|CHAPTER XXI. -- VISIT TO SCOTLAND, LONDON, AND OTHER PLACES--CONVERSATION WITH A CURATE--GREAT MEETING AT PERTH--HOW -- I CAME TO GO TO INDIA.|
I think it was in September, 1878. I had met Miss Amars, of Galishields, Scotland, at the Keswick Conference. She was a highborn lady, and a typical Scotchwoman: and a more thoroughly consecrated, self-sacrificing lady, I think, I never met. Her mother, too, was an earnest Christian, and a staunch Scotch church woman. Miss Amars had a large mothers' meeting, and did all she could in every way to help the poor. And being a lady of wide influence, and using it for God, she did much good.
She was generally consulted about an evangelist, if one was to come to the town; she gave her influence and threw herself right into helping in every way; by visiting, and inviting people. There was a large hall where Evangelistic services were held every Sunday and through the week. So after Miss Amars had gone home from the Keswick Conference, where she had got a fresh anointing of the Spirit, she went to work at once, and prepared the way for my coming.
This was wonderful; for the Scotch Presbyterians are so conservative: and for a woman to talk before a mixed congregation of men and women was not to be thought of in Scotland. Whatever they did in England, or in the United States, they in Scotland could not venture that far.
The brother who had charge of the Evangelistic meetings in the hall, was more liberal than most of the brethren; and then knowing Miss Amars, as he did, he could not well refuse her when she told him of me. He consented to let me speak in his hall. I went at the time appointed. They had arranged entertainment for me at a very pleasant home, near by the hall, as they lived quite a little ways off, themselves.
Of course, I was quite a curiosity, to start with. The hall was crowded. It would hold about three hundred, or four hundred. The first two meetings, I saw they were a little afraid that I didn't know what I was going to do. But I was judicious and careful, and the Lord helped me wonderfully. By the time I held the third meeting one could not have told from their manner, and the hearty Scotch co-operation and sympathy with which they stood by me, but what they had been accustomed, not only to women preaching, but to black women, all their days.
Every night there were crowds. Many were turned away; they could not get in. The Lord gave me great liberty in speaking for Him, and many during the meeting professed to have found peace in believing. The first three nights I talked more directly to believers; I saw they were full of the knowledge of the truth, which is a marked characteristic of the Scotch people. They know their Bibles; but they need to know the Holy Ghost to quicken the Word into life and power.
At the close of the meeting one evening, a good, old brother said to me, softly, in his beautiful Scotch accent: "Sister Smith, I think you had better speak more to sinners."
"Yes," I said, "but you know there are many sinners in Zion, and I want them to wake up."
I often find when the truth hits that some one is very anxious you should go for the poor sinners. It is generally a sign that they want to be let alone. But when the Lord leads it is all right.
One morning a lady called to have a talk with me about the great salvation. She knew her Bible well, and was a staunch member of the church, and had been for years; but she had no assurance that she ever was converted. As she went on and told me her state, with tears, I asked the Holy Spirit to help me; and as I talked with her the Lord sent light into her heart; and there in Mrs. Amars' parlor the Holy Spirit witnessed to her heart that she was born of God. We knelt together, and for the first time in her life she opened her lips to pray and thank God for His great mercy, and testify to the family before she left that she had the assurance of her salvation. Praise the Lord! This was a wonderful victory.
My last meeting was held in one of the chapels. We had a large crowd, and though it was a week day morning, about nine o'clock, the chapel was almost crowded. Oh, what a blessed time we had!
If I could have stayed longer, there were other places that were open to me. This was an entering wedge. There had never been such a thing known as a woman talking to a mixed congregation, and that in the hall was remarkable; but when a chapel opened its doors, that was a departure. These were some of the Lord's doings in beautiful Scotland.
While I was there, as the winter was coming on, and was my first winter in England, I needed a cloak, and I had been thinking about it. I had to send money home to my daughter, and I thought I could not see how I was going to spare the money to get me a cloak. So I prayed, and asked the Lord to open a way that I might get a jacket, or something comfortable, for the winter. A fur-lined cloak was what I would have liked to have; but they were four and five and six guineas, and I knew I could not afford to pay that. No one knew that these thoughts were in my mind but the Lord. Miss Amars, and Miss Knowles, her friend from England, proposed taking me to Edinburgh for a day. As the meetings were only held at night, I could go about anywhere in the day. Edinburgh was about an hour and a half's ride from Galishields. I was very glad to go.
