|CHAPTER XXVI. -- FORTSVILLE--TEMPERANCE MEETINGS--EVIL CUSTOMS--THOMAS -- BROWN--BALAAM--JOTTINGS FROM THE JUNK RIVER-- -- BROTHER HARRIS IS SANCTIFIED.|
It was now about seven o'clock, and I suppose the supper and dinner were over, and not a word was said to us; I would have been so glad if she had offered me a roasted casava, or anything. So I ate a few dry biscuits and drank a cup of cold water, and was very thankful.
I had a little talk with Sister Clark about her condition; she said she was converted in America; she did not know the year or month; she seemed dead clear through; I tried to draw her out; but she seemed to stick fast on every side; I sang and prayed about Jesus, and I hoped that she would respond somewhere; but not a word; so I gave up and went to bed.
This poor woman was there, pretty much alone, no church near by, and her nearest neighbors five miles away, and she in darkness equal to that of the heathen round about her, though born in a Christian land, and had heard the Gospel message. How often we find this.
I did not change my clothes when I went to bed; I thanked God for a cover over my head, and a corner to lie down in; though I was very wet with perspiration, somehow I slept well. At three in the morning, Brother Deputie sang out:
"Sister Smith, it is time to go."
It didn't take me long to arrange my toilet. After prayer, we were soon off to the waterside. There was no moon, and as it had been raining it was quite dark; so with lantern in hand we marched off. The boys were a little stupid, but about four o'clock we got pushed off; it was dark, but having a good lantern we got out of the creek all right; the creek was long, and in some places very narrow.
We got to the head of the river just at daylight. The morning was pleasant; about ten o'clock the sun was very hot. We got to a friend's house, and stopped for a rest; the sister gave us some coffee, bitter and black, and not a bit of bread; poor thing, she didn't have any. I took a sip or two of the coffee, and ate a dry biscuit.
While there the Lord sent us a good shower of rain, which cooled the atmosphere; we left there and went to Grassdale, and spent an hour at Sister Brown's. From there we went on to Mt. Olive, Brother Deputie's station and home. We reached there about half past five P. M., and had a cordial reception from Sister Deputie and the children; a comfortable home, and every part of
Brother Deputie had been going up and down this river so long that he did not think these hardships, but pleasant; well, I did not think them the worst that ever was, but I did thank God they were no worse. One thing there is, they have plenty of fine oysters.
I had a good, quiet rest from Thursday night till Sunday, before I was called upon to take a service. Brother Deputie's church was a good sized thatch church, the members mostly natives, but, being the only church, it accommodated others as well. We walked about a half mile, and I spoke to a good company that had gathered. I gave the Word from Hebrews, 12:1-23. The Lord wonderfully helped me. Brother Philip Harris, native interpreted. I was much pleased with this brother, and thought if a little encouragement were given he would make a faithful servant in the church. I remained for Sabbath School, and spoke a word of encouragement to the teachers and scholars, and sang a hymn: "Bringing in the sheaves;" then I walked home, weary, as I was not feeling very well all day.
Monday I was not well, but took some medicine, and so got better. On Thursday I went with Brother Deputie and made four pastoral calls. We called on a Mrs. Johnson, a very interesting woman, who is quite sick, has a houseful of children, and is not converted. I spoke with her, and urged on her the necessity of accepting Christ, then and there. We prayed with her, but she seemed blank. May the Lord be merciful to her.
April 29th, Brother and Sister Deputie and I took a nice canoe ride, of about a mile. Called on Deacon Kink. He was quite an old man; his wife, a very pleasant, sensible woman, from Pennsylvania, U.S. Brother King was a Southerner, one of the old type. We spent a pleasant hour with them; had a season of prayer; they were delighted. How those poor souls off in the desert enjoy a little call like that. How I do thank the Lord when it is my privilege to sing and pray and cheer the weary traveler along the lonesome road.
We called at the house of one sister who was not at home. Then we went on to Brother Artists. This brother was Chief Magistrate. He had been afflicted for years; could not walk; but sat
I hope to leave to-morrow for Marshall, on the Junk River. On Monday I go to Paynesville, and if Brother Pitman can arrange a service, I will speak at his church on Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning I get off for Marshall; got there about two P. M. Preached Friday night, Saturday night, and three times on the Sabbath, and left on Monday at six-twenty for Monrovia.
Virginia, Africa, November 16th, 1884. This was a glorious victory. I had been holding a meeting here every night for a week. The Lord poured out His Spirit, and there was a great awakening among the people.
Old Brother Jacob Harris, who was a member of the Methodist Church, and had been for years, and was much interested in the subject of holiness, by faith was enabled to see the way clearly, and claim the blessing of cleansing, and receive the witness of the Holy Ghost. It was about eleven o'clock, A. M., when he called to see me, where I was stopping, at Sister Watson's. Sister Watson was a grand woman, and for several years had enjoyed the great salvation, and was a power in the church and neighborhood.
Brother Harris came in to see me that morning, and, as I was trying to show him the simplicity of faith, he said:
"Yes, Sister Smith, I see it, and I have been trying and praying for this sanctification for over three years; and, somehow, I don't know how to take hold. But I have given myself all up, and I have put myself in the hands of God; and I am resolved to trust Him as long as I live; I never mean to stop; I want the blessing of sanctification."
The blessed Spirit was all this time overshadowing him till he could hardly speak sometimes for the flood of tears that rushed in upon him.
"Now, Brother Harris." I said, "can you accept Christ as your full and complete Saviour, now? He is made unto you wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption; now, right
Looking at me, he lifted his hand and said, "Sister Smith, I am determined to fight for this till I die. I give my life all into the hands of God, now."
"Brother Harris, you have been up to the point many times before, and gone right back; will you, do you, here and now, do it?"
He was looking right at me. I repeated, "Do you here and now, take Christ as your wisdom, Christ as your righteousness, Christ as your sanctification, Christ as your redemption, and believe His blood does now cleanse you from all sin, now, right now? Not because you feel, but because God has said so, and, in the authority of His Word, do you stand and declare to the dying world, not doubting, the conditions all being met, and trusting the eternal God, do you declare that 'The blood of Jesus Christ, His son, cleanseth you from all sin?' Now, do you do it?"
"Yes, I do;" he said, and as loud as I could I shouted, "Amen."
The old man buried his face in his hands, and, weeping, said, "Glory to Jesus."
"Trust Him," I said, "and do not doubt. He does save you now."
"Oh, praise the Lord;" he cried, then sprang to his feet, grabbed hold of Sister Watson's hand, and then hold of my hand. Brother Watson was in the house; he went after him. "Oh, glory! I am free, as I never have been before in all my life. Oh, how sweet! Glory!"
After about fifteen minutes of shouting and praying, he took his hat and cane and started for home. He said, "Pray for me, that I may ever be kept on the rock."
I stepped into the parlor, and said, "Let's all pray now."
We were all so full of praise and thanksgiving it was a little difficult to pray; but I tried to pray as best I could, then I asked Sister Watson to pray. Poor Brother Watson had been seeking the blessing so long; may God help him, and quickly.
Brother Harris had been a member of the Methodist Church
"I knew this child," he said, "when she was a little girl; and she has grown up, and been converted, and sanctified, and here I have been in the church all these years, and what have I done? So I started out to pray, and glory be to God, He has heard me. Oh, Sister Smith, she did help me all she could, but I could not see it; oh, I thank the Lord He sent you, and you seemed to make it so plain, the points you went over I could see, and I thank God."
"Of victory now o'er Satan's power,
Let all the ransomed sing;
And triumph in the dying hour
Through Christ, the Lord, their king."