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´╗┐Title: How I Know God Answers Prayer - The Personal Testimony of One Life-Time
Author: Goforth, Rosalind, 1864-
Language: English
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  How I Know
  God Answers Prayer

  The Personal Testimony
  of One Life-Time

          By
          ROSALIND GOFORTH
          (Mrs. Jonathan Goforth)
          Missionary in China since 1888

          "They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy
          great goodness."--Psalm 145:7.

          "Go . . . and tell them how great things the Lord
          hath done for thee."--Mark 5:19.

          HARPER & BROTHERS PUBLISHERS
          NEW YORK AND LONDON

          Copyright, 1921, by
          Harper & Brothers

          PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



FOREWORD


IT seems fitting that this little book of personal testimonies to
answered prayer should have a brief introductory word as to how they
came to be written. The question has been asked by some who read many of
these testimonies as they appeared in the pages of The Sunday School
Times: "How could you write such personal and sacred incidents in your
life?" I could not have written them but for a very clear, God-given
leading.

The story is as follows: When in Canada on our first furloughs I was
frequently amazed at the incredulity expressed when definite testimony
was given to an answer to prayer. Sometimes this was shown by an
expressive shrug of the shoulders, sometimes by a sudden silence or
turning of the topic of conversation, and sometimes more openly by the
query: "How do you know that it might not have happened so, anyway?"

Gradually the impression deepened: "If they will not believe one, two,
or a dozen testimonies, will they believe the combined testimonies of
one whole life?"

The more I thought of what it would mean to record the sacred incidents
connected with answers to prayer the more I shrank from the publicity,
and from undertaking the task. There were dozens of answers far too
sacred for the public eye, which were known only to a few, others known
only to God. But if the record were to carry weight with those who did
not believe in the supernatural element in prayer, many personal and
scarcely less sacred incidents must of necessity be made public.

Again and again I laid the matter aside as impossible. But I know now
that the thing was of God. As months, even years, passed, the impelling
sense that the record of answers to prayer _must_ be written gave me no
rest.

It was at the close of the 1908-10 furlough--during which, as a family,
we had been blessed with many and, to our weak faith, wonderful answers
to prayer--that my oldest son urged me to put down in some definite form
the answers to prayer of my life, and extracted from me a solemn promise
that I would do so.

But months passed after returning to China, and the record had not been
touched. Then came a sudden and serious illness which threatened my
life, when the doctor told me I must not delay in getting my affairs in
order.

It was then that an overwhelming sense of regret took possession of me
that I had not set down the prayer testimonies, and solemnly I
covenanted with the Lord that if he would raise me up they should be
written.

There was no more question of what others might think; the one thought
was to obey. The Lord raised me up; and although he had to deal with me
very sternly once more before I really set myself to the task, the
testimonies that are given here were written at last--most of them in
odd moments of time during strenuous missionary journeys among the
heathen.

Thus it will be seen that these incidents of answered prayer are not
given as being more wonderful, or more worthy of record, than multitudes
the world over could testify to; but they are written and sent out
simply and only because _I had to write them or disobey God_.

                                                     ROSALIND GOFORTH.



CONTENTS


                       FOREWORD

  How these testimonies came to be written               iii


                         I
              "GETTING THINGS FROM GOD"

  The simplicity of petition                               1


                         II
          EARLY LESSONS IN THE LIFE OF FAITH

  Led by a bird. Toothache taken away. Reward of seeking
    first the Kingdom. Financial aid. Sunday-school
    scholars given. Guidance in time of crisis. A prayer
    preparation for China. A beautiful seal on the new
    life                                                   6


                         III
              "GO FORWARD ON YOUR KNEES"
                     (1887-1894)

  The key-note of pioneer years. Help in the language
    from the Home Base. Prayer-opened doors.
    Deliverance in time of peril. "Kept by the power
    of God." Prayer and medical work. Converts from
    the first. Wang Feng-ao, the proud Confucian
    scholar. Wang Fu-Lin, the opium fiend. Dr. Hunter
    Corbett's testimony. The result of obedience. From
    the gates of death. Lord Sandwich's testimony         15


                          IV
             A GOD-GIVEN FIELD (1894-1900)

  A promise given. The promise fulfilled. Our great
    need. One need supplied--an evangelist. A second
    need supplied--a Bible-woman. Paying the price
    of petition. A touch of healing. A Chinaman's
    faith,--the locust story! A Christian woman's
    faith for her child. _Our child died_--a case of
    unanswered prayer. A God of deliverances              28


                          V
            OUR DELIVERANCE FROM THE BOXERS
                       (1900)

  A clear answer to prayers in the home church. Led
    on through dangers and trials. Safely brought
    through                                               43


                         VI
        PROVING GOD'S FAITHFULNESS (1902-1908)

  God must come first. A hard proposition. In the
    furnace. Made willing in the day of God's power.
    Testimony to God's abundant faithfulness. A
    Bible-woman of exceptional power given. God
    meeting the Home message--"Retrench." Abundant
    funds provided. A beautiful instance of "God's
    wireless." A case of "While they are yet speaking
    I will hear." The life made easier. A child's
    fever restrained. Blessing in the work, converts
    given. A God-suggested remedy. Chinese prevailing
    prayer for Mr. Goforth. Women sent to us. Doors
    for preaching opened. Workers supplied abundantly.
    Kept from smallpox. We may trust Him wholly.          69


                        VII
             THE STORY OF ONE FURLOUGH
                    (1908-1910)

  Meeting a condition of petition--obedience. Six
    difficult doors opened. Trusting for everything.
    Apples sent in abundance. Fruit, the best, in
    abundance. A telephone supplied. A fur coat.
    God's wonderful keeping power, a blessed
    experience. Help for the children's sewing.
    Another case of "God's wireless." A timely offer.
    A daughter's guardian provided. A case of the
    Lord's lovingkindness--a red cloth ulster! Too
    many to record                                        89


                        VIII
              OUR GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE

  A blessed incident from Keswick. A verse of a hymn
    given. A governess provided. Rain withheld in
    answer to prayer. Five pounds sent. Sewing and
    prayer. A gracious leading, and a great need
    supplied. An incident in Tientsin. More help with
    the sewing. A sewing machine supplied. A case of
    tuberculosis healed. Two incidents of prayer and
    revival. Fifty dollars sent for friends in need.
    Another case of spiritual "wireless." Led to a
    lost key                                             105


                         IX
                   TO HIS PRAISE!

  Trusting God to supply needs. His faithfulness.
    Prayer and dress. The restraining power of
    prayer--my son in the Great War. A prayer
    answered abundantly for one at home. Our
    God-given site. Closing words. All in "abide."
    Bible study on prayer                                124


                         X
                   VICTORY FOUND

  Childhood yearnings for the presence of Christ.
    Half-hearted conflict with sin in early years in
    China. Pride and bad temper. Secretly criticized
    by Chinese women. How to live Christ as well as
    preach him. Heights and depths of spiritual
    experience. Lifelong prayer for the fulness of
    the Spirit. The conference at Niagara-on-the-Lake,
    June, 1916. A speaker's message and leaflet on
    "The Victorious Life." Christ accepted as Saviour
    from the power of sin as well as from its penalty.
    The joy of realizing his Indwelling Presence. All
    summed up in one word, "Resting." Bible-study on
    "The Life of Victory in Christ"                      131



I

"GETTING THINGS FROM GOD"

          "Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and
          not one of them is forgotten before God? . . . Fear
          not therefore: ye are of more value than many
          sparrows."--_The Lord Jesus Christ._


THE pages of this little book deal almost wholly with just one phase of
prayer--petition. The record is almost entirely a personal testimony of
what petition to my Heavenly Father has meant in meeting the everyday
crises of my life.

A prominent Christian worker, who read some of these testimonies in The
Sunday School Times, said to the writer: "To emphasize getting things
from God, as you do, is to make prayer too material."

To me this seems far from true. God is my Father, I am his child. As
truly as I delight to be sought for by my child when he is cold or
hungry, ill, or in need of protection, so is it with my Heavenly Father.

Prayer has been hedged about with too many man-made rules. I am
convinced that God has intended prayer to be as simple and natural, and
as constant a part of our spiritual life, as the intercourse between a
child and his parent in the home. And as a large part of that
intercourse between child and parent is simply asking and receiving,
just so is it with us and our Heavenly Parent.

Perhaps, however, the most blessed element in this asking and getting
from God lies in the strengthening of faith which comes when a definite
request has been granted. What more helpful and inspiring than a ringing
testimony of _what God has done_?

As I have recalled the past in writing these incidents, one of the most
precious memories is that of an evening when a number of friends had
gathered in our home. The conversation turned on answered prayer. For
more than two hours we vied with one another in recounting personal
incidents of God's wonderful work; and the inspiration of that evening
still abides.

A Christian minister once said to me: "Is it possible that the great God
of the universe, the Maker and Ruler of mankind, could or would, as you
would make out, take interest in such a trifle as the trimming of a hat!
To me it is preposterous!"

Yet did not our Lord Jesus Christ say: "The very hairs of your head are
all numbered"; and "not one sparrow is forgotten before God"; and again,
"Your heavenly Father knoweth what ye have need of _before_ ye ask
him"?

It is true that "There is nothing too great for God's power"; and it is
just as true that "There is nothing too small for his love!"

If we believe God's Word we must believe, as Dan Crawford has tersely
and beautifully expressed it, that "The God of the infinite is the God
of the infinitesimal." Yes, he

          "Who clears the grounding berg
             And guides the grinding floe,
           He hears the cry of the little kit fox
             And the lemming of the snow!"

No more wonderful testimony, perhaps, has ever been given of God's
willingness to help in every emergency of life, than that which Mary
Slessor gave, when asked to tell what prayer had meant to her. "My
life," she wrote, "is one long daily, hourly record of answered prayer.
For physical health, for mental overstrain, for guidance given
marvelously, for errors and dangers everted, for enmity to the Gospel
subdued, for food provided at the exact hour needed, for everything that
goes to make up life and my poor service. I can testify, with a full and
often wonder-stricken awe, that I believe God answers prayer. _I know
God answers prayer!_"

I have been asked the question: "Has God _always_ given you just what
you have asked for?"

Oh, no! For him to have done so would have been great unkindness. For
instance: when I was a young woman I prayed for three years that God
would grant me a certain petition. Sometimes I pleaded for this as for
life itself, so intensely did I want it. Then God showed me very clearly
that I was praying against his will. I resigned my will to his in the
matter, and a few months later God gave what was infinitely better. I
have often praised him for denying my prayer; for had he granted it I
could never have come to China.

Then, too, we must remember that many of our prayers, though always
heard, are not granted because of some sin harbored in the life, or
because of unbelief, or of failure to meet some other Bible-recorded
condition governing prevailing prayer. (See Bible Study on pages 129,
130.)

The following incidents of answered prayer are by no means a complete
record. How could they be, when no record of prayer has been kept all
these fifty years? Had there been, I doubt not that volumes could have
been written to the glory of God's grace and power in answering prayer.
But even from what is recorded here I, too, can say from a full heart,
_I know God answers prayer_.

          "He answered prayer: so sweetly that I stand
           Amid the blessing of his wondrous hand
           And marvel at the miracle I see,
           The favours that his love hath wrought for me.
           Pray on for the impossible, and dare
           Upon thy banner this brave motto bear,
              'My Father answers prayer.'"



II

EARLY LESSONS IN THE LIFE OF FAITH

          "I love the Lord, because he hath heard my voice
          and my supplications."--_Psalm 116:1._


WHEN a very little child, so young I can remember nothing earlier, a
severe thunderstorm passed over our home. Terrified, I ran to my mother,
who placed my hands together, and pointing upward repeated over and over
again the one word "Jesus."

More than fifty years have passed since that day, but the impression
left upon my child-mind, of a Being invisible but able to hear and help,
has never been effaced.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most precious recollections of early childhood are associated with
stories told us by our mother, many of which illustrated the power of
prayer.

One that made a specially deep impression upon me was about our
grandfather, who as a little boy went to visit cousins in the south of
England, their home being situated close to a dense forest. One day the
children, lured by the beautiful wild flowers, became hopelessly lost in
the woods. After trying in vain to find a way out, the eldest, a young
girl, called the frightened, crying little ones around her and said:
"When mother died she told us to always tell Jesus if we were in any
trouble. Let us kneel down, and ask him to take us home."

