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Ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost
is come upon you, and ye shall be my witness ACTS I:8
Because of the comfort and help it has given to the neglected little ones of earth. I have never been a wife or mother. Now no true woman can say this without an undertone of regret, and yet, ever since the time I rocked the cradle for my little brothers and sisters, until to-day, the sunny face of childhood and the loving touch of little fingers, be they dark or fair, have kept the mother-love alive in my heart. But the children I saw were too many to be gathered into one mother-heart, therefore God gave help through this blessed Society, which, during its twenty-five years has sent forth a thousand women with the love and patience of true motherhood, and these have saved a multitude of children of all races, from a life of sin and for a life of usefulness on earth and a home in heaven.
This service, alone, secures for the Society the gratitude of the whole nation, and with the nation I lay down my little tribute of love. The help given to the children comforts me most, but it is only one of the many streams of blessings that the Society has sent flowing through barren lands in the United States, Cuba, Porto Rico and Mexico, causing them to blossom as the rose.
We do not forget that God is the real source of all supplies, but He has used the prayers and careful gleanings of our Baptist motherhood and their children to accomplish this great work, during the last twenty-five years, and that He may grant them still greater zeal, faith and love for the service of the next twenty-five years, or until Jesus comes, is the prayer of
During the last fourteen years I have been asked to write the story of my life, but I have said;" No, no, I am too busy living my life to stop to write it. If lives are ever written on earth it should be when that life has begun in eternity"; or I said," There are too many books now, if read there will be no time left to read God's blessed book, the Bible, and why write a book that no one has time to read."
Besides, my life is such a common, every-day affair, who would care to read it? Lately friends have said that much in my life would help the dear colored people of the United States. Now whatever will help them I stand ready to do, if first of all, it will glorify God, and, surely, what really helps any of God's family does glorify Him; therefore, praying that the Holy Spirit may bring to my remembrance the part of my life that will help save souls for whom Jesus laid down His life, I begin my task.
If my readers expect me to entertain them with the amusing, queer, ignorant expressions the colored people have spoken in my hearing, they will be disappointed. The black man has been held up to ridicule too long; even the pictures of him usually seen in papers are only caricatures. It is true that, lately, we do see a few representative colored faces in print. As to their peculiar dialect, the ignorant white people of the South use about the same. I would not dare hold up to ridicule either class, any more than I would make fun of the ignorance of my dear grandmother who had but little chance for an education.
On September 26, 1832, a baby girl opened her blue eyes for the first time. It was in a farm-house in Clarion County, Pa. Mother said," She looks like her father." Father said, "I will name her Joanna Patterson, for my dearest and best aunt.["] A sweet little sister about four years old wanted to see the baby, but she could only see with her hands, for her eyes had been totally blind for more than a year. A brother about seven years old, also gladly welcomed this little baby. Two of her sisters and one brother had moved to heaven before she came.
The first work that I remember doing was" taking care of baby." Before I was fourteen years old five brothers and two sisters had been added to our family. Two of these died when quite young, a brother before I can remember, and a sister when I was seven years old, left us for a home in heaven. Rebecca, my blind sister, was a great help in taking care of the children. She dearly loved them. Mother was so sorry for sister's blindness that she seldom gave her any work to do, but when I was old enough she gave me a great plenty to do. I wanted help and soon found that Rebecca had wonderful power to see with her hands. She could shell the peas, grind the coffee, gather currants when I took her to the bushes, she could wash dishes and clothes, and oh, so many things. At first mother objected to my having her work, but when she saw it made sister happy to help me, she let me have my way. I taught her how to knit, and for many years she knit all the stockings for the family, and also learned how to knit beautiful
lace. She could even tell the color of flowers by the sense of touch. She loved me dearly and would do anything to please me. I was in a fair way to become selfish, only that my brothers demanded their rights, and sometimes I thought a little more; yet they were as good as brothers generally are. It was well for me that I was taught to give up sometimes. As I look back over my childhood life, there is nothing I am more thankful for than being one of a large family. Where there are so many to clothe and feed, we must think of others and learn to give brother a piece of our apple. I am very thankful also for my blind sister. She was a great blessing to the whole household. If the boys were sometimes rude to me, they never dared to speak a cross word to Rebecca. She was the sweet, gentle angel that often settled our childish quarrels. Another cause of thanksgiving is being a country girl. God's plan for his children is the country, the city is one of the many inventions man sought out. You see more of God's handiwork in the country ; the trees, the flowers, the birds, the animals. All these were a constant delight to me and are till to-day. The country cannot fail to please and comfort any who will simply open their eyes and look. I did not attend school regularly. It was only open two or three months in the year, and that in the winter time, but somehow I learned to read before I was eight years old. My oldest brother Richard taught me some lessons. We used to study together in a book called "Introduction to the English Reader," and committed some verses to memory. We had but few books and papers in those days, but we had the Bible and the Episcopal Hymn and Prayer book. These especially interested my sister. To her I owe much of whatever love I have for books. She would say, "Joanna, read to me, and I will wash the dishes, sweep the floor, take care of the baby, if I must carry him round to keep him quiet. I will do anything if you will only read." I was the one who always led her out to the barn, into
the garden, into the fields, and to a neighbor's house, or wherever she wanted to go. Usually I enjoyed it, because I loved her and she loved me, and we both loved the dear little children, and yet I remember I sometimes tired of waiting on her. I wanted to go out in the fields and play. I am sure I was always selfish, and yet I know my name was called very often to serve in many ways nearly every member of the family. I am very thankful to-day that there has always been some one weaker than myself along some line, one that I could really help and comfort. Oh, if I had always done it gladly and cheerfully, what a happy little girl and big girl I would have been. But I did not know it was more blessed to give than to receive; therefore by my impatience and selfishness I lost many blessings. Some one may read this who says, "My life is all service, every one of the family calls on me to give and to help. They think I never get tired. I cook, I wash, and I mend. Strange, no one tries to help me." Oh, how many times I have heard such pitiful complaints from persons like myself, who were only doing their duty, but who spoiled the good they did by complaining. Did you ever read Luke 6:38? The pay for real service is given into the heart, but it can't get there until love opens the door, then our joy is complete.
Like many children I was careless. I did not know that forgetting a duty was a real sin, but one day I saw the sad results of my negligence. Mother had a nice garden of vegetables and of flowers. I helped her take care of them. I think I was about nine years old. Mother often said, "Be sure to shut and fasten that garden gate." Yet, I left it open one night, the hogs got in and destroyed the garden. I never can forget it. I was scolded but not whipped. I never was whipped in my life, but this time I suffered more than any one else, cried all day, and said to myself, "Just to think! everything is lost, because I forgot to close that gate. I will never forget again," but many times since "my forget" has caused great
losses and made me lose many opportunities of doing good. I remember another "I forgot." About a year later I was washing the dishes on the table that had a leaf that could be let down or lifted by means of a slide. Mother often said, "Do not put the dishes on the leaf, for the table may upset." I forgot, and the table did upset and there lay the broken dishes. Mother was in the next room, heard the racket, and came and looked on in dismay. Some choice things were broken. Mother was angry, and I suppose I might have been severely punished, only father happened to come in just at that time and quietly took mother into the next room. I heard him say, "Mother, don't whip her." She didn't want to follow this advice. "You are spoiling that girl; she deserves to be whipped," was mother's angry reply. I heard no more, for I left the room, saying to myself, "I have the best father in all the world. I am going to try hard to be good, and let mother see I am not spoiled, because she does not whip me." Perhaps a whipping would have done me good, but I think not. It might have helped some children, but surely I suffered enough that day and for many days. Rebecca was so glad I wasn't punished. She heard what father said. It's a long time since I was a little girl and I have forgotten much of what did happen. It was a very commonplace life that I lived. Nothing remarkable. I liked to work in the garden, rake hay with my brothers, gather the sheaves of wheat into piles of thirteen; the men set twelve of them on end and put one on the top for a roof. We called that a shock of grain, which was thus protected until ready to be taken into the barn. I could harness a horse, and ride on horseback without a saddle. I used to carry water for the men in the harvest field. Had it not been for Rebecca I fear I would not have taken much time for reading, because when not at work I would have been playing in the meadows with the calves and the lambs.
Father often told me that I must have a good education,
and then he would take me to the north of Ireland, his native home. He often would describe the country to me. Father was fond of poetry, and used to recite some of Burns' poems. I remember three: "A Man's a Man for a' That," "Highland Mary," "The Louse on Misses Bonnet." He was also fond of history and yet he never bought his children books. I know they were hard to obtain in those days. I often think to-day what a blessing appropriate books would have been to me and my brothers. For this and many other reasons I am now asking God to send me $1,000,000 so that I can supply the homes of our dear colored people with books to read. Many of them do not know the value of such an addition to their fireside. I would also need to have some one to go into their homes and show them how to read these books to their children. I would not put one cent of this money into a public library, but would supply the individual homes and thus win the children to love home. Perhaps we would form select reading clubs that could meet in different homes, and so use the social element to secure the reading of good books. All reading the same book at the same time has been the great inspiration of our Fireside School plan. One million dollars is a large sum of money for which to ask. But "I am coming to a King, I may large petitions bring." I believe this prayer will be answered, because it is a very great need. Bad books are scattered broadcast. "If good we plant not, vice will fill the place. And rankest weeds the richest soil deface."
When I was nearly fourteen years old, an Episcopal minister, who was at the head of a ladies' seminary, about fifty miles from my home, made us a visit. Father was a member of that church. I recited the catechism and some hymns to this preacher, and he urged father to send me to his school. Money was very scare, but he would give me the privilege of working for part of my board. This was good news for me. Mother arranged my wardrobe as best she could and soon I was seated in Mr. Killikelley's school, amid a class of fashionably dressed young ladies. From their looks I thought my coming was an intrusion. Some of these girls knew how to sneer very slyly at the awkward dress and manners of a country girl. Perhaps I was over-sensitive, but I know it was not all in my imagination. The teachers did not allow it and in the general lectures such rudeness was severely rebuked. I said it was a fashionable school. There were only a few girls there, if any, who were doing work which might be called drudgery except myself. My dress was neat and comfortable, but not in style. I did not ever wear a corset. I am ashamed to think now that I cared so much for the criticism of those thoughtless girls, but I must tell it, if only to let the reader know I have great sympathy for country girls who haven't learned all the foolish fancies of the city. It seemed to me that this trouble would kill me. I was too timid to tell the teacher and too anxious to get an education to write home. But God, who has always cared for me so tenderly, raised me up a friend. After I had been there about two weeks, some one
knocked at the door of my little room. I was in tears, but I dried them as best I could, and opened the door. It was the teacher that heard most my classes. I was trying hard to keep back my tears. The teacher drew a chair beside me and put her arms around me, saying, very kindly, "I know the cause of these tears; you have been a brave little girl and I love you." Then I cried harder than ever. She held me close to her heart as tenderly as any mother could have done, and kissed my wet cheeks whispering, "Do not feel ashamed of these tears; they are not wrong. The girls that tease you do not understand you. Some day you will have a better education than they have. God has given you a beautiful form and a sound mind. Be strong and make use of what God has given you." These are a few of the words by which she comforted me. I do not think I said anything in reply, but my hungry heart fed upon her love and caresses, as a child does on its mother's milk. Dear, blessed teacher. She never could know how much comfort and help she was to that sensitive child, and yet I was not as happy as I should have been. I often said, "I wish I knew as much as these other girls and could dress as well as they do," and a great many other foolish wishes. And yet I went on with my studies. The teachers were kind. I am glad I had this experience, because it taught me the teacher's power to help and it gave me sympathy ever since for poor, awkward, ignorant country boys and girls and for city children who have never had a chance.
The spring before I was fifteen years of age Mr. Rockey, one of our neighbors, who had a large family of children, called at our home. Mother and I were busy ironing in the next room. When I heard him say, "I want Joanna to teach our school this summer," father said, "She has not sufficient education, nor would she be able to control the school." Our neighbor replied, "She can teach all that can
come in the summer and we will see that our children obey. I've been around among the neighbors and they were all agreed." This was to be a private school so I did not need to be examined. Mr. Rockey came in to tell mother and me of his plans and have me write my name, to show how well I could write. "Do you really think, Mr. Rockey, that I can teach school?" I asked with great earnestness. "Oh, yes," he said, "the children are all delighted, and you must be ready to begin school on Monday." When he was gone I danced for joy, saying, "I'm a teacher, I'm a teacher, I'm a school ma'rm." I was fairly wild with delight. I did not know then the great responsibility connected with being a teacher, nor the sad effects of poor teaching, or I would not have been so eager to begin, poorly fitted as I was for my task. During my experience as a teacher, I often remembered the good teacher that comforted me, and I longed to know how to study my pupils, so that I could see what they needed without being told; know where to wisely encourage and just as wisely rebuke, at the right time; know as that teacher did. Oh, how far reaching has been her influence. I was very proud of that first school. I seemed to walk on air, my feet scarcely touched the ground. The school was considered a success. I taught again the next summer, but it was only because my patrons did not know what it took to make a good teacher.
I remember with delight the first school I taught in the winter. Friends were unwilling to have me try it. They said I could not wade through the snow drifts and the large boys would not obey a child like me, but I got a pair of boots such as the men wore, pinned up my dress and started early, for the snow was deep. I succeeded and always after liked the winter schools the best. I early made it a matter of conscience never to be late to any engagement. Teacher, it will save you much trouble if you will be first at your school. Even though the door be locked until you come. I either made my own fires or was there to help make them. There were no janitors for our schools. I usually got the most troublesome boys to come and help arrange the school room. It did them good.
It was as a teacher that I had my first experience in leading a soul to Christ; the school was in winter time in Redbank Township, a German settlement. They had never had a Sabbath school there, but I succeeded in organizing and conducting one that was greatly blessed. One of my pupils who was about eleven years old had a drunken father. The dear little fellow used to come early to school so that he could help the teacher and have a quiet talk and sometimes a prayer. During the holidays I went to Clarion town to attend a teachers' Institute. While there my dear boy Willie was taken sick. They sent for me to my home which was
four miles distant, but Clarion was twelve miles farther away and the snow was very deep. Therefore they did not send to that place for me. There were no railroads. The dear boy called for me until the very last day, then he said, "Tell my teacher that she will find me when she comes to heaven," and with that sweet message he said good-bye to the sickness and sorrow of earth, and entered the joy of heaven. Oh, how long he has been there waiting for his teacher to come. I was greatly grieved because I was not sent for.
Teaching school was always a delight, and yet, I had many trying times. I never could leave all the cares of the school room behind when I started for home. No, indeed, I carried them to my bedroom and often lay awake half the night studying what to do with bad boys or girls, or how to make a hard lesson plain. To-day I thoroughly believe that the way to succeed with any vocation is to make it a part of your very self and weave it into your every thought and prayer. I have no sympathy with those who take hold of any kind of work with the tips of their fingers. No, no! Grab hold of it with both hands and hold on as if your very life depended upon its success, for it does.
In those days the rod was freely used in the schools, the teacher marched around with one in his hand, all day, often slashing it upon the seat to frighten the pupils. Against this I protested with all my might in our teachers' meetings and elsewhere. I only used the rod three times that I can remember in all my fifteen years of teaching, and then it did no good. They said I did not know how to administer such punishment, and perhaps they were right. My schools were never very quiet; there was freedom, but not real disorder. As a general thing I loved my pupils and they loved me and we did not try to worry each other. I know I made mistakes for which I shed many tears.
Shortly after I united with the church I felt
it my duty to read the Bible and pray with my pupils. In Pennsylvania public schools this was not forbidden, but I had never prayed in public and feared I could not. One morning I said, "Children we can't be good to-day unless God helps us. Let us kneel and pray." All got on their knees and I said, "Our Father which art in heaven," and there I stopped. I could not repeat another word, not even the prayer I had said every day from a child. After a time of quiet we arose from our knees. The children were much impressed. I thought they would smile at my failure; but no, it had a good effect and perhaps was the best prayer I ever made, for I was so very much in earnest. I think the children thought my short prayer was what I wanted. I have always taught the Bible as well as prayed in my school; yes, taught it, not simply read it. Once in Illinois the directors said, "We do not allow the Bible taught in our schools"; then I said, "I will leave"; but they replied, "Oh, no, don't leave." So I had my way. To God be all the glory.
It is very encouraging to remember how God has always helped me. Just here let me tell you another experience that may perhaps help some fainthearted teacher. There was a large troublesome school near Clarion town. The winter of which I speak the teacher left after teaching one month--rather the scholars drove him out. They came for me to take the school. I said, "Yes, if you will wait until I finish this school I'm teaching." They waited and I went. The school numbered about sixty. The house was crowded. We had no graded schools in the country. Many of the pupils were between the ages of 16 and 20. Some were very unruly. I began with my Bible lessons and prayer. The order was not the best. I kept some after school, wrote little letters to others, praised those that were good and tried to be patient. I had several talks with about six of the large girls. They were not all good, but I thought I would tell them
how they could help me; perhaps that would make them more careful. Dear reader, I want you to know that there are a great many people in this world bad because no one believes in them. But notwithstanding all my plans, the school was far from what it ought to be. When I had taught about two weeks several of the large boys came to the door while I was praying. The door was shut as it always was during devotions. They began to mock my prayer, repeating part of it and saying "Amen." The prayer ended, the door opened and in walked my bad boys. I said nothing, but called a class to recite. I had been trying hard to keep the tears back and could bear it no longer, sank on a seat and cried like a child. Mary Wilson, one of the large girls came up and took the book and heard the class recite. I tried a half-dozen times to dry my tears that forenoon and failed each time. Now this was an entirely new experience for me. I never had done so before nor have I since. It was not a bit like me. I had not planned it. If I had it would have lost its effect. The girls heard the classes and managed the recess and I sat there and cried. The pupils knew I was making a great effort to be calm. Every one was very quiet and orderly. The girls told me that the bad boys never once looked up. At noon we went to a little stream of water in the woods. The girls bathed my face, combed my hair and comforted me. They said half the school had been in tears in the morning. Well, I taught that afternoon, never referred to the morning, nor did I at any time afterwards--buried it all--never by word or look reproved the bad boys, nor did they make any apology; but they came to school and behaved themselves most of the time. The battle was fought and won, and I had nothing to do but trust and pray. I finished that school and taught the next winter. We had a reading circle, that met some evenings in the week and a great exhibition at the close of the school. It was one of
my best schools; there were many intelligent pupils. Surely God can use the weak things of this world. The last school I taught in Pennsylvania was a select one. It was really the first session of what is now called the Reeds Institute, Reeedsville, Pa. The day after the closing exhibition we met in the church to say good-bye, not to meet again, as I was going west. Rev. Benjamin H. Thomas, the pastor of the church, said he called, opened the door saw us all on our knees, most of us in tears; he felt it was too sacred a place to intrude, so left. Those were certainly the most devoted pupils I ever had, intelligent and faithful.
My religious life dates back to early childhood, as I suppose it does with most persons. I do not know who taught me my first prayer, only as long ago as I remember, I repeated the Lord's Prayer with sister Rebecca before retiring, but I did not often pray in the morning. I was not taught to. Strange that so few parents or even Christians pray in the morning, because the day time is when we are more sorely tempted, when battles are fought and lost, because we did not give ourselves and all we are to God in the morning. Till I was about twelve years old my father usually had family prayers and read the Bible, but the lesson was not explained to us children, and I had but a dim idea of what prayer and the Bible meant. During this time an Episcopal minister boarded in our house part of the time, but he did not talk to me personally about my soul, but when he left, he gave me a little book of sermons for children; each sermon had a prayer following, which the author said must be read in a closet. I did not know what that meant, but in our house was a closet without a window where old things were stored away. Into that I took my little book, leaving the door a little open, so that a few rays of light might fall on the book. I knelt and read the prayer after each sermon, just as the writer told me to do. I cannot repeat one word of the book, only the title, "Come, ye children, hearken unto me and I will teach you the fear of the Lord." I know this book gave me a correct idea of sin and brought conviction to my heart. I saw how I had disobeyed my parents and been often
selfish and angry with my brothers. I learned also that God loved me, a little child, and I wanted to love Him. I really believe I gave my heart to the Lord in that dark closet, when I was about nine years old, but I never told any one, not even my sister, but I read her the book. I was a timid child and no one asked me questions on those subjects. Brother Richard has told me since he has grown that when about ten years old he used to shed tears because of his sins and try to pray, but no one helped him. That was the golden opportunity to lead him into a fuller knowledge of God, but it was lost and he did not become a Christian until forty years of age. I myself became very thoughtless, did not confess Christ until about twenty-one. You see how much was lost, because my early faith was not nursed with careful lessons from God's word, and yet my parents were Christians and ministers often visited my home. But they did not think that a little girl's heart could be hungry for God, or else they did not know how to tell the sweet story of Jesus' love to little children.
Do you wonder that I am so very anxious to give every little child a good book, telling them about Jesus and His love, and also do I long to show parents how to feed the souls of their children. These and similar thoughts are the steps that led up to our Fireside School.
My mother was a Presbyterian, therefore I committed their catechism as well as the Episcopal. I did not understand much of it, but I am glad that I learned both. They do teach the great fundamental truths of our religion. I have noticed that all our evangelical churches agree on all but a very few subjects and these few have been so largely discussed that they have grown to be mountains and separated God's children, and made them forget the ten thousand subjects upon which they agree. It is the devil's plan to scatter God's people. God's plans make us all one in Christ. Rebecca and I
took great delight in learning by heart the hymns in the prayer book. At one time we could recite fifty. Sister, by simply listening, learned things quicker than I could and remembered better. She could not only see with her hands, but her ears were almost as useful as my ears and eyes together. She knew each one of the family and the neighbors also by both their step and their voice.
My mother was a very industrious woman and took but little time for reading. Farmers' wives in Pennsylvania, and perhaps everywhere, had, I fear, more than their share of work to do. They milked and fed the cows and other animals, and cultivated the vegetable gardens, etc. We seldom had a servant to help with the work, except when mother was sick. The men who helped with the farm work did not do the chores around the house, as they do in the west. Father and my brothers were, also, busy till late in the evening. Father was very generous and would really lend to the neighbors what he needed that very day himself. He surely "gave to him that asked." This often brought great inconvenience to the work at home. He also had a way of asking every neighbor that called to stay for dinner, or if he were a stranger to spend the night and many nights. Yes, every one received a warm welcome at our home, but father did not always think how much extra care his hospitality brought to his wife. I have noticed that many husbands are just as thoughtless as dear father. There is such a thing as being unwisely kind. Father was very willing to go security for all that needed such help, and in this way lost much of his property, which dear mother had fully done her share in earning. Father was a kind of a doctor, extracted teeth and gave medicine. Mother was very kind to the sick and poor and knew how to nurse and take care of them. My oldest brother taught school in the winter and worked on the farm in the summer. He was very kind to his parents and to all of us. When
about twenty-seven he left home for Illinois, which was then the "far west." Brother Alexander followed shortly, also Adderly. This left me alone with my parents. They moved west in 1858 and I taught school there that year and returned to Pennsylvania to settle up a business and meanwhile taught school. Dear father left us for heaven the spring of 1860.
But I must return and tell you more about my girlhood life. When I was about fifteen years old our family had the whooping cough. The three youngest also at the same time took the measles. The older ones had passed through that disease. These two diseases together were very hard to manage. Alas, alas, the angel of death came to our dear home and within about one month's time carried away the pet of the household, our three-year-old sister, and our two dearly beloved brothers, Willie, aged five, and Wilson, eight years. Oh, how dark and sad and still was every room in our once happy home. Mother gathered together all their clothes and playthings into a room and there she would shut herself in for hours and weep and talk to the children as if they were present, calling them by name in the most pitiful way. We could not induce her to come out until she had thus unburdened her breaking heart. Sister's grief was more quiet, but it seemed to me it was deeper. I was more troubled for mother and sister, because I thought they, too, would die and leave me all alone.
About two years after the death of the children our beautiful home was burned to ashes, also my books and other treasures that I prized highly; about six months after, my darling sister moved to the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Dear sister had never recovered from the death of the children. She talked much about them when she was sick and the joy of seeing them. "No one is blind up there, no one is sorrowful, death cannot enter there, and Joanna, you will come soon, and we will all be together, and we'll see Jesus, and oh, how
happy we will be." This was the way she used to comfort me, because other sorrows besides death had come to our home. I never can tell you how much I missed sister Rebecca and I miss her to-day. Her pure, unselfish love for me was great, and my heart needed just such devotion. Then she had been my special care from a child. Mother missed her even more than she did the little children, because during the last years I had been away from home teaching much of the time. Sister was very fond of singing and the night before she died an angel sang for her our favorite hymn, "Awake my soul, in joyful lays." I was with her when she said with great delight, "Joanna, some one is singing our hymn," then she repeated it in part while she listened in a rapture of joy. But that music was only meant for sister's ears. I could not hear it. Whatever it was, God sent it to prepare my poor sick, tired sister for her dying hour. You may call it imagination, but it was as real to her as the vision of heaven was to the dying Stephen, Acts 7: 55-56.
JOANNA P. MOORE IN 1867
I taught school the winter of 1852 near Reedsburg, boarded with John Corbett's family. At night they took me with them to a revival meeting at Greenville. Here I was convicted of sin and led to see Jesus as my Saviour, yet at the same time I remembered my childhood faith and it seemed as if I was a reclaimed backslider. No one asked me to unite with the Baptist church, but I saw the converts
baptized and asked, Can this be the Bible way? After much study of the Bible, I told my parents that I wanted to be baptized. They objected, especially my father. I waited one year for their consent. As it was not given I obeyed what I thought was God's command, joined the Baptist church and it is the only church to which I have ever belonged. Father was greatly displeased, and said that I should never come home, but his love for me overcame his opposition and he sent for Joanna to come home.
About a year or two after my baptism I heard Rev. Sewell Osgood, a returned missionary, preach a sermon on "Foreign Missions," which brought almost as great conviction of sin to my soul as the meeting in which I was converted. I wept like a child. My soul burned with indignation toward all Christians. How could they neglect this last great command of our Lord and Saviour, and yet say they loved Him. How did there come to be so many heathen that had never heard the name of Jesus. It was all new to me. If I ever heard it before my ears must have been like those described in Acts 28:27. I had a talk with Brother Osgood and said I felt that I must go and tell the good news. He said that I needed preparation; that those heathen people would ask me many questions that I could not answer. For example, "You say, God is good. If so why does He let our poor people starve? Why let the crops fail, why do those who love Him, suffer?" I remember this distinctly and could give no answer. But it did not discourage me. When I talked it over with the Lord and myself I found that very often persons in this country asked the very same questions, which no one here could answer. No matter, I said, I can tell them about Jesus and how He loves and comforts me. I will tell them how He died to save all mankind. They don't know that and I do. I cannot settle all these other questions, but I can carry the message that Jesus gave His disciples. After these meditations partly with myself
This diagram was first issued by "The Church Missionary Society" of London.
The two white squares in the black indicate converts from heathenism.
and partly with the Lord I would jump to my feet and say, "I will go, I'll just start and walk and somehow I'll get there. I do not find in my Bible that Paul waited for an education, or outfit, or salary. God has 'all power,' that is what He told His disciples and He also said He would go with them as they carried the message." It seemed that the first thing for me to do was to start and God would see that I got there. And I suppose I really would have started, trusting the Lord, had it not been that there was trouble in my home that needed my care. But it gave me a new incentive to strive for education. I had been teaching both summer and winter; many a time when my school closed, I said "I'll go to school next term." But the money I earned was needed for other things, and so it seemed as if my school days had ended. However, in 1856, I did attend a school at New Bethlehem, Pa., for six months. Most teachers in those days only needed to know the three Rs, "Reading, Riting and Rithmetic." There was a little geography and history taught sometimes. I studied these at home, also algebra.
I went west again in 1861 and taught in the summer. I had earned many dollars teaching school, but it was all gone. However this winter I decided to attend school in Belvidere, Ill. My brothers lived on farms, one six, the other ten miles from town. I was a stranger and had no money to pay my board, but I said, "I surely can find a home where I can work for my board." For two days I walked the streets of Belvidere, but no one needed a girl to work for her board. This was a new and trying experience for me. It hurt my pride as well as nearly discouraged me. It was about dark the second day, when I timidly knocked at the door of a farm-house in the suburbs of the town. The mother met me and said, "No, we do not need any one; but", said she, "wait until I see my husband"; and this is what she said to him: "There is a
girl at the door that wants to work for her board and go to school this winter. It's very strange, but last night I saw this very girl in a dream. Now I wish you would keep her to-night. She looks tired and I believe God wants us to do something for her." At first he was unwilling, but finally concluded to let me stay all night. The family consisted of three children, two boys and a girl, Fanny, George and Charles. The father's name was Andrew Moss. The Lord gave me favor in their sight. I was told to come the next Monday and start for school. At first the position was a very trying one, but dear Fanny took me into her heart and ever after treated me as a sister beloved. In fact the whole family soon adopted me and have ever since been my best friends. It is true I was required to do hard work, but I knew how to work. Fanny was a better scholar than I and helped me with my studies. She delighted to have the care of some one and I needed such a friend, as everything was new to me. That was a very successful winter. The next summer I taught and in the fall entered Rockford Seminary. There I worked for part of my board. My clothes were not in style, but I had learned not to care much for such things. If ever any poor girl had a hard time getting an education, it was Joanna Moore; but I loved to teach school and I wanted to be a first-class teacher. I had lost some of my enthusiasm for foreign missions, because I seldom heard it mentioned. No one had encouraged me. The fact is, the churches were asleep on this great subject. The war that began in 1861 was then raging. Many of the girls in the seminary had laid aside their embroidery and were knitting socks and preparing bandages for the soldiers. I took no part in that. My spare moments were given to study or work. On New Year's of 1863 I attended what they called a jubilee meeting. They said the black man was free and some shouted for joy. But to my ears there came with the shout of victory an
undertone of sadness, a piteous cry for help. The next day, as I tried to study my lessons, there passed before my imagination a panorama of bondmen, tied down with cords of ignorance, superstition, and oppression.
Some time in February a man who had been on Island No. 10, which is located in the Mississippi River about thirty miles north of Memphis, visited the Seminary and told us of his visit to that island, where were about 1,100 women and children in great distress. A Baptist minister had moved there and was in command of a colored regiment, who guarded the island. The speaker drew a very sad picture of their bodily suffering and their extreme ignorance, asking, "What can a man do to help such a suffering mass of humanity? Nothing. A woman is needed, nothing else will do." I cannot recall all he said, only I know my school room and foreign missions, with all their sweet attraction, receded and kept receding, till they were in the background of my picture, and there in the front stood the black woman, with her child, both half naked, stretching out empty hands, crying for help. I had a great way of building air castles, and my castles were now filled with black people; but I threw them all down and marched off in another direction; but the first thing I knew there was a whole panorama of black people right before me. Finally I began talking to myself in real earnest, asking, "What can I, a poor child, do? What kind of people are they? Why did God let them be slaves and shut the door of knowledge to them for so many years? Will they listen to me? I have nothing to give them; I suppose God will show me how to love them. Every heart needs love. Yes, I expect I can love them, but they need something more substantial than love. There are many older and wiser than I. Let them go and do this work. But oh, it will take an army to supply the needs of these people. What shall I do?" and so on, I asked myself and asked God a thousand questions
and only got one answer: "Go and see and God will go with you." My decision was made before school closed. I did go, I did see, God did go with me and He went before me and cleared the way, and behind me as a rear guard. Duty was made plain, results glorious, and to-day I stop to shout "Glory Hallelujah." I surely made a good bargain when I invested in the Negro race.
I bought a little cottage in Belvidere for my mother and left her amid many of my friends who I knew would take good care of her. She would not live with either of my married brothers. Their children annoyed her. She was old and tired, had carried many burdens and wanted a quiet place to rest, but she did want Joanna to stay with her--said she could not be happy without me. Her cries and great sorrow when I left were the hardest things I had to bear, but I recognized God's claim as first (Luke 9:59-62). For this I was severely criticised, but to-day I feel sure that God was pleased with the sacrifice I made. Mother was willing, as she said, to give me up to a good husband, but not to go alone into dangerous places. Don't you see like many another father and mother she had more faith in man than in God?
Do you remember how much money we spent and how many lives were lost in order to make this nation loyal to our country's flag? Was that more important than to make our nation loyal to King Jesus? Should we not love God more than we love our country? Yes, you say, our love to God is supreme. Then prove it by pouring out your treasures as you did in that war time. Send your Christian armies forth "with the Cross of Christ going on before." Parents, give to the cause your sons and your daughters; your dearest household treasures. Follow them to the gate, as we did in that old time with the tears streaming down our cheeks and our hearts breaking with sorrow and yet we said, "Go, your country needs you." In the same spirit
of self-sacrifice let us say, "Go, the Master hath need of your service. No matter if you never return; we will meet up there when the 'General Roll is called.'"
I decided to go. The condition of home was different than at the time when I wanted to be a foreign missionary. Then I surely was needed at home, and am glad I staid. But how was I to reach this Southern field? I could not tell. I had but little money, but I felt about the same as when I wanted to go to India. The Sabbath school of the first Baptist church in Belvidere to which I belonged wanted me to go, especially Mary Moss, the teacher of the infant class. They pledged to give me $4.00 per month and the government gave me transportation and soldiers' rations. The American Baptist Home Mission Society gave me, by way of endorsement, a commission, at the same time stating that they could not pay any salary.
Some time in November, 1863, I landed on the desolate shore of Island No. 10. Another woman from Ohio had just arrived, on the same mission. Rev. Benjamin Thomas, a Baptist minister from Ohio, was captain of the regiment that guarded the island. His wife was with him. They kindly gave us a part of their home. I cannot make you understand how it all seemed to me. I had scarcely ever seen a colored person, and had never spoken to but one till then.
Some time after I arrived two women were called up before Captain Thomas to be punished for fighting, and the fight was not yet over. Both were still in a most fearful rage, calling each other terrible names. Captain Thomas called me out, and in a laughing manner said: "Miss Moore, I will turn this case over to you. Since you came here to make people good, try your hand on these women."
I do not know what I said, only I know they laughed at my earnestness, and I cried myself to sleep that night, as I did many another night that winter. Such a mass of suffering, sin, and ignorance as was gathered on that island surely no one ever saw before.
I had a talk next day with the women Captain Thomas handed over to me, but I fear I did them but little good. I have learned since that you can never help any one till you love them a little after the way that Jesus loved you. I only pitied those women then. God showed me that I must keep in close communion with Him, and take His spirit with me in all my work, if I ever expected to be a comfort to any
human soul; and there on that island, among those wretched people, I learned "to walk with God" as I never did before.
Soon the poor women learned to come to me with their troubles and cares. Miss Baldwin, who shared my labors, was an earnest Christian. We wrote hundreds of letters to our friends in the North for clothing, for the people were almost naked. Often we found children on the wharf with nothing on them but a part of a soldier's old coat. The women and children were free, but did not know where to go or what to do. They were taken by the soldiers on the boat, and as this was a "contraband" camp, they were landed here.
The winter of 1863-'64 was very cold. We suffered greatly. Our store-room had no fire. There we spent every alternate day. Our plan was to visit in the cabins and tents one day and find what each one needed, and give a written order, which we filled the next day from the store-room that our friends from the North kept filled in answer to our letters. Often those who needed help least would tell us the most pitiful story, so we found it necessary to visit their homes, if homes they could be called. They had to use so many things in common. Three families with six or ten children each, cooked their food in the same pot on the same fire. Each had to wait for the other. No wonder that a mother with crying, hungry children would quarrel when thus situated.
We had a large Sabbath school, besides other meetings with the women and children in their homes. It was indeed a great joy to read the Bible to those who had never heard it before. After spending five months on this island the whole colony was removed in April, to
I can never forget that helpless mass of humanity that I helped to stow away on those boats. Every day seemed a year, so much was happening. Part of the colony stayed in Helena, and part was scattered on the plantations that were near Helena within the guarded part. The Quakers, or Friends, from Indiana, had just come to establish an orphan asylum. They took some of our children. These good people had also an industrial school for the women and day schools for the children. Not long after I came to Helena they offered to employ me; to this I gladly agreed. My reader will remember that I started off on this mission with the promise of four dollars per month from the children. My heavenly Father knew I needed more help, therefore He had these godly Quakers ready to take care of me. I remained in their employ till the close of 1868, when I was obliged to leave the work. I wish I had time to tell you in detail the good accomplished by the Society of Friends during the war and just after it closed. Not only in Arkansas, but all over the South. They were very kind to their missionaries. They invited me to their yearly meeting in Indiana and treated me with great courtesy. They knew I was a Baptist but never asked me to unite with their church. I cannot say too much in praise of the Friends. Those I knew were surely a superior class of Christians.
The Home Farm, about three miles from Helena, was a contraband camp something like Island NO. 10. Here were gathered a great company of women and children and helpless old men. A company of soldiers in a fort near by guarded it. There were no white people there, and no one was teaching or helping those people to a better life. I offered to go and live there. The other teachers called me
presumptious and crazy, but I went. We fixed up a room in a cabin with a colored woman. I got the soldiers to make me an arbor and some rude seats, made by driving posts in the ground and fastened on them a split sapling; nailed my blackboard to a tree, and divided the colony into four divisions. The very little children, older children, adults who could read a very little, or rather those who wanted to learn, and the old people who could only listen as I read to them. Each division spent about one hour and a half in school. A little before dark every evening a great crowd gathered around my cabin for family prayers. I read the Bible and explained it, and gave them a memory verse. Then they sang their weird, old plantation hymns, and prayed their old-time prayers till after dark. Then each retired with a sweet, glad song in all hearts, for so it seemed, judging by the joy in my own heart. O, how I did enjoy each day there! Once a week I came to Helena in the ambulance that brought the sick ones to the hospital. I have been exposed to smallpox and other contagious diseases, but the Lord has kept me. One of the nights I was in Helena a raid of rebel soldiers came to the colony, and so disarranged things that I could not go back. The same God that had sheltered me all these years brought me home the very day the danger came to that outpost. Praise the Lord!
After this I began to teach the colored soldiers that were guarding Helena. I found none that could read well; several others could read a little, having been taught occasionally by officers of the regiment. I found only one who was a Christian. I opened a school in four or five companies which I taught at different hours of the day. I never had more than ten at once, and yet I had more than one hundred on my list. Each day I taught all one verse of the Scripture till they knew it perfectly; giving them plain, easily understood texts, such as "All have sinned and come short of
the glory of God;" "The wicked shall be turned into hell and all the nations that forget God;" "God so loved the world," etc.; "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Other than this I said very little to them on the subject of religion except a short prayer at the opening and closing of the school. I had not been teaching more than six weeks till I noticed a seriousness in the manner of some, which showed they were under conviction of sin. The Bible did this. Those texts of Scripture sank down deep into their hearts, and all night long as they stood on guard, God's word was doing its blessed work. There I learned the value of the Bible, and from that day to this I have been trying to get God's words into the homes, the hands, and the hearts of every human soul I meet. God speed the day when His message will be made the subject of the social conversations, and Bible study be the great work of our associations, conferences, and conventions.
One day I said to the boys in each division: "All of you who are sorry for your sins and want to be forgiven, come to the children's school room at 7 o'clock." It was next to my home. There the other teachers taught the children each day. When I entered that school room, there sat three of my boys in tears. "My sins, my sins. How can I be forgiven?" was all they could say; and I, what could I do? No preacher there; no chaplain in that regiment; nothing could I do, but tell them about Jesus and his love, and then we all got down on our knees and prayed as I never prayed before. Then the boys prayed. When we rose from our knees two were converted. I wish you could have seen them as they quietly walked the floor praising God, their faces all aglow with the joy of pardoned sin. The next night five new inquirers came and one poor boy rushed in saying, "O pray for me; I am on guard to-night, but I am such a sinner I have come to ask
your prayers." I think three were converted that night.
For one week we had the meeting every night, after that we met only once a week, and on the Sabbath. The teachers of the children often met
JAMES C. OWENwith us. The good work went on, till sixty of those soldiers were converted.