It was a beautiful morning. We left about eight o'clock. I had read about John Knox, and his persecution by Mary Queen of Scots, and I thought I would like to see the house where he had lived, for I had heard it was still standing.
The first thing after we got to Edinburgh these ladies said to me, "We want to do a little shopping before we go around sight-seeing." They asked if I would like to go into the shop. I said, "Oh, yes."
They had planned to get me a cloak, but I did not know it. So they took me into one of the large shops, and into the cloak department, and the first thing I knew they began to fit cloaks on me. I held my breath; for I thought it could not be that I was going to get a fur cloak. But Miss Knowles told me that she wanted to give me a fur cloak. And so they got me a very nice cloak costing six guineas. My! I walked out of there swell!
Then the next thing was to see John Knox's house; to get a view of this old home, we walked along High street, and into the famous Canongate. This is the best way. There are tall, wierd, old houses on either hand, and among them the narrow home of John Knox; a strange looking building, adjoining a church; there
Then we visited St. Giles and the old abbey, Holyrood Palace, and the castle. The palace is open to visitors, and contains many objects of interest. Among these are the apartments of the illfated Queen Mary. In going through these apartments and having different parts explained, I was greatly interested; they were old in style to what they would be now, yet the remains of grandeur and splendor were there. The bed that the Queen slept in, with its lace and curtains, was said to be just the same.
From there we went to the museum. Among the things of interest we saw there was the frame of the pulpit in which John Knox preached. That was the first time I had ever seen stocks. I had read of Paul being in stocks in prison, but I never knew what it meant till I saw them in Edinburgh. Another thing we saw there was a stool, which was connected with an incident both historical and amusing. When the liturgy of Archbishop Laud was introduced into Scotland, the south end of the transept, which was used as a kirk, was the scene of this incident. The Bishop of Edinburgh held services there after the form prescribed by Laud. He had just asked the Dean to read the collect for the day, when a woman named Jennie Geddes attempted to stop him by hurling at his head the stool on which she was sitting. He dodged it, but the blow was fatal to the effort to force Episcopacy upon reformed Scotland.
The chief sight of Edinburgh is the castle. It stands on the summit of a lofty and abrupt hill, and commands the city and surrounding country. How many things I learned from what they told me about all these. The Scotch ladies, as well as the English, are so well versed in the history of their country that they can with ease detail almost any event of any time. I never had met anybody that could do this so satisfactorily as they did for me. If my memory could only have retained what they told me, I would have had quite a little store of history laid up. All the bits of
It was all very interesting to me as the ladies described and explained it as we went along. They were familiar with the names, and I was quite familiar with them from hearing so much while there, and I thought I would never forget them. But after having the African fever so much I find my memory is quite weak, and I am so sorry I have forgotten the names of so many places and things.
By this time it was noon, and Miss Knowles proposed that we go to the Y. M. C. A. She had a special desire to go there and once more stand on the spot where she first stood up, at the meetings Mr. Moody was holding, and decided for Christ.
She was a beautiful young lady, in high position, with all the worldly pleasure and enjoyment at her hand, and was much admired as a society lady, and when Mr. Moody was holding meetings at Edinburgh she thought she would go and hear him. She was on a visit at that time in Scotland. Her home was in Southport, England. And as Mr. Moody went on with his address the Spirit of the Lord took hold of her and she yielded her heart fully to God, and from that hour gave up all that seemed to be so dear, as the world would call it. But she never had a regret. She turned right away from it without a lingering look behind. How beautiful! She used to come to my room and ask me to pray for her. How often we have knelt down and prayed together!
"When we are willing with all things to part,
He gives us our bounty, His love in our heart."
Praise Him, praise Him, Jesus our wonderful Redeemer.
So we went into the hall. They were not having a meeting that day. Miss Knowles took me to the spot and showed me where she sat and where she stood, the very spot. Her face beamed with light and joy as she seemed to live it all over again. And how she thanked and praised the Lord for giving her the courage to take the step that day.
Then we called on some friends and had an elegant lunch, and after this beautiful day of sight-seeing we returned again to Galishields, and after a little rest we were off again to the meeting. I was very tired, but the Lord gave us great blessing that night in the meeting.
