By our request, Brother L.G. Whitney, a reliable Christian man, of Hemlock, Mich., writes us of a remarkable interposition of Providence in reference to his field of corn. This is his story:
“Two years ago, the seed-corn in this part of the country proved poor — not having sufficiently ripened the previous year. I saw an advertisement of a ninety-days corn, and sent to Pennsylvania and obtained enough to plant eleven acres. It grew rapidly, and became tall and stout. When other corn was out of the way of the frost, mine was just beginning to fill. One day as I was walking through it, I realized that it could not come to maturity. I fell on my knees, and talked to my heavenly Father about it.
I well remember how I addressed Him, saying: “Father, I have been deceived in this corn; according to the season and the nature of the corn it cannot ripen. But, Father, it is in Thy hands, I have given myself and all I have into Thy care. It is only by Thy power that this field of corn can ever ripen. Thy will be done. I will not complain” While I was thus addressing Him, heavenly peace filled my soul. Frost after frost came, and froze ice as thick as a window-glass. My neighbors would say: ‘ What is the matter with Whitney’s corn that the frosts do not kill it?’ It stood like a green forest through all the frosts till it ripened. I never had such a crop of corn before or since. I know the Lord will answer the prayers of the faithful in heart, and ‘no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.’
Two or three times in my life God in His mercy touched my heart, and twice before my conversion I was under deep conviction. During the American war, I was surgeon in the United States army, and after the battle of Gettysburg there were many hundred wounded soldiers in my hospital, amongst whom were twenty-eight who had been wounded so severely that they required my service at once. Some whose legs had to be amputated, some their arms, and others both their arm and leg. One of the latter was a boy who had been but three months in the service, and being too young for a soldier. He enlisted as a drummer. When my assistant surgeon and one of my stewards wished to administer chloroform, previous to the amputation, he turned his head aside and positively refused to receive it. When the steward told him that it was the doctor’s orders, he said: “Send the doctor to me.” When I came to his bedside, I said: “Young man, why do you refuse chloroform? When I found you on the battlefield you were so far gone that I thought it hardly worth while to pick you up; but when you opened those large blue eyes I thought you had a mother somewhere who might, at that moment, be thinking of her boy. I did not want you to die on the field, so ordered you to be brought here; but you have now lost so much blood that you are too weak to endure an operation without chloroform, therefore you had better let me give you some.” He laid his hand on mine, and looking me in the face, said: “Doctor, one Sunday afternoon, in the Sunday-school, when I was nine and a half years old, I gave my heart to Christ. I learned to trust Him then; I have been trusting him ever since, and I can trust Him now. He is my strength and my stimulant. He will support me while you amputate my arm and leg.” I then asked him if he would allow me to give him a little brandy. Again he looked me in the face saying: ” Doctor, when I was about five years old my mother knelt by my side, with her arm around my neck, and said: ‘ Charlie, I am now praying to Jesus that you may never know the taste of strong drink your papa died a drunkard, and went down to a drunkard’s grave, and I promised God, if it were His will that you should grow up, that you should warn young men against the bitter cup.’ I am now seventeen years old, but I have never tasted anything stronger than tea and coffee, and as I am, in all probability, about to go into the presence of my God, would you send me there with brandy on my stomach?”
The look that boy gave me I shall never forget. At that time I hated Jesus, but I respected that boy’s loyalty to his Savior; and when I saw how he loved and trusted Him to the last, there was something that touched my heart, and I did for that boy what I had never done for any other soldier I asked him if he wanted to see his chaplain. “Oh! Yes, sir,” was the answer. When Chaplain R. came, he at once knew the boy from having often met him at the tent prayer-meetings, and taking his hand said: “Well, Charlie, I am sorry to see you in this sad condition.” “Oh, I am all right, sir,” he answered. “The doctor offered me chloroform, but I declined it; then he wished to give me brandy, which I also declined; and now, if my Savior calls me, I can go to Him in my right mind.” “You may not die, Charlie,” said the chaplain but if the Lord should call you away, is there anything I can do for you after you are gone? ” “Chaplain, please put your hand under my pillow and take my little Bible; in it you will find my mother’s address; please send it to her, and write a letter, and tell her that since the day I left home I have never let a day pass without reading a portion of God’s word, and daily praying that God would bless my dear mother; no matter whether on the march, on the battle-field, or in the hospital.” “Is there anything else I can do for you, my lad?” asked the chaplain. ” Yes; please write a letter to the superintendent of the Sands-street Sunday-school, Brooklyn, N.Y., and tell him that the kind words, many prayers, and good advice he gave me I have never forgotten; they have followed me through all the dangers of battle; and now, in my dying hour, I ask my dear Savior to bless my dear old superintendent. That is all.” Turning towards me he said: “Now, doctor, I ant ready; and I promise you that I will not even groan while you take off my arm and leg, if you will not offer me chloroform.” I promised, but I had not the courage to take the knife in my hand to perform the operation without first going into the next room and taking a little stimulant myself to perform my duty. While cutting through the flesh, Charlie Coulson never groaned; but when I took the saw to separate the bone, the lad took the corner of his pillow in his mouth, and all that I could hear him utter was: “O Jesus, blessed Jesus! Stand by me now.” He kept his promise, and never groaned. That night I could not sleep, for whichever way I turned I saw those soft blue eyes, and when I closed mine the words, “Blessed Jesus, stand by me now,” kept ringing in my ears. Between twelve and one o’clock I left my bed and visited the hospital; a thing I had never done before unless specially called, but such was my desire to see that boy.
