Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2


Chapter 16—Return to Connecticut

Thursday p. m. we were to take the boat for Middletown. It was our last opportunity to get to our appointment, unless we should travel upon the Sabbath. We had a season of prayer before leaving. All present did not realize that the boat would not wait for us, and the season of prayer was made too long for the occasion, and we had but a few moments to get to the boat. I took my husband's arm, and we ran about a mile to reach the boat. Brethren Gurney and Bates were on the boat, waiting for us. The captain was about to withdraw the plank, when Bro. Bates interceded, telling him that he had friends that were detained, and he must wait a few moments. He was prevailed upon to wait five minutes. He then declared he would not wait another minute. Just then we appeared in sight. Bro. Bates cried out, “They are coming! They must go on the boat tonight! You must wait!” We sprung upon the plank as it was being withdrawn, the boat started, and we were on our way to Conn. 2SG 104.1

At Middletown we met sister Bonfoey and our little Henry. My child grew feeble. We had used simple herbs, but they had no effect. The neighbors who came in said we could not keep him long, for he would die with consumption. One advised us to use one medicine, another something else. But it did not effect the child favorably. Finally he could take no nourishment. Townsend's Sarsaparilla was recommended as the last resort. We concluded to try it. We could send by a friend to Hartford that day, and must decide in a few moments. I went before the Lord in my room alone, and while praying obtained the evidence that our only source of help was in the Lord. If he did not bless, and heal the child, medicine could not save him. 2SG 104.2

I there decided to venture the life of the child upon the promises of God. I had a lively sense of his willingness and power to save, and there alone before God cried out, “We will believe, and show to these unbelieving neighbors, who are expecting the death of the child, that there is a God in Israel, whose ear is open to the prayers of his children. We will trust alone in thee.” I felt the power of God to that degree that for a short time I was helpless. My husband opened the door to say to me that the friend was waiting for our decision. “Shall we get the Sarsaparilla?” I answered, “No. Tell him we will try the strength of God's promises.” 2SG 105.1

The neighbors looked upon me with astonishment. They were confident the child would die. That night we anointed him, and my husband prayed for him, laying his hands upon him in the name of the Lord. He looked up with a smile. A light seemed to rest upon his features, and we there had the evidence that the Lord had answered our prayers. We gave him no more medicine. He gained strength fast, and the next day could stand upon his feet. 2SG 105.2

We were anxious to visit Maine; but the sickness of our child had hindered us. We immediately made preparations for our journey. The first day we rode to Hartford. The child seemed very weary, and could not sleep. We again sought unto the Lord, who heard our prayer. The nerves of the child were quieted, and while we were praying he fell into a sweet sleep, and rested undisturbed through the night. The next day we traveled about one hundred and forty miles to Bro. Nichols’, in Dorchester, Mass. The powers of darkness were again permitted to afflict the child. He would cling to my neck, and then with both hands seem to be fighting off something, crying, No, no, and then again cling with all his strength to me. We could not tell what these strange actions meant, but thought he must see something invisible to us. Satan was unwilling to lose his prey. Was he troubling the child? or were his evil angels by their presence exciting his fears, and causing him to act thus? In our season of prayer that morning we rebuked the power of the enemy, and our child was no more afflicted. 2SG 106.1

We took the boat for Portland, but I was very sick, and could not take care of my child. I fainted a number of times. When I grew better my little Henry expressed great joy. He would climb upon the sofa, throw his little arms around my neck, and kiss me many times. He was then one year old. 2SG 107.1

Again I was called to deny self for the good of souls. We must sacrifice the company of our little Henry, and go forth to give ourselves unreservedly to the work. My health was poor, and he must necessarily occupy a great share of my time. It was a severe trial, yet I dared not let my child stand in the way of our duty. I believed that the Lord had spared him to us, when he was very sick, and if I should let him hinder me from doing my duty, God would remove him from me. Alone before the Lord, with most painful feelings, and many tears, I made the sacrifice, and gave up my only child, for another to have a mother's care and feelings. We left him in Bro. Howland's family, in whom we had the utmost confidence. They were willing to bear burdens to leave us as free as possible to labor in the cause of God. We knew that they could take better care of Henry than we could while journeying with him, and it was for his good that he should have a steady place, and strict discipline, that his sweet temper be not injured. It was hard parting with my child. His little sad face, as I left him, was before me night and day; yet in the strength of the Lord I put him out of my mind, and sought to do others good. 2SG 107.2

About this time Bro. Nichols proposed that we should leave Henry at Bro. Howland's, and he pay one dollar a week for his support. This caused us to feel that the hand of Providence was opening the way for us to give ourselves more fully to the work. Bro. N. sent the pay for ten weeks, when he was requested by Bro. H. to send no more. Bro. Howland's family had the whole charge of Henry for five years, without any recompense, and provided him all his clothing, except a present I would bring him once a year, as Hannah did Samuel. 2SG 108.1