Sunday, Nov. 8th, 1878. My first Sunday in London. I go to Wesley Chapel, and, Oh, to see one pray out of a book in the Methodist Church was so different from what I had ever expected. I shall never forget the text and the sermon. Everything seemed so formal and dead in comparison with what I had been accustomed to in our Methodist Churches in America. Even the seating of the people seemed formal; or, in other words, to me, it seemed dead. What confirmed it more was, when the minister took his text from Rev. 14:13, "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, yea, even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors, and their works do follow them;" and I said to myself, "I guess there is a funeral sermon to be preached." And I thought he would make some reference to the person who had died, though I saw no sign of any who might be taken to be the parties who had lost relatives, save here and there in the congregation was some one dressed in black. But he went on, and I concluded when he was through that there was nothing to do but to bury them, for they were all dead, and the funeral sermon was preached.
Wednesday, Dec. 11th, 1878. Prof. Harris, of Cambridge, called to-day. Had a nice season of prayer together. Invites me to Cambridge.
Tuesday, 24th. I get a number of letters written to-day. About six o'clock a knock comes at my door. A servant comes and says the expressman has brought a hamper for me.
"No," I said, "it cannot be for me. Nobody would send me a hamper. Nobody knows me here. It is a mistake."
"Yes, it is for you, Amanda Smith."
"No," I said, "it cannot be. Go down and tell the man it is a mistake. I'm not expecting anything."
So off she went. By and by she came back, laughing. She says, "The man says you must come and sign the book. It is for you. He was to leave it here."
Well, I went downstairs, and, lo! and behold, there it was. It was the first time I had ever had a Christmas hamper sent me. And it was packed full of the nicest Christmas things I ever had. I was astonished beyond expression. We went to work to take out the things. There was a beautiful cake, fine French candy, almonds, nuts, raisins, everything elegant; and down at the side I saw a beautiful album, and when I took it out I saw the secret, for there was Miss Morris' photo and a letter, with the compliments
One time in London a young curate came to me to have a talk. He wanted to convince me in regard to the transubstantiation. He said he was rather a good High Churchman. He said the dissenters were wrong. He believed some of them were good, and it was such a pity they should be so wrong in their views or knowledge in regard to the Holy Communion.
"Now," said he, "you take the wine and bread figuratively, but don't you know that you are to take it as the real literal body of Jesus and blood of Jesus? But your faith must so take it that it really is changed, while in the act of being taken into the real body of the Lord Jesus, and into the real blood."
Well, I could not understand it. He explained and explained, and explained! I told him I could not see it that way. Then he went on in a very elaborate manner to bring illustrations and evidences to show and prove. I listened. He talked to me two hours.
I did not know what else to say, or at least I felt I did not want to say anything, for surely I was tired and felt the whole thing sounded to me like bosh; but still I was patient, and prayed the Lord to give me grace to hold still. Finally I said to him, after a great explanation, "Oh, that is the way you understand it."
Then he drew up his chair, thinking he had convinced me thoroughly, to make his final conclusion.
"Well," I said to him, "there is only one thing about it that is hard for me to do."
"Now, what is that, Mrs. Smith?" with such an air of complacency, as though he could soon clear that away.
"Why, it has always been such a hard thing for me to believe what I know is not true."
My! he was thunderstruck!
"Well," he said, "Mrs. Smith, I feel so sorry to think that a good woman like you should be deceived; but I will come and
I thanked him very kindly, and he left. Then I got down on my knees and said, "Oh, Lord, Lord, don't ever let that man come back any more, for I don't want to talk any more; I am tired. Amen."
"Well," I thought, "if you knew how disgusted I felt inside, you would think I got vexed, anyhow."
So the good curate never came back again and I was free.
I met with many strange things in different places in England, strange views of all sorts. I don't know whether it is worse there than here, but the isms and cisms and fanatics--dear me, where are they not? They are like the flies and frogs of Egypt, all over; but they that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which shall never be moved.
August 9th, 1879, I leave Keswick for Darlington with Miss Fothergil. Miss Fothergil has a very large and interesting Bible class of young men. She is a great worker and organizer of Christian work. So at nine o'clock in the morning we went to this Bible class. I suppose there were two hundred men. Of course there were other workers engaged as helpers. It was a beautiful sight to see these men--working men--all engaged in studying the Word of God for an hour on Sunday morning.