Upon my arrival there I was informed by the night steward that sixteen of the hopeless cases had dies, and been carried down to the dead-house. “How is Charlie Coulson, is he among the dead?” “I asked. “No, sir,” answered the steward, “he is sleeping as sweetly as a babe.” When I came up to the bed which he lay, one of the nurses informed me that, about nine o clock, two member of the Y.M.C.A. came through the hospital to read and sing a hymn. They were accompanied by Chaplain R., who knelt by Charlie Coulson’s bed, and offered up a fervent and soul-stirring prayer; after which they sang, while still upon their knees, the sweetest of all hymns, “Jesus, lover of my soul,: in which Charlie joined. I could not understand how that boy, who had undergone such excruciating pain, could sing. Five days after I had amputated that dear boy’s arm and leg, he sent for me, and it was from him on that day I heard the first gospel sermon. “Doctor,” he said, “my time has come; I do not expect to see another sun rise; but thank God, I am ready to go; and before I die I desire to thank you with all my heart for your kindness to me. Doctor, you are a Jew, you do not believe in Jesus; will you please stand here and see me die, trusting my Savior to the last moment of my life?” I tried to stay, but I could not; for I had not the courage to stand by and see a Christian boy die rejoicing in the love of a Jesus whom I had been taught to hate, so I hurriedly left the room. About twenty minutes later a steward, who found me sitting in my private office covering my face with my hand, said: “Doctor, Charlie Coulson wishes to see you.” “I have just seen him,” I answered, “and I cannot see him again.” “But, doctor, he says he must see you once more before hoe dies.” I now made up my mind to see him, say an endearing word, and let him die; but I was determined that no word of his should influence me in the least so far as his Jesus was concerned. When I entered the hospital I saw he was sinking fast, so I sat down by his bed.
Asking me to take his hand, he said, ” Doctor, I hove you because you are a Jew; the best friend I have found in this world was a Jew.” I asked him who that was. He answered: “Jesus Christ, to whom I want to introduce you before I die; and will you promise me, doctor, that what I am about to say to you, you will never forget?” I promised; and he said: “Five days ago, while you amputated my arm and leg, I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to convert your soul.” These words went deep into my heart. I could not understand how, when I was causing him the most intense pain, he could forget all about himself and think of nothing but his Savior and my unconverted soul. All I could say to him was: “Well, my dear boy, you will soon be all right.” With these words I left him, and twelve minutes later he fell asleep, “safe in the arms of Jesus.”Hundreds of soldiers died in ray hospital during the war; but I only followed one to the grave, and that one was Charlie Coulson, the drummer boy; and I rode three miles to see him buried. I had him dressed in a new uniform, and placed in an officer’s coffin, with a United States flag over it. That boy’s dying words made a deep impression upon me. I was rich at that time so far as money is concerned, but I would have given every penny I possessed if I could have felt towards Christ as Charlie did; but that feeling cannot be bought with money. Alas! I soon forgot all about my Christian soldier’s little sermon, but I could not forget the boy himself. I now know that at that time I was under deep conviction of sin; but I fought against Christ with all the hatred of an orthodox Jew for nearly ten years, until, finally, the dear boy’s prayer was answered, and God converted my soul. About eighteen months after my conversion, I attended a prayer-meeting one evening in time city of Brooklyn. It was one of those meetings when Christians testify to the loving kindness of their Savior. After several of them had spoken, an elderly lady arose and said “Dear friends, this may be the last time that it is my privilege to testify for Christ. My family physician told me yesterday that my right lung is nearly gone, and my left bong is very much affected; so at the best I have boot a short time to be with you but what is left of it belongs to Jesus. Oh! it is a great joy to know that I shall meet my boy with Jesus in heaven. My son was not only a soldier for this country, but also a soldier for Christ. He was wounded at the battle of Gettysburg, and fell into the hands of a Jewish doctor, who amputated his arm and leg, but he lived five days after the operation. The chaplain of the regiment wrote me a letter, and sent me my boy’s Bible. In that letter I was informed that my Charlie in his dying hour sent for that Jewish doctor, and said to him “Doctor, before I die I wish to tell you that five days ago, while you amputated my arm and leg, I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to convert your soul. When I heard this body’s testimony, I could sit still no longer. I left my seat, crossed the room and taking her hand, said “God bless you, my dear sister; your boy’s prayer has been heard and answered. I am the Jewish doctor for whom your Charlie prayed, and his Savior is now my Savior.” — Dr. M.L.R.
