Lt 34, 1897

Lt 34, 1897

Collins, Gilbert

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

June 8, 1897

Previously unpublished.

Dear Brother Gilbert Collins:

I have heard that you suffer, especially in the cold winter weather, with long difficulty. I would be pleased could I visit you in Dartmouth. I remember when I used to come to your home when your father and mother were living, and Deborah and yourself, their children, composed the family circle. Do you remember when your life was in peril, when apparently there was no possibility of your recovery, how we presented your case to the Lord in prayer? My husband took you up, a frail youth, hardly anything more than skin and bones, and walked the room with you, praying that the Great Physician, the Mighty Healer, would undertake your case. Your coughing fits were so severe that it seemed as if you could not breathe, and your father took you out of doors in his arms twice that you might recover your breath. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 1

Well, we continued to wrestle in prayer with God, and we realized that in the room there was One who could stay the hand of the destroyer. Heaven seemed very near that night. My husband and I never forgot that occasion. With our spiritual eyesight we could discern the Great Physician who had taken you in the arms of His mercy. His presence was in that room, and His power was sensibly felt. Our faith did not fail, neither were we discouraged, when we had the evidence before us that Satan was the destroyer. Christ the Lifegiver, the Restorer, rebuked his power, and victory came. By faith we rejoiced, and by faith we left you in the hands of God, the greatest Physician the world has ever known. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 2

The next day we went on our way in answer to an appeal from Brother Nichols to come to Boston. Sister Temple needed help from the Lord. She was afflicted with cancer of the arm. She had tried physicians, but had received no help, and the disease had now reached the lungs. Unless the Lord should hear prayer in her behalf, she would soon go into the grave. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 3

We had also received another letter from Brother Hastings, urging us to come at once and visit them. Their family was in a most distressed condition. His wife had a baby about six weeks old, which almost unceasingly was crying at the top of his voice. The mother was sick, and it seemed that she could not recover. The children were all afflicted with erysipelas and their home was a place of great suffering. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 4

We immediately responded to the calls, and went to our old home at Father Nichols’. He took us in his carriage to Boston, and we entered the hired rooms occupied by Sister Temple. There were present Brother Nichols and wife, my husband and myself, and one other person. When Sister Temple greeted us, she could scarcely speak a sentence without coughing most severely. She was seated in a chair, and her arm was examined. The arm—a little space from the wrist to the shoulder—had a most terribly sore appearance like a rose cancer. It was a most distressing sight. We could not touch it; but laying a cloth beneath the arm, we anointed it with olive oil. All were bowed in prayer while the anointing was taking place. This was our part, according to the direction of God through His servant James. We followed the Word of God as directed, and this is all the service we could perform. Then we presented the case to the Great Physician, and we believed He would hear our prayers. The Lord came very near. We knew that He was in that humble room, and praised the Lord for it. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 5

Before we rose from our knees, Sister Temple was working that arm backwards and forwards, and praising the Lord, saying, “It is healed; it is healed. There is a little soreness as I use it; but the Lord has heard prayer. My lungs are relieved; the pressure is removed; and my heart is filled with gratitude and thankfulness to God.” We were indeed greatly blessed of God, and felt His sacred, solemn presence. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 6

This sister’s husband was a confirmed drunkard. In form he was a noble specimen of man; but his whole system had become permeated with liquor; his will power had become dead. This sister was very poor; she was suffering, without a real home, and without sympathy except from her two young children. We felt that if we could only bring some power to take hold of the father, so that he should by his labor support his wife and children, what a happy family this might be. But we knew the force of habit to be so strong that unless the power of a new life could enter into him, and vitalize his whole nature, there was no hope. He was doomed to go into a drunkard’s grave. In order for a drunkard to change his course, he must lay hold of a power out of and above himself. We knew that the only hope for this man was for him to become a Christian. We knew that no human power could be brought to bear upon that slave of sin, in whom years of indulgence had created and strengthened the appetite for spirituous liquors, and deadened all sense of moral obligation to God and to his helpless family. If he could only be brought in touch with God, in touch with the power that worketh righteousness, there was hope. But an awakening could not take place while he kept his system under the influence of liquor, for the whole man was transformed; he possessed the attributes of Satan. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 7

Leaving the family under the influence of the Spirit of God, we went on [to] the Hastings’. Here we found a distressed family indeed. A girl who had visited them had come from a house afflicted with erysipelas. She had used the comb from the comb case, and the members of this family, using this comb, had contracted the disease. Their faces were swollen; their hearing affected; and they were a pitiful looking set of children. The mother was very sick. We prayed for the entire family, and we knew that the Lord Jesus was in our midst, and that our prayers would bring the returns. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 8

We were very weary, and retired to rest. But I could not sleep for the wails of the infant, the smallest speck of humanity I had ever looked upon, but perfect in form and feature. I could not feel that our work was done. I must not stop now. My husband and I dressed, and after seeking the Lord in prayer, went into the room. The mother was in a great worry over the continual crying of her little one. My husband said, “Let us pray.” 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 9

The father and mother, with her babe in her arms, kneeling upon the floor, we united in prayer. I took the little one in my arms, and presented it before the Lord. We all felt His presence in that room. Then I presented the case of the mother, worn out for want of sleep, and her bodily affliction. “O, for the Healing Touch upon the infant. Let its crying cease. Let peace and the rest of Christ come to that afflicted home,” was our prayer. “Take the little one in thine own dear arms and give it peace and quiet.” Our prayers were heard. The “Peace, be still,” was spoken. [Mark 4:39.] The disturbance was at an end. Comfort and peace came to the home, and then the crying babe was healed. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 10

We remained here eight days, seeking to help not only this family, but the church. And the Lord’s blessing attended our efforts. We then returned to Boston, and to visit Sister Temple. We found her washing, to earn means to sustain her family. For many months she had been an invalid; but now the first words from her lips were, “Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me bless his holy name.” [Psalm 103:1.] The Lord is good. He whom the Lord blesses in answer to prayer is blessed indeed. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 11

I asked in regard to her arm. Said she, “It was healed in answer to prayer.” A new tender skin had formed over the rough surface. Her husband had come in drunken, and not knowing what he was doing, had laid hold of her arm with a firm, cruel grip, and there were the prints of his fingers, marring the tender skin. “There,” said she, “is that arm that has been helpless and hopeless as far as human remedies are concerned. I shall never distrust the Lord. I have a deeper knowledge of His mercy and His loving kindness. He has performed a miracle upon me, and I am a wonder to my neighbors. O, if my husband would only treat his family as he should. He is kind; but when he is full of liquor, he is dead to all affection. Reason is gone, and he does not know what he is doing.” We had a season of prayer with her, offering up to our heavenly Father our grateful thanks for His wonderful mercy and love for all those who seek Him with the whole heart. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 12

We returned to New Bedford—I think it was about four weeks from the time we left. As we approached the house of Dartmouth, we saw Gilbert Collins at the door, splitting wood. We were greeted heartily by the family, and as we bowed together before God, our hearts were melted into tenderness and love for our Saviour for His goodness, His mercy, and His loving kindness to all those who seek and serve Him with the whole heart. Gilbert began to amend from that night and had no relapse. 12LtMs, Lt 34, 1897, par. 13