At eleven o'clock we attended at the Friends' meeting house; no singing, or praying, or preaching, unless the Spirit moves. But I felt quite comfortable to sit and be quiet.
Monday, August 11th. I leave Darlington to-day for Broadlands Conference, Lord Mount Temple's. As I had been disappointed in not getting to go the year before, Lord Mount Temple was very kind, and when I was holding meetings at Charington Hall, at Stepney, London, he, with a number of his friends, came one night to the meeting, and he invited me personally to come to the conference next year. It did seem as though I was to be defeated this time, as I had been before, in going. But my dear friend, Mr. Edward Clifford, felt so sure that the Lord wanted I should go there, that he kept writing and urging me to come; and I was well persuaded that he was not wrong.
I was royally entertained at Lord Mount Temple's home. And God gave me favor among the people, and great blessing in
I remember the first day of the meeting. It was a beautiful day, and there were great numbers of people; and as we came in from the beautiful orangery, the hall where the meeting was held, and went into the house to dinner, as I stood in the great, spacious hall, and the ladies and gentlemen were waiting to go to dinner, Lady Mount Temple came down stairs and came up to me and put her arms around my neck and kissed me before all the people.
I was a little embarrassed, though I felt it was real. But no one knew whether I blushed or not, or whether I was really embarrassed; so far as my color was concerned, they could not perceive it. One good thing--there is no chameleon about me!
Then when we were ready to go to dinner Lord Mount Temple came up to me and said, "Mrs. Smith, take my arm." And we led the way to the dining room.
My! I thought. It was the first time in all my life that I was ever escorted by a gentleman to dinner in such style.
Dinner was something that I had always managed to get to without any help! But then, this was the order of the day. I soon found that this was the custom in England, for many times afterward I had that honor, and I have also had the same honor conferred upon me in America.
How well I remember the first time. When Dr. Newman, who is now Bishop Newman, was pastor of the Metropolitan Church in Washington, and Brother Inskip held that great tent meeting, I was at that meeting. Dr. Newman invited Brother Inskip to hold their closing service at his church. So they did. There was a meeting arranged for nine o'clock in the morning, in the lecture room, for ladies; and at noon the ministers were invited to a meeting upstairs in the audience room, and at night Brother Inskip preached. Then they left the next morning.
I was invited next day by Mrs. Newman to dine with them. I went at the hour appointed. Mrs. Newman was very kind, and after I went upstairs and laid off my things, we went down to dinner. Brother McDonald and some of the other brethren were also invited. When we got down into the parlor Dr. Newman came and said, "Take my arm, Mrs. Smith;" and we led the way; and he gave me the seat of honor at his right.
How well I remember the pleasant time we had, and the excellent dinner. What a gentle, sweet spirit seemed to pervade their home at that time. After the dinner was through, we remained at the table, talking. Dr. Newman said to me, "Now, Amanda, here is our William;" (referring to the colored butler); "we are very interested for our William; he is not converted, and I want you to talk to him. I buried his sister about a week ago. She was a good Christian. And William ought to be converted."
Then I turned to William and began to talk. We talked a while, and William stood and looked very serious; and then Dr. Newman suggested that I sing, and Brother McDonald suggested what he thought would be a good thing, and we joined and sang.
Just in the midst of our singing the bell rang, and William had to answer it. When he came in he spoke to Mrs. Newman and told her who it was, and Mrs. Newman went out into the parlor, and in a little while she came back bringing a lady with her, whom she introduced as her friend, Mrs. C. I had met Mrs. C. the day before. Mrs. Newman had introduced me to her, and told me how she was seeking the Lord. After she was seated, Dr. Newman said, "Now, Amanda, I think you had better sing us another piece." So something else was suggested, and we joined and sang.
While we were singing, I noticed that Mrs. C. could hardly control her emotions. I knew the Spirit of the Lord had taken hold of her heart. Then Dr. Newman said, "Now we will have a season of prayer."
So right there in the dining room we just knelt and prayed around; each one prayed. And when it came my turn it seemed to me I never was so helped in prayer. I prayed especially for this lady. I felt that God would bless her. Sure enough, when we rose from our knees, her burden was all gone and she was happy. She wrote me a beautiful letter while I was in Africa, and told me the blessing she received that day had remained with her; and, though she had passed through a great deal of trouble, yet she had never lost the peace and blessing that came to her that day.
