs, that the enemy may not too much affright
them through the dark valley.
Is your peace never disturbed, William? I asked one day.
Not often, he answered. Sometimes there comes a cloudit is a
temptation, I suppose.
Yes, I said, Satan, perhaps, envies you. He knows that he will
never get your soul, but he will trouble you a little.
I suppose so, he replied thoughtfully.
Wishing to express to me his happiness in God, and not knowing quite
how to do so, he said:
It is like this, sometimesI feel like a boy let out from school;
I am so happy, I want to shout. At another time he said:
I have much communion. Then, as if to illustrate this, he
Last night, I awoke about two o'clock, and I was praying in my
Can you recall your prayer? I asked.
No, he said, but I was praying to God.
God is very good, William, to let you talk with him so in the
Yes, he answered; and then turning his face toward his pillow, he
said, in a low voice: Praise God!
And bless his holy name, I responded.
We were both silent for a few moments, and thenI think it was in
connection with this conversationI asked:
William, if you were to get well now, do you think you would try to
live to the glory of God?
Indeed, I would, he answered.
And bring others to know him? I asked.
Yes, he said again.
Well, William, I suppose you think that here upon this bed you
cannot do much; but I think you can glorify him here on this very bed.
Yes, he answered, a little doubtfully; then added: I try to pray
to him all the time.
I was half sorry for the suggestion, which seemed somewhat to
bewilder him, and said: That is all you can do, is it not?
And that is little enough, he replied sorrowfully.
I tried to make him understand that to receive much of God's grace
was the surest way to serve him.
What shall I render unto God for all his benefits? I will take the
cup of salvation, and call on the name of the Lord.
When I saw William the next morning, he said, immediately:
I did last night what you told me. I prayed for strength to glorify
I think, I answered, that you will do that if you lie here and
meekly suffer his will; and I must tell you that, after these
conversations with you, I go home thanking God for what you have told
me of His love to you. I think I love the Saviour better, since I have
seen what he can be to one in sickness and death.
That is good he said emphatically, I would have it so.
As I left him this time, the thought in my own mind was: Oh, speak
good of the Lord.
On my return to William and his brother-in-law, after the interview
which I described in my last paragraph, and which occurred only a few
days ago, I saw that he was too much agitated for conversation. I read
him a hymn and said a few words. He was suffering more than usual that
day, and his usually peaceful spirit seemed a little clouded. When I
rose to go, it seemed that he would have detained me. We had bidden
good-by, and turned away, when I looked back. I wanted to leave some
word of Christ or thought of him at the last. William, I said,
bending over him, Jesus says: 'Let not your heart be troubledin my
Father's house are many mansions.'
He took hold of my hand, and looked up, the red lines of tears about
his eyes. I could not quite understand their expression of unutterable
longing, but I could feel at the moment that death must be penal, and
its waters cold sometimes, even to a believer.
In these deeply anxious hours,
O, if Jesus only smile!
Can these restless tears beguile.
CHAPTER X. SOWING AND REAPING.
Sowing in the morning, sowing seeds of kindness,
Sowing in the noon-tide and the dewy eves;
Waiting for the harvest, and the time of reaping,
We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.
The blessed Master says, in his Sermon on the Mount, With what
measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. If we attempt
great things for God, and expect great things from God, He will bless
us accordingly; for He cheers us by saying: Ye shall reap, if ye faint
Mrs. Knowles tells us of instances where this truth has been
verified. One woman, whom I have been visiting for years, but
apparently without any success, until a few months since, when she was
taken sick, sent for me at that time, and said, 'she felt so sorry she
had led such a wicked life,' and putting her arms round my neck, said,
earnestly, 'Oh, pray for me, that the Lord will have mercy on me, and
save my poor soul.' I did so, and when I rose from my knees, she held
my hand in hers, and looking up for some time, she cried, 'Lord help
me, and answer the prayers that have been offered for me;' and when I
told her to cast herself wholly upon Jesus, that He was ready to save
her, she said, 'Oh, but I have been such a sinner.' 'He is ready to
save the chief of sinners, if they will only come.' She clasped her
hands, crying, 'Oh, Jesus, save me, for I trust in thee.' I left her
with a heart full of anxiety, but believing the Lord had begun the good
work in her heart, and that in His own good time he would finish it,
and I was not disappointed; for in a short time she was brought to
rejoice in Christ as her Saviour, and although for weeks she passed
through intense suffering, she never complained, but looking up, she
would say to her family, and others who came to visit her, 'My Saviour
helps me to bear all my trials;' and so he did, for I never saw a more
patient sufferer, or a happier death.
A lady whom I met there said to me, 'You have been sowing seed here
a long time, and now you see what encouragement you have to labor.' The
family are still out of Christ, but I earnestly hope to see or hear of
them all brought to their mother's God.
Another woman, who did not attend church at all, was like a little
child, helpless and humble. Her situation became so critical, none were
allowed to see her; but if she heard I was there, she always wanted me
to pray with her; and often after offering a short prayer at her
bedside, she would take my hand when about to leave her, and say, 'Oh,
pray for me;' And when I kissed her, she would look up so earnestly,
saying: 'I know you will pray for me.'
It pleased the Lord to bless the means used for her recovery, and
now, nearly well, she cannot express her gratitude to God for having
preserved her. A few days since, when I told her of a poor woman who
had returned from the hospital not much better, she gave me a dollar
for her; indeed, her whole desire seems to be to do good, and bring up
her children (she has a large family) in the right way. She said to me,
'When you came at first to see me, and spoke to me about being a
sinner, I did not see how it was that I could be so, for I felt I was
as good as you was.'
These are cases that encourage us in our labors, for although our
work at the time may seem fruitless, we may safely leave the seed in
His hands, who maketh it grow and bud and blossom in His own good time.
A woman whom I had not seen for some time, as she had moved away,
told me a missionary had called to see her, and, talking to her as I
had done, she asked if he knew me. He said, 'No, he was a stranger; but
his words impressed her so much, that I still hope she may soon be
brought to Christ; and thus it often is, if we sow in faith, 'one
soweth and another reapeth.' In many instances a Bible that I have
left, neglected at the time, has, through another's teaching, become
precious; and some have shown me one left by other teachers, to
which I have had the privilege of directing the attention of the
otherwise careless owner.
She continues her deeply-interesting narrative thus:
We have commenced our Saturday Sewing-school in a beautiful room,
which has been secured for us, and hope to accomplish a great deal of
good this winter through its means. My Sunday-school will be in
connection with the Ludlow Street Mission, and I trust, as my health
and strength seem renewed, I may be truly useful in working for the
Here we have a vivid description of Christian waiting, in
expectation of results. When we take into consideration that this woman
was fifty years old when she commenced directly to work as a
missionary, we know that she was fully equipped for the task, and
entered upon it with all her energies of heart. St. Paul says, in his
letter to the Church, at Rome, that tribulation worketh patience.
Now, there are many God-fearing ministers who cannot stand a rebuff.
There are many good Christian people, and some of them excellent
workers in the Sabbath-school, who could not stand to be looked upon
coldly, much less to have the door slammed in their face. I am sure
they would give the work up in despair, if, after they had attempted to
reach some stranger several times, and had not succeeded. But, oh, here
is a weak woman, for years visiting another of her own sex, year after
year, remonstrating earnestly and patiently, and lovingly with her, in
order to lead her to Christ. Is not this the way that God deals with
us? Line upon line, precept upon precept; here a little, there a
Surely, he is the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering,
slow to anger, abundant in goodness and in truth.
What does Christ say in the Apocalypse? Behold, I stand at the
door, and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will
come unto him and will sup with him, and he with Me.
Does not the Holy Spirit work in this very same manner?
Patiently!oh, how patiently, He strives, He pleads, He warns. Was it
not the Holy Spirit in this woman's heart, that, led her again and
again to visit this home? Yes, most assuredly. Oh, that this self-same
spirit would whisper to every reader of this memoir to go and do
See how beautifully Divine Providence harmonizes with the Spirit's
work, and with those who faithfully toil in the vineyard. How unique
the operation. Sickness is the efficient cause.
But we must constantly remember that it was the almost incomparable
faith of this woman in the God of Jacob, amid the greatest difficulties
and discouragements, that gave her such remarkable success.
Incompetency for Christian work is a lack, not only of patience, but of
faith in the great love of our God, and the triumphant death of Christ,
and the persistent power of the Holy Spirit, combined with a humble
trust in our own capabilities to do valiantly for Jesus. These are the
allied forces in waging war against the powers of darkness in this
wicked world. Christ said, As the Father hath sent me, even so send I
you into the world. And greater works than these shall ye do, because I
go to my Father. Confidence in the word of our dear Incarnate Lord is
the warrant, not only of the stability of God's method of saving souls,
but in the progressive propagation of Christian principles. There is
growth in work for Christ, as well as in nature. And our younger
brethren would do well to remember that like this woman, we must expect
success, or we will never get it.
Dr. McCosh, the President of Princeton College, made the following
remarks in an address before the General Conference of the Evangelical
It is useless to tell the younger naturalists that there is no
truth in the doctrine of development, for they know that there is truth
which is not to be set aside by denunciation. Religious philosophers
might be more profitably employed in showing them the religious aspects
of the doctrine of development; and some would be grateful to any who
would help them to keep their old faith in God and the Bible with their
new faith in science.
Again, in his book on Development, Dr. McCosh says:
It is no use denying in our day the doctrine of evolution, in the
name of religion or any good cause. It can now be shown that it rather
favors religion by its furnishing proofs of design, and by the
wonderful parallelism between Genesis and geology.
In this part of Mrs. Knowles' diary, the careful reader will observe
a most dramatic account of human nature, under the controlling power of
the Holy Ghost. The woman whom she had long visited was at last
conquered. The city of the soul was successfully bombarded. The sorrow
for sin, the sad lamentation over a misspent life, the flinging of her
arms round the neck of the missionary, the urgent request, Oh, pray
for me, that the Lord may have mercy on me, and save my poor soul,
together with the statement of transition from shadow to sunshine, from
grief to joy, from alienation to adoption, reveal to us the judiciously
connected operations of the deity, in the salvation of immortal souls
brought about by the power of prayer.
Why should we remain incredulous about God's willingness to save
sinners, after such a marvellous manifestation of Divine mercy?
Brought to rejoice in Christ as her Saviour.The term
brought, is a very emphatic Scriptural one. It ascribes the glory,
and honor, and power of man's deliverance to the free, sovereign,
unmerited favor of God. David sings:
I waited patiently for the Lord. And He inclined unto me, and heard
He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry
And He set my feet upon a rock, and stablished my goings.
And He hath put a new song in my mouth, even praises unto our God;
many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
A judicious acknowledgment of the sovereignty of God as the author
of salvation is essential to Christian calmness and courage, and
continuance in the path of duty. Man may break his promise, but God
never. Man's objection to God's methods of salvation arise from a
desire to take the glory to self, and the disposition to discontentment
on the one hand, and a feeling of distrust on the other. Let us learn,
from the foregoing account of the conversion of this woman, to isolate
ourselves from man's ways of working, and accept God's communications
regarding His approaches to the avenues of the heart; knowing that He
will ultimately send the converting power of the Holy Spirit to the
soul of the most hardened and obdurate sinner.
We must go back once more to Mrs. Knowles' narrative, and observe
that among the principal causes of her success with the poor and
fallen, was not only her intimate acquaintance with God's dealings with
both saint and sinner, but her marvellous and confirmed habit of always
offering a short prayer at the bedside of the sick and suffering and
dying. There was, therefore, elicited the pungent request, Oh, pray
for me, corroborated by the impressive ejaculation of confidence in
her fidelity to the divine command, Call upon me in the day of
trouble, I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. How
inexpressibly encouraging it must have been on this occasion to hear
the remark, I know you will pray for me, accompanied with the look of
earnestness and helplessness, realizing that God alone could restore
her to her accustomed health and strength.
Who can tell of the gratitude and gladness that sprang up in this
woman's heart in answer to earnest prayer on her behalf, for her
recovery which God was graciously pleased to bestow? The donation of
the dollar to the other poor woman recently returned from the hospital,
was conclusive evidence that she joyfully appreciated what great things
God had done, not only for her soul, but for her frail body. Let us
learn, dear reader, from the foregoing account of God's dealings with
His dear departed saints that, in the first place, we must not be weary
in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not, for,
as Mrs. Knowles says, Our work may seem at the time fruitless, yet we
may safely leave the seed in His hands, who maketh it grow and bud and
blossom in His own good time.
In the second place, we must remember that to be actively engaged
working for God's glory is the best and surest, and, in fact, the only
safe remedy for disappointment and discouragements in aggressive
Christian work. In many instances, she says, a Bible that I have
left, neglected at the time, has through another's teachings become
precious. We can speak from heart-felt experience on this point, for
some of the sweet psalms and hymns we sang, perhaps thoughtlessly, in
the days of sunny childhood, are to-day the most soul-stirring,
imparting fire, force, and fervency while working for Jesus. Here is
one of them:
I think when I read that sweet story of old,
When Jesus was here among men,
How He called little children as lambs to His fold,
I should like to have been with them then.
I wish that His hands had been placed on my head,
That His arm had been thrown around me,
And that I might have seen His kind look when He said,
Let the little ones come unto Me.
Yet still to His footstool in prayer I may go,
And ask for a share in His love;
And if I thus earnestly seek Him below,
I shall see Him and hear Him above.
In that beautiful place He has gone to prepare
For all who are washed and forgiven;
And many dear children shall be with Him there,
For of such is the kingdom of Heaven.
Throughout her life Mrs. Knowles constantly experienced the blessing
of sowing and the happy reward of reaping. Numerous instances could be
cited, had we the space to spare, in which direct answers to her
prayers have come to her while in the act of beseeching God's aid and
blessing upon some one object of interest to her. Her own son was one
among many of such cases. In the early part of 1857 he had become
associated with many bad companions and was a source of anxiety to both
his parents. His father thought if he could get him to attend church
the good influence there obtained would tend to lead him to Christ and
into the paths of salvation. But the youth refused to go, and the
mother at once besought the aid of God in influencing her son's heart.
At first, after praying with him for some time, she found him asleep on
his knees. She roused him up and prayed again with him, and on her
husband's return from church he found his penitent son beseeching Jesus
to forgive him and lead him into the way of righteousness.
CHAPTER XI. DAILY MISSIONARY WORK.
Shall He come and find me faithful
To His parting words to me;
If I goa place preparing
I will quickly come to thee.
Shall He come and find me working
In the vineyard full of love;
Only working, till the glory
Breaks upon me from above?
The following part of her narrative of Christian work, taken from
Our Missing Link, is deeply interesting, and deserves the reader's
At one time Mrs. Knowles wrote that, during part of the summer
months great weakness and general debility prevented her from laboring
as much as usual; and when she resumed her visits, she found many had
been making inquiries after her in church, not knowing her place of
residence. One young woman especially, who had made an unfortunate
marriage, and who had been badly treated by her husband, was extremely
anxious to see her, to tell her what comfort she had derived from a
Bible given her by Mrs. Knowles. She said she had never read so much in
one before. She had been brought up a Roman Catholic, but having lived
a few months in a Protestant family, she had there seen a Bible, and
occasionally read in it. That upon leaving the family the lady
presented her with one, which she was obliged to hide away in her bed,
lest her mother should know she possessed it. It afterward disappeared
and she thought one of her family must have seen her reading in it, and
since then she had never been able to procure another. When I gave her
this one, her husband had spent all her wages, and she had not the
means of paying for it; but now she paid me for it, and hoped I would
come again soon and talk with her about it.
I am kindly received wherever I go in my new district. There has
been much sickness, especially among the children, and much care is
needed. One man I visited presented a pitiable condition. When I
entered his room he was far gone in consumption. A little girl was
raising his head to give him drink, as the mother had gone to her work.
He looked surprised to see a stranger enter his room, but I went
forward and asked him if he was looking unto Jesus. He said, like many
while in health, he had thought too little about those things. I read
and prayed with him. Upon leaving him he shook my hand and asked me to
come again, saying the Lord must have sent me. I returned soon with
some nourishment, which was greedily partaken of'It tasted so good.'
He lived but little more than a week, and I visited him daily, reading
and praying with him. I carried with me the little book Come to
Jesus, which he loved to hear, as, 'It was so full of Jesus;' but
he said he had neglected the Saviour, and how could he hope He would
have mercy on him now. I told him how Christ died praying for his
enemies, and that the thief on the cross looked to him and was saved,
and repeated to him the hymn 'Just as I am,' etc. This seemed to
encourage him, and he said he wanted to trust in the mercy of God
through Christ to save him; while all who came to see him, he would
urge not to delay, as he had done, coming to Jesus. He said I was the
first to speak to him about the salvation of his soul, and expressed
great gratitude to me, and great solicitude about his wife and
children, till I told him he could surely trust One, who had done so
much for him, to care for them. He finally became too weak to speak,
but toward the last I saw him clasp his hands together, while he
repeated, 'O blessed Jesus, save me.'
The woman whom I mentioned in a former report as so solicitous
about her children being all out of Christ, tells me she is much
encouraged, as her eldest son now attends church with her, and is so
changed and so much concerned about the other members of the family,
she has great reason to hope for great things for all the rest.
If those dear ladies who furnish us with means could only see for
themselves how grateful these poor creatures are for any small kindness
done them, or for a word spoken in kindness, how greatly encouraged
they would be. And how great is the responsibility of the Bible woman,
as she goes from house to house, and from one apartment to another,
listening to the many tales of distress which greets her ears, and
witnesses for herself the many objects of pity and destitution which
meet her gaze, while she knows that something is expected from her to
alleviate, in some measure, the sorrow of these poor sufferers; and
then, when these people look up to her for counsel and advice, she is
often at a loss to know what to say to them. I often entreat them to go
to Jesus, and kneel and pray with them that the Lord may direct them
what to do.
I have brought a number of persons to church, and trust, through
blessing, prayer, and continued efforts, much more may be accomplished
in the future.
It is only by an experimental knowledge of the condition of the
citizens of New York and other large centres of population, who are
huddled together in the high tenement houses, that we are able to form
a correct understanding of the peculiar circumstances that surround the
daily life of the faithful city missionary, especially when they are
not thoroughly acclimated. A native-born American does not feel the
stifling heat of the summer sun like those who are born in a more
northerly European country. But even the Americans themselves suffer
severely from the heat. Hence, many of them close their churches and
Sabbath-schools, and resort to their summer retreats by the seashore,
at Ocean Grove or Long Branch, while others seek rest and refreshment
to their jaded spirits at Saratoga, or snuff the balmy breezes at Mount
McGregor, where General Grant breathed his last, and ended his
creditable career in the cause of his country.
At this time we find that she suffered much during the summer months
of 1867. Great weakness and general debility hindered her from laboring
incessantly, as was her usual custom for her dear Saviour. Sickness
seems to have been the only limitation to her labors. When I think that
I am writing not about some imaginary character, but one with an
untainted reputation, a beau ideal as a Christian worker, known
perhaps to a few outside of the circle in which she lived and labored,
encouraged not by applauding throngs, but attracted and held to her
toil, year after year, by sorrowful hearts and weeping eyes, and
helpless hands that hang down the widow and the fatherlessthese were
the objects of her Christ-like and heart-felt compassion.
Chalmers observes, in a sermon preached at an Anniversary Missionary
meeting, held in the High Church in Edinburgh: What the man of liberal
philosophy is in sentiment, the missionary is in practice. He sees in
every man a partaker of his own nature, and a brother of his own
species. He contemplates the human mind in the generality of its great
elements. He enters upon the wide field of benevolence, and disdains
those geographical barriers by which little men would shut out one-half
of the species from the kind offices of the other. His business is with
man, and let his localities be what they may, enough for his large and
noble heart that he is bone of the same bone. To get at him he will
shun no danger, he will shrink from no privation, he will spare himself
no fatigue, he will brave every element of heaven, he will hazard the
extremities of every clime, he will cross seas, and work his
persevering way through the briars and thickets of the wilderness. In
perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by the heathen, in
weariness and painfulness, he seeks after him. The cast and the color
are nothing to the comprehensive eye of the missionary. His is the
broad principle of good-will to the children of men. His doings are
with the species, and, overlooking all the accidents of climate or of
country, enough for him if the individual he is in quest of be a mana
brother of the same naturewith a body which a few years will bring to
the grave, and a spirit that returns to the God who gave it. The
missionary is a man of large and liberal principles.
These characteristics, enumerated by the warm and large, and
generous-hearted Chalmers, dwelt richly in her whose biography we have
tremblingly attempted to portray. She knew little of the soothing
influences of nature and solitude. Her life's work was spent in this
city, so cosmopolitan, composed, almost, of every creed and color under
After restoration to health, the great purpose of her life was
joyously resumed. And at this time we have an opportunity of knowing
thoroughly, and weighing precisely, the opinions of her parishioners
regarding her, for when she began to resume her labors she found that
the dear ones she had brought to Jesus were kindly inquiring about her.
Surely, it is good to be missed, when either laid aside by sickness or
called away by death.
How precious are the promises of God's Word, amid domestic
difficulties and trials. The relations of the home circle are such
that, unless there is the utmost harmony and good-will, one toward
another, everything seems to go wrong. Hence, the importance of the
injunction of the Apostle, Be ye not unequally yoked together with
unbelievers. Her own domestic happiness was constantly preserved. They
told me on the steamer, during a summer excursion, that during the
forty-seven years of their wedded life, they never needed to be
reconciled. And the secret of their joy at home, even when they
commenced housekeeping, was that they erected the family altar, and
established a church in the house. Conceive, then, her feelings of
gratitude to God, when she learned that the young Roman Catholic wife,
unfortunate in her marriage, who was badly treated by her husband, was
greatly comforted through the prayerful perusal of the Bible. Her deep
feelings of moral sensibility enabled her to truly sympathize with her
own sex in their home troubles.
Her intense love for the children was a magnificent trait in her
character. Why? Because she felt the significance that attaches itself
to the sayings of Christ, bearing on the children. His authority must
be recognized. He said: Suffer the little children to come unto me,
and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. There is a
beautiful passage in Isaiah, that illustrates how tenderly God cares
for the little ones:
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs
in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.
Whoso, said Jesus, shall receive one such little child in my
name, receiveth me.
There are too many instances in our daily experience where the
children are sadly neglected, and where they are looked upon as little
heathens, and discouraged in their endeavors to follow Jesus in early
life. It should be the constant care of parents and Sunday-school
teachers to take the children to Him who will in no wise cast them out.
Who can look into the clear, bright, blue eyes of a little boy or girl,
and not see in their countenance a holy radiance expressive of
trustfulness, innocence, and affection? It is no wonder, then, that
Jesus said: Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye
can in nowise enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Are you looking unto Jesus? she said. Where can we look for a more
important searching question to shadow forth the indispensable
necessity of not only this consumptive man, but all men, whether in
health or sickness, to renounce all other methods of trying to get to
heaven, but by looking unto Jesus. No change of character can take
place in any other way. Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of
the earth, for I am God, and beside me there is none else. They looked
unto Him and were lightened. O! it is easy to look to the hills from
whence cometh our help, when the Holy Spirit is working upon the
heart. But ah, it is a tremendously difficult task to perform when the
poor sinner is bereft of this divine power.
CHAPTER XII. DESTITUTION AND
Oh, use me Lord, use even me,
Just as Thou wilt, and when and where,
Until Thy blessed face I see,
Thy rest, Thy joy, Thy glory share.
Her willingness to toil in any direction attests the grand purpose
of her life and the ingenious methods employed in assisting and saving
I visited one family, she writes, a few days since who had not
eaten anything for twenty-four hours. The father was out of employment,
and in desperation was just about to take the children to some
charitable home, when I came in time to supply their wants and procure
aid and work for him. Many others, rather than make known their wants,
have pawned everything they possessed. I have had to give and lend them
articles of clothing to cover them, and have procured coal and
groceries for nine families during the past month.
The remarkable and unprecedented success of this one woman in
reaching others of her own sex is nearly unparalleled. This fact has
encouraged us to persevere in our attempt to make these truths known to
the Christian world; for how emphatically true are the words of Gray:
Full many a gem of purest ray serene,
The dark, unfathomed caves of ocean bear,
And full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
This thought stimulates us to renewed efforts to present her
experience in her own language, as she conscientiously discharged her
duty with an eye single to the glory of God.
She mentions a case of reformation of an intemperate woman who had
deserted her home, and after pawning and ridding herself of all she
possessed, was at length brought to herself and sent for the Bible
woman, and, through the omnipotence of loving-kindness, has been won to
reformation, which she trusts may be permanent.
This case presents a sad and dark picture in the history of
womanhood. An intemperate woman, through the blasting and blighting
influence of liquor, leaving her home, and like the prodigal, spending
her substance in riotous living, and at length being compelled to feed
on the husks. A fallen woman seeking pleasure away from home with all
its endearments. Alas! alas! There is no peace saith my God unto the
wicked. Whither, oh, whither can they fly as wretched wanderers from
Home, sweet home!
There is no place like home!
It is a divine institution. A place of rest and peace and joy. To
forsake home is to despise bliss and accept woe. It is to reject
felicity and receive sorrow. When God has been so kind as to furnish a
peaceable, well-governed home, nothing should tempt the young to leave
it. All that is necessary for pure pleasure can be found in the family
circle. The unwary are sometimes induced to leave home through false
representations, and a desire to gratify every earthly propensity. Idle
curiosity may be greatly augmented, and the new acquaintances formed
may, for the time being, partially please the senses; but the calm
recollection of former unalloyed joys in the cottage home naturally
extorts the old cry from pale quivering lips, and a broken heart, I
will arise and go to my father, and will say: father I have sinned
against heaven and before thee.
Such a course of turning to God, and such a cry, is always richly
rewarded. Personal reformation is not only gratifying to relatives and
friends, but well-pleasing to God. Won to reformation by the Bible
woman through the omnipotence of loving kindness! We are
reminded by this incident of a story we heard told by the late John B.
Gough. It was part of his experience a few days after he became a total
abstainer. He had returned to work. But his burning thirst for liquor
was intense. In his agony of mind and body, he said to his employer, I
have signed the pledge. The reply was, You will keep it about a
week. If so, then I will go and get a drink now, for I cannot endure
this awful agony any longer, he retorted. He rushed out of the room
and down the stairs leading to the street, when he was accosted by the
kind, gentle voice of a strange gentleman who met him.
How do you do, Mr. Gough? I am so glad to see you; I was delighted
to see you at the meeting last night, and I am so thankful that you had
courage given you to go forward and sign the pledge. I simply called
over to shake you by the hand and wish you God speed in your noble
endeavor. Here is my card; I want you to call at my office, as I desire
to get acquainted with you. Those kind words entered into his heart,
and from that auspicious hour he resolved to be steadfast and immovable
in his renunciation of his drinking habits.
God loves and prospers those who, like Jesus, speak kind words of
encouragement to those who have gone astray from the paths of
rectitude. The brevity and uncertainty of life ought to teach us the
practical lesson that if we would save men and women from their sins we
must be watchful and willing at all times to rescue the wanderers from
their critical condition, constantly remembering that He has said, Let
the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and
let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to
our God for he will abundantly pardon.
When I was hungry ye gave me meat; when I was thirsty ye gave me
drink; naked, and ye clothed me. Little did this noble-minded woman
think that when she was entering her daily experience in her diary that
her deeds of charity were to be brought to light after death. A story
is told of Xenophon, the disciple of Socrates, that while offering a
solemn sacrifice he heard that his eldest son was slain at Mantinea. He
did not, however, desist, but only laid down his crown and asked how he
had fallen. When he understood that his son had fallen in battle
fighting bravely for his country, he calmly replaced the crown upon his
head, calling the gods to witness that he received greater pleasure
from the bravery of his son, than pain from his death. We do not,
naturally speaking, like to lose our loved ones, but when we think of
their bravery and fidelity, we feel disposed to praise God for them. O,
what transcendent dignity and honor are conferred on the faithful at
the hour of death. It seems there is a reciprocal response on earth to
the acclamations of heaven perpetually ringing in the ears of the
ransomed, Well done, good and faithful servant.
The Church's loss is her gain. Still the deeds of mercy call forth
praise. Let us ever remember that a holy and just and good God is
treasuring up all our words of faith and labors of love against the
great day of accountthe day of recognition and remuneration. Pollock
beautifully describes the man or woman like her of whom we write, a
person of enlarged benevolence and liberality, as practically
illustrated in the foregoing authentic record of Christian experience.
Breathe all thy minstrelsy, immortal harp!
Breathe numbers warm with love while I rehearse,
Delightful theme! remembering the songs
Which day and night are sung before the Lamb!
