|CHAPTER XXXII. -- CAPE PALMAS--HOW I GOT THERE--BROTHER WARE--BROTHER -- SHARPER'S EXPERIENCE--A GREAT REVIVAL.|
I spoke as the Lord led me on, confessing Christ, and what He had done for a soul definitely. I did not know anything about Brother Pitman's experience; I had never spoken to him about it, and did not know he was interested in the subject of holiness at all, only I knew he seemed to possess the spirit of holiness; I felt it in his conversation and preaching.
After I was through I took my seat. Brother Pitman sprang to his feet in a moment, and said, "The Lord has sent that message to me;" then he went on with how, some three months before, as nearly as I can recollect, he had received this distinct blessing of sanctification, and was helped wonderfully to see the way clearly through the teaching in that grand, old, pioneer holiness periodical, "Guide to Holiness."
"I see as you have spoken, Sister Smith," he continued, "my mistake has been, I have not definitely confessed what the Lord has done for me. But I do here and now confess, before God and these people, that He has cleansed and sanctified my heart."
And from that time forth, he never swerved from preaching or testifying to this great blessing, definitely sought and received by faith.
God made him a great blessing to the people everywhere he went. I believe it was the power of this grace that enabled him to endure as he did; for, being a thorough native of the Da tribe, he had much to endure. He, like Paul, had false brethren to contend with. How my heart has ached, as I have seen and heard things that would have kindled a blaze that would have been unquenchable in the church and community; but he was patient and true, through all.
Then, I think it was in 1883, Brother Ware had charge. The change was great. Some were glad, but I believe most were sorry.
But he and I got on nicely. I always consulted him about my meetings; and, to my face, he would always give me the greatest liberty; and I would be led to think that we saw together; though he did not often take much part; he would say:
"I give you full charge, Sister Smith, whenever you want to have any meetings. Of course I will not be able to be present at all of them, but all the brethren will stand by you, and it will be all right."
I would have afternoon meetings for the young converts, to instruct them in Bible lessons; he would come in and sit way
I went to Bassa in 1885. After I got to Bassa and met the Bishop, I told him how we had heard at Monrovia that he was to spend three months in that region round about, take a trip to Bepora, etc. He said it was the first he had known of it; that he had made an arrangement with a certain steamer that was to pick him up at Bassa, and leave him at Cape Palmas, and said this was my chance to go.
"I have not come prepared to go to Cape Palmas," I replied, "but I have been waiting for three years to go. Just when I got ready some months ago, word came that there was small-pox there, so I could not go."
"Well," said the Bishop, "this is your chance, Amanda."
Just then dear Brother Pitman came in. I told him, and he said, "I think, Sister Smith, this is your chance."
"Well," I said, "if you will take Frances (my little native girl) to your home in Paynesville, and keep her till I come back, I think I will go. Do you think Sister Pitman will care? I would go and see her myself, if I could."
"That will be all right, Sister Smith; Frances shall fare as the other children do, and if you are satisfied with that, I will take her."
Sister Pitman was a grand, good woman. She was a splendid housekeeper, and was also a dressmaker and tailor. They never had any children of their own, but all the native boys and girls they had in their family were well raised and well trained; and I knew Frances would fare as well there as if I had her myself.
May God ever bless Sister Pitman. How I sympathize with her in her loss.
So when he returned from the Conference in Monrovia, he took her with him to his home at Paynesville.
I think it was on Wednesday, February 17th, a steamer came to Bassa. The Bishop said we would go. I had but little to get together; only just what would do me as I thought, for the three weeks I had planned to be away. So I had to send for my things after I got to Cape Palmas.
When we went to get into the boat to go to the steamer, a messenger came to say the captain sent word he would not stop at
"Oh, we will just go."
"Shall I go, then?"
"Oh, yes, come on," he said, quietly, but with such perfect confidence. I just held my breath, and did as I was told.
The man remonstrated, but the Bishop said to the men, "Push off;" and off we did push. When we got alongside, the men aboard the steamer hailed us.
"Where are you going?"
The men gave the word, "To Cape Palmas."
"We are not going to stop at Cape Palmas," one of the officers shouted; "the captain sent word ashore."
