Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 1 (1844 - 1868)


Ms 9, 1862

Diary: Labors in Michigan (Monterey, Allegan, Greenville, Orleans, Orange)


November 1862

Portions of this manuscript are published in 3MR 145-148; 1Bio 481-484.

November 7 my husband and self left Battle Creek for Monterey. I left in much feebleness. Had been down sick with severe cold, threatened with fever, for about two weeks, yet I dared not consult my own feelings or pleasure in the matter. Our appointments were out, and if it was possible we must go. The weather was unfavorable, yet we ventured in a cold snowstorm. We suffered considerably with cold. In the middle of the day it grew warmer. We selected a spot by the roadside in the woods as our hotel, and fed the horses and took our lunch. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 1

We arrived at Brother Day’s—fifty miles—a little after sundown. We were very weary, with sore throat and aching lungs. I tried to pray the next morning but thought I should have to stop for coughing, but, praise the Lord, He gave me help when I most needed it. I was enabled by faith to lay hold of the arm of the Lord and I was lifted above my infirmities and forgot sore throat and oppressed lungs. I was greatly blessed of God and felt no more trouble with weak lungs on the journey. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 2

In Monterey we held meetings for the benefit of the young. We felt that there had not been that interest manifested for or labor bestowed on the youth that there should have been. Ministering brethren, as they have labored in different places, have seen so much to do to get out important points of truth before the people that they have neglected the young and have failed to reap that harvest which they might. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 3

The meetings held in Monterey for the benefit of the children were, I think, the best and most profitable to the church of any which we attended. As we entreated the young to come to Christ there was not a child present whose heart was not affected. There was nothing like indifference, but all began to seek the Lord and to inquire, What shall I do to be saved? All those who wanted to be Christians and desired the prayers of God’s people, were invited to occupy the front seats, which by request had been vacated. Here was a cross for the young. We knew if they could take this first step they would gain strength to take the next, for by so doing they testified to all present that they chose to leave sin and the service of Satan and become Christ’s followers. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 4

One after another came forward until nearly the whole Sabbath school who were old enough to know what sin was, had filled the vacant seats. Oh, how anxious we felt for those dear, weeping children that they might turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart and be accepted of Him! We felt like taking these dear children in the arms of our faith and laying them at the feet of Jesus. We felt assured that He would say, Son, or Daughter, thy sins be forgiven thee. And we knew that the Lord was working for us to bring these dear children into His fold. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 5

The serious impressions did not leave the children when the meetings ended. Those who could, assembled together at the house of Brother Bates and solicited prayers for themselves; they prayed and sought God earnestly, and some felt the assurance there that Jesus spoke peace to their troubled hearts. They had one or two meetings of this description, which were attended with the blessing of God. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 6

Nearly all felt the evidence that God for Christ’s sake had forgiven their sins. My husband spoke upon the subject of baptism. These children wished to be baptized. They each arose and with tears and sobs gave their broken testimony that they wished to be Christians and overcome the temptations of the enemy and at last stand upon Mount Zion. I believe angels of God bore these short, broken testimonies to heaven and that they were recorded in the book of God’s remembrance. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 7

We did not feel like requiring these lambs of the flock to wait six months or one year before being baptized, to see if they would be faithful to their profession. We did not think it right for them to wait one week, but that it was their privilege to be baptized after they repented and believed. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 8

Tuesday ten young females assembled at the water to receive the ordinance of baptism. It was a happy yet a solemn sight to see so many of the young ready to take upon themselves the baptismal vow. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 9

One dear child we deeply sympathized with. Through a constitutional difficulty she had never been able even to witness one baptized. But while she, with her young companions, sought the Lord, she decided that she must be baptized. She came with her young companions to the water, but her difficulty returned. She could not look upon the water or see any of her young friends baptized. All had been baptized but her, and she could not be prevailed upon to go into the water. We felt that Satan was opposed to the good work begun with her, and wished to hinder it, and that she must go forward. Her parents, with us, felt that if she left the water unbaptized she would never have strength to follow the example of her Saviour. We all were anxious that she might obtain a victory there. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 10

I put the robe upon her and urged her to go into the water. She hesitated. We looked up in faith to God. My husband on one side and myself upon the other, and her father entreating her, we tried to encourage her along, yet her peculiar dread of water caused her to shrink. We persuaded her to move to the edge of the water and have her hands and head wet. She complied. There was a united looking up to God that Satan might not prevail. Her head and hands were wet, and then she moved forward while the administrator several times repeated these words, “In the name of the Lord, move forward.” Calmly she went into the water and was buried in the likeness of Christ’s death. Calmly she came up out of the water, having followed the divine command, and we all felt rejoiced that we had not consented to let the child go. We had obtained a victory and thwarted the enemy. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 11

The next morning she came to the house of Brother Day, where we tarried. Her countenance was lighted up. She expressed her joy that we had not left her to her fears, but urged her forward. We rejoiced with her that she had obtained so precious a victory. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 12

Our meetings continued the next day, and as a result five young men bore their testimony and expressed their desire to be baptized; again we repaired to the water. It was an interesting sight to see these young men, all about the same age and size, as they stood side by side professing their faith in Christ, and taking the solemn vow upon them to leave sin and the world and from henceforth [to] tread the narrow path to heaven. Among those baptized was the son of Brother Harper, who so recently lost his mother. Both father and mother had felt the deepest interest for their children. They were very anxious that they might be converted and love the truth. We could unite heartily with the boy as he came out of the water. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 13