Thy praise, O Charity! thy labors most
Divine! thy sympathy with sighs, and tears,
And groans; thy great, thy god-like wish to heal
All misery, all fortune's wounds; and make
The soul of every living thing rejoice
A finishing and polish without which
No man e'er entered heaven. Let me record
His praise; the man of great benevolence,
Who pressed thee softly to his glowing heart,
And to thy gentle bidding made his feet
Swift minister of all mankind, his soul
Was most in sympathy with heaven;
Nor did he wait till to his door,
The voice of supplication came, but went abroad
With foot as silent as the starry dews,
In search of misery that pined unseen,
And would not ask. And who can tell what sights
She saw, what groans she heard in that cold world
Below, where sin in league with gloomy death,
March daily through the length and breadth of all
The land, wasting at will and making earth,
Fair earth! a lazer-house, a dungeon dark!
Oh, who can tell what sights she saw, what shapes
Of wretchedness! or who describe what smile
Of gratitude illumed the face of woe?
Similarity of character is the firmest bond for forming permanent
friendship, hence Christ says to all his followers, Ye are my friends,
if ye do whatsoever I command thee. A glance at the picture presented
to us in St. John's gospel, eleventh chapter, at the Feast of the
Passover of the Jews, remind us of the character and spirit of Jesus
when he took the loaves, and when he had given thanks he distributed to
the disciples, and the disciples to the multitude who were set down
upon the grass. For services of this kind God selects his servants. By
filling them with the spirit of Jesus, they are thus thoroughly
qualified to minister to the necessitous.
CHAPTER XIII. HER FAITHFULNESS IN
There are small things in daily life
In which I may obey,
And thus may show my love to Thee;
And alwaysevery day
There are some little loving words
Which I for Thee may say.
He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful in much.
She continues to write with her usual forcible descriptiveness: I
found a mother and daughter in a damp room, on the ground floor of a
tenement building, in a wretched condition. The room was furnished with
a broken stove, one chair, two trunks, and some bedding spread on the
floor, as they had no bedstead. Both were very lame, and the
girl quite feeble for want of care and nourishment. After relieving
their immediate wants, I tried to lead them to Christ. The girl was so
sick and discouraged it was difficult to convince her that any one
cared for her, but at length she cried, and said, 'How nice it is to
have some one talk kindly to me.' From that time she began to read the
Bible for herself, and would often speak to me of different passages of
the Scriptures. But after a while the landlord ordered them to move,
because they could not pay their rent, and with some effort I succeeded
in sending the mother into the country, and placing the girl in a
Two other persons, who through a blessing on my labors have become
deeply interested, and even led to study the Bible, have now openly
Take another glance at the above touching scene and behold the
lively exercise of her wonderful sagacity and powers of observation.
This graphic representation of squalor and consummate misery gives
pre-eminence to her adaptedness as a successful missionary of the cross
of the Lord Jesus Christ. The eyes of the blessed Jesus, the model
worker, were not closed to the wants and woes of humanity, hence his
formidable power in preparing an entrance into the hearts of the
people. Her Christ-like visits, carrying the rich treasure of the glad
tidings, found an echo in the soul of those she visited. Although her
elementary education had been sadly neglected, yet nevertheless, by her
close study of God's Word and her varied experience for over fifty
years in the lower part of a city like New York, she knew full well how
to adapt herself to circumstances. Let us calmly follow her footsteps
into this lofty tenement building and watch her movements. See how
minutely she describes the sad scene. If a murder had been committed in
the house and a reporter from the New York Herald, or any other
paper, had called to take notes, he could not have been more minute in
his description of the surroundings than she. All the collateral or
subordinate information essentially necessary to convey an accurate
idea of a true picture peculiarly calculated to throw a flood of light
on the whole panorama are carefully furnished us by her notes. And here
we are forcibly reminded of the pithy and succinct saying of Scotia's
beloved bard, Burns:
A chiel's amang ye taking notes.
Notice how she enumerates the persons and things in the apartment.
The mother and daughter. The damp room. The ground floor. The
wretchedness. The broken stove. The one chair. The two trunks. The
bedding spread on the floor. The absence of a bedstead. The lameness.
The feebleness. How consummate the skill displayed in her graphic and
touching description of pitiable facts emanating from her pen with such
brilliancy of rhetorical power; and all spontaneously springing not
from the schools of moral and intellectual philosophy, but from the
school of Christ Jesus her Lord who said to his sorrowful disciples:
These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you, but
the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my
name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your
remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you. The Paraclete,
who is infinitely competent to perform the instruction necessary amid
all the exigencies of life, and by whose divine influence every
difficulty and trial is easily adjusted, was evidently her great
The girl, she says, was quite feeble for want of care and
nourishment. In a public address recently delivered in this city by
the good and kind Dr. John Hall, of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian
Church, at the opening of a Newsboys' Lodging House, on the corner of
Eighth Street and Avenue B, an institution built through the liberality
of Mrs. Robert L. Stuart, at a cost of $50,000, the doctor said, A man
left to himself will choose the bad rather than the good, because the
majority do, and it is easier besides. As crime breeds misery, so
misery too often breeds crime. We should take note of this fact and
try to mend it.
Mr. Bruce, another speaker, said thousands of children, assisted,
have gone West, and now own farms and are prosperous. He concluded his
address by asking the boys to cheer Mrs. Stuart, which they did
gratefully for their new home provided by this inestimable and generous
lady.New York Daily Tribune, Tuesday, March 29, 1887.
It is the philanthropist's great aim to defend the moral honor of
the homeless as well as to minister to their temporal necessities. This
important service was rendered to thousands by our model missionary
woman, and eternity alone will disclose the gigantic results.
But let us more specifically analyze her course of conduct under the
foregoing circumstance. In the first place she immediately relieved
their wants. I have read somewhere the story of Dr. Guthrie when he
was first called to the metropolis of Edinburgh. Of their filling his
pockets with tracts, and with all the ardor of his noble heart,
commenced his great work. He ascended the creaking stairs of a high
building in the old town, and knocking at the door, an elderly woman
made her appearance, whereupon he proffered her a tract. Looking
earnestly upon him, and in a loud shrill voice she exclaimed,
pathetically: 'Deed, Sir, I dinna want yeer tracts, I weed thank ye
for a loaf o' breed. Ah! he thought to himself, here is a case of
destitution, and excusing himself he hurried down-stairs, and going to
the baker he ordered bread, and to the butcher he ordered beef, and to
the grocer he ordered some English breakfast tea and sugar, a few
dainties, and a cart of coal, and requested them to be sent at once to
the woman in want. Calling a few days afterward he found her
comfortably seated with a neighbor around a cheerful hearthstone
drinking their newly made tea. When she opened the door she
enthusiastically exclaimed, Come awa, noo, Doctor, I am ready to hear
you on the subject o' religion. Our departed sister also recognized
the necessity of attending to the temporal as well as the spiritual
wants of her parishioners simultaneously. After relieving their
wants I tried to lead them to Christ.
We shall now proceed to show that this incident, in conformity to
the teaching of God's Word, assures us that suffering and want are the
means used by the kind providence of God to lead the careless sinner to
seek a saving interest in the Lord Jesus Christ. David says, Before I
was afflicted I went astray, and thou in faithfulness hast afflicted
me. He delivereth the poor in his affliction. The Lord will not cast
us off forever. But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion
according to the multitude of his mercies. And here is the reason
given: For He doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of
men.Lam. iii. 31-33.
In this instructive part of the diary we find described a truly
pathetic and animated scene. A humble missionary woman leading souls to
Christ. This employment excites the deep interest and profound
admiration of heaven. The general assembly and church of the first born
above are intently gazing on, not as idle spectators, but the angels
may be observed pressing through the crowd of crowned ones with
glory-lit face, and sanctified step, communicating the cheering
intelligence of accessions to the ranks of the church militant which
must swell the highest strains of celestial music and deeply increase
and augment the joy of the church triumphant.
In the hour of deep distress this woman was sent by God to relieve
the wants of this stricken household, and at the same time lead them
to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. There are
many, alas, who see no beauty in the despised Nazarene until, by deep
suffering, they are absolutely compelled to completely renounce self
and to fall down, wounded and bleeding and bruised and heart-broken at
the feet of Him who shed the last drop of his crimson blood on the
Cross of Calvary for our salvation.
Two others, she adds, at this date, have been led to study the
Bible and have openly professed Christ. What extraordinary events
cluster around this special agency employed by the Holy Spirit
to bring about such a glorious result. It is the enemy's intention to
lead persons in distress and misery to commit crime. This is the
testimony of all history, but God saves His own in the hour of peril,
and not unfrequently by weak instrumentalities. Near Loch Katrine,
encircled by lofty mountains and where the scenery which fringes it is
of the wildest character; where, as Scott says in his Lady of the
Lake, the briar rose and fell in streamers green,
And creeping shrubs of thousand dyes,
Waved in the west wind's summer sighs,
Boon nature scattered free and wild
Each plant or flower, the mountain's child,
Here eglantine embalmed the air,
Hawthorn and hazel mingled there.
The primrose pale and violet flower,
Found in each cliff's narrow bower;
Foxglove and nightshade side by side,
Emblems of punishment and pride;
Gray birch and aspen wept beneath;
Aloft the ash and warrior oak,
Cast anchor in the rifted rock;
And higher yet the pine-tree hung,
His shattered trunk, and frequent flung
Where seemed the cliff to meet on high,
His boughs athwart the narrow sky,
So wondrous wild, the whole might seem
The scenery of a fairy dream.
Here, in a roughly wooded island, the country people secreted their
wives and children, and their most valuable effects from the rapacity
of Cromwell's soldiers during their inroad into Scotland. The soldiers
resolved to plunder this island; an expert swimmer swam toward it to
fetch the boat to his comrades, which had carried the women to their
place of refuge. It lay moored in one of the creeks; his companions
stood watching on the shore; but just as the soldier reached the
nearest point of the island, and was laying hold of a black rock to get
on shore, a heroine who stood on the very point where he meant to land,
hastily snatching a dagger from below her tartan apron, with one quick,
sharp stroke severed his jugular vein, killing him instantly.
The soldiers on the other shore seeing the disaster, relinquished
all future hope of revenge or conquest, and made the best of their way
out of a perilous position. Thus the women and children and valuables
were saved by the bravery of this noble heroine, Ellen Stuart. Such is
the way God saves the family to-day, by guiding the feet of our
missionary to many a distressed household, instantly relieving their
wants, and putting in their hands the Word of the Spirit which is the
Word of God. Let this record be an incentive to others to go and do
likewise, by pleading for the poor and the fatherless. God grant that
her words may be as goads to arouse sleepy professors to a realizing
sense of their great obligation to Him who is the God of Israel, our
father's God, and we will trust Him.
CHAPTER XIV. THE POWER OF INFLUENCE.
I cannot do great things for Him
Who did so much for me;
But I would like to show my love,
Lord Jesus, unto Thee;
Faithful in very little things,
O Saviour! may I be.
In the course of her daily missionary work Mrs. Knowles met with the
following interesting case which she herself records:
Calling on a poor afflicted widow, I found her in great want, much
discouraged, and very sad; she said she did not feel much desire to
'Can you not trust God?' I said. 'Have you not always been cared
Her little boy, a child of six years, was sitting by her side
scribbling on a slate. He looked up and said:
'Mamma, do you know what God says?'
'What?' said she.
'He that believeth in me hath everlasting life; and God don't want
our money. He don't want us to pay the debt with money.'
'What does He want?' said she.
'He wants our hearts, and won't you trust Him, mamma?'
This roused the mother at once.
'Oh, how wicked I have been!' she exclaimed, 'to murmur against the
will of the Almighty. I will trust Him, for He has always cared for me
in the past, and I will trust Him for the future.'
I cannot refrain from making a few comments on this case, and
drawing a lesson therefrom.
Trust in the Lord, and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and
verily thou shalt be fed.Ps. xxxvii. 3.
He hath given meat unto them that fear Him; He will ever be mindful
of His covenant.Ps. cxi. 5.
I will abundantly bless her provision, I will satisfy her poor with
bread.Ps. cxxxii. 15.
He filleth thee with the finest of the wheat.Ps. cxlvii. 14.
The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul.Proverbs xiii.
Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap,
nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them: Are ye
not much better than they?Matt. vi. 26.
And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied.Joel ii. 26.
Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: Behold, my
servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty.Isaiah lxv. 13.
* * * * * *
SUGGESTIVE OBSERVATIONS FOR CHRISTIAN WORKERS.
What a deeply interesting and instructive picture is here presented
to our view. Notice the synopsis:
Destitution.In great want.This missionary was
sent by God to this housesent like the raven to Elijah. Man's
extremity is God's opportunity. He frequently overrules poverty, and it
contributes to the good of His children.
Discouragement.Confidence in God's promises, the great
panacea for all the difficulties of life. Won't you trust Him?
the child asked.
Despondency.This widow was very sad. When there is
no bread in the house and the children are clamorous for food, it is
enough to produce despondency. But afflicted women should remember that
God has promised to be a husband to the widow and a father to the
Despair.No desire to live.A sad, very sad
condition! When God sends affliction it is our duty to pray and
not despair. Amid the gloom of earth's trials, the Holy Spirit alone
can cheer; sorrow and despair can be changed, by God's matchless grace,
into gratitude and gladness. Newton used to say, when inclined to dark,
Begone, unbelief, for my Saviour is near,
And for my relief will surely appear;
By prayer let me wrestle and he will perform;
With Christ in the vessel, I can smile at the storm.
* * * * * *
LIGHT AMID DARKNESS.
God's Word assures us that a little child shall lead them.
Mamma, do you know what God says? He that believeth in me hath
everlasting life. To behold Christ the light of the world is
Strong devotion to children will lead us to notice their sayings
and doings.What a beautiful and forcible illustration is this
incident recorded by her, the sayings of Christ, out of the mouth of
babes and sucklings he hath perfected praise. God is always doing
wonders. He confounds the mighty.
Children are Christ's best representatives.To teach the
disciples humility he set the child in their midst and said, Except ye
be converted and become as little children ye shall in no wise enter
into the kingdom of heaven. The day spring from on high visited this
* * * * * *
LOVE REMEMBERED BEGETS CONFIDENCE IN GOD.
I will trust Him for He has always cared for me in the past.
How beautifully appropriate in this connection is the twenty-third
Psalm, that we used to sing among the purple heather in the sunny days
of childhood with those who have gone home to yonder land of light and
The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want.
He makes me down to lie
In pasture's green; he leadeth me
The quiet waters by.
My soul he doth restore again
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness
Ev'n for his own name's sake.
Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
Yet will I fear none ill,
For thou art with me; and thy rod
And staff me comfort still.
My table thou hast furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.
Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me;
And in God's house for evermore
My dwelling place shall be.
Said an old Christian (a member of my church) seventy-eight years of
age, whose dear partner of his joys and sorrows whom I called to see in
her deep affliction (for she had fallen and broken a limb), as I read
the above psalm to them before engaging in prayer, I remember when a
boy at home of hearing my dear kind mother rocking the children to
sleep singing that good old psalm of the Hebrew bard.
I received a telegram recently to call and see a wealthy
manufacturer's mother from Ayrshire, who was stricken with paralysis.
As I entered the room and took her hand, I said:
I suppose you feel now in your sickness that the Lord is your
Yes, said she, and He leadeth me beside the still waters.
Shortly afterward she peacefully fell asleep in Jesus.
CHAPTER XV. MISCELLANEOUS EXTRACTS
FROM HER DIARY.
Have you heard of that wonderful city,
Whose walls are of jasper and gold?
Whose inhabitants ever are happy,
And never grow weary or old?
Have you heard of those emblems of vict'ry,
That all of the glorified bear?
Of the star-bedecked crowns of rejoicing
Which all of the ransomed shall wear?
HER GRATITUDE TO THE NEW YORK FLOWER MISSION.In the middle of a
busy summer she writes: The Flower Mission has enabled me to bring
some brightness and pleasure to the sufferers on sick beds, for which I
am very grateful.
Her ardent love of sweet, sweet nature is fully exemplified by
frequent visits to the New York Flower Mission Society's Rooms.
How refreshing to the sight of the sufferer are those gifts of
earth's adornment. And how pleasing are the words of the poet Burns:
The snowdrop and primrose the woodlands adorn
And the violets they bathe in the weet of the morn.
THE YOUNG JEWESS.Writing under this head, she says: Some time
since I became acquainted with a young Jewess, who was very sick. I
visited her from time to time, carrying her some little comforts and a
bouquet of flowers. I also read and prayed with her, which displeased
her mother. But ere long her daughter became a Christian, and when I
asked her one day if she fully believed in Jesus as her Messiah, she
replied, 'Oh, yes.' She always came to church, but being an invalid and
dependent on her mother, she could not come out boldly and confess
Christ. I have learned since that she has married a Christian man, is a
member of the Presbyterian Church, and is a happy woman.
It is quite possible for this young Jewess in her sickness to have
been led to the holy cross of Jesus through the missionary's
thoughtfulness in bringing sunshine into this sick room by those
beautiful and fragrant flowers.
THE FORSAKEN GERMAN WOMAN.Of this case she states: A poor woman
who had come from Germany not long ago, felt herself forsaken by all,
and longed for her old home. Telling her of the love of Christ, she
seemed to receive God's word with gratitude, and was very thankful for
the little temporal aid I could give her.
The great charm in her life was her almost universal benevolence to
all in deep distress. Consider this German woman forsaken and far from
her native home. She sighed for
Her dear sweet fatherland, and gazed across the sea,
But could not get a blink o' her ain countrie.
Oh! how blessed! truly blessed are those who are thus like minded.
Oh! the rich and inestimable value of such a life. Who can really
estimate the power of such human affection? It is emphatically real,
true, solid, and substantial. How influential! How full of Christ-like
generosity! Where can we find one so full of the spirit of her dear
master? Her life was spent for the temporal as well as the spiritual
welfare of those with whom she was providentially brought in contact.
See how tenderly she noticed the change wrought among her
parishioners, after her return from a short respite from her incessant
labors. Some were dead, others were sick. To minister to these was her
continuous occupation. She felt her days were short, and as she
remarked on her own death-bed, I must finish my work. Hence, short
were her intervals of repose. She says:
The prospects of the poor are beginning to brighten. Some, who have
been out of work for some time, have now found employment. In the month
of February, of the two hundred families I visited, forty on whom their
families were depending for support were without any employment. I have
gathered several into the church and the Sabbath-school, as well as the
prayer-meeting, which is well attended. God help the poor!
And again, after a somewhat short respite from her labors, she
On my return from my vacation, I found many sick, and some had been
called away from this life. Mrs. L., whom I had long visited, had
fallen asleep in Jesus. Another poor woman who had lost her husband and
a darling child was greatly afflicted. She was willing and glad to hear
of the Saviour who knows all our sorrows, and has promised to comfort
the afflicted with His own presence.
Yes, this is emphatically true. For what sayeth God through the
Oh! Israel, fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee
by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passeth through the waters, I
will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow
thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned;
neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God,
the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour. I gave Egypt for thy ransom,
Ethiopia and Sebia for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou
hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men
for thee, and people for thy life.
A Storm of Starvation, Sickness, and Death.The Widow's Lament.A
Father and Three Children Rescued.The Stranger in the City.During
the last month I have met with a great deal of destitution, many
persons out of employment, several families without fire or food, and
the most of them had never known want before, but knew not where to
apply for aid.
One poor woman, whose husband was in the Island Hospital, I called
to see on the Wednesday before the last great storm. She had just sent
her little boy to see his father, and was, with her five children,
without fire or food. The day before she had divided her last five cent
loaf among them. I immediately went to the Visitor of the district, who
gave her groceries and coal, but before she received the aid word came
that her husband was dead. She is a Protestant, but has been living in
careless neglect of her duty to God. She now became very penitent, and
lamented her past life, believing, as she herself affirmed, that God
had been afflicting her for her sins. I think I shall be able to get
her aid from the Widows' Society.
Some time ago, visiting in a tenement house, I inquired at one of
the doors if there were any children there who did not go to
Sabbath-school, and was answered by a boy that he did not go. I then
asked him to go to our school. He consented, and on the following
Sabbath three of the children came, and since then have induced their
father to attend church, and he appears to be one of the most attentive
A few days since I visited the family, and found his wife to be a
very interesting woman. As I entered the room, the children told their
mother I was from the church. She seemed glad to see me, and told me of
the many trials she had met with. She was a stranger in the city,
having recently come in from the country, where they had lived in
comfort, but since then have been greatly reduced. She wept sore, as
she told me that her husband had no employment at present. He looks
over the papers every day, but as yet can find no situation. I begged
her not to be discouraged, but put her trust in the Lord, and He would
not forsake her. She said she felt much encouraged from the interest
her husband had taken in matters of religion, and regretted she had
never made a profession herself. Before I left I prayed with her, and
when I bade her good-by, she put her arms around my neck and wept,
saying it was the Lord who sent me to her, and asked me to come soon
That same evening her husband attended our prayer-meeting, and it
was remarked by several present how very attentive and interested he
Fidelity in the performance of duty is always rewarded by getting
assistance from kind Christian friends. The last five cent loaf is
divided among the children. It is a terrible picture to study. A storm
without, starvation within, and a father sick in the hospital. Can you
imagine a more heartrending scene than the one so graphically portrayed
by this missionary woman? Picture the moral heroism displayed in her
tender appeals for help to this death-stricken household.
Bible illustrations are always the best:
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil: my cup runneth over.Ps. xxiii. 5.
There is no want to them that fear Him. They that seek the Lord
shall not want any good thing.Ps. xxxiv. 9-10.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all
these things shall be added unto you.Matt. vi. 33.
My God shall supply all your need, according to his riches in glory
by Christ Jesus.Phil. iv. 19.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. Who giveth us richly all
things to enjoy.1 Tim. vi. 6, 17.
I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat,
or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on: is
not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Wherefore, if
God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is
cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little
faith? Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What
shall we drink? or, wherewithal shall we be clothed? For your heavenly
Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.Matt. vi. 25,
* * * * * *
DISCOURAGEMENT AND ENCOURAGEMENT.
She begged this woman not to be discouraged, but to put her trust in
the Lord. How comforting is the word in this connection, He that
dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the
shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my fortress; my
God, in Him will I trust.
1. Consider the happiness of those who put their trust in the Lord.
Everyone who neglects to do this may reasonably expect that God will
hide his face from them.
2. See the benefits that flow from the reciprocal influence of
religion. She felt encouraged because her husband was interested in
3. Trials ought to be spiritually discerned. We form a very wrong
estimate of religion if we think that God's gifts of grace are
invariably conferred upon the prosperous. Many have the smiles of His
providence who are not basking in the sunshine of His reconciling
* * * * * *
IF WE FORSAKE GOD, HE WILL ALSO FORSAKE US.
She had not discharged her duty to God, etc.How quickly she
recognized the vital importance of discharging duty to God as
infinitely superior to all others. Penitence for sin omitted and
committed against a holy Being who has purer eyes than to behold
iniquity. This thought is put in the foreground; sin brings affliction.
Repentance was the first subject selected by John, and Christ himself,
to proclaim to the people of Palestine, Repent, for the Kingdom of
heaven is at hand. Why does it imply simply a change of mind?
Laments her past life.Living in the careless neglect of her
duty to God, she censures herself, evidently experiencing that Godly
sorrow for sin which needeth not to be repented of. How many, alas!
sadly neglect to confess and forsake their sin until the setting of
He consented, etc.The old story-telling with gentle,
winning words, at the door of the tenement-house, accompanied with the
loving invitation to come to Jesus, are deeply impregnated with
never-ceasing influence. Three children and a father persuaded to
attend the means of grace on the Sabbath, in God's sanctuary. What a
striking reflection of the character of Him who sat weary and way-worn
on Jacob's well. Surely a truly devoted missionary of the holy cross of
Jesus is an angel on this sin-blighted earth, where, through penury and
sorrow, hearts are almost crushed with despair. She is Christ's
Seemed glad to see me, etc.Why, dear Christian reader?
Because she brought rays of heavenly sunshine of God's peace and
gratitude and gladness into many a benighted heart; thus inspiring,
encouraging, and arousing within the soul blessed remembrances of a
covenant-keeping God, even toward His poor, wayward, backsliding
What an unspeakable privilege to unbosom one's trials and
difficulties into the ear of a faithful servant of God. But ought we
not to thank the Father of Light that the throne of grace has been
erected, and we are kindly invited to come boldly into His immediate
presence, through the rent veil of our Redeemer's flesh, that we may
obtain mercy and find grace to help us in every time of need?
Consider the change from comfort in the country to circumstances of
cheerlessness in the city. Many make a sad mistake in leaving their
country home to come to the city to be crowded in a tenement-house.
Drawn thither, perhaps, by the glare and din and bustle, to mingle in
the sin and sorrow. She described the woman as weeping sorely. Weeping
may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. What an
inexpressible comfort to those who feel their loneliness in the city,
then Jesus wept and said that he was friendless and homeless. He hath
trodden the wine-press alone, of the people there was none with him.
Poverty and hunger is a great temptation to a woman in the city. How
comforting to know that Christ was tempted in this respect. For we read
in God's divinely inspired word:
Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be
tempted of the devil. And when he Had fasted forty days and forty
nights, he afterward hungered. And the tempter came and said unto him:
If thou art the son of God, command that these stones become bread. But
he answered and said: It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Then the
devil taketh him into the holy city; and he set him on the pinnacle of
the temple, and saith unto him, If thou art the Son of God, cast
thyself down: for it is written,
He shall give his angels charge concerning thee:
And on their hands they shall bear thee up,
Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Jesus said unto him, Again it is written, Thou shalt not tempt the
Lord thy God.Matt. iv. 68.
To such weary ones we would say, remember the words of the blessed
Jesus: Let not your hearts be troubled, etc., for
I have read of a land whose inhabitants say
I am sick, I am weary, no more,
And I pine, 'mid the burdens and heat of the day,
For a glimpse of that life-giving shore.
Eye hath not seen it, and ear hath not heard,
Yet all my spirit with longing is stirred;
Oh, glory exceeding my heart's utmost pleading!
Eternal, eternal the weight of thy bliss!
On Resisting Temptation.Thomas A. Kempis says: So long as
we live in this world we cannot be without tribulation and temptation.
Hence it is written in Job, The life of man upon earth is a life of
Every one therefore ought to be careful about his temptations, and
to watch in prayer, lest the devil find an advantage to deceive him;
for he never sleepeth, but goeth about, seeking whom he may devour.
No man is so perfect and holy, but he hath sometimes temptations,
and we cannot be altogether without them.
Nevertheless temptations are often very profitable to us, though
they be troublesome and grievous; for in them a man is humbled,
purified, and instructed.
All the Saints passed through man's tribulations and temptations,
and profited thereby.
And they that could not bear temptations, became reprobate, and fell
There is no order so holy, nor place so secret, as that there be not
temptations, or adversities in it.
There is no man that is altogether free from temptations whilst he
liveth on earth: for the root thereof is in ourselves, who are born
with inclination to evil.
When one temptation or tribulation goeth away, another cometh; and
we shall ever have something to suffer, because we are fallen from the
state of our felicity.
Many seek to fly temptations, and fall more grievously into them.
By flight alone we cannot overcome, but by patience and true
humility we become stronger than all our enemies.
He that only avoideth them outwardly, and doth not pluck them up by
the roots, shall profit little; yea, temptations will the sooner return
unto him, and will be more violent than before.
By little and little, and by the very beginning, unlearn evil
habits, lest perhaps by little and little they draw thee to greater
Oh! if thou didst but consider how much inward peace unto thyself,
and joy unto others, thou wouldst procure by demeaning thyself well, I
think that thou wouldst be more careful of thy spiritual progress.
Of the Profit of Adversity.It is good that we have
sometimes some troubles and crosses; for they often make a man enter
into himself, and consider that he is here in banishment, and ought not
to place his trust in any worldly thing.
It is good that we be sometimes contradicted, and that men think ill
or inadequately; and this, although we do and intend well.
These things help often to the attaining of humility, and defend us
from vain glory: for then we are more inclined to seek God for our
inward witness, when outwardly we be contemned by men, and when there
is no credit given unto us.
And therefore a man should settle himself so fully in God, that he
needs not to seek many comforts of men.
When a good man is afflicted, tempted, or troubled with evil
thoughts, then he understandeth better the great need he hath of God,
without whom he perceiveth he can do nothing that is good.
Then also he sorroweth, lamenteth, and prayeth, by reason of the
miseries he suffereth.
Then he is weary of living longer, and wisheth that death would
come, that he might depart and be with Christ.
Then also he well perceiveth, that perfect security and full peace
cannot be had in this world.
Before I left, I prayed with her.This brings before us
another very touching scene in the life of St. Paul. His final farewell
to the elders of Ephesus. When he had spoken unto them he kneeled down
and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore and fell on Paul's
neck and kissed him. Sorrowing most of all for the words which he
spoke, that they should see his face no more, and they accompanied him
unto the ship. If this course was persistently pursued by all Christian
workers how manifold would be the blessings conferred on our labors. It
would be found that many a poor sin-burdened heart would be instantly
relieved of its load of care. For if we ask, we shall receive.