They knelt, and as she prayed one of the little ones opened his eyes, to
find a bird so close to his hand that he reached out for it. The bird
hopped away, but kept so close to the child as to lead him on. Soon all
were joining in the chase after the bird, which flew or hopped in front
or just above, and sometimes on the ground almost within reach. Then
suddenly it flew into the air and away. The children looked up to find
themselves on the edge of the woods and in sight of home.

With such influences bearing upon one at an impressionable age, it is
not surprising that I came even as a very little child to just "tell
Jesus" when in trouble.

       *       *       *       *       *

Through the mists of memory one incident comes out clearly, which
occurred when I was six or seven years of age. While playing one day in
the garden, I was seized with what we then called "jumping" toothache.
I ran to my mother for comfort, but nothing she could do seemed to ease
the pain.

The nerve must have become exposed, for the pain was acute. Suddenly I
thought, "Jesus can help me," and just as I was, with my face pressed
against my mother's breast, I said in my heart:

"Lord Jesus, if you will take away this toothache right now, _now_, I
will be your little girl for three years."

Before the prayer was well uttered the pain was entirely gone. I
believed that Jesus had taken it away; and the result was that for
years, when tempted to be naughty, I was afraid to do what I knew was
wrong lest, if I broke my side of what I felt to be a compact, the
toothache would return. This little incident had a real influence over
my early life, gave me a constant sense of the reality of a divine
presence, and so helped to prepare me for the public confession of
Christ as my Saviour a few years later, at the age of eleven.

       *       *       *       *       *

About a year after my confession of Christ an incident occurred which
greatly strengthened my faith, and led me to look to God as a Father in
a new way.

When Easter Sunday morning came it was so warm only spring clothes
could be worn. My sister and I decided at breakfast that we would not go
to church, as we had only our old winter dresses. Going to my room, I
turned to my Bible to study it, when it opened at the sixth chapter of
Matthew, and my eye rested on these words: "Why take ye thought for
raiment . . . seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall
be added unto you."

It was as if God spoke the words directly to me. I determined to go to
church, even if I had to humiliate myself by going in my old winter
dress. The Lord was true to his promise; I can still feel the power the
resurrection messages had upon my heart that day so long ago. And
further, on the following day a box came from a distant aunt, containing
not only new dresses but much else that might well be included in the
"all these things."

       *       *       *       *       *

An unforgetable proof of God's loving care came to us as a family about
this time, when my parents were face to face with a serious financial
crisis. Isaiah 65:24 was literally fulfilled: "Before they call, I will
answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."

At that time, it is necessary to state, we depended on a quarterly
income, which came through my mother's lawyer in England. Unusual
circumstances had so drained our resources that we found ourselves, in
the middle of the quarter, with barely sufficient to meet a week's
needs. My dear mother assured us that the Lord would provide; that he
would not forsake those who put their trust in him. That very day a
letter came from the lawyer in England, enclosing a draft for a sum
ample to meet our needs till the regular remittance should arrive. This
unexpected and timely draft proved to be a bonus, which did not occur
again.

       *       *       *       *       *

Some years later, having moved to a strange city, a great longing came
to do some definite service for my Master. One day there came to the
Bible class I attended a call for teachers, to aid in a Sunday-school
near by. When I presented myself before the superintendent of this
Sunday-school the following Sunday, and offered my services, it is not
much wonder I received a rebuff, for I was young and quite unknown. I
was told that if I wished a class, it would be well for me to find my
own scholars. I can remember how a lump seemed choking me all the way
home that day.

At last, determining not to be baffled, I prayed the Lord to help me
get some scholars. I went forth praying every step of the way, the
following Saturday afternoon; and canvassing just one short street near
our home, I received the promise of nineteen children for Sunday-school.
The next day a rather victorious young woman walked up to the
Sunday-school superintendent with seventeen children following. Needless
to say I was given a class.

In the autumn of 1885 the Toronto Mission Union, a faith mission,
decided to establish a branch mission in the East End slums of that
city. Three others with myself were deputed to open this work.
Everything connected with it was entirely new to me; but most helpful
and inspiring I found it. For in face of tremendous difficulties, that
seemed to my inexperienced eyes insurmountable, I learned that prayer
was the secret which overcame every obstacle, the key that unlocked
every closed door.

I felt like a child learning a new and wonderful lesson--as I saw
benches, tables, chairs, stove, fuel, lamps, oil, even an organ, coming
in answer to definite prayer for these things. But best sight of all was
when men and women, deep in sin, were converted and changed into workers
for God, in answer to prayer. Praise God for the lessons then learned,
which were invaluable later when facing the heathen.

       *       *       *       *       *

The time came when two diverse paths lay before me--one to England, as
an artist; one to China, as a missionary. Circumstances made a definite
decision most difficult. I thought I had tried every means to find out
God's will for me, and no light had come.

But in a day of great trouble, when my precious mother's very life
seemed to hang in the balance, I shut myself up with God's Word, praying
definitely for him to guide me to some passage by which I might know his
will for my life. My Bible opening at the fifteenth chapter of John's
Gospel, the sixteenth verse seemed to come as a message to me: "Ye have
not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should
go and bring forth fruit." Going to my dear mother and telling her of
the message God had given me, she said: "I dare not fight against God."

From that time the last hindrance from going to China was removed.
Surely the wonderful way God has kept his child for more than thirty
years in China is proof that this "call" was not a mistaken one. "In all
thy ways acknowledge him, and he will make plain thy paths" (Prov. 3: 6,
marg.).

During the summer of 1887 a book written by Dr. Hudson Taylor came into
my hands. In "China's Spiritual Needs and Claims" the writer told many
instances of God's gracious provision in answer to prayer. The incidents
related impressed me deeply. A little later, a few weeks before my
marriage, when I found I was short fifty dollars of what I would need to
be married free of debt, I resolved not to let others know of my need,
but to just trust God to send it to me. The thought came--if you cannot
trust God for this, when Hudson Taylor could trust for so much more, are
you worthy to be a missionary?

It was my first experience of trusting quite alone for money. I was
sorely tempted to give others just a hint of my need. But I was kept
back from doing so; and though I had a week or more of severe testing,
peace of mind and the assurance that God would supply my need, came at
length. The answer, however, did not come till the very last night
before the wedding.

That evening a number of my fellow-workers from the East End Mission
called, and presented me with a beautifully illuminated address and a
purse. After these friends had left I returned to my home circle
assembled in the back parlor, and showed them the address and the purse
unopened! Not for a moment did I think there was anything in the purse
till my brother said: "You foolish girl, why don't you open it?" I
opened the purse, and found it contained a check for fifty dollars!

This incident has ever remained peculiarly precious; for it seemed to us
a seal of God upon the new life opening before us.



III

"GO FORWARD ON YOUR KNEES"

1887-1894

          "I will go before thee, and make the crooked
          places straight: I will break in pieces the gates
          of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron"
          (Isa. 45:2).


IN ATTEMPTING to record what prayer meant in our early pioneer days,
other than purely personal testimonies must be given; for we were, as a
little band of missionaries, bound together in our common needs and
dangers by a very close bond.

       *       *       *       *       *

In October, 1887, my husband was appointed by the Canadian Presbyterian
Church to open a new field, in the northern section of the Province of
Honan, China. We left Canada the following January, reaching China in
March, 1888. Not till then did we realize the tremendous difficulties of
the task before us.

Dr. Hudson Taylor, of the China Inland Mission, writing to us at this
time, said: "We understand North Honan is to be your field; we, as a
mission, have tried for ten years to enter that province from the
south, and have only just succeeded. It is one of the most anti-foreign
provinces in China. . . . Brother, if you would enter that province, _you
must go forward on your knees_."

These words gave the key-note to our early pioneer years. Would that a
faithful record had been kept of God's faithfulness in answering prayer!
Our strength as a mission and as individuals, during those years so
fraught with dangers and difficulties, lay in the fact that we did
realize the hopelessness of our task apart from divine aid.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following incident occurred while we were still outside Honan,
studying the language at a sister mission. It illustrates the importance
of prayer from the home base for those on the field.

My husband was finding great difficulty in acquiring the language; he
studied faithfully many hours daily, but made painfully slow progress.
He and his colleague went regularly together to the street chapel, to
practise preaching in Chinese to the people; but, though Mr. Goforth had
come to China almost a year before the other missionary, the people
would ask the latter to speak instead of Mr. Goforth, saying they
understood him better.

One day, just before starting as usual for the chapel, my husband said:
"If the Lord does not give me very special help in this language I fear
I shall be a failure as a missionary."

Some hours later he returned, his face beaming with joy. He told me that
he realized most unusual help when his turn came to speak; sentences
came to his mind as never before; and not only had he made himself
understood, but some had appeared much moved, coming up afterward to
have further conversation with him. So delighted and encouraged was he
with this experience that he made a careful note of it in his diary.

Some two months and a half later a letter came from a student in Knox
College, saying that on a certain evening a number of students had met
specially to pray for Mr. Goforth. The power of prayer was such, and the
presence of God so manifestly felt, that they decided to write and ask
Mr. Goforth if any special help had come to him at that time. Looking in
his diary, he found that the time of their meeting corresponded with
that time of special help in the language.

          "I cannot tell why there should come to me
             A thought of some one miles and years away,
           In swift insistence on the memory,
             Unless there is a need that I should pray.
           We are too busy to spare thought
             For days together of some friends away;
           Perhaps God does it for us--and we ought
             To read his signal as a sign to pray.
           Perhaps just then my friend has fiercer fight,
             A more appalling weakness, a decay
           Of courage, darkness, some lost sense of right;
             And so, in case he needs my prayers--I pray."

At last the joyful news reached us women, waiting outside of Honan, that
our brethren had secured property in two centers. It would be difficult
for those in the homeland to understand what the years of waiting had
meant to some of us. The danger to those dear to us, touring in Honan,
was very great. For years they never left us to go on a tour without our
being filled with dread lest they should never return; yet the Lord, in
his mercy, heard our prayers for them; and though often in grave danger,
none received serious injury. This is not a history of the mission, but
I cannot forbear giving here one incident illustrating how they were
kept during those early days.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two of our brethren, after renting property at a town just within the
boundary of Honan, and near the Wei River, moved in, intending to spend
the winter there; but a sudden and bitter persecution arose, just as
they had become settled. The mission premises were attacked by a mob,
and everything was looted. The two men were roughly handled, one being
dragged about the courtyard. They found themselves at last left alone,
their lives spared, but everything gone.

Their position was serious in the extreme--several days' journey away
from friends, with no money, no bedding, and no clothes but those upon
them, and the cold winter begun.

In their extremity, they knelt down and committed themselves to the
Lord. And according to his promise he delivered them out of their
distresses; for even while they prayed a brother missionary from a
distant station was at hand. He arrived unexpectedly, without knowing
what had occurred, a few hours after the looting had taken place. His
coming at such an opportune moment filled the hearts of their heathen
enemies with fear. Money and goods were returned, and from that time the
violent opposition of the people ceased.

       *       *       *       *       *

A few months after the above incident several families moved into Honan,
and a permanent occupation was effected; but the hearts of the people
seemed as adamant against us. They hated and distrusted us as if we were
their worst enemies. The district in which we settled was known for its
turbulent and anti-foreign spirit, and as a band of missionaries we were
frequently in the gravest danger.

Many times we realized that we, as well as our fellow-workers at the
other stations, were kept from serious harm only by the over-ruling,
protecting power of God in answer to the many prayers which were going
up for us all at this critical juncture in the history of our mission.
The following are concrete examples of how God heard our prayers at this
time.

We had for our station doctor a man of splendid gifts. He was a gold
medalist, with years of special training and hospital experience, and
was looked upon as one of the rising physicians in the city from which
he came. Imagine his disappointment, therefore, when month after month
passed and scarcely a good case came to the hospital. The people did not
know what he could do, and moreover they were afraid to trust themselves
into his hands. We, as a little band of missionaries, began to pray
definitely that the Lord would send cases to the hospital which would
open the hearts of the people toward us and our message.

It was not long before we saw this prayer answered beyond all
expectation. Several very important cases came almost together, one so
serious that the doctor hesitated for days before operating. When at
last the operation did take place the doctor's hands were strengthened
by our prayers, the patient came through safely, and a few days later
was going around a living wonder to the people.

Very much depended upon the outcome of this and other serious
operations. Had the patients died under the doctor's hands, it would
have been quite sufficient to have caused the destruction of the mission
premises and the life of every missionary. Three years later the
hospital records showed that there had been twenty-eight thousand
treatments in one year.