I thought at that time how wonderful it was for Mrs. Newman to bring that lady into her dining room when I was there. I know some ladies who would have been ashamed to let it be known that I was in their dining room.
Then I went down stairs and had a little visit with the old
Thursday, August 14th. I leave Broadlands for Salisbury. Rev. Mr. Thwaites invites me to come to Salisbury and hold some meetings. I was entertained at Fisherton Rectory.
Monday, 18th. I leave for Eastbourne, Miss Mason's house of rest. Here I meet many of the workers who are there for a week's rest, or more. How good of the Lord to give me this privilege, and these few days of quiet and rest.
Friday, 29th. Leave Eastbourne. Spend the evening with Miss Drake, at Dr. Bordman's, Rochester Square, London. She is on her way back to India.
Sunday, 31st. Mr. Richard Morris arranges a meeting at the Y. M. C. A. The Lord gave me great liberty in speaking, and we had a good time.
September 1st, 1879. I leave Doncaster for the great Perth, Scotland, Conference. These meetings are held annually, and are very marked for blessing. I was asked to come a week before the Conference convened, and hold some preparatory meetings, so as to add to the interest of blessing at the Conference. Mrs. Gordon, of Park Hill, Aberdeen, and Mrs. Douglas were among the prominent ladies in the church, and they had arranged for my entertainment. I was met at the station by three Christian workers. When I stepped out of the train they came right up to me, and were so cordial and kind, I felt quite at home with them. They never allow you to carry anything; they just take your hand-bag, and go at once and see after your baggage, so that everything is made so easy for you. For this, I always praise the Lord.
I noticed they had bundles of hand bills, and were giving them to everybody. So I said, "You are trying to advertise well."
"Oh, yes," they said: "The people are very hard to get out to a Gospel meeting."
"Is that so?" I said, "I thought the Scotch people turned out well."
"The fact is, Mrs. Smith, we people have had the Gospel so much that we have become Gospel hardened, I think. When an evangelist does come, he always has to work a week before the people get interested and come out in any numbers. So you must not be discouraged, Mrs. Smith. Mr. Scrogey, from Ireland, was here some time ago, and he always gets more out than anyone else, and yet it was a week before there was any marked interest in the meetings. The people were so tardy about coming out."
"We have a small hall, that will hold about a hundred, and we thought we would commence there first; then, if the meetings increased, we have a larger hall close by; it holds about three hundred and fifty."
"Oh, my," I said, "I thought the Scotch people were people of great faith; but you only have got faith for two hundred people. You must do better than that."
They laughed and said, "But, Mrs. Smith, you don't know the people."
"No," I said, "but I know the Lord, and He says, 'ask largely.'"
"Well," they said, "we will see to-night."
"They don't know," I thought, "that I am God's bulletin board, and to be even a sign post for God has its reward. However, I will not tell them. We will see."
So, as we walked on, they said, seemingly to prepare me, and cheer me. "Of course, Mrs. Smith, you will not feel embarrassed, for there will only be women allowed in the meeting."
"Well, we supposed you were not accustomed to speaking before men; so there will be no men allowed in."
"Oh," I said, "I don't mind speaking before men at all. At some of our camp meetings in America I have talked to two and three thousand--men and women, girls and boys, young and old."
They were astonished out of measure. So nothing further was said on the subject.
When evening came we went to the hall. It was packed and crowded; and all outside the door and along the street, so that I never got in at all. They took me to a housenear by to wait till
As I passed down the aisle I saw three men had slipped in, and they leaned forward so as not to let me see them; and I never let on. Poor fellows; they were waiting every minute to be told to go out, and they were quite ready; they would have moved out at a word.
I went on, gave out my hymn, and opened the meeting; after prayer, I began my address. I never referred to the men, or said a word about what I had been accustomed to in America. As I talked on, the men began to raise themselves up and sit erect. My! I shall never forget their faces. They seemed to look glad. The Lord helped me to speak.