We are called upon, not to go forth in our own name, or in our own
strength, but in the name of Him who said, Lo! I am with you alway,
even to the end of the world; and when one reflects on the many sad
scenes and circumstances with which she was constantly surrounded, we
ought to thank God that in every age of the Christian Church, he has
raised up men and women who were willing to go with the name of Jesus
to the distressed and dying, and to speak that name in all its living
* * * * * *
A MOTHER AND DAUGHTER GIVEN A BIBLE AND ITS RESULT.
Of this incident she writes: A woman and her daughter, whom I have
been visiting for some time, and to whom I have given a Bible, have
become greatly changed, and attended our place of worship last Sabbath.
They gave evidence of having been very deeply impressed. The mother
said, with the Lord helping her, she will live no longer as she has
done. This woman has been greatly tried. On the day of the great storm,
her husband left Washington, where he had been employed some time, and
has never since been heard of. He was her only means of support, as the
rest of the family were out of employment. Her daughter is a very
interesting young woman, and would like a situation as seamstress and
nurse. I would have no fear in recommending her to any one who might
need her services.
Notice, 1. That love and reverence for God's Word inspires one with
a desire to distribute the Sacred Scriptures. There are various reasons
for this. In the first place, because of the moral influence the
revealed will of God has had on the world. When we think of the benign
and salutary influence of the Bible by its circulation throughout the
length and breadth of the land, nay, all lands, by the British and
Foreign Bible Society, and the American Bible Society, we have great
reason to rejoice at the marvellous success that has attended their
labors. Surely it is indited by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It
has been transmitted to us, from generation to generation, unaltered
and uninjured; the simple yet sublime boonGod's loving letters to
What glory gilds the sacred page!
Majestic like the sun!
It gives a light to every age;
It gives but borrows none.
The power that gave it still supplies
The gracious light and heat;
Its truth upon the nations rise;
They rise but never set!
In the beginning was the Word. Christ is the Word. It giveth
light. Read His power in the Gospel. Notice the connection between
natural light and spiritual faith in Christ.
And as they went out from Jericho, a great multitude followed
Christ. And behold two blind men sitting by the way side, when they
heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, Lord, have mercy on
us, thou son of David. And the multitude rebuked them, that they should
hold their peace; but they cried out the more, saying, Lord, have mercy
on us thou son of David. And Jesus stood still, and called them, and
said, What will ye that I should do unto you? They say unto him, Lord,
that our eyes may be opened. And Jesus being moved with compassion
touched their eyes, and straightway they received their sight and
2. The infinite superiority of the Divine Word to that of all
earthly traditions, and the best literary productions is best judged by
results. The works of Plato, Lycurgus, Demosthenes, Homer, Virgil,
Dante, Milton, Scott, Burns, Bryant, and Longfellow are not for one
moment to be compared to the Bible. When Scott, the great writer, was
departing life, he turned to his son-in-law, Lockhart, and said:
Bring me the Book.
What book? asked Lockhart.
There is but one Bookthe Bible! was the reply. What spiritual
and spontaneous enthusiasm in Divine things are stirred within us when
we read the sacred pages.
Now turn to the picture painted by her who is now with the redeemed
on high; she says:
After receiving the Bible they were greatly changed, and
attended our place of worship on the Sabbath. They gave evidence of
being now deeply impressed. What impressed them? Two things worthy of
notice: 1. The Word. 2. The Worship. Now, there are some people who
imagine that they can go to heaven if they stay at home and read the
Bible. This is all very well in its place, but we must not forget the
assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is. Some try to
live a Christian life outside of the Church. This is a sad mistake.
CHAPTER XVI. STRUGGLES AND TRIUMPHS.
Oh! land of the blessed, thy shadowless skies
Sometimes in my dreaming I see:
I hear the glad songs that the glorified sing
Steal over eternity's sea.
Though dark are the shadows that gather between,
I know that thy morning is fair;
I catch but a glimpse of thy glory and light,
And whisper. Would God I were there!
O Saviour, prepare my spirit to share
Forever with thee those mansions fair.
There is never a day so dreary but God by his Holy spirit can
illumine the darkness by revealing to the Christian the home beyond the
flood. He giveth to his beloved songs in the night. There is no
pathway in life so intricate but what if we ask divine guidance He will
give it. There are crosses in this brief life, that must be carried
patiently and joyfully until the end of the journey. Oh! how comforting
is the thought that in all our afflictions Christ was afflicted, and
the angel of His presence strengthened Him. Those hands that were
nailed to the Cross on Calvary, are constantly stretched out to assist
the way-worn traveller up the rugged road of life. There never was a
human heart so crushed and broken by the sorrows of earth but what
Christ can heal, for that heart that was broken on Golgotha pants and
heaves toward earth's sufferers. How beautifully expressive is the
Though now ascended up on high,
He bends on earth a brother's eye.
The tender watch care of the God of Israel is the same to-day as it
was when Ruth, the Moabitess, said unto Naomi: Let me now go to the
field, and glean ears of corn after him in whose sight I shall find
grace. And she said unto her: Go, my daughter. And she went, and came,
and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and her hap was to light on
a part of the field belonging unto Boaz.... And, behold! Boaz came from
Bethlehem, and said unto the reapers: The Lord be with you. (Ruth ii.
2-4.) In this whole narrative we behold the law of loving kindness of
Jehovah strikingly exemplified through His own covenanted people. He
reveals, in a marvellous manner, His grace and goodness to thousands of
them that love Him and keep His commandments. Hence, the virtue of
every benevolent transaction lies in the motive by which we are
actuated. As Paul says: The love of Christ constrains us. Whatever we
give, whatever God's children do for the alleviation of the sorrows and
sufferings of earth, they do it with an eye single to His glory, they
continually hear Christ's voice saying unto them: This do in
remembrance of me.
We see these principles practically illustrated in the wonderful
experience of her whose struggles and triumphs for the blessed Christ
we are now prayerfully considering. For example, in February, 1874, she
Through the kindness of those interested in the poor, I have been
enabled to supply the wants of many. One kind lady, belonging to the
Bible Society, gave me ten dollars, part to assist one family with fuel
and groceries, and the rest for another, where the husband had been ill
for a long time, and finding it difficult to obtain employment, had
been suffering for the common necessaries of life. I also received
orders from this lady for coal and groceries, for other poor families,
to be obtained through the visitors of the poor.
In one home where I placed some provisions on the table, a little
boy said to his mother, 'Mamma, mustn't you get down and pray, and
thank God for these things?' When I enter some of these homes they are
full of sadness and gloom, but I am often thankful to feel I leave hope
and cheerfulness behind me, when I go away. In the greater number of
these families it is want of employment that causes the troublethey
are willing and anxious to work, but it cannot be procured.
One family, consisting of a husband, wife, and three children, the
youngest ten days old, was found very destitute. They had parted with
even every article of clothing, except what they had on, and had
neither fuel nor food. The poor woman wept as she said, 'She had never
before known such destitution.' I gave them some relief, and then
engaged in prayer with them. They were both much affected, and said it
was the first time a prayer had ever been offered in that house by any
one. I sent them some coal, and procured other relief for them, and now
they are comfortable, the man having obtained some work.
Another family, in which there are two children (the father dying
of consumptionthe mother very delicate), are wholly dependent on
charity. The woman is very industrious, and always ready to do what she
can, but it is hard to procure employment. I have read and talked with
the man, after supplying their temporal wants, and especially impressed
upon him the promise, 'Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name it shall be
given to you.' He listenedhad been thinking of his past lifebut he
said all seemed dark to him. I have prayed with him, and he thought
light broke in upon him. He said, 'He saw more clearly,' and after some
days professed to be happy. And now, while the tears rolled down his
cheeks, he says, 'I am willing to go and (looking around on the little
circle) resign all these into the arms of Jesus.' I prayed with him
before I left.
A friend asked me to go and see a poor sick woman in the same
destitute circumstances, the husband being out of work. A sad sight met
my eyes; the poor woman lay coughing on the bed, as if she could not
last much longer, the children standing by the bed, dirty and uncared
for; the floor black, window curtain hanging in rags, while the mother
could do nothing. They receive one dollar a week from the Poor
Association. I assisted her, and promised to look to the children;
talked with her and then read and prayed. She clasped my hand as I
arose from my knees and said, 'You are the first person who ever prayed
with me; oh! it makes me happy, and I hope God will hear your prayers.'
Trial seems to open the hearts of these poor ones to religious
A few days since, visiting a little girl (belonging to a Catholic
family) who is in our Sewing-school, the mother put her hand in her
pocket and took out some change, saying, 'This is all the money I have
at present, take it and use it for the poor; I wish it was a great deal
more, and,' she added, 'when you find any one hungry and wanting a loaf
of bread, come to me, and I will give you some money; my little girl
often tells me what you say to her in the Sewing-school, or when you
meet her in the street.' Thus I receive encouragement on every side,
and am never in want of some aid for those who need it so much. My dear
friend, who was removed from me by death last summer, often used to
say, 'Never fear, Mrs. Knowles, when the Lord takes away one support,
he raises another.' And so I have found it. My Superintendent is always
ready to assist, and our Sewing-school, aided by her and other ladies,
is very prosperous. Perhaps want may drive many to us, but we
trust they will be also benefited by the instruction there received,
and carry the lessons home.
One poor woman gave me a dollar for a Bible I left with her some
months since. 'For,' she says, 'the Lord has blessed her since she has
begun to read it.' Another poor woman paid 25 cents for one, for 'she
wanted it in the house for the good of the children.' And two others
were also sold.
A number of children have been brought to Sabbath-school, and
several induced to attend church. In beginning a New Year, I trust
increased devotion to the work will bring on added blessing.
How tenderly and lovingly she notes the kind lady who gave her the
ten dollars for the sick family whose prop and stay was out of
Those who are familiar with the sad sights of want and woe in all
our large cities, will be able to appreciate the naturalness of the
foregoing description of missionary work among the poor and lowly.
Shakespeare's account of a complete lady lacks one essential
qualification, benevolence. He says:
If lusty love should go in quest of beauty,
Where should he find it fairer than in Blanch?
If zealous love should go in search of virtue,
Where should he find it purer than in Blanch?
If love ambitious sought a match of birth,
Whose veins bound richer blood than Lady Blanch?
What a magnificent portrait is here drawn of truly rounded,
symmetrically developed Christian womanhood, and true ladyship is here
pencilled in the diary of the departed. There are some women who win
men toward them by their wonderful conversational powers. They can talk
by the hour; but when you approach them on the question of finance, for
the cause of Home or Foreign Missions, they are like the colored man
who was a great talker and a lusty singer, but a very poor giver, and
when the collection box was being passed around, he closed his eyes and
kept on singing, Roll, Gospel, roll; when the deacon put the box
under his nose, and said, I say, Brother Sam, what are you gwine to
give to make the Gospel roll around the world? The distinction is very
positively affirmed by Christ between those who will be at the last on
his right hand, and those on his left, by the inasmuch as ye did it
not unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it not unto me.
I remember once during the same year in which the circumstances we are
now commenting on transpired, of calling upon a friend, a broker in
Wall Street of this city, and after some general conversation about
Christian work, he called me into his rear office and said:
How are you getting along financially?
Well, I said, I am able to keep my head above water.
Ah! he replied, I have been watching you in your work, and want
to make you a present of fifty dollars for your immediate wants.
I looked upon him with astonishment and exclaimed:
How is it, my friend, you can be so kind to me, as I am a
comparative stranger to you?
Well, he said, I believe you are doing the Lord's work, and I
feel that all the money belongs unto Him, and I am only his steward.
What is the ultimate design of Christ knocking at the door of the
heart? Is it not that we may be like Him? He gave himself for us. Can
we then withhold our alms to the poor? He may take His departure, and
we may receive in our hearts the spirit of avariciousness and
selfishness. I am sure if any of the ladies connected with the New York
Bible Society will read the simple story of God's dealings with this
missionary woman, their hearts will swell with great gratitude and
gladness, to think that God enabled them to contribute of their
substance to the poor and needy, through this humble worker in the
master's vineyard. Let us ever remember that we are under peculiar
obligations to God for all we have and all we so richly enjoy.
Our true condition is one of absolute subserviency and absolute
dependence. We are not our own, we are bought with a price, even the
peace-speaking blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our hand must clothe the humble poor,
Our store the hungry feed.
Our homes the stranger must receive
And shelter in his need;
Each others burdens we must bear,
Each others faults forgive,
And thus in perfect peace with all,
And perfect union, live.
What an astonishing amount of pathos is manifested in the joyous
outbursts of gratitude and thankfulness in the heart of this boy when
their wants were supplied, indicated by his child-like words: Mamma,
mustn't you get down and pray, and thank God for all these things?
Absorbed in serious reflection, he instantly and spontaneously
recognized God as the giver of every good and perfect gift, the father
of lights with whom there is no variableness, nor the least shadow of
turning. Surely out of the mouths of babes and sucklings He hath
perfected praise. It is remarkable how quickly children recognize
heavenly things. Train up a child in the way it should go, and when it
is old it will not depart from it. The early desire to pray deeply,
implanted in the tender breast by the mother, can never be obliterated.
CHAPTER XVII. LEADING SOULS TO
Hark! through Nature's vast cathedral,
Blended echoes ever rise,
Swelling in a mighty anthem
To its overarching skies.
Every great and noble action
Is re-echoed o'er and o'er;
Life itself is but an echo
Of the lives that were before.
Our daily life ought to be an echo of the life of Christ. Just as
God is in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing unto
man his trespasses, so the great aim of the Christian ought to be to
lead souls to Jesus. The Rev. Dr. W. M. Taylor, of the Broadway
Tabernacle, tells the story of how, when Hector was going to his last
battle, and his wife Andromache accompanied him as far as the gates of
the city, they were followed by a nurse carrying in her arms their
infant child. When he was about to depart, Hector held out his hands to
receive the little one, but, terrified by the burnished helmet, and the
waving plume, the child turned away and clung, crying, to his nurse's
neck. In a moment, divining the cause of the infant's alarm, the
warrior took off his helmet and laid it on the ground, and then,
smiling through his tears, the little fellow leaped into his father's
arms. Now, similarly, Jehovah of hosts, Jehovah with his helmet on,
would frighten us weak guilty ones away; but in the person of the Lord
Jesus He has laid that helmet off, and now the guiltiest and the
neediest are encouraged to go to His fatherly embrace and avail
themselves of His support.
Under date of February, 1875, Mrs. Knowles writes that she has been
successful, during the past two months, in bringing many persons to
attend church, and a number of children to the Sabbath-schools; and she
I am much encouraged by the attention paid to the reading of the
Scriptures. I have also made many hearts glad by supplying their
families with food and clothing, and at some places where I have not
given anything, and have referred to it, I have been answered with:
'You have done a great deal for us by teaching us to trust in the
Thought ought to operate between two limitsthe one of time, the
other of eternity.
The Sabbath-school and the Church are inseparably linked with earth
and heaven. Train up a child in the way it should go, and when it is
old it will not depart from it. The first book put into my hand when a
boy, in the public school of my native land, was the Bible. And the
first book I had to study in the Sabbath-school was the Shorter
Catechism. These two books have exerted a benign and salutary influence
on my whole life. Now, what the study of mathematics is to the
intellect by disciplining and imparting the power to reason
consecutively, thus tranquillizing the judgment by furnishing
demonstrative knowledge, even so the sermons heard in the House of God,
and the lessons taught in the Sabbath-school, and all the outward
spiritual truth conveyed to the heart of the hearer, quickens the soul
into newness of life; hence the injunction of the Apostle:
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for
He is faithful that promised;)
And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love, and to good
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner
of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see
the day approaching.
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of
the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.
But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery
indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three
Her chief delight was to lead men, women, and children to the house
of God. It does not seem strange, therefore, when we find the foregoing
emphatic declaration in her diary: I am much encouraged by the
attention paid to the reading of the Scriptures. This is the
glorious result of getting people first to attend to the means of grace
in the sanctuary on the Lord's day. How greatly cheered she must have
been in her work to hear the welcome words: You have done a great
deal for us, by teaching us to TRUST IN GOD.
What is God's estimate of those who trust in Him? Here the mind is
forever set at rest. He proffers innumerable blessings to those who
confide in Him, and we will, right now and here, give our attention
to a few of the many precious promises by which God richly entertains
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee;
because he trusteth in thee; trust ye in the Lord forever; for in the
Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.Isa. xxvi. 3-4.
He that putteth his trust in me, shall possess the land, and
inherit my holy mountain.Isa. lvii. 13.
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the
Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters and that
spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat
cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the
year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.Jer. xvii.
CHAPTER XVIII. THE DYING MOTHER AND
THE INTEMPERATE HUSBAND.
I know there are realms where the voices of song
Never cease 'neath a burden of tears.
And I seek, 'mid earth-discord, the sound of a strain,
Falling sweet from those radiant spheres.
We scarcely ever knew of a more touching account of a dying
mother, than the following graphic narrative:
One poor woman whom I mentioned before has just died. Surrounded as
she was by Romanists, she stood firm in the belief in which she had
been instructed by her father in her youth. Some time since I took her
little girl to Sabbath-school, and a short time ago her teacher found
her earnestly seeking Christ. She has since given good evidence of
being a Christian, and has united with the church. I was the only
friend visiting the mother during her last illness, whom she desired to
come to read and pray with her. She mourned over much of her past life,
but had much to contend with from those around her. A few days before
she died she said, 'she would be better soon.' I asked her what she
meant. She answered, 'When I go to be with Jesus;' but she added, 'Who
will see to my little girl?' I told her I would. Once again I saw her;
she was composed and at peace, saying, 'She would soon be at home.'
See how she pictures the intense solicitude of the mother after her
child, in the loving and sweet inquiry (so faithfully remembered and
carefully recorded), Who will see to my little girl? See her quiet
and Christ-like spontaneous response, that she would. Here we are
forcibly reminded of a scene in New Testament times. In the ninth
chapter of the Acts of the Apostles we read:
Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which, by
interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and
alms-deeds which she did.
And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died:
whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.
And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had
heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him
that he would not delay to come to them.
Then Peter arose, and went with them. When he was come, they
brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him
weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made while she
was with them.
The last part of her diary is extremely touching. But this sorrowful
sight presented to our view is only one of the many that frequently
occur in a city like New York. They harrow the refined feelings of the
faithful missionary. If such scenes are so distressing, what must have
been the experience of Him who was made sin for us, and who daily
mingled with sinners. He who knew no sin that we might be made the
righteousness of God in Him. Let her tell her own story.
A few days since I visited a woman whose husband had beaten her
till she was almost helpless. She told me about his coming to her with
a knife, and expected he would have taken her life. She asked me to
engage in prayer with her. He sat by, apparently unmoved. When I was
leaving, he asked me to forgive him. I told him it was not me he must
ask; he must go to God for forgiveness. It was distressing to see the
poor wife, as she asked me what she must do, as she had no friend on
earth but me. I then spoke to the husband; he said he was very sorry he
had acted so badly, and would drink no more. I intend getting
him to sign the pledge, which he says he will do.
The evils of intemperance meet us in so many ways, we often feel
discouraged, and yet at times a case occurs which bids us work on
and hope on. The man mentioned above from that time continued to
refrain from drink, and has treated his wife well ever since. She wept
with gratitude as she told me, a few evenings since, that he came in
and handed her all his money as he had received it for work, never
having opened it. She could never forget the day when I came in and
found almost everything in the room broken to pieces, and his promise
which he faithfully made to me that he would try and do right.
Eternity alone will reveal to our astonished gaze the number of
forlorn and sad hearts that were made to rejoice in the pardoning mercy
of God through her weak instrumentality.
How comforting is the thought that His word shall not return unto
Him void, but it will accomplish that which He please, and prosper in
the thing wherein he hath sent it. It either proves the saviour of
life unto life, or of death unto death. If we harden our hearts in the
day of affliction we grieve the Holy Spirit away from us. But sickness
and penury properly received soften the heart and lead to repentance
and transformation of life. Here is a practical illustration of this
Another family I found, with two children lying ill with
diphtheria. They were living in a basement room, and were very poor.
The father had been out of work for some time, and the mother's sewing
had supported the family, but now her time was taken up with attending
to the sick children. I provided some nourishment, and the next time I
called, the mother was lying ill with typhoid fever. A poor woman was
taking care of them, risking her own life and that of her own children,
and another poor neighbor had taken home the third child to preserve it
from infection. They had but little covering, and I procured what was
needed from the Home of the Friendless, and a dear friend gave me a
bundle of clothing for them. They have since recovered, and having a
friend who owned a tenement-house, I spoke to her about them, and they
are now removed there, and are quite comfortable. Our kind ladies who
assist us at the sewing-school having sent us some turkeys for
distribution at Christmas I was able to furnish them with one; and
better still, the husband has obtained employment. They say they never
will forget the time when they had nothing, and now they have
everything so comfortable. They seem to feel it came from God.
Yes, He is the giver of every good and perfect gift, the Father of
lights with whom there is no variableness nor the least shadow of
turning. Without this perception and unless we return to God our
grateful acknowledgments, we cannot truly enjoy His blessings from
above. If God makes us the happy recipients of His favors it is our
bounden duty to return to him our heartfelt gratitude. This was the
feeling of the Psalmist when he said:
Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless his
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with
loving-kindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is
renewed like the eagle's.
CHAPTER XIX. HELP AND LOVING
Oh, give Thine own sweet rest to me
That I may speak with soothing power
A word in season, as from Thee,
To weary ones in needful hour.
That Mrs. Matilda Knowles, our beau ideal missionary,
possessed a thankful heart, we glean from her diary. She gives a deeply
interesting account of the recognition, on her part, of the gentle and
generous loving-kindnesses of those ladies who heartily co-operated
with her in lifting the burden of sin, sorrow, and sadness from poor
suffering humanity. She writes at the close of 1875, thus:
Our sewing-school kept its usual festival, thanks to our kind
ladies, Mrs. Harper, with Mrs. Fiske, and their friends, who
supplied us liberally, and made many very happy. I have also,
through the generosity of friends, been able to aid and
supply the wants of many who are in need, and I trust,
beginning a New Year, I may be able to work even more earnestly
 Wife of Mr. Fletcher Harper, of Harper Brothers,
Franklin Square, New York.
This wealthy and inestimable lady (Mrs. F. Harper) has also recently
entered into her rest and reward. We are glad to know, however, that
her daughter has taken up all her mother's work, as the following
communication will testify:
LAUREL HOUSE, LAKEWOOD, N.J.,
February 21, 1887.
REV. DUNCAN M. YOUNG,
DEAR SIR: I regret that I shall not be in New York for perhaps
couple of months, and therefore cannot see you in regard to the
subject of Mrs. Knowles' work. She assisted my dear mother for
years in the Industrial School, and was greatly honored and
by all connected with her in that work.
I do not think I can give you any information that you do not
already know, in regard to Mrs. Knowles; but if I knew a little
more as to what were your plans and desires in regard to
out a book from her notes, I might consider what I could do. In
case, it can be only in a very slight degree that I am able to
as I have taken up Mrs. F. Harper's work in all directions, as
as my own. Any further communication addressed here will reach
Very sincerely yours,
MRS. D. H. SIBLEY.
In our correspondence for the Master we are reminded of two things,
first, the letter sent by the beloved disciple, John, in his second
The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in
truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the
For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with
Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and
the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and
I rejoiced greatly, that I found of thy children walking in
as we have received a commandment from the Father.
And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new
commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the
that we love one another.
And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is
commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye
walk in it.
And second, her place of residence for her health is the scene of
our former labors for the Lord. In the vicinity of Lakewood we held
revival services, and preached every night to a crowded house for over
two months. Among those who were led to Christ was a physician and his
wife, three public school-teachers, and two brothersyoung menone of
them is now a minister of the gospel, the other the editor of a
Temperance paper in the city of Philadelphia. But we are rapidly
travelling to eternity, and these will, we know, be among the fruits of
our labor. Still, we have to watch for souls and the bringing in of a
brighter and better day, when one need not say to the other, Know ye
the Lord? for all shall know Him from the least even to the greatest.
When the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters
cover the channels of the great deep.
How beautiful and descriptive are the words of Mackay in his
Watcher on the Tower, that points to the time when, through the
labors of His servants, truth shall be triumphant, and sorrow and
sighing shall flee away:
It breaks, it comes, the misty shadows fly,
A rosy radiance gleams upon the sky;
The mountain-tops reflect it calm and clear;
The plain is yet in shade, but day is near.
CHAPTER XX. REACHING THE HEART.
Jesus, let me thus be waiting,
Full of hope, and love, and zeal
Let Thy coming, to my spirit,
Be a hope divine and real.
Dr. Hanna once said: The heart is an interpreter. It is not in the
intellect, it is in the conscience, in the heart, that the finest, most
powerful organs of spiritual vision lie. There are seals that cover up
many passages and pages of the Bible which no light or fire of genius
can dissolve; there are hidden riches here that no labor of mere
learned research can get at and spread forth. But those seals melt like
the snow-wreath beneath the warm breathings of desire and prayer, and
those riches drop spontaneously into the bosom of the humble and the
contrite, the poor and the needy.
The great President Edwards, in his admirable work on the
affections, declares that that religion which God requires, and will
accept, does not consist in weak and lifeless inclinations raised but a
little above a state of indifference. God, in His word, insists upon
it, that we should be in earnest, fervent in spirit, and having our
hearts vigorously engaged in religion. And now, Israel, what doth the
Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in
all his ways, and to love him; and to serve the Lord thy God with
all thy heart and with all thy soul. And the Lord thy God will
circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy
God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest
live.Deut. xxx. 6.
The primary object of the successful worker then is to reach the
hearts of the parents through the children, constantly remembering the
divinely inspired words, that a little child shall lead them. Let the
following extracts from her pen speak for themselves:
During the last month I have made two hundred and five visits,
brought eight children to the Sunday-school. I often find if we
gain the affection of the children it opens a way to the
hearts. For example: On entering a room one day, I asked if
a Bible. The father, a rough-looking man, said, 'We have no
buy Bibleswe need all our money to get something to eat.'
said I, 'if you have not the means to buy one I will give you
for nothing.' 'If I get it for nothing, I will thank you for
took him one the next day; he thanked me very politely, and
will read it.' I handed the little girl a tract, in which was a
picture of a child kneeling in prayer. The father seemed
and before leaving, I said to the child, 'Now, my dear, if you
to do as that little girl does, God will love you.' She looked
and said, 'Yes, ma'am.' When I called a few days after, the
said, 'My little girl did not forget her promise to you. Every
and morning she kneels down and prays, and thinks we should all
the same. I have been reading in the Bible. It tells us a great
good things, and when I get some clothes I shall try and come
* * * * * *
We must form our opinion of aggressive work for Christ by the fruits
that are produced. The pictorial tract put into the hands of the little
girl, and her subsequent conduct, elicited the attention of that
rough-looking father, and oh, what a blessed testimony to the power of
divine grace in the parental statement, Every night and morning she
kneels down and prays, and thinks we should all do the same. It is
evident that children feel the full force of the words of the apostle:
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by
the blood of Jesus, by a new and living; way, which he hath consecrated
for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; and having a high
priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart, in
full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil
conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
* * * * * *
In another place, she writes, where I visit, the father keeps a
dining saloon, and sells liquor. His daughter is in our Sunday-school,
and he always appears glad when I call. 'You are the only one,' he
says, 'who comes to do me good; I hope you will be blessed in your
work; go up-stairs and see my daughter. She is a lady,' he
added, 'although brought up in this way.' I generally read and pray
with her, and as I left her the last time, she said, 'I hope I shall
not always have to live in this way.' Her father was at the door as I
came down-stairs; he met me, saying, 'May the Lord bless you. Come as
often as you can; I would like to live a different life!' The daughter
is pleasing, and mourns still for her mother, who died three years
* * * * * *
Christ said I came not to send peace on earth but a sword. Now the
word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword.
The key of knowledge of the depravity of the heart is furnished the
liquor dealer in the above interview, by the concession, I would
like to live a different life. The saloon keepers generally
attribute their remaining in the business to the necessity of it in
order to obtain a livelihood. But there are other occupations in which
they could be diligently employed in order to maintain their families.