Again, we kept praying that the Lord would give us converts from the
very beginning. We had heard of missionaries in India, China, and
elsewhere, who had worked for many years without gaining converts; but
we did not believe that this was God's will for us. We believed that it
was his pleasure and purpose to save men and women through his human
channels, and why not from the beginning? So we kept praying and working
and expecting converts, and God gave them to us. The experience of
thirty years has confirmed this belief.

Space permits the mention of but two of these earliest converts.

The first was Wang Feng-ao, who came with us into Honan as Mr. Goforth's
personal teacher. He was a man of high degree, equal to the Western M.
A., and was one of the proudest and most overbearing of Confucian
scholars. He despised the missionaries and their teaching, and so great
was his opposition that he would beat his wife every time she came to
see us or listen to our message. But Mr. Goforth kept praying for this
man, and using all his influence to win him for Christ.

Before many months passed a great change had come over Mr. Wang; his
proud, overbearing manner had changed, and he became a humble, devout
follower of the lowly Nazarene. God used a dream to awaken this man's
conscience--as is not uncommon in China. One night he dreamed he was
struggling in a deep, miry pit; but try as he would he could find no way
of escape. When about to give up in despair, he looked up and saw Mr.
Goforth and another missionary on the bank above him, with their hands
stretched out to save him. Again he sought for some other way of escape;
but finding none, he allowed them to draw him up.

This man, later on, became Mr. Goforth's most valued evangelist. For
many years his splendid gifts were used to the glory of his Master in
the work among the scholar class in the Changtefu district. He has long
since passed to his reward, dying as he had lived, trusting only in the
merit of Jesus Christ for salvation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another of the bright glints, in the darkness of those earliest days in
Honan, was the remarkable conversion of Wang Fu-Lin. For many years his
business had been that of a public story-teller; but when Mr. Goforth
came across him he was reduced to an utter wreck through opium smoking.
He accepted the Gospel, but for a long time seemed too weak to break off
the opium habit. Again and again he tried to do so, but failed
hopelessly each time.

The poor fellow seemed almost past hope, when one day Mr. Goforth
brought him to the mission in his cart. The ten days that followed can
never be forgotten by those who watched Wang Fu-Lin struggle for
physical and spiritual life. I verily believe nothing but prayer could
have brought him through. At the end of the ten days the power of opium
was broken, and Wang Fu-Lin came out of the struggle a new man in Christ
Jesus.

I shall have occasion to speak of this man again.

       *       *       *       *       *

In all the cases of divine healing cited in this record it will be noted
that God healed in answer to prayer either when the doctors had done all
in their power and hope had been abandoned, or when we were out of reach
of medical aid.

Soon after coming to China the Rev. Hunter Corbett, one of the most
devoted and saintly of God's missionaries, gave a testimony which later
was used of God to save the writer from giving up service in China and
returning home to Canada.

Dr. Corbett said that for fifteen years he had been laid aside every
year with that terrible scourge of the East--dysentery; and the doctors
at last gave a definite decision that he must return at once to the
homeland and forsake China. But, said the grand old man: "I knew God had
called me to China, and I also knew that God did not change. So what
could I do? I dared not go back on my call; so I determined that if I
could not live in China I could die there; and from that time the
disease lost its hold on me."

This testimony was given over twenty-five years ago, when he had been
almost thirty years in China! In January, 1920, when well-nigh ninety
years of age, this beloved and honored saint of God passed to higher
service.

For several years I had been affected just as Dr. Corbett had been, and
each year the terrible disease seemed to be getting a firmer hold upon
me. At last, one day my husband brought me the decision of the doctors,
that I should return home. And as I lay there ill and weak, the
temptation came to yield. But, as I remembered Dr. Corbett's testimony,
and my own clear call, I felt that to go back would be to go against my
own conscience. I therefore determined to do as Dr. Corbett had
done--leave myself in the Lord's hands--whether for life or for death.
This happened more than twenty years ago, and since then I have had very
little trouble from that dread disease.

Yes, the deeper the need, and the more bitter the extremity, the greater
the opportunity for God to show forth his mighty power in our lives, if
we but give him a chance by unswerving obedience at any cost. "In the
day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength
in my soul" (Psa. 138:3).

       *       *       *       *       *

During our fourth year in China, when we were spending the hot season at
the coast, our little son, eighteen months old, was taken very ill with
dysentery. After several days' fight for the child's life came the
realization, one evening, that the angel of death was at hand.

My whole soul rebelled; I actually seemed to hate God; I could see
nothing but cruel injustice in it all; and the child seemed to be fast
going. My husband and I knelt down beside the little one's bedside, and
he pleaded earnestly with me to yield my will and my child to God. After
a long and bitter struggle God gained the victory, and I told my husband
I would give my child to the Lord. Then my husband prayed, committing
the precious soul into the Lord's keeping.

While he was praying I noticed that the rapid, hard breathing of the
child had ceased. Thinking my darling was gone, I hastened for a light,
for it was dark; but on examining the child's face I found that he had
sunk into a deep, sound, natural sleep, which lasted most of the night.
The following day he was practically well of the dysentery.

To me it has always seemed that the Lord tested me to almost the last
moment; then, when I yielded my dearest treasure to him and put my Lord
first, he gave back the child.

       *       *       *       *       *

While writing the above I came across an extract from the Christian of
March 12, 1914, in which the editor said:

"Speaking at the annual meeting of the Huntingdon County Hospital, Lord
Sandwich referred to the power of spiritual healing, and premising that
the finite mind cannot measure the power of the infinite, said he
'looked forward to the day when the spiritual doctrine of healing and
the physical discoveries of science will blend in harmonious
combination, to the glory of God and the benefit of humanity.'"



IV

A GOD-GIVEN FIELD (1894-1900)

          "Lord, there is none beside thee to help, between
          the mighty and him that hath no strength; help us,
          O Lord our God; for we rely on thee, and in thy
          name are come against this multitude" (2 Chron.
          14:11).


THE story of the opening of Changte is so connected by a chain of prayer
that to give isolated instances of prayer would be to break the chain.

       *       *       *       *       *

A few months after our arrival in China an old, experienced missionary
kindly volunteered to conduct Mr. Goforth and his colleague, who had
just arrived, through North Honan, that they might see the field for
themselves.

Traveling southward by cart, they crossed the border into Honan early
one morning. As my husband walked beside the carts, that morning, he
felt led to pray that the Lord would give that section of Honan to him
as his field. The assurance came that his prayer was granted. Opening
his daily textbook, he found the passage for that morning was from
Isaiah 55:8-13. Like a precious promise of future blessing for that
field came the words: "As the rain cometh down, and the snow from
heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it
bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to
the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it
shall not return unto me void."

For six years, however, our faith was sorely tested.

Of all places, Changte seemed most determined to keep out the
missionary. And there were other difficulties in the way. A presbytery
had been formed as others joined us, and all matters had to be decided
by that body. Two stations that had been opened, where a foothold could
first be gained, required all, and more than all, the force we then had.
So for six years the door to Changte remained fast closed. But during
all those years Mr. Goforth never once lost sight of God's promise to
him, nor failed to believe it.

Again and again, when Mr. Goforth and his colleague visited the city,
they were mobbed and threatened, the people showing the utmost
hostility. But the day came, at last, when the long-prayed-for
permission from the presbytery to open Changte was granted. The very
next morning found Mr. Goforth _en route_ for Changte, to secure
property for a mission site. Often has he told how, all the way over
that day to Changte, he prayed the Lord to open the hearts of the
people, and make them willing to give him the property most suitable for
the work. Within three days of his reaching Changte he had thirty-five
offers of property, and was able to secure the very piece of land he had
earlier chosen as most ideal for the mission.

Thus the Lord did break in pieces the gates of brass which had kept us
so long from our promised land.

       *       *       *       *       *

A year later I joined my husband there, with our three little children.
It was arranged that our colleague should take charge of the outside
evangelism, while we opened work at the main station.

To understand what it meant for us to have our need supplied, there
should be some knowledge of what that need was.

We decided, from the first, that no one should be turned from our doors.
Mr. Goforth received the men in the front guest room, while the women
and children came to our private quarters. During those first weeks and
months hundreds, nay thousands, crowded to see us. Day by day we were
literally besieged. Even at meal-time our windows were banked with
faces.

The questions ever before us those days were--how to make the most of
this wonderful opportunity, which would never come again after the
period of curiosity was past; how to win the friendship of this people,
who showed in a hundred ways their hatred and distrust of us; how to
reach their hearts with our wonderful message of a Saviour's love?

All that was in our power was to do, day by day, what we could with the
strength that was given us. From early morning till dark, sometimes nine
or ten hours a day, the strain of receiving and preaching to these
crowds was kept up. My husband had numbers of workmen to oversee,
material for building to purchase, and to see to all the hundred and one
things so necessary in building up a new station. Besides all this he
had to receive, and preach to, the crowds that came. He had no
evangelist, Mr. Wang being then loaned to Mr. MacG----. I had my three
little children, and no nurse or Bible-woman. When too exhausted to
speak longer to the courtyard of women, I would send for my husband, who
though tired out would speak in my stead. Then we would rest ourselves,
and entertain the crowd, by singing a hymn.

So the days passed. But we soon realized that help must come, or we
would both break down.

One day Mr. Goforth came to me with his Bible open at the promise, "My
God shall supply all your need," and asked: "Do we believe this? If we
do, then God can and will supply us with some one to help preach to
these crowds, if we ask in faith."

He prayed very definitely for a man to preach. With my doubt-blinded
heart, I thought it was as if he were asking for rain from a clear sky.
Yet, even while he prayed, God was moving one to come to us. A day or
two later there appeared at the mission the converted opium fiend, Wang
Fu-Lin, whose conversion has been already recorded.

No one could have looked less like the answer to our prayers than he
did. Fearfully emaciated from long years of excessive opium smoking,
racked with a cough which three years later ended his life, dressed in
such filthy rags as only a beggar would wear, he presented a pitiable
sight. Yet the Lord seeth not as man seeth.

After consulting together Mr. Goforth decided to try him for a few days,
believing that he could at least testify to the power of God to save a
man from his opium. Soon he was reclothed in some of my husband's
Chinese garments; and within an hour or two of his entering the mission
gate, practically a beggar, he was seated in charge of the men's
chapel, so changed one could scarcely have recognized him.

From the first day of his ministry at Changte there was no doubt in the
minds of any who heard him that he had indeed been sent to us by our
gracious God, for he had in a remarkable degree the unction and power of
the Holy Ghost. His gifts as a speaker were all consecrated to one
object--the winning of souls to Jesus Christ. He seemed conscious that
his days were few, and always spoke as a dying man to dying men. Little
wonder is it, therefore, that from the very beginning of his ministry in
our chapel men were won to Christ. God spared him to us for the
foundation laying of the church at Changte, then called him higher.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Goforth's need was relieved by the coming of Wang Fu-Lin, but not
mine. The remarkable way God had sent him, however, gave me courage and
faith to trust God to give me a Bible-woman. Those who know anything of
mission work in China will agree with me that it is far more difficult
to find women than men who are able to preach the Gospel; or if able,
who are free for the work. But I was beginning to learn that God is
limited only from the human side; and that he is always willing to give
beyond our asking, if the human conditions he has so plainly laid down
in his Word are fulfilled.

A short time after I had begun to ask my Heavenly Father definitely for
a Bible-woman, Mr. Mac G---- came in from a tour, and his first words
were:

"Well, Mrs. Goforth, I believe we have a ready-made Bible-woman for
you!"

Then he told me how he had come across a widow and her son in a mountain
village, who had heard the Gospel from a recent convert out of one of
the other stations. This man had been a member of the same religious
sect as the widow and her son. When he found Christ he at once thought
of his friends, and went over the mountain to tell them. Mrs. Chang
received the Gospel gladly. She had been a preacher in that heathen
sect, and had gained the fluency in speaking, and power in holding
audiences, so necessary in the preaching of the Gospel.

The way was soon opened for her to come to me, and she became my
constant companion and valuable assistant in the women's work during
those early years. She witnessed a good confession in 1900--being strung
up by her thumbs when refusing to deny her Lord. Faithfully she served
the Lord as a Bible-woman, until the time of her death in 1903.