“If I could have your faith, Hawkins, gladly would I, but I was born a skeptic. I cannot look upon God and the future as you do.” So said John Harvey, as he walked with a friend under a dripping umbrella. John Harvey was a skeptic of thirty years standing, and apparently hardened in his unbelief. Everybody had given him up as hopeless. Reasoning ever so calmly made no impression on the rocky soil of his heart. It was sad, very sad.
But one friend had never given him up. When spoken to about him “I will talk with and pray for that man until I die,” he said; “and I will have faith that he may yet come out of darkness into the marvelous light.” And thus whenever he met him (John Harvey was always ready for a “talk “), Mr. Hawkins pressed home the truth. In answer, on that stormy night, he said: “God can change a skeptic, John. He has more power over your heart than you, and I mean still to pray for you.” Oh, I’ve no objections, none in the world, seeing is believing, you know.
I’m ready for any miracle; but I tell you, it would take nothing short of a miracle to convince me. Let’s change the subject, I’m hungry, and it’s too far to go up town to supper this stormy night. Here’s a restaurant; let us stop here.” How warm and pleasant it looked in the long, brilliant dining saloon!
The two merchants had eaten, and were just on the point of rising, when a strain of soft music came through an open door a child’s sweet voice. “`Pon my word, that is pretty,” said John Harvey; “what purity in those tones” “Out of here, you little baggage!” cried a hoarse voice and one of the waiters pointed angrily to the door. “Let her come in,” said John Harvey. “We don’t allow them in this place, sir,” said the waiter ; “but she can go into the reading-room.” Well, let her go somewhere. I want to hear her,” responded the gentleman.
All this time the two had seen the shadow of something hovering backwards and forwards on the edge of the door; now they followed a slight little figure, wrapped in patched cloak, patched hood, and leaving the mark of wet feet as she walked. Curious to see her face, she was very small, John Harvey lured her to the farthest part of the great room, where there were but few gentlemen, and then motioned her to sing. The little one looked timidly up.
Her cheek of olive darkness, but a flush rested there; and out of the thinnest face, under the arch of broad temples, deepened by masses of the blackest hair, looked two eyes, whose softness and tender pleading would have touched the hardest heart. “That little thing is sick, I believe,” said John Harvey, compassionately. “What do you sing, child?” he added. “I sing Italian, or a little English.” John Harvey looked at her shoes. “Why,” he exclaimed, and his lip quivered, “her feet are wet to her ankles; she will catch her death of cold.”By this time the child had begun to sing, pushing back her hood, and folding before her little thin fingers.
Her voice was wonderful; and simple and common as were both, air and words, the pathos of the tones drew together several of the merchants in the reading-room. The little song commenced thus “There is a happy land, Far, far away.” Never could the voice, the manner, of that child be forgotten. There almost seemed a halo round her head; and when she had finished, her great speaking eyes turned towards John Harvey. “Look here, child; where did you learn that song?” he asked. “At the Sunday-school, sir.” “And you don’t suppose there is a happy land?” he continued, heedless of the many eyes upon him. “I know there is; I’m going to sing there,” she said, so quietly, so decidedly, that the men looked at each other. “Going to sing there?” “Yes, sir. My mother said so.
She used to sing to me until she was sick. Then she said she wasn’t going to sing any more on earth, but up in heaven.” “Well and what then?” “And then she died, sir,” said the child; tears brimming down the dark cheek, now ominously flushed scarlet. John Harvey was silent for a few moments. Presently he said: “Well, if she died, my little girl, you may live, you know.” “Oh, no, sir! No, sir! I’d rather go there, and be with mother. Sometimes I have a dreadful pain in my side, and cough as she did. There won’t be any pain up there, sir it’s a beautiful world” “How do you know?” faltered on the lips of the skeptic. “My mother told me so, sir.” Words how impressive! Manner how child-like, and yet so wise.