Those who were converted were nearly all between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four years. It was perfectly marvelous, the progress they made in their studies. I had been a teacher for most of the time among white people for the past fifteen years, but in all that time I never had pupils that learned as fast as some of those boys. They not only memorized, but reasoned; got hold of ideas and expressed them in writing. I taught them only about seven months, and all that time they attended to their usual soldier duties. It was all learned in the spare minutes
that the other soldiers in the regiment idled away. But few of these boys knew even their alphabet till they came to me. Their conversion to Christ did much to awaken and strengthen their intellects. It is well that I had this glorious experience with these colored soldiers in the first part of my work among this despised race. From that day to this nothing has occurred that could dampen my enthusiasm for the colored people, both as regards their moral and mental elevation.
Rev. Carter, an African Methodist Episcopal minister came to Helena about the time I left. He was the only colored minister there. They wanted to be baptized; I took them to the home of this pastor. He examined them, and one Sabbath about twenty-five marched down to the Mississippi River and were buried with Christ in baptism. We formed ourselves into a little church with no officers--only the following
We, the undersigned, feeling the need of united effort on our part to resist the many temptations that surround us, and the sins that so easily beset us in our present trying position, therefore resolve
I. That we enter into a solemn agreement to meet together every Wednesday night for prayer to Almighty God for help and assistance to serve Him who gave Himself a ransom that we through faith in Him might have eternal life.
II. Resolved, that the object of this meeting be to inquire after the spiritual progress of each other, and to comfort, cheer, and encourage each other in every good word and deed.
III. Resolved, that we each at all times exercise toward each other that brotherly watch care and love which the children of God are required to feel,and if a brother be overtaken in a fault, we that are
spiritual will seek to restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering ourselves lest we, also, be tempted.
IV. Resolved, that henceforth, with God's help, we will endeavor to live as humble and devoted followers of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and strive in all that we do or say to have an eye single to the glory of God.
This covenant was signed by 62 men, representing seven companies in the 56th regiment.
Mother's sickness called me home about the close of the war, and these soldiers were soon after mustered out of service. I kept in touch with a number of these soldiers for several years. Three, James Owen, George Gaines and John Meadows, are to-day faithful ministers of the gospel. I give you some of the words they wrote in my album just before I left for the North. You wonder that they express themselves so well. I took much pains in showing them how to write letters. It was one of our every-day studies with those who could write. I can take space for but four of the many letters written in my album:
HELENA, Ark., July 20, 1865.
Kind Teacher:--I want to say some words of comfort to you. You have been a great light to me and have led me from darkness into such light as I never saw before. Dear teacher, I wish I could repay you for your kind teaching and Christian walk, by which you have led me to consider my own salvation and turn to God. I feel as if no other friend so dear could leave me. But I know that the spirit of Him who goes with you will stay with me.
Your obedient scholar,
JAMES C. OWEN.
Here is another from an eighteen-year-old boy:
Kind Teacher:--O that I could reward you for your great kindness to me and our poor, degraded and long-oppressed people. I know not my future,
but whatever it is, I intend you shall hear it, and I also intend that, with the help of God, you shall hear nothing bad of me. Your people have often said that the negroes could not be made into intelligent people, but I am determined that that shoe shall not fit me. I will try as you have often told me, to choose
GEORGE W. GAINES
for my companions the moral, the sensible, and, especially, the religious. I do want to be useful in this world, and try to do good to all I meet whether white or black. I never will, with Jesus to help me, forget the promises I have made to God and to you, to live so on earth, that at last I may meet my teacher who has been my dearest earthly friend, in immortal glory where parting is no more.
Your most obedient scholar,
GEORGE W. GAINES.
Kind Teacher:--I want to inform you that I have been studying about the greatness of your good that you have done the poor colored people who has been bound down in the South under the hands of the slave trader who has driven them from to to fro for many a long year, shot them like dogs, fed them like hogs and run them like deer. Miss Moore, there never was any other nation of people that ever was read of by this generation that ever had anyways near the hard and cruel treatment that the poor colored people have had. You are one that came down to this low wilderness of the South when the times were dark and gloomy, and the poor colored people were in deep ignorance and you have proved yourself more than a common friend to them. I am one who has lived in bondage for twenty-one years, and I always looking to see who is the true friend to the black people. I never do pass one or speak to you or any other teacher but I think, "There is a friend." Miss Moore, your name is bound to be written in the of many, long to be remembered, long to be loved, long to be Blessed with the name of God. I do wish I was well enough learned to write and spell, so I could just write what I can see and know about what You have done and what a great friend you are to the black people. It will be hard for us poor colored soldiers to get along without you.
The specimens already given are the best and I will take space for part of one more letter:
Dear Teacher:--I thank God for the optunity he has blesst me with sending a good teacher to our regment to teach my fellow solders how to read the Holy Bible, the first Book among many books, and to right Letters to thar frends. Dear, teacher since you have bin hear you have learned a great many of the Regment how to read God's word and how to find him. Dear teacher the time is drawing near when
we have to part, and how I dread that. . . . . Dear teacher, I have been deprived of a grate portion of my time for study on account of sickness, but I thank God for what I receave. I thank God that he spared me to see the time I long hope for and was afraid that I would never see the south winds blow over a free country. O if I could open the eyes of my people from a deepe slumber they would behold the glowreyfull light of liberty which have been hidden behind the cloud of slavery for many years. But now there is a chance for us, let us make haste and improve the advantages of the day and night, but the first Book of all is the Bible; it teach us how to live and how to die. Dear teacher we will never be able to pay you for the great good you have done but heaven shall be your reward.
ALFRED S. WILLIAMS.
You will see by the words of these young men that even at that early date they felt the heavy hand of prejudice that would discourage them from trying to be or do what white men had done, or from what other human lives had attained. It was not from me that they got their ideas of what the white people would do or say. It was a subject on which I seldom spoke. I only sought to save their souls and enlighten their minds and this has been my effort ever since. It is sad to remember that all through the struggles of 39 years of freedom this hand has been heavy upon them. O God, how long!
In 1868 I went to Lauderdale, Miss., to help the Friends in an orphan asylum. After I had been there about six weeks the superintendent's daughter sickened and died, and both parents left to carry the remains of that loved daughter to her grave in Richmond, Ind. I was left in charge of the asylum. Soon after, that terrible disease, the cholera, made its appearance. Eleven of our children died within one week, and then the plague stayed. But that one week brought me face to face with death as I had
never been before. There was no other white woman there. I had the care of the children, gave them their food, conducted their morning and evening prayers, and watched by the sick bed of the dying. Often those who were well and happy when they retired, ere the daylight came were in the cold grave, for
they were buried the same hour they died. I was often up with them during the night and held their cold little hands in mine. Two of them I remember especially; they died a gloriously triumphant death, saying, with their last breath: "Sister Moore, I am going to Jesus; I will meet you there." Most of them expressed a hope in Christ. Since then I have never needed to ask: "Will any one there at the beautiful gate, be waiting and watching for me?" How wonderfully God has blessed me; praise His name!
I taught schools in Little Rock and I was delighted with the aptness and ability of the pupils. We had no writing desks, but I had the pupils get down on their knees and utilize the seat for a desk, putting the other books on the floor. We kept things in order and made many good writers. We had school at night for older pupils. All were more eager to learn, it seems to me, than they are now. I did not find as many white negroes in Arkansas as in Louisiana and other states, yet they were all shades from real black to nearly white. To my night school came a fine looking young woman who was certainly white. I wanted her to go to a white school, but she said, "No, I'm colored." I said, "No, you are white." She said, "Mother says I'm colored and there is no use in my trying to be white." Alas, I soon learned the debasing influence of slavery and heard tales too sad to repeat, therefore I buried them out of sight; but when I hear white men and women talk sneeringly of the impurity of the colored race, as though they were worse than all races, my blood boils with holy indignation, for I know the black man is not any more impure than his white brother, and perhaps less guilty.
The Friends who always followed in the wake of the war ready to bind up wounds and comfort the dying, came also to Little Rock, to care for the neglected children. I had charge of the asylum here for several months while the superintendent went home. This made me very happy. I taught the children
as I have everywhere, about the heathen, who had never heard the name of Jesus; no, not always, for I did not always know the story myself. The children of the asylum got but little money, not a cent was spent till we prayed over it. I'll tell you about one of our boys. We will call him Tom, but I am not sure that was his name. His uncle made him a visit, Tom blacked his boots and for that received a nickel. Childlike, he ran to me, saying, "Let me go and buy some candy." I said, "No, wait until after prayers to-night." He objected, but I was firm. All the children knew about Tom's nickel. I called him up at prayers. There were about sixty little ones. How I did love them. This nickel was the first subject as it was on our hearts. "Tom, let me see your nickel." He handed it to me. I asked, "Does this money all belong to you?" "Oh, yes," was his reply. "How did it get to be yours?" "I blacked uncle's boots, and he gave me the nickel." I asked the children if they thought the money all belonged to Tom. Some said that I ought to have a part. "No, no, it doesn't belong to me." I then asked, "Those who think all this money belongs to Tom, hold up your hands." All hands went up. Then I gave Tom the nickel, saying, "I want you to answer another question, 'How did you black the boots?'" He went through the motion of blacking. I took hold of his arm asking, "Is this arm strong enough to black boots?" "Oh, yes," he said. "Well who made this arm strong enough to black uncle's boots?" He did not answer. I asked the children. They said, "God made it strong." Then I said to Tom, "Do you believe it was God made your arm strong enough to black boots?" "Yes," he nodded. "Now don't you think you ought to say, "God and Tom blacked uncle's boots, and if God helped, don't you think He ought to have part of the money?" He nodded his head. All the children were greatly interested. There was no disorder. I asked their opinion on the subject. All were agreed that God
should have part. Now the next question is, "How much should Tom give God? God is here, He's listening. We'll ask Him in prayer. Then we all knelt, and I think they all prayed the best they knew how. We had a specific object for prayer. Our prayers are usually too general to get a direct answer. When we rose from our knees all were very quiet. I looked at Tom and asked earnestly, "My dear boy, what did God tell you ?" He stretched out his little hand and with a voice trembling with tears, yet with a happy look on his face, said decidedly, "God may have it all." Then my tears came as I put my arms around the dear child, saying, "God doesn't want it all, we will wait till morning for you to decide." I could see that those children got a clearer idea of God's ownership than most adults have, judging from their gifts. After a little hymn the children were dismissed. I followed them to their rooms and saw them safely tucked away for the night. The next morning at prayers, Tom told us all that he would give God three cents and keep two for candy. We cheered Tom for his generosity in giving God the largest share and I bought him two cents' worth of candy. The other boys gathered around him and all got a little as far as it would go. Tom had learned the joy of giving and couldn't stop. I'm sorry to tell you that all our children were not as good as Tom. Some stoutly objected to giving any of their money, saying "they needed it all." And yet we got seventy-five cents in those three months. It was used to get Bibles for a mission in Arabia. The Friends got the money and they were supporting the school. It has been the burden of my prayers and my lessons for many years that parents would teach their children to give to God as soon as they teach them to pray to God. One service is just as holy and as necessary as the other. Teach also that they must give what is their very own, but do not send them out to beg from others or you will take the blessing out of the gift.
The old-time religion of the colored people was a reality to them, was a comfort in their days of trouble here, but their greatest joy was in the conception of the future. In one of their hymns the chorus runs:--"Hard times and tribulation; we'll part no more when we meet in heaven."
Their faith rested mainly on dreams and visions, and who can say that in the days of enforced ignorance God did not reveal himself to them who truly sought Him, in this manner.
They had a formula of questions which they asked the convert, much as follows:
1. What started you out to pray?
The usual answer was "Trouble."
2. How did you feel as you prayed?
I got worse and worse the longer I prayed.
3. What troubled you?
4. Tell how you were delivered.
The answer to this question usually included a long list of visions, beginning with, "I saw myself carried here and there (perhaps to hell), saw myself hanging over hell by the hair of the head. At last I went out and said, 'Lord help me; do your will with me.' Then deliverance came."
(Is not this really your experience? The sinner tries in many ways to save himself--sometimes by prayers and tears, without relief till he surrenders,
and by faith receives Christ as his Savior. Then comes peace and rest.)
5. For whose sake were you forgiven?
Unless the candidate could say," God forgave me for Jesus' sake," he was turned back to seek longer.
They seem to have a clear idea of the atonement. After conversion they often saw themselves carried up to heaven, where they tried on their long white robes, golden slippers, and crowns, all of which exactly fitted. Then God said, "Go back to yonder world and tell both saint and sinner what a dear Savior you have found." Often one saw his heart taken out all black with sin, but the Savior washed it white. Is not this the gospel? I John 1: 7. I believe their conversion was genuine--the trouble was and still is this, that after conversion they were not taught how to keep that heart clean. This is where the church errs in its teachings to-day.
One of my fireside pupils wrote me a few days ago, saying: "Our people believe in sinning every day, but I accepted the gift of the Holy Spirit and have such rest and peace as never before. I can be patient with my children and kind to the people who hate me. I am kept sweetly trusting but they say I am mistaken, that I do sin every day but I know I've got something that keeps me from sinning."
I answered as follows:
Dear Sister--You are on the right road. Give the people the Bible and pray for them. While you keep hid away in Christ, Satan cannot touch you. Jesus came to save his people from their sins and not in their sins. The Christian is no longer the servant of sin. Read Romans, 6th chapter.
But few of our colored people could read their Bible and their teachers failed to make this truth plain. Hence they went back into
the world and half of the people you met were "fallen members," as they called backsliders. Some taught that this old body sinned but the soul did not sin; for example at a funeral I heard a minister say, "There lies sister Jane; her tongue often told lies, but her soul never sinned." They got this doctrine from a false interpretation of the seventh chapter of Romans. I know a multitude of religious teachers to-day who have about the same method of apologizing for sins. It is a dangerous thing to teach half the Gospel as the result of such teaching is a backslidden church.
I have often heard it said that the colored man's religion did not keep him from lying and stealing. Does the white man's religion keep him from pride, from conformity to the world, from neglecting to send the Gospel to the heathen, and many other sins? Many of the colored preachers did not know that indulgence in strong drink was sinful. They had seen it used freely by professing Christians. I explained Habakkuk 2:15 to a minister who drank wine. He asked with great earnestness, "Is there really a curse on those who drink and treat their neighbors to wine?" He could not read very well and spent a long time learning to read that verse, and then vowed not to touch wine again and not to give it to others, and kept his vow.
The students of our schools who go over the country, singing what they call plantation songs, do not know how to sing them. God taught our dear people the melody of those songs in the furnace of afflictions. It is music that cannot be learned in any other school. There was an undertone of sadness that brought tears to your eyes and those who listened heard much that was not expressed in words. Those songs were the channel for the overflow of sorrow that they had not liberty to express in any other way.
I remember the first Sabbath in Rev. John Mark's church in New Orleans after a choir was formed. The old people rose but could not sing. They tried to sway back and forth with the music, but could not. This hurt them, and it hurt me. It is true there was a kind of music in the singing of that choir, but, to them, it lacked the "melody in the heart unto the Lord."
I had really had only about five years service with the colored people until 1873, but often as I have spoken or written on the subject, I've counted all the years from 1863 to 1902. Perhaps it was because my heart was with the colored people in the South during the time I spent in the North, and I did help them all I could with letters, money, and influence. Nothing kept me from them but my mother's poor health. She was subject to attacks that threatened immediate death. My brothers thought no one but Joanna could take care of mother. I gave up preparation for the Foreign Field in 1855, because my parents very much needed me; and yet in one sense I have been a foreign missionary ever since. If giving up my plans thus for the sake of my parents was a mistake, it was not a willful sin. I suppose it was all part of the training I needed for my work in the South. Having been called home three times, I concluded I would not leave my mother to go so far away until her health was better. Some one, I think Dr. Blackall, told Mr. B. F. Jacobs that I wanted to do mission work; therefore he sent for me, engaging to pay my board for six months, but nothing more. This was a sacrifice of money, because I got good wages for teaching, but it was a joy to give all my time to direct Christian work.
Early in April, 1869, I began work for the North Star Baptist Church. I cannot remember with what success, but I find from an old record, that I made 2,292 visits in three months. I then came to work in Shield's Mission of the First Baptist Church
for three months. Through our Cottage meetings, especially, a blessed work of grace began. They didn't want me to leave at the end of three months, and I remained until early spring, when I was employed by the Eighteenth Street Baptist Church. I might say much of the work in Chicago, but haven't time now. God supplied my needs in answer to prayer.
In October, 1870, I was again called home to care for mother, and felt it not safe to leave her even for Chicago, but I taught school in Belvidere and vicinity, until the fall of 1873. While teaching I was a kind of Sabbath school missionary. That is I started a Sabbath school wherever I taught which I think was in ten different schools, and helped to keep them up. The winter of 1870 my school was in the country. They said "You can never have a Sunday school in the winter," but I secured the use of the schoolhouse, and told my pupils to come, and bring their parents. It was the most successful Sabbath school I ever had. The house was crowded; parents brought their whole families in sleighs. We called this the Ever-Green School, as Sabbath schools in the country were usually closed in the fall.
In 1871 the Women's Foreign Missionary Society of the West was organized. Mrs. Tolman wrote asking if I could be their missionary. This awakened old hopes and brought up a new conflict in my heart. I remember that Mrs. O. B. Stone spent nearly a whole night with me in prayer for this subject. My heartstrings were pulling me towards the negroes, towards the heathen, and towards my mother. Many of my Belvidere friends wanted me to go to the heathen. Mrs. Fulton, my pastor's wife came with me to Chicago. I was then about forty years old. Some of the Board thought I was too old, this about decided me to stay with mother. This was one of the many times when good Brother Osgood gave me much comfort and
kind advice. I thought he was the only one who really understood me. Perhaps some day God will let me visit a mission in heathen lands. I cannot think of anything on earth that would comfort me more.
During the years that mother's feeble health kept me from the South, my thoughts were with the freed people. I remembered how unfit these slave mothers were to take care of their children's souls and minds, and that the father's slave life had forced him to leave the entire care of his family to the master and that because of all these, there should be more done for the present fathers and mothers. However, I said but little to any one on this subject because the popular plan for helping the colored people was the schools in which to educate teachers and preachers; but I did find three men in Chicago to whom I opened my heart on this subject. They represented the three great Baptist missionary organizations. Rev. S. Osgood, the Foreign Mission; Rev. I. N. Hobart, Home Mission, and Rev. F. G. Thearle, the Publication Society. From these I received sympathy and words of encouragement. These were men who knew how to listen even to a woman. A good listener is a wonderful comforter, one that by face and manner makes you feel be is taking in what you say. Others listen with a faraway look and restless manner that makes you want to shut your mouth and never say another word. Dear Brother Hobart was especially interested; I can never forget his sympathy and he proved it real by the way he fostered my work for four years. He simply told the churches and individuals of the work I was doing. That was all the appeal he made, except that he paid my expenses to come North and speak to associations and churches. A letter written on Nov., 1874, reads as follows: "I have just received a letter saying that the Women's Mission
Circle of Galesburg has appropriated fifty dollars for your work." He then gives me in the same letter the names of the principal donors to my work the first year. The money amounted to more than two hundred dollars but this was not all I received. Often the money was sent direct to me. In this way the Lord supported me till the organization of our blessed Women's Baptist Home Mission Society, February 1, 1877, when I had the honor of receiving their first commission.
This work began in the fall of 1873. Rev. Gregory was president of Leland University, when I arrived there. He was a good man and much beloved by the pastors. He often invited them to his home to supper and showed them his books and pictures, treated them with the same respect he would the most distinguished white guests. I very much admired this plan of his. It was so Christ-like. I had the honor of helping to teach these ministers when I could spare the time.
There was a small one-roomed house near Leland, with a fireplace. I bought a bed, table, two chairs, and a few cooking utensils, and began housekeeping, as this was much cheaper than boarding. I rose early, made a cup of coffee, which with bread and sometimes an egg, was my breakfast. I prepared a little lunch and often started out at six a. m. and did not return until seven p. m. I stopped at some home to eat my luncheon. What did I do all day? Reading the Bible in the homes of the people was my principal work. Only a few had Bibles. Many could not read, but no matter how busy, they were willing to stop and listen, taking their hands out of the wash tub and wiping them on the coarse apron, down they sat and begged me to stay longer than I could. It seems to me they cared more for the Bible than they do now. I remember coming one day into a yard where four women were washing. When they saw my Bible and papers, they thought I looked like a fortune teller. One woman said, "Will you tell me my fortune?" I said, "Do you want me to tell what will happen to you in the future?
if so, I can do that." "What must I pay?" she asked. "I do not charge, I tell your fortune out of this book." She stretched out her hand for me to look at it, as fortune tellers often do, but I said, "No, all sit down and be quiet and I will tell you." After all were seated I opened my Bible and read, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16: 15-16). I read also an account of the judgment with the sheep on the right hand and the goats on the left, ending with this, "These shall go away into everlasting punishment and the righteous into life eternal." Then I preached a little sermon and prayed. They were very much impressed. One who was a Christian said, "I told them you were no fortune teller, these others are sinner women. I am glad you have told them the truth."
What else did I do? I sometimes wrote letters for the people who had been sold in the days of slavery, if they could only remember the name of their old master's post-office; I have written hundreds of such letters. From a few I have received glad response, but only from a few. It was very sorrowful, pitiful work. You need never tell me that the black man does not love his home and friends. I know better.
Well, what else did I do? I taught the little children how to sew and sometimes helped the mother cut out a garment, taught them hymns and verses from the Bible. I often carried a bag of needles and thread, and when I found the children alone, as I often did, I helped them mend the garment that they wore, washed the baby's face, helped the children with their play and tried to do a mother's part for poor, neglected little ones, whose mothers were toiling to get them bread. After two or three months spent in this way I began holding meetings after school for the children, in three of the churches
in Carrollton, then a suburb of New Orleans. The names of the pastors of these churches were Thomas Peterson, Henry Davis and Guy Peck. They were good men and useful. We also organized Sunday schools to be held respectively at 9 a. m., 11 a. m., and 3 p. m. I must not forget to tell you of three ministerial students in Leland who went with me regularly to the morning Sunday schools and as often as possible to the afternoon. Their names were Alfred Owens, Taylor Fryerson and Charles Roberts. I think they are all alive to-day and are doing blessed work for the Master. Once a week they came to my room to study the Sabbath school lesson. Sabbath school work as I taught it was new to them. They all signed the temperance pledge and have kept it ever since. I remember the day Rev. Fryerson signed against tobacco. They were three remarkable boys. I am glad God let me help them in their young days. I prepared a constitution for Sabbath schools, as it was so difficult to make the people understand the difference between Sabbath school and day school. They taught spelling in nearly all the Sabbath schools and so few could read well they were often obliged to take sinners for officers and teachers. The next year I helped Rev. George W. Walker in his Sabbath school. He was one of the most honorable, straightforward, reliable preachers we had then in New Orleans. A teacher of his Sunday school, who was a Christian, had died about a year before and left him without a Christian in his school, except a deacon who would come in and open with prayer. He told me that he would often rise at midnight to ask God to send a teacher for his Sabbath school, "And now, Sister Moore," he said, "you are an answer to my prayer. Surely God did send you." Perhaps it was two years after this when an English evangelist came to New Orleans because he had heard of my work. He began a revival meeting in Rev. Walker's church. The seed had been sown and a glorious harvest was
reaped, mostly young people. Two of Rev. Walker's children were brought into the Kingdom. I followed this meeting with a Bible reading for young converts at my home every Saturday night for one
year. They nearly all attended, and were delighted with the lessons which I prepared and gave them to study during the week. Brother Walker said these converts stood the storm of temptation better than any he ever knew, only two or three among them became backsliders, and to-day I think most of them
are standing firm. This was because they were taught God's word and daily prayer, and to walk by faith instead of feeling.
Dear pastors, the reason your converts backslide is because you starve them to death. What would you think of a parent who starved her child? Pastors often scold the members for doing wrong, but cross words do not feed. God's word must daily be eaten. You should prepare the word in small doses so that it can be taken in. The sincere milk of the word makes them grow strong, 1 Peter, 2:2. After the milk food, gradually give them stronger diet. You must plan some way to have them eat daily; one good meal on Sunday will not suffice. So I taught the pastors, and in my work at this time may be seen the working out of the conception that found its final expression in the Fireside School.
When the days were long I had a school at 5:30 p. m., to reach which I had to cross the Mississippi in a skiff. I never missed a meeting unless it was stormy. Once, when the wind was very high, the boatman said, "I would rather not go, especially with a woman, for they get scared." I promised to sit perfectly still and not say a word. Then he said, "I'll risk it." He was a colored man and a Christian. Oh, such a storm! I held on to the sides of the skiff and prayed. The water dashed in on every side. I never spoke but once, asking in a trembling voice, "Ferryman, will we be drowned?" "It is just as the Lord has it," was his quiet reply. His words calmed me in a minute. I wasn't at all afraid. I had given myself up to die, but we landed safely. The boatman sank on the bank of the river completely exhausted, saying, "I have been crossing this river for seven years and never before see'd such a storm." I taught my Sabbath school and returned. The storm was over. The skiff glided over a waveless sea in the light of the moon. Oh, it was so beautiful and restful after the long day of toil. I went to my home singing with melody in my heart.
"One more day's work for Jesus,
One less of life for me,
But Christ is dearer, and heaven nearer,
Than yesterday to me.
Lord if I may,
I'll work another day."
Soon we had a Sabbath school in each of the colored Baptist churches in New Orleans; before I came they had schools in only three; one of these was the First African Baptist Church, which had a very large membership; but the school was small. I wanted to help them, but they were not anxious to have me. I attended regularly for more than a month, sat in different classes, as they did not seem to need me for a teacher. But I learned a lesson which my readers may need to use some day. It is this. If you know how to teach, if it's really in you and you are humble and respectful, you will always teach and some one will listen. Matters little whether you are at the head or the foot; I am quite sure I taught those classes and gave no offense to the teachers, because I was careful to treat them with great respect. I mention this because many leave Sabbath schools, saying, "They would not give me a class." They do not know that pupils may be teachers. After some time the young people asked the superintendent to let me be their teacher. He consented. A few weeks after, a stranger came into my class one morning. He was very attentive and modest. His name was Rev. A. Fairfax, pastor of a church in Northern Louisiana, who had been driven away from his home because of some political strife between white and colored, and had come to the city to think and pray for guidance. I soon found that Rev. Fairfax was a better teacher than myself, and teacher and pupil quietly let him do most of the teaching while there. The grumblers who cannot find a place to work usually need to sit a little longer at Jesus' feet and learn from the Great
Teacher "to be meek and lowly in heart." The superintendent of this school fell sick. The school asked him to let me serve as superintendent until he got well. Two months later he returned to the school, but I could not persuade him to take his place. He rose and said, "Teachers and scholars, I am tired, I have served my time. Sister Moore, you go ahead." And I did go ahead. We started an infant class, the first they had had in that city. We had a large room that suited the purpose. Often after Sabbath school, we invited those who wanted to find Jesus, to stop for a half-hour prayer meeting. A large number of the Sabbath school were converted, but when I took the children converts to meet the deacons, they asked questions which required visions and dreams to answer. Therefore most of them were sent back to seek for more. Some did see visions and were admitted, and some were received because I urged it; but here as elsewhere we saw the need of feeding and training after conversion.
About the same time I began a Sabbath school in Rev. White's church, Sunday afternoon, where we also had a sewing school. A great revival was the result of these meetings. The pastor's wife, Frances White, was very helpful. Ten of these children converts began, about six weeks before Christmas, to save or earn a present for Jesus on his birthday. This was my first effort to correct the un-Christian way of spending Christmas. We had a Christmas tree. About seventy teachers and children had presents on that tree, each costing about five cents. I spent much time hunting in the stores to get cheap, appropriate gifts. It would interest you had I time to tell how those children earned that money. Nine girls and one boy. I think we had only $1 .75, but it represented much labor and prayer. After the tree was set up in the church, but before the presents were there, these ten children and myself met in the church, and sat down around the tree. I read the letter which had this address on the envelope,
"To the Lord Jesus in Heaven, by way of Africa." One child asked, "Will Jesus reach down and take the present off the tree?" I explained, perhaps for the twentieth time, that Jesus did not need our gifts, but He knew that we would want to give Him something to show our love, so He told his followers that when they gave to the poor, or to send the Bible to those who did not know His love, Jesus would put that down in His book, as if it were given to Himself. Then our boy climbed up on the ladder and hung the envelope on the top of the tree. We joined hands around the tree and prayed. I have often felt near to heaven, but there with those little children that Christmas eve, I was nearer heaven than I had ever been before. Oh, it was blessed. The children were much affected. There was a quiet awe as well as joy in all our hearts, as we walked out of the church. Surely we had been on the Mount of Transfiguration. Beloved readers, I tell you truly, offering gifts to the Lord for any part of His work is the most sacred and glorious service He has left on earth for His children. Alas, alas, how it has been polluted and dragged down and shared with the world, and this is one reason why we have a backslidden church. My gifts to God and the prayers that went with them have been the best part of my life; but remember, the gift must be given to the Lord's own blessed work, not to build a fashionable church because pride prompts us to be like the church over the way, or else because we think to put the church instead of Christ as the great attraction to secure a congregation.
About nine years after this I visited New Orleans. A young mother with her first born in her arms, met me saying, "You have forgotten me. I am one of the little girls that gave a present to Jesus on Christmas in Rev. White's church." I asked, "Has giving that present helped you since." "Oh, yes, it has made me a better Christian, and I am going to teach my baby to give to Jesus on Christmas."
Dear teachers, let us not be discouraged. Some seed does grow and "gathered in time and eternity, sure will the harvest be."
I have not time to tell you about the other fifteen Sabbath schools in and around New Orleans. They were all as interesting as those I have mentioned. The pastors were kind and helpful, the Lord went before and opened doors and hearts according to his promise. An association met in New Orleans which was attended by many country pastors. After hearing me speak, they invited me to come to their churches. I was permitted during that same year to visit a few.
While visiting in New Orleans I found many homes without Bibles. It is true that in most families only children could read, but even where parents could read, nothing of the Bible was found but a scrap. The agent of the American Bible Society, Mr. Ivy, gave me books on trust to sell, but not to donate, except in rare cases. When I began my country work he said I sold more Bibles than the agents, and he wanted me to become an agent. I said, "No, I am employed by another society, and cannot give all my time to this." "No matter," said he, "take a year if you want for one parish and visit every home. I will give you all the Bibles you wish to donate, letting you use your judgment; but, of course, you will sell all you can. I will also give you five cents for every family you visit." This was certainly a direct answer to prayer. I now could pay the expense of traveling, supply the poor with Bibles, and hire others to help me. We found it pretty hard carrying such loads of books, but would not hire any one to carry them. I cannot now tell how many Bibles were sold and how many donated. I think I began this work in 1876 and continued until 1881. I canvassed ten parishes and parts of three others.
I was assisted, during vacation, by some of the students from Leland--Jonas Henderson, Solomon Clanton, and Frank Long, also Mary Walker, Virginia Johnson, and Cornelia Lewis. Each helped a little. I found Mrs. Ryder, a white woman from the North, whom I employed for two years. We not only sold Bibles, but managed every other phase of our missionary work, and yet it was real colportage work. The minutes of the Colored Baptist State Convention for 1886 records that I sold and donated about $500 worth of books that year, mostly Bibles. So you see we kept on at this kind of work because it was greatly needed, and the Lord supplied the means in answer to the prayer of faith. Hallelujah!
MISS JACKSON. MISS MOORE. MISS WILSON (Mrs. Weaver).
MISS BUTLER. MISS PECK
The first helper God sent to me in New Orleans was Carrie Vaughn. She was young, a good singer and very fond of children. At first she said she couldn't talk in public. "No matter, sing your sweet songs and that's enough," was my reply. One day at a meeting in the country I said, "the children do not understand that hymn, I am tired, you explain it, verse by verse." She began in a clear, interesting manner that charmed both old and young. When I got home I said, "You know what happened to the man that buried his talent? You have a talent for talking to children, I know by the way you explained that hymn." This encouraged her and she proved a useful helper. All enjoyed her singing. After leaving me she became the wife of Rev. G. W. Scott, and accompanied her husband to Japan to share his labor as a missionary.
It was a glad day that brought to my home Alibis Dyer, of Dayton, Ohio, in September, 1876. I had been alone for several months and when I came home tired each evening everything had looked very dark and lonely, but now her sweet young face, her love and her courage shined away the darkness. Yes, she was courageous, nothing was too hard for her to attempt. Once we were preparing for a Christmas tree. We were upstairs in the church down in one of the alleys she saw from the church window a man beating his wife, and flew downstairs. The first thing I knew there stood Abbie grasping the husband's arm and beseeching him not to strike his wife. I feared the police might
come and arrest them. So down I went, but the quarrel was about over. In one of the trips near the Gulf of Mexico, Abbie was taken sick from exposure and was not able to return to the work. But she still lives to bless the world as the wife of Dr. Allen, a fine oculist and aurist.
March, 1877, Dr. and Mrs. Blackwell visited New Orleans and brought me a commission from the Woman's Baptist Home Mission Society. This meant help, prayer, courage, perseverance, and supplies for all hungry hearts and neglected bodies of poor colored people. I thanked God and took courage; it has done more than I then hoped for, because now streams of blessings carry comfort and help to twelve different nationalities besides the negroes. Praise the Lord! The first missionaries they sent me were the immortal Jennie L. Peck, Helen R. Jackson, Agnes Wilson, and Sarah Butler. They were four of the best women that ever lived. I have never ceased to thank God for their help. There they stood with such happy faces, willing hands, and hopeful hearts ready for any work, however hard, that I suggested. It is true they often tired carrying bundles and clothing to the poor, packets of books and papers, from early in the morning till late at night, but without a word of complaint. We were all very happy. My readers need never waste pity on true missionaries, because they are the happiest people in the world. We soon spread out all over New Orleans, Gretna, and Algiers, two towns on the opposite side of the river. Later I took sometimes one and sometimes another to help me in plantation work.
Dear Helen Jackson, after two years with me was transferred to Raleigh, N. C., and later to Richmond, Va. After many years of continuous and fruitful service, she was called from earth to heaven in August, 1898.
Jennie Peck became a general missionary in Texas in 1884, and since 1895 she has been preceptress of the Caroline Bishop Training School for Colored
My Dear Miss Moore:--It was giving the Bible to the people and seeing the wonderful power it had to enlighten the minds, reach hearts, and change lives. Indeed, ever since I have been in the work, that is all that seems to pay. I have never known anything that seemed to me so blessed as what we did when we took our arms full of Bibles and went out to the country to those who had no light.
They read the Bible. God kept His promise and our faith was constantly strengthened as we saw how "The entrance of His word gave light" through the power of the spirit, and their lives were changed by it. If I were writing a book of our work I'd want above all things to make it show to those who read it, the wonderful power of the Word of God. If Christians believed in the Holy Bible as they should, they would hasten to supply the people with Bibles, and then God's cause would prosper.
Dear Sister Peck, I surely agree with your testimony, and along with the Bible should go a spirit-filled teacher, to patiently explain the scriptures, and urge the necessity of daily study. This is the work of our missionaries and of our Fireside Schools.
Agnes Wilson, who has for a number of years been the wife of Rev. Amos Weaver, a Baptist pastor, sends me the following from her journal:
"We landed at a strange place one night, as the boat stopped to take on freight. We never knew at what hour we would reach our destination. We had hard work to find shelter till morning. Finally the woman who kept a store permitted us to go in and we lodged on the counter. As morning dawned we committed Isaiah 41 :10. We found our people at
the church, as this was the Sabbath, teaching the Sunday school with day school books, there being no Bibles. They were raising money for churches by fairs on the Sabbath day. We continued some days at this point. I remember once Kitty Sherwood and I were obliged to leave Osborn Dickerson's church, because the white people who sold liquor were opposed to our temperance and Bible work as it interfered with their business. They wrote threatening letters to us, and told the colored people we must leave.
"Later, Miss Moore took me and went back, entering those same stores, offering them Bibles and teaching temperance to the very persons who had written notes of intimidation. We stayed and finished the canvass. We found that several who had signed the temperance pledge had broken it, the pastor among the number, but they all repented and signed again. I remember one planter who had come from the East, his name was Palmer, his sister had a school for colored children in one room of their residence. They were very kind to their colored neighbors."
Sarah Butler, now the wife of Rev. J. E. Morris, a Baptist minister, sends me this letter :
Dear Miss Moore:--My first trip with you was taken to Napoleonville, Assumption Parish, in 1879. We organized a Sunday school with an enrollment of 29, but during the week we visited the plantations round there and the next Sabbath we had 125 at Sunday school. We organized a temperance society there, but it did not amount to much because we could not get the pastor to sign the pledge. We sold a good many books there and among them fourteen Gospels of St. John in large print. At that time Sister Smith, who was 60 years old, bought one, and in two days learned to read two verses of the 14th chapter. When we went back in a month she could read fourteen verses, and was very happy.
Our next stop was at Rev. Nelson's church. There we had such an interesting teachers' meeting. There were five men, none of whom could read well. We all seated ourselves around a small table, on which was a feeble light, but the men were so interested in the study of the Bible that we had a good time. It was on that trip that one of the good brothers took us a five-mile drive to another church, with mule and cart. The harness on the mule was wonderful. The lines were made of small rope, and all the harness was tied together with strings.
We sat on chairs in the cart but the roads were rough and we were pitched from one side to the other. We enjoyed it, however, and I can see our driver now, laughing heartily and apparently as much amused as we were.
It was on this trip, too, that we had such a hard time to get anything to eat. You made mush for breakfast and then found we had no milk to use with it, and we had to wait until our hostess milked the cow, and then the milk was strained through a dirty cloth. We asked the sister to cook the eggs in the shell, thinking they, at least, would be clean, but when we broke them into our cups, we found that the cups were dirty.
We were out ten days at that time. I visited 119 houses, attended three Sunday schools, two temperance meetings, five children's meetings, and three meetings on the plantations. I sold $15.65 worth of Bibles and Testaments. By the report, you did twice as much. You were with me at some of the meetings, but part of the time at other places.
I sold a Bible to a man who had been preaching seven years and had never owned one. He said he used to go to the school teacher and get her Bible to find a text. Then he hugged his Bible and said, "But now I have one of my own."
Later Agnes (Miss Wilson) and I went again into Assumption Parish. In all we took four trips down
there within a year. We held teachers' meetings, one Sunday school institute, and spent a good deal of time looking after the temperance work. At one church we found eight who had kept the pledge, but four had broken it. Three renewed their pledge, and five more took it, but the minister still held out against it.
At another place eleven had kept their pledges and among them three old men who had been confirmed drunkards. The grocer there was much put out with us, because he couldn't sell as much liquor as before.
At still another church eight had kept the pledge, seven had broken it. Some of these renewed and sixteen others signed. These we asked to stand and Agnes prayed for them.
At our last meeting, thirty-two who were present had kept the pledge but sixteen had broken it, the minister among them. He confessed that he had done wrong, as did the others, and were received back into the society.
We took three trips into Plaquimine Parish, one of the largest in the state. In the upper part were some of the largest plantations I ever saw, but as we went down and came nearer the mouth of the river we found the little rice farms owned by colored as well as whites. All the colored people were Baptists except those belonging to one Methodist church. All the whites were Catholics except those belonging to one Episcopal church. The pastor of this white Episcopal church was very cordial to us and so glad to know that the Bible was being distributed. For thirty-two miles on one side of the river, there were no public schools for the colored children. In that space there were fifteen plantations and one settlement; you can realize how many children were without instruction. Our first trip in this parish was taken November 13, 1879, and we were gone five days. We took a second trip, during which together we made 210 visits, organized three Sunday schools,
attended two others, held five children's meetings, and three Bible readings, visited ten plantations and five settlements, and were gone seven days.
March 6, 1880, we went again for five days. We made 167 visits, organized two Sunday schools, at tended three others, organized one temperance society and held four other meetings, visited four settlements and five plantations, and sold $23 worth of Bibles, Testaments, and hymn books. When we visited a plantation we always asked permission of the planter to visit in the quarters.
If we reached there at noon or night we could have a meeting with the older people, if in the middle of either morning or afternoon we could always get the children. At Magnolia plantation we found a kind planter and a nice class of colored people. These people hired a teacher for themselves. He was a Christian man and carried on the Sunday school for them. At the next two places, Lee's and Woodland, there were about 100 children on each plantation. They had no school and were so dull we couldn't seem to teach them anything. The people wanted Sunday schools, but the pastor on each place was a drinking man and opposed them. It almost caused a quarrel in the church and we gave it up. We visited the churches at St. Sophia and Oakville where Jennie Peck and Abbie Dyer had been two years before. At the former place the Sunday school had been kept up, and although the temperance society had been given up, eight persons had kept their pledges, and at the latter, nine had been equally faithful.