Imagine a frail, aged, weak woman, cheerfully bringing gospel light
into these dark dens of iniquity. It has been wisely said that the
organ of pluck and perseverance has been prominently developed in the
weaker sex from time immemorial, as in the case of Joan of Arc, Jennie
Mac Rae, and the noble band of Christian workers connected with the
Women's Christian Temperance Union of this country. The power of
womanly kindness is indescribable. Hence we must ever remember that God
has chosen the poor and weak things of this world to confound the
But to return to the diary. Here we find her intensely interested in
a poor blind girl, for she writes, in November of this year, the
About three years since, a young girl, a Roman Catholic, who
then a pupil at the Institution for the Blind, was brought to
notice. She became deeply interested in the Bible, and
embraced the Protestant faith, and since that time has
firm in her belief and practice. She remained at the
until the end of the term, which expired in June. It was now
necessary for her to seek another home. She was taken to the
of a relative, who insisted on her going to confession. This
refused, and was on this account rendered homeless. It was a
of great anxiety to know how to provide for her. The girl was
sincere, evidently willing, 'not only to believe in Christ, but
to suffer for His sake.' Her case was stated to some ladies who
an interest in her, and although they could not give her a
they kindly assisted in paying her board; other friends to whom
case was made known did the same, and she is now learning a
which we hope she will soon earn enough for her own support.
employer speaks well of her, and considers her very
Another case is that of a family who took no interest in the
subject of religion. They had a little daughter eight years of
who loved to sing of Jesus, and would always sit still to
the reading of Scripture. One day she urged her mother to give
the baby, who was eighteen months old, as her own. The
laughed, and said: 'You cannot take care of yourself; what will
do with him?' But she continued urging her request that the
might be given to her, until at last her mother said: 'Jimmy is
yours.' 'Well,' said the child, 'if he is mine, I will take him
wherever I go.' Soon after both children were taken sick, and
died, and were buried at the same time. This made a great
on the minds of their parents; their hearts have been softened,
they now listen with attention to the words of truth, and we
they may be led to follow the dear Saviour, who so loved their
little ones, that He gathered them into his fold.
* * * * * *
The death of loved ones frequently softens the heart. A few days
ago, I buried a dear, sweet girl belonging to the Sabbath-school, only
sixteen years of age. At the funeral service a man who had been
formerly an infidel was completely broken down. Why? because his little
boy was taken regularly to the school by this girl, and he inquired of
his father, Now that Fannie is dead, and has gone to be with Jesus,
who will take me to the school? The father responded, and said, I
will. Ever since the father takes him there, and now attends the
services at the church.
CHAPTER XXI. WINTER LIFE AND SCENES.
Shall He come and find me standing
From the worldling's joy apart,
Outside of its mirth and folly,
With a true and loyal heart?
On one occasion, in reference to a severe winter, she writes: This
has been the hardest winter I have known for years. The winters in New
York are sometimes very severe. And here we are reminded of Thomson's
vivid description of it in his Seasons. He prefixes it with this
Father of light and life! thou God supreme!
O, teach me what is good! teach me Thyself!
Save me from folly, vanity, and vice,
From every low pursuit! and feed my soul
With knowledge, conscious peace and virtue pure;
Sacred substantial, never-fading bliss!
SNOW MANTLES THE EARTH. DISTURBS THE COMFORT OF MANKIND.
The keener tempests rise; and fuming down
From all the livid east, or piercing north,
Thick clouds ascend; in whose capacious womb
A vapory deluge lies, to snow congealed.
Heavy they roll their fleecy world along,
And the sky saddens with the gathered storm.
We all know that a northwest snow-storm in this city is very cold
and biting. But amid the blinding snow-drift this woman could be seen
wending her way to homes of want, poverty, and wretchedness.
In order to recognize and appreciate her labors we have only to
contrast her aims and aspirations with another and far different class
that abound in all large cities, so graphically described by Pollock:
Ah! little think the gay licentious proud,
When pleasure, power, and affluence surround;
Ah! little think they of the sad variety of pain:
How many pine in want; how many bleed,
How many pine, how many drink the cup
Of baleful grief, or eat the bitter bread
Of misery; sore pierced by wintry winds.
Amid all such sad scenes this heroine bids us labor on in faith, and
she adds, Our labor will not be in vain. No, never! For, they
that go forth weeping, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless
return again rejoicing, bringing their sheaves with them.
What is faith? Faith is simply taking God at His word. Paul, in the
eleventh chapter of the Hebrews, reveals to us the victories God's
people obtained through faith. There is often something startling to
our sluggish spirits by a critical examination of the almost incredible
account of the power of faith. How tremendously efficacious. Oh! that
the Holy Spirit may reveal to us its vast importance.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed
about seven days.
By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not,
when she had received the spies with peace.
And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of
Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jepthae; of David also, and
Samuel, and of the prophets:
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained
promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out
of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight
the armies of the aliens.
Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were
tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better
And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea,
moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain
with the sword: they wandered about in sheep-skins and goat-skins;
being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and
in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith,
received not the promise;
God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us
should not be made perfect.
To lift with tender pitying hand,
Sin's victims, from the dust;
Reproach them not, nor chide their wrong,
Be kind as well as just;
A word may touch a sleeping chord
Of mem'ry pure and sweet,
And bring them, sorry for their sins,
To bow at Jesus' feet.
Go, seek them outpoor, wand'ring sheep,
That on the mountain cold,
Are hungrystarving now for bread
Go, lead them to the fold;
There comes a cheering thought to those
Who toil in patient love
Each soul reclaimed shall be a star
To deck their crown above.
If we but prayerfully consider the sad condition of the
unregenerate, and the innumerable antagonistic diabolical influences to
which they are constantly exposed, we will be able to accurately
understand the nature and importance of a city missionary's work, and
the great need there is of giving heed to the injunction of the Master,
Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves. There are few vices
which cannot be conquered by the Gospel, for it is the power of God
unto salvation to every one that believeth. Here the reader will behold
this illustrated, for she writes again:
In many places I have found it distressing to visit, the
destitution being so great; but through the assistance of kind friends,
I have been able to assist them in various ways, and thus have found a
way to their hearts, and they gladly receive me in many houses, and
listen with great attention to reading and prayer. One poor woman whom
I found, had been ill for some weeks, and while ministering to her
temporal wants I have not neglected her spiritual needs. She seems
truly awakened to the sinfulness of her past life, and feels her need
of Christ. She begged me to visit her daughter and try to influence
her. I have spent some happy seasons in that attic-room, and when I
leave she puts her arms around me, kissing me, and asking me to come
A man asked me for a Testament, saying he wanted to read it for
himself. I gave him one, and on visiting him again, he said, 'I have
been reading your book, and like it so very much, I will pay you for
it;' and he handed me a dollar.
Notwithstanding this has been the hardest winter I have known for
years, I have been much encouraged in my work, having been enabled to
help every deserving family I have met with; and one, where I have been
visiting for years without being able to induce them to attend church,
have now been brought in, and have united with the church, both mother
and daughter rejoicing in the Saviour, and feeling they have never
known happiness before. Let us, therefore, labor on in faith, and our
labor will not be in vain.
CHAPTER XXII. CIRCULATING THE
O land of the blessed, thy hills of delight
Sometimes on my vision unfold;
Thy mansions celestial, thy palaces bright,
Thy bulwarks of jasper and gold.
Dear voices are chanting thy chorus of praise,
Dear eyes in thy sunlight are fair;
I look from my valley of shadow below,
And whisper: Would God I were there.
Amid the toil and sufferings of earth, how comforting is the
assurance in our hearts that Jesus is preparing a place for his people.
O, how cheering, when we can adopt the language in the song of Solomon,
My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and
be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.
It will not be long before we will be done with the cares and
vicissitudes of life, and enter into that Rest that remains for the
people of God. I am sure that in the midst of her toil, she ever found
joy in the hope that one day she would be forever with the Lord. She
had indeed laid up treasures in heaven, and her earnest desire
evidently was, not to go to heaven alone, but to take some others with
her. This was the joy of her life. Like the Master who, for the joy
that was set before Him, endures the cross. Hence she enjoyed a uniform
experience of peace, although she witnessed many a sorrowful sight. A
late writer, the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, has well observed:
Joy will reach farthest out to sea where troubled mariners are
seeking the shore. Even in your deepest griefs you can rejoice in God.
As waves phosphoresce, let joys flash from the swing of the sorrow of
your souls. Low measures of feeling are better than ecstacies for
ordinary life. God sends His rains in gentle drops, else flowers would
be beaten to pieces.
Ah, it was the peace of God that passeth all understanding that
enabled her to bear up during the hot summer months in which she penned
the following, wherein she says:
The past three months have been the most trying of any I have
experienced since I began my work. There has been much sickness and
many deaths. But I have been kept and sustained amid many difficulties.
I have been kindly received in many Roman Catholic and Jewish families.
A poor woman whose husband was killed a year since, who had lost one
child, and has another very sick, is glad to have me read and pray with
her, and when I point her to the Saviour she says He is, indeed, her
best friend. Another Catholic woman said, she did not see why her
priest forbade her reading the Bible, 'for what you have read to me is
so beautiful.' When asked if she would like to have a Bible, she said
she would, and when I took one to her she gave me twenty-five cents,
and said she wished she could give me more. One day I was addressed in
the street by a little girl, who asked me to go and see her mother.
When I enquired who she was, I found she was a woman whom I had visited
some time before. She was very glad to see me, showed me the Testament
I had given her, and asked me many questions which would have led to
argument; but I told her I only taught the religion of the Lord Jesus,
and I wished them to come to Him and seek for light and salvation. She
urged me to come again, and gladly listened when I read to them from
A young woman on being asked to attend church said, 'The only
church I go to is the theatre.' I gave her a Testament which she
promised to read; she has now begun to go to church regularly, and says
she hopes never again to live the life she has lived. I have been able
to take a number of mothers and their children to the sea side, which
has been a great blessing. I have given the Bible to two women who have
paid for it, and wished for one for a neighbor.
* * * * * *
It is a true and striking fact, that there are very few women who
ever labored so assiduously for the good of others as this Missionary,
especially in trying to save souls and make others happy.
We may say we believe in Jesus and, therefore, we will be saved; but
we must remember also that faith without works is dead, and on the
great day of judgment all will be made known, for St. John says in the
Apocalypse: I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the
books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of
life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written
in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead
which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were
in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
CHAPTER XXIII. THE NINETY AND NINE.
When he lived on earth so lowly,
Friend of sinners was his name;
Now enthroned among the holy,
He rejoices in the name.
When Jesus was here upon earth the question was asked, 'Can any good
thing come out of Nazareth? But it is said that the thirty years of
Christ's obscurity was the foundation of his three years'
manifestations. He was there, however, not alone, for he was under the
fostering love and anxious solicitude of His heavenly Father. Nazareth
is beautifully described thus:
It was a handful of pearls in a goblet of emerald. No great road
led up to this sunny nook. Trade, war, adventure, pleasure, pomp,
passed by it, flowing from west to east, from east to west, along the
Roman road. But the meadows were aglow with wheat and barley. Near the
low ground ran a belt of gardens, fenced with loose stones, in which
myriads of green figs, red pomegranates, and golden citrons ripened in
the summer sun. High up the slopes hung vintages of purple grapes. In
the plain among the corn, and beneath the mulberry-trees and figs,
shone daisies, poppies, tulips, lilies, anemones, endless in their
profusion, brilliant in their dyes. Low down on the hillside sprang a
well of water, bubbling, plentiful and sweet; and above this fountain
of life, in a long street straggling from the fountain to the
synagogue, rose the homesteads of many shepherds, craftsmen, and
vine-dressers. It was a lovely and humble place, of which no poet, no
ruler, no historian of Israel had ever taken note.
Even so, it was a very humble sphere that our missionary filled, but
she was precious in God's sight. Her work was among the poor and the
lowly. Lost sight of perhaps by men on this account, but the more like
her divine master in her work and ways. O, how true are Christ's own
words: Whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he
cannot be my disciple. Salt therefore is good: but if even the salt
have lost its savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is fit neither
for the land nor for the dunghill: men cast it out. He that hath
ears to hear, let him hear.
Now all the publicans and sinners were drawing near unto him for to
hear him. And both the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, this
man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them.
Yes! sinnersunworthy, hell-deserving sinnersit is to such, that
He cries if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. How
refreshing are the well-known words:
Aid the dawning, tongue and pen;
Aid it, hopes of honest men;
Aid it, paperaid it, type
Aid it, for the hour is ripe,
And our earnest must not slacken
Men of thought and men of action,
Clear the way!
The following account of the origin of the well-known hymn, the
Ninety and Nine, may have a tendency to stimulate others to go and do
likewise. It is taken from Sabbath Reading, published by the late Mr.
Dougal of this city, who has recently passed away into his everlasting
A humble lady in Melrose, Scotland, was led to see the beauty of the
character of Christ in the parable of the Good Shepherd. She possessed
genius, and sometimes expressed her best thoughts and feelings in
verse. The vision of Christ leaving the glories of Heaven and becoming
a seeker of men who had gone astray, like an Eastern shepherd seeking a
wandering sheep in perilous places, touched her heart with poetic
fervor, and she wrote the hymn beginning:
There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold.
One of the stanzas most vividly and tenderly expressed her clear
view of Divine sympathy and compassion:
But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry
Sick and helpless, and ready to die.
The poem was published in a local paper, and the lady soon afterward
died, and went to the Good Shepherd, whose love for the wandering and
perishing had gained the affections and service of her life. She was
buried in one of the churchyards of beautiful Melrose.
The efforts of a sincere life always meet with the needs of others,
and are often given, under Providence, a special mission in the world.
The simplicity and fervor of the little poem gained for it an
The American evangelist, Mr. Sankey, was one day returning from
Edinburgh to Glasgow, to hold a farewell meeting there. Glasgow had
been the scene of the most signal triumphs in the work of Messrs. Moody
and Sankey, and this farewell gathering promised to be one of
thanksgiving and tears, of wonderful interest, power, and feeling.
Mr. Sankey, on this occasion, desired to introduce a new hymn which
should represent Christ as a compassionate and all-sufficient Saviour.
Before getting on the train, he says, I went to the news-stand and
bought two or three paperssome secular, some religiousand in one of
them I found these verses:
'There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold,' etc.
I said to my brother Moody, 'That's just the hymn I have been
wanting. I think the Lord has really sent it to us!'
Next day this little tune or chant it is set to, came to me.
We went into the noon meeting, and dear Dr. Bonar, who has written
so many beautiful hymns ('I was a Wandering Sheep and did not Love the
Fold,' and 'I Heard the Voice of Jesus say, Come unto Me and Rest') was
there, and the thought came to me, 'We must sing now this new hymn that
the Lord has sent us.'
The tune had scarcely formed itself in my head yet, but I just cut
the words from the paper, put it in front of me on the organ and began
to sing them, hardly knowing where the tune was coming from. But the
Lord said, 'Sing it,' and as we were singing it His Spirit came upon
us, and what a blessed meeting we had!
The meeting was a very crowded one, and tender feelings were
awakened in all hearts, bringing vividly to all minds, as it did, the
fact that the world is full of farewell. The imagery of the hymn, the
shepherd, the sheep-fold, the dark-night on the hills, the anxious
search and the joyful return, was in harmony with Scottish
associations, and touched the best feelings of the converts and
inquirers. Christ stood revealed in the song, and it seemed as though
the listeners went up some living Tabor, and again saw Him
Away in the gallery there sat a lady who was at first startled, and
then deeply affected by the hymn. She was unable to speak with the
sweet singer in the confusion that followed the close of the meeting,
but she soon after wrote to him from Melrose, and said, I thank you
for having sung, the other day, my deceased sister's words. She wrote
them five years ago. She is in Heaven now.
The hymn has had a tender mission. Thousands seeking the help of a
power outside of their own sinful nature, have seen in it the vision
that the prophet saw: And I looked, and there was none to help; and I
wondered there was none to uphold; therefore mine own arm brought
salvation unto me.
What a true and striking picture is painted by the dear Saviour in
this immortal parable! They are the words of Him who spake as never
What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he lose one of them,
doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that
which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders,
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and
neighbors, saying unto them, 'Rejoice with me; for I have found my
sheep which was lost.'
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in Heaven over one
sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons,
which need no repentance.
The intensity of that joy is indescribable. What a glorious company
are yonder. Here they toiled and suffered, and sacrificed for Christ,
but now they are in the land of light and love.
How sweet as we journey, to pause for a moment
And look at the foot-prints we see in our way;
The foot-prints of pilgrims who've crossed over Jordan
And now are rejoicing forever and aye.
O blessed Redeemer, ere long thou wilt call us
To join the great army beyond the dark sea;
They fought the good fight, their course they have finished,
And now they inherit the kingdom with thee.
What must be the joy in heaven when the meeting and greeting time
comes. The holy apostle said, Set your affection on things above.
Why; what does he mean? It is that we may richly enjoy a foretaste of
its unutterable bliss preparatory to our departure.
Hark the song of holy rapture,
Hear it break from yonder strand,
Where our friends for us are waiting,
In the golden, summer land.
They have reached the port of glory,
O'er the Jordan they have passed,
And with millions they are shouting,
Home at last, home at last.
Oh, the long and sweet re-union,
Where the bells of time shall cease;
Oh, the greeting, endless greeting,
On the vernal heights of peace;
Where the hoping and desponding
Of the weary heart are past,
And we enter life eternal
Home at last, home at last.
Look beyond, the skies are clearing;
See, the mist dissolves away;
Soon our eyes will catch the dawning
Of a bright celestial day;
Soon the shadows will be lifted,
That around us now are cast,
And rejoicing we shall gather,
Home at last, home at last.
It is no wonder that St. John in the Apocalypse, speaking
A voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his
servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the
voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying,
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage
of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen,
clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto
the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the
true sayings of God.
Who are the true called to the marriage supper of the Lamb? Who are
arrayed in white linen, pure and white?
They are those who try to be like Him who said, I am the good
shepherd who gave His life for the sheep. Here, in this wilderness of
wandering, it is our imperative duty to go out after the suffering and
sorrowing and straying, and bring them into the fold.
CHAPTER XXIV. ANSWERED PRAYER.
I want to go home, to know it all
The Saviour's love for the sinner's soul,
The mercy of God and the glory given
To saints when they're safely brought to heaven.
Here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. Ours is
a camp life. Moses, in his wonderful prayer, claims God as his guide
and protector amid all the changing scenes of life. Lord, thou hast
been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were
brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even
from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Thou turnest man to
destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men. For a thousand
years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is passed, and as a
watch in the night.Ps. xc. 1-4.
How essential then to constantly seek the guidance of God in all we
undertake for His glory.
He directs and controls all our affairs just as much to-day as He
did this ancient Israel by the great miraculous cloud by day, and
pillar of fire by night, stretching far high into the heavens.
* * * * * *
Concerning such, she writes: Some encouraging circumstances present
themselves amidst the scenes of trial and suffering with which my daily
walks render me familiar, and I will note a few which have excited my
warmest sympathy. Among others, there is one family of a father,
mother, and three small children, whose whole subsistence depends upon
what the mother is able to make by washing. The man has been for two
months lying ill, with what the doctor calls typhoid fever; but which
seems now to have settled on his lungs, attended with a severe cough,
and no hope of recovery. I have been enabled to assist them from time
to time with a little nourishment. When I entered their house one day
with what I had provided for them, I found they had nothing but a
little bread. As I showed them what I had brought, they looked from one
to the other, and were so filled with gratitude, and overcome by the
unexpected supply, they appeared unable to speak. I find thus, not only
an open door to their home, but also a welcome to their hearts. They
have not been in the habit of attending church, and, as might be
supposed, the duty of personal and family religion was also neglected.
But it appears evident that these trials have not been sent in vain by
the Lord. The sick man loves to have me read the Scriptures, and pray
with him: and the children delight to see me, often running to meet me,
and take me by the hand before I reach the house.
Recognizing the necessity of prayer for the Divine blessing in all
our work, she writes in her journal thus:
MARCH 2, 1875.In commencing my work this morning I asked for
guidance in the direction of my visits, and I was led to go to
house quite out of my district, to visit a colored family who
I found them at family prayer, asking the Lord to send them
food; my heart was touched as I listened to the simplicity of
petition, and I could not but feel the Lord had directed my
the house in answer to their prayer, and was reminded of that
passage of Scripture, 'while they are yet speaking, I will
answer.' I believed these words, and procured them both
fuel. As we then sat down to read God's word, the tears
down the cheeks of these aged women, as I was helped to explain
word to them, and when we knelt to pray, we were blest
Truly, while teaching others our own souls are often refreshed!
MARCH 6th.Poor Mrs. L. was visited to-day; she has been
for years from rheumatism. As I went in I said, 'Mrs. L., is
precious to-day?' The tears came to her eyes as she said, 'I
have grieved Him to-day; I felt like murmuring because my pain
been so great.' I told her Jesus understood her, and knew she
not mean to murmur. And then I read to her how He had a feeling
our infirmities, being Himself tried and tempted; and so she
comforted, and became quite cheerful. On leaving her I felt
blessed privilege it is to be able to comfort the sick poor. A
brother sent to my house to-day for something to nourish him,
felt quite weak. I prepared some broth and gave it to him,
ate with a relish, and that passage from the word came to my
'Inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these, ye
done it unto me.'
MARCH 8th.Felt much wearied with visits and climbing stairs,
was glad to return to a cheerful fireside, and settle for the
evening; but before I had removed my rubbers, a knock at the
assured me some call had come for me, and so it proved. A child
one of my families came to say her mother was ill, and wanted
me. This woman, a few months before, did not seem to care for
religion, and would not hear me read, saying she had no time
she had to earn her living without listening to what did not
her. But when she came to lie upon a bed of suffering, she
of me first, and found the word of God was just what she
as I read the words, 'Whosoever cometh unto me I will in no
cast out,' the tears ran down her cheeks, and she at once cast
herself upon Christ, taking him for her Saviour, and her face
As I left her my soul rejoiced, though it was far in the night
I returned home, that I had been permitted to point one soul to
'Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.'
'Oh! that all the world my Jesus knew,
Then all the world would love Him too.'
One poor woman asked me if I would get her a Bible, and she
pay twenty-five cents a month. I promised, and am rejoiced at
finding so many that seem eager for Bibles; quite a number have
asked for them, and I trust it may prove a lamp unto their feet
a light unto their path.
MARCH 11th.After the fatigue of the day, I did not feel like
going out again in the evening, but our pastor, Rev. Geo. O.
came in, and after tea he said, 'We have not many minutes to
but we will have a few words of prayer before parting.' They
few, but they cheered and comforted me so, I felt refreshed,
forgetting all fatigue, I arose and went to the prayer-meeting,
feeling as my people do sometimes when they say to me after a
'Oh! Mrs. Knowles, how your prayer has rested me.'
MARCH 23d.A message came to-day, saying Mrs. L. was dying,
wanted me to come at once. I went, and was helped in return to
the triumph of spiritual over temporal things. The Lord was
to bless us at the bedside of the dying one. Her trust and
firm in Jesus, and her whole desire is to be with Him and see
* * * * * *
Blessed hope, to see Him as He is, and to be transformed into His
image. John declares:
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear
what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be
like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this
hope in him purifieth himself even as He is pure.
It was about this time that she penned in her diary the following
touching record of her toil. It reveals how sincere, diligent,
systematic, and unprejudiced she was in her work for Jesus, even
mentioning the names of the streets. She faithfully copied the example
and closely followed the directions of her master, given to Ananias at
the wonderful conversion of the great apostle of the Gentiles, when
giving directions how to find Saul of Tarsus:
The Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is
called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul,
of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth:
And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and
putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how
much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that
call on thy name.
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel
unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the
children of Israel:
For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my
name's sake.Acts ix. 11-16.
* * * * * *
She writes: I called on a woman in Broome Street who was convicted
of her lost condition and ready to yield to despair. Her mind had been
impressed by a letter from her husband who had gone West some time
since on business.
He had been converted during his absence, being awakened by
witnessing the wickedness and depravity of his fellow-men, the
profanation of the Sabbath, licentiousness in high and low places, and
reflecting that if there were a righteous God, the wicked could not go
unpunished. It was pleasant to be able to tell this distressed woman of
the love of Jesus, and to urge her to go with her husband in the narrow
way. On my next visit I found her more cheerful, and feeling that there
is hope for her. She wishes me to get her a Bible, which she will pay
for by weekly instalments.
Met with a woman in Eldridge Street, who was given to drinking.
As she was sober at that time, I conversed with her about her sin. She
burst into tears and said, 'I have long wanted some one to talk to me
about my soul.' As I read to her the story of redeeming love, she
seemed to drink it in with delight, and promised to attend the place of
prayer. She, too, wishes to possess a Bible, and to use the money she
has before spent for rum in payment. I am greatly encouraged to labor
and pray for her.
 This was the street in which our missionary died.
Visiting some families in Madison Street, I conversed with one
woman who excited my especial interest. She had been very ill with a
sore throat. She was a Romanist, but the Spirit of God had opened to
her view the evil of her heart, and she now desired to hear from me of
the way of life. I told her of the forgiveness of sin through Christ's
blood. She said she had confessed to the priest, and had received
absolution, but found no relief from her load, which weighed upon her
like a mountain. I directed her to the Lamb of God, who alone can take
away sin. But after conversing with her some time (although her throat
was so much inflamed as almost to deprive her of the power of
utterance), she broke forth into one of the most affecting prayers I
ever heard. Her husband sat by and listened to all that was said, being
very anxious lest she should abjure the Catholic faith and die out of
the pale of the Church. He interrupted me frequently, saying, 'My good
lady, we don't want you to teach us, the priest instructs us in all we
need.' But I told him I had a message from God, and I could not be
prevented from delivering it. He left the room in anger, but I hope
this poor soul may find peace, by trusting in the 'sinner's Friend.'
Who can tell but what even this poor man may be found at last among
the ransomed ones!
This short extract from The Home Mission Monthly for May,
published by the Woman's Executive Committee of Home Missions of the
Presbyterian Church, is peculiarly appropriate to the above experience
of her who now sleeps in Cypress Hills Cemetery,
Under the shadows gray.
At this spring-time season, when the seed is cast into the brown
bosom of the earth, the lesson taught by the great Teacher, eighteen
hundred years ago, in Palestine, 'as the sower went forth to sow,' is
borne in upon the mind once more, and these lines are the reflex of the
impulses which are astir in many hearts:
I know my hand may never reap its sowing,
And yet some other may;
And I may never even see it growing
So short my little day!
Still must I sow, although I go forth weeping,
I cannot, dare not stay.
God grant a harvest! though I may be sleeping,
Under the shadows gray.
CHAPTER XXV. THE SIN OF IDOLATRY.
It is not that the city is glorious to behold,
Her walls of lucid crystal, her very pavement gold,
All shrined in dazzling splendor, beyond description fair,
But I am pressing onward to see my Saviour there.
How dangerous is idolatry. When God says, Thou shalt not make unto
thee any graven image, etc., He means that we should not only avoid
kneeling to them, but we should worship Him alone, and come to Him
through the only mediator between God and manthe man Christ
Jesus. How explicit are the words of the beloved John: Little
children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John, v. 21.) She seemed to
realize the importance of speaking of Jesus only.
There is an alarming and increasing propensity in religious circles,
to look with leniency on the worship of saints, angels, martyrs, and
the Virgin, but the Master himself said, I am the way, the truth, and
the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me. Pure worship is
spiritual, not æsthetical; hence the use of all pictures, crucifixes,
and figureheads of apostles and saints dishonors Christ.
* * * * * *
In August, 1875, Mrs. Knowles writes: Among many discouragements, I
meet with enough to cheer me on my way, and induce me to feel that my
labor is not all in vain.
Among other incidents, I will mention the case of a family I have
referred to before, as having visited. The mother received me very
kindly. She had four children, and as I was speaking to them of Jesus
while the little ones gathered around me, the father came in, a very
rough-looking man, and at the time apparently under the influence of
liquor. The mother and children looked at me, and a feeling of sadness
was visible on their faces. I spoke to him of his family, but he said
little, and I then knelt and prayed with them. I asked if they had a
Bible. He said 'No,' and they had not much time to read. I then asked
him if he would like to have one. He said he would, as 'it was a good
thing to have one in the house.'
I took them one in the course of a day or two, and he has been led
to read it daily; the mother and children also read it, and a few
nights since he signed the temperance pledge. He said to me lately,
while visiting him: 'No more pennies for rum; those pennies will go
toward the support of my wife and children.' He now attends evening
church, feeling his clothing is not good enough to go by daylight. He
has told me, although they are very poor, he was never as happy as now.
He has not yet been able to procure steady employment, so I help them
as I can.
I have been helped on to perseverance in my work by what was told
me by one I visited. In speaking of herself, she said she owed much to
the efforts of a home missionary, who not only sought her out, but
followed her up; and although she often neglected her duty, and stayed
away from the preaching, he was so persevering and diligent in his
efforts to win her, he at length succeeded, and she is now truly a
Christian. A severe trial has lately come upon her: her son, a boy of
ten years, has been killed by falling from a house. He lived but a
short time after the accident; and as I stood by her at the side of the
remains of her departed child, she was calm and resigned, telling me
the Lord was helping her.