John Harvey had had a praying mother. His chest labored for a moment, the sobs that struggled for utterance could be heard even in their depths and still those large, soft, lustrous eyes, like magnets, impelled his glance towards them. “Child, you must have a pair of shoes.” John Harvey’s voice was husky. Hands were thrust in pockets, purses pulled out, and the astonished child held in her little palm more money than she had ever seen before. “Her father is a poor, consumptive organ grinder,” whispered one. “I suppose he’s too sick to be out tonight.” Along the soggy street went the child, under the protection of John Harvey, but not with shoes that drank the water at every step.
Warmth and comfort were hers now. Down in the deep den-like lanes of the city walked the man, a little cold hand in his. At an open door they stopped up broken, creaking stairs they climbed. Another doorway was opened, and a wheezing voice called out of the dim arch, “Carletta!” “O father! Father! See what I have brought you!” “Look at me! Look at me! ” and down went the silver, and venting her joy, the poor child fell, crying and laughing together, into the old man’s arms. Was he a man? A face dark and hollow, all overgrown with hair black as night, and uncombed, a pair of wild eyes, a body bent nearly double – hands like claws. “Did he give you all this, my child?” “They all did, father; now you shall have soup and oranges.” “Thank you, sir, I’m sick, you see sir I had to send the poor child out, or we’d starve.
God bless you, sir! I wish I was well enough to play you a tune;” and he looked wistfully towards the corner where stood the old organ, baize-covered, the baize in tatters.
One month after that, the two men met again as if by agreement, and walked slowly down town. Treading innumerable passages they came to the gloomy building where lived Carletta’s father.
No not lived there; for, as they paused a moment, out came two or three men bearing a pine coffin. In the coffin slept the old organ-grinder.”It was very sudden, sir;” said a woman, who recognized his benefactor. “Yesterday the little girl was took sick, and it seemed as if he drooped right away. He died at six last night.”The two men went silently up stairs. The room was empty of everything save a bed, a chair, and a nurse provided by John Harvey.
The child lay there, not white, but pale as marble, with a strange polish on her brow. “Well, my little one, are you better?” “Oh, no, sir; father is gone up there, and I am going.” Up there! John Harvey turned unconsciously towards his friend.”Did you ever hear of Jesus?” asked John Harvey’s friend. “Oh, yes” “Do you know who he was” “Good Jesus,” murmured the child. “Hawkins, this breaks me down,” said John Harvey; and he placed his handkerchief to his eyes. “Don’t cry, don’t cry; I can’t cry, I’m so glad! ” said the child, exultingly. “What are you glad for, my dear?” asked John Harvey’s friend. “To get away from here,” she said deliberately.
“I used to be so cold in the winter, for we didn’t have fire sometimes; but mother used to hug me close, and sing about heaven. Mother told me never to mind, and kissed me, and said if I was His, the Savior would love me, and one of these days would give me a better home; and so I gave myself to Him, for I wanted a better home. And, oh, I shall sing there, and be so happy! With a little sigh she closed her eyes. “Harvey, are faith and hope nothing?” asked Mr. Hawkins. “Don’t speak to me, Hawkins; to be as that little child, I would give all I have.” “And to be like her you need give nothing only your stubborn will, your skeptical doubts, and the heart that will never know rest till at the feet of Christ.”
There was no answer. Presently the hands moved, the arms were raised, the eyes opened yet, glazed though they were, they turned still upward. “See! ” she cried; “Oh, there is mother! And angels and they are all singing.” Her voice faltered, but the celestial brightness lingered yet on her face. “There is no doubting the soul triumph there,” whispered Mr. Hawkins. “It is wonderful,” replied John Harvey, looking on both with awe and tenderness. “Is she gone?”
He sprang from his chair as if he would detain her; but chest and forehead were marble now, the eyes had lost the fire of life; she must have died, as she lay looking at them.”She was always a sweet little thing,” said the nurse, softly. John Harvey stood as if spellbound. There was a touch on his arm; he started. “John,” said his friend, with an affectionate look, “shall we pray?” For a minute there was no answer-then came tears; the whole frame of the subdued skeptic shook as he said it was almost a cry: “Yes, pray, pray!” And from the side of the dead child went up agonizing pleadings to the throne of God. And that prayer was answered the miracle was wrought the lion became a lamb the doubter a believer the skeptic a Christian!
Away on the western coast of England there stands a steep rock that is known to everybody as’ the “Lady’s Rock.” At high water it is surrounded by the sea; but at low water it stands upon a sandy beach, and is easily reached.