We went to some plantations where there was not a single Bible. It was so at Junior plantation, and we sold one Bible and four Testaments and gave away one. At Deer Range plantation there was no school of any kind and great destitution. The planter's wife didn't want us to go round to the quarters but finally consented. There were a few Christians, and amongst them a young girl named Epsy Cole.
She went with me, and when introducing me at one time said, "This is a sister, just like us." Another time, "She is a Christian, and has the Bible that tells about Jesus."
We spent one Sunday on our first trip in and around the St. James Baptist Church. There was no day school there and the children seemed stupid, but they had a good pastor and the old people seemed anxious to learn. We organized a Sunday school with fifty-eight enrolled. We left them the Sunday school reader and you gave them cards with Bible texts to be learned. These were to be used as prizes for attendance. When we visited them two months later the school was still flourishing, old and young were learning to read, and the old people as well as children would come up in front to recite the verses and receive their Bible cards. Some had earned a large card, having been present five Sabbaths and having learned their verses. In our visit to this place, some of the white women asked us why we wouldn't organize a Sunday school for white children. We said we were willing to, and did so in the afternoon at the school-house. There were forty enrolled, but the school was short lived. One white woman said the colored people were more anxious to learn than the whites.
Thursday, April 15, 1880, we started for St. Landry Parish. Bro. Sam. White had been begging you for a long time to come there. He had bought a new covered buggy to take you around in, and we traveled 158 miles in it. We visited ten churches, held thirty-four meetings. We found great need of temperance work, and 243 signed the pledge. The place of most interest to me was at Bledsaw, Brother John Horn's church. The building was like a great barn, and was filled with people. There were some lights around the pulpit but all the rest was dark. You gave the Bible lesson on Luke 18, and I taught them some songs. Those that could read came to the front and read the Bible verses, and you closed with
a temperance lesson. One brother said he couldn't read very much and he didn't know those verses were in the Bible; when you asked who would sign the pledge, he was the first to come forward. Said he had drank whisky all his life but he could give it up after learning those Bible verses.
We organized a temperance society and this brother was made president. We sold a good many books. Closed the meeting at eleven o'clock, but twenty-four persons followed us to the house where we spent the night. We studied the Sunday school lesson with them, and sang till 1 o'clock, and then had to send them home. Those who hadn't their money with them the night before came back by 4 o'clock the next morning and you got up and sold them books and talked to them. I was so worn out that I remained in bed.
Rev. Osborn Dickerson was a remarkable minister, pastor of a Baptist church on Bayou LaFourche, Louisiana. I often visited his church. He had been well raised in Virginia and taught to read by his mistress, though she knew it was contrary to law. She consented reluctantly to the sale of this favorite slave, because she very much needed the money. She was a widow and her sons thought she was giving this servant too much freedom; he might run away some day. He was sold in 1840 to a trader from New Orleans. His mistress in tears said good-bye, giving him a Bible and hymn book and telling him to read them daily. In New Orleans he was sold to a planter with whom he remained till freedom came. The other slaves told him to burn his books saying, "If you are found with a book you will get a hundred lashes."
He destroyed all but his Bible; that he hid in a hole in the ground under his cabin floor. I will tell you his story in his own words as near as I can remember.
"This Bible I used to dig up and read at midnight when all were asleep, and sing in low tones some of the hymns that I could remember. After a while I became less afraid and would read it late in the evening. Once, near dark, I was sitting away back in my cabin, so interested in reading about the blessed Saviour that I did not hear the master till he stood right over me. 'Osborn,' said he, 'do you know how to read?' 'Yes,' I answered all in a tremble. 'Did you know it against my rules?' 'Yes, I did.' He then snatched the book, tore and threw
it in the fire. That was like taking the very heart out of me. I expected the hundred lashes but I prayed and the master walked out of the cabin without another word. I said, "That is God who shut the lion's mouth; He is the same God to-day." I had been preaching to the slaves about Jesus and singing the hymns that I could remember. Several got religion and one of them was Stephen, the servant who waited on master. He had been with him many years, had nursed him when a child. About a year after the loss of my Bible this servant got sick and died. The master was mighty sorry. As he sat by the bedside when he was dying, Stephen said, 'Master, I have one request to make; will you grant it?' 'Yes, Stephen, anything you want I would do,' 'Well, after I am dead, please master, let Osborn bury me. Let him sing and pray at my grave.' This the master promised. The cart came and carried the coffin to the servant's graveyard. The master was there on horseback, the other friends standing around the grave. I prayed and repeated some verses about the resurrection and sang, lining out the hymn. When I came to the words, 'The tall, the wise, the reverent head must be as low as ours,' the master uttered a cry and fell from his horse. The servants carried him away. The next morning he sent for me. Now again I prayed to Daniel's God, for I feared master would stop my preaching. 'Osborn,' said he, 'you may teach your religion here on my place as much as you like and as you have time to preach, but do not go onto any other plantation, for it is against the law. And you must be as quiet as you can.' That is the way the Lord opened the Red Sea for me. I never got another Bible until the Yankees came. The first thing I said to them was, 'Give me a Bible'; and I got one. That was as great a joy to me as freedom." I've not time to tell you his whole story, but Osborn Dickerson believed in prayer. He was a man of considerable intelligence, and very
much of a gentleman in his manners. He continued pastor until his death.
The following account of the Rev. Thomas Peterson, of New Orleans, was given by himself, and those who knew of him testify to its truthfulness:
"I was sold in New Orleans when very young for $350, and converted about twenty years before freedom. God taught me how to read. I was forbidden to preach, but God called me and I did preach. Five times I got one hundred lashes for telling about the God who saved me. I suppose they would have killed me, only I was a good servant to work. They said I took the time that belonged to my master; but God was my master. When freedom came I went up and down the river and preached. All were Catholics,
but before 1870 I had more than fifty churches organized." I met with his association the year I came to New Orleans. He introduced me as follows:
"I have been up and down the Mississippi River, organized fifty churches and told them all I know. Now I turn you all over to Sister Moore. She is calculated to build you up. She knows the Bible all by heart, because she has showed me some points I did not see before." I went out in the country to most of his fifty churches and had a chance to show them "several points they had not seen before."
Rev. Peterson was a Baptist but his work was independent. He lacked the humility and meekness of Dickerson, but his work needed boldness. He was a good man. I have read the Bible with him often and always found him teachable and thankful for my help. I visited him a short time before his death and prayed with him. His faith was very strong in God. Peterson was the kind of man out of which martyrs are made.
I wish I had time to tell you of George Armstead, of Napoleonville, who carried Sarah Butler and me to the surrounding plantations in 1879. Jeff Rhodes of Thibodeaux, was another remarkable character; also Daniel King of St. James's Parish, and others that I could mention. I doubt if we have any ministers to-day who are more devout or more useful in their day than were those I have mentioned and several others in New Orleans and throughout Louisiana, who held onto truth and justice and lived good, pure lives amid many temptations and discouragements. Surely their memories should be lovingly cherished. In the early days of my mission work in the South, I met a great many of these old slaves-- leaders of their people, both men and women, noble, talented characters of which any race might be proud. Oh! if they had only had a chance!
The most pitiful objects that I found in New Orleans were the old freed women worn out with years of slavery. They were, usually, rag-pickers and had a little hut where they lodged at night, and ate old scraps they had begged during the day. There was in the city an Old Ladies' Home but no department for colored, and there was no almshouse. These old people you sometimes found upon the streets, because, for some reason, they had been turned out of their little corner and had nowhere else to go. Sometimes the police took them up and lodged them in the parish prison; they were soon turned out of this because they were guilty of no offense but old age, poverty, and sickness. The colored people had tried several times to collect money for a home, but something always happened to the treasurer before they got enough to open a home.
For two years I made this a subject of prayer. But nothing else was done until December, 1878, when I called together those whom I thought the most interested of both colored and white friends, and for several weeks we met and unitedly asked God to supply this great need.
About the last of January, 1879, the Lord said, "Go forward!" Deacon Lease (white) was selected to hunt a house which he soon found. The first story was fitted up for the home for the aged and our missionaries moved into the second story. I first prayed for some one to take care of and cook for these old pilgrims. Kittie Lewis was the answer to this prayer. I wish you could have seen her. She was about seventy years old, tall and as dignified as a
queen, and wore her turban as gracefully. While a slave she was the head cook and general manager in the home of a rich planter. She was a good Christian, and had correct ideas about most things. I had never met her and the first day she came to my home
GROUP OF COLRED WOMEN IN FAITH HOME,
NEW ORLEANS, IN 1898
she said, "Sister Moore, I am Kittie Lewis. The Lord showed me in a vision that I must come and help you take care of these babies (as she called the old slaves). I am old but I have good health and know how to cook, and I want to help you missionaries that the Lord has sent down into this low ground of sorrow. Now I am ready to go to work." This and more she said in a very direct, business-like way. I accepted her as God's gift; she did not ask for any money. Dear Kittie certainly was a Godsend and remained as long as I had charge of the home,
leaving the day I left, because she would not serve under a colored matron.
Our first inmate, Sally Henderson, a rag-picker, old, dirty, cross, fretful, sick, was received Feb. 1, 1879. She had been unkindly treated for so long that she thought no one loved her, and I am sure she did not love any one, and yet she was a Christian, but down in a very low class, of which we still have so many in our churches. Brother Wilson had a cart, in which for more than a year he brought the old people to the home without charge. He did not at first know my plan to leave the old rags behind. Poor Sally had several bags of them[.] I succeeded in burning some of them but it almost broke her heart. I offered her nice, new garments, but she preferred the old rags, because, she said, "I am used to these."
We had the same trouble with most of our inmates and yet we found among these neglected ones a few real saints from whom I learned many lessons of gratitude. I had saved up $55 with which we began. Within one month we had five inmates; that money was all gone and some additional smaller gifts. But our motto over the mantel said, "The Lord will provide," and in that our faith rested as we prayed and according to the promise to supply our need, a check for $15 from E. C. Prudden, of Wheaton, Ill., came the very day it was greatly needed. Two years later she gave us $450 to help pay for the property. I had met this friend the preceding summer and told her about my old women, but she had not heard that the home was started. But the spirit that moved us to pray, said to her, "Send this money to Sister Moore for the old people." I wish I had time to tell you of the many remarkable answers to prayer in that blessed home. We never went in debt, but when the "oil and meal" were nearly gone the old sisters joined with me in asking supplies from our Heavenly Father. They all knew that God was our treasurer.
The first year we sheltered twenty-two weary pilgrims; none of them were well; six were crippled, one blind, and two, unable to leave their cots, were cared for like babies. I must say a word about two or three of "our babies." Harriet Taylor, a poor drunken woman whom I often found in an Irish woman's saloon, after much coaxing I finally persuaded to come and see my home. She was partly drunk; I led her to the street car, and because it was nearly dark, I succeeded in getting the wretched woman in the street car. My home was one block from the car line and I had hard work to drag her into the house; she was determined to go back. We could not do much with her that night, and the next morning she asked for whisky, and said she would die if she did not get it. Once she had been a professing Christian. I said, "Harriet, whisky is killing your soul and body. We will ask God to take away this wicked appetite, then if you believe, you will be saved." We prayed, and, glory to God, the answer came. Some days after Harriet said, "I don't study about whisky, I prays and prays; sometime I feel light and happy and sometimes low down and sorrowful, but I keeps on praying."
Harriet was brought to the home a perfect wreck and yet God restored her physical health so that she was a great help in taking care of Margaret Jones, a precious saint of whom I must also tell you. She was about one hundred years old. She had fallen on a pavement in December, and was never afterward able to walk. A kind-hearted sister gave her a room in which there was no fire; different persons brought her something to eat. The day I found her she was about to be turned out of this shelter. I brought her to my home and laid her on a cot and took care of her for more than two years, and then she moved to heaven. I wish you could have heard her say for every favor received, "Thank you, master, Jesus," and often with tears of gratitude rolling down her withered cheeks, she would turn and thank
the one that brought the gift from Jesus. Harriet had never met Margaret before, and yet she cared for her as tenderly as any daughter could for a mother. We had several inmates who were addicted to drink. All were not so completely saved as Harriet.
One day in my visits, I saw a little child leading a blind woman across one of the back streets; she walked very slowly. I asked where she lived, and we climbed a dirty stairway. "Here," she said, "this is my home." I asked "Where is your bed?" "I sleep on the floor in one corner, this little girl's mother allows me to have." "Have you a home in heaven?" "No, I have no home on earth or in heaven," and the tears flowed from her sightless eyes. I said, "Wait here till I come back." I went out and made inquiry about her and all the neighhors said, "Do take her to the home." This I did but the car-drivers did not want to take such a filthy object into the cars. They did not see the immortal soul that now shines in glory. After several attempts we succeeded in crowding in. When I got home, which was long after dark, because poor, blind Lucy could walk so slowly. Kittie Lewis was feeling anxious lest something had happened to me, so she met me at the door. "What is that thing?" said she with contempt as the light revealed Lucy. "A human being for whom Christ died," I replied. "Oh, Sister Moore, you do not know the dirt and disease you are bringing into this home, you will ruin us." At first she did not want to help wash Lucy, but when I had all ready she came saying, "You go away, I will do this." Soon after Lucy was converted. She met me one evening, exclaiming, "Oh, Sister Moore, I have seen Jesus, and now I have a home on earth and one in heaven."
Jane Burk was about one hundred years old and was quite active. She knew how to care for the sick, of whom we had many. She was our peacemaker, and such persons are much needed in all homes, especially one like ours, where dwelt so
many old bodies and souls, weary and full of pain and unhappiness. Every little thing hurt them. We feel that those younger and stronger often lack the tender sympathy that God wants us to give to those who have long borne the heat and burden of the day.
Patsy Pashaw, one of our inmates, was a character that any one could love. She was reared in Virginia and could read and write; she and her husband were sold to a trader and auctioned off in New Orleans about forty years previous. She was sold to a citizen of New Orleans; she begged him to buy her husband but he would not. He took Patsy home, but for three days she refused to eat, weeping bitterly. He was a humane man, and, for pity's sake, bought the husband. This bound her to the family by cords of love. Shortly after his wife died, leaving two children in Patsy's care. The father was now an invalid and very poor, the family having lost all their property. They were Catholics. Patsy was a strong Baptist, and still had her Bible and hymn-book which she brought from Virginia. The white children she had reared begged me to take Patsy into the home as they were unable to care for her. I said, "I'll send a cart for her," for she had been unable to leave her bed for several years, and they had cared for her. "Oh, no," said the daughter, "I never send my mammy in a cart, we will get a hack and bring her if it takes the last cent." So the brother and sister brought her, carried her in, laid her on the cot, knelt beside her and wept like children, while Patsy's old black hand wiped their tears away and she comforted them with loving words as I suppose she did when they were little children. They came to see her as often as possible. Patsy was a real lady of culture, fond of flowers and pretty things. One morning her face fairly shone; I asked, "Patsy, what makes you look so happy?" "O, Sister Moore, Jesus came last night and told me He
had my mansion ready." That light never left Patsy's face until Jesus took her into the light of heaven.
I've told you about the good folks. I like to remember them. But surely we did have some rough, coarse natures with which to deal. One was Patience Jorum. She would take her staff and strike the others if they offended her. Yet she insisted that she was a Christian, and that the Lord gave her a spear and he said, "My little one, go into yonder world and spear my people." To which command she was very faithful. I am sorry the world has so many like her. A large number died in our home because they were very old and sick when we took them in; and because those admitted were both old and sick. We not only cared for their worn bodies, but directed them to the Great Physician, and none left our home before giving evidence of readiness for the home in heaven.
I wish I could introduce you to our more than forty inmates, and show you how beautiful they grew under the culture of God's word. We repeated texts in the dining-room, prayer-room, everywhere. They could memorize only one each month. Did prayers alone supply our needs, you ask? I answer, "Yes"; letters often came inclosing money, sometimes without any name, and provisions were received when we did not know the donor. Persons in the North that I had never seen sent boxes of clothing. I wish you could have seen our old folks when we dressed them up on Sundays and state occasions--white turbans, white neck-handkerchiefs, and gingham aprons--they never felt dressed without an apron. When these gifts came I wrote grateful letters and told of the work being done. At the end of the year, I published a report and sent it to all who had helped, and so the good news spread, not by telling what we were going to do, but by praising God for what had been done. The fact that something has been done encourages individuals
to give. The colored churches in New Orleans began also to contribute monthly, and the little children from the Sabbath schools came trooping in with glad songs and put their offering of money and provisions in the old wrinkled hands and received a "God bless you." Once George W. Cable sent me ten dollars. Rev. Hartzell, now Bishop Hartzell, did the same, also Dr. Holcome, and other white people in New Orleans. I remained in charge about three years and stood by the work until the property, which cost $1,500, was paid for. The price was $2,500, but in answer to prayer, the owner donated $1,000 without being asked to do so. I then gave it into the hands of the colored Baptists with the earnest request that they would not go into debt. They tried to obey, but when hungry, incurred debt, saying as an excuse, "Sister Moore, we are trusting God to get us out of debt, which is just as good as to give us money before we go in debt." Their philosophy is very popular to-day. But notwithstanding all mistakes, that "Faith Home" has lived twenty-four years, and to-day shelters many poor of New Orleans. To God be all the glory!
Our readers must not think it was an easy task to manage that home. No, verily! And yet I count my work there as one of my greatest blessings. The missionaries assisted me as far as they had time, and Jennie Peck took charge when I was away from home. This home is only one of the many proofs that God hears and answers prayer.
Before I close this narrative I must refer to a lesson I learned in this home, and one I have to review daily or I forget. It is this:
I've told you how repulsive the most of those old people were to me. God showed me that I only pitied them but did not love them, as Christ loved me
when I was all covered with sin and was in rebellion against Him. I did not love even to shake their hands, and yet I would have shared my last piece of bread with them. I knew this feeling was wrong and spent many hours in prayer for a baptism of love. One night I received the answer to my prayer. The next morning we rang the bell as usual for prayers and the old people came tottering in. (The cots for the two who never left their beds were in the prayer-room.) Our lesson was Luke 23:27-45. I read the comforting words of Jesus to the weeping women with tears in my voice, when I came to "Father forgive them, they know not what they do," we all burst into tears and fell on our knees and prayed. After prayer the old people gathered around me saying, "Sister Moore, we will not worry you any more. We'll be good." They saw they could put their arms around me and I let them, for my heart was full of love. After this it was easier for me to control them. I did not need to say in words that I loved them. They read in the touch of my hand and the tone of my voice. O, God, I long to be always full of this overflowing love of God--a love that all the coldness and ingratitude of earth cannot chill.
Referring to my first annual report of "Faith Home," I find the following record:
In starting this home I hoped to accomplish three things: 1. To care for the aged poor. 2. To teach greater faith in God's promises. I found some who were willing to join hands with me on the faith principle, namely: to begin with one inmate and enlarge as the Lord sent the means, having no capital but the promises of God, but believing that the daily presentation of these at the bank of heaven would bring needed supplies, and that there would never be any need of going in debt, if we allowed God to direct the amount which we should spend.
3. We hoped also that this home would teach the
people the Bible plan of giving--to lay by from their income a portion for the Lord as He should prosper them, each according to his ability and not resort to such wrong methods as suppers, concerts, fairs and such things, and going about begging contributions from the world.
JOANNA P. MOORE IN 1880
In September, 1874, early one Sabbath day, I went up the river in a boat to visit Rev. Peterson's church; it was raining and they thought I would not come. I made some visits and said we must get the people together and organize a Sabbath school. It was then nearly noon and they thought I could only eat in a white man's house and so sent me to one of their friends, with a boy for a guide. "How far is it?" I said. "Only up dar," said the boy, but "up dar" meant two miles in the mud. After a little lunch, I returned through the mud and rain the two weary miles. So much for yielding to prejudice. We organized the school and had a meeting of two and a half hours. They took me back in a cart as I was too weary to walk. The next morning I visited another plantation. Wherever I called, the women and children would accompany me to the next cabin, and when we left this one we were recruited by its inmates and so on until I had a large crowd. Then we stopped and had a Bible reading of at least an hour. That was my usual plan of work on those plantations. I found no trouble getting a congregation or pulpit.
About noon, on the Sunday of which I speak, we went in a skiff up the river about five miles to Palmer Elkin's church. They had expected us the day before and so were not ready for us. But I visited and had a meeting as usual during the afternoon and another in the cabin where I lodged until late at night. The next morning a large congregation met me and we organized a Sabbath school, a new thing for both of these churches. The pastor
could read a little and we made him superintendent. Through the Sabbath school we led the young people into the churches, for even as early as this many of them were losing their interest in the preaching. Through the Sabbath school many also learned how to read. In 1879 myself and others helped to organize seventy-five new Sabbath schools. They would run for a month or six weeks and then die. We started them off again the next time we visited them and so kept on, until they were strong enough to run the year through. I do not sing. You ask how I could get along without music. I found no difficulty. I had my Bible and with that I could interest an audience two hours, and even when I had those with me who understood music I found that best of all were the
"Beautiful words of the Bible!
Tender and strong and true!
Beautiful words of the Bible!
Old, but yet ever new."
So much singing in all our churches leaves so little time for the Bible lesson. I often wish the choir and the organ might be silenced and the people listen to God direct from His word, which brings conviction to hearts that remain untouched by pulpit eloquence and music. I remember sitting in a church beside a friend who seemed spellbound with the music. I softly asked, "Do you know the words of that hymn ?" "O, no, but the music is grand." "Poor child," I said to myself, "it is the melody in the ear that charms you, it does not touch your spiritual nature, nor will it help you to live a better life."
The colored people loved the Bible in those days; now they listen to organs and choirs like white folks. Do not misunderstand me. I do love music that impresses the meaning of words. But no one climbs to heaven on musical scales. We make too much of the art or science of music, also of the eloquence 85 of the preacher. O, teachers, when your children ask for bread why do you give them a stone?
There were many little villages up and down the banks of the Mississippi where only colored people lived; they called them "free towns." Some one or a number of persons together bought a small tract of land and sold it out in lots. I found the people generally more anxious to own a home then than they are now. Perhaps one reason is that since then many have been driven away from the homes they purchased. I knew many then who went two and three miles from their work on the plantation so as to rest at night in their own homes. These were usually the better class of laborers. I remember a white man who owned a large plantation and was complaining that the laborers moved so often. I said, "Cut a slice off your farm and sell it in lots to each laborer, taking a mortgage until he pays for it. Then when his home is near you he will take a greater interest in your property." But he said, "No, that will ruin my plantation and ruin colored people." So you see it was a difficult matter for the negro to own a home there. I have known a great many who have paid for their homes with long years of toil and then because of some flaw in the deed caused by their ignorance of law or something of that kind, have lost all. Many others have been driven away from their home because of perjudice. Do not blame our dear people till you hear both sides of the story.
In Southern Louisiana our Bible readings during the winter were usually held in private houses because the churches were very open and seldom any fire. Sometimes there was a log heap fire outside the church where we went out to warm and came in to get cold. I never tried the going out, talking and being on my feet kept me warm. In my travels
over the plantation I seldom retired until after twelve. We usually organized some kind of work, Sabbath schools, temperance societies, or woman's missions. After the general meeting closed at the church the officers of these followed me to my lodging place to get an extra lesson respecting their duties. Often I took these trips alone, no one seemed strong enough for the journey, or there was not money to pay railroad fare for two.
Let me tell you about a meeting in a little free town about two miles from the village. I came there in the morning and drummed up a meeting, as we say, for the women and children, and a few men, which lasted from two until five in the afternoon, but it was quite cold, so at night we met in a private house. Forty-five persons were crowded into that little room. Many of them were young people who had learned to read. I supplied the people with Bibles in those days. Oh, these meetings were wonderful inspirations to me! Like Paul's they often continued till midnight, but there was no sleeping Eutychus present. I had been traveling for seven days, and working at least eighteen hours out of the twenty-four, and yet this meeting kept me wide awake. I can shut my eyes and see that eager company. The teachers in churches with cushioned pews seldom get up the enthusiasm we felt standing close together, reading by dim light. There was not much singing; they could sing after I was gone, but that sweet old book, the Bible, was the great attraction. Pastor, if you want to feed your flock, and keep them interested, let them all have their Bibles, and each read verse about, and search in every corner of every verse. The answer to most questions are right there, if you look sharp and read and reread. Our meeting finally ended. The family gave me a bed in a cold room. I was very weary, fell asleep, and awoke in about an hour with a hard chill. I called the wife. She came to me, her husband arose and made the fire; the mattress was carried
out and laid on the hearth. Some of the sisters came in to help care for me, but the chill continued until 10 a. m. the next day. They wanted to go for a doctor. I said, "No." They did go, but he was not at home. The poor people were always much alarmed when I was sick in their homes, because, they said, "If you die here white folks will say we didn't take care of you, and your friends in the North will say the same." (I have several times been dangerously sick.) Two of the women came to me in great distress that day and said, "Sister Moore, I fear you will die." I asked, "Is there a road to heaven from this little room, if so all right." Then they laughed, and I laughed, too, but I told them not to fear for I was immortal and could not die until my work was done. By noon I was able to sit up. They got a buggy and took me to the village where a meeting was appointed for 2:00 p. m. I conducted the meeting, got well, and went on with my work.
When I traveled over the country I carried my black-board illustrations on a large piece of paper. I drew them with colored crayon, and pinned them up to the walls of the cabin or church. One was called "Wings and Weights," to explain Col. 3d chapter.
I drew two ladders, reaching from earth to heaven. A man on the lower round of one with the weights mentioned in Col. 3:5-9 fastened to his feet, arms, back, head, etc., therefore he stuck and could not move an inch. On the other ladder was a man just flying up towards heaven with the wings given in Col. 3:10-17, fastened all over him. How eagerly they listened. It was a joy to teach them God was with me.
Another lesson was on "Home." I drew a large house. It had a door called "Watchfulness"; windows, "Cheerfulness"; kitchen, "Economy and Health"; bedroom, "Cleanliness and Purity. "A lamp called love, from which streamed golden rays
into every corner of the house. Above the door I said was written, "Watch to keep whisky and all bad company out, and yourselves from the saloon, your children off the streets." Over the window, "Be always pleasant and kind, let the children be joyful at home, encourage each other as much as possible."
The people were too extravagant. They did not know how to save or how to cook. I pictured a sweet wife with a clean dress, a glad welcome for her husband, who first saw that wood and water were in and then sung the crying baby to sleep, instead of scolding because supper was not ready. I had much to say about the bedroom. That lamp with the love streaming all over the house was the climax. One night as I was teaching the lesson, a poor wretch of a man walked right up to me saying, "I once had a home just like that, but it is gone. My wife is dead, my sins killed her. My children have gone to the bad," and then he burst into tears and cried like a child. I took his hand tenderly and we sank on our knees. I prayed: I think all in the house were in tears. Then I told them how to be loving and kind and patient with each other's faults, and keep sacred the marriage vows. All hearts were tender and the lesson found its way in. Praise the Lord for His presence and power!
My charts about temperance and missions, found on page 243, always helped to impress the truth. Many of them said I thought all the world had the gospel but we poor black people. I placed in many churches and homes the motto, "Christ is the Head of this House," and said carry all your disagreements to the Head of the house, and don't say, "I'm boss here."
As I speak of this country work I am often asked, "What kind of a bed did you have and what did you have to eat?" and all such questions. The laws of sight say you cannot see two objects clearly at the same time. Now I was so intently seeing
those men, women, and children that other things only got a passing glance. It was the immortal soul that I saw distinctly and the almost crushed to death intellect of those dear black people. I rememer that they were very poor, that often there was only one spoon for the whole large family with which to sugar their coffee, and sometimes there was no sugar for the coffee. The beds were soiled and hard, and I also remember how glad they were to share all with me. One night I slept in the only bed and the wife and three children on the floor with only a blanket over them, while the husband went--I do not know where for his bed. Since I have been North these last years I have often thought that the larger the house the less room. The same is often true of the richer colored people. I know we rode in a cart from one plantation to another with old chairs for seats, and that the harness was composed of leather, rags, and twine; but since I had no better to give them and they had not better and no money to buy better I was polite enough not to call attention to these deficiencies, but I did teach temperance and economy. Yes, I have taught economy North and South with all my might. If you, dear reader, only used your money for comfort and health you might be able to help those poor people and then sit down and show them how to live decently, and in order. This I did when it was practical, as all who know me will bear testimony. It will not pay to tell you about the broken chairs, the scant raiment, the dirty dishes, the soiled bedding, but this I know, I slept sweetly usually from 1 a. m. to 5 a. m. in each night. I seldom on these trips retired till after midnight. The God who shut the lion's mouth must have closed the mouths of certain troublesome insects so that they did not trouble me, and though the food was not healthy yet God kept me well and vigorous so that I could be used to do His work. Glory to His name.
Perhaps some extracts from my diary may throw further light on my country work, and the condition of the people at that time, in the early 80's.
While waiting at the depot for the train, I show the agent my temperance dynamite, and ask him if we can have "no license law" in this parish. He says: "Yes, if it were not for the niggers," and remarks, "Liquor is as free as water in this parish." I ask him to explain, and he replies: "Every storekeeper treats all who come into his store to buy. It is the custom to give free drinks. I have been a merchant for years and have given away barrels of whisky. This custom has only been since the war." I said, "You do it as a bait to win their custom." "It is done for some purpose," he remarked. "Any one can get at least two or three drinks if he asks for them in any of the stores." I then saw how this was a scheme to cheat the poor colored man, who is especially fond of liquor, and when he is a few drams ahead he will buy anything they ask him to buy; but I said this only to myself.
The train is here, and I go on to Morrow Station, eight miles distant. No one here to meet me, as they promised. I introduce myself to a colored man, who goes off and hunts up a colored woman. She takes me half a mile to the home of an old sister, who is delighted to see me, and says she has often heard of Sister Moore. She owns forty acres here and has a good crop. She is a widow. She calls her grandson to get the buggy and carry me to Big Cane, a church six miles distant. Meanwhile she gives me supper, and while I am eating, a boy comes from Big Cane for me. By this time the family are all in. They have left the cotton patch, which is near by. I read the Bible and have prayer. Only one of all the number here can read, and she is not a good reader. The boy has left his buggy at the depot. Nine of the company follow us to the depot. It is now sundown, consequently it is long after dark before we reach our destination. Bettie Hicks,
my hostess, has a fire and supper--for supper, squirrel and cornbread, that and nothing more. I am very cold, but as soon as supper is over we start for church, one mile distant. No stove or fire in the church, but there is one outside. You can go out and warm in the cold wind by the fire. There are quite a number present, many of them children. The teacher here is also a preacher, and he seems glad to have me come. He says "his scholars want to be Christians." They are poorly clad. I fear they will freeze. I talk to them from John 3: 14-18: "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," etc. All give good attention and I believe some have really grasped the plan of salvation. Quite a number of older people are here now. I show my temperance dynamite and talk a little about missions.
At last we are home again. Such a little mite of a house--about 7xI4 feet! The father and son go to sleep at a neighbor's. I used to know Bettie the wife and the children--boy fourteen, girls twelve and ten years old. Bettie and the children can all read a little. We have had a nice fireside talk, Bible lesson and prayer. It is now twelve o'clock, so we retire.
Next morning at nine we go back to the school. I hear some recitations and talk to the children. They have remembered nearly all my last night's lesson. At half-past eleven a. m. Bettie and I start in the buggy for another church, three miles distant. They did not receive the right notice. No one ready to hear, but we send around and hunt up the women and have a meeting. All are discouraged. We made them a visit last summer and started mission work, but they say no money must go outside of their church. They are too poor and need it all. The children would not attend the sewing-schools and parents are too lazy and ungrateful towards those who wanted to help them. All the women said with one voice: "We will not bother with them any more." Sunday school closed. The preacher only
comes here once a month. No stove in the church. everybody looks cross and defiant. Now what shall we do? Go and tell Jesus. Then we have a quiet little talk and find that the children did piece one quilt, sold it for one dollar, and that they gave to missions. Besides, several of the children know "Right Hand Glove" and some of the rules of politeness in "Helps." Quite encouraging. Now I really have found something to praise.
One young lady who can read says she will go on with the work with the children, and one sister offers the use of her house, as there is no fire in the church. But they need all the money and will not give any away. I read the "Commission" and reminded them that the Spirit told them when they were converted: "Go ye into yonder world, and tell both saint and sinner what a dear Saviour ye have found." (Many of the colored people tell this experience.) Then I tell about the 856,000,000 that have never even heard that there is a "dear Saviour," and here I have found several good Christian women who have resolved they never shall hear if they can help it. Then I read Romans 10: 12-16: "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him," etc. After that read W. W. Colley's letter from Africa and pray.
Now I have talked till my throat is tired. It is five and one-half p. m. I drink coffee and eat cornbread and pork, then start for Morrow Station, eight miles distant; go to a little cabin, wait till ten and one-half p. m. for the train--no depot here--get to Alexandria at 2 a. m., sleep till 7 a. m. This is Saturday; leave at 9 a. m. for La Moria, arrive at 11 a. m. It rains --yes pours down--no one at the depot for me. I get into a cane-wagon and ride a mile in the rain to the house of the Sunday school superintendent. Started a Sabbath school here in June this year. This is my third visit, but the first for four months. The school has lived all the time.
A great revival; forty-one baptized; they say it is the result of our Sabbath school work. Many of them are the scholars of the Sunday school. The pastor is very ignorant; cannot read many verses in the Bible correctly. He is a good man in some ways. Notwithstanding the rain, several of the young converts have come to see me. Now it is night; we have a Bible-reading.
It is now 11 p. m., Saturday. My throat again too tired to talk any more. Such a cold house--we shall freeze to-night! No! No. I have repeated several times, Ps. 4:8, "I will both lay me down in peace and sleep: for thou Lord only makest me dwell in safety."
Sabbath morning, 9 a. m. At Sunday school no fire--a little stove, but no wood,--we gather sticks and make a fire. About twenty are present. We have a Sunday school, but all suffer with the cold. The sun comes out; it is now twelve [p. m.] The old people are here; quite a congregation; many of the converts. I teach them the lesson of "home" that I have taught so often lately. Then we have a missionary meeting; reports from a few women, $2 for missions. We talk about the Sunday school and finally decide to divide it into four branches to meet in the homes of the sisters in four different neighborhoods from 12 to 2 p. m. This will not interfere with the regular Sunday school for all who can attend it, and this arrangement only to last during the cold weather. I will let you know how it succeeds. It is now four p. m.--a long session--but one thing ran into another in such a way that it did not seem long. Now it is seven p. m. A company of fifteen are here for a Bible-reading in the cabin where I am to stay all night. Wish I could tell you about our lesson. Eleven p. m. I am again tired.
Monday, 8 a. m. I am on my way to the depot for Lacompt. Have sold seven dollars worth of books to these people, and ordered them seven dollars worth more. Feel quite sure that this dark
place has brightened since last June. Ten a. m. No one at Lacompt to meet me. I go to the Quarters. It is very cold, and I am threatened with a chill. I find a quiet little cabin and try to get warm. Too sick to do anything to-day or to-night, only talk to a few women who come in. There has been a revival here, but the Sunday school is dead.
Tuesday morning. I am better; have had a two hours' talk with the pastor; things look a little dark. If I had more strength I might brighten up things a little. Now I have a children's meeting. Find they remember much that we taught them last year. One young man promises to open a Sunday school in his home next Sabbath. Leave for Alexandria at four p. m. Arrive at 6:30. We have a meeting appointed for to-night. I go to the church. Door locked, no light; go to a neighbor's, hunt up the key and have a light. Now we have fourteen present--all discouraged. I read about Noah, and tell them the right road is never crowded. Read Matt. 7:13-14. "Enter ye in at the straight gate." Most of my talk is for my own heart but it has helped the others. Now we have a good meeting and all seem encouraged, even myself.
Wednesday, Nov. 26th, 11 a. m. I have been around visiting--all but two of my women discouraged: the sisters are indolent. This is the harvest of the year, making sugar, picking cotton, etc. All are busy--it is cold and no fire in the open churches; makes it hard to have meetings, and yet the great reason is that we do not put God's work first.
You will know that a race of slaves who never read a Bible would have to depend upon direct revelation from God for much of their religious faith. It required much time and thought to show them the value of daily Bible study. We needed to write and say much on this subject. The following was read at a Pastors' and Teachers' Institute and before several associations and in connection with the special Baptist Pastor's Course at Leland University in 1881, and it was requested by all for publication.
I mention this general endorsement of the paper in 1880, because it shows the great progress made among colored pastors by that time in regard to the importance of Bible study, and at the same time, the still pressing need of stimulating it. Here is the paper:
The Bible is a personal letter from God to his family on earth. Part of it is addressed to his saved children and part to those lost in sin; part to the weak and part to those who are stronger, and part to the faithful and part to the backslider. Then there is advice to children, to parents, to husband, to wife. There is a lesson in it for all, for every situation in life. It is all in one book, but how shall we find the part that is fitted for each one. This is a great question--the answer is partly given in 2 Timothy 2: 15. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Yes, it must be divided and rightly divided. We will liken it to a doctor's shop;
there is medicine for fevers, for colds, for small-pox, etc. What shall the doctor do? Snatch up a bottle anywhere and hand it to any patient, no matter what his disease is? Is that the doctor's duty? Would you employ such a doctor? No, no. You say I would not. But that is the way many of the soul doctors do. Perhaps you say no to that. Well tell me how many of them can turn to the verse that suits a backslider? that would help a doubting Christian; that would lead an inquirer to Christ; the verse to give a proud Christian, and so on through all the diseases of the soul. Hand them a Bible to-day and see how many can do it. Then how many can sit down and talk with the patient and find out just the medicine he needs? Not one in twenty. Why? They have not studied the human heart as it is explained and shown to us in the looking-glass of God's work.
The Bible tells about sin in its different stages, and how Jesus, the great physician, has prepared the medicine; how to give it, and the part for each troubled soul. It is all there. It also shows where Satan's traps are, and we, as the guardian of souls, should be able to point them out to the young and ignorant. This is surely a great work and a great study, and should make us tremble lest we make a mistake; because a mistake about the soul will last throughout eternity. God says, "Whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me," etc., Matthew 18:6. How terrible to offend or lead astray a human being. We must be careful that our teaching does not lead people astray. To be put in trust with the gospel is a great trust. Now what shall we do? "Search the scriptures," John 5:39. Look carefully, examine closely. This is what search means. Be sure you know the meaning of every word. Have your dictionary by your side. Do not run over one word till you have the clear meaning. The Jews had read the scriptures, but they had not searched them, or they would have
known that Jesus was the true Saviour. "You believe in them," he said, "and they testify of me." Only search and you will see. Don't attempt to explain a passage of scripture till you have searched it. I have often asked persons to explain a text of scripture when I knew it was the first time they had read it, because they said so; and yet they would begin right off without giving it any study. I supposed they would say, "No, Sister Moore; I do not know its meaning. You tell me what it means." But no, they did not say that. I am surprised to see so many people who want to preach, and some do not even know how to read the message God has given them, to say nothing of explaining it; and, if I ask them to sit down and read a chapter with me, they do not want to do it. They say the Spirit teaches them what to say. So it does. In John 14:26 we read that it teaches, and how it teaches, namely: by bringing to remembrance all things whatsoever I have said unto you. But how can you remember what you have not heard?
You must know the Bible. It is the standard by which we examine and test the doctrines and teachings we hear. We must bring all and examine it by the law and the testimony, Is. 8:20. All acknowledge the Bible is a "lamp unto our feet and light unto our path," Ps. 119. The Bible is on our pulpits but it is not studied, and this is principally why the people do not know how to study it. They have not been trained in that direction. Now how shall we train them to see? The "comfort of the scriptures," Rom. 15:4; "their power build you up," Acts 20:32; their power to "sanctify," John 17:17. That only by knowing the scriptures can they be furnished or fitted for all good works, Tim. 3:16-17.