The next night six men came in. I went right on, and said nothing to them whatever. The third day two ladies called to see me. They were much interested in the meeting, and were very wealthy, and so carried on the principal part of the finances of the mission. They were very kind indeed to me. They were maiden ladies, sisters. So they came in their carriage to protect me, and see that I was not intruded upon by the men coming in. When we got to the hall there were seven or eight men. I saw these ladies looked very sharp and surprised. I went on and opened the meeting with a lively hymn; and the Scotch can sing, depend upon it. Then I asked some one to lead in prayer; and one of the lady workers did so, but it was very faint. Poor thing, I knew it was a struggle; fortunately it was not lengthy. So we rose, and I gave out the next hymn.
While they sang I noticed a great deal of quiet whispering and uneasiness: these good ladies were very nervous; I was greatly amused. Just before I began my address, one of them said to me, "Now, Mrs. Smith, there are those men; and they know quite well this is a meeting for women only; and they know they should not be in here. If you would like, I will speak to them, and have them go out."
"Oh, no," I said, "I don't mind; I think they came with their wives; I saw one man bring the baby and give it to the mother; and if they behave themselves it's all right; I want to talk to the women about their souls, and their salvation; and that is what the men need as well."
"Then it don't embarrass you to have the men present?"
"Not in the least," I said. And she sat down, comfortably surprised; and I had no further trouble about the men coming to meeting with the women. They did seem glad. They would shake hands with me, and say, "Lord bless you," and they smiled, and I suppose they thought I had given them the best chance they had ever had to get into a mixed meeting.
The Sunday night of the great Conference, in the large town hall, holding eleven hundred or twelve hundred people, Lady Hope, wife of Sir James Hope, an excellent Christian lady, known all over England and Scotland for her earnest Christian work among the navvies and working men, for the first time in her life, after I had sung "Whosoever," addressed a large audience of men and women.
They listened with profoundest interest to the Gospel address. It was a new epoch in Scotch history, for a woman to speak before a company of that kind, on such an occasion. I held meetings for a week after the Conference had closed; and in that same hall on the following Sunday night, a hundred stood up for prayers, mostly men, with tears running down their faces, and trembling as they stood. They didn't pop up and down in a minute, as we often see it here, but they rose and stood. Oh, what a night that was! The workers, though there were a great number, seemed to be astounded, and didn't know what to do. The Lord of Hosts was with us and helped us.
I remember a dear old woman, with a white cap on, and her Bible open in her lap I went to speak to her. She was weeping bitterly. She knew her Bible almost by heart; there was not a promise I could mention but she knew it. She said, "Yes, Mrs. Smith, I know that, and I have read it over and over; but I have never had the assurance of my salvation, and I don't know that I am saved. I want to know it."
"Well," I said, "God wants you to know it; and you do know His Word; but it is the Spirit that quickeneth; so ask the Lord to give you His Spirit, and quicken the Word in your heart."
"Yes," she said, "I think it may be that."
"Have you ever praised the Lord for His precious Word?"
"Well," she said, "I try to be thankful, but then I don't know as I ever have really praised Him."
"Well," I said, "praise Him for what He has done, and trust Him to give you His Spirit of assurance."
And she did right away, and in a little while was as happy as a bride. My! how beautiful! Oh, how the blessed Spirit came to her heart! filled her with peace and joy. Praise the Lord for His mercy.
Then the Rev. Mr. Blank asked me to take a week's service in his church. He had an assistant pastor, and he himself had to be away.
This was a very new thing; to be in a Scotch kirk; a woman, and a black woman; who ever heard of such a thing? But the assistant pastor was a very earnest Christian worker, and took right hold, and the Lord was with us. Every night the house was crowded; they had galleries all around, and they were filled. They used the Gospel Hymns to sing in, and then they had their own Book of Psalms. How many dear old people, men and women. How they cheered me! They all joined in these hymns and sang heartily.
The third night of the meeting, one old gentleman came up to me, and whispered softly, calling me aside; and in his beautiful broad Scotch, he said, "Mrs. Smith, the old people would be much better pleased if you would open the meeting and close with a Psalm. We are used to singing the Psalms. The young people like the Gospel Hymns; but just for the older people, I will just put that in your ear."