It gets the name from an accident that occurred years ago. One summer day a lady walked along the beach as this rock, and there sat down and began to read a book that interested her. She read on, never thinking of any danger, when she was suddenly startled by a loud cry from the cliffs The coast guard had seen her and shouted across the bay She looked up and in a moment saw her peril Between herself and the shore there were the curling waves and the white foam spreading over the sands. Her first look showed her nothing but certain death, for the waves were rising every moment; and as she stood hesitating, a huge-breaker dashed its spray over her. Above her frowned the steep, black rock, and even the fisherlads could scarcely climb to get the sea-birds’ eggs; there seemed to be no way of escape there. She looked across to the crowd that were gathering on the shore, but no boat could live in that tumbling sea. Then, as she stood with the waves creeping up after her like wild beasts that chased their prey, she wrung her hands in agony and burst into tears, crying:
“Can I be saved? Can I be saved?”
A moment before it was nothing to her; now it was everything — Wealth, luxury, comfort, pleasure-all thought of these were swept away. Her only anxiety was this: “Oh, to be saved!” Then across from the shore came the cry from the coast-guard again: “You must climb the rock! Your only chance is to climb the rock! She looked at it hanging over her with jagged sides, and steep, slippery front. How could she climb it? But as she delayed, a wave swept up and flung itself over the place where she stood, and below her the waters surged and hissed. Then she grasped the rock desperately, and dragged herself up, and hung to the face of it, tremblingly feeling for a higher foothold, rising, little by little, until she reached a ledge, from where she looked shudderingly on the waves below. Then crept upward until again the spray flew about her. “Climb higher!” rang from the shore, this time from a hundred voices; for the tidings of her peril had spread to the adjoining village. Again she gathered her strength, and hardly I know how, she crept, little by-little, hanging on with dragging herself through narrow openings, pressing up the steep, slippery places, until now within her reach a tuft of grass; seizing it she fell fainting on the top b the reach of the waves, while the excited people cried shout “She’s saved! Thank Heaven she’s saved!’
A story wild and strange, like the coast, and yet it is very life-true of you, reader. Slowly the sea is chasing you from point to point. The sea is rising about, you. You can look back and see how it has driven you from day to day, from year to year; and yet you are unmindful of it: ‘Taken up with a hundred things, you do not see it. It is the last thing you think of. You have time for everything else. -You can think of business, of pleasure, of politics, of the markets, of friendships-of everything else but this. And yet the time is coming when you will see the peril, when your own eyes shall look upon the threatening danger, and all of these things of today shall be nothing. Suddenly, all in a moment, you will start up with the cry: ” What must I do to be saved? ” and it may be too late. — Mark Guy Pearse.
Bishop Bowman, of the M.E. Church, gives the following instance from his own experience:
” In the fall of 1858, whilst visiting Indiana, I was at an annual conference where Bishop Janes presided. We received a telegram that Bishop Simpson was dying. Said Bishop Janes: “Let us spend a few moments in earnest prayer for the recovery of Bishop Simpson.” We kneeled to pray. William Taylor, the great California street-preacher, was called to pray; and such a prayer I never heard since.
The impression seized upon me irresistibly, Bishop Simpson will not die. I rose from my knees perfectly quiet. Said I: “Bishop Simpson will not die.” “Why do you think so?” “Because I have had an irresistible impression made upon my mind during this prayer.”‘ Another said: “I have the same impression.” We passed it along from bench to bench, until we found that a very large proportion of the conference had the same impression. I made a minute of the time of day, and when I next saw Simpson, he was attending to his daily labor. I inquired of the bishop: “How did you recover from your sickness?” He replied: “I cannot tell.” “What did your physician say?” “He said it was a miracle.” I then said to the bishop: “Give me the time and circumstances under which the change occurred.’ He fixed upon the day, and the very hour, making allowance for the distance a thousand miles away that the preachers were engaged in prayer at this conference. The physician left his room and said to his wife: “It is useless to do anything further; the bishop must die.” In about an hour he returned, and started back, inquiring: “What have you done?” “Nothing,” was the reply. “He is recovering rapidly,” said the physician; “a change has occurred in the disease within the last hour beyond anything I have ever seen; the crisis is past, and the bishop will recover.” And he did.”
The doctor was puzzled; it was beyond all the course and probabilities of nature, and the laws of science. What was it that made those ministers so sure — what was it that made the patient recover, at the exact hour that they prayed? There is only one answer: “The ever-living power of a Superior Spirit which rules the world.” — Wonders of Prayer.