This is a great question and should command the attention of every good teacher in Louisiana, and if they are good teachers they will direct their energies to this point. Jesus said in his day that they erred because they did not know the scriptures. Jesus
himself was constantly saying, "It is written, 'His sword is the word of God,'" Eph. 6. There are thirty-two thousand exact quotations from the Old Testanient in the New Testament, and one hundred and twenty that are not exact but mean the same, but are not quite the same in words. The history of God's people in the Old Testament was written for our admonition and instruction "upon whom the ends of the world have come," 1st Cor. 10:11; by this we understand that all the light that went before is now gathered up for our pathway, and here we sit in darkness, the light all shut out by our traditions and superstitions. How many times have I heard teachers of the gospel tell mourners not to bother with the Bible now, but go to God and He would teach them; and when I would take my Bible and tell them what God said, I have been told: "Sister Moore, leave them people with God." And what is the result of all this? They have come into the church on the foundation, not of Christ, but of dreams and visions--"travels," as they call them, and six months after they are back in the world. A short time ago I listened to perhaps twenty converts and backsliders tell their experience, which was received and they taken into the church, and yet in their experience, Jesus or the Bible was not mentoned.
One poor woman told me that ever since she set out to seek the Lord she had prayed this one prayer, "O Lord, show me hell." And He had showed it to her and she was satisfied. The pastor of this church loves his Bible and studies it; but he had not the moral courage to tell his people that all these dreams were only as Jeremiah says, like the chaff to wheat, Jer. 23:28. "Jeremiah's hammer" was the "word of God." Jer. 53:20.
I have often heard preachers preach about Jeremiah's hammer, and all they did was to hammer the Hammer as it lay on the pulpit. God pity the people and woe unto the teachers who have taken away the key of knowledge and will not enter themselves
nor allow others to enter. Luke 11 :5-2. We have surely said enough to show why the Bible should be studied. Now, how shall it be studied? 1. I would say it must be studied with a teacher. Well may every one say as did the Eunuch to Philip: "How can I except some one man should guide me," Acts 8:31. Yes, the people in the State of Louisiana must have teachers who will explain God's word and give it to them little by little as they can understand it. 2. I listen to God when the Bible is read. It is God talking to me, and not to my neighbor. The Bible is my personal letter from God just the same as he is my personal Savior. Take the words into your heart and feed upon them. Be hungry for them as a babe is for its mother's milk, 2 Peter 1:2.
Stop at every command and ask your heart, "Have you cheerfully and willingly obeyed that." If not get down on your knees right there before you read any more and ask God to give you strength to obey him; then read Phil. 4:13. Stop at every promise and ask your own heart, not another's, "Do I believe that for my own soul?" Then ask, "Is this promised blessing mine?" If not, examine and see if you have fulfilled the conditions. For example: In Proverbs 28:13 God says, "He that confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall find mercy." You believe this, you say, and yet you do not feel at peace with God. I ask, "Have you confessed your sins?" "Yes," you say, "I have confessed all my sins, but it is no use, the burden is still there." Now, I ask again, "Have you forsaken your sins? Have you cut off the right hand that offended you?" "O, no," you say, "I can't give up my whiskey, my tobacco, or the man I am living with though he is not my lawful husband." Then I answer, "You cannot find mercy till you forsake your sins." Notice well the conditions of the promises, and again go to Phil. 4:13, and believe that verse with all your heart. Again another says, "I can't find forgiveness, and I do believe
in Jesus;" but I find this man has not forgiven his enemies, and read him Matt. 6:15, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses neither will your heavenly father forgive you." In the third place we would say read the Bible every day. Be like the Bereans who searched the scriptures daily, Acts 17:11, and in the twelfth verse it says,"therefore many believed." Yes, this every-day reading and obeying the scriptures, this every-day religion, is what we need. It is the power that will convert sinners.
BAPTIST STATE CONVENTION LEADERS IN LOUISIANA, IN 1870
I felt led of the spirit to attend an association in Northern Louisiana near Ringgold, that met at a church twenty miles from the railroad. I went the evening before to the nearest station and secured a conveyance. We started early. It was summer and the road led us through a cotton-raising region. The cabins were not crowded together as in the sugar and rice plantations. The negroes and poor white people were near neighbors and as they came to the door of the cabins to see us pass, they appeared equally ignorant, dirty, and ragged. The association met in a church in the woods. The people had built an arbor. All around the church were tables owned by the white men who served the negroes to snuff boxes, tobacco, gingerbread, wines, and other refreshments. Now, do not sneer at the snuff boxes. A man with a cigar puffing the smoke into his neighbor's face is just as detestable as a woman with a snuff stick, and the tobacco saliva running down the sides of her mouth. God has their names written in the same class. Perhaps cigars and cigarettes are the most dangerous because the most popular. The other day while on the streets of Chicago, I counted eleven advertisements of different kinds of cigars presented in the most attractive manner, so as to deceive our dear young boys. They are so costly that one thousand times more of God's money is wasted in this way than for snuff; therefore it is more dangerous.
I noticed these white men were very pleasant and obliging; they wanted to get the negro's money.
I went into the church and my driver returned to the station, as it was Saturday and I intended to stay over Sunday. I have already written of my usual work at these associations, so need not repeat that. I was gladly welcomed by the men, women and children, many of whose churches I had visited.
The moderator came to me about five o'clock in the afternoon, saying, "These white men out here are not pleased with your being with us. It will hardly be safe for you to stay in any of our houses all night. What shall we do?" "Find some white persons with whom I can stay," was my reply. "Well," he said, "we have tried, but can't." "Don't worry, the Lord sent me here and He will provide," was my quiet answer, and I went on with my work. I noticed that the white men came often and looked in at the door in a way that showed that they were displeased, yet they were taking the black man's money and giving him things he did not need, while I came to freely give them the gospel, and so I could see no just cause for criticism. The Lord kept me very restful and trustful.
By and by a nice looking white man came in and introduced himself, saying, "I live about five miles from here. I have heard of your work and I have no objections to it. I have come to see if I can give you any assistance?"
Then I explained the situation and said, "You are the answer to my prayer; find a white family with whom I can lodge." "I am on horseback," he replied, "and it is late or I would take you to my home." He went out and after consulting with the colored people returned, saving, "I fear we can find no place." I said, "Get one of those wagons that the colored people have and take me to the nearest white family." He did so. It was about a mile and a half. An old lady with a little boy about four years old came out of a poor cabin. She said her husband was away and she could not keep me. My God-sent friend had told me she was a Baptist. He urged her
to take me. She said, "No," but I got out of the wagon and told him to drive off. Then I took the little boy by the hand, saying to the mother, "I am your sister Baptist and I am going to spend the night with you, for you see it is nearly dark." So I smiled myself into the house as if I really was her long absent sister come to see her. I asked about her children and the little boy who was her grandson, and we had a good social time till she rose, saying, "I must get my old man's supper, I had almost forgot it."
It was a simple supper for they were poor indeed. There were no books in their home, because none of them could read and they had not been to church for years. Yet they were Christians. The "old man" did not seem much troubled, though greatly surprised at my presence. I showed him a Bible that I was going to leave with him. Some one would come who could read it to them. After supper I read chapter after chapter to those dear old people, and they drank it in, oh, so eagerly! I felt guilty and said to myself, "Why did you not come years ago and teach these poor people to read the Bible?" And to-day I feel sure that if I were not with the colored people, I would be with those poor whites of the South. Thank God they are being helped by others. God sent me to the association, in part, to comfort and feed those two old, hungry hearts. We ended the evening with prayers and tears of joy.
Early the next morning the husband got his oxen and old wagon and I persuaded his wife and boy to accompany me; so we all got into the wagon and were soon at the place of meeting. I was to have a children's meeting in the church. My white sister did not want to come in, but I took her by the hand and said, "Yes, yes, you must stay with me, with me." And I led her into the church and gave her a seat beside me.
The children were there and also the men and women. The Lord gave us a great blessing. Some of the children were converted. One child about four
years old came up in tears and said, "I want to love Jesus." I took her on my knees and prayed for her, and glancing at my white sister saw she was wiping the tears from her eyes. I said to myself, Glory to God. The day will come when we will all meet at the cross of Christ and join in the glad new song, "Worthy is the lamb that was slain and hast redeemed us with thy blood out of every kindred tongue and people."--Rev. 5:9.
These dear old people left after my meeting, and my other white friend came, according to promise, with his buggy and took me to his home for the night, and sent me on Monday to the railroad station. He came to the association in time to be present at a meeting I held about 4 o'clock with the women in the arbor. On the way home he said, "I never before saw such interested faces as those of the women to-day. They surely do want to learn." God bless the dear women of Louisiana, is still my daily prayer.
You ask what I did at the associations that I was so anxious to attend? I answer, many little things. I would sit in the meetings and listen to all that was said. I was studying the people and praying that I might know where to catch on so as to help. I made suggestions or talks to the leaders as to plans of work and how to settle difficulties. I never got up in any business meeting to discuss a subject because I did not think it was womanly, but I read papers on subjects assigned me. Often when some troublesome question was being discussed, I wrote little notes with a word of advice and passed them on to the brothers that I thought could settle the matter, or sent a text of scripture to some brother that I thought needed reproof. Sometimes when they were angry and said unkind things to each other I have asked that I might pray and the request was always granted.
I served on committees in the early part of my
work and wrote many resolutions and discussed them with the committee. It was surprising to me that they listened so kindly to my advice, but I tried to give it humbly and respectfully. The colored preachers did not seem to care whether I was black or white, male or female. I had come to help and they accepted my help and there we settled it, and it has remained settled ever since so far as the black people and myself are concerned. We never argued or fussed about race or sex; we understood each other and each tried to help the other. It is true that there was a quiet understanding that we all belonged to the same family.
I improved the recess by holding meetings with the women and children and early morning Bible readings with ministers and delegates who had enough love for the Bible to make them give up their morning nap, and even breakfast, in order to be present. You would have been surprised to see how many were willing to make that sacrifice. I always carried Bibles to these meetings.
I do not think I ever told the people that I was only a woman, or that I was a white woman. What was the use of telling them what they knew when I had come to tell them what they did not know. Time was too precious to be wasted. I have been with the black people in their homes as well as in meetings, and wherever I have met them they have treated me with the utmost respect.
From the beginning of my work I knew there was a wealth of motherhood in the black women's hearts, but I feared the fathers lacked a love for the children and their mothers. Many fathers entirely deserted their homes, leaving the burden all upon the mothers, but it was a rare thing that a mother thus left her children. Even when the father did not go off with another woman, he often failed to provide for his family. I am glad God let me live to see that the black man has the same father's love that exists in the hearts of other races, but alas! his slave training crushed out this father's care and love, because the master took from the husband and father all the responsibility of providing for wife and child; but the mother, of course, had the care of the baby, at least until it was able to work. I found the colored people always spoke of mother, but rarely of father.
I'm a little afraid that in all races fathers too often shirk their part in the training of their children, though they may provide for their temporal wants. During the last five years there has been a great improvement in the homes of my fireside pupils; since we changed "mothers' pledge" to "parents' pledge." The wife often writes with delight of the help the father is in reading to the children and consulting with her about their general management. Oh, I know so many beautiful homes where love and intelligence rule the household, and the children are being trained for God's glory and usefulness in the world--trained by the united love and care of father and mother.
But much yet remains to be done. Our young men should be taught that to marry includes providing a home for his wife, giving her time to keep that home in good order, and make it a true home for himself and children. To prove this reform I give you the following resolutions:
At three large associations in the state of Arkansas we have talked earnestly and prayerfully about the subject of home religion, and the pastors and delegates all agreed to be more thoughtful and try harder to make home what it should be. They not only promised this for themselves but they promised to teach the same lesson to all the husbands and fathers under their influence, but we all agreed that the wife and mother had the power in her hands to make home happy and intelligent, much more than the father had. This was the entering wedge that led to the changing of our pledge from "Mothers" to "Parents."
I will give you a part of resolutions that were discussed and unanimously adopted at three associations, one state convention, and at some smaller meetings in 1893. I give it to you so that you can see that many, yes, a large number of the husbands and fathers, are anxious and willing to do their part toward making home happy and intelligent.
"First. That we will take more time and thought in helping wife and mother to become intelligent and also in helping her to overcome the daily temptations that surround her. To this end we will provide her with the books and papers necessary to join the Fireside School, and we will encourage and help her to fufill the duties required by that school.
"Second. That if possible we will provide our homes with the proper cooking and other household utensils and furniture, so as to make the housework
easier for mother--have the wood and water in a convenient place, etc. When there are many children in the family, or much work to do, we will help her all we can when we are at home, and we will stay at home as much as our daily labor will allow us.
"Third. That we will make our homes as comfortable and attractive as possible for the sake of our dear children. We think it better to spend less money in dressing them in a fashionable way, which will only lead them to go away from home, and instead spend more money for books, papers, music, and such things as should induce a good child to stay at home.
"Fourth. That we believe it is the husband's duty to provide food, raiment, and whatever is needed for the home, and that it is the wife's duty to prepare it for use, cook the food, make the garments, etc., and also to keep the home neat and attractive for husband and children. This she cannot do if she must spend her time in earning their daily bread."
I, also, thus exhorted the wives: "Dear sisters, I want you to read these resolutions a great many times, and thank God for them, and then try to do your part. Do not sit down in a sulky way and say, I know the men are not going to do what they say. They will talk nice at the meeting, but when they come home they will let the wife carry the heaviest part of the burden--I know them,' and then shrug your shoulders and look as if you did not believe one word they said. Now, dear sisters, if you behave in that manner you will spoil the whole thing. Only believe the husbands mean what they say, and help them carry out their good resolutions. Be pleasant and hopeful. Do not make trouble for yourself by expecting it, but look for brighter days."
I have wasted years of my life waiting upon tardy people at church, or at some other appointment. They did not seem to know that breaking
a promise was telling a lie, unless some accident prevented their keeping the promise. This lack of promptness was seen in the household affairs. Unless compelled to rise at the proper hour they were tardy; women and men would carelessly gossip instead of doing the work at the proper time and keeping the house in order. They worked when they felt like it, instead of being governed by the principle of right, and this matter of feeling was often transferred to their religion and became the frequent cause of back-sliding. You must not understand that every one belonging to the race acted thus, but certainly it was true of the majority. Along this line I am glad to report great improvements. More of them are careful about promising and keeping their promises, more homes are kept in order, regular seasons for prayer and Bible study are observed, even when they do not feel like it. A woman said one day, "Some mornings I don't want to get up, but my children will starve if I don't, so I get breakfast for the body when I don't feel like it. And then I feed the soul for the same reason, with my Bible lesson and prayer." How many of my white mothers are as wise?
At the associations I attended, ten minutes were often allowed for each pastor to report the condition of his church. I had my pencil and took notes. In one association five of them had built church houses, but reported few or no converts, and a very cold condition of the members spiritually. This set me to thinking. If building church edifices is taught in the New Testament then it should be a means of grace to draw each member nearer to Christ. I'll see what the word says on this subject. Well, do you know what I found? I found that there is no reference to the building of church houses; Christians
worshipped in private homes. Strange that what now costs Christians millions of dollars should have no place in the New Testament record.
I also noted that money was collected from saint and sinner alike, and by means of fairs and suppers, and more than half of the Sabbath was used for collecting money.
Another note registered the fact that pastors had charge of the financial work because no one else had time or else were not qualified. Turning again to the Bible I find that God had explicitly told the pastor that his duty was prayer and the ministry of the word. Acts 6:4. The New Testament pastors would not leave this work, even to look after the poor, but deacons were appointed for that purpose. Now, alas, all over the land big steeple houses grind the money out of the poor washerwoman's hands, and the pastor has given up feeding the flock in order to direct this work. In Louisiana the edifice was not very expensive, and yet it was beyond their means. I tried to show the pastors their mistake.
When I came to New Orleans in 1873, only eight years after the war, I found the benevolent organizations independent of the church were numerous. They grew out of the fact that the people were poor. The church did not or could not care for them in time of sickness nor see that they were buried decently. Now that they were free they wanted to be buried like white people. I tried to show them that this was the work of the church and that the money should be placed in that treasury and used as the early church did. Acts 6. But they said the church would not take the responsibility. The result was that saints and sinners joined in the movement, and soon these societies grew to be very popular. Even Christians would say, "Yes, I must go to my society meeting and pay my dues. I can't neglect
that to attend the prayer meeting, for who will care for me when I am sick." Sometimes these meetings were held on Sunday. You can easily see that these societies helped drain the church of its money and led Christians to look to the world for help rather than direct to God, and thus lessened their respect for the church. Many could not see that the money they gave the church did the members any good. They did not give as cheerfully as they had formerly done. I taught them to save their money and to be industrious and then they would be able to care for themselves in time of trouble. I saw that the indolent became more indolent and lazy because they would say, "The society will take care of me." It was very difficult for these people to save their money. It was often stolen and we had no savings banks in those days. We needed them. The failure of the Freedman's Bank, of which my readers know, discouraged many. Indeed there was much to discourage and hinder the progress of the poor black man in those early days, and there is almost as much to-day. Slavery gave him so little knowledge of business.
The secret societies followed the benevolent. Indeed in many places they went before. Soon they had the right of way and the church was left in the rear, in the opinion of a large number. In 1880 some one whom we sent out to collect facts said we had forty different organizations among the colored people of Louisiana. The women often had their societies separate from the men. My judgment, based upon observation, take it all in all, is that even those benevolent organizations did far more evil than good. The secret societies were always a curse. They caused much domestic unhappiness along with other evils. It is true that the churches were not up to the standard but the best people were in them. Now through the sinner officers in the societies bad men have the power to place the societies in place of the church, to magnify them and belittle the church, charging it with not caring for them when sick, forgetting
or covering up the truth, that their money and influence have been given to the societies instead of to their churches. The child of God will always find that these societies lessen his trust in his heavenly Father and lead him to love the things of the world. Phil. 4:19 is true for those who follow Jesus.
Intemperance was a terrible sin in Louisiana. The colored people had not learned to control themselves and they were subject to great temptations. Saloons and groceries worked together. You could not buy a piece of bread without a whiskey bottle staring you in the face. While in the grocery on a plantation one day, I noticed that the owner gave a colored man a drink of whiskey. I asked, "Do you give the people liquor?" "O, yes, we are very generous. We often give them two or three drams for nothing." "Do all the stores do the same?" "Yes, all that I know," was his reply. "Two or three drams would make them half drunk," said I. He laughed, but I told him how wicked it was, from a Bible standpoint. In business he said it was right, and I left him.
I remember staying in a poor cabin one night where lived a good mother with five children. The husband was good when not under the influence of liquor. He had just received seven dollars of his wages. His wife begged for the money, but he would not give it to her. He bought a dollar's worth of groceries and left. We had supper and waited in vain for the husband. He came home after 12 o'clock quite drunk and money all gone. Our temperance work accomplished a great reform. Even the children were very faithful in keeping their pledges. For example, a little boy in Monroe, La., about eight years old signed the pledge. He was sick with measles. The doctor said give him some whiskey today. The child was very sick, he had
not spoken all day, but now he caught his mother's hand and pulled her down, whispering, "I'm temperance; I can't take the whiskey." The doctor and mother coaxed and threatened, telling him he would die if he did not take the whiskey, but the child was firm. The next day the measles came out and he got well more quickly than those who took the toddy. Some of the children induced their neighbors to sign the pledge, and even had courage to reprove preachers. Alex. Brown, of Thibodeaux, La., when only six years old signed the pledge for me, and was a great help to the cause, talking temperance to preachers. This boy is now a teacher in Leland University. The pastor of his father's church slept behind his pulpit from the effects of liquor while I gave a Bible lesson in the church. Poor man, I expect his mother gave him whiskey toddy the day he was born, by order of the doctor, who also gave the mother a dram each day, and thus the child acquired a thirst for liquor with his mother's milk. Then I ask the question "Who is to blame?" I fear some doctors, together with that grocery man of whom I speak, will have a hard time at the judgment seat when the secrets of all hearts will be revealed.
Our temperance and Sunday school work accomplish a great reform. We give the following testimonies from New Orleans pastors in 1879:
I will never recognize a minister who uses intoxicating liquor, or who has it on his breath. It is a sin before God to send children to the grocery on Sunday or any other day, for brandy, wine, or any kind of liquor. Don't touch it or you'll never prosper.
About Sabbath schools I wish to say:
Whereas, the Sabbath school is the best of all schools, and is taught on the best of all days, and the Bible is the best of all books--teaching us of heaven, the best of all homes, through the name of Jesus, the best of all friends;
Resolved, that our pastors and deacons shall start and keep alive during the whole year, a Sabbath school in every church.
REV. THOMAS PETERSON,
President of Freedman's Baptist Association.
I used tobacco all my life till just one year ago. I quit chewing and I am trying to quit smoking, and God will help me, and I advise every one to quit it. I always was a temperance man in one sense, but since I signed the pledge I find I am much better without wine and beer also. Then it saves money. Two years ago I first brought the temperance pledge into my church, and I thank God for it. It stops fighting. It gives more money for the care of their children and to get their clothes and books.
At our meeting last night one of my deacons gave
the following testimony: I used to spend fifty cents each day for liquor, but now I have stopped drinking, and saved $182.50 this year. The Sabbath school has saved many of my little children who are now members of the church.
REV. CHARLES WILLIAMS,
Pastor Amozion Baptist Church.
It is five years since Sister Moore brought the temperance pledge into my church, and it has been a blessing ever since. Three of my members came to me months after they had signed the pledge and each said: "I have saved by not drinking, from $2.50 to $3.00 per week, and these men were only moderate drinkers. I never knew them to be drunk, but they would take two or three drams or more every day, and often spend fifty cents in treating others, and so squander nearly all the money they earned, and their families had to suffer. $2.50 a week is $10.00 per month--too much to spend for whisky. Now these men have better health and when they come to church they do not look drowsy as they used to, but are wide awake, and hear what I say. The same can be said of many others. Temperance makes them better in body, mind, and soul.
REV. GEORGE W. WALKER,
Pastor of the Austerliz Baptist Church.
In this church they passed the following resolution: "Resolved, that as a church we will do our marketing and cooking for the Sabbath on Saturday." I copy from the same preacher the following: "The Sabbath school has been a great blessing to my church. Since the members have begun to read and study the Bible, I do not have much trouble with discipline. It has also been the means, through God, during the last three years, of the conversion of more than one hundred of my young people. I have a large class of older members that I am teaching, and it has been a great help to myself and them."
The Sabbath school workers and sisters were very teachable and anxious to learn in those early days, and it was very surprising and encouraging to me that even the pastors received my advice in a humble, patient spirit, and did improve. I give you a part of a paper which was kindly received at one association in 1884, as a sample:
Dear Brethren of the Association:--I am especially interested in your association, having visited and revisited, many times, nearly every church in the association, taught your children, and sat in your homes to preach my little gospel fireside sermon, with the Bible in our hands. You have a very warm place in my heart, and you can never know with what prayerful interest I have followed you in the past years. No mother ever watched her children with greater anxiety than I have watched you. I find much to commend and much to make me sorry.
Pardon me if I tell you some of your faults. The Bible says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." (Prov., 27:6.) Surely my ten years of labor in Louisiana has proven that I am your friend. If I know my own heart I can say with Paul (1 Thess., 2:7, 8) "But we were gentle in the midst of you, as when a nurse cherisheth her own children; even so being affectionately desirous of you, we were well pleased to impart unto you not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were become very dear to us."
Yes, you are dear to me; I do so long to see you all rise and take the place God has for you. I do
not forget that there are among you brave, good men who are striving amid discouragements to lead their flocks unto the paths of righteousness, and what I say will help them.
There are some evils that must be corrected: First, you close not only your Sunday schools, but many of your churches, during the rainy, cold weather, and during sugar-making. There may be a very few of the most faithful who meet occasionally, but you act as if your church covenant read as follows: "We will not neglect public worship and the assembling of ourselves together for six or eight months in the year, but during the muddy weather and busy time it takes all our strength to do our own work, and we have no time left for the Lord's service." That is what you say in actions; and meanwhile Satan is busy and has about pulled down the work you built the other six months of the year. Brethren, am I not telling the truth? Is this putting God and His work first? Is it "seeking first the kingdom of God"? You must answer this question at the judgment. Better answer it now.
Second, your pastors and deacons neglect the children and young people; only one here and there can we get into the Sunday school. I have been at churches in your association when in the Sunday school thirty or forty children were taught by an unconverted man, because there was no Christian present, but when the hour for preaching arrived I found three or four preachers all anxious to get into the pulpit to talk to a smaller number of old people than there were children in Sunday school. This you cannot deny. O, when I think how the children and young people are neglected, I cannot keep the tears back. If this evil is not remedied soon the coming generation will be lost to the cause of Christ.
Third, your pastors and delegates spend too much time in foolish gossip and talking and jesting, even when you come to the associations. Perhaps
at this very hour some of your number are out at the church door or on the street corner doing just what I have said. I have often listened to the talk of some of your pastors and delegates during the hours of recess, and I have been ashamed of them. The conversation was not according to your high calling in Christ Jesus.
Fourth, you neglect the study of God's word. Perhaps this is the foundation of all the other evils. The Bible is a "lamp to your feet," but if you do not use the lamp, of course you walk in darkness. Dear brethren, the same God said, "Search the Scriptures" that said, "Believe and be baptized." Why obey one and neglect the other? Perhaps there is not one pastor or delegate in your association that has brought his Bible with him. Is there? You may have a hymn-book or church manual, but no Bible. "Search" does not mean to read a chapter once a week, or even once a day. It means solid study of God's Word, expecting the Holy Spirit to be your teacher. The Bible contains the only message God gave you for the people. But how can you tell it if you do not know it?
In many places in Louisiana we kept up our Sabbath schools and church services during the cold weather by meeting in private houses.
I find in my journal, January 11, 1886, the following record:
"I left Baton Rouge January 1st. I started December 31st, but lost my hand satchel, in which was a thousand-mile ticket on this road, and a little more than $25 in money, besides other valuables, making the entire loss more than $50. I had to go back and get some money. I laid down the satchel as I got on the train to arrange my other things, and on looking around the satchel was gone. Well, at first this troubled me a little, because I felt that perhaps God did not want me to go away from home this cold weather, but then it was made plain to me that I should go. I do think I have trusted God more this trip than any I have taken for one year. I did not have much money, I was cold most of the time, and was so weak that it seemed as if God carried me in his arms from place to place.
"You say He might have kept me warm. Yes, but I would rather have had his near presence than the warmth; besides, if I had been warm and others around me cold, I could not have pitied them.
"I spent much of the time visiting from house to house. It was so very cold that the people could do nothing but sit around the fire. Men and women, and often two or three families, would be in one house engaged in idle gossip, for but few of the poor people can read. I got out my Bible and we
had a good time reading the word. Often there were no glass windows in the houses, and the light and cold both came in through the cracks, or we would open the wooden shutters. Can you not see how we looked, taking turns around the fire-place to keep from freezing?
"Came to Delhi, the 11th. Found that the S. S. had been closed for two months; no fire could be made in the church. We had several meetings in private houses. At the close of one of the meetings, as my custom is, I asked different ones to tell me what they had learned. The pastor said, 'I have learned that you can have as good a meeting in a private house as in a church house.' I answered, private houses are all the kind of Christian church houses we read of in the New Testament. They planned to open the S. S. in a private house next Sabbath. We talked about the Lydia of Acts xvi, and found another woman of like mind in Delhi. Some months after I had the pleasure of again visiting Delhi in company with dear Mary Burdette. She was present at one of our Bible readings in a private home and lodged with me in that home one night. I need not tell you what a comfort and inspiration she was to us all, because her presence always brings hope and strength. Praise God for Miss Burdette!
"I had sent word to a pastor five miles distant from Delhi to come for me; he came because he had some other business in town, and to tell me there was no use in my going out this cold weather; ponds and lakes frozen over, no fire in the church, people could not get together for a meeting, besides I would freeze, etc. But I would and did go with him, and I did not freeze. His wife had a nice supper; after eating that we walked a mile to another pastor's house. We had a large meeting, about forty persons present. I taught them about Gideon's army, adding that the cold weather was testing their Christian army. All seemed intensely interested, never had a more attentive audience. One man said at the close, that
he was nearly frozen where he was sitting, but he would not move for fear he would miss a word. This pastor has a large family, so after the others had gone home, we had another Bible lesson and prayer, did not retire until after 12 o'clock.
The next morning before breakfast some of the neighbors came in and we had another meeting. Then pastor No. 1, who had brought me out to Delhi, came for me, and we had a large meeting at his home, from 10:30 till 1:30. Then I rested an hour, and we had dinner, after which the father and five children read a chapter in the Bible. The father promised to read a chapter every day with his family, and thus set up his family altar. As he said goodby, he added, 'Sister Moore, I was wrong in saying there was no use in your coming out to my house, it has done me good.' There were tears in his voice, and an earnestness in his manner which made me feel he would be more faithful in the future. He is a good man, and so is the pastor in Delhi, but they need help and encouragement. I wish more workers would come and go to work. The Lord will provide them bread and water; it is sure. One little girl gave me 5 cents, and one 10 cents, and one mother 25 cents, just because they wanted to show their love. I said nothing about money. This money, with 10 cents a little ten-year-old boy sent me in a letter, I sent to our society. The Women's Society, in the church whose house of worship was burned, gave me $2.00, which I also sent.
If my readers could have been present in those meetings, crowded into little homes, with only our Bible to interest us, they could not feel that a church house was so absolutely necessary. There was a freedom, a gladness in those meetings, a warmth of love that showed us the advantage of this New Testament plan of worship. It is impossible for the pastors of large churches to study the ability of each of his members so as to intelligently set them all at work, hence we have so many "dead heads."
The plan of reading to the people in their homes, that I found so convenient in the country, I find is equally necessary in the city in order to reach the masses. The following has been my plan of visiting. It is true that the poor people are tired on Sunday and do not rise early, therefore the children are late to school. The mother goes to some white man's house to cook a sumptuous dinner, while the owner of the house, it may be, is at church. They must think the fourth commandment reads, "No one but the man servant and the maid servant must work on the Sabbath." The coachman sits outside of the church to care for the carriage and horses. But I started to tell you my plan for reaching the non-church goers. Frequently I take my Bible at about 7 a. m., and begin calling at the houses. If it is summer the children are on the door steps or in the yard. I know by their dress that they are not going to Sunday school. Some are coming from the grocery, perhaps with some delicacy, if they can afford it, for the Sunday dinner. But all are willing to stop everything for at least ten minutes, to hear me read and pray. The Sunday newspaper finds its way into the hands of the parents. If they care to read they do not usually select the part that leads heavenward. In fact that part is hard to find, and yet I see Christians reading it even on their way to church.
I leave with the family visited a good paper. Often I find several neighbors in one house. In another home I gather the children into one corner of the house or alley and teach them for longer than they give the teachers for their classes in the Sunday school. So on I go until about noon or later, if my voice holds out. After dinner I repeat the same experience and have reached ten times as many people as the man in the pulpit, and all my time has been given to religious instruction and no part of it spent in taking collections. Miss Button was very successful in holding alley meetings with the children.
Sometimes I go out to gather in Sunday school scholars, but by the time I get them dressed then we are too late. It is best to go Saturday and see them and see that all things are ready. Our little Sunday schools in the homes are doing a blessed work for those whose parents do not take them to Sunday school and church. Children sent out alone on Sunday are in more danger than on week days, because boys who work week days are standing on the corners with younger children who cannot dress enough to attend church. I have often taught a class for ten minutes on a street corner. Friends, let me tell you, Satan has a thousand agencies at work in our cities every Sabbath, some of which reach almost every home, while the church has but few. I am so glad "Jesus went about doing good." I believe in the assembling to exhort one another. If our churches were limited to fifty members each, all might more easily be set at work, and all would know better how to comfort and exhort, because they would learn each others needs. Pastors would be able to visit each family at least once every week. (Twelve families should furnish fifty members.) He would thus know not only their spiritual condition but their especial talent and so be able to set each at his appropriate work. These fifty well fed would support the pastor better than five hundred half-starved Christians who usually live on one meal a week. The pastor's work is "to feed the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made him overseer." Acts 20:28. How can he see that this is done daily with five hundred, and at the same time suit the food to the weak, the strong, the sick, to all classes, unless he knows their condition. You say it is not my place to tell the pastor his duty. Well, we missionaries are sent out to feed those that he has neglected, but the task is too great for us. Therefore we report that the head steward is not feeding the flock daily. Our Fireside School has come to help
carry the provision to their homes. Will the pastor accept it? Come, let us reason together. A church with half its members in the hospital unable for service, all because they have not fed daily on the Bible and prayer, is a sad sight.
SCHOOL BOYS AND GIRLS
From the first day of my mission work I've taken special interest in the children, and I think all my helpers followed my example. When I entered a home the mother would usually say, "Children run and play." But I said, "Oh! no. Please don't send the children away." Hence the children watched for my coming. Often I found no one at home but the children so I sometimes carried needles and thread and showed the girls how to mend the baby's dress, sew on buttons, and other things, meanwhile having a quiet mother talk with them. A large number of children were converted in meetings held in the homes.
I met a young man about five years ago, I cannot now give his name, who said, "Sister Moore, you don't know me, but when I was a little boy I was converted during a visit you made in my home." He is only one of many. I mention this that other missionaries may give more attention to the children in the homes, as well as in meetings.
Parents often say to me, "I can't let my child join the church. If he is converted he is sure to backslide." This sounds very much like a mother saying, "I must not feed my baby till he grows strong." Is it any wonder that he dies? There is not one pastor in fifty who knows how, or who does cut up the food fine enough to feed the children. He might know that the parents can eat the food prepared for the children, so that the whole congregation could eat with the children. My heart aches for the poor neglected children, even in rich, intelligent Christian homes; hungry little hearts with nothing
to eat. Because of this fact we have been anxious to get good books into all homes. Part of our parents' pledge reads as follows: "I promise, with God's help, that I will pray with and for my children and daily teach them God's word and expect their early conversion."
I got my first foreign mission money in Louisiana from a children's band in New Orleans in 1874. It was given to Rev. Perry, of New York, and used for a mission in Hayti. We had the children in many parts of the state raising vegetables, picking cotton, running errands, etc., getting money for missions. But the parents often discouraged them, saying, "It is foolishness." So few have learned that the best way to make children happy is to teach them to give rather than to receive. But how can parents teach what they do not know?
Notwithstanding so few parents agreed with me in teaching their children to give by self-denial, yet the seed did grow in some hearts, because of our continued sowing and hoeing.
I wrote to our Fireside Schools in "Hope" for December, 1898, requesting them to give no presents to each other on Christmas, nor to prepare extra dinners for that day, and send what they would have thus used for the heathen in Africa.
Many did not like the plan, but a few tried it, and as a result we received up to February 1, $70.50, from 25 families, 12 Bible bands, 41 individuals, 17 Sunshine Bands of children.
We know that most of these donors are poor; had they been rich the gift would have been greater in earthly coin, but no greater on heaven's record.
This money represents about 300 persons, we cannot give the exact number.
Some did not tell us how the money was saved. Several children told how they gave up dolls and
firecrackers, and money given them for Christmas was gladly sent to the heathen children. Families gave up the usual Christmas dinner, etc. We learned enough by this experiment to know that with thought and with self-denial a great amount of money could be thus raised, and each donor would be healthier if they would thus save from unnecessary food and raiment.
I do testify that the few self-denials that I have made added more to my happiness than all my many indulgences.
But best of all we have the testimony of our blessed Savior who said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," and who did deny himself the joys of heaven for the sorrows of earth. Read Phil. 2:5-7.
I was present at the organization of the Colored Baptist Foreign Mission Convention, which was formed at Montgomery, Ala., in 1881, and was one of the committee that framed the constitution. At its fourth annual session, at Meridian, Miss., the following was offered:
Resolved, that we condemn the raising of money for this convention by fairs, suppers, etc.
This resolution led to considerable discussion, but brought out the fact that our best men all over the South were opposed to these unlawful schemes. This greatly encouraged me. I was made a life member by the convention at this meeting. I also brought to this convention seventy dollars for foreign missions, the gleanings of the women and children of Louisiana, and money obtained largely by self-denial.
We are glad to report that this good work still goes on slowly, and yet considering the opposition, great things have been accomplished. From 1899 to January, 1902, we have received $367.75, which has been used to support a school in South Africa. This has not all been given by the children, but the children's request that the parents would allow them
to do without presents on Jesus' Birthday would often lead the parents to give as well as the children. We are quite sure this is the proper way to train our children in Christian giving. Strange that self-denial is not popular with those who follow Jesus.
HER YOUNG PROTECTOR.
As soon as I began the work in New Orleans I tried to show the women how they could help their neighbors, in their own home, on the street, and in the church. Also by reading the Bible and prayer in their neighbors' homes in a quiet way, by helping the poor, etc. They were not able to do this work well, but trying to help others made them more careful about their own conduct. It was very encouraging to see the improvement.
At our weekly prayer meeting they brought report of work done. Received correction and encouragement. I have a report for March, 1880, the following: 59 women, from ten different churches, in one month, visited 693 families, read the Bible and prayed in 142 homes. Often they only talked to those visited without prayer and reading. Many of them could not read, but their talk was not idle gossip; often their mission was caring for the sick. They found 200 children who did not attend Sabbath school and brought into the school 120 of them; they found also 152 persons who didn't attend church, and persuaded 46 of them to attend at least once; most of them came oftener. They gave 140 garments to the poor, these garments were given to them by missionaries from supplies sent from the North. You see how we multiplied ourselves by the help of these women.
There was a little church in St. James parish, surrounded by Catholics. In a membership of nine, there was only one man. He said, "I am praying that I may get a brother to stand by me." The women were certainly a power for good. A pastor in New
Orleans once said, "We have only a few brothers in the church, but we have good sisters, who have built this church, and earned every cent by washing or other hard work." I have told you how they were also building up the spiritual church. At a union meeting one minister said to another, "Sisters are coming in mighty slow, you won't get much money to-day." The other minister replied, "That's so. Sisters do give the most money."
All these years I have warned our sisters not to run ahead of the men but to keep their God-given place as "helpers," thus avoiding any confusion with the church. I always said, "Sisters, if the pastor objects to any of your plans, be quiet. Be good at home, teach your children and your neighbors and wait till God opens the door of the church." It meant much for our work to have the pastor present to hear the reports of the sisters and the lessons that I taught.
I said there was no discussion between the pastor and myself respecting women's place in Christian work, but when our sisters came to the front and began their visiting and collecting missionary money, etc., there was a difference of opinion. I said to our women, "We will take our place in the church as 'workers together with God,'" and said to our brethren, "You find your place and then you will know we are not far apart." But that did not quite settle the question, therefore I prepared a paper which seemed to satisfy the pastors and the women, and which was largely distributed in 1883; from this I give some extracts:
"That woman has a work to do in the Christian church no one will deny. All are willing that she work and work hard, but what shall she do? If we can know God's plan that should settle it; therefore 'to the law and to the testimony.' In Exodus 15:20, we find Miriam led the women in song as they praise God for his wonderful deliverance. Surely she has
a right to sing. After the children of Israel entered Canaan Deborah was appointed as one of the Judges, seemingly with the same power to control as Gideon, Judges 4.
"Passing on to the time of Josiah when he found the long lost Bible he goes to the prophetess, Hulda, and she tells him what to do, 2 Kings, 22d chapter. We mention this to show that she may be a leader and a teacher. Years after, we find Anna, the prophetess, side by side with old Simeon, rejoicing over the infant Savior, and she spake of him to all. Luke 2: 36-38. Passing the long list of devoted women who earnestly obeyed the Savior through his weary years of suffering, we come to the Acts of the Apostles, and find Peter quoting the words of Joel, 'I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters, there is neither male or female in Christ,' Gal. 3:28. In Acts 21, we are told that Philip had four daughters who prophesied. In Romans 16, Paul mentioned a long list of women who labored with him in the Gospel, and gives Phoebe a letter of introduction to the church sending her on a Christian mission, requesting the church to help her, not as they thought best, but as she "had need of them." Again we find John, the aged, dedicating an Epistle to the 'elect lady.'
"Those women were doing something more than simply cooking dinners for preachers and collecting money for the churches. That service is all right, but her work does not end there. Beloved sisters, your greatest work will doubtless be a quiet one in your own home and in the homes of your neighbors. The women we mentioned knew their Bibles or they could not have been teachers. Sisters, study the Word of God.