I have been visiting at the hospitals much of late, where I have
procured places for my sick, of whom there have been many this season.
I have also assisted some, and procured work for others; have also
distributed several Bibles, for which some have promised to pay as they
are able. My Superintendent and Pastor are both kind in aiding me; for
while I can truly say, 'of myself I can do nothing,' I can also, I
hope, add, 'I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me.'
* * * * * *
We cannot leave this part of the record of the Lord's work without
observing her strong attachment to the children. In this she was very
judicious. What momentous issues are at stake during early childhood.
It is doubtless true that Christ meant to teach a practical lesson with
reference to our tender watch-care of the little ones during His third
brief interview with His disciples, after His resurrection. We read:
So, when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of
Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him, yea, Lord; thou
knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
He saith unto him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas,
lovest thou me? He saith unto him, yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love
thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou
me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest
thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou
knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Amid such a scene so truthfully depicted in the above narrative, we
behold the insecurity of the children. What a sad sight. An intemperate
father and no Bible in the house. What a statement in this land of
Bibles! Oh, what fearful consequences hang upon the conduct of parents.
What would become of the masses in the lower part of the city, were it
not for our truly devoted Bible women? What victories for Christ and
His Church have been achievedwho can tell?
The cheering light that dawned upon the deeply bereaved mother when
her boy was killed, is beheld as we, in imagination, take our stand by
the bedside with them, and hear that sorrow-stricken mother exclaiming,
that the Lord was helping her. This is a striking proof that
He who comforted Martha and Mary, at Bethany, was in that
tenement-house, saying once again, I am the resurrection and the life,
he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live. Yes,
helping her to look beyond this vale of tears, and say even amid the
loss of her darling boy, Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.
Surely the language of Job must have been experienced on an occasion
like the above. When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when
the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: Because I delivered the poor
that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him. The
blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the
widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, and it clothed
me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. I was eyes to the blind,
and feet was I to the lame.Job xxix. 11-15.
There is a very comforting reflection for bereaved parents in Dr.
Payson's Comparison of Departed Children to Jewels. To a mother
mourning the death of a child, he said:
Suppose, now, some one was making a beautiful crown for you to
wear, and you knew it was for you, and that you were to receive it and
wear it as soon as it should be done. Now, if the maker of it were to
come, and in order to make the crown more beautiful and splendid, were
to take some of your jewels to put into it, should you be
sorrowful and unhappy because they were taken away for a little while,
when you knew they were gone to make up your crown?
In endeavoring humbly to interpret the language of the deceased,
and, at the same time, call attention to her superior magnanimity of
heart, I would not for a moment dare to make it appear that I was
compromising human merit with the free, rich grace of our Heavenly
Father, so richly displayed in His imparted power to His
children, enabling them to do valiantly in the salvation of souls. This
power is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the heart. Just listen to
the closing sentence of the last paragraph: I can truly say of
myself I can do nothing! though I can also, I hope, add, I can
do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me. Ah! here is the
secret of distinguished merit in the great conflict against all the
forms of evil in the world. The instruction to the disciples were to
tarry until they received this Divine strength. Tarry, how? Well, let
us read the record:
To whom also He shewed himself alive after his passion by many
infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the
things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together
with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem,
but wait for the promise of the Father, which, sayeth he, ye have heard
of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized
with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When they therefore were
come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time
restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, 'It is not
for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in
his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is
come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and
in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the
earth.' And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was
taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.Acts i. 3-9.
CHAPTER XXVI. PEACE THROUGH
Oh, the unsearchable riches of Christ!
Wealth that can never be told;
Riches exhaustless of mercy and grace,
Precious, more precious than gold!
At the sixty-eighth annual meeting of the New York Female Auxiliary
Bible Society, the Rev. Dr. William M. Taylor, in his earnest masterly
address on the occasion, happily said:
In the prosecution of the excavations at Pompeii, the workmen laid
bare an ancient spring, the water of which, as soon as it was set free,
flowed forth as copiously as ever, and carried refreshment with it
wherever it went. For centuries it had been buried beneath the ashes of
the volcano, but the moment it was again uncovered, it sent out its
stream of blessing with all its pristine fulness and wholesome
Something like that was the work which Martin Luther did for the
fountain of truth in the Sacred Scriptures. For many generations that
had been virtually stopped up by the rubbish of tradition and entombed
beneath the weight of authority, but by his sturdy strength, his steady
persistence and his dauntless courage, he dug it clear again; and it
became once more, as at the first, the well-head of the river of
progress among the nations.
What was said of the great German Reformer can be truthfully applied
to this humble mother in Israel.
At the above meeting it was stated that this Missionary woman in her
advanced age made four hundred and forty visits in two months, she had
read the Scriptures in many homes, prayed with a large number,
comforted dying believers with Christian song, administered first aid
to the injured; thus bringing into practical use the instructions
she had received, and receiving the commendations of physicians,
distributed religious reading, and suspended the Words of Life in the
rooms of the sick. Streams from this uncovered fountain of truth are
turned by the cheerful, willing, working hands, heads, and hearts of
our Bible women into human habitations in this city, where degradation,
poverty, drunkenness, vice, and squalor sink the inmates to the level
of brutes. The cleansing waters, as if by magic, convert these dark
places into homes of joy and brightness, sobriety, industry,
cleanliness, and godliness.
The effulgence born of the lustre of Christ drives out the darkness
of sin and sorrow, and the thoughts of regenerated souls are indeed
carried upward to the throne of God. All sorts and conditions of men,
all varieties of human life, find their adaptation in the religion of
our Lord Jesus Christ.
Later on she writes: During the month of January, 1876, I have been
greatly encouraged in various ways. Knowing how many were the wants,
and how small the means for supplying them during the present winter, I
called on my old friend, Mr. M., at his place of business, and telling
him how low our funds were, as he always took an interest in our work,
he gave me twenty dollars for the Society. Much encouragement has also
been afforded me by seeing some, among whom I have been laboring for
years, brought to Christ, and those of whom I had the least hope, now
testifying their love for the Saviour. It is not more than three or
four weeks since they began to attend church, and since then it is
surprising to witness the change. They have risen in the prayer-meeting
and told what the Lord had done for their souls.
One of those women, when I visited her, told me when I asked her to
attend church, that the devil was her best friend; he helped her out of
all her difficulties, by lying and cheating, and she intended to give
herself entirely to him. Such an expression falling from the lips of
any one, but especially from one for whom I have been watching and
praying for years, rendered me almost speechless; but I kissed her, and
saying there would be no use in my calling on her again, as she had
settled in indifference, I left her. In a few days she sent for me, and
I had another interview with her, which resulted in a promise, on her
part, to attend church. She did not do so for some weeks. A noon-day
prayer-meeting was then established in our church, and I invited her
there. In a few days she came, and since then has been attending both
noon and evening meetings, and coming to church. She has risen to ask
prayers for herself, her husband, and children, and a dear old mother,
nearly eighty years of age, still out of the ark of safety.
Last Sabbath morning, upon entering the church, and seeing a
stranger in my pew, I could not express the feeling of joy that filled
my soul, upon discovering this was the same woman, now come to the
house of God, having exchanged masters, and forsaken the territory of
Satan, anxious to become the servant of Christ, and receive the gift of
God which is eternal life, instead of the wages of sin, which is death;
and which, a short time since, she avowed herself determined to secure.
Another woman with whom I had talked about the sin of her
encouraging a love for dress and pleasure in her young daughter,
acknowledged the truth of what I said, and has since attended church,
and undoubtedly been brought to Christ. Her husband, also, who had not
set his foot in a church for fifteen years, but spent all his leisure
time in a liquor store, and associated with a rough class of men,
according to his own statements concerning himself, believes he has
found the Saviour, and attends the meetings regularly. A few evenings
since he told me he had to watch himself very closely, as he had become
habituated to profane swearing. The change that has been made in him is
remarkable. It appears clear to my mind that nothing but a Divine power
could have effected it.
Another case is that of a young girl who was brought to the meeting
by her mother. She is so impressed herself, that her great concern is
for others with whom she has been associated, to induce them to attend,
the language of her heart being, 'Come with us, and we will do thee
good, for the Lord has spoken good concerning Israel.'
There is a great outpouring of the Spirit in our midst; we have
unmistakable evidence of it. We have but to 'open our mouths wide that
we may be filled with it.' All are ready to hear and learn, and we are
in every way encouraged to labor on with our whole hearts, knowing that
if we are strong, and of good courage, God will not fail in the
performance of His promises.
Our sewing-school is also improving; the children in good behavior;
the mothers are asking, in many cases, for Bibles, while the
Sunday-school is filling up so fast, we cannot get a sufficient number
There are many cases of sickness in my district, and a great deal
of distress, occasioned by want of work.
I made about one hundred and sixty visits during the month, and
sold but one Bible.
* * * * * *
Her gratitude, when any kind-hearted friend like the above gave of
their substance, to carry on the Lord's work, was unbounded. Also, when
those among whom she labored for years were brought to confess Christ,
by testifying at the meetings. Oh! how true are the words of Malachi:
Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the
Lord hearkened, and heard it: and a book of remembrance was written
before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his
name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when
I make up my jewels.
No spot on earth was so dear to her heart as the house of God, hence
the expression: I could not express the feeling of joy that
filled my soul upon discovering this was the same woman, now come to
the house of God, having exchanged masters. She evidently entered into
the feelings of David when he said of the Church, as the recognized
holy spouse of God: How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth, for the courts of the Lord, my
heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Her practical piety is continually manifested, not only by her
strenuous exertions to save souls, but in the recognition of Divine
power in the execution. She says, The change is remarkable. It appears
clear to my mind that nothing but Divine power could have effected it.
The doctrine of the personality of the Holy Spirit is here brought
to our view, strongly reminding us that it is not by might, nor by
power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.
CHAPTER XXVII. DRAWN BY THE CORDS OF
Blest Saviour, slain for me,
In grateful love to Thee
The cross I bear;
Thou didst for me endure,
My pardon to insure,
And thus for me secure
A Crown to wear.
One poor woman, she writes, asked me to call and see her, as she
wished to tell me her troubles. She said she was afraid to believe that
God loved her. I have seldom seen any one in such ecstacy as she, when
she was told that God loves her with an everlasting love, and that she
need not be afraid to trust Him, as the more she rejoices in Him, the
more she would glorify Him.
The earnest desire of Paul for the Church at Colosse was: That
their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto
all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the
acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
* * * * * *
GRATEFUL OFFERING OF A SAVED SOUL.
She writes again thus: One woman, to whom I took a Bible, said to
me, 'If it had not been for you I should have died in ignorance.' Although she is poor, two Sabbaths since when a collection was taken,
she put down her name for two dollars. She says, 'she can never thank
the Lord enough for bringing her out of darkness into light.'
I visit a woman who endures great agony from cancer. She lives
alone, in a tenement house, poor and friendless, having been driven
from her home by her relatives because she has become a Protestant. But
she has a firm trust in God, and it is indeed wonderful to see how she
is supported amid terrible sufferings. She cannot read, having never
learned, but says, 'I thank God that He sends His servants to read the
Bible to such as I.'
* * * * * *
What a picture of all that is conceivable of human suffering. Alone,
poor, persecuted, yet thankful and trustful. Oh! How amazing is God's
Oh, yes, to the uttermost Jesus is able
To save the poor sinner who cometh to Him;
His word is most sure, and His promise is stable:
Though feeble thy trust and thy faith very dim,
Yet listen again to the soul-cheering sound,
Our Jesus can save to the uttermost bound.
Did I hear some one say, But what of to-morrow,
For my foes are so strong, and I'm sinful indeed?
He is able to save to the end of the journey
To the uttermost bound of thy uttermost need.
That same Jesus who died for us now ever lives,
And as mightily saves as He freely forgives.
* * * * * *
WORK AMONG THE JEWS.
Though laboring to bring souls to Christ, of any nation, my chief
interest and work is among the Jews.
I called upon a family of very religious Jews. I talked with them
of Christ as the true Messiah and of His sacrifice for our sins. I saw
that they had the Old and New Testament, given them by a Christian
lady. They said they often read it together, and I could not but think
that the good seed was sown in their hearts.
I am often discouraged by the opposition of one member of a family.
A child who goes to Sunday-school is kept away by an unbelieving
father, just as the truth has found a lodgement in her heart; but,
again, my heart is filled with joy when I find that my labor has not
been in vain. Such was the case in a family where I have prayed, and
conversed often about their souls' salvation. The mother, a Jewess by
birth, had changed her Jewish religion some time ago. But her heart
remained untouched. I endeavored to make her understand what a change
of heart is, and persuaded her to go with me to a German church. Some
weeks after the father spoke of his faith in Christ, and a week since
his wife also gave evidence of being a Christian woman. During the
month of March I visited a poor woman who had had great sorrows. She
asked me for a Bible, for which she was most thankful. Her husband, a
Catholic, now reads it with her, and shows by his greater kindness to
her its blessed effect. What a blessing, indeed, is this holy book in
these poor homes?
* * * * * *
ANOTHER YOUNG JEWESS BROUGHT TO CHRIST.
A young Jewess, who had found and believed in Jesus as her Saviour,
wanted to unite with a Christian church, but her aged mother would not
allow it. I encouraged her to pray for her mother, and one day calling
to see her, I found she had now no objection to her daughter doing as
she wished. I have had many conversations with Jews, and have often
been allowed to read the Bible to them.
* * * * * *
It is certainly very encouraging to read how intensely interested
she was in the conversion of the Hebrew people. We cannot wonder at
this when we consider that they were the chosen people of God; and also
to those who are in the habit of prayerfully consulting their Bibles,
especially the prophecies pertaining to the Messiah, as they behold
them literally fulfilled, not only as to the time and place of His
birth, but His person, life, miracles, death, resurrection, and
ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He surely came unto His own and His own received Him not, but to as
many as received Him them gave He power to become the Sons of God, even
to those who believed in His name.
CHAPTER XXVIII. LOVE FOR THE
A weeping sinner kneels,
The chains of death are broken,
And soon his glad heart feels
The Saviour's welcome spoken.
Christ said, Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees. She seemed to
hate everything that looked like spiritual pride, or idolatry, or
worldliness. Hence her sternness and courage in watching for sin in
herself or others was marked. The language of Jesus ever sounded in her
ears: Take heed to yourselves, lest haply your hearts be overcharged
with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day
come on you suddenly as a snare: for so shall it come upon all
them that dwell on the face of all the earth. But watch ye at every
season, making supplication, that ye may prevail to escape all these
things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
She felt also that God was no respecter of persons, and her great
ambition on this account was to try and save the Hebrew people from
their vain delusions that they were still the chosen people of God,
notwithstanding their rejection of the Messiah.
This is evident from the following conversation with a Jewish woman
about God's Word.
Visiting another Jewish woman, she asked me to sit down, and soon
we were in earnest conversation about the Bible, and her soul's
salvation. After hearing me read some passages, she said, 'We Jews must
all be wrong if you are right.' I told her it was not my word, but the
Word of God. I begged her to search the Scriptures for herself, and
left with her a tract relating to Christ, written by a Jew. She asked
to have a Bible, which I carried to her. Again we conversed on this
great subject. She liked the tract, and had lent it to several of her
friends. She said she would read the Bible with prayer, and if she was
wrong, the Lord would open her eyes. During these four months I have
made over one thousand visits, distributed many tracts and given away
eight Bibles, besides taking several children to the Sunday-school, and
using the Mission funds in assisting the poor.
There has been a great deal of sickness this summer, especially
among the children. But I have been enabled to do some good by taking
these little ones and their mothers into the country. Among them were
several Roman Catholic families. They expressed surprise that we should
do so much for them, saying, 'It was more than their own people would
do for them.' In visiting one of these women soon after, she said her
husband had told her she had better take my advice and read the Bible.
He said she had better have one, for it could do her no harm. I took
her the Gospel of Matthew, which she has been reading attentively, and
her children learning verses by heart. She gave me fifty cents, asking
if that would be enough to buy a Bible.
To several Catholic families I have lent Bibles, and they now wish
to purchase them, paying for them in small sums, as they are able. One
man, who has led a very wicked life and abused his family, is now so
changed that when he comes home he asks his children to read to him. He
does not go to church, but says he does not know why his people are not
allowed to read the Bible.
A poor woman to whom I gave a Bible handed me one dollar, saying
she wished she was able to give more, as it had been such a blessing to
her in her sickness and poverty. I have been much encouraged by the
gratitude expressed for my reading the Scriptures in some families. A
Catholic woman was in great distress for her husband. She begged me to
pray for him, and calling her five children about her, we knelt in
I have a mothers' meeting at my house, at which several women have
desired prayers for their husbands. Visiting in a house where were some
Jewish families, I asked if they would allow me to pray with them. They
said they would not dare to kneel, but would stand and listen. On my
leaving them, they shook my hand, with tears in their eyes, and said
they liked to hear my prayer. Another Jewess said she would be sorry if
she thought we would not meet in heaven. I begged her to pray God to
show her the true way, and read to her in Isaiah the prophecies
concerning the Messiah. She, too, promised to think, and pray for
I have good hopes of several intemperate persons. They have
abstained from drinking for several weeks, one has joined the
Temperance Society, and another has promised to drink no more. They
asked for a Bible, which I took to them. We have opened our
Sewing-school again, and have the hope of accomplishing much good this
winter among the children.
* * * * * *
GLADNESS IN COMING TO THE HOUSE OF GOD.
She continues to write thus: Some of the women who attend my
mother's meeting have never attended any place of worship, and it is
encouraging to hear them speak of reading the Scriptures, which they
have never done before, and of the pleasure they take in going to the
House of God, and in listening to His Word.
A Jewess, to whom I spoke of the Saviour, said, 'Your religion must
be very comforting, when you have something to rest upon. I would like
to go to your church, and hear about your Saviour.'
I found a family where the mother was sick; the father without
work, and four children to be fed. I obtained assistance for them, and
after doing what I could to make them comfortable, I read a portion of
Scripture to them. As the woman lay listening, the father came into the
room and said, 'You are reading the Bible; it is a good book; my
children love to hear it; they learn in the Sabbath-school what will do
them good, but the times are hard; I can get no work, and everything
seems dark.' His wife said, 'God has sent us help just when we needed
it the most.' I urged him to trust in our Heavenly Father, and pray to
Him; he said, 'I will try.'
Why not? for
E'en the hour that darkest seemeth
Will His changeless goodness prove;
From the gloom His mercy streameth;
God is wisdom, God is love.
The shadows of earth are immediately dispelled when we trust God,
for He says, Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee
and thou shalt glorify Me. This passage has been the cup of great
blessing to many a benighted soul.
* * * * * *
She writes: In another family, the kindness shown has led the
father (who has also been ill) to think seriously of religion, and
resolve on leading a new life.
One poor woman, to whom I had given a Bible, said to me, a few days
since, that she wanted to 'pay something for her Bible,' it had been
such a comfort to her in her lonely hours. She said she had never read
so much of the Scriptures before, nor found so much comfort from
reading them, as during the last few weeks; and now she wished me take
ten cents as part payment; she had been keeping it for me, and would
add more soon, as she wanted to give me fifty cents. She was living
alone; her husband dead; her son, having married recently, had left
her, but gives a little toward her support. She was also made happy by
some addition for Thanksgiving.
My visits among the children of the Sewing-school are also
productive of good. One little girl whom I brought to Sabbath-school
for the first time, induced her mother to come to church, where she was
enough pleased to desire to come again. This family have usually spent
their Sabbaths in reading stories in the newspapers, as is the case
with many others from which we have gathered the children, and when
they say at parting, 'Do come and see my mother,' I feel here is a wide
field of usefulness opening before us, inviting us to enter in and work
for the Master.
CHAPTER XXIX. THANKFULNESS TO GOD.
He is a whole ChristHe is a full Saviour!
He saves to the uttermost all who believe;
His arms of compassion are ever extended,
The contrite and penitent souls to receive.
St. Augustine says: The Kingdom of Light was from its very
commencement assailed by the Kingdom of Darkness. But, notwithstanding
the opposition of Satan, and the strong prejudices of his ancient
people, how encouraging to read the following narrative from her pen:
I have been able to supply the immediate necessities of some poor
families, and it encourages my heart to see their gratitude for what is
done for them, but, above all, for their joy at receiving the 'Word of
God,' and knowing that it was their own. From four persons I have
received payment for the Bibles, who were anxious to receive them, and
who read them daily. I have met with some success among the Jews. A
Jewish girl who has been in my Sewing-school is very happy to be there,
and says that now her father does not forbid her to read the Bible or
attend Sunday-school. A young girl who attends the meeting which I hold
in my house has joined the church in Allen Street, and is so much in
earnest that she is trying to induce others to follow her example. I am
thankful that my efforts for the young have not been without results.
Why? we ask; because He that spared not His own Son, but delivered
Him up for us all, how will He not with Him also freely give us
I have had much encouragement, she continues, in my labors during
the summer. Visiting at the Hahnemann Hospital, I have become much
interested in some of the patients. They ask me to sit down and talk to
them, and I then point them to Jesus as the best Physician for soul as
well as body. I have been kindly received by Roman Catholics, and have
loaned Bibles to some of them, and some have kept them and paid for
During the months of July and August, I have found many sick, in
assisting whom I have been aided by the Flower Mission.
I see a great change in families where the Bible is being read. One
little girl says, 'I read the Bible every day, and so do my father and
mother. Now they do not work on Sunday, as they used to do, but go to
church, and read God's Word.'
My own church has been closed a part of the summer, but the
prayer-meeting has been well attended, and there has been much interest
evinced. A man who was a drunkard for many years, has given up his bad
habits and is now the support and comfort of his family. I gave him a
Bible, which he reads, and he seems to be a truly converted man. I have
sold several Bibles, as well as given several away.
At one time coming in contact with a very serious case of hardship,
she wrote concerning it, Formerly the mother depended upon the
daughter for support, but she has lately been obliged to stay at home,
and take care of her mother; and in consequence of this, they have both
suffered, as they belong to that class who are unwilling to make their
I asked if they had attended any place of worship. The mother said
she had been a member of a Protestant church in Troy, but since she
came to New York, and her circumstances had changed, not having
clothing to make a decent appearance, she had not been to church. She
added: 'I must say, it was pride, but I could not overcome it. Now I
know and feel that I did wrong.'
She is now more comfortable; for I have been able to get her some
little delicacies, which she suffered greatly from the need of.
It is a great satisfaction to us, when we meet with so many cases
of want and suffering, to give some relief, however small, but the
anxiety and labor that have often to be borne to succeed in the work is
great. I often think that if those who employ us to go forth with the
Word of Life in our hands could see us engaged in our work, giving
consolation and encouragement to the poor and destitute, the sick and
dying, and as far as in our power relieving their wants, they would
feel abundantly rewarded for the good and honorable work in which they
Every month I feel more and more the greatness of the work, and the
necessity of laboring with earnestness, in order to compel them to come
in, that the Lord's house may be filled, and that jewels may be
gathered for our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. I have brought a
number of children into Sabbath-schools, and have induced several to
attend church, and feel that my labors have been abundantly blessed,
and that during the last month I have been much encouraged.
I have succeeded in getting five tons of coal for my poor, besides
groceries, etc. Have sold three Bibles, and given one away.
CHAPTER XXX. LOST, BUT FOUND.
Love of Christ, amazing love!
Vast as His eternity;
Theme of angel choirs above,
Theme of souls redeemed like me!
Outward to creation's bound,
Up to Heaven's serenest height,
Universal space around,
Swells the chorus day and night.
Here she writes about a woman whom she visited several years ago,
and who attended her meetings: I lost sight of her for seven or eight
years. She moved away from the city. One day recently I was sent for by
a sick woman; I found it to be Mrs. V., who had returned. I read,
prayed, and visited her until she died, believing in Jesus. Here she
reports the conversion of several others whom she has visited and
brought out to religious services.
An unknown Christian lady writes thus: Mrs. Knowles has great
success in her work, reading God's Word, and leaving the Bible to be
read by those whom she visits, when not able to purchase a Bible; one
is given in some instances; even the poorest will pay a small sum. A
great change is noticeable after the Bible is read with real
interestcleaner children, better-dressed men and women, and a desire
to hear the Gospel.
Why this marvellous success? What brought about this personal
reformation in the habits and character of parents and children? There
are two reasons for this great change, namely: 1. Contact with God's
Word. 2. Contact with a soul set on fire with the love of Christ. Oh!
the tremendous power there is in divinely implanted affection when it
is beautifully blended in a human heart. Sir Walter Scott says:
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And men below, and saints above;
For love is Heaven, and Heaven is love!
* * * * * *
CONSOLATION AMID DOMESTIC DIFFICULTIES.
When we remember that we are penning for publication only a few
stray gleanings from the multiplicity of instances of conversion, the
reader, we trust, will behold the variety of cases recorded, and we
sincerely hope the Christian worker will utilize them for practical
Some one has said that Paul's favorite illustrations by images are
drawn, not from the operations and uniform phenomena of the natural
world, but from the activities and outward exhibition of human society,
from the lives of soldiers, from the lives of slaves, from the market,
from athletic exercises, from agriculture, from architecture.
At this time she again writes: I visited a family where the mother
was a Christian, and the father a Jew. The father being sick for two
years past, and unable to support his wife and four children, has gone
to his own people. The eldest girl is a member of my Sunday-school
class. The mother told me one day, as I was speaking to her of the
Bible, that she had not seen or read one since she was married; 'but,'
said she, 'since Amelia has been in your class, she has repeated the
lessons she has learned at home, and I am longing for a Bible.' I gave
her one given me for my Jewish children. She thanked me heartily, and
now reads it every day with her children. One Sunday morning her
husband came in to see them, and found her reading aloud to the
children from the Bible. He asked her what she was reading. She told
him it was the Bible, and how she had got it, and that the children
went to Sunday-school, and that she went to church. He was not pleased,
but could say nothing, as he does not live with or support his family.
This poor woman was deeply convicted of sin, and was earnestly seeking
for forgiveness and peace, and peace has come to her son through humble
trust in the Saviour of sinners. Thus the Lord is prospering our
labors, and the meetings begun in trembling, have been blessed to some
It seems her source of unalloyed happiness was in watching for
souls, at morning, noon, and night. Her prayers were perfumed with
sighs, and cries, and tears for the impenitent. She was one of those so
graphically described by Jeremiah: They say to their mothers where is
corn and wine? when they swooned as the wounded in the streets of the
city, when their soul was poured out into their mother's bosom. What
thing shall I take to witness for thee? what thing shall I liken to
thee, O daughter of Jerusalem? what shall I equal to thee, that I may
comfort thee, O virgin daughter of Zion? for thy breach is great like
the sea: who can heal thee.Lam. ii. 12-13.
Long they sat beneath the shadow,
And the gloom of moral night,
Waiting only for the dawning
Of the promised heavenly light.
But they've heard the glorious Gospel,
Of salvation full and free,
Now they read the Blessed Bible,
They are coming, Lord, to Thee.
Hasten, Lord, the coming morning
Of the bright, millennial day,
And may we who love the Saviour
Labor to extend His sway,
Until every ransomed being,
On the land and on the sea,
Shall unite in one grand chorus,
We are coming, Lord, to Thee.
* * * * * *
THE FORTUNE TELLER.
During the last two months I have met with several interesting
cases. One Jewish woman whom I visited was always pleased when I told
her of my interest for her people. Being poor and in delicate health,
she could do but little for her own support, and I learned had resorted
to telling fortunes. I showed her that this was wrong, and that God
would not bless her, as it did not agree with His Word. She said, 'I
have often thought it might be wrong, but I am now convinced of it; but
what shall I do for my living?' I directed her to prayer for guidance,
and assured her that those who put their trust in the Lord would be
taken care of. She has since been to our meeting and requests to have a
I visited another woman, whose husband is a Catholic. Her three
children are in my Sunday-school class, and I am much interested in
them. The mother came to the German church, and I gave her a German
Bible, as she never had one. Calling one day, I found her in great
trouble. She said: 'Oh, Mrs. Knowles, I have been praying for you, and
the Lord has sent you. I read and prayed with her, directing her to the
Friend of sinners for peace. I think she became a true Christian, and
soon she wished to unite with the church. Her husband, however, opposed
it, and threatened to take away the children from her. He did so, and
sent them to the Catholic Sunday-school. But the seed is sown in their
young hearts, and they say to their mother, 'We will never turn to the
To such as are sorely tried in their households, how comforting are
the words of the Apostle: Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify
the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go
forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. For
here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By Him
therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that
is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But to do good,
and to communicate, forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well
She adds: During these months I have met with much poverty and
sickness. One would almost think it would diminish at this season, but,
on the contrary, it is rather worse. I met with a family who had been
in the country but two months. The father was a salesman in Germany,
and can get no employment in this country. They had nothing to eat in
their house, but the Lord opened a way, so that something was provided
for them. I read the Scriptures and prayed with them, and the wife
expressed a longing to go to a German church. I took her to church, and
gave her a Bible.