When they saw Bishop Taylor was a white man they let down the steps. The Bishop said he wanted to see the captain. It was just dinner time--six o'clock--when we got on board. Of course they did not want that I should come up; but the Bishop said to me quietly, "Come right along, Amanda."
Brother Turner, one of the Bishop's missionaries, a genuine black man, who had been out but about two years, was with him. He was going to Since. We kept close to the Bishop, for we knew if he succeeded, we would.
Oh! how vexed the officers were. But of course they said nothing to Bishop Taylor. They were civil to him.
The Bishop had no baggage; he never did carry any about with him in Africa: simply a small basket, and his bed rolled up. To look at it you would think it was a surveyor's instruments; that was generally his outfit. But some of the rest of us did have something in the shape of a small trunk. When the officers saw this they said.
"We are not going to stop at Cape Palmas; don't lift the baggage."
So I stood quietly while the Bishop went in to see the captain; or rather send word to him, and there was a pause of fifteen minutes, or so. I stood trembling in my boots almost, for it was about five miles back to shore, and I thought, "Oh, dearie me, if I have got to go back in this darkness all alone!" So I said, "Oh! Lord, help the Bishop, and bless that captain, and make him let us go."
While they were gone with a message to the captain, I slipped softly up to the Bishop, and said:
"Bishop do you think we will have to go back to shore?"
"Oh, no," he said, in perfect confidence, "it will be all right."
And sure enough, word came to the Bishop from the captain:
"All right; we will take you."
My! didn't I whirl? Dinner! I didn't want any. I was full of joy and gladness. I hadn't any room for anything else until next morning.
Now, then, you may say what you please, explain it as you like, but if Bishop Taylor had not been a white man, not simply a Bishop, but a white man, as sure as this world, we would have had to come all that way back to shore in the night. And I did thank the Lord down in my heart for a white Bishop that time.
We were two nights and a day on the vessel and arrived at Cape Palmas about ten A. M. Friday.
I shall never forget the delight of the dear people when they saw the Bishop and myself. The children crowded around like he had been a father, more than a Bishop. He was so kind, and shook hands with them, and had a pleasant word for all. The little, native boys danced and laughed, and seemed so glad.
When I saw the Christian spirit so manifest among the people toward the Bishop and myself, I came nearly crying out. Oh! it was so different from what it seemed to be in Bassa.
We were conducted from the landing at Cape Palmas to Sister Harmon's; she received us gladly, and entertained us kindly.
Sunday was to be quarterly meeting; so it seemed to be such a propitious time for us to arrive just then.
Brother Ware had notified the brethren, and the Bishop held his quarterly conference Friday afternoon at four o'clock, and preached on Saturday night to a full congregation. Of course everybody turned out, Baptists, Episcopalians, and Methodists, (those were the only denominations at Cape Palmas), senators, lawyers, deacons, etc.
Among the dignitaries I noticed his honor, Bishop Ferguson. It was the first time I had ever seen him.
But everybody seemed to be interested in this American Bishop. And he preached a grand, old-fashioned Holy Ghost sermon, as everybody knows he can. I think that Bishop Ferguson was rather pleased, until he heard the good Bishop speak of standing on a hogshead, in California, I think it was, and preaching
But what capped the climax with them, after the Bishop got through, he told them who I was, and spoke some kind words of me, and of my work, and told them if they would stand by me I would do them good, etc. Then lie said, "I will ask Sister Smith to speak a few words to you."
I lifted my heart and asked the Lord to help me. And he did. And the people were blessed.
Poor Bishop Ferguson! He hung his head all the time I was speaking, and went out as soon as he could; and I don't suppose he has heard Bishop Taylor since.
Poor Brother Ware had strong proclivities toward that church at that time. His eldest son, who had been brought up, and trained and converted in the Methodist Church, had left it, and gone over to the Episcopal Church.
And, by the way, that is one good thing the Methodist Church has done in Liberia; for if she has not done so much in the conversion of the heathen, she has certainly done her part in furnishing workers for the Episcopal Church. I don't believe they have a single worker, except a few among the natives; for the matron in their orphanage, the teachers in their schools, or the workers on their farms, come out of the Methodist Church; and those in the church that know anything about real conversion, have been converted or sanctified in the Methodist Church; so if ever a church ought to thank God for Methodist Church; so if ever a church ought to thank God for Methodism in Africa, notwithstanding her faults and failings, it ought to be this church!