"All know the many duties that devolve upon woman as a wife and mother. These she must never neglect. The prosperity of our Nation depends upon
our homes and home is what mother makes it to a large extent. Yes, sister, you are needed in many places, but in no place as much as at home. Sorrow and ignorance darken our homes because mothers have not had a good chance to acquire useful knowledge, or because they would not open their eyes to the light. First make your home bright and happy, and then try to help the homes of your neighbors.
"But dear mothers, let me remind you that most of your work is done under the shelter of the home roof. God has been so good to mothers and wives that He has brought their work and laid it in their arms or in some way gathered it around the dear center of home. Through the influence of your own dear home you can help your neighbors and your neighbors' children, and the stranger who spends a night in your home. All will be helped if you have a good home.
"This leads me to speak of the work of the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society which we represent. It was organized five years ago (1877), and now (1882) employs twenty-eight white and eight colored missionaries. Its work is not confined to the South. It has two missionaries in the far West, two with the Germans, two among the Mormons and Chinese, two with the Danes and Swedes, and two among the Indians. The other twenty-four are at work among the colored people of eight different stations. Its great object is to reach the neglected citizens of the United States. This is done by its missionaries, of whom I am one, going from house to house with Jesus by our side, the Bible in our hands and the old story of Jesus and his love on our lips, telling it over and over again, till darkness and sin are gone. We do not wait for sinners to come to our churches, but go into all the homes we have time and strength to reach, for we know that among the rubbish of sin are some of the precious jewels that will shine in the Savior's diadem, and with God's help we will find them.
"Besides these visits we have sewing schools and children's meetings. Our first lesson is Jesus, and that dear name is the power that reforms and makes beautiful the children we find in our visits. We teach them to keep their clothes, their homes, and their persons neat and clean, and to be kind and helpful to their parents.
"This is a great work and the laborers are few. One of our great duties as missionaries is to set others at work. I know two of the excuses you will make: 1, 'I have no time,' and 2, 'I do not know how.'
"As to time, you have twenty-four hours every day. Do not spend it in idle gossip. Suppose we ask you to give thirty minutes each day to a quiet earnest Bible lesson with your neighbors, or some poor lost sinner. Remember, it should be quiet. I heard a sister, the other day, call across the street these words: 'You wicked sinner, you better go and pray,' etc. That was not right. This is a sacred subject, and you should strive to speak of it when your friend is alone and you can kneel beside her and ask the Holy Spirit to give power to your words.
"Somewhere along the streets going or coming from work, you can take a little neglected child by the hand and coax its mother to let it come to Sabbath school; or you can call on some careless member of the church. Sisters, if you will ask God, He will give you every day a little piece of work to do for him. It is the people who work hard every day that do the best Christian work, and not the women who sit for hours on the door steps with folded hands or gossip on the street corners.
"Now about the second excuse, 'I do not know how.' Well, let me see what you do know. You know how to be a good faithful wife and mother, sending or rather bringing your own children to church and Sunday school. If so, your example will help your neighbor. Do you know God's love
and peace in your own soul? If so, the Holy Spirit will teach you how to tell others. Remember you do not know how to do this work unless you do it for God's honor and glory and not to get a big name for yourself. Self coming up for praise is likely to be what will spoil your Christian work more than anything else. "Four years ago we organized special mission work in Louisiana. Many grew weary because they did not get the praise they thought they deserved. Sisters, we are working for Christ; we can afford to wait for our pay till Jesus takes us by the hand and introduces us to the glories of heaven with the blessed words, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'"
The result of our work was so encouraging that my constant prayer was that our plan of preaching the Gospel and saving souls along the way might be spread all over the South. Therefore in the spring of 1878 I started on an exploring trip, taking with me Agnes Wilson. She had been a teacher for many years, and I felt sure she would help in the best way if I started as I hoped to do a training school for colored women.
I do not recall all our stops. One was at Selma, Ala., where we met for the first time our beloved Harry Woodsmall. He was one of the men who knew how to listen, and as a result said we must have this work in Selma. Then in 1881, with Miss Ambrose, whom the society had sent to Selma, I started the mission there. We next, as far as I can recall, visited Atlanta University, where we were warmly welcomed, as also at Dr. Roberts' school for ministers. He and his sister were very kind and allowed me to talk to his class about our work. Dr. Roberts said, "We will educate the preachers and they will lead the masses out of the darkness." I said, "Yes, but we must educate the masses before they will choose to follow a wise leader; both are needed."
At Columbus, S. C., Dr. Goodspeed, then in charge of Benedict College, said, "Yes, yours is a good work and we must have it here," and they did.
When we came to Raleigh, Dr. Tupper listened, and as a result gave us a hearty God-speed. Next, we visited Miss Waugh at Newbern who had just begun this work and found it a great blessing. Then
on to Richmond, Va. Good Dr. Corey was in favor of our work. We met the colored pastors and planned with Rev. Wells of the Ebenezer Church (colored), to come to the May meetings and ask our society for a missionary. Rev. Wells was a wise man that not only knew how to listen but also how to take hold and help a good cause.
In due time we made our appearance at the May anniversaries. I feared the meeting of the Women's Society would close before Rev. Wells could get a chance to make his request, but we prayed and at the last meeting they asked me to state the needs of the work. I said, "Rev. Wells is here, and he can do it better than I." He made such an eloquent appeal that a mission was started in Richmond the next fall. I spoke to our society about a training school for colored women. But they objected at that time, saying that the establishing of such a school might appear to overlap the educational work of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, and that it was best for them to go on with the mission work in the homes. My readers cannot understand what a disappointment it was to me not to get this school on which I had set my heart.
I forgot to mention that we visited New York where we met Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Bishop, two people who knew how to listen and cheer laborers on in every good work. I remember Dr. Bishop said, "You do not realize with all your enthusiasm, what a task it is to lift up the masses of any race. All their surroundings are against them. "Then he told us something of the work in New York City. It was through his kindness that I was introduced to the National Temperance Society and to the editor of the New York Weekly Witness, both of which afterward furnished me with good reading.
Why the colored people needed the help of the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society.
We are often told that our colored people were made free under more favorable circumstances than any other race of slaves. Let us look for a few minutes at the situation. The American negro was freed and left among a people who regarded it as a sin to give him freedom, because they thought him by nature fitted only for slavery. They did not want him educated, because that would unfit him for his natural position of servitude. He had no way of protecting himself from injustice. We cannot see that this was a very comfortable place in which to be born free, but it could not be otherwise, and all that he and his friends could do was to adjust themselves to circumstances and make the most of the brightness that relieved the blackness of the dark picture. Yes, there was a bright side and it grew brighter year by year. First came the Freedmen's Bureau with its schools. Then the public schools, and soon the good white people of the South said, "Yes, the negro must be educated." They said this after they had time to look the situation fairly in the face. Both master and slave were bewildered at the abrupt change and no wonder. I said the black man had no means of protection. I was wrong, he had the ballot. Thank God for that. He could not have been a real free man without it.
Education made rapid progress. All the Christian denominations established schools in which to educate teachers and preachers. These teachers
and pupils set about their work with an earnest eagerness that it is hard to sustain through years of toil, but they needed this inspiration to overcome opposition. We never can cease to thank God for these schools.
Pardon me if the following criticism is wrong.
With the negro as with other races the culture of the heart has not kept pace with that of the head, therefore much of the power gained by knowledge is against the "righteousness that exalteth a nation."
When we consider the condition in which slavery left the black man, more time should have been taken to lay a foundation on which to build the intellectual structure. All the way up it needed the cement and strength that is given by the Bible and faith in God.
To supplement the work of the schools and churches in the religious training of the freedman was the great and blessed mission of the W. B. H. M. Society. Its work was to be especially the education of the heart; its school room, the home. But along with this every-day religious education the intellect was aroused and thousands have learned how to read with the great incentive to be able to read the Bible for themselves. Usually they had no teacher but the missionary.
We said the home was the misionary's school room. Yes, but her influence did not end there. She touched and helped humanity at all points, because like the Lord Jesus she went about doing good, she did not stand still in one place.
We are now in Simon's house taking supper, next on the street, calling Zacheus down from the tree, and again at the marriage in Cana, "doing whatsoever he hath said unto us;" then we are at the grave of Lazarus teaching that Jesus is the resurrection and the life; now we are making coats and garments for the widows, and now taking the little children by the hand and leading to Jesus for his blessing, children who have no mother to carry them there; now you will find us by the side of the eloquent
Apollos, explaining more perfectly the Word of God.
Out and in, here and there we go, touching all points and all hearts with the glory and love we carried from the mercy seat.
There is no place too lowly or dark for our feet to enter and no place so high and bright but it needs the touch of the light that we carry from the cross; no man, woman, or child is so far sunken in sin that our hands cannot reach him or her, while God holds us up. We are the highway and hedge workers, who are also able to expound the Scriptures. We can help a tired mother cut out a garment for her child, and meanwhile teach both mother and child the Gospel. We not only pray for the sick, but we also cook them a tempting morsel of food. We are equally at home in parlor or kitchen. "Our shoes are iron and brass," there is no road too hard for us to travel. Night and day we are ready, no storm great enough to keep us indoors when the cry of suffering humanity calls for help, because we have on an armor that is a perfect protection. We live among the people, and mingle freely with them, so that we may be a present help in time of trouble. We have never learned how to stand on a pedestal and hand out the Gospel at the end of a forty-foot pole, because we remember that those who have helped us the most, are the persons who came up close to us and clasped our hands, kindly smoothed the pain from our aching heads, and sat down beside us, and whispered words of love and hope. Oh, yes, they lived their beautiful lives where we could see and feel their uplifting power. Therefore we have concluded that we will comfort others with the comfort with which we ourselves were comforted.
This is the kind of Christian workers that the people of all races need this very day. O Lord, give to the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society ten thousand such missionaries to go the length and breadth of the Northland and the Southland, till
every dark corner is blessed and brightened by the Gospel of the Son of God.
The rich man's mansion needs this help as much as the poor man's cabin.
"It is not much this world can give,
With all its subtle art,
And gold and gems are not the things
To satisfy the heart."
God alone can satisfy the longings of the human soul.
A HOME ON ONE OF OUR MISSION FIELDS IN
We want Christ in this home. His presence in the homes of
white and black would solve the race problem.
On January 16, 1886, I made my first visit to Memphis. After calling on the pastors and talking to several of the schools we planned to have Bible readings every night in some church, and then gave a week to a training school, such as we had in Morgan City, La. I now had my paper, with its daily lessons. We spent much time in showing them how to find references in their Bibles and memorizing texts. It was a joy to see their great interest in the dear old Book. Study as we gave it was all new to them. The men as well as the women came to my Bible readings at night. I spent a month the first time, and returned once in three months that year, so as to keep the work alive. In March we formed a kind of city union which included fifteen churches, and enrolled one hundred and thirty-six women. They held a monthly meeting. V. W. Broughton, who is now one of my secretaries, was chosen president, and Emma King, secretary. She is now the wife of Professor Jones, Arkadelphia, Ark. Most of that band of women have faithfully studied our daily Bible lessons in "Hope" from that date to the present, sixteen years. This proves the negro's gift of perseverance.
The first year Emma King wrote me the following: "At least a hundred women in our city are now for the first time daily reading the Bible with their children, and committing a text of Scripture, and many of them reading to their neighbors."
The following year the Society sent missionaries to Memphis establishing the work permanently.
After I returned to Louisiana from Selma in 1883 it was decided that I give all my time to work in the country. My first effort at a Training School for Mothers was in Thibodeaux in September. It only lasted ten days. Some of the missionaries from New Orleans came and helped me. Men as well as women attended. One of our subjects was missionary work under five heads, ( 1 ) in the heart, (2) the home, (3) among my neighbors, (4) in my church, (5) in all the world. Of the last we said: A light that shines pure and steady in the first four places will by its influence reach the whole world. Another subject was the training of children under three heads, the heart, mind, and body. In fact all our lessons for all these years are included in the above subjects.
The account of our next school in 1884 is found connected with the following report of the
MORGAN CITY READING ROOM.
After I transferred my headquarters to Morgan City I saw the great need of a reading room or some place where a poor colored man that was a stranger could sit down and rest. Morgan City is on Morgan Bay not far from the Gulf of Mexico. The trade brought many boats to and from the town. Men who tarried there for a few days had no place of rest except a saloon. One Sabbath I started early so as to take Joe Vincent some books. He was barkeeper in Alex. Oliver's saloon. He had signed the pledge about six weeks before and kept it. Early as it was, I found a congregation and read the Bible and had a
social talk. As I sat there this reading room came up before me and I asked God to give us a quiet spot dedicated to religion and humanity, where young men could be sheltered and helped. I left the saloon, made several visits, taught a class in Rev. Wilson's Sunday school, and then went to Sims' house and coaxed his wife to go with me to Rev. Evan's Sunday school. The rain was pouring down and we found the church door locked. We looked a little further and saw a door open and a congregation gathered. They had come through the storm that kept Christians indoors that rainy day. Can it be possible that a thirst for strong drink has a greater power over a sinner than the love of Christ has over a Christian? The door thus open was that of Mr. Livingston's saloon. He welcomed us, for both he and Mr. Oliver were gentlemen in manners. Sister Sims and her little daughter were with me; they sang Gospel hymns and I talked in a loving way of Jesus' love and power to lead us from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God. They listened with quiet respect. Four of the men present were only a little under the influence of liquor; they rose and acknowledged that whisky had ruined them. Out Of 23 in this saloon congregation were six boys present between the ages of 13 and 16 years. As I looked at those poor men standing there in their prison and the boys around whom the chains were fast growing strong, tears came, but all that was left for us to do was to kneel on that wet, muddy floor and tell Jesus all about it. The prayer was heard and this room is a part of the answer. The day following I went to New Orleans to attend the annual meeting of the W. C. T. U. of Louisiana. Our blessed Miss Willard was there and through her influence and that of Mrs. Cole, my pastor's wife, I was allowed to read a paper on the need of temperance for the colored people. Because of the character of my work it was difficult for me to get a hearing before white folks, but God opened the way and
touched many hearts. I explained the need of a reading room. After I sat down Horace Waters, the piano merchant, came up and gave me $70 with a "God bless you." Dear Sister Lathrop of Michigan and Mrs. Merrich, the president of the Louisiana W. C. T. U. each kindly gave me $1.00; Miss Dunning, a teacher in Leland, $2.00; besides I had just received $5.00 for my work from Mr. McVinty of Pennsylvania; in all I had 19 blessed dollars and God's promise. I went home and told our pastors, and Dr. Gray and Mrs. Pharr (both white). All promised help. We rented a house in the midst of three saloons and nearly opposite Mr. Oliver's. The other two were kept by white men but the colored were made welcome. We employed Mr. and Mrs. Sims. He was only to give his nights. This room was kept open from 6 a. m. till 10 p. m. for four months and a cheaper one for two months longer, without any expense to the citizens except $5 given by the white people. Our colored people were slow to see the use of such agencies and are the same to-day. A mighty work was done in that reading room. While it was open I conducted a training school for five weeks, to which came twelve women from other towns and the country. The citizens lodged them and gave them coffee and bread in the morning and I gave them one good meal daily, and on that they were kept in good health. All the morning till 1 p. m. was spent in study, then dinner and visits in the homes and little cottage meetings till night. In this work I had the help of Miss Belle Harris. Her health was quite frail but her spirit was willing. "How did the reading room help?" you ask. I had a number of charts on temperance and pictures by which I could explain the sin of drunkenness because many, indeed the greater number even of the young men could not read, but there was always some one in the room who could read to them. Men, women, and children came. I gave all the books that were appropriate from my library. Then
I had D. L. Moody's and Charles Foster's books. These are two men for whom I have thanked God for many years, because, like Paul in 1st Cor. 14:19 five of their words were worth ten thousand words of many writers who use words to hide truth rather than to reveal it. But these good men were clear and simple in their teachings, and like their Master "the common people heard them gladly." I hear so many sermons these days whose connection with Christ and His Bible I cannot see. O brothers, make the way to the Cross plain, for we have not long to stay.
Let me see, we were talking about the reading room. One rainy day while our training school was in session and Alex. Oliver's saloon was crowded, the Spirit led me to say, "Sisters, you stay here and pray, and I will take one of you and go to that saloon and tell them about Jesus." We went. There were two gambling tables and Mr. Oliver was counting for one of them, and there was much noise in the room; but He who stilled the tempest was with us. I said, "Mr. Oliver, I want to talk to some of these men if they will come over to that corner of the room." He said, "All right," but scarcely looked up, and the gamblers never raised their heads. However, I got about half the men into "that corner." I did not tell them they were drunkards nor did I refer to any of their sins. I read Acts 26:17-18 and said, "God sent me here to tell you about the blessed Saviour, the one that saved Paul who wrote these words. His eyes were once shut, but God opened them till he could see Jesus, the one that loved him. Paul was forgiven and now lives in glory. I will follow Paul soon; now I want you to go along with me. Will you come?" The men crowded up close and listened with eager eyes and ears. Yes, they said, they wanted to go where Paul was. Then I said we will all kneel and you be sure to tell Jesus what you have told me. As soon as we knelt God made the gamblers drop their cards and keep still.
Some went silently out of the room. Christ was real to me that day. Glory to His name. Mr. Oliver was convicted of sin and never rested till God spoke peace to his soul. He came to one of our reading room meetings and saw a picture--"The drunkard's five steps to ruin," that deeply impressed him. I wanted him to pour his whisky all out on the street, but he did not do that. However, he closed his saloon at a great sacrifice. I brought him to school in Leland University. He had a good mind, had been a school teacher, was ordained for the ministry and became pastor of a church. I am told that a church occupies the site of his saloon.
The next year I felt called to work in another association. The books were kept in a pastor's home and used for several months, then taken across the bay to another church where they did good service. They were, finally, given away to persons who read them.
As a result of our training school and the labors of Sisters Pound and Thompson part of the time, we secured from the gleaning of the women and children that year $45.00 for Africa and $58 for the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society. Children were often converted in our meetings. Bible lessons were taught in very many homes, mostly by our good sisters visiting their neighbors. I visited myself in that association 14 churches, conducted 82 religious meetings, attended one Pastor's Institute where I read three papers. This institute was conducted by Brother H. Woodsmall, who was employed by the American Baptist Home Mission Society. He was one of the wisest and most successful Christian workers the world ever saw. There were many agencies at work part of 1884 in that 5th District Association, as it was called, and to-day they are still reaping the good results. Praise the Lord. You ask where did I get the money to support the reading room and the training school? I answer, often from persons who wrote to me but never met me. I always
replied and told them the good accomplished. I wrote many letters at night. Indeed, when I was not at meetings I was writing a great part of the night. People must know of a work before they will give and after these people knew, God spoke to their hearts telling them to give. This was done in answer to both prayer and labor.
My reading room craze did not end with Morgan City. I had another room fitted up in Plaquemine and after I settled in Nashville I tried to have the room open in one of the churches certain hours of certain days and nights in the week and hired a young man to care for it one month; but no one seemed to see its use, yet it accomplished something; the books were lent and returned; finally they were all out in homes and I did not try to gather them up. Next I put a large number of my best books in a room rented by the colored Young Men's Christian Association. This did some good, but it did not accomplish what I expected. Next I put books in a little mission room, but that was not a success. It is hard to make the people see the value of good reading. While in Little Rock, I was sick one day and as I sat and looked at my books lying idle on the shelves, I talked to the Lord Jesus, myself, and the books about as follows: Dear Lord, you have said to me, "Occupy till I come"; I am looking for you to come every day. Those books are a part of myself and they should be occupied in doing good. I would be ashamed to have you come and find any part of me idle. Books, you get down off those shelves and "go about doing good"; the world needs you, and I get but little time to read you. Get down, I say! and they did get down and they did go to work. I have spent a great amount of money for books in my life because good books have helped Sister Moore and they will help others. God sent us while in Little Rock Miss Laura Beck of Indiana, who arranged a circulating library, in which we had over 300 good books, and I think they were wisely used
while we remained there. You will see by the fireside-school catalogue of 1901 that we have donated $2,476.19 worth of books and sold $5,621.13 worth during the last six years. The average cost of these books is about 18 cents apiece. So you see many thousands of homes and hearts have been fed with helpful thoughts through our books. This does not include all the books we have given or sold, but only those of which a record has been kept. Many were given and sold by myself and I failed to keep account of them. And yet the demand is far beyond the supply. Satan is ahead of me in most homes. To illustrate: As I called at a home in Nashville, I saw a girl reading intently; she went out and her mother said, "Mary is so fond of reading that I cannot get her to help me with the work. She is the only one in the family that can read, but she will not read to me nor the younger children." At another time I found this girl and saw that her book was a filthy novel, which some school girl had given her. I gave her a good book and asked her to read it to the younger children, but she would not. Her taste for good books was destroyed. This is the evil that our Fireside school hopes to correct by placing in the hands of the young mother good books which she is supposed to begin to read to her children when they are not more than two years of age and keep on, daily, until they are no longer children in her home. In this way their taste for good reading becomes so strong that bad books will have no attractions. Does my reader see the point, and will she stop and pray that good books may travel fast enough to keep ahead of bad ones.
"If good we plant not, vice will fill the place,
And rankest weeds the richest soil deface."
But in this as in all else eternal vigilance is the way to success. We need especially the co-operation of teachers and pastors to help when parents have not had a chance for education--this is the case
with many white people as well as colored. Open your eyes and look. Watch your beginnings.
My first real boarding school for women was in a little village in Terrebonne parish. We rented a house with two small bed rooms, a very small kitchen, and one quite large room which served for a dining room, school room and bed room. Leland University gave me a present of five cots which we spread out at night. You wonder how we could live decently in such small quarters with six boarders and two teachers, but we did do things decently and in order. I had the help of Mrs. Fannie Pound, an excellent housekeeper. She is a white woman from the North who came and asked the privilege of helping me. And she was a very efficient helper in many directions from 1885 to 1889, when she left me, to take charge of a rescue home in New Orleans.
In our school we had about fourteen day pupils. We met the children in the afternoon and often at night held Bible readings in the churches which were attended by both men and women. We intended the next year to have a school in Houma, in the same parish, but some trouble between the white and colored people made us think it was not best. Therefore I carried my household goods to
in the fall of 1886. I had visited in several parishes north of Baton Rouge, La., and prayed that I might have a school that could reach the women who wanted to do Christian work. I rented a plantation house of Mrs. Drouillard of New Orleans and moved my furniture there. Our pupils made mattresses out of corn husks, and tables out of boxes. Soon we had things comfortable, and opened school the 1st of November, 1887. Only five of the women who had been doing mission work came, but we had sixteen girls
between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, plantation girls nearly all, with no culture and but little education. If while reciting a lesson they saw some of their friends coming, they would jump to their feet and run to meet them like a little child, though I had often told them how to be quiet, and had given them the usual rules of decorum. They would go out into the yard and dance, and most of their plays with each other were like those of rude boys. But it was beautiful to see how five months refined and educated those girls.
The teacher I had engaged disappointed me, therefore I was alone for about six weeks. Mrs, Drouillard came out to see me about a month after school opened. She went home and told her daughters how over-burdened I was. Her daughter Mary said, "I'll go and help her." She came and was a perfect God-send--a good teacher and one who could control the pupils. She was with me two months. This was a remarkable answer to prayer and a sample of the way God has sent supplies for all my needs for many years. One of the women I had with me was Mary Triplet from Port Hudson. At this time she was 58 years of age. I met her about three years before, and one night in her plantation home I started her in the study of the Bible. She had a splendid natural intellect and was a very godly woman. The Mission band of children that she taught for three years were the first to pick cotton and cultivate gardens so as to get money for Jesus. Some time after our school opened she devoted several days to fasting and praying for the school. Then she called me and said: "There are seven girls here without religion. God wants to save them, and He will in answer to prayer, and through them make the other Christians who are all so wild better." So we joined in prayer and soon after we called those who were Christians in the school together, and Mary Triplet told how God had laid upon her heart
the salvation of the girls. She was so earnest that all hearts were touched. The plan was for one of the Christians to choose a sinner for whom to especially pray and talk with, as the opportunity afforded, until they were saved. All made their choice and I took the one that was left. We were true to our promise. Some weeks after our dear Sister Tripplet came to ask if we Christians could have a short meeting together, then each take her unconverted friend alone in a room, so in six rooms in our house all would be praying. We separated and within about forty minutes reassembled. Most of the sinners were in tears crying, "What must I do to be saved?" We fell on our faces before God. The lunch hour passed. No one thought of eating. The mourners went from room to room crying for help. The evening shadows gathered, but the interest continued till late at night, when three were saved. Two more found peace the next day before noon, and another soon after, but the one for whom I was to pray especially was not converted. This revival left a blessed influence upon the hearts of all our students.
We could only afford fire in the school room. Nine of the girls had never been to school and did not know one letter. Every evening I took these to another room and read them Bible stories, as mothers do, for an hour and a half, while the others were in school with the teachers. It was cold, but we wrapped up in comforters. No mother ever had more attentive hearers. Speaking of the cold reminds me that I wrote the greater part of my paper "Hope" that winter up in a garret where I could be quiet, with comforters wrapped around me.
We had twenty-five boarders enrolled. I had much trouble in getting this school started, but finally secured teachers. We had a missionary society and in two months collected $3.50. One dollar we put on our plates as we sat down to our Christmas dinner. The dinner was not extravagant. Two dollars and twenty-five cents we sent to Africa, and $1.25
to the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society. The boarders cheerfully did the work of the household. They were glad to learn to sew and cook. We always prepared our Sunday food on Saturday. Some were glad to eat cold breakfasts and dinners so we could have time to worship God on his holy day. Some of them carried out this plan after they went home. In two months the students made ten dresses, six sacks and many other garments. A majority of the girls worked beautiful mottoes on cardboard.
It was a difficult task to carry this school from place to place, but it was the only way in which I could reach people who had no money to travel on the cars, and who could stay so short a time.
As the idea of training schools for wives and mothers developed it led to the formulating of the following course of study:
1. Family prayer and daily systematic study of God's word at home.
2. Education, including how one can make her home a school room. Also the discussion and selection of the best books and papers for parents and children.
3. Housekeeping, including economy, neatness, order, cheerfulness and industry.
4. Laws of health, including proper food, clothing, exercise, cleanliness, and care of the sick.
5. Social purity and temperance, because these virtues are so necessary to the happiness of the home.
6. Mothers' and children's meetings, where all questions pertaining to the duties of wife and mother and child will be discussed and carried to God in prayer.
7. How to protect and teach neglected children. Also all plans for helping to make better the homes of our neighbors and extending the religion of the Lord Jesus to all within our reach.
I found the lessons I gave in my own home, with suggestions about sleeping, eating, working, worshiping, and doing all decently and in order, were being copied in their own homes as far as their poverty would allow. I will take my reader with me on a tour for the purpose of visiting some homes in which the wife or some member of the family had attended my training school in Morgan City.
I had visited, before this, some of them twice and helped them begin their Christian work. I planned in connection with this trip a few days' training school in one of the churches. I began my journey November 20, 1886.
Here are a few extracts from my journal:
"The railroad was new--and no depot at some of the stations. Midnight found me at West Melvern, La. The agent kindly took me with his lantern about half a mile to a very poor boarding house. The next morning being the Sabbath, I started early to sow Gospel seed. I first gave tracts and papers to about a dozen white men at the boarding house, and to six colored men at a place where they sold liquor. Whisky was in great demand by both races everywhere. Rev. Harris, the pastor, did not meet me according to appointment, but after a long search I found him and gathered a company and had a Bible reading. At 4 p. m. Rev. Burrel came and took me in a skiff seven miles to his church, where at night we had a meeting with about twenty-five of my women, also children and men.
"The next day, Monday, though the sun shone, all
left the cotton picking, and we had a glorious meeting, never to be forgotten. The colored people were renters on all these plantations; their time was their own. Late that evening Sister Richardson and I went in a buggy eight miles to Rev. V. Redeau's church. Several met us on the way after dark and told us there was no use in going on, as no appointment had been made. But we did not belong to the class that turns back, so we pushed on to Sister Scott's home. Elvira, her sister, then went around in the dark and invited the people, and in they flocked. O, what a happy time we had! A large congregation gathered the next day, leaving the cotton for the time unpicked. These people are poor and very industrious, and it meant much for them to give up a day for worship. I found that two of my young girl pupils were married. That was all right. Our Bible lessons make them better wives. Girls, don't marry until you know something about the duties of wife and mother.
"Amelia Scott, an older sister, has never married; her parents died and left her the care of the young children. She has a small farm which she manages with great ability, and has educated the other children. She is a brave, sweet woman. Girls, there are a few grand, good things a woman can do besides getting married. I spent the night in this happy family. The girls had seen me make biscuits at Morgan City, so I made the biscuits for breakfast. I was pleased everywhere to see how well they remembered my lessons. Our next stop was at Rev. Davis's church. Here only a few would leave the cotton field. Later in the day a large meeting gathered at Rev. North's church. When it was nearly dark Van Sanner, from Leland University, took me seven miles to Rev. Lathan's church. The cold weather nearly frightened the people from coming to the meeting, but we finally had a crowd. Most of these churches have no fires, and there are cracks in the walls big enough to thrust your fist through. But
they have a plan of building a big fire outside and running out to warm and coming in to get cold. The next day we hurried to Simsport, the place for our training school. Only a few earnest sisters were there the first day. We studied our Bible and forgot the cold. Pastors H. B. N. Brown, L. E. Harris, R. E. Lee, and N. Lathan cheered us with their presence. From 6 to 8 p. m. in a private house I met twelve children who had lately been converted, one only nine years old. This was the result of the work of my dear sisters in their homes. The children recited the Golden Glove, Rules of politeness, and a great many texts of Scripture. This church only numbers sixty-three, of whom forty-two are children, converted within the year.
"O, parents, if you could every day keep alive the church in your homes, what blessings would come to your children as well as to your own hearts.
"Rev. Haywood, the pastor, loves the little children and knows how to feed the lambs. Well, we had a meeting in the cold all that day and the next. Forty of my working women were present. I wish you could have heard those dear sisters thank God for the privilege of working with him and testify to the blessings that come to their own lives. Go on, dear sisters; read your Bibles, govern your tempers, teach your children and help your neighbors, God has a crown of life, a 'well done' for each of you at the end of the journey.
"We then crossed the Atchafalaya River in a skiff to St. Matthew's church, where we held a meeting in the cold. The next day the crowd of children met me in the pastor's home. One of my pupils is doing a good work here. After this meeting I went six miles to Rev. Hunter's church and conducted a meeting and crossed the river about dark. Then I went in a wagon about five miles to Sister Delia Thomas' home. Here I had a temperance meeting about five miles long, in the wagon with both colored and white. All were agreed in their love for whisky. The
next day, Sabbath, I went to Rev. Edwards' church. The people were very kind and attentive, but the shepherd was absent. Many of these pastors like to be in a crowd; therefore, on some Sabbaths you will find two or three of them in one pulpit and two or three pulpits without a preacher. I next called at a church where there was a basket meeting, but you do not know what a church basket meeting is, so I will describe one.
"The pastor invites four or five other churches with their pastors to meet with his church. When all are assembled each pastor preaches a sermon. Of course it is very short when five must be crowded into one hour, but the sermon is only a little bit of the performance. The collection mingled with noisy singing and the preacher's voice pleading for money with far more earnestness than he pleads for souls is the important part. Some time there is a prize of a nice cake given to the preacher who collects the most money. After the preaching, the baskets are opened and dinner served. If one does not get as nice a piece of chicken as another he sometimes goes away grumbling, 'I gave my money; they do not treat us all alike.' During the preaching you will find more outside of the church than inside. Now, pastors, if I have not given a true picture of a basket meeting show me where I am wrong. During the last week we have discussed this subject in the churches where we have held meetings, and I think nearly every pastor has decided to stop this ungodly way of raising money."
The above is only a part of my trip. I visited several other churches before going home. We give this as a sample of the kind of work we did in some of the country churches of Louisiana. Much of the success was owing to the earnest, consecrated spirit of the women, who had so much work to do and little education. These women had given up whisky and tobacco. Most of these pastors were good men living up to the light they had. Rev. Redeau was one
of the best. I gave these extracts to show the great help these women were both in their homes and in their churches, after the little instruction I gave them, in my training school and during my visits to their churches. For three years I kept in touch with them, but during the last ten years I have not heard from them. What they need and other weak ones need is help.
After the close of the school at Point Coupee, I moved with all my belongings to Baton Rouge, where I opened under promising auspices a school which I hoped might be permanent, but which continued but two years and a half.
I was very enthusiastic, as were also all the teachers associated with me. The Women's Baptist Home Mission Society paid my salary and that of Miss Button while she was with me. Besides this expenses were provided for by God who thus set the seal of His approval on the work.
While in Baton Rouge I received one hundred dollars from the Happy Thought League, under the care of Mrs. P. G. McCollin, who is now in heaven. That money came in a time of great need. I would weary my reader if I told of the many answers to prayer in so many ways during my short pilgrimage. The money came pouring in, so that I had $2,000 in my hands with which to purchase the home in which my school was held, but the bargain was not closed when all my hopes were shattered and my school destroyed. This is the sad part of my story. God help me to tell it wisely, kindly, and truthfully.
I find among my records a conversation I had with one of my pupils about two months after this calamity:
"Sister Moore, is our school for colored women really closed?" "Yes, my scholars all went home,
Mrs. Fannie Pound J.P. Moore Lydia Lawrence
TRAINING SCHOOL FOR WIVES AND MOTHERS, BATON ROUGE, LA.
From photograph taken in 1888
and so far I find it impossible to have them return."
"Why did any one disturb your school?" "I cannot tell; I thought everything was peace and safety. I did not think any of the white people had very serious objections to my school."
"What was in the notice put on your gate?" "There were the emblems of death--a skull and cross-bones and the notice stated that I was ordered by the 'White League' to close my school and leave the place."
"Why did they do such a cruel thing when we were having such a blessed, quiet school and not molesting any one?" "The reason given in the notice is exactly in these words, 'You are trying to educate the niggers to consider themselves the equals of the white people.'"
"Oh, I am so sorry! What do the white people mean? If we steal or fight they punish us, and then when some one comes to tell us in a kind loving way how to be good and do right, then they want to drive her away."
"I don't understand it myself, all that seems to be now in my power, is to ask the Lord to open some other door by which my dear women may get an education, and be taught the Bible and the duties of home life."
"What did you do when you found the notice at your gate?" "I got my bonnet and went down town and showed it to three or four of the best white people in town."
"What did they say?" "They were indignant, and said it was an outrage, and promised they would do what they could do to protect me. I also showed it to the mayor and other officials, and they promised the same."
"Have they made any effort to find the guilty persons?" "I don't know that they have."
"Oh, Miss Moore, what will become of the colored people?" "God
will take care of them, my
J.P. Moore Miss Lydia Lawrence
dear child, if not on earth, there is a safe place up in heaven. Persecutions are a part of the bargain God makes with His children. Let us be patient. God knows it all, and Rom. 8:28 is true. "All things work together for good to them that love God." This trouble will in some way work together for good. We must trust God's promises."
The above is a sample of many conversations with my women.
I don't think this would have occurred had it not been at a time when the colored people were being persecuted for a cause not at all connected with my work. I will not stop to give my readers the details but only mention a few facts. Some of the richest men in Baton Rouge had leased their plantations (some of which were six or ten miles from the city) to the colored people.
There lived in the hills near these plantations a class of poor whites, who came at night, masked, and took some colored men out and whipped them severely. The reason seemed to be jealousy because of the improvement the negro was making.
This persecution was so terrible that the negroes fled to the city. One man was shot because he hid himself under his house and refused to come out.
After this persecution had gone on for about a week, the officers in the city went out and made some arrests, but I am unable to say positively how many were found guilty or how they were punished. I know the citizens of Baton Rouge held an indignation meeting and denounced the white hoodlums who had driven the laborers from their plantations so that the crops were suffering, but the injustice done my school was not mentioned; it did not represent dollars and cents to the citizens.
There is a certain class who take advantage of times like this to intimidate work and workers with whom they have no sympathy. I know I had the confidence and respect of the good white people of
From photograph taken in Spring of 1890
The closing of this school was one of the greatest, if not the greatest, trial of my life. It had required much labor and patience to awaken interest in this work. I had visited many associations in the state telling about this school, so you can see that the disappointment was widespread. Because of my leaving Louisiana, many of the people thought that my paper HOPE and all the work was dead. And, indeed, though not dead both were greatly hindered. It was also a great loss in dollars and cents. We had rented the house for $25 a month, when an $8 house would have accommodated Miss Button and me. The house was furnished neatly for fourteen boarders and three teachers, there were a pleasant school room, dining room, and kitchen. I sold only a few articles as it was difficult to dispose of them. I sent quite a large donation to Gibsland, La., where the colored people had started a new school, also some barrels of clothing. Some things were sent to Plaquemine to an "old ladies' home." However we did not dispose of anything until March,
hoping to induce our pupils to return and go on with our much-loved school. Disappointed in this hope, we stored what we could not sell and left the city with tears and regrets, and prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
Our loss in money is nothing compared with the lost opportunity of helping these poor wives and mothers in Louisiana. Nearly every day for a long while after the school closed I received letters saying, "I am getting ready and will be in your school in a few days." Then I must sit down and write the sad news how the school was closed.
Since this trouble I have thought so often of an incident in the life of Sir Isaac Newton, the great philosopher and astronomer. One night he was called suddenly from his room to attend to some business, and left the candle burning on the table. He closed the door leaving in the room his little dog, Diamond. When he returned he found that the little dog in his impatience had jumped upon the table and upset the candle which set fire to Sir Isaac's manuscripts and thus burned up in a few minutes the results of a great many years of hard labor and of close study. The philosopher only remarked in a quiet manner, "Oh, Diamond, Diamond, little thou knowest the mischief thou hast done." Those wicked, thoughtless persons who put that notice at my gate know about as little of the consequences that have followed their mischief as did Diamond. They know not how those cruel, obscene words in that notice, wounded our hearts, clouded the days, and brought terror to the nights, and laid on us a burden of care and anxiety that nothing but God's strength could carry us through. Yes, it was God that carried the burden and carried His poor, tired children through it all. Praise the Lord, who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver and in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us. 2 Cor. 1:10.
Past, present, and future deliverance, halelujah!
"Looking unto Jesus" brightens all our darkness and fills the fainting heart with hope and courage.
A few months after I left Louisiana, I visited Dr. John A. Broadus, of Louisville, Ky., and told him about the closing of my school in Baton Rouge--the circumstances connected with it. He seemed to appreciate my trials more than any Southern person to whom I had spoken. There was a tenderness and sympathy about his manner that comforted me. He advised me to be patient, saying, "There are so many sides to this question, but your work is greatly needed. Go forward, quietly trusting the Lord." I cannot explain why, but I know I came out from that little visit with Dr. Broadus a braver, stronger woman.
The following voluntary words of testimony require no comment:
Dear Sisters:--This is the third winter that I have attended Miss Moore's Training School, and I can tell you it is just the place to train workers for Christ. Here we learn to deny self and to be meek and lowly, as Christ has commanded. Miss Moore has now two very wise Christian ladies, Miss Margaret Work and Miss Lydia Lawrence to assist her in the work. They see that we improve the time, and yet are very patient. All in our school are married women or widows, but two. I wish you could look in and see how happy we are. I want more of the sisters of the state to come here, for what we all need is a better knowledge of the meaning of the Bible and Home.
ESTHER URSULA YOUNG,
Dear Mothers:--I have been in the Training School ever since one week before Christmas. I was much discouraged about being blind before I came here. This great affliction cast me down. But since Sister Moore brought me here, I have been
comforted greatly, by listening to the lessons, the singing, and the praying. Some of the sisters have come two hundred miles to attend the school. When I first got blind, about three months ago, Sister Moore told me that if my natural eyes were blind I could see clearer with my spiritual eyes, and since I have been here I find it is true. While I listen to the glorious Word of God explained, I feel a light springing up in my soul so bright that I think I can see the whole circle in which our sisters are sitting and the glory of God fills the house. Mothers, dear mothers, do come and learn the Word of God so you can teach it to your children and children's children. How can you teach what you do not know? Mothers, do teach your children the Word of God, for that is what has lifted me up the last few years.