* * * * * *
A JEWESS FINDS THE MESSIAH.
A poor Jewess, whose husband has been in the Insane Asylum for
nearly two years, finds it hard to support her family by peddling.
Calling one day, I found her going out without any shoes on her feet,
and her health very poor. I bought her a pair of shoes, for which she
was very thankful, and pointed her to Christ as her true friend in time
of need. She reads the Bible, and believes He is the Messiah.
Another Roman Catholic woman, whom I have been visiting for some
time, continues to attend church regularly.
CHAPTER XXXI. SEA-SIDE EXCURSIONS
FOR MOTHERS AND CHILDREN.
Sure he, to whom, of mind or hand belongs
Some craft that doth uplift the thought of men
Above the mold, and bring to human ken
The joys of radiance, air and clear bird-songs;
So that the brow, o'er moist with sullen toil,
May catch a breeze from far-off Paradise;
So that the soul may, for a moment, rise
Up from the stoop and cramp of daily moil
May own his gift Divine! as sure may trace
Its Source, as that of waters kind hands hold
To thirsty lips; nor need he mourn (since grace
Of his hath such refreshment wrought) if gold
Be scant; to him hath richer boon been given
An earth-bowed head to raise the nearer heaven.
There is no sight more truly gladdening to the heart of the
philanthropist than to behold the large barges, built after the model
of Noah's Ark, gliding swiftly through the beautiful waters of New York
Bay, heavily laden with the news-boys, working-girls, or poor mothers
and children of the city. Thanks to the New York Press, and the
contributors to the Fresh Air Fund, for thus giving the multitudes of
children, that are thickly huddled together in our tenement-houses, an
opportunity of inhaling pure air.
One of the pioneers in this good work was the New York Times.
In 1872, that paper started the Times' Excursion for Poor
Children; ay, and for poor adults, too. The public nobly responded to
the Times' appeal, sending in about $20,000. During the
sweltering summer of that year, the Times' people carried to
shady groves and seasides tens of thousands of children who, for the
first time, saw running streams and green fields. No one can estimate
the good done, the lives saved, and the hours of happiness secured to
young and old who have so few happy hours. Not the least was that of
softening hearts and opening purses.
In this noble work we find our deceased friend earnestly engaged
instead of taking a vacation in the hot summer months. In her diary we
find the following concerning one of these summer seasons:
It has been a great privilege, during the summer months, to be
able to make so many poor mother's happy, by taking them and
children to the sea-side for bathing and country air. There has
been much sickness in the tenement-houses. It is, indeed,
distressing often to see two sick in one bed, the others nearly
ready to be there, and the poor mothers, with but little means,
scarcely able to do their work and take care of the sick ones.
It is then a happiness to obtain for them a little nourishment,
and to give them words of sympathy and encouragement. Many are
Roman Catholics, who seem surprised that I should take any
in them, as they said it was more than their own people will
A poor woman whom I visited, said: 'I will never again think
Protestants cannot be saved, as I have been taught; and since I
have read the Bible, I intend to go to a Protestant church and
The Catholics say to me, 'How different your prayers are from
ours. Why do you not pray to the Blessed Virgin?' I tell them
we only pray to the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is the only
While visiting lately in some wretched houses of infamy and
to the poor women, they would shed tears, and say that they
like to live different lives, but it is so hard to begin to do
better. It is surprising to see with what attention they listen
the words of Scripture and promise to read the Bible
* * * * * *
A WONDERFUL WORK.
Still continuing the record of her work, she writes: During last
month I made two hundred and fifty visits, read the Scriptures as often
as I had the opportunity; have given two Bibles to persons who were too
poor to pay for them, and sold one.
Several Roman Catholic women have asked for Bibles, and are reading
them with pleasure. One woman, whose husband called her a 'turn-coat,'
said she did not care for that, but that nothing should persuade her to
give up her Bible.
I have induced several persons to attend church, and have taken
children to the Sabbath-school, thus trying to sow the seed, and
looking to God for His blessing.
A poor man, ill with consumption, is one whom I visit often. I have
aided his family with coal, and also in buying food and nourishment for
himself. He reads a Bible that I gave him every day, and when his
children come from school he gets them to read to him. He says: 'If I
had been a better man; had read my Bible and taken care of my health, I
might have been different, but now I am trusting in the Lord that He
will forgive and accept me, and that is my only hope. I tell my wife
that when I am gone she must never give up the Bible, but read it every
day with her children.'
We must ever remember, dear reader, that the unfolding of the
Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone
who believeth. What a tremendous power was manifested by the
preaching of the Gospel to the savages of North America, in 1743. Mr.
Brainerd, in his journal, gives an instance of the effects which
followed the preaching of the Word of God. There was much concern,
says he, among them while I was discoursing publicly; but afterward,
when I spoke to one and another whom I perceived more particularly
under concern, the power of God seemed to descend upon the assembly,
'like a mighty rushing wind,' and with an astonishing energy bore down
all before it.
I stood amazed at the influence that seized upon the audience
almost universally. Almost all persons of all ages, were bowed down
together. Old men and women, who had been drunken wretches for many
years, and some little children, not more than six or seven years of
age, appeared in distress for their souls, as well as persons of middle
age. These were almost universally praying and crying for mercy in
every part of the house, and many out of doors, and numbers could
neither go nor stand; their concern was so great, each for himself,
that none seemed to take any notice of those about them, but each
prayed for himself. Methought this had a near resemblance to the day of
God's power, mentioned Josh. x. 14; for I must say, I never saw any day
like it in all respects; it was a day wherein the Lord did much to
destroy the kingdom of darkness among this people. A church was soon
afterward gathered among these poor pagans; and such was the change
effected among them, that many exclaimed with astonishment, What hath
He spent whole days in fasting and prayer, that God would prepare
him for his great work; and, indeed, throughout his whole life he was
truly a man of prayer, lifting up his heart to God on all occasions,
frequently spending whole days in prayer and meditation in the fields
and woods desiring holiness of heart far above every other object.
Mr. Brainerd was sent by the Society for the Propagation of
Christian Knowledge to the Indians at Kaunaumeek, a place in the woods
between Stockbridge and Albany. In this lonely place he continued and
endured many hardships and privations.
CHAPTER XXXII. THE INTEMPERATE WIFE.
If you cannot cross the ocean,
And the heathen lands explore,
You can find the heathen nearer,
You can help them at your door.
If you cannot give your thousands,
You can give the widow's mite,
And the least you give for Jesus
Will be precious in His sight.
In March, 1880, she writes: I have had much encouragement in my
work during the past month. In a family where I had visited a long
time, the mother was much addicted to intemperance. On calling one day,
I saw the husband, who said he was glad I had come in, for he had
resolved to leave his wife; he said he could endure his life with her
no longerhe would go his way, and she must go hers. She was much
distressed, and I once more entreated her to give up the intoxicating
cup and be a good wife and mother. I then engaged in prayer, beseeching
the Lord to enable her to resist this dreadful appetite. Her husband
stood by and said:
'Now, Mary, you have your choice: either to follow the advice of
this kind friend, or to separate from me forever.'
She then and there made her decision, and, laying her hand on the
Bible, pledged herself not to touch or taste the poison, and signed a
paper to that effect. Since then, she has attended our meetings, and
says she is happier than she has ever been.
Some persons to whom I have given the Bible did not seem to care to
read it, but have now begun to do so, and encourage their children to
read to them. One man tells me:
'I am scarce five minutes in the house before my little girl begins
to read to me, and it does me good.'
A man and his wife who have attended church this winter, will soon
confess Christ. They have suffered much this season, as the father has
had but little work; but I have been able to give them some assistance.
The mother said she was thankful to the Lord for all that had been done
for them, to bring them through their difficultiesbut, above all,
that she and her husband had found rest in Jesus as their Saviour and
* * * * * *
WARMLY WELCOMED BY ALL DENOMINATIONS.
March, 1881.During this month I have made many visits
Jews and Romanists. Some who formerly opposed me are now
hear me read and pray, and urge me to come to see them often.
Several Roman Catholic families have asked for the Bible; and I
given several copies of the New Testament, which they value
highly, as well for themselves as for their children, whom they
anxious should read and learn its sacred truths. One woman,
children had been taught verses from the New Testament, gave me
twenty-five cents to get her a Bible, saying she wondered why
clergy forbid them reading it.
The woman mentioned before as being intemperate seems now truly
reformed. She attends our meetings with her boy, and she and
husband once more live happily together.
My meeting for young girls continues with much encouragement.
seem to take delight in reading the Scriptures, and in singing
hymns of praise. They spend the hour in sewing and reading
and they are greatly improved in deportment and character. The
little Jewish girl, to whom I gave a Testament, is never absent
from this meeting or from the Sunday-school.
What a deplorable sightan intemperate mother! What a soul-ruinous
example to a daughter! When we consider the relation between the mother
and the child, how great are the maternal responsibilities. The mother
ought to attract the attention of the child by her love. Chilled by the
sin of intemperance, how many, alas! drag down their daughters to
infamy and a life of shame.
But, oh, what a change is wrought in this household after the
dramatic interview, when the husband threatens to leave his wife
forever unless she abandons her cups. What joy enters that family
circle after the mother's transformation. Surely this revolution in her
character was not the work either of the missionary or the person
herself. It is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to His mercy He saves us.
How sweetly Dr. Horace Bonar sings in this connection:
Thy works, not mine, O Christ,
Speak gladness to this heart;
They tell me all is done;
They bid my fear depart.
To whom, save thee,
Who can alone
For sin atone,
Lord, shall I flee?
When we contrast the previous picture with the closing paragraph of
this last account in her diary, we behold the sudden change from
sadness to sunshine.
She says, The young girls seem to take delight in reading the
Scriptures, and in singing hymns of praise. This is the new song
put into the mouth of the Christian at the hour of conversion: Happy
day, when Jesus washed my sins away.
CHAPTER XXXIII. HER LOVE OF CHILDREN
AND OF PRAYING.
He loves me now, oh, blessed thought,
He loved me when I knew Him not,
And with His blood my pardon bought,
On Calvary He died for me;
Then with such love my heart to cheer,
How can I doubt or have one fear,
Or ever think the days are drear,
With Jesus near, with Jesus near.
In 1884 she writes: Ninety-six visits during the last month, and
seven children taken to the Sunday-school. I am everywhere received
with kindness, and especially by the children, through whom I hope to
reach the parents' hearts. I have disposed of several Bibles, for which
I have been paid; and I find there is nothing like reading some verses
of Scripture to excite the desire to possess the Book of God. I have an
interesting class of girls in my own house who study passages of
Scripture every week, and by their example and influence their parents
have been led to attend church and give their hearts to God.
* * * * * *
Oh, how few there are who would be so kind-hearted as this woman to
open their own house to impart spiritual instruction to others. We are
forcibly reminded by this gathering of girls to study God's Word, of a
graphic scene in the Acts of the Apostles: We read that, On the
Sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont
to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted
thither. And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the
city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord
opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying,
If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house,
and abide there. And she constrained us.Acts xvi. 13-15.
We see from the above account of her work the multiplicity of her
avocations: Tract-distribution, visiting and caring for the sick,
teaching the young, not only out of God's Book, but instructing them
how to discharge domestic duties.
Never tired, never weary,
In what she found to do
Ever winsome, always cheery,
She knew but love for you!
Humble, patient, kindly, sincere,
She loved the Master well;
Always trying, unknown to fear,
She would His story tell!
She continues: A short time since, on entering a house, the woman
who opened the door asked if I was a missionary. When I said 'Yes,' she
said, 'The Lord has answered my prayer. I prayed that He would send one
to me to read the Bible and pray with me.' Before, when she had been
visited, she would hide away to avoid the visitor, but now she desires
to be a Christian, and wishes some one to read and pray with her often.
She is very poor, but is now seeking the true riches. One who had been
very ill, but had recovered, gladly received a Bible, for which, though
she is very poor, she gave me fifty cents. I have met with much
encouragement in the Sabbath-school and sewing-school. Many mothers
are, through their children, interested in religion, and come gladly to
the mothers' meetings, and my earnest prayer is that the Lord will help
me in the future as He has done in the past.
Her prayerful spirit was marvellous. This was the reason why she was
able to impart such comfort and encouragement to others.
I called recently in the suburbs of the City of Brooklyn to see a
member of the Allen Street Church, and, after reading God's Word and
prayer, our conversation turned to a beautiful portrait that hung over
the mantel-piece. The lady remarked, That is the picture of my
departed sister, who died in New York. She was faithfully visited
during her sickness by Mrs. Knowles. She continued, I like to think
of her, because she used to tell me after she was gone, 'I pray for you
by name every day.' Perhaps that is the reason why she comes now so
many miles through the long, dreary, stormy winter months, to teach a
class in the Allen Street Sabbath-school, and some of the scholars are
Hebrew children. This person for whom she prayed never misses any of
the services at the church.
Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the
which the Holy Ghost have made you overseers, to feed the church of
God, which he hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that
after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not
sparing the flock.
This is the injunction of the Apostle Paul to the elders at Ephesus,
but it is exceedingly appropriate to all who are engaged in missionary
work of any kind, and it cannot be faithfully complied with unless
there is pastoral work performed from house to house. Who is sufficient
for these things?
During February and March, 1885, she again writes: During the last
two months I have been engaged as usual in reading the Scriptures from
house to house, and wherever I have visited have been allowed to do so,
with very few exceptions. Visiting lately in a tenement house, a woman
came out, telling me that I would never go to Heaven, and using other
insulting language. I only said, 'Poor woman, I pity you.' A Catholic
woman, who heard her, asked me into her room, took me by the hand, and
with tears in her eyes expressed her sorrow that I should be treated so
ill. I told her it did not harm me as much it did themselves. I then
asked if I might pray with them, and when we arose from prayers several
of those present were in tears. 'How can you pray for one who has
abused you so?' said they. I replied that Jesus prayed for His enemies,
and we must imitate His example. One of these women came to our
mothers' meeting, and asked me for a Bible, and promises to read it.
* * * * * *
Here she complied with the command of Christ: I say unto you, love
your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you,
and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
What a wonderful exhibition we have in the above interview of the
spirit of Him who was suspended on the cross for our sins, for we read:
That when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, there
they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the
other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know
not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
The fearful drama enacted on Golgotha excites our wonder when we
behold the amazing love of Jesus, in thus praying for His persecutors.
How true it is that He was clothed with the mock robes of royalty, that
we might be clad in His justifying righteousness; crowned with the
crown of thorns, that we might wear a crown of glory.
Flow on, thou stream; oh, ceaseless flow,
Till every child of sin and woe
Hath plunged beneath thy cleansing tide,
And found the Saviour precious.
I want to say here, that I visited a family by request a few
evenings since in the upper part of New York City. During our religious
conversation I asked the mother of the family how she was led to
Christ. Her husband, daughters, and sons were all seated around her at
the time, a happy family circle. Well, she replied, about
twenty-three years ago, when my children were little, Mrs. Knowles met
me on the street, coming from the store. She said, 'Excuse me, lady,
will you accept a tract?' I answered yes. 'Will you read it,' she
inquired, 'if I give you one?' I promised I would. She further asked
me, 'Have you any children?' 'Yes.' 'Do they go to Sabbath-school?'
'No.' 'Will you send them if I call for them next Lord's Day morning?'
'Yes.' She called the following Sabbath, and asked if the children were
ready. 'They are all ready,' I said, 'but one, and her shoes are not
good enough; but wait and I will go out and buy a new pair.' 'Oh,' said
Mrs. Knowles, 'never mind buying shoes to-day, I will call next Sabbath
for them.' I did not know the reason then why she would not
allow me to get the shoes, but I know now. She did not wish me
to break the holy Sabbath day. Then she persuaded me to attend church,
until I found Jesus as my Saviour. I was in the habit of going to her
with all my trouble, and she would say, 'Oh, well, never mind, don't
tell anyone but your Heavenly Father about it.'
CHAPTER XXXIV. CONVERSION OF
We are so helpless, Lord,
Thou art all power and might;
Our path is often drear,
Be thou our light.
We have no hope but thee;
Oh, leave us not alone,
Till life's brief day is o'er,
Still guard thine own.
Her joy in bringing children to the Sabbath-school was great, but
when she led them to Christ it was sublime. Why should she not be
interested in their early conversion, when Jesus said, Suffer the
little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is
the Kingdom of Heaven. I desire to state here, that when I was a boy,
about nine years of age, I attended a prayer-meeting between the
morning and afternoon services, led by an elder of the Relief U.P.
Church, Greenock, and was so deeply impressed with Divine truth that I
gathered my playmates together, and invited them to a meeting of my own
across the burn at the foot of grandfather's garden, near Dr.
McCulloch's established church, where we boys read God's Word in turn
sang the sweet psalms of David, and offered prayer.
Rev. E. P. Hammond is doing a grand work among children at the
present time in New York. I assisted in his meetings, and found a
goodly number of children inquiring after Jesus, and one afternoon
there were a dozen young men and women rejoicing in their sins
forgiven, who had signed the covenant.
The following letter will speak for itself regarding Mr. Hammond's
work here in this city among children, many of whom were brought to
NEW YORK CITY, March 3, 1887.
DEAR BROTHER YOUNG: I am engaged, night and day, holding
here, I wish you could come up and attend some of the services;
thank you for all your kind words. I am to be to-morrow at the
prayer-meeting as per bill. If you can be there I shall be glad
One hundred and twenty here, gave their names to us
saying they had been converted in these meetings (for the most
part). To-morrow night we go to Carle Hall. It will hold,
three or four thousand. Pray for us.
Yours in Jesus,
E. P. HAMMOND.
The afternoon I visited the scene of his labors, he presented me
with a copy of his work entitled, The Conversion of the Children, in
which I have found a very encouraging letter to workers among the
little ones. I use it here to illustrate the power of Divine grace, and
to show that wherever the effort is put forth to save the children, God
The following letter will testify also to the power of the Gospel.
It is the production of one whom God has been graciously pleased to
bless in a marvellous manner among the young.
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, September, 18, 1877.
MY DEAR MR. HAMMOND: We oftentimes remember you, though few
have passed between us. My daughters and myself will never
your visit and the time of blessing then, and they, as well as
myself, send you most hearty salutations.
Dear brother, my thoughts on the subject of the conversion of
children are the same as when I wrote that tract you refer
think I agreed with you in almost every thing but one, viz.,
expressing publicly an opinion on cases. It seems to me that we
should be cautious in so doing; for children themselves mistake
feeling for faith; how easy, then, for us who do
not know the
heart, to mistake in them a manifestation of feeling for
But in the awakening which took place under your labors here,
in awakenings that have been given us since, the cases of young
people have been as entirely satisfactory as any cases we have
If conversion be God's work, in which the Holy Spirit reveals
Christ to the soul, surely His work can take place in children
really as in the old; for it is the young soul meeting with
in the one case and the adult in the other.
One day, about the time, or perhaps after the time, you were
us, in the vestry of my church, an old Christian woman, who had
watched the work going on, came to me and said, 'Sir, you will
many people speaking lightly of the young who come to Christ,
there was nothing but feeling in their case; but never mind
these people say. I was converted in the days of Dr. Kidd, of
Aberdeen, when I was but a child, and two others of my age were
converted at the same time; and we have all three gone on to
day, following the Lamb.'
The Lord blesses you amazingly. Surely you will need to 'walk
circumspectly,' 'sober, vigilant,' for Satan will not fail to
you, and seek to injure you, that he may injure God's work
you. If the way be opened for your revisiting Scotland, many
us shall rejoice.
Meanwhile, we pray for you, and will not cease. Pray for us
Yours truly, in Him 'Whose we are and whom we serve,'
ANDREW A. BONAR.
 The Conversion of Children, by Dr. A. A. Bonar.
But what makes us to differ from each other? Surely it is simply the
presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our heart. It is all of free
sovereign grace and mercy, as Paul says, to the Church at Corinth:
By the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was
bestowed upon me was not found vain: but I labored more abundantly than
they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Whether
then it be I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.
CHAPTER XXXV. ASLEEP IN JESUS.
Asleep in Jesus; blessed sleep,
From which none ever wakes to weep,
A calm and undisturbed repose,
Unbroken by the last of foes.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.Philippians i.
One week ago to-day, and at this hour, we stood in this historic
church over the precious remains of our dear, departed Elder, James
Knowles, so kind, so gentle, so affectionate, so humble, and so meek in
his manners that we greatly miss him in our work for the blessed
Master. Ah! little did we then think that we were to be so speedily
gathered together to pay the last tribute of respect to the memory of
his faithful and loving wife. But God's ways are not our ways, nor His
thoughts as our thoughts. How inexplicable and profoundly mysterious
are His providential arrangements. It hath pleased our kind heavenly
Father to say to our sainted sister, It is enough, come up higher.
She also is at rest with her Saviour and her husband, to whom she was
so devotedly attached. She was, indeed, a virtuous wife and loving
The race appointed she has run,
The combat's o'er, the prize is won.
 The substance of a sermon preached by the Rev. Duncan
Young, in the Allen Street Presbyterian Church, New York,
November 1, 1886, on the occasion of the death of Mrs. James
Knowles, a city missionary who triumphantly departed this
October 30, 1886, in the seventy fifth year of her age.
How blessed the change! How rich the reward! How safe from all sin
and sorrow! In yonder land of pure delight where saints immortal
reign. What a meeting! What a greeting takes place at the hour of
dissolution! How pleasing the contemplation. How inspiring to think
of our noble ancestors; our holy ministers and teachers; our fathers
and mothers who led us by the hand to the house of God on the Sabbath,
who early taught us to lisp the ever precious name of Jesus; who are
to-day singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. Let us thank God at this
solemn hour, even amid blinding tears, for pious, praying parents.
Oh, that the Holy Spirit of God may touch our hearts to-day; that we
may more fully realize the greatness and importance of our work, and
that we may understand that this second great loss to this church is
the voice of the God of Israel calling us, by the solemn dispensations
of His providence, to be more zealous in our Saviour's cause. Clarify
our vision just now, O Thou Divine Enlightener, that we may see light
in Thy light.
I truly believe my theme to-day is a gift from the Lord, the God of
Abraham, and is peculiarly appropriate for this solemn scene, and
adapted to the circumstances and special wants of this church and
congregation. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His
saints. The text, I may add, has been graphically illustrated in the
life and labors, as well as in the death of her who now lies before us
in that beautiful casket, covered with so many rich and fragrant
flowers, the gifts of dearly beloved friends.
While I do not believe in eulogizing the dead, yet, nevertheless, I
think, nay, I experimentally know, that great good is derived from
reflection upon the lives of the great, the pure, and the noble ones
who are beyond the flood. Nothing stimulates me so much to increased
activity and aggressiveness in Christian work as the thought of the
numerous servants of the Most High God now in heaven:
How bright those glorious spirits shine,
Whence all their white array?
How came they to the blissful seats
Of everlasting day?Par. lxvi. 1.
Paul, who uttered the words of our text, was passing through great
suffering when he wrote this epistle to the Church which he planted at
Philippi. He was at this time a prisoner for Christ in the palace of
the imperial city of Rome: for he declares, That the things that
happened unto me, have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of
the Gospel; so that, he adds, my bonds in Christ are manifest in all
the palace, and in all other places.
There are just two thoughts that we want to try and develop this
afternoon, namely, that conformity to the likeness of Christ in life
brings glorious gain to the Christian at death. Or, in the words of the
great Apostle of the Gentiles, For to me to live is Christ, and to die
is gain. From the sacred hour that the blessed Jesus met him on his
way to Damascus, to the day of his martyrdom, his continual cry was,
God forbid that I should glory, save in the Cross of the Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me. I count all things
but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.
That man, says the Hebrew bard, hath perfect blessedness, who not
only refraineth from walking astray, but who delights in the Law of the
Lord. Lex rex, was his mottoThe Law is King! For the Master
has said: Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the
prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. He desires to
corroborate the fact thatYe are the light of the worldhence, he
adds, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. The city set on a
hill cannot be hid.
The true Christian, then, beholds the humility and majesty of Christ
in defining His and our relation to the law that regulates daily life.
The Gospel of the blessed God and the law conjointly elevates and
spiritualizes humanity. The law is our school-master to lead us to
Christ, hence Paul says, To be carnally minded is death; but to be
spiritually minded is life and peace. For what the law could not do, in
that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the
likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that
the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not
after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Our loved one's life was emphatically a life of consecration. It was
a life strictly devoted to the cause of her dear Redeemer. For her to
live was Christ, hence to die was gain. We all know that to consecrate
is to set apart for holy service. Aaron of old was thus unreservedly
laid upon the altar as a living sacrifice for Jehovah. A person thus
set apart receives the unction of the Holy One. It was beautifully
symbolized under the mosaical dispensation.
Moses took the anointing oil and poured it upon the head of Aaron,
in order that he might be sanctified and set apart for the service of
God. And so, when we can truly exclaim with Paul, I am crucified with
Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and
the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son
of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. It is then we receive
the blessed baptism of the Holy Spirit, and are made meet for the
Master's use. None can rightly live for Christ until they receive this
rich and inestimable blessing. At that time we are sealed with
the Holy Spirit of promise.
Among the personal property of Sister Knowles were found some crumbs
which fell from the Master's table in the form of forget-me-nots of the
Word of God, by Dr. McDuff, author of Morning and Night Watches.
Valuable little works which I would earnestly recommend, and which I
have endeavored to put into the hands of many young disciples in my
various fields of labor. I will quote a few of the forget-me-nots, as
they are very comforting in these hours of sorrow and separation. For
instance here are a few of them:
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy
God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold
thee with the right hand of my righteousness.Isa. xli. 10. Yet will
I not forget thee: Even to your old age I am He; and even to
hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will
carry, and will deliver you.Isa. xlvi. 4.
Our dear Sister Knowles corroborated the truthfulness of the above
passages by her last dying words, the last she ever uttered upon earth.
Once I was young, now I am old, and have never been forsaken.
It is impossible for us to live a truly devoted Christian life
without the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, John
said, I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that
cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to
bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. This
divine blessing our dear sister pre-eminently possessed.
This was the reason why Christ, our ever adorable Redeemer and
Daysman was continually about His Father's business. The Prophet Isaiah
said concerning him: The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because
the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath
sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captives and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.... To
comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to
give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be
called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He
might be glorified.
The presence here to-day, in a body, of the New York Female Bible
Readers' Society, out of respect to the memory of the departed, is a
conclusive evidence of the fact that they recognized her sterling
qualities, and her heroic missionary spirit among the fallen sons and
daughters of Adam in the lower part of this great city. They fully
realize that this church and community have suffered a severe loss in
her removal, and their presence, together with so many elders, and
ministers, deacons, and Sabbath-school workers, give proof that her
life, for over a quarter of a century, during which she incessantly
toiled for Christ, were years of holy and unremitting industry, and
holy consecration in the service of Him whose whole life was one of
self-sacrifice and self-abnegation. For He came not to be ministered
unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.
She was like Christ in this respect. Emptied of self, and was found
like Mary of old sitting at the feet of Jesus, and hearing His word. As
He said, Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall
find rest unto your souls.
God has wisely ordained that souls are to be saved through human
instrumentality, especially through those whose hearts are in the work.
He hath put the treasure in the earthen vessel that the excellency of
the power may be of God and not of man. Who can estimate the value of a
holy missionary woman's work in this world of sin and sorrow?
Through the power of an indwelling spirit, who can tell of the many
broken hearts healed by the application of the Balm of Gilead. Many
poor Satan-bound souls have had their shackles severed, and joyously
set at liberty by pointing them to the only Redeemer of God's elect,
who by His great atoning work hath paid for them the ransom price; and
many to-day are singing the song of Redeeming love above, who were led
to put their trust in the blessed Jesus by her prayers and religious
instruction. Many a poor Jew, and Jewess, and Roman Catholic, and
Formalist, and Infidel, and swearer, and Sabbath-breaker, were pointed
by her to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world. She
ever displayed great sagacity in every kind of work. She will be
greatly missed in the Tenth Ward of this city.
God grant that as the spirit of Elijah did rest on Elisha as he was
taken up into Heaven, even so may her mantle fall on us who are left
behind. Let us
With zeal like hers inspired,
Begin the Christian race;
And freed from each encumbering weight,
Her holy footsteps trace.
Krummacher, of Elberfeld, in the valley of Barmen, Prussia, said,
That Elisha on inheriting this mantle is henceforth called to take the
place of his great Master, and to carry on His work. This singular
legacy was therefore very significant to Elisha. The mantle came flying
toward him heavily laden, but with the commission he received was
connected the encouraging circumstance that it came accompanied with
such a precious memorial of his paternal Master. It was no longer the
robe of his redoubted reformer, but the robe of a blessed heir of
Heaven, borne thither on the wings of the cherubin. This circumstance
would tend to refresh his spirit in his arduous work; and, at
the same time as the messenger of peace, who was to announce to the
house of Israel, like the rainbow after the storm, Jehovah's good-will
toward men. Oh, that the remembrance of our ancestors, the great, and
the good, and the holy ones who have gone before would inspire us to go
and do likewise!