But strange to say, they do not; but, like the Jesuits, they cease not day or night, in every possible way, to disturb and proselyte.
I tried my best to be as unselfish as I could, and show in every possible way that I was a Christian and had no other object than to help everybody I could, in every way I could. I did not advocate a new doctrine, or start a new church. I told the people this was not my errand in Africa. There were churches enough already. All that was needed was the spirit of full consecration to God, and a baptism for real service.
When I began my temperance work in Cape Palmas I wrote Bishop Ferguson, and the several ministers in his diocese, and sent them our pledge card, and tracts, and our constitution and bylaws,
As this was Gospel temperance, to help Christian men and women on to a higher platform of Christian character and Christian life, it never entered my head but they would be willing to cooperate on this platform, as it was purely undenominational, and had met such favor in England and America while on this basis.
But the good Bishop replied in a short note, saying he would consider the matter, and let me know later on. In a few days he wrote me a great, lengthy epistle of five or six pages; beautifully written, for he certainly wrote a beautiful hand. But I must confess the best thing about that letter was the beautiful handwriting. A regular General Conference document, saying he could have nothing to do with the subject I had written him about, and pointing out a clause in our Methodist discipline, saying that was all that was needful.
Well, I was ashamed to say anything about it except to one or two persons; for I had always heard him spoken so highly of; and I was proud of him, being a black Bishop; and knowing that he knew the condition and the suffering among the poor natives on account of strong drink, and among the Liberians as well, I thought I had a right to hope for, at least, sympathy.
Perhaps I would not have thought much about it if he had been a white man. But I find that human nature is the same in black men, even in Africa, as in white men in America. It is the same old story everywhere. "None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good."
Well, the Lord helped me, and I went on with the work, and men and women, young and old, some of all the denominations, joined in. But his position toward it had its effect, which is natural.
So, poor Brother Ware, with his Episcopal proclivities, and underlying all a strong desire to be a Bishop, had got all the official board so fully over to his side in regard to a woman taking a public part in a meeting, and had filled them so with prejudice,
Away back in the years before, He had said, "Behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man shall shut it." How I proved His every word true.
Brother Ware was not well, so did not get to the Conference at Bassa. On Sunday morning we had a great Love Feast. The Spirit of the Lord was among us, and at 10:30 the Bishop preached. What a sermon! I suppose they had never heard anything like it. Surely the Lord of Hosts was with us.
Just after the consecration of the elements for the sacrament, as the Bishop was about to proceed in administering, or passing it, the steamer signalled, and the good Bishop was notified that he must leave. He had already announced that he was to preach to the young people and children at three P. M., and had asked all the other people to be seated in the gallery, and reserve the body of the church for the young people and children. So, when the Bishop had to leave, he turned to Brother Ware, and said:
"Brother Ware, if you are not well, Sister Amanda Smith will take the service this afternoon in my stead."
"Yes," Brother Ware said, "we shall be glad to have Sister Smith take the service."
I saw it was an awful pill, but he swallowed it as meekly as he could.
Oh! how the Lord did bless me that afternoon.
At night I took the service again. The power of the Lord was present among the people. One good sister in the Episcopal Church, Sister Tubman, got sanctified that night, as a seal to my first work at Cape Palmas. The Lord gave her light and help, as I went on talking from the fourteenth chapter of John, fourteenth verse: "If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it."
What a stir it made. The people were up in arms, and the cat got out!
"Great Lord, that woman can preach. That ain't no so-so talk. God is in that woman."
And so it went the rounds. They said, "What is the matter with Brother Ware? Why don't he let her preach?"
Then a number of the brethren called on him, and asked him to give me an appointment, as they all wanted to hear me speak.
At the expiration of two weeks, Brother Ware was obliged to leave for Monrovia; but he called his local brethren, Brother Os Tubman, old Father Jenkins, Brother Dennis, Brother Thompson, who was Vice-President of the Republic and a local preacher, Brother Sharper, and Brother Bowen, who had the pastoral charge of the church at Mt. Tubman.