I want to add that Sister Triplet is now sixty years old, and it has only been during the last four years that she has learned how to study the Bible. Last year and the year before she had her Bible in hand almost all the time, and to-day, from memory, she can recite a great number of verses by heart. Thus she meditates on God's word night and day, and is therefore blessed, and is a great blessing to all in the school.
From a photograph taken in 1885.
I still keep tight hold of the Bible. My new year's message for 1902 is: "Now the God of hope fill with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Spirit" (Rom. 15:13). Oh, beloved friends, be hopeful, be courageous. God cannot use discouraged people. The above text tells us we get our hopefulness by faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit. Free for all. Take and rejoice.
SISTER JOANNA P. MOORE.
There is no power strong enough to reform human lives but the power of the Gospel of the Son of God. And there is no book that tells about this Gospel but the Bible. Therefore, the great object in all our work has been to get this Book into the hands and hearts of all.
This great thought led up to our Bible band.
The object of the organization is: First, To study and commit to memory the word of God for our own edification and comfort. Second, To teach it to others. Third, To supply the destitute with Bibles, and if possible to get every man, woman and child who can read to own a Bible. No organization would be required, if it were not that by this method we can get more persons to study the Bible, and also to better help and encourage each other.
ARTICLE 1. It shall be the duty of each member of the Band to read or hear read a chapter, or part of a chapter each day and commit to memory three new verses each week. Those who are young and quick to learn should memorize one verse each day. If you have the paper HOPE it is expected that you will read the daily lesson given in that paper.
ARTICLE 2. It shall be the duty of the members to read the Bible to the sick or those who cannot read, as often as opportunity affords; also to seek opportunities.
ARTICLE 3. It shall be the duty of the members to do all in their power to supply the destitute
with Bibles, and to use their influence to get every man, woman and child to own and read the Bible.
ARTICLE 4. It shall be the duty of the members to carry with them a Bible when they go on a visit, or to church, or any meeting. It is also a good plan to keep a little Testament in our pockets while at work, so we can read at leisure moments.
ARTICLE 5. It shall be the duty of the members to meet once a week and make reports of study and Bible work done. If members live too far away or other duties prevent they should send written reports as often as possible. Persons can belong to the Band if they cannot read, if they will promise to have some one read to them.
ARTICLE 6. The officers of the society shall be: president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. The duty of said officers to be the same as in any other society.
There is seldom any use for the office of treasurer, because when we find one who cannot buy a Bible, the member that finds such an individual gets him a Bible if she is able, and reports it at the next meeting and a record is kept of the fact in the minutes. If she is not able she reports it and some one or more who are able provides the Bible. I would be glad to get a report of each Band from the secretary at the close of each month, telling at least these three facts: Number who read regularly (this will include old and young, sinners and Christians, for all can belong to the Band), number found without a Bible, and number supplied with a Bible. I may be able to get Bibles for those you cannot supply. But, of course, you want to have the blessing of giving them yourself if you can, for Jesus says, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."--Acts 20:35.
The above is the plan that has been found valuable in the study of the Bible in Louisiana and many other states. When you form your Band you
may make some changes if you think best, but do not lose sight of the great object of the Band. Some may object to carrying a Bible with them, others may say they cannot help to get Bibles for the destitute and some may make other objections. But get all to join who will promise for themselves to read the Bible daily and commit to memory at least three verses a week.
There is no danger of your taking too much time, or being too zealous about the study of God's word. Such ignorance of Bible truth as we find in every church, should make every Christian shed bitter tears of shame and sorrow. Jesus says: "In vain do you worship me teaching for doctrine the commandments of men."--Matt. 15:9. We want to find what God says and obey Him. He is the only one that has a right to make laws for His children. If there is a rule in the church or the home which I cannot prove by the Bible, then I need not obey that rule. There is a blessing promised to those who "delight in the law of the Lord and meditate therein day and night." They will be fresh and fruit-bearing all the year long. Everything they do will prosper. If you do not believe it, read Psalms 1:2, 3. But remember you must delight in the Bible, enjoy it, love it, admire it, obey it, honor it, trust it. That is what "delight" means. You can claim the promise if you delight in the Bible.
We hope all will read the daily lessons given in HOPE. It is a great inspiration to know that all are reading the same portion of Scripture each in his own home.
My blessed Bible Band pupils, blessed because you delight in the law of the Lord and in His law do you meditate day and night. Ps. 1:2. You are the hope of the Christian church. Hitherto the people have so often "erred or gone wrong, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God." Matt. 22:29. The power of God is the Holy Spirit (Acts 1 :8), that same Holy Spirit with whom so many of you
are filled. Glory to his name! Then you study the Bible daily. Acts 17:11. The Bible gives you a knowledge of God's word and the Holy Spirit gives you power to obey it.
It matters not if the officers of the Band are not your choice, nor if the regular meetings are stopped. Keep on with your daily study, do not omit a single day. But strive hard to get the meeting started again. Your Band would be a regular, profitable one if only two meet once a week in a private house to review the lessons, provided two are all you can interest. But do not, I beseech you, let personal jealousy or quarrels destroy the fellowship of the members, who should be, like Mary, humble, and meekly "sitting at Jesus' feet to hear his word." Luke 10:39.
Mothers who have little children, sick ones, and those who have work to do at the hour of meeting are full members, and should just as carefully study the lesson daily as if they were able to attend.
The devil does not care how much time you spend in prayer as long as you will not read the Bible. Because without the Bible you do not know how to pray an acceptable prayer.
I have never known a Christian to backslide who continued the daily, prayerful study of the Bible.
Satan hates the Bible. It was the sword in Jesus' hands that conquered him nineteen hundred years ago. Matt. 4: 1-11.--Eph. 6:17.
Surely all Christians of every name should sit down together to read their Father's letter.
For example, I had the following in my paper: "Sister Mary, you must forgive Sister Jane, though she has wronged you. Jesus loved you and died for you while you were sinning against Him, and Jesus says you must forgive Jane or he will not forgive you. If you do not believe me read Eph. 4:32."
But Mary does not know where to find Ephesians, so she hastens to her neighbor, who knows as little as Mary about the Bible; but before night a visitor calls who reads from her Bible these words: "And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Eph. 4:32. Mary asked the visitor if she would not come and help her study the lessons, which she did, and thus they helped each other; and once a week all met in a private house or church to review. Hundreds have learned to read with the help of neighbors or their own children. Let me state another fact. Those who study HOPE must have a Bible. I noticed our Sunday school quarterlies had nearly turned the Bible out of the school by giving the Bible text so the pupil did not need the Bible. In our paper we only give book, chapter, and verse. This compels the reader to get a Bible before he can understand the explanation. HOPE created a great demand for Bibles. I prepared the Constitution for Bible Bands, which we have given you. You ask, did not the people have the Bible before your HOPE was born? Yes, some did. There were school books before you learned to read, but you needed a teacher. When the teacher came you got the books. HOPE has been the teacher that led many to buy a Bible and others to use the one that lay covered with dust.
I see by my record that in 1888 we had ninety Bands, with 1,683 members, who claimed to read daily the Bible lessons. The work continued with unabated interest, so that in 1889 we had, through visits and correspondence, gotten the work established in ten associations; there were only twelve in the state. I had visited all these places repeatedly and conducted many Bible readings. That year we had reports from one hundred and fifteen bands. The reports included a statement of number in Bands; number who read daily at home; number of persons who read the lesson to neighbors;
number of texts memorized. These were the principal facts.
I give you the following report from one Band as a sample: Number in Band, 49; number who read daily, 26; number of families visited with Bible and prayer, 84; number of verses memorized, 1,995. This is a report for four months. I gave the people the following
1. If I am a saved sinner, I should stop at every promise for a Christian, and ask if I believe it, and rest my soul upon it; and at every command, and ask if I obey it cheerfully. Luke 6:46; John 14:15 and 15:14.
2. If I am an unsaved sinner, I should stop at every invitation of mercy, and ask my own heart why I do not accept it, and remember that God will accept no service or work at my hands till I receive the pardon for my sins that Jesus bought with his own blood. I have only to accept and believe His promise, and then I am a saved sinner and ready for work on earth and a home in heaven. Acts 16:30, 31; Acts 2:38-39.
3. I should remember that all the Bible stories, and all its histories of individuals and nations, have been written for my warning or my encouragement or learning, and I should stop as I read, till I get the lesson for my own heart. 1 Cor. 10:5-13.
4. I should meditate or think about what I have read in the Bible and talk about it to others. Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:2.
5. When I read the Bible I should get a dictionary and find the meaning of every word, or ask some one to explain what I do not understand. I should get a reference Bible and a Concordance and learn how to use them and use them in the study of the Bible. Acts 8:30-31.
6. God talks to me when I read the Bible. I
talk to God when I pray. We should let God do the most of the talking.
7. When we read the Bible we must expect that the Holy Spirit will be our teacher. John 14:26. The Holy Spirit wrote the Bible. 2 Peter 1:21. The natural man cannot understand God. 1 Cor. 2:9-16.
Oh, God, help me to remember that thou art talking to me when I read the Bible, and may I believe every word thou sayest. May the Holy Spirit shine in my heart, and make the meaning plain; and make me willing to obey all thy commands for Jesus' sake. Amen.
God was in this work and many hearts learned to delight in the law of the Lord. My leaving Louisiana soon after this resulted in an abatement in the interest, because all Christian work requires human instrumentality.
Rev. J. H. Vincent, D.D., has been widely known for many years as a very successful educator, as well as preacher and Sunday school teacher. He is now an honored bishop of the M. E. church. About twenty years ago, as is well known, Brother Vincent originated a plan for educating the masses. It finally developed into what is known as the "Chautauqua Idea or Plan." Dr. Vincent and his helpers have arranged a course of study and prepared books, which require a certain number of years to complete the course. These pupils study their lessons at home. A certain number of persons in a neighborhood form themselves into a Chautauqua Circle, and meet once a week. They appoint one of their number as teacher and recite what they have studied during the week. Once a year all who have the money and time to spare, attend the annual meeting, for one month, where lectures are given on different subjects, and lessons taught by the best of teachers, and those who have completed the course graduate, and receive their diplomas. In 1887, through the kindness of the ladies of the Fourth Baptist Church, Pittsburg, Pa., I was furnished with the means to attend one of these meetings. I never met a more enthusiastic class of pupils in my life. Gray-haired men and women received diplomas with as great delight as young school girls. This annual meeting I saw was needed to keep up the interest in every-day study at home. Here they received an impetus that sustained them through the year.
I sat me down and studied and thought over and pondered the whole subject, and concluded that I had blunderingly gotten hold of Dr. Vincent's idea without knowing it. My Training School for Married Women was the "Chautauqua idea," in a form adapted to the class of persons, among whom I labored. My plan is to keep these wives and mothers with me only one month of the year. So many have told me, "You can do nothing in one month." But I knew I could. In one month you can awaken thought: you can sow seed that will keep on growing all the year. You can arouse the intellect and start it to thinking, and if followed up year after year, you will soon have an intelligent class of wives and mothers. Their judgment is more mature than their intellect, and they can see the need of this education, and the need of a knowledge that is not learned from books. The daily lectures that I gave my women on Economy, Punishment of Children, Amusement of Children, Care of Babies, Little Plans for Making Home Happy, How to Teach Bible Lessons to Their Children, the Wife's Duty, and a dozen other subjects on practical every-day duties, interested them, because it was on a line with their every-day life work. You cannot interest a young girl on these subjects as you can a wife and mother, because the home of the latter is a present reality, and a girl's home is away in the future. I found that the more intelligent these women were, the more interested they were in all the lessons taught. The best housekeepers were the ones who wanted to learn more about housekeeping, and the best mothers were the ones that were so eager to learn more of correct plans for training their children, just because their minds were waked up on that subject. When individuals say they know all about a subject, you may feel sure they know but little about it. There are hundreds of women, both white and black, that will tell me, "I know how to keep house and how to take care of my children just as well as I want to,
and I will not fool my time away trying to learn anything more on that subject." We must be patient with such women and try to show them how much there it yet for them to learn. This is what we were doing.
Then there is a multitude of married women, who think after marriage they do not need their brains, nor their books, they only need their fingers and their feet. This is a very great mistake. Above all things a wife and mother should keep on learning from books, every day of her life. My school was especially needed for women who had never had a chance for an education in early life, and at this age they did not want to sit down in a school with a lot of giggling children who would laugh at the fact that these grown-up women could not spell even book or house. So you see it was necessary to get the women in a school by themselves. Besides, as I have shown you, there were so many other subjects needed to be taught these women, that would not be appropriate for children. This month in our school was our colored women's Chautauqua meeting, where they got the start and the inspiration that would carry them through the year. We had also our plan of study at home adapted to our ability. My paper HOPE has its theological department in Bible Band lessons. Then it has lessons on Home-Making and Care of Children, Social Purity, Temperance, Biography, Lessons for the Children, etc. We are sure that we have the right plan and it will not be long till we have these schools started all over the South. Are you going to let all these poor colored women remain in ignorance simply because they are married? No, verily, not if I can help it. But there must be something done to awaken the sleeping intellect and show these women what great possibilities are folded up in their hearts, heads, and hands. And that is just what my paper and my school is doing.
It is fireside study that makes the scholar. No
one ever yet became intelligent by what he learned in school, and no one can be ignorant who spends his spare moments in study at home. The mother is queen of home. Our school was established to teach these queens how to rule wisely. Every mother should be able to read God's Word to her child. If it be but a few verses, it will do more to establish them in the right faith than all other schools of theology. One lesson taught a child by its mother is worth ten taught by a teacher. Is it any wonder that I am so anxious to grasp the hand of a mother and to put down deep in her heart the seeds of truth? Any one who has studied the condition of the colored women of the South will know that my school and schools like it are a great necessity.
For centuries the light of intelligence was shut out from these poor people. To even look at a book was a crime that brought severe punishment. While on the other hand the white race has had superior opportunities for mental culture for centuries. "We that are strong must bear the infirmities of the weak," especially when our injustice made them weak. I appeal to the intelligent white mothers of our land for help for the hundreds of mothers on the plantations in Louisiana,, who have never received even the first lesson in the holy duties of motherhood, especially the young mothers. My plan is to bring them together once a year in a model home, for lessons during two weeks or a month. This will do much to awaken thought and suggest improvements which will be carried out when they return to their homes. My schools from 1884 to 1890 have proved the wisdom of this plan.
One great school can not supply the needs of these people, there should be at least one in each state, kept open six months with not more than ten boarders at a time; a larger number would take away the family idea and prevent us showing our pupils a model home. But if each class only stayed one month we would reach sixty women each year. The
other six months should be given to holding parents' meetings in touch with the homes of our pupils. The furniture and everything pertaining to these schools should be of the simplest kind, only two teachers would be needed. A rented house is best, because every two or three years we want to change the locations in order to reach those who could leave home only as day pupils.
Our great need is not so much money, but wise, patient, well-prepared teachers, who will know how to adapt their lessons to the needs of their pupils in a loving way.
I left Chicago for Little Rock, August 12, 1891. It seemed to many presumptuous to go South at that season, but the promises of the 91st Psalm are mine. I attended the Arkansas Colored Baptist State Convention at Montacella. This meeting was a proof of the progress our dear people have made, but it is only the children of whom we will now speak. On Sabbath I said a few words on the Sabbath school lesson. Some of the children were in tears. Rev. E. C. Morris, the president of the convention, said, "Perhaps the children want to be saved to-day." Some said there was no time now, but he urged that I be allowed to give them a chance. Four little children rose with tears of conviction. A meeting was appointed for them at two p. m. of which I had charge. Before the hour arrived, the house was crowded with an audience mostly adults, and among them the preachers and the delegates. About fifty children occupied the front seats. I read John 5:14-15." As Moses lifted up the serpent so shall the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." After telling the story of the brazen serpent, I explained how my sins had been forgiven by looking unto Jesus and how God stood ready to save them that very minute. The little ones in tears gathered around me till the space in front of the pulpit was so crowded we could not kneel. We did not simply say prayers but we prayed. Some of the members of the convention whose hearts were full of love for the children followed me in prayer. When the children were seated, I asked, "Who believes that Jesus has pardoned their
sins?" A little girl about ten years old immediately arose with tears of joy, saying, "My sins are all forgiven; I do love Jesus." Then she went around and shook hands with the older ones and told them her love and joy in Jesus, but her sweet, glad face told more than words. Five others followed her example. This custom in the South of the convert going around to get the right hand of fellowship from older members is very appropriate and beautiful. The children were between the ages of ten and thirteen. Before we dismissed, several of the most intelligent pastors in the state spoke words of encouragement to the children; for this I praise the Lord, because many of the colored people do not believe in immediate conversion. They think before he is forgiven, the sinner must spend long days in prayers and tears. Then there is a great number who do not believe in children's conversion. After dismission, two more of the children accepted Christ, and at the night meeting, these eight little ones were received into the church. I cannot tell you our great joy at this blessing just as we entered our new field of labor. God did it all. My words were so weak they could not have touched any heart but for God's great power. To Him be all the glory.
Miss Eva Button came to help me in October. She was greatly used in leading children to Christ and building them up in the faith.
Before she came I had begun children's meetings, holding them Saturdays, at two p. m. These were continued, without interruption, for a year, during which time one hundred and twenty-four children were born into the kingdom in that room. There was no special revival as we call it, but some were saved each Saturday but one during the year. This continued blessing was something new and kept up the interest. Most of these young converts united with churches of different denominations in the city, and as a general thing remained faithful. It was astonishing the number of Bible verses they
repeated from memory in each meeting. To urge those I teach to hide God's Law in the heart has always been my plan. It does keep us from sinning, provided the word is impressed by the Holy Spirit.
MISS BUTTON'S DRESSMAKING CLASS, LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
As soon as I returned to Little Rock after the convention, God led us to a suitable house which we rented and in which we lived and opened our
Our Mothers' School in this place was a success. We held it in the forenoon five days in the week. Some of our day pupils walked two miles to attend and did their work in the afternoon saying they accomplished just as much as in a full day without our Bible lessons. They soon had a longing desire to tell others what they had learned and this led to
in the homes conducted by these women, under the guidance of Sister Button and myself. Much time was spent in trying to show them how to study the Bible lessons in HOPE, and in talks about proper training of children. Monday morning was given to a missionary meeting. I wish you could have seen the shining faces of those women as they reported their Christian work. Oh, there is a wonderful joy in being permitted to personally lead any soul from darkness into light. It is the cream of happiness which so many lose because they think they have "no time." This work of which I speak was mostly accomplished by using for God the every-day touch that all have with their neighbors. It turned idle gossip out-of-doors and brought Christ into their every-day life. This was not only the case in Little Rock, but in all my work all over the South; only, I had, perhaps, more women to help me from the beginning in Little Rock than elsewhere. It was because of the interest among the children, I think. "A little child shall lead them." Besides the number converted in our meetings, many were saved in the church services.
It was in Little Rock that our Sunshine Bands had their origin, at least, under that name.
Ellen Washington, one of my pupils, who lived on a back street, was sitting under a tree near her door, one afternoon, watching a crowd of playing children; some came nearer and she kindly welcomed them; others followed; then she talked and sang with them. They were so interested that she asked them to come again next day and she would tell them more. They were mostly children that did not attend Sunday school. When Sister Washington related this experience in the Training School next day, the Spirit said to me, "There is the plan by
which we can reach the masses of neglected children. We cannot dress them up for the Sunday school or church, and parents do not care to send them, but every woman with a mother-heart can make a Sunday school room out of her own home. Glory, hallelujah! I have found the way to save the children and it will also help these mothers with their own children as they train their neighbor's children in the right path; for no mother must neglect her own family. Bad company does not lead us astray while we are seeking to reform them in the Gospel way, because we are always on the defensive. I hope my reader will take notice of this thought and practice it.
Mary O'Neal was the second woman to tell how she and her husband, who were good singers, were sitting on their gallery one Sunday evening, when they kindly called in the children who were playing on the street, and sang with them. Oh, how much sweeter and better this was than to scold them for breaking the Sabbath.
I have not time to tell you of the other noble women who, like Lydia, opened their homes as well as their hearts to the Lord's work. In these little meetings in the homes, children were often converted and united with the church. It is so much easier teaching children, dressed in their every-day garments in one's own home, than in the Sunday school, because too often the foolish Sunday dress hinders the Gospel from reaching the heart of the children, and the same is true with older people. Good Lord, deliver us from fashionable dress in Thy house! If our women spent the same time in secret prayer that they do in primping and crimping for church, they would carry a blessing with them, and come home ready to live the sermon and pass it on to their neighbors.
These mothers' and children's meetings in the homes continued to increase. Among the children converted in our home in Little Rock was Jimmy
Washington, whose picture we give you. He had no mother. From the time he was three years old he led his blind father around the city to sell the brooms he made and in that way they earned a scanty living. Jimmy was only five when he was converted and quite small of his age. The day he went forward with others to join the church, the deacon said, sternly, "Go to your seat." "But," said Jimmy, "I am a Christian and must be baptized." "Child, you do not know what you are saying." Jimmy turned away in tears, saying, "Well, Sister Moore will let me join her church?" Yes, dear Jimmy, you and all the children that are old enough to confess their faith in Christ shall find a welcome to my heart and to my church (if I had one). The child held on to his faith and some years after united with the church and began to preach. For several years he wrote me often, but lately I have lost sight of him.
I find by my record that in 1892 we had ten Sunshine Bands, with an average attendance in all of about 150; and twelve mothers' meetings, averaging each week an attendance of about 80. Sister Button and I visited these meetings as often as possible, so as to help and encourage our dear women who were so anxious to be used of God. Little Rock is a small city, so by means of these meetings we reached a very large class of non-church goers. One time I rented a little house near the depot, and far from churches, where we held meetings among a very neglected class.
To provide for extra expenses in carrying on the work in Arkansas the Lord sent special gifts.
Dr. Wayland, while editor of the National Baptist, was interested in my work and put a little notice of it in his paper. Four persons read it and each sent $5 at the same time, also the following which explains itself.
JIMMY WASHINGTON, LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
"Dear Editor National Baptist:--Enclosed you will find $100 which I have saved through much sacrifice and self-denial. I saw in your paper a statement of Miss J. P. Moore's work in Little Rock, Ark. This is the Lord's money, therefore I wish to lay it on his altar. I earnestly prayed that the Lord would show me where it would accomplish the most good for him. As soon as I read your account I knew it was an answer to my prayer, and that that was the place for my money. I ask you to please forward this to Miss Moore. I earnestly and daily pray that she may succeed in her self-denying work. Forward it, and oblige one who wishes to invest in human souls."
This is. the letter; no name is given. It surely was handed me straight from the Lord Jesus. I seemed to feel the grasp of his hand as he lovingly said: "Use this for my honor and glory."
Is it any wonder that we fell on our knees in a thanksgiving prayer, and also prayed for wisdom to invest wisely the Lord's money. There is no doubt but that it is from the Lord. It is blessed by self-denial and prayer; yes, daily prayer follows it, and that prayer is a daily inspiration to me. O, how much more valuable is this money than money dragged from the pockets of the unconverted, or from luke-warm Christians through a supper, festival, "rally," or by any other of Satan's plans to desecrate the holy service of giving to God. This and other gifts were used for my pupils and to support these two young women; also for books and Bibles. Our Bible bands throughout the state created a great demand for the word of God.
Perhaps the holiest gifts I ever received were $250 from Sister Tobyne, of North Belvidere Baptist church (Ill.) and $50 from Sister Nellie Patrick, of Marengo, Ill. They were given on their death beds, with the earnest request that they be sent direct to me. I want also to mention with
JAMES AND ELLEN THOMPSON AND FAMILY, ODOM, ARK.
Ellen Thompson for seven years has had charge of a large club for HOPE, putting it into seventeen families, and testifies that this paper has been a great blessing to her home and to her neighbors. She is one of hundreds of witnesses to the good results of daily Bible study and the power of the Holy Spirit.
tender gratitude Sisters Mary Butcher and Emma Hansel, and her nephew, George Hansel, all of Philadelphia, Pa., and Mrs. J. D. Runyon and family, of Plainfield, N. J., because they have continued to send me little tokens of love for the last fifteen years. Some friends forget and leave us.
While in Little Rock, I had the efficient help of Emma Taylor, of Wayland University, Washington, D. C., and Jane Scruggs, of Southland College, Arkansas. I had visited these schools, telling of my work, and these two young women as soon as they graduated in June, 1892, came to help me, expecting no pay. Mrs. Scruggs was employed by the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society in November, 1892, and labored under its auspices until May, 1898. We held our school in the forenoon with an enrollment of about six boarders and thirty day pupils. The afternoon was given to visits in homes and in the meetings of which we have spoken. I wish our readers could have been present each Monday morning to have seen the shining faces and heard the reports of souls comforted, saved, through the Bible teaching communicated by these dear women to lonely hearts. We seldom could allow one to finish her story as there was so much to be told. No Christian can grow strong in the Lord except as he takes time to feed other hungry hearts. The work was very popular in Little Rock, with all denominations, and through the women who attended our school and our visits to associations and churches, it soon spread throughout the state.
At first we called our work "The Praying, Planning, Working Band," but afterward changed it to
We also outlined the following course of study covering three years:
FIRST YEAR.--Bible, HOPE, "Peep of Day," and "Second Temperance Reader."
SECOND YEAR.--Bible, HOPE, "Line Upon Line," "For Mother While She Rocks the Cradle," "Third Temperance Reader."
THIRD YEAR.--Bible, HOPE, "Story of the Bible," "Kind and True," "Black Beauty."
It is an acknowledged fact that in these days the religious training of our children in their homes is too much neglected. Many parents expect the Sunday school teacher, pastor, or some one else to do this work. Others are careless and let their daily labor or demands of society make them neglect the souls of their children. Not a few mothers give all their time to feeding and clothing the body, while the soul starves or is fed by Satan.
Our usual plans for helping the children have taken them away from their parents, and thereby we have lost the help of the parents to a great extent. I refer to our Sabbath schools, children's and missionary meetings, kindergarten, etc. Scarcely one mother out of one hundred comes to these meetings with her children. Perhaps this need not be so, but facts prove it true. We must keep the mother and child nearer together. The mother is the God-given teacher of the child. But we seldom have them together, even in the house of God. The children come to the Sabbath school, and when it is out the children leave and the parents come to the preaching service. If the child cannot attend both services, then it had better come with the parent to either the preaching service or the Sunday school.
Now I do not want to be understood as condemning the Sabbath school and other helps, but only to say that they are not able, in one hour out of every seven days, to do the great work of the religious and moral training of our children. Indeed, much of this work should be done before the child is old enough to go alone from home.
A mother said to me a few days ago, "Sister
Moore, I have brought my children up in the Sabbath school, and yet they have gone astray." I said,"My dear sister, you could not bring your child up in the Sabbath school, because it is in session only one hour and half during the whole week. At home is where your child has been brought up. There is where its character was formed, to a great extent, before it was seven years old."
1st. Reading with the children will bring the parent and child into sympathy with each other, because these books and lessons will give them a common subject for thought and conversation.
2nd. The church will know more of the home life of its members. A report from the parents each month will naturally lead the pastor and leading members to speak of this work as they visit the homes during the month. The other members of the church will see by the monthly reports the good results of such daily study and prayer in the homes.
3d. By means of this the homes will be supplied with appropriate books for mother and child from year to year, because the books will be selected by good men and women who have the time to read and the judgment to decide which are the best books. We all know that bad books are as dangerous to the young as bad company; also that a large number of parents pay no attention to the books their children read, and, alas, many do not know enough to select the right kind of books.
4th. A large number of persons reading the same books, and thinking along on the same lines, will give to each an ambition and energy that could not be felt if we read alone.
5th. Our mothers do not receive the sympathy and attention that their situation demands. Housekeeping and the duties of motherhood as regards the body of the child are so absorbing that they are
FIRESIDE SCHOOL FAMILY, PETERSBURG, VA.
The father in this family, Rev. C. W. McColl, is both a pastor and missionary.
liable to take a mother's entire time; and therefore her own soul and mind and those of her children will be neglected unless there be some plan to call special attention to these duties every day. Our Fireside School does this beautifully and sweetly. Of its good results we have a multitude of witnesses.
The Fireside School is a matter of common interest to all denominations and races, and is left in the hands of the churches, so that each sect can adjust it to suit their plans of church work. Let us counsel and advise together. Other subjects are important, but none as important as how to make our homes pure, intelligent and happy.
One point must be guarded: Do not call the Fireside School a woman's society; if so, you will shut out father and children, and thus destroy the harmony of God's plan for the home.
We began with mothers first, because father would not take time to listen to us. After a few years, father came and said to us, "Have you forgotten there is a father as well as a mother in the family?" Therefore, we changed our pledge from mothers' to parents' pledge. Soon after this a little child wrote us, saying, "Mamma has promised to be good to me, and I want to promise to be good to mamma." This led us to prepare a sons' and daughters' pledge.
1. Sign the parent's pledge, which is as follows:
"(a) I promise that by the help of God I will pray with and for my children and daily teach them God's Word and expect their early conversion.
"(b) I will be a good pattern for my children in my daily life, especially in temper, words, and dress.
"(c) I will train my children to live for the glory of God in body, mind, and spirit.
"2. Read daily the course of study assigned to the school.
"3. Report monthly to the church. (We suggest that the pastor devote one service a month in his church to this subject. Preach a sermon on some part of home duties and follow it with reports from parents and children's testimonies of improvements, also things that discourage.)
"4. Report every three months to headquarters, 513 Mulberry Street, Nashville, Tenn.
"5. Parents who are not Christians can be associate members. These are not required to sign the pledge nor report, but only to read the lessons."
The interest all over Arkansas was very great, and we decided to call a
It was called a mothers' conference, because, at this time, the fathers had not joined us. But men, including pastors, as well as women attended our first conference in Little Rock, September 9th, 1893. Some of the subjects discussed were as follows:
1. Why is an organization of mothers needed ?
2. The use of the mothers' pledge.
3. The necessity of a mother being a good pattern to her children, especially in temper, conversation, and dress.
4. The best time for family devotions and the best manner of conducting them so as to make them helpful for the children.
5. Mothers need to improve themselves mentally, morally, and physically for the good of their children.
6. Since love and cheerfulness attract children more than anything else, how can we supply our homes with an abundance of these virtues?
7. How can mothers secure the confidence of their children while young and keep that confidence as the child grows older?
8. At what age should obedience be enforced?
9. Mention right and wrong methods of punishing children.
10. Can children be taught honesty, order, kindness, and many other virtues in their plays? If so, should parents give attention to the kind of plays in which even very young children engage?
11. What are proper and what are improper amusements for our young men and women?
12. What is proper dress and healthy food for children, and how much sleep do children require at certain ages?
13. The necessity of eating, sleeping, dressing, and working "decently and in order," according to 1 Cor. 14:40.
14. Why is cleanliness necessary to health?
15. Temperance is self-control of our appetites and faculties. How are children taught intemperance when very young?
16. How are children taught selfishness, vanity, and disobedience by their parents ?
17. How old should a girl be when she may accept the attention of a young man in the capacity of a lover, and how old should the young man be?
18. Is it as bad for a young man to use bad language or lounge around a saloon as it is for a young lady to do so? Or in other words, should we require as high a standard of morals from a young lady as we do of a young man?
19. How can we sustain a Fireside School in every home, and how secure the necessary books for that school?
20. How does our present plans for raising money for God's cause teach our children boldness, vanity, pride, selfishness, and self-gratification?
21. Give us methods by which this money could be raised, and thereby our children taught
self-denial, modesty, reverence for God, and a love for the cause of Christ.
We had nine sessions, three each day, held in seven different churches, including representatives from all the denominations in the city. This is the first time to my knowledge that all sects among the colored people united in Christian work, and it was to me a great source of joy, a direct answer to prayer. The minutes were kept by Sister Lottie Stephens, of Little Rock, a member of the M. E. church, and were remarkably concise, clear, and instructive. Through them were learned much more of the lessons taught than of the people who spoke. That meeting and those that followed, cheer and comfort me to-day, when I am discouraged because of the failure of other plans. Anyone who will read a copy of those minutes with the papers written by those colored women who had had so little opportunity, will never afterwards say the negro is an inferior race.
This mothers' conference went on gloriously, holding annual meetings from 1893 to 1898, at which time some misunderstanding arose between the pastors and our sisters in charge of the work. I left the state in 1894, but returned each year for two successive years to attend the conference. Perhaps the collecting of money by the conference was at the root of the trouble, as there was in the state a woman's organization whose special work was the collecting of money for various objects. I had repeatedly said and written that the Fireside School was not an agency for collecting money, but one in which we educated the whole household to deny themselves, and give for all lines of Christian work through the church. I had seen too many side issues draining the church of her money, and influences to add to the number. I see now that our work was too narrow
in Arkansas because it was a mothers' instead of a parents' conference. We have it now on God's plan, father and mother, church and home, all united in this good work. "What God has joined together let not man put asunder," and may we all see that work and workers, not money, is our greatest need, and may God awaken pastors to see the value of keeping alive the little church at home. All good people are grieved to see how much of the time of a church service is spent in collecting money, which ought to be given to teaching each redeemed soul that all they have and are belongs to God. When this truth is learned and obeyed, Christians will deny themselves at home in order to give God His part of their earnings.
Though the conference in Arkansas has not met for the last three years, yet the work of reform in the homes through daily Bible study flourishes. It is indeed refreshing to see how bravely our mothers have held on to our paper, HOPE, with its daily Bible lessons and Bible band meetings held in homes when they could not meet in churches.
We also have local parents' conferences in Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama and Virginia, but no state organization. Pastors usually attend and take part and are becoming more interested each year. We hope the time is not far distant when our pastors will hold the monthly parents' meeting, which the Fireside School recommends so as to foster the daily prayerful study of a special lesson in every home, and that they will see that good books supersede bad ones, knowing that, "If good we plant not, vice will fill the place."
Good food and pure air will not make you strong physically unless you take exercise. Neither will Bible study and prayer give you spiritual strength unless you seek to save and edify other souls. Every
BIBLE AND SUNSHINE BAND, CHATTANOOGA, TENN.
true Christian, however ignorant, may be thus used of God. Some of my very best helpers did not know how to read the Bible. But they memorized Scripture and carried it from door to door to repeat at sick beds and to sorrowful hearts. They know how to make a garment for a poor child, sweep the floor, and wash soiled garments for tired mothers.
I was often criticised for setting people at work that others said were not ready for it. I had read, "But if there be first a willing mind it is accepted according to that a man hath and not according to that he hath not." 2 Cor. 8:12. Every Christian has, at least, one talent and he will grow by using it. The following is the plan of work outlined for our Fireside Schools:
1. Fireside Schools in every home.
2. Parents' Meetings as often as convenient for the purpose of comforting and edifying one another according to 1 Thess. 5:11.
3. Sons' and Daughters' Meetings, that they as well as their parents may be instructed in the duties that will help make home pure and happy. Both of these meetings can be held either in the church or private homes.
4. Sunshine Bands or Children's Meetings held in private homes during the week with the object of helping to do a parent's work for children whose parents are too careless or too busy to lead the little ones to Christ, and also to help the parents who are doing their best to properly educate their children.
5. Bible Bands for the purpose of emphasizing daily Bible study-- not simply reading, but careful study of the Scriptures.
6. Reading interesting articles to our neighbors from our books and papers, and thus awakening in them a desire for knowledge; and teaching those who wish to learn as we have opportunity. Also striving to sell to our neighbors who need, Bibles and other appropriate books.
7. Collecting and preparing supplies for the poor in our own neighborhood.
8. Holding meetings in towns and country places for Bible study, and the discussion of the above lines of Christian work, and to advance the object of this school, which is to purify and educate the home life of the people. Anyone led of the Spirit can do some part of this work.
You can see that some one line of this work is adapted to the ability of different members in the church. Therefore it gives the pastor a chance to put every member of his church at some work for Christ. We want no "dead heads" in the church of the living God.
"There is a work for me and a work for you
And something for each of us now to do."
The three lines of work embraced in the six divisions of this plan have enabled me to multiply myself a thousad fold. We have enrolled the names of five hundred and thirty-two persons who are thus helping their neighbors with good books, also five hundred and twenty-nine, who received our paper HOPE in clubs, distribute them and collect the money. This requires much time and labor which is given freely for Jesus' sake. Most of these are women, a large number of them are mothers who know how to weave their Christian work into social calls at their own homes or neighbors'. A few are pastors of churches and some are young men. We estimate the development of these 1,061 persons as among the most cheering results of the Fireside School.
From 1895 to 1900 we sold about six thousand dollars' worth of books and donated about three thousand; this does not include Bibles. I failed to keep an exact record of them. The helpers I mention have been very useful in this part of the work. The plan of leaving books with different individuals as you can see, requires much sacrifice on the part of
the owner of the books, for they are often lost, by accidents or by giving them out on trust.
We have at present more than one thousand dollars' worth unsold in the hands of these persons. But it is the best plan we know for training workers, and the only way considering that the colored people seldom have ready money.
The Fireside School has two great objects in view, namely:
1. To secure the daily prayerful study of God's Word in every home, with all the family together.
2. To help put other appropriate books in our homes and see that parent and child read them together as far as possible.
To secure these two objects we need a uniform Bible lesson and at least a few of the same books read in each home at the same time, so that neighbors may help and cheer each other. Without this neighborly, kindly help, those who read poorly, and those who are careless will give up their studies.
In order to succeed in this we have taken this motto--"All at it; always at it." Neighborhood cooperation has accomplished great things. This work appeals to all Christians without denominational distinction, because all sects and all races admit the need of a pure, intelligent home life.
I noticed that all these outside organizations, especially the benevolent and secret societies, were draining the church of her money and influence, and leading its members to look to the world for help instead of to God, and thus forming a sinful union with the unconverted; therefore in planning our "Fireside School," we were careful to put it under the wing of the church, the same as the prayer meeting. We planned for no officers, but expected the pastor to call a parents' meeting once a month and thus encourage daily Bible study and a faithful performance
of all the duties belonging to parent and child. But when pastors can see only the church and things that centered around that, we must needs have some plan to keep alive the little church around the fireside; therefore, we have Bible Band meetings for this purpose. These proved to be very helpful.
SOME MEMBERS OF BIBLE BAND AT THE STATE NORMAL SCHOOL, NORMAL, ALA.
No one appreciates the worth of the schools more than does the missionary, who comes in such close touch with ignorance. The school and the missionary are mutual helps. The missionary is in a position to help the pupil use rightly the knowledge he has acquired. This is needed because there is so much unused or misused knowledge. We forget that we are stewards of the wisdom we have acquired as well as the money and other talents. And also am I thankful for my acquaintance with the students and teachers of Leland University, New Orleans, La. Many other schools have been especially friendly to my work, and helpful in many ways. I have spent much time in visiting schools of all denominations throughout the South, because I realized that from their ranks I should get my most efficient helpers. It is true we have many very faithful workers in the mission field who only know how to read their Bibles, and can scarcely write a letter, but one great need is intelligent, consecrated leaders. These are being trained in our schools. I am only helping a very little by my visits, and getting inspiration from pupils and teachers for my own heart as I work among the lowly. I know it is God who has opened the door for me into these schools and into the state schools. They have all endorsed my Fireside School plan. I have Bible bands in several. The State Normal school in Petersburg, Va., has used our Bible lessons in HOPE for the last six years; also the Normal Industrial school
in Normal, Ala., for three years. A group of members of a Bible Band in the school mentioned last may be seen on page 205. Prof. Council, the president, says that these bands have helped greatly in the discipline. This spring 62 students have been converted, a result largely due to daily, prayerful, practical Bible study. Atlanta Baptist College, Arkansas, has had a flourishing Bible Band for two years. In Shaw University, North Carolina, our Bible band numbered sixty for last year. HOPE has been thus used in Arkadelphia Academy, Ark., during the past eight years. In each of these schools the teachers give a special course of Bible study extending through the year, besides
Our Bible band is only introduced that the students may have a prepared lesson to use during vacation and that they may know how to establish Bible bands among their neighbors, and thus give daily Bible instruction to those who cannot attend the schools. Yes, we need daily Bible study; the Sabbath school lessons are not sufficient to religiously educate old or young.