During the first two or three years at Chang Te Fu we lived in unhealthy
Chinese houses, which were low and damp. It was therefore thought best
that we should have a good semi-foreign house built for us. The work at
this time was so encouraging--converts being added weekly, and sometimes
almost daily--that we feared lest the new house would hinder the work,
and become a separating barrier between ourselves and the people. We
therefore prayed that God would make the new house a means of reaching
the people--a blessing, and not a hindrance. The answer to this prayer,
as is often the case, depended largely upon ourselves. We had to be made
willing to pay the price that the answer demanded.

In other words, we came to see that in order that our prayer could be
answered we would have to keep open house every day and all day, which
was by no means easy. Some assured us it was wrong, because it would
make us cheap in the eyes of the Chinese; others said it was wrong
because of the danger of infection to the children. But time proved
these objections to be unfounded. The very highest as well as the lowest
were received, and their friendship won by this means. And, so far as I
can remember, our children never met any contagion because of this way
of receiving the people into our house.

The climax in numbers was reached in the spring of 1899, when eighteen
hundred and thirty-five men and several hundred women were received by
us in one day. These were first preached to in large bands, and then led
through the house. We have seen evidences of the good of this plan in
all parts of our field. It opened the hearts of the people toward us,
and helped us to live down suspicion and distrust as nothing else could
have done.

       *       *       *       *       *

In May of 1898 we started down to Tientsin by houseboat, with our
children, for a much-needed rest and change. Cold, wet weather soon set
in. Twelve days later, as we came in sight of Tientsin, with a bitter
north wind blowing, our eldest child went on deck without his overcoat,
in disobedience to my orders. Shortly after the child came in with a
violent chill. That afternoon, when we arrived in Tientsin, the doctors
pronounced the verdict--pneumonia.

The following day, shortly after noon, a second doctor, who had been
called in consultation, met a friend on his way from our boy's bedside
and told her he did not think the child could live till morning. I had
taken his temperature, and found it to be 106. He was extremely
restless, tossing in the burning fever. Sitting down beside him, with a
cry to the Lord to help me, I said distinctly: "P----, you disobeyed me,
and have thus brought this illness upon yourself. I forgive you; ask
Jesus to forgive you, and give yourself to him."

The child looked at me for a moment steadily, then closed his eyes. I
saw his lips move for a moment; then quietly he sank into a sound sleep.
When he awoke, about dusk, I took his temperature, and found it 101. By
the time the doctor returned it was normal, and did not rise again.
Although he had been having hemorrhage from the lungs, this ceased.

Is not Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and forever? Why should
we wonder, therefore, at his healing touch in this age? "According to
your faith be it unto you."

       *       *       *       *       *

During those early pioneer years, when laying the foundation of the
Changte Church, my own weak faith was often rebuked when I saw the
results of the simple, child-like faith of our Chinese Christians. Some
of those answers to prayer were of such an extraordinary character that,
when told in the homeland, even ministers expressed doubts as to their
genuineness. But, praise God, I know they are true. Here are two
concrete examples.

Li-ming, a warm-hearted, earnest evangelist, owned land some miles north
of Chang Te Fu. On one occasion, when visiting the place, he found the
neighbors all busy placing around their fields little sticks with tiny
flags. They believed this would keep the locusts from eating their
grain. All urged Li-ming to do the same, and to worship the locust god,
or his grain would be destroyed. Li-ming replied: "I worship the one
only true God, and I will pray him to keep my grain, that you may know
that he only is God."

The locusts came and ate on all sides of Li-ming's grain, but did not
touch his. When Mr. Goforth heard this story he determined to get
further proof, so he visited the place for himself, and inquired of
Li-ming's heathen neighbors what they knew of the matter. One and all
testified that, when the locusts came, their grain was eaten and
Li-ming's was not.

The Lord Jesus once said, after a conflict with unbelief and hypocrisy:
"I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid
these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto
babes."

Our little Gracie became ill with a terribly fatal disease, so common in
malarious districts--enlarged spleen. The doctors pronounced her
condition quite hopeless. One day a Chinese Christian woman came in with
her little child, of about the same age as our Gracie, and very ill with
the same disease. The poor mother was in great distress, for the doctor
had told her also that there was no hope. She thought that if we would
plead with the doctor he could save her child. At last Mr. Goforth
pointed to our little Gracie, saying: "Surely, if the doctor cannot save
our child, neither can he save yours; your only hope and ours is in the
Lord himself."

The mother was a poor, hard-working, ignorant woman, but she had the
simple faith of a little child. Some few weeks later she called again,
and told me the following story:

"When the pastor told me my only hope was in the Lord, I believed him.
When I reached home I called my husband, and together we had committed
our child into the Lord's hands. I felt perfectly sure the child would
get well, so I did not take more care of him than of a well child. In
about two weeks he seemed so perfectly well that I took him to the
doctor again, and the doctor said that he could discover nothing the
matter with him."

That Chinese child is now a grown-up, healthy man. And _our child
died_. Yet we had prayed for her as few, perhaps, have prayed for any
child. Why, then, was she not spared? I do not know. But I do know that
there was in my life, at that time, the sin of bitterness toward
another, and an unwillingness to forgive a wrong. This was quite
sufficient to hinder any prayer, and did hinder for years, until it was
set right.

Does this case of unanswered prayer shake my faith in God's willingness
and power to answer prayer? No, no! My own child might just as
reasonably decide never again to come to me with a request because I
have, in my superior wisdom, denied a petition. Is it not true, in our
human relationships with our children, that we see best to grant at one
time what we withhold at another? "What I do thou knowest not now, but
thou shalt know hereafter."

And one of the most precious experiences of God's loving mercy came to
me in connection with our little Gracie's death. We had been warned that
the end would probably come in convulsions; two of our dear children had
been so taken. Only a mother who has gone through such an experience can
fully understand the horror of the possibility that such might come
again at any time.

One evening I was watching beside our little one, Miss P---- being with
me, when suddenly the child said very decidedly: "Call Papa; I want to
see Papa." I hesitated to rouse her father, as it was his time to rest;
so I tried to put her off with some excuse; but again she repeated her
request, and so I called her father, asking him to walk up and down with
her until I returned.

Going into the next room I cried in an agony to the Lord not to let
Gracie suffer; but, if it was indeed his will to take the child, then to
do so without her suffering. As I prayed a wonderful peace came over me,
and the promise came so clearly it was as if spoken: "Before they call I
will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear." Rising, I was
met at the door by Miss P----who said: "Gracie is with Jesus." While I
was on my knees our beloved child, after resting a few moments in her
father's arms, had looked into his face with one of her loveliest
smiles, and then quietly closed her eyes and had ceased to breathe. No
struggle, no pain, but a "falling on sleep."

"Like as a father pitieth, . . . so the Lord pitieth."

       *       *       *       *       *

Ever-darkening clouds gathered about us during the months following
Gracie's death; and while the storm did not burst in all its fury till
the early summer of 1900, yet the preceding winter was full of
forebodings and constant alarms.

On one occasion thousands gathered inside and outside our mission,
evidently bent on serious mischief. My husband and his colleagues moved
in and out all that day among the dense crowd which filled the front
courtyards; while we women remained shut within closed houses, not
knowing what moment the mob would break loose and destroy us all. What
kept them back that day? What but trustful prayer! And the Lord heard
that day, and wonderfully restrained the violence of our enemies.

We did not know then, but those experiences were preparing us for the
greater trials and perils awaiting us all.



V

OUR DELIVERANCE FROM THE BOXERS (1900)

          "God is unto us a God of deliverances" (Psa.
          68:20, R. V.).

          "Who delivered us out of so great a death, and
          will deliver: on whom we have set our hope that he
          will also still deliver" (2 Cor. 1:10, R. V.).


MANY times we were asked in the homeland to tell the story of our escape
during the Boxer uprising, and often the question was put, "If it was
really God's power that saved you and others on that journey, then why
did he not save those of his children who were so cruelly done to
death?"

For a time this question troubled me. Why indeed? One day when seeking
for light on the matter I was directed to the twelfth chapter of Acts.
There I found the only answer that can be given. We are told in the
second verse that James was put to death by the sword; then the rest of
the chapter is given to the detailed record of Peter's wonderful
deliverance in answer to prayer (vs. 5, 12). In that day when all things
shall be revealed I am convinced we shall see that _prayer_ had much to
do in the working out of our deliverance. When the first cable was
received in Canada informing the home church of our party starting on
that perilous journey, we are told a great wave of prayer went up for us
from Christians of all denominations. The Presbyterian Assembly of
Canada was meeting at the time, and one session was given up entirely to
prayer on behalf of the missionaries in China. Never had that body
witnessed such a season of intense, united intercession.

Later when giving the story of our escape in the homeland, repeatedly we
have had people come to us telling how, during the weeks which elapsed
between the first cable informing the home church of our danger, and the
second cable, which told of our safe arrival at the coast, they had
never ceased to cry to God to save us. Then, too, after all is said, we
must believe God was glorified and God's purposes were fulfilled in the
death of some as in the saved lives of others. The blood of the martyrs
is still the seed of the Church.

It was in the month of June, 1895, that an incident occurred which has
ever been linked in my mind with the events of 1900. I was about to
leave Toronto with my four children to join my husband in China, when a
cable was received telling of the cruel massacre of Mr. and Mrs. Stewart
and others. Deep and widespread sympathy was expressed and much anxiety
felt for missionaries generally in China. Many urged me to delay our
return; but I felt it best to keep to our original plans, and a few days
later found us bidding farewell to friends at the Union Station,
Toronto.

Just as the train was leaving a lady stepped forward quickly to the
window and said, "You do not know me, but I have prayed the Lord to give
me a promise for you; it is this, take it as from Him," and handed me a
slip of paper. I opened the paper and read, "No weapon that is formed
against thee shall prosper" (Isa. 54:17). Then and there I raised my
heart to God in prayer that he would fulfil this promise to me and those
dear to me; and as I prayed there came the clear assurance that the Lord
heard.

Never can we forget that winter of 1899-1900. The clouds had begun to
gather, and the mutterings of the coming storm were heard on all sides
of us. Repeatedly we were as a mission in gravest danger, and at such
times were literally "shut up to God." The temper of the people was such
that any little thing angering them would have been as a spark to
gunpowder.

From the time of the government crisis of the autumn of 1899, we, in
company with all other foreigners in China, realized that conditions
were becoming serious, yet never did we expect or prepare for such a
cataclysm as took place when the storm clouds suddenly burst in the
early summer of 1900.

The first indication we had of coming danger was when our mail carriers
running to and from Tientsin were stopped and our mails returned. Thus,
cut off from the outside world, we had to depend solely upon the wild
rumors afloat among the Chinese for information. The country around us
became daily more disturbed; day by day we could hear the beating of
drums and the cries of the people for rain. The darkness and horror of
those days, in the midst of which sickness and death entered our home,
can never be forgotten. On the nineteenth of June our eldest daughter,
Florence, after a week of intense suffering, was released from pain. It
was while her life was still hanging in the balance that we received the
first communication from the American Consul in Chefoo urging us to
flee. This message was quickly followed by another still more urgent.

The question was, where could we flee? Our usual route was by river boat
two weeks to Tientsin, but this way was blocked, the whole region being
infested with Boxers, and Tientsin even then in a state of siege. The
only possible route left open to us was southward by cart,--fourteen
days to Fan-cheng,--then ten or more days by houseboat to Hankow. We
faced such a journey at that time of the year with fear and trembling
because of the children, the danger from heat and sun being very great.
Gladly would we have stayed, but the Chinese Christians urged us to go,
saying they could escape more easily were we not there.

We had with us our four remaining children: Paul, nine; Helen, six;
Ruth, under three; and baby Wallace, eight months. Their faithful
Chinese nurse, though weeping bitterly at parting from her old mother of
almost eighty, decided to come with us. There were altogether in the
party five men, six women, and five children, besides the servants and
carters.

Many were the difficulties in the way of getting carts and other
necessary things for the journey, but one by one all things needed were
provided as we besought the Lord to open the way. There were many
indications on that journey that God's purpose was to save us; one of
the most striking of these happened just as we were about to leave.

The day previous to our departure a message passed through the city of
Chang Te Ho, the messenger riding at breakneck speed. This messenger, we
learned later, was en-route for the Provincial Capital with the sealed
message from the Empress Dowager commanding the death of all foreigners.
We had planned first to take the direct route south, which would, as far
as we can now see, have led us to our death, for this route would have
taken us through the capital. Almost at the last moment, and quite
unaware of the danger on the direct route, we were led to change our
plans and take a route farther west, though it made a considerably
longer journey.