No one of these brethren were to give their appointments to any one, under penalty of having to answer at the quarterly conference. Some of them said:
"Brother Ware, we believe Sister Smith is a woman of God, and she came here with Bishop Taylor. He knows her, and endorses her, and we ought to give her a chance."
But his reply was, "I, and not Bishop Taylor, am pastor of the church."
So, according to the laws of the Medes and Persians, the decision must not be altered.
Another week had passed, and it had come Saturday. With all that was said, I kept quiet, and said but little to any one. Some of the people wanted to know if there was any misunderstanding between me and Brother Ware.
"No, nor there never has been, as I know of."
I must confess it was a little embarrassing to me; but it helped me to see God as I had never seen Him before. Out of all these brethren, there was not one of them who dared give me an appointment, except old Father Dennis. He was a man of strong moral courage and good, broad common sense; a highly intelligent man; and he knew every weak spot in the whole government, as well as the strong; and he knew the discipline of the Methodist Church as well, if not better, than any other man in the Republic; and notwithstanding all this, he was very peculiar, and, withal, eccentric. So he said to some of the brethren, that if Ware wanted to have him up in the quarterly conference for giving his appointment, he might do it. He did not care.
He came to me on Saturday, and asked me if I would go to
I told him, "Yes, I would."
"The brethren tell me that Brother Ware will have me up for it and I told them I didn't care."
"Well," I said, "if you are willing to risk it, I will go."
So I went out on Saturday afternoon, Sister Harmon and I.
Mt. Tubman is a beautiful spot. How plain I seem to see the little church on the hill. What times of blessing I have had; and this man, and that man were born there.
I was not very strong, so they arranged that Sister Harmon and I should go out in the carriage. So, in a little while we were ready. The carriage drove up, with a nice little black bullock, and we were soon seated, and off. But we had not gone far, when the bullock began to cut African capers.
First he backed and then he ran up on one side of the bank, and came near tumbling the carriage over. Then we got him down and he went on a little ways, then he made another break at the other side of the road, and then he stopped. I thought it was a good chance to dismount; and so I did, and footed it the balance of the way, which was more than half way.
I went to Brother Bowen s and stayed all night. How kind Brother and Sister Bowen were. They did all they could to make me comfortable. I could see that Brother Bowen was a little embarrassed, as he was pastor. He said, "Brother Ware's orders were that the brethren should take their appointments in order."
But, Brother Bowen was a good man, and had good sense, and was reasonable; but he was a little afraid of his superior.
I talked, and sang, and told him many things about his own country for he had gone to Liberia when quite a young man. Many of his friends would come in; then they would go out and seem to have a quiet talk together. I prayed. I knew I had not gone myself, but that God had sent me; and I waited to see Him get the victory.
Sunday morning came. There was a splendid congregation. Just as it was time to open the service, who should come in but dear, old Brother Dennis.
I saw Brother Bowen was glad. He at once asked him to take the service; and he got up and said he had asked me to come out there and take his appointment, as he was not very well; then,
So that was my introduction. If ever I prayed for God to help me, I did that day. And He did. Then I stayed and took part in the class meeting after the service. Then I addressed the Sabbath School, and took the service at night. The church was crowded. Oh! how the Lord helped me to speak. I thought, "This is my last day here, so I will do everything I can."
After I was through speaking at night I gave the invitation to sinners to come forward and seek the Lord; and almost immediately eight men came forward; four were converted that night.
I thought that my strength was gone; but it seemed to me that God gave me a double portion. I had no further trouble with Brother Bowen.
The news spread like wildfire. The people came from all directions. We went on for two weeks without a break. We had several all night meetings, and all day. In that meeting some old men were converted that were never known to pray, or be serious before. I went to see them from house to house, and sat down and talked with them, and explained the way of faith. Oh! how God put his seal on the work. This was the beginning. In this meeting Charlie Gray and Brother Cox were sanctified.
I had worked hard, and was so weary I thought I must come home for a rest. So on Monday I came home to Sister Harmon's.
Now, the two weeks' Bible readings that I had held prior to going to Mt. Tubman, had laid a foundation, and God had blessed the people.