The boards of education in some cities have given me permission to address the pupils of the public schools. It means much for the cause of Christ, to come thus in touch with the young life of the nation. The teachers appreciate the need of this work, and we are hoping that in the near future teachers will hold parents' meetings. This is certainly necessary in order to secure the co-operation of the parents, especially along the line of religious and moral reform.
The work was so well established in Little Rock by December, 1890, that I felt sure it would continue to prosper if left in charge of Mrs. Harrington and Miss Button, who were well prepared to carry on a training school. I was anxious to extend the work and therefore moved to Spelman Seminary, Atlanta, Ga. In doing so I had two objects in view. One was that my Mother's Training School might in some way be united with the work there, and the other that I might help develop among the large number of pupils there missionaries for the neglected masses in the great Southland. I knew that in all my work I had had the hearty co-operation of Miss Packard and Miss Giles. The plans for my "Mother's School" did not succeed and yet I am glad for the year that I spent with headquarters in that blessed seminary.
The school in Little Rock was continued only one year after I left, because Miss Button's health failed, and Mrs. Harrington was called home because of the failing health of her parents.
This work began in Nashville in January, 1895. From that time until January, 1898, we had a regular training school, but not as many in attendance as in Baton Rouge. These women of Nashville were very greatly blessed in their work. We had a Bible band in ten Baptist, one Christian and two A. M. E. churches, and fifteen Sunshine bands in private homes, taught by mothers or those with mother hearts. The leaders, with many of the workers, met every Monday morning to report work done, and receive instruction. They were very enthusiastic,
Joanna Greenlee Henrietta Patrick
Mary Flowers Virginia W. Broughton Mary J. Gibson
FIRESIDE SCHOOL SECRETARIES
but lately they have not been as faithful, because they became discouraged. Do not think our sisters were to blame for this; many of them have held on to their Bible study amid all discouragements.
The work of correspondence, preparing reports for Fireside Schools, and writing books and lessons for them, also visiting in other states, grew and grew until I had but little time left for personal work in Nashville. Though we did not have a regular school after 1898 in my home, yet every year we have had with us several women being trained for Christian work. Usually they attended school a part of each day, as their education was very limited. It has seemed to be my mission to help the neglected get a start.
After the first year I had no white helpers, except Miss Eva Button. Her health was too poor to allow her to remain on the field continuously. Several friends from the North came to visit me at different times, but I soon filled their hands and hearts with work, which, excepting their board, they did without money and without price. The society was willing to send me white helpers, but I was anxious to train the colored women for this work. Mrs. Mary Flowers was with me from the opening of the work in Nashville; then Lillie Watts and Mary Lou Walton came to me. All of these were very faithful, though not as efficient as trained workers. These were my secretaries. In September Sisters Flowers and Watts left me for a year at the training school in Chicago and Sister Walton to teach school. Then God sent Mary J. Gibson, a graduate of Tougaloo University, Miss., Henrietta K. Patrick, a graduate of Normal, Ala., and Virginia Broughton, a member of the first class that graduated from Fisk University in Nashville. These have proven wise, kind and efficient helpers. The salaries of these workers were provided by voluntary contributions from the friends of the
work, in answer to prayer. Later our work in the office needed another secretary, therefore, in 1901, God sent us Joanna Greenlee, a graduate of a school in Thomasville, Ga. She is the right woman in the right place.
Since 1901 our society has employed Mary Flowers to do mission work, she assisting in the office at my headquarters when needed. This dear
FIRST SUNSHINE BAND IN NASHVILLE, TENN.sister has stood bravely by this work during the last seven years.
Miss Button came to help me in the fall of 1897, was taken sick in January and was for two months confined to her bed. But while sick she sometimes taught her dear Sunshine Band. Later she was obliged to go to her home in the North. Everybody was very sorry when she left, for she was a great comfort to all, as well as a help in every line of work.
We call our headquarters "Sunshine Home." The little children led us into the "sunshine." I'll tell you how this happened. I called the children "little sunshines" because they so brighten our homes and the world; then they wrote asking if they could not call me "Mamma Sunshine." Of course I could not refuse, so I am "Mamma Sunshine" to the children, and the place where I live is "Sunshine Home." We call our children's meetings "Sunshine Bands," and so we try to live in the sunshine day by day. I often think that I have the happiest home in all of the world. Everybody is so kind to me and to each other.
I wish that you could come to see us at Sunshine Home, but I will tell you what you would be expected to do. Rise at 5 a. m., breakfast at 6, devotions from 6:25 to 7, domestic work to 7:30, the hour when work begins in the office; quiet hour from 10 to 10:30, dinner at 12, quiet hour from 2 to 2:30, supper at 6, twilight meeting from 6:30 to 7:15, retire at 10 p. m. "Quiet hour" means that when the bell is rung all in the household drop their work and retire to their rooms or some quiet place for prayer. This has been a great spiritual benefit to every inmate. I am very sorry to tell you that during the last year we have omitted the afternoon quiet hour, reason given being that we expect all of the secretaries to take two afternoons each week for work in the homes of the people. The hour they leave is 2 p. m. Then every Wednesday at 3 o'clock is our home prayer meeting. These seeming interruptions, however, were not sufficient for dropping our quiet hour. We should have given the time from 1 :30 to 2 for prayer, so that those who went to carry God's word to hearts and homes might have the power of the Holy Spirit with them. During the last two months, in which I have had more time for quiet thought than perhaps at any time for the last thirty years, the Spirit has impressed
a lesson which He often brought to my mind before, namely, that I do not take enough time in waiting upon God, thinking upon His name, keeping still before Him till He reveals Himself to My heart through the Comforter. God grant that I may not forget this lesson again. I fear that every
FIRST PARENTS' CONFERENCE, NASHVILLE, TENN.Christian worker is tempted, as I have been, to let even my work for souls get between me and God. 'Tis Satan's plan to push us on to work without God if he cannot stop us from the work. My reader now sees how I failed when I allowed the afternoon quiet hour to be disturbed. It is not the amount of work that tells, but work done through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our office work at headquarters includes answering letters, editing HOPE, writing books and leaflets, mailing these, entertaining callers, etc. We receive about 600 letters a month, from all ages and classes, which require much prayer and thought that we may answer them wisely and profitably. They cannot be treated like business letters, which have a certain form. Each one must be studied and prayed over.
In connection with the story of my work at Nashville I want to tell the reader of the disposition made of the $2,000 which had been given to me while in Baton Rouge to provide a home for my training school for wives and mothers. About $300 of it was used in furnishing the house and establishing the school in Little Rock, and $1,700 was placed in charge of our society to hold until the way opened for the purchase of a home. When it was decided after my year in Atlanta that my work should be carried on with Nashville as a center, the society inaugurated plans to raise a sum of money which, added to the $1,700 which I had deposited with it, would suffice to secure a suitable property. Difficulties arose which made it wiser to rent than to buy or build, and the effort to raise more money was relinquished. A house was therefore rented, and the furniture moved from the home in Little Rock to Nashville with the exception of enough to furnish the kitchen and one bedroom in a home for aged people just started in Little Rock.
The two-story hired house in Nashville was completely furnished, the society adding to what had been brought from Little Rock all that was needed to make it neat and comfortable. The society, also, supported, besides myself, a missionary to assist me, and agreed to pay the rent of the home.
But there were other expenses, such as the board of students in the training school, the salaries of colored
secretaries, the publishing of HOPE, and the printing and distribution of leaflets, pamphlets, and reports connected with the Fireside School, which had always been provided by voluntary contributions from other sources, and from subscriptions for HOPE and money received from the sale of literature.
It has long been my desire to see all the work of Fireside Schools as carried on in and from my headquarters in Nashville, placed in the hands of the colored people; but, hitherto, none had been found prepared to care for it. In the course of time I was led to believe that the plan of training parents through our paper, our books, parents' conferences, and correspondence, was God's will for the present, rather than the purchase of a home for a locally established school, and that it would, therefore, be right for me to use the balance of my $1,700 in that way, after refunding what the society had already paid in rent and furnishing. To this the society agreed. $200 were used in paying one half of the expenses of two colored students in the training school in Chicago one year. $500 more was used in printing books. The money was exhausted a year ago, but our needs have been supplied and hitherto we have not been in debt. There is nothing now in our treasury, but we have the promises of God.
For the last ten years I have been praying that God would unite the colored Christians of all denominations in an effort to secure daily Bible study in every home, the introduction of other useful books, and in various ways seek to purify and elevate the home life. This is a matter of common interest and cannot be secured without neighborhood co-operation. Therefore all sects and classes should unite. I want you to help me praise the Lord that this prayer has been answered. In October, 1901, I selected a board of colored men and women in Nashville, from different evangelical sects, into whose hands I gave the care of my Fireside
School work, retaining my place as editor of HOPE, with colored associates, pledging myself to continue in the work as one of their number, with the understanding that at my death, if not sooner, this work should belong entirely to the colored people. I feel sure that this board is trustworthy and wise.
This school includes all that the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society stands for, with the following additions: (1) A prepared Bible lesson for all the family to read together daily; (2) supplying the home with other appropriate books for parent and child to read together.
To accomplish the first object we required: (1) Someone to prepare these lessons; (2) a plan by which the paper would reach the subscribers in their own homes; (3) someone to teach those who could not read themselves.
The plan by which these needs were supplied: (1) I prepared a leaflet with Bible lessons for each month, and seventeen years ago began publishing HOPE, with daily Bible lessons.
(2) A plan by which the paper would reach the subscribers in their own homes was hard to devise and carry out. The people seldom had ready money, besides they did not see the good of a paper that only taught the Bible and emphasized "Be kind to your home folks," and did not give the general news of the day. HOPE was the first paper that many of our subscribers ever received. Many took it because they loved me. In some parts of the South it was very difficult for the colored people to get papers through the mail, the white people fearing that in these papers there might be some political scheme or something that might tend to upset the established plans of society. However, in answer to prayer and labor the dear little messenger has reached homes and hearts, it has reformed and converted human
lives, it has cheered and rested tired and discouraged mothers, it has taught children to respect and help their parents, it has taught young men and women to be true and faithful in their social life and to marry only in the Lord, it has rebuked without mercy the men and women who through lust or envy sought to separate man and wife, it has taught the Bible way of raising money for God's cause, it has educated married women who were sitting in hopeless ignorance till this dear teacher came, it has exalted the Lord Jesus who died to save us from sin, it has carried light and life and hope to every home where it has been read and obeyed.
(3) How to secure teachers. The year I spent on Island Number Ten I learned a lesson from a little colored girl nine years old. She did not seem brighter than the other children, yet she knew her lessons better. I called at the little cabin where three families lived. My little pupil introduced me to her mother, saying, "She can read better than I." "How can that be; she never was at school?" The mother answered, saying, "My little daughter teaches me every evening the lessons she learned from you at school." "There," I said, "I have the plan by which fathers and mothers may learn to read. If only parents will be patient and the children grateful and respectful."
Charles Foster, of Philadelphia, in some way heard of my work, and in 1883 donated me thirty copies of "First Steps." I gave them out to the boys and girls who would read them through with their parents. I was then at work in the country. It was a beautiful sight to see father and mother, one on each side of the child-teacher, listening eagerly to the explanation of the picture as the child read the story. Several of these parents learned to read. I can do more with country people than with those who live in the city. The country is God's plan for His children, the city is one of the inventions that man has sought out. In the city people rush and
crowd to get ahead of each other, and little time is left for soul culture. I thank God for Charles Foster's books. Since then he has moved to heaven, but his sons have often sent me books.
"Have faith in God." HOPE. "Love One Another."
On the left hand of HOPE is "Have faith in God," and on the right hand "Love one another." Our hope is supported by faith in God and love for humanity. But this only tells how HOPE is kept alive and fresh and not how it got its name.
I had been studying the condition of the colored people for twenty-two years, and all that time had been at work among them, and I asked myself, what do they need most of all? After careful thought and prayer I came to the conclusion that what they needed most was hopefulness, encouragement--some one to tell them that they had as much natural ability as any race, and all that they needed was patient, persevering effort to cultivate the talents that God had given them.
During the days of slavery they were discouraged and hopeless. Life looked dark. There was nothing to live for, and this old feeling still clings to them. I wanted to encourage them, I wanted to inspire them with hope and cheer them on. Therefore we called our paper HOPE, with the companion mottoes "Have faith in God" and "Love one another." Every month she flies over the land carrying HOPE and love to weary hearts. She sits down beside the wife and comforts her tired heart, and whispers in the husband's ear, saying, "Be of good cheer, my friend, your home may be as happy and bright as any in the land." Then she turns to the fireside with the little children and amuses and instructs them.
Knowledge, learning, culture, and moral worth
cannot be handed over to you, as we would hand you a bag of gold or a rich garment. You must earn them by your own personal effort, daily toil and midnight study. Deny yourself rich food and costly dress if you want these higher qualifications. You can't have both. This is why we say over and over again, It is all in your own hands. You will be just what you make yourselves. Every man and woman builds the steps by which he himself rises. Oh, I want you to be hopeful and brave and "strong in the Lord and in the power of His might"; and this is why we named our paper
"I have not seen--I may not see
My hopes for man take form in fact,
But God will give the victory
In due time--in that faith I act.
And he that sees the future sure
The baffling present may endure;
And bless meanwhile the unseen hand that leads
The heart's desires beyond the halting steps of deeds."
HOPE has never been in debt, and yet we never knew from one month to the other where the money would come from to pay for it. We have always donated a large number and the subscription price was very cheap. We never put in it any advertisements. When I began to edit the paper I received the questions that publishers are required to answer. One was about advertisements. I replied, "We advertise the House not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, and the Book written by the Holy Spirit. This is all."
There is almost no reprint matter in HOPE. With the exception of an occasional poem or cut everything in each issue is new.
We began in 1885 with five hundred copies.
Six years after, in 1892, we printed five thousand copies. At the present date, 1902, we mail eleven thousand, for many of which we receive no pay. The reason HOPE has succeeded with such a poor editor and none of the modern attractions is that it has honored God's Word. The paper is full of Bible and testimonies of what the Bible has done for those who love and obey it. This paper started out to teach faith in God and love for one another. HOPE is the organ of the Fireside School. It is an interdenominational family magazine. Its object is to make home the best and happiest place in the world. This it hopes to accomplish by the daily prayerful study of God's Word, accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit.
To help in publishing this paper God sent me the kindest printers found in that profession. It began its life in Plaquemine, La., in 1885, and moved to New Orleans in 1886, and in 1888 to Baton Rouge; in 1891 to Little Rock, Ark.; 1894 to Atlanta, Ga.; in 1895 to Nashville, Tenn., where it is now printed. From 1895 to 1901 the Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House did the work. They were extremely kind and printed many leaflets and books at a reduced price without solicitation, and everybody in that house had a kind word for Sister Moore and her work. During the whole six years in which they did my printing I never went there that I was not helped or comforted.
In 1901 it seemed best to give the printing to the National Baptist Publishing House in Nashville. There also I received nothing but kindness and words of encouragement. Before coming North last December I went there to say good-bye to Rev. R. H. Boyd and his wife, the proprietors. He stopped every workman and brought every employe, about sixty in number, into the double parlors
to hear my farewell words. This was a very unexpected honor.
During 1886 and 1887 I traveled over the state much of the time, and therefore found it difficult to address the wrappers and keep a correct list of subscribers. One day Mrs. Minnie Stockwell (white), a teacher in the public school in New Orleans, expressed a desire to help me in my work. It was a dangerous thing then, and still is, for any one to offer me assistance, because I am very sure to fill their hands with hard work. I told Mrs. Stockwell how difficult it was for me to keep the roll of subscribers and that I was not able to hire a secretary. She gladly took the responsibility, and for a year she and her mother and sister folded and mailed my paper, for which they received no earthly money. Their pay was all in heavenly currency. In 1888, after the paper was taken to Baton Rouge, we sadly needed a secretary. Then the Lord sent me from Franklin, Ind., Miss Lizzie Clark. She came to make me a visit, and during the three months she was with me, took the responsibility of writing wrappers and mailing the paper. But for her timely help I fear it would have gone under.
While in Little Rock, Ark., Miss Button helped with the mailing and in writing for children, and Brother and Sister Saxton came at night to assist. It seemed that everybody was glad to give us a lift. Since coming to Nashville I have had a secretary. The paper has scattered itself all over the Southern states in this way: Someone saw the paper in a friend's house, read it, and said, "This is a good paper. I'll see if I can get up a club." And so one and another collected the money and sent it to me without requiring any pay, and thus upon its own merits it has traveled, not only all over the Southland, but into the North, and even across the sea.
My first leaflet was written in 1874. Subject: "Rules of Politeness for Home and Church." A large number of copies of this leaflet were scattered. In 1876 I prepared, in the interest of the Sabbath school and temperance, a little book called "Helps," which contained a constitution for each organization and a selection of hymns and songs; also other useful items. This book was revised (in 1880) and the material supplemented by other missionaries of the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society. A still later revision was made by the Corresponding Secretary of the society in 1884. It has been in continuous use ever since the issue of the first edition.
In 1893 the report of the first mothers' conference and manual of the Fireside School were written, and four thousand copies printed. We expected to prepare only a very small pamphlet, but it grew and grew until it was a book, and we had just the same experience with the report of the "second mothers' conference" the next year.
In 1895 we printed a catalogue with the names of one thousand and twenty-one Fireside School families and many facts relating to the work and its progress. Of these three thousand copies were printed for gratuitous distribution.
In 1901 we had printed 6,000 copies of a similar catalogue, with the name and postoffice address of three thousand and six "Fireside School" families. The Fireside School includes the whole family.
"For Mother While She Rocks the Cradle" was written in 1894, while I was sojourning at Spelman Seminary.
"Kind and True, or Courtship and Marriage," made its appearance in 1895. We have sold or donated about twenty thousand of each of the last two books, in connection with the publishing of which Fleming Revell, of Chicago, has rendered valuable assistance.
In 1897 four thousand copies of a little work, "Power and Work of the Holy Spirit," were prepared, and nearly all were donated to pupils of the Fireside School.
Up to the present date, February, 1902, I have prepared and distributed about seventy different booklets and leaflets, varying in size from four to thirty-two pages, and ranging in the number printed from one thousand to five thousand. These leaflets were mainly distributed through letters. We found that the literature sent in that way was likely to be read, and the people needed special help in the training of children, plans of Christian work, the Gospel way of raising money for God's cause, economy, rules for home happiness, temperance, purity, etc. Nearly all of these have been donated. You wonder where we got the money. God sent it in answer to prayer.
To-day the burden of my prayer is for a supply of good books in every home and some one to teach ignorant mothers how to read them to their children, so that their children may acquire a taste for pure reading at the mother's knee.
I have told you about the little book that first gave me clear views about sin and my Savior, and also that neither parents or preachers seemed to know that a little child could understand these truths. Since then I have found that other children, like myself, think and feel much more than they can tell in words. I did not grow in grace, because I did not know how to feed this new life in my soul, and yet I was to blame for backsliding, because, although I learned much from my Bible and hymns, I failed to tell others what a dear Savior I had found. "Confess with the mouth" should always follow "Believe in thine heart." That God may have the glory (Rom., 10:9), we should always continue to testify of blessings received. "Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me." Yes, our testimony gives God the glory. About two years after my spiritual restoration and union with the church of which I have already told you, I went to my pastor, Rev. B. H. Thomas, a very good man, and said: "I am not satisfied with my Christian life. When the tempter comes, as he does in so many ways every day, I often yield; then I am so sorry, but it is too late. What can I do?" The pastor listened thoughtfully, and then said: "Your experience is mine, and I suppose it will be the way until we get home to glory." I asked: "Is not God able to keep me?" "Yes, able when we trust him, but our faith and our flesh are both weak," was the pastor's sad reply. I did not know then that faith was a gift of God, and that we might have the faith of the Lord
Jesus as well as his meekness and love. Most people think that faith is something we have in our own hands apart from Christ. This is not so. But we do have the power to choose the wrong or the right. When we yield our wills to God, he gives us power to obey. I asked my pastor to tell me the difference between my life and that of an unconverted person. He said that one wanted to sin and the other did not. Another difference was that one sinned all the time (habitually) and the other only at times.
I talked it all over with the Lord, my Bible and myself, something after this manner: If I tell a lie about my neighbor, though I did not want to tell it, yet I have injured his character as much as the lie brother John wanted to tell. The sad results of sin are the same in both cases, and it has brought me under condemnation and I must repent and be forgiven like any other sinner before I can have peace with God. Then as to the number of sins. I reasoned that one sin --one command positively disobeyed--caused Adam and Eve to be turned out of Eden and brought sin upon the whole human race. Every way I turned I could see that sin--any kind of sin-- displeased God and brought down vengeance upon some like Achan and Ananias, and even when the child of God repented the results were very sad, as in the case of Moses, who could not enter the Promised Land because of that one sin. Is it any wonder that I was afraid of sin? O how it did worry and grieve me! I read that those whom Christ made free were free indeed. (John, 8:31-36.) So this led me to doubt my conversion, for I knew I was not free. "His servants ye are whom ye obey." (Rom. 6:16.) This whole sixth chapter of Romans did make it plain to me that now, this very day, "being made free from sin we did have our fruit unto holiness and the end everlasting life," and that the wages or result of sin was death. I heard a preacher say in the pulpit that he
could not control his temper, and that he knew there were sins that would always stick to him through this life. A few days after this, I said to this brother: "Suppose Brother Thomas has been found drunk, and you bring him up for trial before the church and ask, 'Did you know that it was wrong to get drunk?' He says, 'Yes.' 'Then what made you get drunk?' 'Well, pastor, the flesh is so weak, the temptations so strong, and I said I am like you with your bad temper, this drink habit will stick to me as long as I live.' Tell me, will you excuse that brother, and say, 'All right, go ahead?'" This preacher replied, "There are different kinds of sins. Some we can't help and some we can." Then I said, "Give me a list of those I can commit and not be guilty." Neither he nor any one else has ever given me such a list. I know there are sins of ignorance, therefore I am daily and hourly studying the Bible and am hearkening to the Holy Spirit that I may know God better. Yes, I need to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, but these sins of ignorance do not bring me into condemnation as long as I am using every effort to understand God's will. The Bible says, "To him that knoweth to do good, to him it is sin." I read in my Guidebook that Jesus came to save his people from their sins; that he came to destroy the works of the devil. I knew that sin was the work of the devil and that Jesus was able to do what he came to do, and yet I did not get the victory for which I longed. When I was about 27 years old the Lord put into my hands some writings which helped me. Perhaps a year after I spent a day at a Methodist camp meeting and went forward to the altar seeking victory over sin, but did not obtain it there. The next day as I was meditating on the subject and praying there crept into my soul a quiet peace and a sweet realization of God's presence. Oh, it was so restful! For just a moment, I seemed to see the glory of God, but only for a moment,
and it was gone, but the rest and the quiet were still with me, and the same quiet peace is mine to-day, only it is more settled and real. I did not then call this experience sanctification or the gift of the Holy Spirit or by any other name. I only knew that it took the worry out of me and it showed me Christ, not only as my Savior from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin. I had often been told that evil was always present; now I knew that Christ was always present according to His promise, "Lo, I am with you always," and I knew that Jesus was stronger than Satan, and trusting in his power to save, I said, "Get thee behind me, Satan," and was saved, and I am saved.
I was teaching school at this time in the country near Belvidere, Ill., and was a member of the South Belvidere Baptist church. When I came home I told the deacons, and also testified at our prayer meeting to this new experience, but I felt that the people did not understand me, therefore I said less and less about my new-found joy, and concluded that I would live this life of victory and say but little about it. To-day, as I look back, I feel sure I made a mistake. But it was a sin of ignorance. Rev., 12:11, tells us we are saved by three things. (1) The blood of the Lamb; (2) testimony; (3) by suffering, if needs be. I did not grow in this grace as I would have done had my testimony been more positive, and yet, notwithstanding these mistakes and the opposition I have met, God's rest and peace remain. Glory to his name! He is so kind and patient with His children. But I have not had the glory in my own soul, nor the results that followed those, who, like the early disciples, prayed that they might "speak the word boldly, that signs and wonders might be done in the name of the Holy Child, Jesus." (Acts, 4:20-31.) I have taught that those filled with the Holy Spirit had always the power and did overcome the evil one, but I supposed that it was not for all converted persons to understand
this truth, but that they must grow into a place where they would see how to gain this victory. The truth is that every one truly born of God feels the need of victory over sin. Their first sin shows them their weakness. All pastors and teachers should hasten to teach each convert how to make the full surrender of self that brings the filling of the Holy Spirit. Before conversion we sought forgiveness of sin, which we found by faith. Now, by faith, we enter into the "Grace wherein we stand"; yes, stand and conquer. These two experiences are taught in Rom., 5:1-5; verse 5 shows that victory is given by the power of the Holy Spirit. We keep filled by abiding in Christ. (John, 15:1-14.) Christ in us and we in Him, and a life thus hid with Christ in God is surely safe. (Col., 3:3.) O, that this wonderful salvation might be taught and believed. Then would backsliding cease. After being thus filled with the Spirit we begin to bear more and more the fruit of the Spirit. (Gal., 5:22, 23.) It is the abiding plant that grows. I am often asked, "Do you believe in the perseverance of the saints?" I answer, "Yes, I believe in the perseverance that keeps me a saint from the day of my conversion to the day of my death." That is God's standard for his children. Read James, 3:10-12. Therefore watch and pray, trust and obey. "All things are possible to him that believeth."
About twenty years ago at a Quaker meeting in Iowa I was taught that the old sinful nature could be taken out and the heart made pure, instead of the evil being kept in subjection. That the blood of Jesus cleansed from all sin. (1 John, 1:7.) The preacher said, "Suppose there is a nest of vipers in your breast that are lying dormant, but may come to life at any minute. Would you not rather have them taken out?" I said, "Yes," and by faith I took in that new truth. The temptation is from without, but the yielding is from within.
About the same time there was a tumor of some
kind growing on my throat which physicians feared was a cancer. I came to Chicago and had it examined, and finally agreed to having it removed, but much against my will, because I was then beginning to see that Jesus had also power to heal sick bodies. I prayed. Prayer is a wonderful privilege. Because of some emergency, the surgeon delayed one day. When he came and examined the tumor, he said, "I think the character of the sore is somewhat changed and we will wait a few days." Then I praised the Lord, saying, "Yes, you will wait: for another physician has your patient in charge." I said this to myself. I wish I had shouted it out, and perhaps I would have recovered sooner. The tumor disappeared gradually and I got well, and ever since Jesus has been my doctor for soul and body. My general health has been good, and yet I have been sick several times--very sick once; but took no medicine but prayer and faith. Let me call attention to some ways in which Divine Healing has blessed my Christian life. When I am sick I am more restful; I am not afraid that the doctor may be late coming; or perhaps another doctor would do better, or that I may forget to take my medicine at the right time, nor am I always watching my symptoms, because I have given my case up into the loving hands of the great Physician, who knows exactly what to do. This keeps me restful and brings me nearer to God. Those who take Christ as their doctor have more time to talk about Him, because they have given their headaches and backaches and all other aches into the hands of the great Healer, and they talk of his power to cure and comfort. Have you ever noticed how much of our conversation is about our bodily ailments and the best cure? Usually each one has a different remedy. O, how much better to gather around the one Great Healer. We may not all be cured, but we will be lifted up nearer to God and in His love and comfort forget the little pains and aches of the body. You
ask, "Is this a new doctrine?" No, it is as old as the Bible. Jesus, while on earth, cured sickness as well as forgave sins, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day and forever. I do not believe in any phase of Christian Science. I simply believe that the body is sometimes sick and that every soul has sinned, and I praise God "Who forgiveth all my iniquities and healeth all my diseases." (Ps., 103:3.)
The best of all books on these subjects is the Bible, because it is all there. Put on your glasses of faith and obedience and prayerfully search, and you shall find. I am often asked, "Sister Moore, do you belong to the Holiness people?" I answer, "I am hid away in Christ, and He is holy; I belong to God, and He is holy; I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and He is holy. I never have been led to leave the Baptist church, because the Baptist faith is holiness. Their baptism by immersion teaches that they are dead to sin, dead to the "Old Man" and resurrected a new creature--a new creation in Christ Jesus, and that is all I claim. In fact, if all our evangelical churches would live up to their own confessions of faith they would live holy lives. I know the church as well as the world judges the genuineness of our faith by our every-day life. God help me to live the life that will be a much stronger proof of God's power to save from sin than all my words. Perhaps I have taken too much of my reader's time with this subject, but if you take out of my life God and what he has been to me these 70 years of my earthly pilgrimage, there is nothing left worth telling. All that helps humanity comes through our knowledge of God and from copying His character. (Jer., 9:23, :24.)
I wish you could have stood where I have these last years and seen the victory, the beauty, that has come into the lives of many of our dear colored women through the power of the Holy Spirit. How they have gained the victory over bad temper, beer,
snuff dipping, idle gossip, impatience, and all sin as far as they knew what sin was. Not only women, but men and children have been saved by daily Bible study and the faith that claims full salvation--not simply conversion, but that kind of sanctification that leads to a daily walk with God. It is all in Christ. After we once see Christ everything else looks very small. I have the abiding presence of Christ and that satisfies me. Glory be to the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me, to be my all in all. Yes, I am sanctified in Christ Jesus. He only is the power that saves and keeps me saved.
If you ask what has been the greatest inspiration of my life, I answer, "The presence of the Lord Jesus." I have been much among strangers, and usually traveled alone. As I enter the cars every face is strange. No one cares who I am nor where I am going. Then comes the sweet thought, "Jesus is here; He knows where I am going, He will stay with me on the cars and be present at my meeting." These thoughts give me a satisfied and at home feeling. I remember one night I was on a plantation. There was some confusion between whites and colored, but nothing connected with me. We were having a Bible reading in the house where I lodged that night, but when the people heard of the trouble all were greatly alarmed and went home. It was quite late. I said, "O Lord, if my time has not come to die, you will send an army of angels to protect me, and if you want me in heaven you will send for me; in either case I am safe, because you are here and will take care of me." So I "laid me down and slept and awoke, for the Lord sustained me." There was a tremendous uproar all night, and one was killed, but I heard nothing of it. When Jesus said, "Go ye into all the world," He promised, "I will go with you." That settled the matter of supplies, of wisdom, of guidance, of companionship, and for all our need. Glory be to God!
I am fond of poetry, and just here I want to give you some little poems, most of which I learned in early life; I repeat them often and would like to pass them on to the reader. It may be that they will cheer you as they have me. I want you, also, to know that it is Bible promises and the old-time hymns that sister and I learned by heart in my childhood home that have been my greatest source of encouragement and hope.
"Out upon the haughty calf, I say
Who turns his grumbling head away,
And quarrels with his feed of hay
Because it is not clover.
Give to me the happy mind
That will ever seek and ever find,
Something good and something kind
All this wide world over."
"Don't look for the faults as you go through life,
And even when you find them
It is wise and kind, to be somewhat blind,
And look for the virtues behind them."
"Never look sad, there's nothing so bad
As getting familiar with sorrow;
Treat him to-day in a chivalrous way,
And he will seek other quarters to-morrow."
"Let each day carry away
Its own little burden of sorrow,
Or you may miss one-half of the bliss
That comes in the lap of to-morrow."
"I've built a firm, strong fence of trust,
All around to-day;
I fill the space with loving work
And within it stay.
I look not through the sheltering bars,
Anxious for tomorrow
God does help whatever comes,
Be it joy or sorrow."
I changed the above by saying, I have done, what the author told me to do.
"The heart that trusts forever sings,
And feels as light as if it had wings,
A well of joy within it springs,
Come, good or ill, it is God's will."
A human soul exalted or depressed,
By aught this world can give or take;
Resembles ocean into fury wrought,
To waft a feather, or to drown a fly."
"Where hast been toiling all day, sweet heart,
That thy brow is burdened and sad;
The Master's work may make weary feet,
But it leaves the spirit glad.
"No pleasant garden toil were mine,
I sat on the judgment seat
Where the Master sits at eve and calls
The children around His feet. N=*****
"But how fared thy garden plot, sweet heart
Whilst thou sat on the judgment seat;
Who watered thy roses and trained thy vines,
And kept them from careless feet?
"Nay, that is saddest of all to me,
That is saddest of all!
My vines are trailing, my roses are parched,
My lilies droop and fall.
"Go to thy garden plot, sweet heart;
Go back till the evening falls;
And bind thy lilies and train thy vines,
Till for thee the Master calls
"Go make thy garden fair as thou canst,
Thou workest never alone,
Perchance he whose plot is next to thine
Will see it and mend his own.
"And the next may copy his, sweet heart
Till all grows fair and sweet,
And when the Master comes at eve,
Happy faces His coming will greet."
"Stand like an anvil,
When the strokes of stalwart men
Fall thick and fast.
Thine but the calm and still rebound
Of a great heart that cannot fear.
Stand like an anvil;
Noise and strife are born of earth
And die with time.
The soul like God, its source
Is solemn, still, serene, sublime."
"Be thou the first true merit to defend
His praise is lost who waits till all commend."
"Is thy cruise of comfort failing?
Rise and share it with another
And through all the years of famine
It will serve thee and thy brother.
Scanty fare for one
Makes ample feast for two."
"Life is real, life is earnest,
And the grave is not its goal.
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul."
"Tis better, said a voice within
To bear the Christian's cross
Than sell this fleeting world for gold,
Which death shall prove but dross.
"Far better when yon shriveled skies
Are like a banner furled,
To share in Christ's reproach than gain
The glory of the world."
"Right is right since God is God
And right the day will win,
To doubt, would be disloyalty,
To falter would be sin."
"If the world seems cold to you,
Kindle fires to warm it!
Let their comfort hide from view
Winters that deform it.
Hearts as frozen as your own
To that radiance gather;
You will soon forget to moan,
'Ah, the cheerless weather!'
"If the world's a wilderness,
Go build houses in it!
Will it help your loneliness
On the winds to din it?
Raise a hut, however slight;
Weeds and brambles smother;
And to roof and meal invite
Some forlorner brother.
"If the world's a vale of tears,
Smile till rainbows span it!
Breathe the love that life endears,
Clear from clouds to fan it.
Of your gladness lend a gleam
Unto souls that shiver;
Show them how dark Sorrow's stream
Blends with Hope's bright river."
"Seldom can a heart be lonely
If it seeks a lonelier still,
Emptier cups with love to fill."
"Speak not harshly--much of care
Every human heart must bear;
Enough of shadows darkly lie
Veiled within the sunniest eye.
By thy Childhood's gushing tears,
By thy griefs of after years;
By the anguish thou dost know,
Add not to another's woe.
Speak not harshly--much of sin
Dwelleth every heart within;
In its closely-covered cells,
Many a wayward passion dwells,
By the many hours misspent,
By thy gifts to errors lent,
By the wrong thou didst not shun
By the good thou hast not done,
With a lenient spirit scan
The errors of thy fellow man."
I praise God for everything because of Rom. 8:28.
"I praise Him for both smile and frown,
And for the gain and loss
I praise Him for the future crown,
And for the present Cross.
I praise Him for the storm cloud
That drove me trembling to His breast,
And for this strange--this settled peace--
Which nothing can destroy."
Repeating these sonnets and many others stored in my memory has been like music to my soul. The Spirit brought them to my remembrance just when I needed the lesson they taught.
I have never lost my faith in humanity. Many years ago, when disappointments and sorrows crowded around me, I prayed to God to keep me patient and sweet amid them all. Yes, it was directly from God that I learned to be patient with the sins of mankind. I reasoned thus: God loves this sinful world, ungrateful and unkind as it is. God is kind even to the unthankful. He loves sinners; He loved them enough to give His only-begotten Son to die for them, and Jesus loved them enough to lay down His life for them. Surely then these wicked people must have some intrinsic worth, some value that is not seen on the surface, or God would not care so tenderly for them. God knows, God is wise and good. He sent Jesus all the way from heaven to seek and save them. This meant great things to me and set me to thinking. It gave me an estimate of my own value that I did not have before. Since Christ died for me and is praying for me daily and loving me, notwithstanding my waywardness, I must be of some value to Him in some way. I do not know where or how. This thought was a great inspiration to me and tended to make me more helpful. Yes, this love of God gave me courage for myself and for the rest of mankind, therefore I concluded to invest in human souls. They surely are worth more than anything else in this world. They will last longer and they increase in value after they are saved. Along with this came the thought that God loved them first, then gave; yes, it was His love that made Him give--made Him
willing to suffer. I also found that the more time, money, and toil I put into an article the more it is worth to me, and the more I loved it. Whenever I began to feel cross or discouraged with a human soul, I stopped short. The Spirit said to me, "God loves them, God is patient with them." These thoughts have helped to keep my heart fresh and full of love for all races and all conditions of mankind, and yet it has not kept me from telling them their faults. God sent me, also, to reprove and rebuke with all long suffering, as well as to seek and save. When I tell you some little trials I have had in my work you will know that I have entirely forgiven everybody, and I know they have forgiven me. I know I have made mistakes. I have differed with many good people, but becanse we differ I do not need to give them a thrashing; no, verily, I leave it all for the Master to settle when He comes.
May, 1886, I left home to visit a colored association in North Louisiana. To reach there I must travel on a new railroad between Shreveport and Vicksburg. Trains did not always run on time, nor did I know the stations well. By mistake I was carried one station too far, but returned on the next train. This brought me to Dubberly after dark. I intended to get there long before dark. This was the nearest point to the association, five miles in the country. I told the agent I was on the way to an association, and asked where I could get a night's lodging. The people knew who I was because I had visited points near there. This was a small village, no hotels, but some boarding houses. The agent and another young man tried to get me a place to spend the night, but failed. No one would take me in. I said, "Can you not find a private family that will give me a bed?" "There is no use of trying," was their reply.
I then asked the privilege of remaining in the station
all night, it was granted, and they gave me the key to the door. There was a little fire, a lamp, and a hard bench for a seat. Cotton seed was stored away in one corner of the room. These young men brought me an old blanket, saying, "If you get very tired, perhaps you can spread it over the cotton seed and rest." They really seemed sorry for me. I knew, and they knew, why I was not taken into any home. I did not use the bed they suggested, but sat up all night. I had my Bible. God was with me. I prayed,
"Calm me, my God, and keep me calm,
Soft resting 'neath thy wing;
Soothe me with holy hymn and psalm,
And bid my spirit rest."
The prayer was answered, and God sang a sweet lullaby to his tired child.
No tears were shed, no unkind thoughts cherished. The great trial came next morning. I tried in vain to get some one to take me to the association. I had money and offered to pay any price, but no one would move an inch in that direction. The post-office was in the depot, therefore many persons came in. In the corner sat a little woman, subject to unkind criticism. I could scarcely get any one to speak to me. I talked with an old gentleman that they said was very rich; he advised me to go home and not meddle with them "niggers," and said some unkind things about them which I will not repeat. The train went by toward my home, but I did not go. I was almost as determined to reach that association as Paul was to go to Rome. I had not eaten anything for twenty-four hours; no one brought me any breakfast. About noon a doctor came in who had a good, kind face. I told him a little of the situation; he asked if I had had breakfast. I said, "No." He next wanted to know if I could ride horse back on a man's saddle. I said, "Yes." He intended to send me to his home which was about a mile distant, but
after talking with others he came back, wrote his name on a piece of paper, and gave me directions for reaching his home. Oh, how glad, how thankful I was to get out of that depot. I looked neither to the right hand nor to the left, but walked with all my might till I got outside of the village. I found the way and asked for the wife of my good doctor and handed her the paper with her husband's name written thereon. I cannot tell why, but she kindly invited me in and gave me dinner. After which we went into her room and prayed together. I told her my story, she kissed me in a sisterly way, with tears in her eyes, and said, "God bless you," as tenderly as a mother. I then left to go to the meeting. On my way to the doctor's I had passed a church; it was open. I found some person who said it was a white Baptist church, and at two o'clock the members would assemble for their monthly covenant meeting. While at the depot I had asked to he taken to the home of the white Baptist minister, but was refused. When I found out about this meeting I said, "Praise the Lord! He will open the Red Sea for Sister Moore." Service had begun when I got there; it was very restful for me. The church was in a wood, the quiet country scenery was delightful that spring day. No noise of cars or labor of any kind was heard to disturb the worship. The Bible reading, sermon, and prayer were all about persecution for conscience' sake, and the need of reproving sin and standing for the right, cost what it might. I thought God planned that service for me, and I took the comfort of it to my troubled heart. Afterwards I found that the pastor was a firm advocate for prohibition, and for this he had been persecuted; like me he was misunderstood. After service I introduced myself and told a little of my story; he did not know what to do, but left me and after consulting with some of his members, returned, saying, "I will take you to my home tonight," and he sent his buggy to the depot for my satchel and package
of books. The pastor lived in the country. After supper we let the negro question rest, and I got out my books and charts that I always carried with me in those days. One was "A Mute Appeal for Missions,"
morning to the association, which was three miles distant, and bring me back in the evening. Then I retired, praising God because he had opened the Red Sea, and I had passed over dry shod. Next morning dawned bright and beautiful, and the pastor kept his promise. He said on Sunday he would take me to see a sick friend that he thought I could help, and then leave me with a person near the depot who would see that I reached the train in time.