We left Chang Te, June 28, 1900, at daybreak. At Wei Hwei Fu, the first
large city to which we came, an attempt was made to break into our inn,
but as we prayed the mob dispersed and we were left in peace. On July
first we reached the north bank of the Yellow River, and there for a
short time (it was Sunday afternoon) we rested under the trees. Little
did we dream that even then many, very many, of our fellow-missionaries
and personal friends were being done to death by the merciless Boxers.
At sunset the ferry which carried us across the river reached the south
bank, and here we found several missionaries and a party of engineers
waiting for us. These latter were fully armed and had a fair escort.
After some difficulty it was decided that we should all keep together,
but in reality this party kept by themselves, except that we stayed in
the same towns at night. Each day that passed seemed harder than the
last, the heat was intense, and the ten or twelve hours of bumping over
rough roads in springless carts made even a bed spread on the ground a
welcome resting-place.

Once, when Mr. Goforth had jumped off our cart to get fresh water for
our head cloths, a crowd gathered round him and became very threatening,
raising the cry, "Kill, kill." All the other carts were ahead, and the
carter would not wait for Mr. Goforth, as he was afraid. During the few
moments that elapsed before my husband was allowed to join us even the
carter turned pale with suspense,--and oh, how I prayed!

Except for a few similar passing dangers, nothing special occurred until
the evening of July seventh, when we reached the small town of Hsintien.
We had heard during the day that the whole country ahead of us was in a
state of ferment against the Roman Catholics. Scarcely had we reached
the inn when the engineers and the missionaries with them who had
become increasingly alarmed at the condition of the country, informed us
that they were going on to the large city of Nan Yang Fu that night, but
would leave us two soldiers and two of their carts. Mr. Goforth did not
wish them to go, for he felt it would greatly increase our danger.

Shortly after they left us the mob began to gather outside our inn. The
gate was barricaded with carts. For hours stones were thrown against the
gate and demand was made for our money. A messenger was at once sent
after the engineers' party, asking them to return. All that night was
spent in sleepless suspense.

Early in the morning the messenger returned with the reply that they had
failed to get help from the Nan Yang Fu official and were obliged to
push on. As soon as the carters heard we were thus left helpless a panic
seized them, and it was with great difficulty they could be persuaded to
harness their animals. All this time the crowd had been becoming more
dense, as we could see through the cracks of the gate, and were
ominously quiet. Hints had been given us of coming danger, but that was
all; none spoke of what all felt,--that we were probably going to our
death.

Suddenly, without the slightest warning, I was seized with an
overwhelming fear of what might be awaiting us. It was not the fear of
_after_ death, but of probable torture, that took such awful hold of me.
I thought, "Can this be the Christian courage I have looked for?" I went
by myself and prayed for victory, but no help came. Just then some one
called us to a room for prayer before getting into our carts. Scarcely
able to walk for trembling, and utterly ashamed that others should see
my state of panic,--for such it undoubtedly was,--I managed to reach a
bench beside which my husband stood. He drew from his pocket a little
book, "Clarke's Scripture Promises," and read the verses his eye first
fell upon. They were the following:

"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms:
and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say,
Destroy them."

"The God of Jacob is our refuge."

"Thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God."

"I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee
with the right hand of my righteousness. . . . The Lord thy God will hold
thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."

"If God be for us, who can be against us?"

"We may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man
shall do unto me."

The effect of these words at such a time was remarkable. All realized
that God was speaking to us. Never was there a message more directly
given to mortal man from his God than that message to us. From almost
the first verse my whole soul seemed flooded with a great peace; all
trace of panic vanished; and I felt God's presence was with us. Indeed,
his presence was so real it could scarcely have been more so had we seen
a visible form.

After prayer we all got on our carts, and one by one passed out into the
densely crowded street. As we approached the city gate we could see that
the road was black with crowds awaiting us. I had just remarked to my
husband on how well we were getting through the crowds, when our carts
passed through the gates. My husband turned pale as he pointed to a
group of several hundred men, fully armed, awaiting us. They waited till
all the carts had passed through the gate, then hurled down upon us a
shower of stones, at the same time rushing forward and maiming or
killing some of the animals. Mr. Goforth jumped down from our cart and
cried to them, "Take everything, but don't kill." His only answer was a
blow. The confusion that followed was so great it would be impossible to
describe the escape of each one in detail. Each one later had his or her
own testimony of that mighty and merciful deliverance. But I must give
the details of Mr. Goforth's experience.

One man struck him a blow on the neck with a great sword wielded with
two hands. "Somehow" the blunt edge of the sword struck his neck; the
blow left a wide mark almost around his neck, but did no further harm.
Had the sharp edge struck his neck he would certainly have been
beheaded!

His thick helmet was cut almost to pieces, one blow cutting through the
leather lining _just over the temple_, but without even scratching the
skin!

Again he was felled to the ground, with a fearful sword cut, which
entered the bone of the skull behind and almost cleft it in two. As he
fell he seemed to hear distinctly a voice saying, "Fear not, they are
praying for you." Rising from this blow, he was again struck down by a
club. As he was falling almost unconscious to the ground he saw a horse
coming at full speed toward him; when he became conscious again he found
the horse had tripped and fallen (on level ground) so near that its tail
almost touched him. The animal, kicking furiously, had served as a
barrier between him and his assailants. While dazed and not knowing what
to do a man came up as if to strike, but whispered, "Leave the carts."
By that time the onlookers began to rush forward to get the loot, but
the attacking party felt the things were theirs, so desisted in their
attack upon us in order to secure their booty.

A word as to myself and the children. Several fierce men with swords
jumped on my cart. One struck at the baby, but I parried the blow with a
pillow, and the little fellow only received a slight scratch on the
forehead. Then they dropped their swords and began tearing at our goods
at the back of the cart. Heavy boxes were dragged over us, and
everything was taken. Just then a dreadful looking man tried to reach us
from the back of the cart with his sword, missing by an inch. I thought
he would come to the front and continue his attack, but he did not. I
had seen Mr. Goforth sink to the ground covered with blood twice, and
had given him up for dead. Just then Paul, who had been in the last
cart, jumped in, wild with delight at what he seemed to think was great
fun, for he had run through the thick of the fight, dodging sword
thrusts from all sides, and had succeeded in reaching me without a
scratch. A moment later my husband came to the edge of the cart scarcely
able to stand, saying, "Get down quickly; we must not delay in getting
away." As I was getting down one man snatched away my hat, another my
shoes; but we were allowed to go.

Ruth was nowhere to be seen, and we hoped she was with the missionaries
who had charge of her at the time of attack. I saw that Mr. Goforth's
strength was failing fast, for he could scarcely walk, and as men began
to follow I urged him forward with the baby and the other two children,
and turning faced the men, begging them to have mercy on my children,
for they had begun to stone us. Some of us were black for days from the
blows received then. They stopped and listened, then the leader said,
"We've killed her husband, let her go." With this they ran back to the
carts.

I knew Mr. Goforth could not go far. We could see a small village not
far distant, and to this we hastened, praying as we went that the Lord
would open the hearts of the people to receive us. Here again Paul
seemed to feel no fear, but said, "Mother, what does this put you in
mind of? It puts me in mind of the Henty books!"

As we neared the village men came out to drive us away, but I begged
them to help us. By this time Mr. Goforth had sunk to the ground.
Putting the baby in an old woman's arms, I knelt down beside my husband.
The children were crying bitterly. Mr. Goforth looked as if he were
dying. The women standing round us were weeping now. This was too much
for the men, who came forward saying, "We will save you." One ran and
got some stuff to put in the wounds, assuring us it would stop the flow
of blood, and it did. This man helped me to bandage up the wounds with
bandages made from garments taken from myself and the children. They
helped my husband, and we followed them into a little hut, where they
laid him on a straw bed and locked us in. Hot water for bathing our
bruises, food and drink were handed us through a small window, and we
could hear them planning how they would save us. We told them how
anxious we were to hear of our friends and little Ruth, so they sent a
man to inquire.

We found that these people--the whole village--were Mohammedans, and had
taken no part in the attack. We felt that God had wonderfully directed
our steps to that village.

All that day Mr. Goforth lay still, but looked at times so very white
that I feared the worst. Never for one moment, I believe, during that
day did I cease to pray for his life. And when Mr. ----, one of our
party, arrived about four o'clock looking for us, Mr. Goforth at once
got up as if perfectly well, insisting on walking to the cart. To me,
knowing how he had looked that day, it seemed only a miracle. His only
answer to my protest was, "Only pray; the Lord will give me strength, as
long as he has work for me to do."

As we were leaving, the kind friends of the village gathered round
insisting on my taking some old clothes to put round the children, who
were almost naked, saying, "It will be chilly at night." As we went
forward to join the others, Mr. ---- told us how one by one all had
escaped. Dr. ---- was the only one beside Mr. Goforth seriously injured,
the poor fellow having had his kneecap severed and the tendons of his
right wrist badly cut, besides many other wounds.

All that day our friends had been waiting by the roadside, unable to
proceed without carts, owing to the doctor's condition. They had joined
in one petition, that God would move the carters to come. Those who know
China and heathen carters will readily acknowledge that it was nothing
short of a miracle--the miracle of answered prayer--that made these
heathen carters come, after all they had already gone through. For come
they did, five of them, all that were needed, now that our luggage was
gone. We learned too, that our faithful Chinese nurse, who had charge of
Ruth, had saved the child at the risk of her own life, lying upon the
child and taking many cruel blows, till greed for loot drew the men off.

We soon joined the rest of the party, and by six o'clock that evening we
reached the large city of Nang Yang Fu. The city wall was black with
people, and as we entered the gate the wild crowds crushed against our
carts. Sometimes the animals staggered, and it seemed as if nothing
could save the carts from being overturned. Every moment or two a brick
or stone would be hurled against the carts, and that cry, "Kill, kill,"
which can never be forgotten when once heard, was shouted by perhaps
hundreds of voices. Yet the Lord brought us through, and "no weapon
prospered."

When we reached the inn a wild mob of over a thousand men filled the inn
yard; and as we alighted from the cart these men literally drove us
before them into one room, which in a few moments was packed to
suffocation. For probably an hour the crowd kept crushing us into one
corner; then those outside became impatient at not being able to get in,
and demanded that we be brought out. We managed to keep some of the
ladies from going out; but the rest of us--men, women, and
children--stood facing that seething multitude until relief came in the
darkness. Why did they not kill us then? Why, indeed? None but an
Almighty God kept that crowd back.

As soon as we had reached the city a servant was sent to the official
demanding protection. It was dark when this man returned, in a state of
great agitation; his story was that as he was waiting for an answer from
the official he overheard a conversation between two soldiers, and
gathered from what they said that the official had sent a party of fifty
soldiers along the road that we would have to take, with the order that
every one of us must be put to death. The official was afraid to have us
killed in the city lest he should afterward be blamed; but by this plan
he could say brigands had done the deed. So sure was this servant that
we were all to be massacred that he would remain with us no longer, but
returned that night to Honan with the report that we were all killed.

A consultation was held, and the question was, should we stay in the
city and again demand protection, or should we go on and trust God to
open our way? The latter course was decided upon. But for a long time
the carters utterly refused to go farther with us. Again prayer opened
up our way, and by two o'clock in the morning all were ready to start.

The official had sent a few foot-soldiers to guide us to _the right
road_! (to the waylaying party). The night was very dark, and as we were
passing through the gate of the city we noticed what seemed to be signal
lights put out and drawn in. We all felt these to be signals to the
waylaying party ahead. A short distance from the city, probably about
one hundred yards, our carts suddenly stopped. Some one ran up and
whispered to Mr. Goforth, "Paul and Mr. ---- are missing." Search was
made for them, but without success.

A veil must be drawn over those terrible hours of suspense; my faith
seemed to fail me, and I could only cry in my agony, "If Paul is gone,
can I ever trust God again?" Then I remembered how marvelously God had
given me back my dear husband's life, and I just committed Paul into his
hands and waited to see what he would do.

When all hope was given up of finding the missing ones, a cart was left
behind with a trusted servant, and we went on. Then we saw God's
wonderful plan for us. While we were waiting the soldiers had fallen
asleep in the carts, and were not aware that the carters were taking a
side road until we had gotten miles from the city and beyond the reach
of our would-be murderers! The soldiers were infuriated at this
discovery; but after some threatening they left us and returned to the
city. Thus again we saw that God was indeed unto us a "God of
deliverances."