Tuesday night was the prayer meeting night. I had had a little rest on Monday after I got home, and on Tuesday night was the prayer meeting at Mt. Scott Church. Brother Thompson called and asked me if I would lead prayer meeting that night. I told him I was very weary and needed a rest. But he said he would be glad if I would take it. I told him I would do the best I could. I was so very weak, but I asked the Lord to strengthen me, as I did so often. Oh! how many times He has heard and answered that prayer. Blessed be His name. That night the work began at Latrobe. And what a tidal wave swept all over Cape Palmas. Oh! it was wonderful.
I have gone to the church at six o'clock in the evening to hold a prayer meeting before preaching, and have never gone outside the door till six next morning.
When we did go in for salvation we didn't play, but went it. God converted sinners, reclaimed backsliders, and sanctified and established believers.
The Baptists fought a little. They were very firmly fixed. Once in grace, always in grace, no matter what you say or do. But with all the opposition, God's chariot rolled on; and many of them were brought to realize the power of Jesus, and were saved fully. Glory to Jesus.
How well I remember Brother Sharper, one of our old local preachers. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence, and good, broad, common sense. He was one of the best local preachers we had. He had a nice, comfortable, little home of his own, and a very nice wife and baby boy. When I first held my Bible readings Brother Sharper became very much interested in the subject of holiness. The Holy Spirit convicted him of his need of a clean heart. He was a man of high moral character and Christian integrity, and stood high in the community and the church.
When the Spirit of God got hold of his conscience, he did like so many; he began to reason with himself: "I know I am convicted, and I have been a Christian all these years, and I will just go on growing in grace, and purity will come."
But, poor man, he had it wrong end first! The very best chance for growing in grace, really and successfully, is to get the cleansing and all obstruction to growth out. As the Psalmist suggests: "The clean heart, then the teaching of transgressors Thy way." The Psalmist had it right. Praise the Lord.
Poor Brother Sharper used to come to the Bible readings, but all at once I missed him. He didn't come. I would call around at his house and have a little chat. I didn't bore him. He was always glad to see me, and always had a good reason for not coming to the meeting.
He was a most inveterate smoker, but he never let me see him with his pipe in his mouth. He was much of a gentleman in his bearing. On Sunday I had been calling on some friends on the next street; on my way home I called in, and there was Brother Sharper in his nice little home, all alone, his Bible on a chair by
"Sister Smith, I didn't mean for you to see me with that old pipe."
"Oh, no matter," I said, "you and the Lord will settle it by and by."
So, after a little chat, I went home to pray and ask the Lord to deliver Brother Sharper. He began coming to the meetings, but seemed depressed. And he didn't stay till the close of the meetings. But one night at prayer meetings, I was leading, and I asked any one who had the desire to seek the blessing of a clean heart to come and kneel at the altar. A number came; among others, Brother Sharper. He came like he meant business. He was not a demonstrative or emotional man, and when I saw him kneel and clutch the altar railing, I said to myself, "Sharper is in for it."
One and another prayed for themselves, and God set them at liberty. Oh! what a meeting it was!
Brother Sharper groaned and struggled. It came to a close about eleven o'clock. A number had got blessed, and we arose and sang the doxology. Brother Sharper had not moved from his position. But I knew the Lord would take care of him.
Just as we were about to sing, Brother Sharper sprang to his feet and shouted at the top of his voice:
"But you must go through! You must go through! Victory! Victory! Victory!"
He went over the tops of the seats like a streak of light. I tried to catch him. I was afraid he would kill himself. But he swung from my grasp as though he had been oiled. Oh! what a shout. When that tremendous wave had passed over, he calmed down as quiet as a lamb, and he smiled. He was a handsome man anyhow: but this night he looked beautiful.
He stood up in front by the altar and faced the congregation, and said:
"Sister Smith, I want to tell what the Lord has done for me. I have had an awful struggle for days over this question. I thought I would stay away from the meetings; but that didn't help me. And you know the Sunday you were around to my house, and caught me with the Bible and my pipe?"
"Yes," I said.
"Well, there was where I stuck; but I thought if I did everything else all right, the Lord would not require me to give up my pipe; and I did not know it was such an idol until I tried to give it up. Oh! how it held me. You know I love my wife and child; but I felt I could give up either of them easier than I could give up my pipe. I would smoke, the last thing before I went to bed, and the first thing in the morning, and sometimes I would get up two or three times in the night to have a smoke; and if there was not a match, or fire, in the house to light my pipe, I would walk a mile to get it.