I wish I had time to tell you more about this consecrated minister and his family, and the woman that took me to the depot. For a lady in her standing to take a woman despised like myself in her buggy to that depot meant more moral courage than most people possess.
This pastor's name was Rev. J. A. Walker. He was a great help to me after this, and suffered for it, too, as did others who came out in the storm to take me by the hand. I could give you several such examples. A lawyer in Simsport showed me a similar favor while I attended an association there. He and Rev. Walker were largely the means in God's hands by which a resolution was passed endorsing my work at the next white Baptist State Convention. I must also make mention of Mr. Leary and family of Mindon, who were extremely kind to me. I have found that there are good and bad among all races and all classes of society. I almost forgot to tell you about the glorious time I had at that association. I was gladly welcomed. I spoke to the whole association and also to the women alone, and had a blessed time with the dear little children. Every one who can usually comes to these associations on the Sabbath. Men often bring their families and come from a great distance. I met one committee and gave away some books and left the others with a friend to sell. God surely did want me to attend this association; Satan tried to hinder, but failed.
I have given my readers this little narrative because I want them to know the good, kind white people
who helped me in my work, and also show them my zeal without knowledge, as most folks call it, and give me a chance to explain. I am told that I ought first to have hunted up the white people and, if possible, gotten their help.
In Southern Louisiana I had but little trouble; the white people are mostly Catholics, and the colored people live on large plantations. When I could find the owner of the plantation, I told him I had come to teach his people the Bible and help them to be good, and he said, "Go ahead," probably thinking that my work was similar to that of the Sisters of Mercy. He did not offer to take me to his home, nor did I ask this. I had been doing this country mission work since 1874. The incident just related occurred in 1885. I had not been hindered by the white people except a little during the Kansas exodus, which I will not explain, only to say that some planters thought that missionaries had come to advise the colored people to leave the South. I gradually enlarged my field by going farther North, where I found many Protestants, especially Baptists. I did not know that this would make any difference. Besides this, you must remember that I had my commission from headquarters which said, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." I supposed that the black man's cabin was a part of all the world as well as the white man's mansion. The Spirit had sent me to the colored people. I usually spent only twenty-four hours in a neighborhood and had no time to hunt up the white people. The day was given to visits in homes and meetings with the children and women and old people that were not at work, and the night in meetings with men and women who had been busy all day. White people objected to my spending the night in the black man's home, but, as a general thing, night was the only time in which I could see the adult members of the family. My meetings lasted until late and often some would
follow me to my lodgings to learn how to do the work I had left in their hands. I usually organized Sabbath schools and temperance societies. Night was also the time when I could see husband and wife and talk over family affairs. Often before I was out of bed in the morning, and I was an early riser, some one called to see Sister Moore before they went to work. You can easily see that if I had been in a white man's house I would have missed the real object of my visit. But you say I might have stayed longer. What good would that have done as to spending the night? In some places staying in the black man's house made me lose caste with the white family. But to me the fact of being black or being white was of so little importance, that I could not see why people made such a fuss about it, nor can I see any better to-day. Perhaps there is something wrong with my eyes. I did try going to the white man's house after my night meetings in some localities, because it was thought best. I will give you one instance that occurred in North Louisiana.
I made visits during the day and planned a night meeting. Some of
the women found a white family who agreed to keep me all night.
They left the door unlocked, and the women were to take me there
after the meeting, which they did. I did not see the family till
morning. We breakfasted together; the wife did not speak to me, but
she did say some very trying things about the "niggers" and things
that referred to me; her husband was silent. After breakfast I made
friends with the children and tried to see the mother, but could not. I
took my satchel and started early to visit a school on my way to the
meeting. The road led through a quiet wood; my heart was heavy. I
pulled my veil over my face and let the tears flow; when near the
school I heard a woman calling, "Sister Moore, stop, stop!" I
stopped and dried my tears. This woman was black, but her face was
shining with joy. I caught a little
"Sister Moore, I have a bad daughter; she has given me much trouble. Last night she was at your meeting, and you told the children how to treat their parents and how wicked it was to disobey and grieve them. She says you told it as nobody else could tell it. 'Now, mother,' she said, 'you must get ready and go and hear that white woman, for she will leave for home after the meeting to-day. I will do all the work myself.' Then she shed tears when she begged my pardon, and I know that she is going to be good. Now, Sister Moore, I want to shake your hand. Oh! sister, I have had so much trouble, but I am a Christian, and I know that you are." I cannot remember all she said, but before she was through, I began scolding myself for being discouraged; since I helped one thoughtless child to love and respect her mother, what need I care for the scorn of another thoughtless mother. The meeting that day was glorious; part of the time was given to "speaking meeting," as we call them, in which other fathers and mothers testified to the good done by my last night's Bible reading. Three mothers accompanied me to the depot. I always avoided walking with the men. It is probably best for all women to have an escort of their own sex, unless it be husband or brother. Of course there may be exceptions to this rule , but I have seen much evil result from the opposite practice.
The white people often referred me to 1 Cor., 10:23: "All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient," to prove that Paul was careful not to upset the customs of the country. I got my guide book and studied the life of Paul. When I came to 2 Cor., 11:23-33 I exclaimed: "Paul, Paul, how did you get into so much trouble and suffering, with all your conservatism?" Really I thought it would hardly be safe for me to follow Paul. Get your
Bible and read this chapter, and see if you think Paul catered to public sentiment. After this experience at Dubberly I wrote a letter to the white Baptist state convention, which I think was only read to a committee, but the convention endorsed my work. From this letter I give you
"To the White Baptist State Convention of Louisiana:
"I am a missionary of the Women's Baptist Home Mission Society, having its headquarters at Chicago. This society is only nine years old (1886). Twenty-three years ago I came to help the colored people of the South. My first work was in Arkansas, teaching. This did not take me much among the people. Thirteen years years ago I came to New Orleans and began a new line of work that reaches home, the foundation of society. The home is my center of operations; there I discover the needs of the people. My Fireside sermon reaches all the household. I can do more good spending a night in a home than in ten talks in public. There I can quietly sit down beside the mother and show her what is wrong in her management of her daughter. There I show by a real, living picture how to erect a family altar and how to gather the family around the table. You never know any woman till you visit her in her home--not simply call in her home, but eat a meal with her and spend a night there. The colored people need help in their home life. If we can make all homes right, the nation will be right. All know that in order for me to do this effectually I must go to the home. And here is where I fear you may differ from me. However, I did not come to ask advice on this subject. Long ago, before God, on my knees, with Jesus for my example, I settled on what should be my plan of work. All admit that I am doing a much needed work, but some want me to fight with Saul's armor.
They forget that Saul and his armor has not killed the giant of ignorance. Why not let me try my plan, with the hope that it may succeed? The work is not so pleasant in itself, but doing it for Christ's sake makes it a joyful service. There is so much to do I must crowd each hour full of work. I usually only spend one night in a neighborhood, and have not time to hunt up white people and tell them my mission; therefore I have come to this convention that I may be known and my work known. Now my request is, if you believe the work is of the Lord, say so publicly. I am a member of the First White Baptist church of New Orleans and have, I think, the love and sympathy of those who know my work, and they bid me God speed. I want my work investigated. I want some of the white women to help carry on this temperance and mission work in the colored churches. I do not expect them to go into the homes as I do, but you can visit their meetings. God told me to write you this letter, and now I leave all results with Him who can open all hearts and remove all obstacles."
Now you say this letter ought to have been written before I began my work in the country. Granted, but I have explained why I did not know it was necessary. The real opposition, which still exists, was not from the intelligent Christian white people, but it was and is from another class of white people. No one is responsible; that is, we cannot locate the blame on any one class of persons. It began long ago, North as well as South. No doubt the Christian workers, myself included, have made mistakes, and yet we could not have done this work without some suffering, considering the condition of the country. Of one thing I am sure, that God blames the white man more than he does the black man; where much is given, much is required. You may say what you please about Sister Moore, but I do beseech you be kind to my black sister and treat her with the same courtesy and respect that you
do other women who come to your church, or whom you meet on the street or in a public conveyance. If she has a basket of clothes or a baby in her arms, help her on and off the cars in a kind, manly way. I do not ask these favors for her because she is a negro. No, no; but because she is a woman, with all the high and holy feelings that live in the hearts of other women. Her purity and good name are dear to her. She is not naturally any better nor any worse than women of other races, except that I think she has a little more motherly, loving kindness. How hard these dear colored women have labored late and early to educate their children and rear them for usefulness! And how kind they are to their neighbors! I know hundreds who are teaching their neighbors how to read the Bible and opening their homes to teach neglected little ones whose mothers are out trying to earn a piece of bread and a garment for their children. They are poor, but they do help each other. I am proud of the colored women. I know them, and I doubt if there is another white woman in the United States that knows as many of them as I do. I also bespeak the same respect for the black man. He is no pauper. There he stands in his noble manhood, ready to do his share of the world's work and thought; he asks no favor because of his race; he only wants an equal chance with the rest of humanity; but remember that he does want an equal chance; he would not be a man if he did not. Stop telling him, "You are only a negro; you were a slave, and you will never be able to do what the white man can do; get out of my way, I have no use for you." No, no, the black man has had enough of that kind of training. Try this plan with your own child, that makes mistakes and has faults, and you will find it will utterly discourage him; or let me try it on yourself. I admit that the negro has faults; yes, he is a bundle of faults, just like you and me. The poet was right when he said:
"Deny the negro's powers in head who will,
Deny his virtues since his wrongs began,
His errors and his faults have stamped him man."
He has needed a little extra help because of his former condition, and this some white people, North and South, have given in a brotherly way with good results.
To our dear black brother we would say, "Get a new supply of love and patience for all humanity; you are in danger of magnifying your troubles and shutting up your sympathies to your own race. That will never do; count your blessings and be thankful. It is better than it was forty years ago. Remember:
"Honor and fame from no condition rise,
Act well your part; there all the honor lies."
For many years you have labored hard to receive the recognition due humanity. Now a large number of your race have concluded to deservethis recognition, which is much wiser. You have seen, as the world goes, that recognition for wisdom, bravery, and virtue is often given to those who do not deserve it. Therefore you would rather deserve praise and not get it than to get it and not deserve it.
What this tired, restless world needs more than anything else is pure love, the love that is only found in heaven, but which God stands ready to pour into all hearts that are ready to receive it.
O let us love each other,
Forget each word unkind,
And all thoughts save gentle ones
Be banished from the mind.
O let us love each other
The little while we stay;
We cannot tell how soon
From earth some may be called away.
We hear much these days about the negro problem. I've never seen a problem. I know exactly what to do for the white man, for the black man, and for all humanity. God has given his children a guide book which makes the path of duty very plain. But I do not quite understand what different classes of His children say. The negro is often severely censured without a just cause.
The white man blames his black brother because he wants to be free. Yes, free, like other men, free to vote, to hold office, enter public places, stay in any hotel, eat at any lunch house, ride on any street cars, sit in waiting rooms, worship in any church; in short, be as free as any white man in the same position. And yet I have always found the black man very willing to observe the courtesy and restrictions that riches, honor, and intelligence recognize as due in political and social life. But he could not see how the simple color of his skin should make any more difference than the height or weight, color of hair or eyes, of white people made as respects their treatment of each other. If being born a slave and a black man was a sin, he was not responsible for that. He felt in his heart all the longings for freedom and equal rights that burned in the hearts of the heroes of Bunker Hill, and he could not see why one was praised and the other condemned. Besides this, he had been a slave so long that he was jealous for his liberty and afraid it might be lost. He was sore along this line, and his white brother picked at this sore and kept it inflamed by constantly
reminding him that he had been a slave and was ignorant and could never know as much as white men. The black man seldom received the courtesy and respect that was given to white men as ignorant as he was. He could see this, and it hurt him. The poor black man was bewildered. It was hard to adjust himself to his new surroundings. Indeed, it is a wonder that he did not oftener act unwisely and wickedly. His strong white brother should have taken him by the hand in a loving, brotherly way, saying, "Yes, your are free, as free as I am, but you are only a child. Sit down and I will teach you the duties that belong to freedom, the restrictions that law throws around it. Freedom only means liberty to do right. Together we will study our Bibles and see what is right and learn to love and respect each other, and thus live in peace." That is what the guide book teaches--to quit talking about race, master, or slaves, bury the whole past and strive to help each other to be God's free men. But the white man's pride and greed of gain and the black man impatience and lack of experience hindered God's sweet plan for settling this question. No, not entirely hindered, because it is being settled. There were from the first, there are to-day, a great many humble, generous white people in the South as well as in the North, and a great many patient, teachable black people, who are thus lovingly helping each other. The day is dawning. Let us all be of good cheer.
Allow me to refer to another phase of this subject. When freedom came the black man was very ignorant, and white people generally, as far as my experience goes, said he had not the ability to learn what white people learned. They said, "Perhaps he can learn to read and write and memorize a little, but he cannot master subjects that require reason and close thought." The black man soon proved that he could, but he had to fight at every step for recognition. I admire his perseverance. He would
not stop till he had proven to the world that his brain was equal to that of any white man, his opportunity being the same. But this required many years of hard struggle. He was often misunderstood but he would not stop until he got to the top. Perhaps he should have thought of other things as he went on, but his uppermost thought was, "I will show the world that I can be and do all that is required of humanity." This is one reason why industrial education was not cherished in the first years of freedom. The black man resented every effort made to narrow the studies in colored schools to the common branches. He must have Greek and Latin and all other ologies and isms, even if he did not know the rudiments of the English language. I remember a meeting in 1877 in which Rev. Marsena Stone suggested that they give more time to the common branches, start some industrial work, and omit Greek and Latin. For this he was severely rebuked, because, they said, "You either belittle the ability of the negro or do not want him to be as wise as the white man." Brother Stone was a very successful educator and a good man. The negro never had a better friend, but he simply was ahead of his generation. Yet his words had influence with some.
Many others as well as Dr. Stone kept gradually teaching the industrial idea. Our good and wise General Armstrong, of Hampton, Va., long ago began industrial education, wisely saying nothing for or against other lines of work, but in a practical way showing the colored people the good results of educating heart, head, and hands all together. What he was doing on a large scale others were doing as they were able. In due time God raised up our wise Booker Washington to be the leader in this common-sense reform, which is needed for all races. Booker Washington does not condemn higher education for those who have time and money
to obtain it. To every man his work. There is room for all in this big world. Don't crowd any one out.
The black man is criticised when he wants to have charge of his own schools, or business of any kind. They say, "He wants to get away from the white people because he dislikes them." That is not true. He simply wants to be free to manage something himself, to try his powers, and thereby grow strong, and partly, perhaps, to convince other races that he is their equal; but that is not his highest motive. He longs for recognition of his manhood. I know he often wants his liberty before he is ready for it, but let us in a kindly way help him as a father would a son. If he fails the first time, put him on his feet again. Some are doing this with very beneficial results, and the black man is learning to wisely manage his own affairs the same as other men do. God speed the time when there will be less time taken in criticising others and more time taking in correcting our own faults. There are so many ways of giving help that, at least, hurt our pride. Lt us do kind things kindly. I learn from my guide book that God's way is to give "liberally and upbraid not." We who help have too much of the spirit of the father who said: "I did give you money, but you wasted it, you scoundrel; now I'll have to give you more, and likely you'll waste that too." The black man didn't choose to have separate schools or churches, but he now chooses to take them rather than to have his manhood insulted. As I said before, there is no problem before me. I know what to do. First, be good, loving, helpful, and cheerful myself. Then help my fallen brother rise; comfort others with the comfort with which God has comforted me; divide my last slice of bread with the hungry, cheer the faint-hearted, tell them God lives and God loves. Find something good to say for every individual. "Learn how to do well and suffer and take it patiently, for this is acceptable with God." All this and a thousand other little
things that will keep me busy the rest of my life. Those who see a problem do not see God.
"When Jesus our Savior came down from above
From sin to redeem us, His mission was love.
If we are his children we all must forgive
And love one another as long as we live."
I might close these sketches here, but there remain, among many other things that I should like to write about if not restricted by the limits of this book, two subjects of very great importance, and I am constrained to add two more chapters to show how I have tried to teach the colored people to raise money for the Lord's work in the Lord's way, and how to keep their hearts and lives pure.
How to raise money for God's cause is surely the great question the church is asking to-day, North and South, East and West. Among both white and colored it is the great theme.
We have been told that the prayer meeting is the thermometer of the church, or in other words, shows how much religion the church has. But it seems to me that the money we give, the real amount of self-sacrifice we make, is a better proof of our piety than even our prayers. If every member felt that all they had belonged to the Lord, it would surely be freely given whenever the work of the Lord needed it. Even the last cent would be given as we would pay any honest debt, and yet every Christian says he is not his own. He knows he has been bought with the precious blood of Christ, and before he could be converted he gave everything up to God. "Now as ye have received Christ so walk ye in him." Col., 2:6. But after we give it up we grab it back again, and forget we are stewards, and act is if we were proprietors and had a deed for all that was simply given us on trust.
The early converts were so full of the thought that all they had belonged to God that they acted it out by selling all they had and putting the money in a common fund, and I have never found where the Holy Spirit censured them for so doing.
I do not know if Lydia kept her house in her own name after her conversion or not, but this I do know: She opened wide her doors for God's
BANNER BIBLE BAND, NASHVILLE, TENN.
This Band began the study of our lessons in 1895, and has continued until the present, 1902. they have been faithful members of their church, but as faithful in reproving, by their everday life, what was contrary to the Bible. In 1899 their church began to collect money for a new edifice by giving suppers, and in other ways begging the unconverted for help. This Band said, "We will help by self-denial." The Band numbered only eight, so that only eight of those seen in the picture were members of the Band. At the end of six months the Band had given $66.75, while all the other members of the churches had raised $357.95. The members of the Band are poor--as poor as the others. The Band grew more Christlike, the others became more worldly. This Band is only one of hundreds that have proven by their every-day conduct the power of daily prayerful Bible study to rebuke sin and maintain a closer walk with God.
Take our modern plan of raising money by means of fair entertainments, excursions, etc., and see if you can find any proof for it in the New Testament or in the Old.
Again, notice how the pastor's salary is raised
in most churches in Louisiana--a common tax levied on rich and poor alike. The bible says, "If there be first a willing mind it is accepted according to what a man hath and not according to that he hath not.["] 2 Cor., 8:12. But here all must give their 25 cents or 50 cents, as the case may be. The roll is called and all come up and pay. I was at one of these meetings lately where a poor sister owed two months' dues, 50 cents, and could not pay. She said she had been sick, but would pay as soon as she could; but it was all of no use, she could not speak in the covenant meeting, nor sit down at the Lord's Supper, if she did not pay that 50 cents. I felt so sorry for her that I paid the 50 cents; I kept her in the church. I am told by the deacons that they must be just that strict or they would not get their money.
We would also call attention to the great amount of time spent in calling for collection at the close of the sermon, noisy singing and urging all to give, "Saints and sinners, all come on with your nickels." Surely in this way the good seed of the sermon is taken out of hearts even before they leave the church. Is this according to God's plan? He intended that all our worship should be with a willing heart, joyfully as unto the Lord. A free-will offering, for "God loves a cheerful giver."
Can we take this as a foundation truth? Giving of our substance to God is a means of grace as important as that of prayer. I think all will admit this. The command to give was not to enrich God but to make us better. A means by which we are brought into intimate and close connection with God. A gift is only between friends. We would not accept it from an enemy. Nor will God accept any work or offering at our hands till we have first accepted Him as our Savior, as the friend that sticketh closer than a brother. In Old Testament times most of these gifts were consumed in smoke--burned up. God did not need them, but in all these gifts He
had a lesson to teach His people--a lesson about the coming of Christ and their dependence on Him for all they had, and we need the same lesson. How appropriate was the gift of first fruits. God is the real owner and He should have the first and best. Then thank offerings, how beautiful. You and I have felt the joy of this to-day, as we sit here and contrast our hope of heaven and joy in Christ with the sad state of our brethren in Africa. Our hearts overflow with thanksgiving, and they must have an outlet in our glad thank offering to missions. How good God is to let me give him back as a gift what God had first given to me.
King David saw the beauty of this. 1 Chron., 29:14. Nothing brings me so near to God as my gifts to Him. I seem to feel the clasp of His hand and see Jesus' smile of approval as I lay my gift on the altar. Praise the Lord!
Giving in this way is devotion, is prayer, is real worship. To share this means of grace with the world would be sacrilege, would be downright wicked. The world cannot understand it. You might as well ask a sinner to come and sit down at the Lord's Supper as to ask him to give to God. Think before you say I am not correct. Remember we started with the proposition that giving was religious worship. But I am told that the sinner receives God's blessings, and that it is his duty to give. Granted that it is his duty, is it not also his duty to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? Until he performs this duty he is not ready for either the Lord's supper or giving gifts to God.
How much we think we need it all for ourselves and give it before we spend one cent for self. How disrespectful it is to grab our wages and run off and spend it without stopping to say "thank you," to the dear "Father from whom comes every good and perfect gift."
Again, how shall we lay aside the one-tenth? If you have a family you belong to your family, and
also what you earn, just the same as your home belongs to you, wife, and child, so also your wages. If you give a part away they will have to live on less. Therefore you should lay the plan before your wife and your children as soon as they are old enough to understand. Your wife, who keeps your home, has a share in all you earn, and a gift from the husband is also a gift from the wife. I hope the husband will take notice of this fact.
Let us illustrate: It is Saturday evening, you have earned $5 this week, you sit down and take it out before your wife and little ones, aged 1, 3, 6 and 8 years, respectively. You kneel down and in a short prayer thank God for the $5 and ask Him to show you how to spend it, which is a far more difficult task than earning it. Wife says baby needs a new dress, 3-year-old Jane a pair of shoes, John a hat, and Mary a book for school, wife wants a set of cups and saucers, and you, she says, must have a new shirt, and you add, "Can't we have something extra for dinner?" First of all you take out 50 cents, and show it to the children, who can understand, you say, "God was very good to let me earn this money, shall we give him 50 cents of it?" All say, "Yes, only 50 cents is too little to give to God." Then you reckon what the week's board will cost, the rent, etc., you find you must give up the extra dinner and there is no money for John's hat; you call him to you and say, I can get you the hat if I do not give God any money. But John, young as he is will not take God's money and Mary stands up and says, "I will do without my book and let John have a hat." But John says, "No"; I can do better with my old hat than you can without the book." The dear mother's eyes fill with tears of joy as she witnesses the unselfish spirit of her children. All the result of sharing with God and putting God's claim first. The scant dinner tastes good because shared with God.
Again, it is Saturday, all are seated around the
precious $5. Wife says: "Here is $1 that I earned by sewing["] and dear little Mary's eyes dance with joy as she lays down beside the $1, 10 cents, saying, "I got this for running errands." Though young, she has given her heart to the Lord and now gives her earnings. Put it all in one pile and divide it--61 blessed cents for God's purse to-night.
The happy family are again on their knees, all are happy, all are learning to give as God prospers. God and his part have been first in the thoughts of all. This way of dividing with God weaves our religion into our every-day life as nothing else can.
Some Saturday night our family finds as the money is laid down that they have more than usual. Not so many things needed for the family. The father tells of the great need of a school-house over in Africa for Brother Colley. The mother says, "I went to see poor old sister Ann, and she needs coffee and sugar. I wish I could send her some." Here is 50 cents for Africa, 25 cents for sister Ann, the father adding, you all helped to give this. Mary and John take a little basket with sugar and coffee to poor sister Ann, Mamma saying as she kisses the little faces, "I will tell sister Ann you helped give this nice present," and away they go, happier than if you had given each $1 worth of candy. O, parents, do study till you find the true secret of happiness for your children, and you will find it lies in doing good, in giving rather than in receiving.
Sabbath evening; father reads in African Missions an account of the needed school house to his family, saying, "I am so glad we could help, if only 50 cents." Then the little faces brightened up and the little hearts say, "I will give more next time."
Years roll on; Mary is now 14, John 12 years old. There is to be a Sunday school picnic. Mary tells of a nice dress her playmate, Maggie, has, and wants one like it. Mother says, "Wait till Saturday and see if we have money enough to get it." Our
family in remembering to pay God a part have learned "to owe no man anything."
How one good thing follows another. "Godliness is profitable unto all things." Saturday comes, no money for Mary's dress. The tears will come, for the child had set her heart on that dress. It is hard to give it up.
But years ago the sweet girl had learned the lesson of self-sacrifice. The tears are soon wiped away as she goes softly to her mother's side, and, putting her arms around her neck, says, "I can be happy without the dress." All the children are looking on and learning the lesson. John says, "You are the best sister in the world, and when I get big I will buy you the nicest dress in the store."
All this unselfishness is the result of honoring God, putting His claim first--it makes all I have holy--it leads me to think first of others. It helps me to remember that "I am not my own."
But you say my family is an imaginary one. No, it is not. There are some such families in our selfish world. You go home, my dear brother and sister, and try this plan with your family. Try it faithfully. Learn to "deny thyself" and teach the lesson to your children while young, remembering Jesus said, "Deny thyself, take up thy cross and follow me." You are safe as long as you follow Jesus. Oh, if all would give as we have suggested--all, rich and poor. Then would the Lord's treasury be full of money and the church full of joy and peace.
Let us take God into all our plans, into all our work; he is the friend with whom we should share all we earn. We will illustrate by the example of the fond wife and husband. Visions of what he shall buy for his wife, and her smile of approval sweetens all his toil, and the dear wife cannot enjoy a meal without her husband. Every delicacy must be shared with him. A still nearer and dearer place should God hold in all our hearts. Dear friends,
this is a proud and happy day for us. God has greatly honored us by making us the medium by which He sends His gifts to the heathen world. It makes me think of the words when the temple was finished, "Go your way; eat the fat, and drink the sweet and send portions to them for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy unto the Lord, neither be ye sorry, for the joy of the Lord is your strength." Neh., 8:10. Yes, send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared. That means for his own starving brethren in Africa. Let us send them a large portion. We are feasting on the bread of life and drinking joyfully from the well of salvation. Our temple is built. "We are dwelling in the Tabernacle of the Most High, and abiding under the shadow of His wing." Let us spread the joyful news to the end of the earth. Surely God did plan for our happiness when He gave us this work to do. Let us make sacrifices, gladly, joyfully, willingly, for the work of the Lord. Let there be no whining because our religion costs us so much and because the calls are so great, but rejoice that God accepts our offering at our hands.
I want to add that most of the white churches, North and South, practice this unlawful way of raising money, by appealing to the unconverted, and by fairs, suppers, etc. Indeed, it was from the white people, and not from the Bible, that the colored people learned it, and they are far more guilty than the colored people.
It is true that we teach our children to give just on the same principle that we teach them to pray, but along with it we teach that neither the prayer nor the gift will be accepted unless done with the heart.
We will sum up the whole matter: First, as giving to God is a part of religious worship, devotion, communion with God, the same as prayer and the Lord's Supper; therefore it cannot be shared with sinners. If we do so we desecrate holy things. No one is prepared to worship God till he is
converted. Second, our present plan of getting money from the unconverted and asking lukewarm Christians to give to God under the excitement of a supper or entertainment is wrong. There is no worship in it. It is only a desecration of holy things to call it giving to God. When money is raised in this way the church is robbed of a great means of grace and brought down to a sinful mingling with the world. Lord help us to keep the worship of the church pure; help us to build up the wall of separation between us and the world, strong and high. Help us to be "a peculiar people, zealous of good works," and unto thy name will we give all the glory for Jesus' sake, Amen.
When we go out and beg the world for money for God's cause we open the door and bring the world into the church. Let us repeat this, when Christians go out and beg the world for money they bring the world into the church. Just here is one place where the church and the world begin to walk together, and are now walking till you can scarcely tell saint from sinner. It is a positive injury to both--the world and the church. It makes the church less spiritual. It demoralizes this precious part of worship, so that not one in ten gives from a pure motive. We have come down and give as the world does. You can have our money if you give us a supper or an excursion or some excitement. Pastors tell me that they cannot get their people to give as unto the Lord--come and hand their money right into God's hand, as they should. No, they will not do that. Therefore, in order to drag money out of the pockets of the unconverted and of lukewarm Christians we must need have an entertainment, etc., and this tends to make the whole church lukewarm. Can you not see how it harms the church. I never heard a pastor say that any of these unlawful means of raising money, or even the noisy way of taking a collection, was a spiritual blessing to the church. They only do it because they cannot get the money any other
way. But they began at the wrong end. They begin by saying, We must have money, instead of saying, We must obey God. "To obey is better than sacrifice." To obey God is better than building a church or sending a missionary to Africa. They make the same mistake that Saul did 2,000 years ago, when he brought the sheep and the oxen that he should have destroyed to offer as a sacrifice. 1 Sam., 15:15. That is the same excuse our pastor makes to-day--"The people took of the spoils," thus throwing the blame on the people, but the leader wasto blame; and on your leaders of to-day lie the blame of offering an unlawful sacrifice. We expect the teacher, then, to show us what to do. He has been to the "law and the testimony." Many of the people cannot read God's word, and must depend on what the preacher says. We said our plan of giving was also an injury to the sinner, because it makes him feel that he has gained some merit; that God was pleased with his gift and will bless him for it. Every day some sinner tells me, I give as much to the church as any one, etc. I cannot make him see that it will do no good. His gift has had a tendency to quiet his conscience.
I heard a preacher not long since say that all the churches along the Mississippi River in Louisiana were built with the proceeds of fairs, etc. Far better to have worshipped in private houses, as the early Christians did, than to build churches in that way. God does not need our gifts. In Ps., 60:10, He says, "Every beast of the field is mine and the cattle upon a thousand hills. If I were hungry I would not tell thee, for the world is mine and the fullness thereof."
Then you ask, what is the Gospel way of giving? We answer, give cheerfully, give willingly, give as the Lord prospers you, give on your knees in prayer. This is the sweetest way to give. I have tried it.
Kneel in your closet and say, "Here, Lord, take this money for Jesus' sake." Many good people take the Old Testament plan of giving one-tenth of all they earn. But this is not enough. They gave thank offerings and "first fruits" besides, and surely our gifts should be more than theirs, but we will use their plan to illustrate. Suppose you earn $5 a week, then give 50 cents; if $2.50, then 25 cents.
Nothing grieves me so much as the great number of unmarried mothers. Nothing in all my work has sent me so often to my room to pray and weep bitter tears of sorrow as the shameful way in which these young girls go on in their sin, and alas, for the number of young men, "who creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts." 2 Tim. 3:6.
I wish I could reach the ears of every pure young girl. I would say, "Do not take that young man's hand. It is polluted, shut the door in his face. Send him back to the girl he has ruined." Mothers and fathers you are to blame for much of this evil. There is no door to your homes called "watchfulness," no guard there. The children go out and in just as they please. Did you not know that the home was given by God as a shelter for the child till it was strong to bear the temptations of life? But you say, "My child must have some amusement." "Yes, but you go with it to the place of amusement.
Many a child has been sent on an excursion, or to a hall, or to a party, and has come back ruined. Be more careful about the companionship of your child than about the food it eats.
Above all make your home a happy place of amusement. Let the children play and laugh and talk and be as free, as gay, as the birds in the trees. Let the home be a glad place.
Be careful for the sake of your children who
come into your home. That sweet young girl is worth more than a million dollars. Guard her purity, her modesty as you would the apple of your eye, and that dear boy also. It is a great mistake that only girls need to be guarded. Boys need as much care and watching as the girls. Do not let the children listen to "filthy conversation." I would turn a man or woman out of my house that dared to speak a polluted word. Fill the children's hearts with beautiful thoughts of God, of heaven, of angels, of love, of truth, of birds, of flowers, of all the beautiful things God has done.
You know He says in Matthew 15:19 that out of heart proceed adulteries.
The natural heart will have bad thoughts unless Jesus comes in and fills it with love and light. But I hear you say, "How can I bring my children up rightly when everything wrong is at my very door, all day long?" Yes I know it. Have I not sat down by thousands of firesides in this state and listened as the parents told of the dangers that surrounded their children, and what could I do but weep and pray with them and thank God that some parents did feel the great work God had given them to do. But you know there are thousands of other parents who utterly neglect the care of their children, and even lead them into sin, and set them the example. To those let us go with all the earnestness of a message from God, tell them how God thundered from Mt. Sinai these words, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Do it before it is too late, do it to-day.
Pastors, you can do much to correct this evil.
Be strong and brave to reprove even if it be the richest man in your town. Take an example from John the Baptist, who dared to tell the king on his throne that his was an unlawful marriage. What if it did cost him his life, he died a glorious martyr and is now near the throne. We are often tempted to cover up sin because the man or woman has influence
or riches. It is better to die and go to heaven than to live like a coward and be lost at last.
I have written several papers explaining the "White Cross" movement to the colored men, from one of which I give you the following:
On the subject of purity, the pulpit and press have been too silent, ballrooms, card tables, and saloons have been denounced, and the sin of adultery left untouched. Some, whose ears were more refined than their hearts, said it should not be spoken of in public. But they did not learn this false modesty from the Bible. God thundered from Mt. Sinai, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" with the same emphasis that He did, "Thou shalt not kill."
In Bible narrative, if a man or woman committed adultery, it is recorded simply because when God writes a man's history he tells the truth, even though it be of the king on his throne. There is no covering up of evil.
Paul exposes the sins of adultery in detail, mentioning its different forms. When Paul wrote to the young minister, Timothy, he said, "Keep thyself pure." 2 Tim. 2:22. "Flee youthful lusts." 1 Tim. 4:12; 1 Tim. 5:22. It is not likely that Timothy needed this advice any more than the ministers of to-day do. It would be a good thing if there were more Pauls to-day to teach, to exhort, to rebuke the preachers, young and old. Of all men they should be the purest on earth. In virtue of their office, they are admitted into every home, and can sit down by every fireside and talk with our daughters and wives.
Listen to their conversation. In many cases you will find they are joking the young girls about the boys, and about that wedding cake. Silly, foolish talk of which our young girls hear so much even from the preacher. It is no wonder they think
they must hurry and marry. Why does not the minister talk to them of education and other sensible subjects, and do it in a manly, dignified way, and not in the silly, foolish manner that suggests evil, to say the least? We say there are some ministers who do; we hope their number is few. In regard to this sin of adultery, woman has been blamed more than man. There is no authority in God's Word for it. It is only a custom or tradition that has bound a heavy burden on poor woman. It is true she cannot conceal her guilt, but if man was noble and brave, he would stand up beside her and bear half the blame. Where is that vile coward that won your daughter's heart, led her into sin, and then disappeared and left you and your daughter to care for his child? Can you think of anything more dastardly, mean, and cowardly than this act? I have no words to express my contempt for such men, and there are so many of them. It is man's place as the stronger person to protect the woman who is the "weaker vessel." He should be her guardian, her protector, and shield from insult and sin, instead of leading her into it. If a woman has to pass a dangerous road she takes a man along to protect her. If there is not room in the life-boat for all, put the women in first. Protect her and let the men swim or drown. Man is woman's natural protector. It is not so considered with regard to adultery.
Man seems to think he has a right to degrade woman and as a result look at the great crowds of degraded women and girls struggling in the mire of sin and shame to-day, and how came they there? Man's strong arm shoved them down from the hill of purity and he is doing it to-day by the thousands, and after man has done his Satanic work, he washes his hands in seeming innocency and goes on his way. Is this manly? Is this brave? Tell me, my dear strong brother. God gave you to me for my protector because you are strong and I am weak. How fearfully you betrayed your trust!
You have it in your power to stop this great vice if you only will. You ask, "How can I?" I will tell you. Let me illustrate. You are thrown inadvertently into the company, for perhaps one short half-hour, of a thoughtless, perhaps wicked, woman. Now, you need not say one word on the subject of adultery. Just take the low sensual look out of your own eyes, take the coarse jest out of your own mouth. Do not dare to lay your hands upon that woman. In short, take the adultery all out of your own heart. You are strong. You can or ought to be, able to control yourself.
Look into that woman's face with the clear, calm look of the pure in heart, and treat her with the respect due a woman. You will find that half an hour has done more to reform that woman than would a hundred lectures from her own sex. Your purity has made her long to be pure and holy. The women want to please you. The natural desire of woman to please man is much stronger than that of man to please woman. Brothers, you can save her if you will. The influence of one pure man is more powerful for good in a company whose morals are bad, than that of a woman equally good.
We have magnified woman's power to reform this and other evils. My experience is that man has the greater power, but in order to shield himself from responsibility, he thus compliments woman. One thing that has tended to degrade the colored women is, they are not treated with the respect due a woman, by the white men, and in too many cases the black man has followed the example of his white brother in this sad respect. You are not quick to rise and give woman the best seat, or relieve her of any bundle she may be carrying. You do not insist on your wife sitting down and sharing vour nice breakfast, you are very well content to let her be your servant. All preachers do not share the best with their wives. I have known some of these men to accept frequently an invitation to dinner
on the Sabbath from a church member, stay and have a social time, perhaps till the evening service, while their poor wives were left at home lonely and neglected.
Again you are not careful about the language you use in woman's presence. I have often gone into a store or private house and caught a word of conversation that was not proper.
They stopped when I came, yet there sat the colored women listening to it all. On the plantation the women have been obliged to listen to the coarse conversation of both white and colored men. This has had a tendency to make woman immodest. Watch the women getting off the boat or cars. The conductor helps the white woman off, but the black woman in many cases may find her own way off, even when there were colored men who might have helped her. The fact that white men do not treat your women with respect ought to make you more tender and respectful to every woman. Even though she be a bad woman you should try to protect her. If you are a good, pure man, you can afford to do it. Brothers, let me remind you that in the days of slavery you did not have the debasing influence thrown around you that your sisters had. Your virtue was not taken from you by force. Poor colored woman! She is still the slave of both white and black man. In view of this fact we have a right to expect that the black man be purer and stronger than the woman.
Now if there be any nobility, any manliness about you, you will strive hard to lift up your deeply-wronged and much-abused sisters. I believe you will help. I have faith in you, my colored brothers. You only need to know where to begin and how to carry this reform forward.
Just here I want to bear my testimony that in all my years in the South there has never been on the part of any colored man the slightest approach to undue familiarity with me; on the contrary, they
have treated me with the utmost respect. And I have carefully watched their conduct toward other white women, and I cannot believe that the black man ever insults a white woman. I am, however, sorry to say, that the colored men do not always treat their own women with the courtesy and respect due to her, nor does woman behave with becoming reserve. There is much undue familiarity that tends to evil. We have a large number of true men and women who are working to reform this evil. It is hard to rise above the old-time rough manners of slavery and harder still to keep the impure thoughts out of hearts when only the head has been educated. One dear girl wrote me about her mother these words, "My mother has never been to school, but she has an educated heart. She is sure a good mother." I replied, "If I cannot have both heart and head educated, then I should choose the educated heart. May God educate your whole being, body, heart, and mind to be used for His glory, is my prayer for you, my dear girl."
I have not written a history of my life, only given you a few scraps. No one but God ever wrote a history of a human life. It is impossible. Our greatest battles are fought and lost and greatest victories won where no one but God sees and understands. As we, ourselves, look back we do not know which was victory or which defeat, what was wise and what a mistake. But we do know that when we lived for God's glory He with matchless kindness made the shade and the sunshine, the bitter and the sweet, all unite for our good as well as His glory; and now in restful faith I give this book and all there is of my poor life, past, present, and future, into the hands of Him who loved me and gave Himself for me. Glory be to His name now and forever. Amen.