Then giving me a little pinch on the arm, he turned away. I saw it in a moment. I said nothing, but the next evening I opened the service by giving out a Psalm. I never did such a thing before, and never had heard of it, and hardly knew which to give out; but they knew them all, so I ventured. I think it was the one hundred and third Psalm. However, it seemed to be just the right one; and the faces of those old people lighted up; they thought I was the nicest kind of a woman! And I thought I had heard singing before, but when I struck that Psalm it was the most beautiful thing I ever heard. So I got converted over right then and there to Psalm singing; though I had not backslid over any of the old Hymns that I had learned in days of yore. And if I lived in Scotland I should learn how to sing the Psalms.
We went on with that meeting for a week. The Lord gave us great blessing. Many souls were strengthened and blessed, while some for the first time decided for Christ.
September 20, 1879. Leave Perth for Aberdeen. Sunday
Then the Spirit of the Plymouth brethren was so very strong in every direction. Of course, Father Anderson himself was on the straight line.
I remember one afternoon it was with great difficulty that I got into the church; they had afternoon meetings, and the crowds were simply enormous. I was to give a Bible reading that afternoon. The Lord had given us great blessings in the evening meetings. A number of souls professed to have found peace in believing. We had glorious times.
The work seemed to be signally blessed of God. But the good Plymouth brethren did not see it at all, because I was a woman; not that I was a black woman, but a woman. Paul had said: "Let your women keep silence in the churches," and it was a great violation of Paul's teachings. They would try, in a nice way, to get me into an argument; but I always avoided anything of the kind; for it is like bodily exercise which profiteth little.
One afternoon, as I was in the crowd trying to press my way through, a number of these brethren were at the door waiting for me, and they handed me a great epistle, with passages of Scripture quoted in most every other line. My! they are tremendous on quoting Scripture! I took the letters, and, to their surprise, instead of reading them before I began to talk, I put them in my pocket and went on. What they meant was, that I was to read the letters, and then they had their questions all propounded. But I just went on. My! how the Lord helped that afternoon, and we had a good meeting. So I think they gave me up in disgust, for I heard no more of them after that.
And here let me tell how it all came about that I got to go overland, and so to see Paris and the continent.
It was through my dear friend, Miss Morris, and that grand, good man, Lord Mount Temple, and my true friend, Mr. E. Clifford, with whom I had labored at the Broadlands Conference, and in London, at Mr. Charrington's, Victoria Hall. He had been on a tour through Scotland, and hearing of my intention to
I admitted it all, for it was true; but down deep in my heart God had put a clear conviction; and then in answer to prayer had made outward circumstances very plain, and I knew well that it was He that was leading, though I could not explain.
So when he saw that I was settled in my decision, and when I told him that Miss Drake, the lady with whom I was going, was going overland, he said, "By all means, go overland; and you must see all of Paris, and Rome, and the continent that you can."
When he rose to go he gave me a five pound note and said, "Now, I give you this to spend going about, so as to see all you can. You may never have another chance."
That was true. I never expect to have another such opportunity. I thanked him kindly, but thought to myself, "I don't mean to spend twenty-five dollars sight-seeing."
We went through on a more economical scale. But I saw what I called many wonderful things, through the kindness of this gentleman and other friends, for I had asked the Lord definitely to open a way for me, that I might get to see Paris and Rome, that I had heard so much about.
My going to India came about in this way: I was at Eastbourne, England. Dear Miss Mason has a very pretty home at Eastbourne, by the sea, where tired Christian workers may go for a little change and rest, just as she has in London. To this she invited me for a little rest, as I was weary and needed the change. The charge was very moderate, and then the spiritual help was what one needs so much. Praise the Lord for this oasis in the desert. Then to think that I should be thus highly favored. But it is the Lord's doings, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
While at Eastbourne I had a letter from my friend, Mrs. Dr. Bordman, in London. She said, "Who do you think is in London, and at my house? Lucy Drake. She is on her way back to India. She was delighted to hear from you, and wants you to call and see her on your way to Doncaster, as you have to pass through London."
I had known Miss Drake well years before; and I was so glad to see her again. I called, and we had a good old-fashioned chat, and a season of prayer. She said she had a conviction that the Lord wanted me to go to India. I told her I didn't see it in that light at all. She told me of all her plans, and told me to pray earnestly for light on my own path; "For," she said, "I'm quite sure the Lord wants you to go."
"I have so much work to do here in England," I said, "and calls are coming in constantly from all directions, so that I could not go."