I remember once standing in the cemetery of Stirling and gazing upon
the monument of two Christian sisters who suffered martyrdom for
Christ, and as I read the inscription on the tombstone, I thought of
how much we were indebted to those who have borne the burden and heat
of the day.
Here is the inscription: Margaret, Virgin Martyr of the Ocean Wave,
with her like-minded sister, Agnes. Then follows this touching
paragraph: Love, many waters cannot quench. God saves His chaste,
impearled one! In Covenant true. Oh, Scotia's daughters! earnest
scan the Page and prize this flower of Grace, blood-bought
for you.Psalms ix. xix. The elder and younger sister are exquisitely
sculptured, seated together with an open Bible on their laps, and a
lamb by their side, while an angel is standing behind them gazing
intently on the scene. Who can tell but the departed one gazed upon
this very scene in the days of her sunny childhood, for the Bible was
her daily delight.
Ah! dear friends, are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to
minister to them who are heirs of salvation? And are there not many
living martyrs that the world knows nothing of among our Bible Readers
in this city, who are saying as Paul did: What mean ye to weep and to
break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die
at Jerusalem, for the name of the Lord Jesus.Acts xxi. 13.
A French gentleman, a Roman Catholic, who lived in the same house as
sister Knowles for several years, told me that he never met a woman so
humble and straightforward as she was in all her deportment.
What was the secret of her power in eliciting this outside
testimony? She had companionship with Jesus. She lived near Him; she
heard His sweet voice saying: Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:
if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and
will sup with him, and he with me.
The holy McCheyne, of St. Peter's, Dundee, Scotland, says,
concerning those who walk with Christ on earth, That they shall walk
with Christ in white, for they are worthy.... Never forget, dear
brethren, that you are to walk with Christ. This walk expresses the
most real intimacy with Him. You know it is a mark of real
intimacy to admit one to walk with us in our solitary rambles. Oh, walk
with Him now; walk here with Him, and you shall soon put your head
where John put his.
She cultivated a firm and unstaggering confidence in the continued
presence of the Holy Spirit in her heart. McCheyne's directions to his
flock was, Pray for the Holy Spirit to uphold you, if sensible of your
weakness; then lean upon this proved Comforter.... Pray much for
this Comforter that He may enlighten your mind, that He may fill your
hearts. Oh, pray for the Spirit of God, for there is no other way of
walking to heaven but by the Spirit. Let Him lead you. My dear
brethren, in this way, and in this way alone, will you not defile
your garments. Thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of
uprightness.Psalm cxliii. 10. She had faith in the power of the
Comforter, or helper.
In the midst of many privations, and sometimes when the week's
earnings of her husband was small, and he would say to her on the
Saturday evening, I have not much money for you to-night, she would
cheerfully reply: Never mind dearest, the Lord will provide.
Jehovah-jireh! was her watchword all through her life. She would
remark, That would go further to them with God's blessing, than three
times as much without His blessing.
Earthly comforts and pleasures might fail, but the joys that spring
from personal piety and firm faith in the Comforter's presence failed
her never. She seemed to fully realize the potency of the prophet's
words, Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be
in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall
yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there
shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will
joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He
will make my feet like hinds' feet.Hab. iii. 17-19.
She evidently found in the mighty God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
an inexhaustible source of strength and comfort and consolation through
her child-like trust in the immutable promise, I will never leave thee
nor forsake thee.
Conformity to the character of Christ was an essential element in
her every-day life. She had cares, difficulties, and trials, but she
cast them all upon the great burden-bearer, hence prevailing prayer was
ever her chief delight. It is no misplaced and extravagant exaggeration
to say that she breathed the very atmosphere of prayer. This is the
wisest resource at all times. Like Elijah on the summit of Mount
Carmel, where all is peaceful and solitary, alone with God, she made
her requests known unto Him. It was then that the peace of God which
passeth all understanding, kept her heart and mind through Christ
Jesus.Phil. iv. 6-7.
Oh, who can fully estimate the excellency of a devotional
temperament? What evils we are delivered from! What mercies we receive!
What gladness of heart! What light is imparted! What strength God
bestows! For, has He not promised, Ask, and ye shall receive? She had
no doubts concerning the faithfulness of her Father to answer prayer.
It was through her importunate pleadings at the throne of grace that
her only son, when quite young, was led to see his need of Jesus. And
what joy was brought into the hearts of those parents when, at the
return of the father from the prayer-meeting, they found their child on
his knees crying for God to have mercy on his soul. Over such scenes as
this the holy angels delight to bend their bright wings and make joyous
music in heaven. (See Luke xv. 10.)
On one occasion during the fratricidal war in this country, when her
boy was fighting before Richmond, some one brought her word that he was
mortally wounded on the battle-field, for they had seen his name in the
newspapers, she calmly and trustfully replied: Not my son; for I have
made him the subject of earnest prayer, that his young life may be
guarded by God while in his country's battles for continued liberty and
independence. She recognized the truth that piety and patriotism are
She seemed to realize that the Saviour was always at her side. She
walked by faith and not by sight. She understood the distinction
between the constituents of faith and the consequences of faith.
Chalmers wisely remarksthat the gratitude, the love, the disposition
toward new obedience; these are not the ingredients of faith; they are
but the effects of it. Observe what follows by making them the
ingredients. By faith we are said to be justified; but if our piety
toward God, or our desire to conform to His law, or any moral
characteristic whatever, shall be regarded as parts and constituents of
this faith; then, under the consciousness of our sad deficiency, we
shall never attain to the solid peace of one who rejoices in a firm
sense of his acceptance with God. But reduce faith to its simplicity,
take it in the obvious and uncompounded sense which you attach to
the mere act of believing, regard it as purely giving credit to God's
testimony, when he sets forth Christ as a propitiation for our sin, and
invites one and all in the world to cast upon Him the burden of their
reliance, and then see how, by immediate transition, one might enter
into peace, and become a confiding, tranquillized, and happy creature, simply because convinced that the most powerful of beings, whom he
aforetime regarded as an enemy and an avenger is pacified toward him,
and now makes him a free proffer of fellowship and forgiveness. It is
of the greatest importance to the secure and perfect establishment of a
believer's peace, that it should be a matter of believing, and
believing only. It is also an imperative necessity that the comfort and
confidence should spring from the proper object of belief, which is the
sureness of God's own testimony, and not from the consciousness of love
or gratitude, or any moral quality in ourselves!
I heard Dr. Andrew Bonar, while preaching in Philadelphia, during a
visit to this country, tell about a dying elder who was asked by
friends who clustered around his couch, How do you feel, now that the
hour of your departure has come, and you hear the voice that calls you
home? Have you still joy and peace?
Oh, he said, I am not thinking about joy or peace, or my
feelings. I am not thinking about myself at all. I am just lying here
thinking about Christ. I am thinking about what He has done and
suffered for me; and what He is doing for me in heaven. Yes, He is 'a
hiding place from the wind.'
'Rock of ages cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.'
That is what we have to do in life and in death. Where can we find
rest and refuge in a dying hour, but by thinking upon and trusting in
Him who is 'the shadow of a great rock in a weary land?'
Our peace, our joy, our hope, our all in life and in death, are the
results of confidence in Christ. Our dear, departed sister had heard
the sweet voice of Jesus saying, I am the dark world's light; come
unto me, thy morn shall rise and all thy day be bright. Her trust was
not in this vain and transitory world, though smiling and fair, she
trusted not His joy, for sorrow was there. Her faith had found an
anchora sure abiding home; she had a strong consolation because she
had fled for refuge and had laid hold of the hope set before her in the
The sweet and tender and loving words of John were ever present to
her ear: If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have
fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son
cleanseth us from all sin. Hence she continually enjoyed four precious
elements of spiritual life and Christian experience; viz., Union with
God, Communion with Christ, Pure Fellowship with the Saints, and
Constant Cleansing by the peace-speaking blood of JesusThat blood
which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel.
The application to your hearts of the blood of Jesus by the Holy
Spirit is like the dew upon the new mown grass.
Amid the great rush and roar of business, where men are pressing
against each other on the busy streets, in the race for gold, her mind
was constantly occupied with thoughts relative to the wants and woes of
the sick and the dying. While others were daily seeking their own, not
the things of Christ, she was found bringing children to the
Sabbath-schoolreaching out to the hearts of the parents through the
little onesbringing the blessed Bible to the bosoms of the homes
which had none; circulating tracts and religious literature; visiting
sad scenes of distressing spiritual and domestic destitution. And
whatsoever her hands found to do, she did it quietly and
unostentatiously, and unreservedly, knowing full well, That there is
no work, nor device, nor knowledge in the grave whither we goeth. She
sweetly rests from her labors, and her works do follow her. And as the
Gospel of the grace of God was in her a well of water, out of the
abundance of her heart, so kind, calm, consistent, and courageous,
there constantly flowed streams of living water of earnest, loving,
prayerful toil in the Master's vineyard.
She gathered daily jewels for the crown of her rejoicing. I have
found in her diary, that this was the aim of her whole life.
Companionship with Christ is constantly manifested by love for the
Holy Scriptures. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye
shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. The will of
Jesus is made known through His word. When the blessed Master was in
Capernaum, His own city, He declared that it was the Spirit that
quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing: The words that I speak unto
you, they are spirit, and they are life.John vi. 63.
There is sunshine and beauty in His words. They are practical
principles for the regulation of life, and a humble, holy walk and
conversation is the product. It is in His word we behold the character
of Jesus. In the Mirror of the glad tidings, we behold His lovely
countenance and are changed into the same image, from glory to glory.
It is no wonder that David exclaimed, The entrance of Thy word giveth
light. Hence the exhortation of Paul to Timothy, Preach the Word.
Oh, the intrinsic value of the Word of God. It was because of Christ's
own word that the Samaritans believed on Him, notwithstanding the
prejudice they entertained against the Jews and their religion.
Alas! how many professing Christians make shipwreck of faith because
they neglect to read the Word. Christ is the Word. This is that bread
which came down from heaven. He that eateth my flesh shall live
What Matthew Henry says of his father at his funeral, may be said
with reference to the dear one who has just left us for the mansions
above. Let us then, as ever we hope to meet her with joy in the other
world, follow her with diligence now. Having begun in the
spirit, let us not end in the flesh,having laid our hands on the
plough, let us not look back, lest our latter end be worse than our
Being dead, she yet speaks to us to be loving and helpful to one
another. Her common and undistinguished love to us all was such
that it could never be said which of us she loved the best, and it
speaks to us, now that she is gone, to love one another with a pure
heart fervently. We know very well that our unity was the joy of
her heart while living, and many a time she hath with us blessed God
for it. Let it, therefore, be to the credit and honor of her family,
friends, and the Church, for I find it was her dying prayer for this
church and its minister, not only that we may be built up in
holiness and comfort, but that we may be continued in brotherly
love, and be a bundle of arrows which cannot be broken.
Now that we have lost her who was wont to pray for us, and to be a
common helper to us, let us pray so much the more one for another, and
be so much the more helpful one to another, especially in the things
that pertain to the kingdom of heaven; and let all our bonds of unity
be strengthened and confirmed, and let it be our constant endeavor,
each of us in our place, to be mutually serviceable to each other's
comfort and welfare, and jointly serviceable to the glory of God and
to the comfort of the Church, for Christ loved the Church, and gave
Himself for the Church.
When we unbosom ourselves, He lets His love stream richly and
gloriously into our hearts. From day to day, our sister seemed to
realize how strongly and truly Christ loved the Church, and herself, as
an individual member of it. The sacrificial death of the Saviour was to
her not simply an historical fact, but a living reality. The sweet
peace and pure pleasure she daily enjoyed was the result of His death.
For, He hath made peace through the blood of His cross. And since He
had made her the happy recipient of His grace, it was her daily delight
to walk in the path of obedience. Christ was to her the door of
salvation, and she went in and out and found pasture, in ministering to
the poor and indigent and dying, and in this line of Christian toil she
possessed a remarkable faculty.
She told me on one occasion, during one of my pastoral visits, that
she visited a dying woman and endeavored to point her to Jesus. And
when a clergyman of the Church of Rome, who happened to be present, was
retiring, she suggested that they should have a word of prayer
together. He replied, That while he enjoyed her religious
conversation, he could not pray with her, as she did not belong to his
At this remark she was deeply affected, and said, with great
emphasis and deep solemnity: I thought there was but one fold and one
When she sent around, or rather, came herself for me, to the church
on Friday, the prayer-meeting night, to come and see her dear dying
husband, she seemed to be troubled when I asked him, Are you still
trusting in Jesus? as I observed he was rapidly sinking, I put the
question that I might employ his blessed testimony for my own good, and
the good of the congregation. He quickly responded very emphatically in
the affirmative, Yes! yes! and I think those were the last audible
words he uttered. But she was troubled because she had such faith in
the consistency of the Christian life of her husband, that she knew
full well that he feared no evil, for Christ was with him.
Oh, how tenderly and lovingly she would step up to his bed-side and
kiss his heated brow. When he became unconscious or rather, when his
speech failed him and he would point to his parched lips to have them
moistened, she would tearfully exclaim, My dear, dear husband, can you
not speak to me? Have you not a word for Esther? My dear husband, how
can I live without you?
I endeavored to console her on the sorrowful occasion, until after
midnight, by reading the Scriptures, and prayer, and general
conversation about heavenly things, and more especially the precious
promises of Jesus concerning the many mansions, I remember reading 2
Corinthians, v. 1: We know that if our earthly house of this
tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made
with hands, eternal in the heavens.
About midnight she became perfectly resigned to the will of God, and
felt that life, even amid affliction, is the gift of God, and is a
In this she was like Christ, For me to live is Christ, seemed to
be her motto to the last. I left the house about two in the morning. I
called again between eight and nine A.M., the same day, after her
husband's death, to see how she was bearing her trouble. But oh, how
changed! Her tears were all dried; and as she sat by the bedside where
her husband suffered his last illness, her countenance wore an
expression of perfect peace and Christian fortitude. Like her Saviour
amid the hoary olives of Gethsemane, she could tranquilly exclaim:
Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done!
The first words she uttered when I entered the room were: My dear
husband has gone to glory. These words were uttered very quietly, and
very solemnly. Ah, little did she think that in just one week and two
hours from that time, she also was to pass away from earth to heaven,
To see the King in his beauty, and be forever with the Lord.
The Saturday night after her husband's death, she went to the store
for some groceries. It was the usual custom for her husband, when he
would hear the door open, to go down-stairs and carry the basket up for
her; she remarked, when she returned home and experienced his absence
for the first time, No Papa to come and carry up the basket to-night!
How quickly she remembered this little act of courtesy and kindness on
his part. He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful in
much. Gratitude to God and one another for little deeds of kindness is
well-pleasing in His sight.
She fed the hungry and clothed the naked; many a loaf of bread she
carried with her own hands to the necessitous. Many a poor, crying,
shivering, half-clad child was comfortably clothed through her
instrumentality: He that honoreth Him hath mercy on the poor.Prov.
xiv. 31. The poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.
Shall the Christian's remembrance of these words be overlooked in the
great day of reckoning? Will the dear Lord not recognize even a cup of
cold water given in the name of a disciple? Verily it shall in no wise
lose its reward. To care for the poor is practical Christianity. The
question will not be asked in the great day of account: Did you preach
long, deep, and eloquent sermons? Or offer long and pharisaical
prayers? No. But He will say unto them on His right hand, Come, ye
blessed. Why? Inherit the kingdom.... For I was an hungred, and ye
gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and
ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me:
I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer
Him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or
thirsty, and gave thee drink?... And the King shall answer and say unto
them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of
the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
As Christian workers we have constantly to remember that while we
are justified by our faith here, and now, we will be judged by our
Henry Law, in Christ is All, wisely remarks that, Fruit is the
sign of healthy trees, and so works evidence that we have life. By
their fruits ye shall know them. Whoso hath this world's good, and
seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion
from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
* * * * * *
TO DIE IS GAIN.
How frail, how short, how uncertain is human life. Man that is born
of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a
flower, and is cut down.Job xiv. 1. As for man, his days are as
grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind
passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no
more.Ps. ciii. 15-16.
All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of
grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away, but
the Word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the Word which by
the Gospel is preached unto you.1 Pet. i. 24-25.
These very solemn passages of Scripture reveal to us two distinct
lines of thought: First, The mutable; and, secondly, the immutable. If
a man die, shall he live again? Ah, it is here, amid the ravages which
death makes, that we hear Christ's blessed words, I am the
resurrection and the life; he that believeth on me though he were dead,
yet shall he live.
While it is true that this body must droop and die, and return to
dust, yet death cannot touch the soul. It is immortal, it has been
created in the image of God. He is a spirit, and a spirit is
indestructible. The essence of the soul is spiritual. From the hour of
the new birth, the soul of man begins to ripen for glory. All its
powers and capacities are gradually developed and made meet for the
inheritance of the saints in light.
This preparation for Heaven is the work of the Holy Spirit. By
providences, by sermons, by the word of truth, and by prayer, God
prepares His servants for the heavenly home on high. Looking, then, at
this life as a state of danger, difficulties, and trialsa life of
probationwe must say with Paul, that when the great conflict is over,
To die is gain. The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a
good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the
Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day.
But remember he said, now I am ready to be offered.
It is only when we are ready to be offered, that to die will be
gain. Oh, are you ready? Jesus says, be ye also ready.
There are some here, perhaps, who are still unsaved, unprepared for
death. Oh, if God should call for you to-day, where would your soul go?
You know that God out of Christ is a consuming fire. It will not be
gain for you when you die, unless you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Oh, come to Him while it is the accepted time, and the day of
There is no time to be lost in this important matter, for death is
upon our track. While God invites how blest the day. While the Holy
Spirit is speaking and saying, Prepare to meet thy God. Oh, resist
not entreaties, yield to His power. How is it possible for a soul to be
ready for death, and judgment, and a coming eternity, without
Verily, verily, said Jesus to Nicodemus, I say unto thee, Except
a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Except ye be
converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the
Kingdom of Heaven. How is it possible for any to be ready to meet God
in peace unless they are washed in Christ's blood, and clothed in His
spotless and justifying righteousness.
Paul said, To be absent from the body is to be present with the
Lord. There are some, however, who do not believe this comforting
doctrine. They debar the Christian from the enjoyments of Heaven during
the intermediate state between the hour of death and the resurrection.
This condition they call the unconscious state of the dead. They are
soul-sleepers, and generally believe in the pernicious error, namely,
the annihilation of the wicked. A pleasing thought no doubt to the
workers of iniquity, as they shall escape the punishment due to their
iniquities. This is about as dangerous a doctrine as the new school
theology of reformatory punishment, namely, that God is so good and so
full of universal benevolence, that He cannot consistently, with His
attribute of mercy, consign His creatures to everlasting punishment. It
is true that God is full of love and tender mercy; but He never
appeared as a merciful God excepting through a mediator. He can only be
just, and the justifier of those alone who believe in Jesus. Neither
is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name given under
Heaven or among men whereby we can be saved, but by the name of Jesus.
To those, we believe, He is precious at the hour of death. It is then
the believer is ushered into the presence of the King eternal,
immortal, and invisible. In view of the greatness and glory of the
transition from earth to Heaven, the Apostle exclaimed, I have a
desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better. For it is
then that we really begin to live; now we see through a glass
darkly; now we know only in part, but then, oh, what a change, Beyond
the smiling and the weeping.
Let not your heart be troubled, said Jesus; in my Father's house
are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you, I go to
prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you I will
come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be
also. It is for these mansions we were begotten. Heirs to an
inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away.
Sister Knowles had the blest assurance of this Heavenly home, she
knew this assurance was attainable, and on earth she enjoyed it, and
now she is reaping the rich reward, and its innumerable and unutterable
advantages. In her dying hour she could triumphantly exclaim, with
Simeon in the temple, Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,
for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. And, like Moses, her eye was
not dimmed, nor her natural force abated. Oh! the gain, the bliss of
Heaven as our home is worthy our deepest contemplation. It doth not
yet appear what we shall be. It is a place of perfect rest. Oh, how
comforting is this thought to the poor, way-worn, toiling pilgrim.
Oh, land of rest for thee I sigh!
The important discovery of this land of rest will nerve our arm for
the great conflict of life. It will inspire us to work more earnestly
and more incessantly for Jesus. It will sweeten every bitter cup of
trial and tribulation that we have to encounter here below. It will
distil a desire and a loftiness of aim in life, that we may at last
reach the rest that remains for the people of God. The struggle with
inbred sin will be more easily overcome, and every lust and evil
passion will be completely conquered by keeping the eye steadily fixed
on those glittering mansions,
Where the wicked cease from troubling,
And the weary are at rest.
Christ Himself will administer this rest to the believer in the
Heavenly Kingdom. Just as He is the source of peace and quiet here on
earth, so is He at this moment surrounded with the saints triumphant in
glory, imparting perpetual peace in the paradise of God to all the
bright spirits who loved Him on earth, and kept His commandments.
Yonder they enjoy eternal Sabbathism.
Let us fear, therefore, lest haply a promise being left of entering
into rest, any of you should seem to come short of it through unbelief.
For indeed we have good tidings preached unto us, and we which believe
do enter into that rest.
Alford, in speaking of the rest on earth that resembles the rest of
Heaven, says: Our Lord does not promise (here below) freedom from toil
or burdens, but rest to the soul. The rest and joy of the Christian
soul is to become like Christ. To the young men, who surrounded her
dying couch, she said: Avoid bad company, learn of Christ; seek
to be like Him, little by little. It is no wonder King David said, As
for me I will behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied
when I awake with Thy likeness.
But we are to behold the royal dignity of the Redeemer, and be
brought forth into a large place because He delighted in us. Yes! to
die is gain. Oh! wondrous change: To behold His illimitable power and
partake of His consummate wisdom and knowledge. One thing have I
desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the
house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the
Lord and to inquire in His temple, for in the time of trouble He shall
hide me in His pavilion. The Christian is secure at death; he has a
building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.
Here we have a continual conflict; but yonder we are made more than
conquerors through Him who loved us. Here we are sinful and
short-sighted; but yonder we shall partake of His perfect holiness and
inexhaustible love and Divine penetration in the Heavenly Kingdom. Yes
to die is infinite gain.
The spiritual enjoyment of the soul in the land of light is
indescribable. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered
into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that
love Him. Yonder you shall behold the glory of God in the face of
You know this was a portion of the parting prayer of Jesus for His
disciples. He said: Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast
given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory. There
is but a step between us and it. There is but a thin veil that parts us
from the beatic vision of the blest.
I once entered the beautiful harbor of Cronstadt, in Russia, and I
distinctly remember that the entrance was so narrow and land-locked,
that we could scarcely discern its precise location until we had
suddenly entered it. The passage from earth to Heaven is not unlike the
ending of the voyage of a ship, even although many of them reach the
harbor in a dismantled condition. Many a storm has been encountered,
and while sails have been torn to shreds, yet the gallant bark has
outweathered the gale and has escaped rocks, and quicksands, and
whirlpools of destruction. But now the gale is hushed forever, the
sails are all furled, the anchor is cast out, and she rides securely in
the harbor where storms cannot affright. Glorious port of peace! Oh,
blessed and triumphant entry! To go no more out forever; where the Lamb
which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them and lead them unto
living fountains of water, and God Himself shall wipe away all tears
from their eyes.
Beautiful valley of Eden,
Sweet is thy noon-tide calm,
Over the hearts of the weary,
Breathing thy waves of balm.
Home of the pure and blest;
How often amid the wild billows,
I dream of thy rest, sweet rest.
It was the glimpse of this rest beyond the river that lit up the
pale cheek of our dear, dying sister, with seraphic brightness and
All my fountains are in thee, said the Psalmist. God is the author
of holiness. In John's vision of Heaven, he describes the four living
creatures, having each of them six wings, round about and within, and
they have no rest day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God
Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
The great object therefore of the Gospel of the blessed God is to
transform us into the Divine image. Another of our sister's dying
utterances was very forcible, Now I have got to the edge of the
Only just across the river,
Over on the other side.
We all with open face beholding as in a mirror, the glory of the
Lord, are changed into the same image.
It is thus God's people become meet for the holy inheritance. Here
we have to cry out, Oh, wretched man, who shall deliver me from the
body of this death; yonder the Spirit's work has gloriously triumphed.
The believer's holiness is effectually accomplished in Heaven. Blessed
are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to
the tree of life and may enter in by the pearly gates into the city.
Heaven is called the land of light. What is light? Hail, holy
light, offspring of Heaven's first-born. Light is pure. God is light,
and in Him is no darkness at all. Darkness, in God's Word, is an emblem
of sin. They love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are
evil, and every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to
the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.John iii. 19-20.
The more we increase in the likeness of God, the greater and
stronger will our light shine in this dark world, and the more will we
enjoy basking in the sunshine of the light of His countenance. We are
partakers now of the Divine nature, but in Heaven we shall
continually walk before Him who is the enlightener and the light. Oh,
the gain, the bliss of dying! For we shall see His face and His name
shall be in our foreheads.
Paul's prayer for the church at Colosse was that they might be
filled with the knowledge of His will, increasing in the knowledge of
God, giving thanks unto the Father, who made us meet to be partakers of
the inheritance of the saints in light.Col. i. 12.
Oh, that a view of the pure, and the great, and the good ones around
the throne may be as a golden chain to bind our hearts to that home
beyond the skies, where there is no night, and they need no candle,
neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light, and they
shall reign forever and ever.Rev. xxii. 5.
Dearly beloved, this is the Night of Weeping; but oh, remember,
that it is written in His Holy Word that God shall wipe away all tears
from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor
crying, neither shall there be any more pain.
As we stand by the bedside of our loved ones, and watch them wasting
away with disease, and as we behold their love, their patience, and
Christian fortitude, we think of earth's bitter trials and earthly
relationship, and of the strong tie that binds heart to heart. How
touching the parting words to her only son she so tenderly loved,
Be faithful, humble, meek, and constantly keep at the Master's feet,
until He calls you up higher. Be kind and gentle to your sister Esther.
To her Pastor she said: Preach the Gospel uncolored! We look upon
the sinking form of a dear wife and mother, or brother, or sister, or
husband, or friend, and as we sadly muse upon the fact that we held
sweet counsel together and walked to the House of God in company; and
we softly whisper to the physician is there no hope of recovery? Can
you not save that young and precious life, so dear to us, so gentle, so
loving, so kind, so sympathetic, so hopeful? And as in response to our
inquiry, we receive the look of pity, and the sorrowful shake of the
head, it is then, in our deepest agony, amid blinding tears, and hearts
almost crushed to despair, we turn to our great Father above, and we
ask, why must we part? Oh, God, can you not spare him? How can I live
Providential bereavements are sad scenes in life, for the scythe of
death stops not to ask if they be sweet and precious to some fond wife,
or mother, or brother, who knows? whom their heart chose. On! on! he
pursues his desolating work, amid their sighs, their cries, and tears.
But beloved, there is no tearing of heart from heart in Heaven.
There is no death there; there is no sorrow there; there is no sin
there. I often think of the words of the Apostle as peculiarly
appropriate to us in the hour of sad bereavement: These light
afflictions are but for a moment, but they work out for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
I have had persons tell me when God has suddenly removed loved ones
from their midst, that God had forsaken them, that He had forgotten to
be gracious. But ah, to such let me say that the Lord loveth whom He
chasteneth. God is love. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the
Lord pitieth them that fear Him.
But what is the object God has in view in thus breaking the family
circle by death? It is that our attention may be attracted to the
saints above, and that we may by faith behold the beauties of the
You know, David says, It was good for me that I was afflicted;
before I was afflicted, I went astray. We not unfrequently forget that
this is not our home. But that we are strangers and pilgrims on the
earth. God has to put us in remembrance of it. Beautiful as this world
is, there is a fairer and brighter, and infinitely more lovely world
above our heads. Lovely as human friendships and fellowships are here
below, what are they in comparison to the felicitous condition of
society in heaven?
I would not live alway, I ask not to stay,
Where storm after storm rises dark o'er the way.
There are no estranged feelings in heaven. There are no
misunderstandings there. No sickness there. All, all is peace and joy
Our faith in God, and in the existence of Heaven, and the
possibilities of the future life, can enable us to triumph over the
trials and bereavements in this vale of tears.
Dr. Guthrie asks: Why should we not lie as calmly in the arms of
God's Providence, as we lay in infancy on a mother's breast? Having an
ever-living, an everlasting, an ever-loving Father in God, how may we
welcome all providences, sweetly submissive to the will of God.