Again and again that day we were surrounded by mobs. Many times I held
up the poor, dirty clothes which the Mohammedans had given us, and the
story of how these had been given quieted the people perhaps more than
anything. Once the cry was raised to drag our children's nurse out of
the cart; but as we cried to God for her the people let us alone, and we
passed on. At another time a man snatched the remains of Mr. Goforth's
helmet away from us, and tore it to pieces. I had hoped to keep it as a
trophy should we ever get out safely.

We were at this time in a pitiable condition. Most of the men had head
or arms bandaged; Dr. ---- was unable to raise his head. What we
suffered in those carts with nothing but the boards under us cannot be
told. Nine persons were packed in our cart, which under ordinary
circumstances would have held four or five. At noon we reached a large
city, where the animals had to rest and feed. Then again we saw an
evidence of the Lord's loving kindness over us.

Just as we were getting down from our carts the crowd became very
threatening, and it looked now as if our hour had indeed come; but at
this critical juncture two well-dressed young men of official class came
through the crowd, greeting Mr. Goforth in great surprise. They had been
received by him in our home at Chang Te Ho. A few words of explanation
were spoken, then they turned quickly to the crowd and told them who we
were and of the work at Chang Te Ho. The attitude of the people changed
instantly, and they made way for us, giving us good rooms, and food was
brought which was greatly needed.

That noon, as one after another came up to express their sympathy at
Paul's loss, I could say nothing--I was waiting to see what God would
do. When Mr. Goforth told the young officials about Paul and Mr. ----,
they were greatly concerned, and promised to send men at once to search
for them. These friends in need sent with us a man of the district to
guide and help us, and also wrote an urgent letter to the official of
the city we were to stay in that night, asking him to give us an escort
and help us in every way he could.

About four o'clock that afternoon a man came running after us with the
joyful news that Paul and Mr. ---- were safe, and would reach us that
night. As I heard this news my unbelief and faithlessness in the hour of
testing came over me with overwhelming force, and I could only bow my
head and weep. Oh, the goodness and mercy of God! Never had the love of
God seemed so wonderful as in that hour.

          "Could we with ink the ocean fill,
             Were the whole sky of parchment made,
           Were every blade of grass a quill,
             And every man a scribe by trade;
           To write the love of God above
             Would drain that ocean dry,
           Nor could the scroll contain the whole
             Though stretched from sky to sky."

That night we reached our destination about nine o'clock, having
traveled seventeen hours over those roads, with but a short break at
noon. It was marvelous how Mr. Goforth was sustained, for he was obliged
to start at once for the official's residence with the note I have
already referred to. On the way through the street the mob about
succeeded, several times, in getting him down under their feet; but God
was with him, and he reached the Yamen in safety, being courteously
received by the official, who promised us protection, and sent him back
to the inn under escort.

When Paul and Mr. ---- arrived that night, they tried in vain to wake
me, but nature had to have her way. I knew nothing till I wakened with a
start at about two A.M. Jumping up, I started to look for Paul, and
never can I forget the scene! The whole party was lying on the bare
earthen floor, practically without bedding or mattresses.

A word concerning the experiences of Mr. ----and Paul. The two had got
down from their cart and were walking behind. In some way they missed
the road in the dark, and became separated from us. During that day they
were repeatedly in the gravest danger.

On one occasion, when surrounded by a violent mob, and one man had
raised a club above Paul's head to strike him down, Mr. ----felt
impelled by some unseen power to shout out, "We are not Roman Catholics,
but Protestants." At this the man lowered his club, exclaiming, "Why,
these are not the bad foreign devils, but the good foreign devils, like
those missionaries at Chow Chia K'eo" (China Inland Mission). At this
same place the hearts of the people seemed turned toward them in a
wonderful way. One man gave Paul one hundred _cash_ (five cents) to buy
some food; another man carried the lad on his back for miles to give his
feet a rest, they were so sore. This same man, when he could carry Paul
no longer, ran ahead to try and find us. When they reached the inn where
we had been so helped by the two Chinese gentlemen, they found that
these friends had food prepared and a barrow waiting, also a guide ready
to lead them to us!

Less than an hour from the time I awakened we were on the road again.
The official was true to his promise, and a large mounted escort
accompanied us. That day we were on the road twenty hours, reaching Fan
Cheng at midnight. Here we found the engineers' party waiting for us
with boats hired, but we were obliged to remain twenty-four hours in the
most loathsome inn we ever had the misfortune to be in in China. It was
an unspeakable relief to get into the houseboats, even though we only
had bare boards to lie on, and the boat people's food to eat.

We were ten days going down stream to Hankow. One after the other became
ill. When still a day from Hankow, a steam tug met us with provisions.
Our children cried at the sight of bread and milk! We were not allowed
to stop long enough at Hankow, as we had hoped, to get clothes and other
necessaries, but were obliged to hasten on by the first steamer, which
left the following morning. I was obliged to borrow garments for myself
and the children from our fellow-passengers.

At Shanghai the streets were being paraded, and every preparation was
being made for an attack. We learned with deep sorrow of the death of
many dear friends at the hands of the Boxers. Ordered home by the first
steamer, without anything left to us but the old clothes we had on at
the time of the attack, how could we get ready in such a short time for
the long home voyage? There was no lack of money, for our Board had
cabled all we needed. The question that faced us was how could I get
clothes made for six of us in such a short time, with Chinese tailors
too busy to help, no machine to be had, and no ready-made clothes to be
bought except for Mr. Goforth and Paul.

Again I found that man's extremity was but God's opportunity. He was
true to his promise, "God shall supply all your need." Even as I knelt
in an agony of prayer, beseeching God's help, and asking definitely that
some one should be sent to me to help with the sewing, two ladies were
at the door asking for me! These were perfect strangers, but had seen
our names among the recent refugees, and God had moved them to come and
offer their assistance! They worked for me night and day until we had to
get on board the steamer. Never shall I forget their Christian
fellowship and practical help at that time.

But in the rush to get the older children ready, baby Wallace's clothes
were neglected. There was nothing for it but to take materials and make
things for him on the voyage. In this connection came a most wonderful
and precious evidence of God's power to answer prayer. For the first few
days of the journey I worked early and late trying to make something for
the little one, who had scarcely anything to wear; but as we were
nearing Yokohama I realized I had almost reached the end of my strength.
My needle refused to work; try as I would I could not even see where to
put the needle.

Folding up my work I went down to the stateroom, and kneeling down I
spread the work before the Lord. Too far gone to agonize in prayer, I
could only quietly, almost mutely, just tell him how the poor child had
no clothes. Rising with a great sense of the burden having been lifted,
I put the work away, locking it in a trunk, then went up on deck and lay
down almost insensible from exhaustion. How long a time passed I do not
know, but it could not have been more than half an hour when some one
came and touched me, saying, "We have dropped anchor in Yokohama Bay,
and a large bundle has been thrown up on deck from the lighter for you."

"For me!" I cried. "Surely not; I know no one in Japan." Then I thought,
"It is the answer come!"

Going down I found a letter from Mrs. O. E., of the China Inland
Mission. She said that her little son, the same age as baby Wallace, had
died four months before, and the Lord had pressed her to send his
complete outfit to me for my child! Opening the parcel, I found not only
everything the child could possibly need for a year or more, but much
else. Had some one stood beside that dear sister and told her what I
most needed, she could not have done differently. Yes, surely Some One
did direct her loving hands, and Some One just used her as one of his
channels; for she lived near to him, and was an open channel.

Three days later my own collapse came; but praise his great name, he was
with me in the darkness and brought me through.



VI

PROVING GOD'S FAITHFULNESS (1902-1908)

          "The safest place . . . is the path of duty."


ONE of the results of our gracious and merciful deliverance from the
hands of the Boxers was an increased desire to make our lives tell in
the service of God--to spend and be spent for him. Our Heavenly Father
saw this and just took us at our word, and led us out into the path
which meant absolute surrender as I had never known it before.

It is so true that "God will be no man's debtor." When he asks for and
receives our all, he gives in return that which is above price--his own
presence. The price is not great when compared with what he gives in
return; it is our blindness and our unwillingness to yield that make it
seem great.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following story has been asked for many times. Believing that it has
a lesson for others, I give it, though to do so means lifting the veil
from a very sacred part of my life.

After the Boxer experience, my husband returned to China in 1901; and,
with my children, I left for China in the summer of 1902, leaving the
two eldest children at the Chefoo schools, _en route_ to Honan. Mr.
Goforth met me at Tientsin, and together we traveled by river-boat
inland a journey of about twenty-four days. During those long, quiet
days on the river-boat my husband unfolded to me a carefully thought out
plan for future mission work.

He reminded me that six missionaries, from a mission-station which had
been destroyed by the Boxers, were now permanently stationed at Changte;
and that the main station, now fully equipped, no longer needed us as
before. He felt that the time had come when we should give ourselves to
the evangelization of the great regions north and northeast of
Changte--regions which up to that time had been scarcely touched by the
Gospel, because of lack of workers. His plan was that we--husband and
wife, with our children--should go and live and work among the people.

To make this possible a native compound would be rented in the center,
where we would stay a month for our first visit, leaving behind an
evangelist to carry on the work; and we would revisit this and other
places so opened as many times as possible in the year.

What this proposition meant to me can scarcely be understood by those
unfamiliar with China and Chinese life. Smallpox, diphtheria, scarlet
fever, and other contagious diseases are chronic epidemics; and China,
outside the parts ruled by foreigners, is absolutely devoid of
sanitation.

Four of our children had died. To take the three little ones, then with
me, into such conditions and danger seemed literally like stepping with
them over a precipice in the dark and expecting to be kept. But, on the
other hand, I had the language and experience for just such work, the
need was truly appalling, and there was no other woman to do it. In my
innermost soul I knew the call had come from God, but I would not pay
the price. My one plea in refusing to enter that life was the risk to
the children.

Again and again my husband urged that "the safest place" for myself and
the children "was the path of duty"; that I could not keep them in our
comfortable home at Changte, but "God could keep them anywhere." Still I
refused. Just before reaching our station he begged me to reconsider my
decision. When I gave a final refusal, his only answer was: "I fear for
the children."

The very day after reaching home our dear Wallace was taken ill. For
weeks we fought for his life; at last the crisis passed and he began to
recover. Then my husband started off alone on his first trip! He had
been gone only a day or two when our precious baby Constance, a year
old, was taken down with the same disease that Wallace had. From the
first there seemed little or no hope. The doctors, a nurse, and all the
little mission circle joined in the fight for her life. Her father was
sent for, but arrived just as she was losing consciousness. A few hours
later, when we were kneeling round her bedside waiting for the end, my
eyes seemed suddenly opened to what I had been doing--_I had dared to
fight against Almighty God_.

In the moments that followed God revealed himself to me in such love and
majesty and glory that I gave myself up to him with unspeakable joy.
Then I knew that I had been making an awful mistake, and that I could
indeed safely trust my children to him wherever he might lead. One thing
only seemed plain, that I must follow where God should lead. I saw at
last that God must come first. Before the precious body was laid away
preparations for our first trip were begun.

Was God faithful to the vision he had given me? Or did he allow the
children to suffer in the years that followed, when months each year
were spent with them right out among the people? As I write this,
eighteen years have passed since we started on that first trip, and none
of our children have died. Never had we as little sickness as during
that life. Never had we so much evidence of God's favor and blessing in
a hundred ways--as may be gathered from the definite testimonies which
follow.

Without one exception, every place in which we stayed for a month, and
opened as my husband had planned, became in time a growing church.

And I found, to my surprise, that I was able to give more time to the
children, that I was able to guard them better when on those trips than
when in the Changte Station. For the mission compound was large, and
often the children were out of my sight for hours at a time; whereas the
outside native compounds we lived in were so small the children were
always within sight and reach. Even when groups of women were listening
to the Gospel, I was able to direct the children's lessons. As I look
back on that time, my heart is filled with overflowing gratitude to God
for the wonderful grace and strength he gave for that life.

My great regret is that I did not keep a record of answers to prayer. I
find it most difficult to record just what "asking and getting things
from God" meant at that time, but it now seems to me to have been the
very foundation of the whole life. The instances of answers to prayer,
here recorded, are simply the ones connected with that life which stand
out most clearly in my memory of those years.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first answer came the morning after our dear Constance died, and was
the one that had the greatest, most far-reaching effect on the new life
and its work.