We rejoiced to see the son of Widow McClemen [McLellan] deeply affected and among the number professing his death to sin and the world, and being buried in the likeness of Christ’s death. It was a pleasing sight to see the children of our much esteemed Sister McClemen [McLellan] give their hearts to God. Those who are acquainted with this dear sister and her unwavering love for, and deep interest in, the truth, and who know her life of hardship and privation while bringing up a flock of fatherless children, and the deep anxiety she has felt and burdens she has borne for these children, will rejoice with her that she is witnessing the fruit of her labor and that God is making the widow’s heart to sing for joy. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 14

There was an appointment of a meeting in Allegan that evening. After the baptism we prepared to go five miles over a bad road. I rode in much fear, for it was very dark and we could not see how to shun the mudholes, and we came near being overturned. The meeting was profitable for the little church in Allegan. Confessions of wrong were made by some who had erred and Brother Dr. Lay was set apart by laying on of hands as their elder. The Lord seemed to set His seal in approbation on the work. The next morning we returned to Monterey, and the same day started on our journey for Wright. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 15

We traveled over rough and muddy roads, and while I chose to walk two or three miles over rough logways, I felt grateful to God for the health and strength He had given me since I had left my home. Our meetings in Wright were blessed of God. We labored especially for the young and were encouraged as we saw that our labor was not in vain. Nine Sabbathkeeping children manifested their desire for salvation and each had strength to take the cross. With broken hearts they bore their testimony. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 16

Among the number were two children of Widow Parmenter—the eldest, a young man aged seventeen years, and his sister, thirteen years of age. This was a season of deep feeling with the mother. In the midst of weeping she rejoiced as she saw her son take the cross and express his determination to be a Christian. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 17

Our meetings continued Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On the afternoon of Wednesday, eleven were baptized. Nine of them were the youth. We felt to rejoice in God for this good work. We hope the parents in Wright will continue to labor for their children and will have a care for the lambs of the flock, that with wisdom they may guide their young and inexperienced feet in the narrow way to life. We traveled Thursday afternoon over crossroads, mud, sloughs, and logways. Again I went on foot a portion of the way because the roads were so bad. We traveled all day Friday to get to Greenville. Arrived there before sundown. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 18

There was but little opportunity to labor for the youth in these meetings. The brethren were scattered and much was to be done for the church, to fully organize them. Yet the one meeting we had for the young was not in vain. They manifested deep feeling and signified their desire for salvation by rising upon their feet. We had freedom in praying for them. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 19

Tuesday we went to Greenville and my husband administered the ordinance of baptism to seven candidates. The blessing of the Lord rested upon us and upon those who were baptized. We had filled all the appointments out, yet we did not feel free to return home without laboring especially for the young. We decided to remain one week longer and labor in Orleans. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 20

We made our home at Brother King’s. Our hearts were drawn out for his children. A deep interest was awakened in our hearts for them. While in Orleans not quite a year before, we did not feel free to leave the place until we saw these children interested in their own salvation. A special burden rested upon me for the young. I longed to see them leave the vanity and folly of the world and choose Christ for their Saviour and portion forever. The invitation was given for those who wished to be Christians to come forward. A goodly number who had seemed deeply affected came forward. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 21

Our hearts were touched to see a young man come forward. He was a son of our esteemed Brother and Sister Howlett of Canada, that we met at a conference in Vermont about three years since, and with whom we formed a happy acquaintance. Sister Howlett arose in that meeting and gave a most stirring exhortation, and spoke of the heavy burdens she had felt for their children. She said her heart was drawn out after them that they might be converted to God and obey the truth. It was the first and last time I listened to her earnest testimony. Her voice is hushed in death. Her form is hidden in the grave. She sleeps in Jesus. I thought if the surviving parent could have been in that meeting and witnessed his son bearing the cross and taking the steps in the way to life, his heart would have swelled with gratitude to God and his lips would have spoken forth His praise. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 22

We were made glad to see Brother King’s three children take the cross and thereby express their determination to be Christians. We sent up our fervent prayers to God for those who were seeking Him and we expect He will answer them. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 23

Our meetings at Orleans were signally blessed of God. Evening after the Sabbath as we were about to retire to rest, Brother William Wilson’s wife was suddenly attacked with cramps in a most distressing manner, and before they could prepare any remedies her muscles were so contracted that no remedies could be applied. The husband entreated us to pray for her. We united together in prayer and in the name of the Lord rebuked the power of Satan and raised her up and stood her upon her feet. The cramp left her and she walked the room praising God for His mercy and blessing so richly bestowed upon her. She attended meeting with us the next day. Sunday our meetings were especially blessed of God. A deep interest seemed awakened in many minds. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 24

Monday we journeyed to Ionia and on to Orange (?) about twenty miles to Brother Howe’s. We suffered much from weariness. The roads were extremely bad. I attended meeting that evening, two miles distant. Brother Hull spoke to the people and I bore my testimony with some freedom. Tuesday the Sabbathkeepers in the vicinity assembled at Brother Howe’s. We dreaded the meeting. Brother Hull was weary, and my husband and myself were sick. We felt unable to engage in labor, and regretted that we had appointed the meeting. Yet in our weariness we tried to do what we could. As we saw how anxious the few who had borne the burden were for help, we entered into labor and forgot our weariness. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 25

We felt deep interest for the children who were present. This was the best meeting of all we had attended on the journey. Souls were benefited. As Brother Howe saw his children arising and going free, his cup of blessing was full. Brother King seemed to gain new strength and courage as his daughter, who was present, expressed her desire to be a Christian. We breathed in a heavenly atmosphere, and we could speak understandingly and say that the blessing of God has a soothing influence upon the nerves and a healing influence upon the body as well as the mind. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 26

Early next morning we parted with our dear friends and journeyed homeward. The Lord brought us and our children to our own home in safety after two days’ travel. We look back upon our journey with pleasure. We shall never forget the many blessed seasons we enjoyed. 1LtMs, Ms 9, 1862, par. 27