Shall it not fare with us as with the pliant reeds that love the
hollows and fringe the margin of the lake, and bending to the blast,
not resisting it, raise their heads anew, unharmed by the storm
that has snapped the mountain's pine and rent the hearts of oaks
asunder. All things work together for good to them that love God;
them who are the called according to His purpose.
When John was in the spirit on the Lord's Day, he heard a great
voice saying, He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith
unto the churches. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the
hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new
name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it.
How can we best overcome the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the
eye, and the pride of life but by deep and continued meditation on the
blessed change that takes place at the hour of death. The shadows of
earth are instantly dispelled when we set our affections on things
Who are these arrayed in white robes, and whence came they? These
are they who have come out of great tribulation, and have washed their
robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. I remember once
standing at the grave of Richard Cameron, in Ayrs Moss, and as I read
the names of other martyrs engraved on the tomb-stone, I thought of the
general assembly of the Church of the first-born in Heaven, and as I
read God's Word there and sang a sweet Psalm of praise to Jehovah, and
offered a prayer to the Father of lights, the God of Israel, I thought
of the prayer of Peden, the prophet, as he sat on Cameron's grave.
Lifting up his eyes steadfastly to Heaven, he prayed: Oh, to be wi'
Often at the shades of evening,
When I sit me down to rest,
One by one, I count them over,
They who are in glory blest.
Dearly beloved, I have a Ritchie in Heaven, for I have
recently learned of the death of the spiritual guide of my youth, who,
in years gone by, at the close of a cottage prayer-meeting, requested
me, for the first time in my life, to speak a word for Jesus. Pulling a
flower from the hill-side, he said as he held it up, I can see God in
that gowan. Taking me to his room, he said, This is my study; these
are my books, I am going to be a minister of the Gospel, and then go to
 The late Rev. Hugh Ritchie, of Formosa, China.
Handing me a neat, little, precious volume, he said, Take this book
and study it, and commence speaking for Jesus, and help me in my
meetings. Surely to such to die is gain.
Who; who, would live alway away from his Godaway from yonder
Heaven, that blissful abode where the noontide of glory eternally
reigns, and the smile of the Lord is the feast of the soul?
Dearly beloved, we may well ask, Who are these arrayed in white
robes? Oh, what celebrated personages are above! The prophets, the
apostles, the reformers, and the martyrs of Scotland are there. For in
a dream of the night I was wafted away to the moorland and moss, where
the martyrs lay. When the minister's home was the mountain and flood.
When they dared not worship God in daylight. Only at the dead of night,
when the wintry winds raved fierce, and the thunder-peal compelled the
men of blood to crouch within their den. Then the faithful fewtrue
followers of the blessed Jesuswould venture forth to some deep dell
by the rock o'er canopied; then, amid the glare of sheeted lightning,
those men of God would open the sacred Book and words of comfort speak.
Ah, it cost something to be a Christian in those days, when from the
high foaming crest of Solway to the smoothly polished breast of Loch
Katrine, not a river nor a lake but has swelled with the life's tide of
religious freedom. From the bonnie highland heather of her lofty
summits to the modest gowan on the lea, not a flower but has blushed
with the martyr's blood. But, beloved, the blood of the martyrs was the
seed of the Church. What holy, loving lessons does God teach us by the
history of the true Church, and a thoroughly consecrated
peoplelessons of love, hope, fortitude, and long-suffering!
Oh, Jesus, our Master, command to beat faster
These weary life-pulses that bring us to Thee.
Our dear departed sister had the true missionary spirit. She feared
not the things she was called on to suffer for Christ in her great work
in this city. Let us who are left behind catch her magnanimous and
heroic disposition in working for the blessed Jesus. Oh, that the
spirit of our noble ancestry might come upon us! Oh, that the Holy
Spirit of God may enter into all our hearts to-day, that we may be more
humble, more loving, more zealous, more sympathetic, and more sincere
in our toil for Christ and His Church; then to die will be gain!
and to Him shall be all the glory, world without end. Amen.
CHAPTER XXXVI. TESTIMONIALS AND
LETTERS OF CONDOLENCE.
I've found a Friend; oh, such a Friend!
So kind, and true, and tender,
So wise a Counsellor and guide,
So mighty a Defender!
From him, who loves me now so well,
What power my love can sever?
Shall life, or death, or earth, or hell?
No, I am his forever.
The following resolutions and letters furnish, in a pre-eminent
degree, conclusive evidence of the high estimation in which His servant
and handmaiden were held by ministers, elders, and Sabbath-school
NEW YORK, January 12, 1869.
MRS. JAMES KNOWLES:
MY DEAR FRIENDAt the Annual Meeting of the Teachers'
of the Sabbath-school of the Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, held
evening, the following action was taken:
On motion, the cordial thanks of this Association are voted
Mrs. James Knowles for her faithful labors in behalf of our
School during the past year.
The following extract from the Annual Report was also ordered to
forwarded with the foregoing:
Mention must be made of one of our own church members, Mrs.
Knowles, who has labored most devotedly for our School. In
behalf of the School, the Superintendent would take this
expressing our gratitude for her cheerful, earnest, and
persevering labor. She has taken a deep interest in our
and has shown it by hard work in its behalf.
I am very glad that the pleasant duty of making you acquainted
this action has been imposed upon me. Without your help I would
oftentimes during the past year have been very much
Your readiness for Christian work, and your thoroughness in it,
have both cheered and satisfied me. May you fully realize the
promise given to those who are always abounding in the work of
Lord. (1 Cor. xv. 58.) And may the present year show us a
continuance of your willing labors and be marked by a stronger
faith in expectation and more new-born souls, as your joy and
in realization. (Psalm cxxvi. 5-6.)
Respectfully yours in the Master,
SAMUEL B. W. MCKEE,
* * * * * *
When we take into consideration the time that elapsed between the
penning of the foregoing resolutions as no vain and unmeaning
compliment, and the departure of her concerning whom they were voted
upon, we are led to see the importance of those words in the
Apocalypse: He that is faithful unto death shall receive a crown of
eternal life. How significant are the words employed to denote their
hearty appreciation of her worth. We express our gratitude for her
cheerful, earnest, and persevering labor. She has
taken a deep interest in our School and has shown it by hard
We trust that our Sunday-school workers may be greatly encouraged to
go and do likewise through a careful and prayerful examination of the
The following additional affectionate and deeply instructive tribute
to her worth to the church and Sabbath-school is from one who was her
beloved pastor for seven yearsyears of pure and uninterrupted
Christian fellowship and disinterested devotedness to the cause of
UTICA, N.Y., November 8, 1886.
REV. DUNCAN M. YOUNG:
DEAR BROTHERIn the removal of Mr. and Mrs. James Knowles we
sustain a personal loss. The fact was unknown to us previous to
letter. To enjoy such friendship as they admitted us into from
first acquaintance, was not unlike a continuous salutation with
impressiveness of an unqualified good-will. Heaven is
richer for their entrance, and by so much is increasingly
They were not time-servers, but, in no mere sentimental sense,
God-servers. The feverish world, greedy and rushing, will know
little of their value, nor miss their humble crafts so quickly
trackless, and yet they really laid the world under obligation.
its life, and aim, and effort were not purer and higher, it was
spite of their actual godliness, at all times apparent.
My first introduction to Mrs. Knowles was on the first Sabbath
February, 1874; also, my first acquaintance with the Allen
Church. Mrs. Knowles was then teaching in the Ludlow Street
As a teacher, she was simple, fearless, and
ruling passion, perhaps, was a desire to be useful in some way,
adjusting herself with good grace to the requirements of
years. If just a little disturbed at the thought that she must
contract her labors, or hold up at some point, the spirit was
the same, perhaps too exacting of a body not excessively
As a Bible reader she did some of her best work, and made her
greatest sacrifices. Faithfulness characterized her covenant
relationseldom absent from the scenes of public worship; and
more remarkable in view of her untiring zeal and devotion in
specially God-given calling. Many will rise up and call her
blessed, because, so true of her, she went about doing good.
own indebtedness to her, as a pastor, was great. Her sympathy
the ministry seemed innate. Full of faith, and rich in peculiar
experience, she was the one to step in at the minister's for
half-hour; and here, incidentally, I may say, that her
views of life and knowledge of human ways turned to my
repeated occasions, whenever she reported a case as worthy or
unworthy. When an application for aid or comfort required
investigationthat is, ultimate cases requiring delicate,
treatment, often impossible for the pastor to doher feminine
instinct and sagacity of experience took it in hand with a
readiness that was surprising, in view of her always full
gentle, trustful soul, a frank, unwavering friend, a pious,
woman, and a faithful wife and mother, her rest will be sweet.
If the beginning of my acquaintance with her companion dates
somewhat later, it ripened early, I suppose mutually so, into a
strong attachment. Integrity of character was my first
the man; whether an instinct or a judgment, there never was a
as to its correctness. Strong in faith, alsothe old-time
of apostolic color, for he took no pleasure in new
Sound in doctrine, fervent in spirit, wise in council, stable
action, he was truly a strong pillar in the house of the
he wrought obscurely, as the world moves, my impression is that
did some excellent work for eternity in the most quiet sort of
I do not think Heaven could be a surprise to one of his habits
trend of life. He could assimilate the good easily. Though
in his feelings, and sensitive of attachment, he was no mere
man-worshipper, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, so long as
was the Word of Christ, faithfully, earnestly preached;
he was a
responsive hearer. The chief desire was that the word
successful. Perhaps simplicity was as characteristic as any
distinct trait. If he did not choose the uppermost seats he
them becomingly when once bidden to take them.
I remember him not so much by means of incidentshis life was
formed on that plan; but by the deep impression of genuine,
If I have written at too great length, my heart is full. In deep
sympathy with those who will so surely mourn their loss, and
grateful for the privilege of a tribute, I am,
GEORGE O. PHELPS,
* * * * * *
The more I read and study the phraseology of this letter, welling up
out of a full heart, the more I am convinced of its adaptedness to
impart encouragement to others the same in kind and degree as was
doubtless reciprocally experienced in days of yore, for as iron
sharpeneth iron, so does the countenance of man his friend.
Here is another tender and terse tribute from the same source to
their only sonthe request for particulars regarding their last
illness, which produced the leaflet entitled A Short Account of the
Last Hoursthat has been already a rich spiritual blessing to many
UTICA, N.Y., November, 1886.
MR. WM. KNOWLES:
DEAR BROTHERWe have just learned of the departure of your dear
parents. Our attachment to them was exceptionally strong, even
our association in the Master's work was intimate.
I have been looking over your father's letters, too few in
how full of human kindness, how intensely godly.
Be assured of our sincere regard for you and others in this
May we not receive, at your convenience, particulars of their
illness and going? We have no knowledge of either case.
Very sincerely yours,
GEORGE O. PHELPS.
* * * * * *
The subjoined is the answer to the reception of the account of their
last hours on earth.
UTICA N.Y., November 30, 1886.
MR. WM. KNOWLES:
MY DEAR SIR AND BROTHERYou have laid us under great obligation
your lengthy and painstaking statement respecting your lamented
parents. Seldom have we been affected so deeply as in the
it, which came so appropriately as to time and feeling, just as
were closing one of the sweetest meetings of our little
Band. Yes, truly, those dear, true friends of ours were as
children in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Nothing would afford me greater satisfaction than to be able to
further by word or incident what you desire to gather up by way
a grateful memorial. As I stated in my letter to Mr. Young, my
impressions were made by their uniform consistency of
and not by any particular event or circumstance. Perhaps the
enclosed letters will afford characteristic illustration of
father's habitual godliness or tenor of life. As to your
why, she was always going about doing good, seemingly never
What death-bed scenes! If those faithful words of hers are ever
forgotten, somebody will have a hard witness against them at
Their memory is indeed blessed. We will all try to profit by
examples of godly fidelity, and faithful admonitions. With the
sincerest sympathy, I am,
GEORGE O. PHELPS.
* * * * * *
UTICA, N.Y., February 17, 1887.
MR. WM. KNOWLES:
DEAR BROTHERYou have laid us under new obligations. On my
table is a picture of the pastor of my childhoodIt has been
nearly my entire ministry. You can conceive the influence it is
designed to exert over me. Now there will be, if not in my
exclusively, in our house itself, the constant stimulus of such
reminders of devotion as these two most welcome pictures.
We are indeed very grateful to you for them; your filial love
strong while they lived, and must be quickened by their death,
if anybody outside of the circle of kindred exceeds our
for your parents, they deserve it all. We certainly
to cherish what has been so well done by the artist, the
in both pictures is so characteristic. It seems, when we dwell
intently upon them and let thoughts come and go at liberty,
lips must open and pleasant words come from them as in life;
they do speak, nevertheless, and as distinctly, and as
affectionately. Oh! that we were more worthy to hear. And that
blessing upon yourself, how valuable and hopeful, or
I know you will share it with others, and so make a saintly life
still reproductive. The world needs nothing so much as
Permit me to say that we are greatly prospered in our work, and
have hand and heart seemingly full; but, old Allen Street has
warm place in our affection always. Our united regards.
GEORGE O. PHELPS.
* * * * * *
The reader will surely notice the true, touching, and graphic
account of their work in the next letter.
UTICA, N.Y., April 8, 1887.
REV. MR. YOUNG:
DEAR SIR AND BROTHERWhile my mind is full of impressions
concerning the life and work of Mr. and Mrs. Knowles, it is not
to withdraw the details, and give you any real satisfaction.
very simplicity and humility of their ways and deeds render it
impossible to make any adequate illustrationnot that
lacking. Why, there are families in the vicinity of Allen
could relate incidents by the hour touching the gentle care of
Knowles for the needy and sick.
Here her life can never be written in full. Oh, Mr. Phelps, how
sad it is about Mrs. Kand her little family. Poor L,
is going just like her brother, and they don't want me to tell
of our fears. I have just been to see poor Mr. H, he
livehe doesn't seem to realize it; and then what will become
his family? I have tried so long to get them into the
Sabbath-school. I have just come from Mrs. F(a woman of
means and Christian charity), who encouraged me greatly in the
of that family where the father is in the hospital. Mr.
can you go to No. 12 Street, and see a young man who is
and will have to go to the hospital? No friends, and I have
trying to make him comfortable. Mr. Phelps, can you attend
funeral of a child on Street? It did suffer so muchits
mother is on the Island.
These were common to her work, as I now recall them; not
sentimental products of imagination, but facts, only lacking
details to make the tenor of her life stranger than fiction. To
her quietly enter some abode of the lowly, her soft and gentle
greeting to the housewife engaged in her home duties, the
perhaps, a forlorn one, and hear her words of heart-felt
and encouragement, her solicitude for the little ones, that
might be trained in the way of the Lord, and that simple,
fervent, trustful prayer, which seems so befitting as to excite
repellant feeling; and that parting word which would go
the mother-heart. Here is a picture of Christian-following
even Munkacsy could not paint.
The Master reserves some things for future inspection. We have
sufficient canvas for these in such humble, useful lives.
Her faithfulness in dealing with the erring was remarkable;
seemingly without fear of man, and yet always full of
We had a way of investigating cases appealing for charity. One
a girl, nine or ten years of age, came to the door with a
asking for something; her mother was a widow and poor, baby
We asked Mrs. Knowles to look into the case. She went to the
given, and at first there was some mistake, or, perhaps, a
misdirection; but, nothing daunted by the difficulties
she succeeded in gaining admittance to apartments on the second
floor, where, instead of poverty and sickness, she found the
in the midst of evident comfort, seated at her piano, who at
denied all knowledge of the little charity girl, and was only
confronted successfully by the entrance unguardedly of the
If confusion ever overtook a mortal fraud, in which an active
apprehension and deep humiliation were successfully involved;
then and there in the presence of holy indignation on fire. Mrs.
Knowles was simply irresistible in such cases.
Now, dear brother, I hardly know what use you can possibly make
this, but my prayers shall go with your work of perpetuating
Very sincerely yours,
GEORGE O. PHELPS
* * * * * *
The thought that the servants of Christ are praying for us is very
cheering in the prosecution of our work.
The facts enumerated in the following letter from Pastor Chambers
contain a thousand thoughts as descriptive of what every Christian
ought to pray for and strive after, namely, to be, as he expresses it,
an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.
How expressive in this connection are the words of the apostle,
Take heed lest there be found in any of you an evil heart of
unbelief in departing from the living God.
NEW YORK, November 9, 1886.
REV. D. MCNEILL YOUNG:
DEAR BROTHERYour letter informing me of the death of Mr. and
Knowles was forwarded to me from Harrisburg, to this city.
I had seen a notice of Mr. Knowles' death in a New York paper,
had not known of the departure of his wife, whose death, under
circumstances, had a pathos peculiar to itself. Her presence at
funeral, it would seem, was more than her affectionate
their past devotion to each other. It was her unconscious
of their speedy reunion in the presence of Him whom they both
You ask me for some information in regard to them, during the
of my ministry in this city. They both illustrated the truth of
remark, that to be useful, it is not necessary to be
Mr. Knowles was an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile.
and peaceable in spirit, loving the house of God, rejoicing in
spiritual prosperity of the church, speaking evil of no man, a
firm friend of his minister, relishing all conversation upon
things, frequenting the place of prayer where he was often
leading the devotions of the people in simple, earnest,
petition, and ever willing to help in Sabbath-school work, or
other form of Christian activity in which he might be of
was just such a man as any pastor is glad to have as a friend
helper. He was a ruling elder in the church from the time I
knew him, and in that capacity was one of the first to welcome
New York. He was unobtrusive in all meetings of session, but
failed to give his suggestions on all matters that came before
but was happiest when it was his privilege as an elder to
the communion of the church those who confessed Christ.
Mrs. Knowles I knew as a warm friend of the church, while at the
same time a faithful member of that band of Bible readers whose
blessed work is best known by the Divine Master. She enjoyed
service for Christ; she loved to talk about it. Her fidelity
consecration are known to those under whose superintendence she
labored; but the results of her devotion are a matter of divine
record. May it not be that she has now discovered the real
and the glorious consequences of a service which she humbly,
lovingly followed here, and that in Heaven's high fellowship
faithful Bible reader has a place of peculiar honor?
I can only say, in conclusion, that a church is bereaved indeed
when two such Christians are taken from it. The Providence that
calls them away should not only stimulate those who remain to a
holier activity, but should also elevate our thoughts and
affections, and make us the more glad that at the end of our
journey, and the cessation of our earthly activities, we will
discover the still grander meaning of Christ and Heaven.
GEORGE S. CHAMBERS.
* * * * * *
The next letter is from one who materially aided her in helping the
November 21, 1886.
REV. DUNCAN MCNEILL YOUNG:
DEAR SIRAbsence from the city has prevented my answering your
note received only last evening.
I have no statistical facts to give you, relative to our dear
Knowles, but I can testify to her interest in her work until
last, her lovely Christian spirit shown under all
and her love for her Heavenly Father.
She seemed to me to be supremely happy and content with whatever
lot was given her.
I was not able to be with her when she was ill, but was at her
She must be missed in her field of labor, and I am sure I shall
miss her prayers for myself.
Hoping this will be of some use to you, I am,
M. T. FISKE.
* * * * * *
The annexed note of commendation from the Rev. Dr. Conkling, of this
city, who formerly labored in word and doctrine with the deceased, in
connection with the Allen Street Church, is concise yet comprehensive.
How much is implied in these wordsfaithful, loving, earnest,
prayerful and consistent Christians!
NEW YORK CITY, November, 1886.
DEAR MR. YOUNGMy acquaintance with Mr. and Mrs. Knowles was so
limited that my knowledge of them could be only of the most
character. I knew them, as all who knew them could testify, as
earnest, loving Christians, faithful in their church duties,
prayerful and consistent; and evidently living always near to
Christ. I prized their friendship much; I feel how deep the
the church must be in being deprived of their active influence
their believing prayers.
With thanks for your kindly note, conveying the sacred request,
remain, dear sir,
NATH'L W. CONKLING.
* * * * * *
To show how greatly beloved they were by all denominations we insert
this closing tribute from a dear servant of Christ, whose calm, clear
eye of penetration recognized that, by prayerfully studying the
character of Christ we became assimilated to His glorious image. He is
a member of the Society of Friends.
CLINTONDALE, N.Y., June 23, 1887.
DUNCAN M. YOUNG:
DEAR BROTHERYours received, bearing us news indeed. We had not
heard before of the demise of our dear Brother and Sister
The effect of it at first, to me, was that I could scarcely
for a fulness of feeling which it produced, and a home-sickness
the home where they have gone.
My memory was immediately taken back to the visit I paid them a
ago last spring, which was very pleasant and
especially to the parting kiss that the dear Mother in
me on my parting from them; and also she gave me a supply of
beautiful tracts, which I had the privilege of using to the
of two souls on the cars as I was returning home, and some of
tracts I have yet, and you can depend on it I place higher
them than ever before.
The little leaflet you sent us is very appropriate indeed, but
can do them justice in writing of them, for we do not know of
their heart-yearnings and achings over poor wanderers, and
personal private labors for their salvation, neither can we
know until we see the record of it all up there.
And may you, dear Brother, as the honored minister of God, carry
out literally her exhortation to you, Preach the Gospel
Accept my sincere thanks for your kindness in writing us, and
sending the leaflets. You asked if I could use any of them? I
certainly, and there are a few around here yet living who
our departed sister and brother when they boarded at our house.
I unite in interest and prayer with you for your important Work
the abundant ripe fields of Harvest, and pray that you will
many souls for your hire.
I am, yours sincerely, and in the love of the pure Gospel of the
Kingdom of our Christ,
ERASTUS S. ANDREWS.
* * * * * *
They lived, and they were useful; this we know.
Oh, take who will the boon of fading fame!
But give to me
A place among the workers, though my name
And if within the book of life is found
My lowly place,
Honor and glory unto God redound
For all His grace!
CHAPTER XXXVII. CONCLUSION.
Oh, could I flow like thee, and make thy stream
My great example, as it is my theme!
Though deep, yet clear; though gentle, yet not dull;
Strong without rage; without o'erflowing full.
In concluding these memoirs and looking back over the lives of our
departed brother and sister, there is a great lesson to be
learnedthat of example. Such example as theirs possesses
incalculable power of effecting good. It takes deep and tenacious root;
it fructifies with amazing rapidity and profusion, and flourishes where
precept would utterly perish. Its impression is so indelible, that the
greatest difficulty is experienced when attempting to eradicate it. The
salutary influence which good example propagates, we find stamped on
every avocation in life. In some people a heinous negligence, and in
others a culpable apathy is evinced with respect to the principles
their conduct is implanting. Profuse illustrations abound in every
profession, calling, and trade, of the effect of evil example, and also
of the disregard paid to its consequences. Whether or not this
regardlessness arises from negligence, or ignorance, it is difficult to
determine. All classes of society possess, undoubtedly, though in
varying degrees, the important power of exemplifying good or evil, and
it behooves them to act with greater circumspection and discretion with
respect to the injurious consequences which their examples may evoke,
having due regard to the avidity which is shown by weak minds to follow
example, however pernicious. It is natural for man to imitate a model
or pattern, as it thereby affords him a much easier and more agreeable
opportunity of forming his ideas on any particular subject. Nor is
example confined to those holding high public positions. Its presence
and power are experienced as much from the humblest Bible woman as from
the greatest shining light in the pulpit. I admit that influence, good
or evil, is propagated to a greater extent when the source from which
it emanates is more prominently before the gaze of the world than if it
were less public; but I am persuaded that the closer the relationship
between the one who exerts the influence and the one upon whom it takes
effect, the more deep and lasting will the impression prove, and any
endeavors to eradicate it will involve more strenuous efforts and
diligent application than where there is no sympathetic feeling evinced
by the one toward the other.
The implicitness with which example is followed is subject to
considerable variations, for I am inclined to think that the lower the
moral position the greater the aptitude for imitation is displayed.
This arises from the incapability of those who occupy such positions to
tear asunder the forms which envelope them, and strike a path untrodden
for themselves. They find it much more congenial to their tastes and
pursuits to act as others around them usually do than to alienate
themselves and endeavor to live more in accordance with the laws of
morality. No one can deny, especially those who knew her well, that
Mrs. Knowles's great success was as much derived from her example and
humility as from any power of teaching and persuasion she possessed.
And now, dear readers, those of you who have not the gift of leading
others into the paths of virtue and morality by the gift of ready
speech or the force of your conversation and address, can at least so
regulate your conduct that the little world around you may look up to
you as an example, however humble your position in it may be.
There are lesser lights along the iron-bound coast of England than
the Eddystone; still they serve the purpose for which they were
erected. Yea, the widow's lamp, in the window of the cottage by the
sea, saved her own son from shipwreck. The Talisman's motto ought to be
Be watchful, be ready, for shipwreck prepare,
Keep an eye on the life-boat, but never despair!
All along our coast the Government has built massive and strong
light-houses to guide and warn the tempest-tossed mariner. The passage
may have been hazardous to many a staunch ship and brave crew,
occasioned by constant exposure to a multiplicity of dangers seen and
unseen. Who can tell of the deep anxiety of the gloomy days and nights
they spent waiting and watching, while many a keen blast has mournfully
whistled through the shrouds, and many a billow has threatened to
engulf their bark; but how cheering is yonder light streaming forth
amid the densest darkness. It speaks with trumpet-tongue to the
bewildered navigator, and says, This is the course, steer ye by it.
How refreshing the sight. How assuring those bright beams that quiver
over the perilous sea. Clouds and wind must not affright, for the
gladsome welcome light of example interposes between us and
disappointment and despair. Ye are the light of the world, said
Jesus. It is by beholding the lights that once shone on earth, that are
now shining as the stars for ever and ever in heaven, that we, seeing
their good works do glorify our Father in Heaven.
How many, alas! are utterly unconscious of the power of a godly
example; it is only prayerful reflection upon it that rivets the
connecting link between earth and heaven. Endearing attachments are
formed and gradually, eternally perpetuated, strengthened by constant
companionship. It is then we become truer-hearted, more gentle, more
generous, and more affectionate. Exquisitely rounded Christian
character is only thus obtained. Our hearts, and glad, willing service
ought to be laid on the same altar as our humble offering, in proof of
the profit and pleasure that we have experienced in reviewing the
career of those great examples worthy of study and imitation. This is
the only explanation we can give for penning this memorial. Our hearts
were deeply stirred by the words uttered with the dying breath of Mrs.
Knowles, when she said to me, PREACH THE GOSPEL UNCOLORED; I want to
recognize their importance as synonymous with Paul's exhortation to
Timothy, Preach the Word. Yes, dear reader, this is the sword of the
Spirit, which is the Word of God, and it is quick and powerful. We must
wield it earnestly and bravely in the great conflict of life,
constantly reiterating the Bible woman's dying words:
MY DAY IS SHORT, I MUST FINISH MY WORK!
In perusing these memoirs, we ask, Who can read the foregoing
correspondence and record of God's goodness to His saints, and through
them to perishing souls, promiscuously scattered among all classes, and
creeds, and colors, Jews and Gentiles alike, without feelings of
unfeigned gratitude to God for raising up two such worthy persons to
adorn the doctrine of God, our Saviour?
Our earnest prayer is, that the Holy Spirit will not allow to pass
unobserved such lives of usefulness and self-sacrifice, without
awakening a deeper interest in the lapsed masses of the lower part of
We sincerely trust, also, that the publication and perusal of this
humble effort to glorify God by perpetuating the memory of the loved
ones so fondly cherished shall not be all in vain, and fall on the
heart as a dead letter, like the wind that passes over the rock,
leaving it harder than before. Mr. D. L. Moody once said, I never saw
a man who was aiming to do the best work, but there could be some
improvement; I never did anything in my life that I didn't think I
could have done better, and I have often upbraided myself that I had
not done better. But to sit down and find fault with other people when
we are doing nothing ourselves is all wrong, and is the opposite of
holy, patient, divine love. May we rather be of that number concerning
whom it is said, Blessed are those servants, who, when their Lord
shall come, He will find watching.
The sunset of life will come sooner or later, Let us, then, give
earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we
should let them slip. Especially let us consider the importance of
Mrs. Knowles's final farewell exhortation: Be kind, gentle, and
patient. Be faithful, humble, meek, and constantly keep at the Master's
feet until He calls you up higher. If we take heed to these dying
words, we will be able easily to appropriate as our own the sweet
solacing words in the Song of Songs, I sat under His shadow with great
delight, and His fruit was sweet unto my taste. He brought me into His
banqueting house, and His banner over me was love.
In bidding our readers adieu, I would, in conclusion, urge that they
seriously reflect upon the significance of the Bible woman's last
triumphant utterances: Once I was young, now I am old, and have never
Who to their reward will say them nay,
In Heaven or on Earth:
Brave Pilgrims of Israel, pass'd away
We till now ne'er knew your worth!
Go! write out their lives on leaves of gold,
With characters of love,
Let the future know, when we are cold,
Of our loved ones gone above.