As I thought of facing the crowds of heathen women day by day, and what
it would mean to carry on aggressive evangelism outside, there was one
need I felt must be met--that of a Bible-woman. As I prayed for
direction, a Mrs. Wang Hsieh-sheng came to mind as the one I should ask.

But when I laid my request before her, that she come with me, she burst
into tears, saying: "I dare not. I have only one child left, and it
would risk her life too much."

Seeing how she felt, I did not urge her, but told her to go and pray
about it for a day, and bring me her answer after the funeral that
night. When she came that evening her face was shining through tears, as
she said: "O my Shepherd Mother, I will go. If you are willing to risk
your children for the sake of my sisters, how much more should I!"

Eighteen years have passed since that day. I would need to write a
volume to record all that Mrs. Wang meant to me in those years; yes, and
to the work. As the years passed she became my beloved companion,
sharing in all the responsibilities and hardships of that life, and also
in its joys. I realized more and more that she was indeed a God-given
co-worker. Though circumstances have led me away from that life, she
still remains and works for her sisters in the Changte Church.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the hardest words a missionary can get from his Home Board is the
word "retrench." My husband and I were on one of our evangelistic tours
north of Changte. Every door seemed wide open before us, and the time
ripe for a specially aggressive campaign of evangelism for the heathen.
But, just as we were planning for this, word reached us from our station
treasurer of a message received from the Home Board that funds were low,
and retrenchment must be carried out along all lines.

To us this meant dismissing helpers, and a general curtailing of our
work. We faced the question squarely. Our own tithe had been long
overdrawn. How then could we support the men we had, and go on with the
work which was opening so gloriously before us after years of hard
pioneer preparation?

But we decided to go on as we had planned, and to trust God for the
necessary funds; believing that, though for the time being the home
church had disappointed us, God would not fail us.

The following Friday a home mail reached us, in which was a letter from
a lady in New Zealand. The writer said she had read a letter of ours in
The Life of Faith, and wished to support an evangelist under us. This
relieved us of the support of one man, but there were many other needs
as yet unmet.

The following Monday, when our next mail was forwarded to us, a letter
came from a lady in Australia, enclosing a draft ample to meet every
special need in the work for a year to come. She stated very plainly
that she did not wish the money put into the general funds of the
mission, but to be used by ourselves in any way we thought best. Indeed,
had she known the special circumstances in which the letter would find
us, she could scarcely have written more exactly to fit our case.

Again, a year after this experience of God's faithfulness to meet all
our needs, we began to feel the need of special funds for the work. My
husband, as usual, seemed quite sure that we should keep on as we had
been doing, and that the money needed would be sent. In spite of all the
blessed lessons of the past, my faith seemed to fail me; and I spoke
decidedly against using our salary, when we needed it all for ourselves
and our children's education. We were traveling homeward by cart at the
time and the matter was dropped; though I felt my husband was hurt by my
lack of faith.

When we reached home, that evening, a letter from a lady in Canada was
awaiting my husband. He read it first; and I cannot forget the look on
his face as he handed it to me, with the words "I told you so."

As near as I can recall it the letter said: "My mother and I are
strangers to you, never having seen or heard either you or your wife.
But my mother, who is an invalid, has for some time been restless
because of a conviction that has come over her that she should send you
some money. So to quiet my mother I am sending you fifty dollars."

As I read the letter, I certainly did feel ashamed of my lack of faith.
In writing our acknowledgment, I told how wonderfully opportune the
gift had been. A couple of months or so later came a reply, telling us
that the invalid mother passed away soon after my letter reached them;
and that the story of how God had used her in this matter greatly
strengthened her faith, blessing and helping her during the closing days
of her life.

       *       *       *       *       *

On one occasion, when we were traveling from Wuanhsien to Pengcheng, we
reached the town of Hotsun late in the afternoon, expecting to stay over
night. But on our arrival we found that the Christian whom we had sent
to arrange for our accommodation had failed to get us a place, every one
absolutely refusing to take us in. While the animals were feeding, and
we were trying to eat our dinner of Chinese dough-strings in the midst
of a curious crowd, my husband told the Christian to go out again and
look for a place while we prayed.

We dared not close our eyes, lest the superstitious heathen crowd
crushing against us on all sides would take fright, thinking we were
mesmerizing them. So we just lifted up our hearts silently to our
Father; and before many minutes had passed, indeed before we had
finished our meal, the Christian returned greatly rejoiced, saying: "A
wealthy man has offered you a fine empty place which has just been
fixed over. And you can have it as long as you like, free of rent."

For three days we preached in that place--morning, noon, and night--to
great crowds; and a work was begun which has gone on ever since.

       *       *       *       *       *

There were times when my faith was severely tested, and I fear too often
I did not stand the test; but oh, how patient God is with us in our
human weakness. "Like as a father pitieth, . . . so the Lord pitieth."
The Chinese have often said to me, "Your children seem made for this
life." But I know it was God's great goodness. He knew how hard the life
was, and how difficult it would have been for me to continue that work
had the children been peevish or hard to manage. Time and time again we
had to get the little ones up before daybreak to start on a cart
journey, but I do not remember that they ever even cried. They would
just wake up enough to get dressed and ask sleepily, "Are we going
again, Mama?" and then go off to sleep as soon as we were settled in our
carts.

       *       *       *       *       *

On one occasion, arriving at a certain town, we found the place in which
we were to stay unfit for the children. It was simply horrible. On
either side of us, almost reaching to our door, were two great
pigstys--Chinese pigstys! In front of the door were eight or ten great
vessels, filled with fermenting stuff which had been there all summer,
and which added to the other varied and oppressive odors. I greatly
feared for the children, and wanted to leave at once, but my husband
seemed calmly certain of the Lord's power to keep them from all harm.

On the second evening the youngest child became very feverish. Mr.
Goforth was holding a meeting with the men. I was almost overwhelmed
with fear lest the child had diphtheria. Kneeling down beside him, I
cried to the Lord as only a mother under like circumstances could pray.
At last, tired out, I fell asleep on my knees. Awakened by the entrance
of my husband, I felt the child's head again and it seemed cooler, and
the child quieter. The following day he was quite well. Is it much
wonder I can say I know God answers prayer?

       *       *       *       *       *

Returning from our summer holiday the first of September, 1912, we hoped
to find a place rented at a certain large center where we had planned to
begin work; but to our disappointment learned that the evangelists had
secured premises in a small market village, where there was just one
Christian. There was nothing to do but to go there, though it seemed
almost useless, for it was the busiest season for those farming people.

On our way to this place we prayed much that the Lord would prepare the
people, and open their hearts to the Gospel. We had not been there many
days when we became convinced that we had been led there, and that the
Lord was opening the hearts of the people in a most unusual way. Crowds
of men and women heard the preaching every day. Our evening Gospel
meetings, with organ and hymn scroll, were crowded out on to the street.

Everywhere we met with the utmost friendliness, and before our month's
visit was ended we had the joy of seeing some of the leading people in
the village and district come out boldly for Christ. One was the chief
doctor; another was the head man in the market. In the store, through
which we women had to pass to get to the evening meeting, there were
three men and a young lad of fifteen; all of these were brought to
Christ. The men were opium users, gamblers, men of evil lives. Two of
them are now preachers of the Gospel, and one is the leading man in the
little growing church there.

Had I time and space I could go on multiplying cases where the same
results have followed when the cross of Christ has been the pivot of all
Christian teaching, and prayer has been the source of power.

       *       *       *       *       *

On one of the early visits to the city of Linchang, a woman came with a
little child whose foot was terribly burned. The whole foot was badly
swollen, the inflammation reaching some distance up the leg. The child
was feverish, and seemed in a serious condition. It happened that on
that trip I had forgotten to bring the simple remedies which I was
accustomed to take out with me, so the woman was told nothing could be
done. But she begged so piteously that I could not turn away; and
lifting up my heart in prayer I asked the Lord to guide me, if there was
anything I could do.

Even while I prayed the thought of a bread poultice came to mind. This
remedy seemed almost absurd. I had never heard of such a thing being
used before under like circumstances, but I resolved to try it. Twice a
day the foot was cleansed and put in the poultice, and it was really
wonderful to see how it healed. We were there ten days, and when we left
the foot was almost completely well. The mother, father, the child
herself, and indeed the whole family, became Christians. On a later
visit I examined the foot, and found not even the sign of a scar
remaining.

I told this incident not long ago to a medical doctor, and he said:
"Why, there is no miracle in _that_! It was just up-to-date
hygiene--giving nature a chance by cleanliness!"

I replied: "Doctor, to me the miracle lay, not in the poultice, but in
God's telling me what to use; and now it is to me all the more a miracle
of prayer, since you say it was up-to-date hygienic treatment."

       *       *       *       *       *

At the same place, some years later, we were conducting special tent
meetings for Christians in the day time, and for the heathen at night.
Just after our meetings began the weather turned bitterly cold, with
wind and sleety rain. The tent was like a drafty ice-house. My husband
caught a severe cold, which became worse each day. He had fever and
severe pains in head and chest, but would not give up his meetings. One
noon he came from the meeting looking very ill, and lay down to rest
till the afternoon meeting.

I determined to take the Christians into my confidence, and tell them of
my anxiety for Mr. Goforth. So, some time before the afternoon meeting
I slipped out and called them into the tent, telling them of my
husband's condition and asking them to pray for him. Oh, what a wave of
earnest, heart-overflow of prayer went up without a moment's pause! The
tears came to my eyes as I thought, "Surely God will answer such
prayers!"

Then, fearing my husband might arrive, I gave out a hymn. A few moments
later he walked into the tent in his old brisk way, looking quite well.
At the close of the meeting he told me that shortly after he heard me go
out the pain in his head and chest ceased, the fever seemed to leave
him, and when he started for the tent he felt quite well. The symptoms
did not return.

       *       *       *       *       *

When on a visit to a certain out-station, after being there two whole
days, scarcely any women had come to see us. We were so circumstanced
that I could not leave the children. The third day I became so burdened
in prayer that I could only shut myself up in an empty room and cry to
the Lord to send women to us, as he knew I could not leave the children.
From that day we always had plenty of visitors to keep us busy, either
Christian women studying or heathen women listening to the Gospel.

At Tzuchow, the first place we opened together, the people seemed much
set against us. After the first period of curiosity was over, no one
came to hear the Gospel. As we had a nice place for the children to play
in with their faithful nurse,--the one who saved Ruth's life in
1900,--Mrs. Wang and I determined to go out each afternoon and try to
reach the heathen women with the Gospel. Before going out we always
prayed the Lord to open a door to us for preaching. And as I now recall
that time, never once did we return home without being invited into some
home to preach, or at least being asked to sit on a doorstep and tell of
a Saviour from sin.

       *       *       *       *       *

One of the most outstanding evidences of God's favor and blessing was
seen, at this time, in the way he provided my husband with native
helpers. To carry on the plan of work we had adopted required a good
force of trusty evangelists. Time and again we looked to the Lord for
men and women to help us, and the answer always came.

As my husband always seemed to have plenty of men to help him, he was
frequently asked for evangelists by his fellow-missionaries of both our
own and other missions. I was at first opposed to his giving away his
best men, but he would answer, "The Lord has been good to me; should I
be less generous with my brethren?" And it certainly was remarkable how,
whenever he gave a really valuable evangelist, another man, even better,
was raised up shortly after. The secret of his getting men may be seen
best through words of his own, taken from a letter to a friend in Canada
about the time of which I am now writing:

"We came to this little market town in September of last year. My wife
had two women workers. I had Mr. Tung, the old evangelist, and a young
high school graduate without experience, and the only Christian man in
the district, very ignorant but with this to recommend him, that he was
converted or quickened by the Holy Spirit in the Changte revival, and
was intensely in earnest. We were here only about twenty days when
dozens began to inquire, among whom were robbers, opium sots, and
gamblers. The work went on all day and well on till midnight. We were
all tiring out. We had not enough workers. It was like a very heavy
burden that forced me to my knees. I told the Lord that he was the Lord
of the harvest, and that he must send more harvesters. There was a time
of intense looking to God, almost amounting to agony, and then the
burden lifted, and I knew that God had answered. I told my wife that I
was sure that God was going to send me workers.

"Now what is the result? Since then he has sent me two Chinese B.A.'s,
both excellent speakers. He moved an excellent elder to give up his
business, and he has been appointed an evangelist. At this center a
scholar, who was an opium user and gambler, got converted last year. His
progress has been most remarkable, and it looks as if he is going to
make one of the front-rank preachers. Also two brothers here, who were
among the first converts last year, help to preach, their father--also a
convert of last year--providing their food."