"The other night I lay down and fell into a doze of sleep; and I dreamed I saw a great host marching. They were divided into two companies. Oh! such singing I never heard. It was wonderful! The sanctified host was ahead, and out sang the justified host. As they marched they sang. I stood and looked at them. I said, well, I will join the justified company. They will get in, too, just as well as the others. So I joined in the song with them, for I wanted them to keep up with the host ahead. Oh! how I sang with all my might: but the sanctified host seemed to out-sing us.
"In our march we came to a culvert in the road, and I thought 'I will watch and see how they get through there.' I saw when they got up to it, they all, with one accord, bowed low, and went through, and struck up their song on the other side. And when the justified company came up to the culvert, they stopped, and there seemed to be quite a contention about how to get through. But not one of them stopped. After a while they divided, and walked around on either side, and went on. When I came up to it I started to go round, first on the right; but a voice confronted me and said, 'but you must go through.' Then I made an effort to go to the left; and again a voice said, 'but you must go through.' So I tried the third time, and again the same words, 'but you must go through.' And glory to God, the tobacco is gone, and I have got through!"
As he stood and told that wonderful experience, which beggars description, the spirit of the Lord fell on the people, and it was wonderful.
Poor Brother Sharper preached with a power and unction that he had not known before. And the last I heard of him, he was at one of Bishop Taylor's mission stations on the river, working for God.
The meeting went on, and many of the natives got saved. John Yancy got saved.
One night we were singing that victorious hymn, I call it (for when it is sung properly, it generally carries blessing with it)--
"Ah! many years my longing heart
Had sighed, had longed to know
The virtue of the Savior's blood,
That washes white as snow."
"There is power in Jesus' blood,
There is power in Jesus' blood,
There is power in Jesus' blood,
To wash me white as snow."
I had sung this hymn in the meetings, and the people had learned it, and they could sing it as only colored people can sing. John Yancy had been seeking the blessing for several weeks. He was converted, and had been a consistent member of the church for two years or more. But, as he said, "He felt that God had something more for him:" and as he sat in the church that night, while we were singing, the Holy Ghost fell on him. Oh! how he shouted.
"Oh! yes, there is power in Jesus' blood to wash me white as snow. Yes, there is power in the blood. Yes, there is power in Jesus' blood."
Every time he said it it went like an electric shock through the house, and the people seemed to be swayed by the mighty power.
Everybody believed in John Yancy's sanctification. The people all had known him from a little boy. He was raised right up there among them. And I never heard a soul express a doubt about John Yancy's life and testimony. He was a rank, native, heathen boy, born in heathenism. He had been brought out of the country, and the most of his raising, and where he took his name, was from Mr. Allen Yancy, a good man, formerly of America. God wonderfully sanctified him, and his dear wife, also, shortly after John got the blessing.
On Friday night, the last night of our meeting for the week, there were several very interesting cases who were seeking pardon; but they had not come out into the clear light. One was a Congo man. I felt very anxious about them, lest Satan should get the
Where this Congo man lived, was on the back street, as they called it; and the people who lived on that street were nearly all Congos, with the exception of two or three families. It was not one of the prominent streets, but it was the prettiest street, I thought, in Cape Palmas. It was wide, and had several very pretty, little cottages on it.
I found the place where the man lived. He was sitting in his own yard, under a pretty arbor, talking to some one. He was quite surprised to see me. But I told him why I came. I told him I was anxious about him, as he was seeking the Lord.
So I sat down, took out my Testament, and began to read and explain a few passages of Scripture on faith, and how to exercise it. The Lord helped me, and helped the man. Then I sang; and in a little while I had a number of earnest listeners around me. Then I prayed.
This was all right out in the yard. When this was finished I thought I would go home; but a woman said:
"Mrs. Smith, there is some one in such a house, sick, who wants to know if you will come and pray with him."
So I went with the woman. I talked, and read the blessed Word and explained it as the Spirit led me; then prayed, sang a verse, and left.
When I got downstairs, a little girl came and said her mother was sick and had heard the singing, and had sent to beg me to come, if but for a moment. So I did. And so I went on and made eight calls of the same kind, and prayed, and sang, and talked.