"If the Lord wants you He will make it clear."
So we parted. I went on to Perth, Scotland. A few days after, I had a letter from Miss Drake, saying, "The Lord has made it clear to me for you to go to India, and I have told some friends, and they have handed me some money for you for your expenses."
"Well," I said, as I read the letter, "Miss Drake needn't do that, for I am not going to India at all."
I had never prayed a bit about it, although she had told me to do so. A few days later a letter came, saying, "It is wonderful how the Lord is answering prayer about your going to India. Dr. Mahan has just come in and handed me twenty pounds from Lord Mount Temple toward your expenses."
And I said, as I stood by the mantel shelf, reading the letter, "I know the reason Miss Drake thinks the Lord wants me to go with her to India; she is alone, and she doesn't like to travel alone, and it is easy to see the Lord in it; and I don't care, I have work enough to do now, without going off to India; and I'm not going."
Just then a voice seemed to say to me, clear and distinct, "You have been saying you would not go to India all the time, and you have never asked the Lord what His will is."
"That is true," I said, "Oh, Lord, forgive me."
There was no one in the dining room, and just in the corner by the mantel, stood an old-fashioned Scotch arm chair; I turned and knelt down by it, and burying my face in the cushion, and weeping, I prayed the Lord to forgive me for my impertinence, and if He wanted me to go to India, to make it very clear and plain to me, and I would obey Him, and leave all and go. Only I wanted to be sure that it was Himself speaking.
I cannot tell how, but as I waited before Him, He made it as
I had an engagement at Aberdeen, which I saw I would have time to fill before leaving. My other engagements I canceled, and explained how the Lord had changed me about. I wrote Miss Drake and told her I would go, and that I wanted to go overland. Then she wrote to say that she had enough means if I went all the way by sea. I could go to Liverpool and take the steamer and meet her at Suez. I wrote and told her I believed the Lord would let me go overland, and so see Paris and Rome. My! how the letters flew!
I went on to Aberdeen, and took up my week's services. Then I had a letter from Mrs. Bordman advising me to go by sea from Liverpool, and so save a hundred dollars; but I must let Miss Drake know by return mail whether I would go overland or by steamer from Liverpool, as she must telegraph and secure the staterooms. After I had read this letter, and thought it all over, I arose and got all the little money I had, and counted it out; it was fifteen or sixteen pounds.
I wanted to send home to my daughter, who was in school, three months' board, and that would take it nearly all; and now I must give an answer by return mail. So I took Mrs. Bordman's letter, and the money, and spread them on the bed, and got down on my knees, and there seemed to come over me a spirit of desperation and faith as I told the Lord. I said, "Lord, Thou knowest my heart; how I have longed to see these great cities and the continent. And now, though it will cost more to go overland than to go all the way by sea, yet all the means are Thine, and I am Thy child; and if it can please Thee, grant me this desire."
And as I waited before the Lord, the Spirit whispered these words distinctly: "All things whatsoever ye ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive." And I said, "Lord, I believe you will give me the money to go overland."
And I arose from my knees, and sat down and wrote by return mail and said, "Please tell Miss Drake to secure my stateroom; I will go overland with her."
My heart was as light as a feather. My dear friend, Miss Morris, on her way home to Doncaster, stopped in London to see Miss Drake, before I got there, and made up all the deficiency, and then she wrote and said how sorry she was that I had not told her my need.
"For," she said, "you know, Amanda, I have always told you to let me know when you really needed anything. I went to see Miss Drake, and she is very nice, and I like her very much. I was very much interested in all she told me of her work in India. I asked her to tell me frankly if she needed any help for you in any way, and she told me what was lacking on the expenses, and I was so glad to give it to her."
So the Lord in this, verified his promise, "All things whatsoever ye ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive." I think I can see now that God wanted me in Africa, and He had to send me to India to educate me a little before He could tell me to go to Africa. I'm sure if He had told me in Scotland He wanted me to go to Africa, I should have made a bee-line for the United States. But, oh, how good the Lord is. I shall evermore praise Him, and thank Him for all the great privilege of seeing what I did on the continent and in Egypt. How wonderfully He answered prayer through these instrumentalities. First of all, Miss Drake, and then Lord Mount Temple, and Miss Morris, and Mr. Clifford, and others. How wonderful it all seems.