The Lord blessed this poor, sick woman; and a short time after this she died. Sister Harmon and all wondered what had become of me; for I had left home at four o'clock to be gone only an hour or two, as I thought; but I didn't get home until eight o'clock in the evening. The cases were so interesting, and I got so absorbed and carried away, that I forgot all about my weariness and weakness till I got home and sat down. Then it came over me like a great wave; and I trembled like a read in the wind.
As I think of it now, I wonder how I ever went through all I did. Sometimes I have started to church feeling so weak, and I have prayed every step of the way; and there have been times when I have stood up to speak, I have felt as it were a hand press
There was a Mrs. Delia Williams, whose house I went into and prayed that afternoon, on this same street.
Just inside her gate, in the yard, there stood a beautiful bread fruit tree. As I passed out I said, "that would be a nice tree to hold a little meeting under."
"Oh! Mrs. Smith,". she said, "will you come here and hold a meeting for us here on this street? We need it. These people do not go to church much. They will not go."
This woman was what you might call a kind of half way Christian. She belonged to the church, but she was not straight. She was always seeming to seek peace, but could not find it, because she did not give up to God. Poor thing, she was good-hearted, and wanted to see everybody get all the good they could. So I said to her:
"I will see about it, and let you know. Of course that bush there in the street would have to be cleared away."
"Oh!" she said, "if you will come, I will have that done. And I can put a table and some chairs out, and put some mats down.
"I might come Monday," I said; "but, however, don't do anything until you hear from me."
I kept very quiet. I never told even Mrs. Harmon's people. I knew if the word was said, the people that considered themselves not Congos would all come, and my purpose to do these non-church-going people good would be lost.
But somehow it got out; first thing I knew Monday, somebody came to me and said, "Mrs. Smith, I hear you are to hold a meeting on the back street this afternoon."
"Who said so?"
"Well," they said, "Delia Williams has had the bush all cut down, and they are getting ready over there, and said you were to come, and all the people are looking for you."
Oh! desire me how I felt. "Now," I thought, "there will be a great crowd. That was not what I wanted at all. I just wanted to go quietly and have a meeting for these poor Congo people."
By and by another came; and so it went. Mrs. Harmon said:
"Why, you never told me anything about it."
"No," I said, "for the very reason I was afraid there would be a great excitement about it."
She laughed and said, "you try to keep anything quiet here, and you will miss it."
So I got ready and went; and there, sure enough, under that pretty tree stood a table with a white cloth on it, a hymn book, a pitcher of water, and tumbler; chairs all around, and mats down, and there the people were. As I drew near I smiled to myself, and yet was fit to cry. I said, "Lord, help me this once."
I read and explained the Word as best I could on consecration and faith, pointing out some of the sins and hindrances to the exercise of faith for any blessing that God was willing to give.
The Lord did help me that afternoon as I talked. Several good sisters had come who had got the baptism of the Spirit, and knew how to pray; so I asked if there were any there who desired we should pray for them, and I asked them to stand up, and several did so. Among them was Brother Sharper's wife.
Dear Sister Sharper! I shall never forget her. She was a woman of no ordinary intelligence; and she was desperately in earnest. I asked them to come forward and kneel around the table (for we had no altar), and she came. Oh! how she prayed. And when the Holy Ghost struck her (for it did) she whirled like a top, round and round, and round and round! We could not touch her. She just went like a streak, through the bush, out into the street. I thought she would kill herself. Oh! I was frightened. As she rolled over, she kept saying, "Glory, glory, glory to Jesus! glory!"
The sisters followed after her, and tried to hold her, but they could not. By and by she sprang up all at once; and didn't she shout! She marched home, and there was not a scratch or a bruise on her. It was wonderful. I shall never forget the day when Jesus washed her sins away. Glory to His name!
These were some of the wonderful days at Cape Palmas. And still there's more to follow.
Brother Ware did not get back for six weeks; so we had full swing, and God was with us. When he did come, how surprised he was.
Every Sunday, prior to his coming, a number were taken in. The first Sunday after he came he took in nine or ten; I don't
It seemed to throw a damper on the work. Everybody seemed to understand what it meant. But the Lord of Hosts was with us; and the God of Jacob was our refuge; and we hid, and went on.