       *       *       *       *       *

Another gracious evidence of God's over-ruling providence was seen in
the way we, especially the children, were kept from contracting
contagious diseases. The Chinese carry their children about everywhere
in their arms, even when sick with all sorts of contagious diseases.

I give the following instance to show how impossible it was to know when
one would run into danger. Going to a certain village for a day's
preaching, I took with me little Mary, then three years of age. We were
waited on by a Christian woman who was most kind and attentive,
bringing water and food for both Mary and myself. Being much taken up
with preaching to the women, it did not occur to me to ask why she kept
her baby's face covered, for the child was always in her arms. Just as
we were leaving I asked her; then she uncovered the baby's face, and to
my horror I found that the child was suffering from smallpox! For weeks
I watched Mary's temperature, but nothing developed.

Through repeated instances of this kind I came to see that Mr. Goforth
was right when he said, "The safest place for yourself and the children
is in the path of duty."

As I recall those years of touring life with our children, words fail me
to tell of all the Lord's goodness to them and to me. Though there were
many hard, hard places, these were but opportunities for special grace
and help. Many times, when discouraged almost to the point of never
going out again with the children, there would come evidence that the
Lord was using our family life, lived among the people, to win them to
Christ. Then I would take new courage, and go again. Oh, it is so true
that

          "We may trust him fully
             All for us to do;
           Those who trust him wholly
             Find him wholly true."



VII

THE STORY OF ONE FURLOUGH (1908-1910)

          "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will
          deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me" (Psa.
          50:15).


IN THE summer of 1908 I was obliged to return to Canada with five of our
children, leaving Mr. Goforth in China for the revival work.

Reaching Toronto, I learned that my eldest son was at death's door from
repeated attacks of rheumatic fever. He was then almost a day's journey
away. On my way there, as I recalled the times in which he had been
given back to us from the very gates of death, my faith was strengthened
to believe for his recovery again. But, as I prayed, it became very
clear that the answer to my petition depended on myself; in other words,
that I must yield myself and my will to God.

I had been planning to take no meetings during that furlough, but to
devote myself wholly to my children. I confessed the sin of planning my
own life, and definitely covenanted with the Lord that if he would
raise my son for his service I would take meetings, or do anything, as
he opened the way for the care of the children.

There were six difficult doors, however, that would have to be
opened--not one, but all--before I could possibly go out and speak for
Christ and China, as God seemed to be asking. First, the Lord would need
to restore my son to complete health, as I could never feel justified in
leaving a sick child. Second, he would need to restore my own health,
for I had been ordered to the hospital for an operation. Third, he would
need to keep all the other children well. Fourth, a servant must be sent
to take care of the house--though my income was so small that a servant
seemed out of the question, and only the strictest economy was making
both ends meet. Fifth, a Christian lady would need to be willing to take
care of the children, and act as my housekeeper in my absence from home.
Sixth, sufficient money would need to be sent to meet the extra expenses
incurred by my leaving home.

Yet, as I laid these difficulties before the Lord, I received the
definite assurance that he would open the way.

My son was brought back to Toronto on a stretcher, the doctor not
allowing him to raise his head; but on arrival he would not obey
orders, declaring that he was so well he could not and would not remain
still. Fearing the consequences of his disobeying orders, I telephoned
for the doctor to come at once. On his arrival he gave the lad a
thorough examination, and then said: "Well, I cannot make him out; all I
can say is, let him do as he pleases."

Within a month the boy was going back to his high school, apparently
quite well. Some months later he applied for a position as forester
under the government. He had to pass through the hands of the official
doctor. My son told him of his recent illness, and of what the doctor
had said concerning his heart; but this physician replied: "In spite of
all you have told me I can discover nothing whatever the matter with
you, and will therefore give you a clear bill of health."

As for myself, I did not go to the hospital; for all the symptoms that
had seemed to require it left me, and I became perfectly well. A servant
was sent to me who did her work sympathetically, as helping me to do the
Lord's work. A married niece, living near, offered to stay in the home
whenever I needed to be absent.

And so there remained but one condition unfulfilled--the money. But I
believed this would come as I went forward; and it did. Each month that
followed, as I made up my accounts, I found that my receipts exceeded my
expenditures sufficiently to enable me to spend money for work in China,
and to purchase things which I needed for China, including an organ. All
these accounts were laid before our beloved Mission Board secretary, who
approved them.

Under these circumstances I dared not refuse invitations to speak. Yet,
so weak was my faith, for months I never left home for a few days
without dreading lest something should happen to the children during my
absence. I even accepted meetings with the proviso that if the children
needed me I must fail to keep my appointment. But as the days and weeks
and months passed, and all went well, I learned to trust.

          "'Be still; be strong to-day.'
             But, Lord, to-morrow?
           What of to-morrow, Lord?
           Shall there be rest from toil,
             Be truce from sorrow?
           'Did I not die for thee?
           Do I not live for thee?
             Leave me to-morrow.'"

In giving the following I wish to make clear that, had I been living a
life of ease or self-indulgence, I could not have been justified in
expecting God to undertake for me in such matters as are here recorded.
It must be remembered that I had stepped out into a life which meant
_trusting for everything_.

Before leaving China for Canada my husband had said to me: "Do not stint
the children with apples; give them all they want." But when I began
housekeeping I found this was not very easy to do. Apples were
expensive, and the appetites of my six children for them seemed
insatiable. However, I began by buying a few small baskets; and then I
did not need to buy more, for apples came in a most wonderful way. First
in baskets; then, as the season advanced, in barrels. These came from
many different sources; and in some cases long distances, express paid
to the door. On one occasion a barrel of large, hard "Greenings" came
just as we had finished the last barrel. The children complained that
they were too hard to eat, and begged me to buy them some "Snows"--very
expensive, but delicious apples for eating. I had only purchased one
small basket of "Snows" when a large supply, almost a barrelful, came
from a distant friend.

I feel that the Lord saw that I had given up all for him, so just showed
how he could provide, thus evidencing his love and care for my dear
children. We had set up housekeeping at the end of the fruit season, and
so I had not been able to do canning for winter use. That winter, again
and again, gifts of canned fruit came, sometimes from unknown sources.
Altogether, seventy jars of the finest fruit were sent to us. I will
give the details of just one of these gifts.

Shortly before leaving home for ten days, the servant informed me that
the canned fruit was finished. Accordingly, I went down and ordered
enough dried fruit to last till I should return. On reaching home I was
greeted at the door by a rush from the children, all trying at once to
tell me that a lovely valentine had just arrived. Leading me back to the
kitchen, they showed me the table covered with twenty jars of the most
delicious looking fruit, and a large can of maple syrup. On a card
accompanying the gift was written: "A valentine for our dear 'substitute
in China,' from her sisters in Renfrew."

       *       *       *       *       *

Early in the winter it became evident that a telephone was a necessity,
with my numerous calls and engagements. I hesitated about going into
this expense, not being quite sure that it was right to use in that way
the money given me. At last, I prayed that the Lord would show me his
will in the matter by sending me half the amount needed for the
telephone within a certain time, if it was right for me to get it.
Before the time expired the money had come; so I got the telephone.

       *       *       *       *       *

As the weather became cold I began to suffer on the long drives in the
country to appointments, and was soon longing for a fur coat. I
consulted our mission secretary as to whether, if sufficient money were
given me, I could put it into a fur coat. The answer was a decided
"Yes." There was no doubt that the coat was a necessity in the Lord's
work. So I began to pray the Lord to send the money quickly, for the
cold was severe. In less than two weeks I received the money needed, and
of course got the coat.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ladies of the Winnipeg Presbyterial had arranged a series of
meetings for me in Winnipeg, Brandon, and other places in that vicinity,
about ten in all. The collections from the meetings were to defray my
traveling expenses, which would amount to over one hundred dollars. On
my way by train from Toronto to Winnipeg I caught a severe cold, which
settled in my throat and chest. I did not want the women to be
disappointed, and also put to all the expense, if I failed them. Just
before reaching Winnipeg I was enabled to commit myself definitely into
the Lord's hands, for strength and voice for the meetings. The days that
followed can never be forgotten, for the bodily weakness, fever, and
throat trouble were removed only while I was giving my addresses. In
each case, though so hoarse before and after speaking as to be scarcely
able to make myself heard above a whisper, my voice cleared for the
address.

For example: while at Dr. and Mrs. C. W. Gordon's home the Sunday I was
to speak in Winnipeg, I was advertised to speak that night in Dr.
Gordon's church. At the supper table I asked Dr. Gordon if he would be
ready to speak should I fail. Just before my time came to speak I
slipped up on to the platform behind Dr. Gordon, who was praying; and
oh, how I cried to the Lord for help and courage! For the church was
packed, and even the Sunday-school room partitions were opened to
accommodate the crowd. My throat was as if in a vise, and I felt weak
and ill. But, as Dr. Gordon introduced me, I stepped forward possessed
by a feeling of wonderful calm and absolute confidence. It seemed I
could just _feel_ One like unto the Son of man beside me, and never had
I felt so completely and only a channel. For more than an hour I spoke
so that every one heard distinctly; but when I sat down my throat
tightened as before. Dr. Gordon told me later that he had a man sit in
the most difficult place in which to hear, and that he had heard every
word.

So it was till the end of my appointments. On the homeward journey I
asked the Lord either to heal my throat, or to provide a way for me to
get a needed rest from speaking, for I had many appointments awaiting me
in Ontario. A few days after reaching home four of my children were
taken down with measles. During the weeks I was in quarantine with them
my throat received the rest it needed, and became quite restored.

       *       *       *       *       *

One day the following early summer, in looking over the children's
clothes, I found there was so much to be done I was fairly overwhelmed.
I saw it was quite impossible to do the necessary sewing and keep my
appointments too. The question that weighed heavily was, "Should I
cancel the meetings for which I had given my word?" My husband urged me
to buy ready-made clothes, but I knew how expensive they would be, and
could not bring myself to do so. I went alone and laid my burden before
the Lord, praying that, if he wanted me to speak further for China, he
would show his will by sending me some gift that would enable me to get
ready-made clothes for the children.

A few days later I was speaking at a Presbyterial gathering in western
Ontario. At the close of the evening meeting an old gentleman put into
my hands some money. I asked him what he wished me to use it for, and he
replied, "For your children. Use it in a way that will help you to be
free for God's work." My heart rose in thanksgiving, and I decided to
accept it as the token I had asked of the Lord. On my return to Toronto
I spent this gift in buying ready-made clothes for the children, to save
my time and strength for the Lord's work.

       *       *       *       *       *

When busy in my home one day, the thought of two dear friends of the
China Inland Mission kept coming constantly to mind, and I began to
wonder if I should not send them some money. Looking into my purse, I
found I had only fifty cents on hand. I put the matter out of my mind,
with the thought that if the Lord wanted me to send them anything he
would provide a way. That afternoon's mail brought a letter from a
distant place in Ontario where, a year before, I had visited and spoken
for a friend. The letter was from the treasurer of the Christian
Endeavor Society for which I had spoken. He enclosed five dollars, and
said the money was to have been given me at the time I spoke for them,
but had been overlooked.

My first thought was to return it, as it would be dishonoring my friend
to accept money for such a service; and then I remembered my friends for
whom I wanted money, and I decided to send the five dollars to them. My
husband, returning the following morning, handed me another five to put
with it, and the ten dollars was sent off.

In due course a reply came from my friends, saying that the very morning
my letter arrived they both had been given assurance that a certain sum
would come, for which they had been praying. This was to meet a need
which they did not wish to bring before their Board. My letter brought
the ten dollars; and another letter in the afternoon's mail contained a
sum which, with mine, exactly made the amount they had been asking the
Lord for.

          "Say not my soul, 'Can God relieve my care?'
           Remember that Omnipotence hath servants everywhere!"

On one occasion, when about to leave home on a ten days' trip to
Montreal and other places, word came that the children's Sunday-school
treat was to take place during my absence.

Little Mary had no "best" dress for the occasion. I had planned to make
her a white woolen dress, but now there was no time; and I knew I could
not make it while away, with so many meetings ahead. But, that very day,
a lady from our church called and said she had wanted for a long time to
help me, and asked if she could do any sewing for me. With dim eyes and
a grateful heart I accepted her offer. On my return, Mary told me of her
wearing a pretty white cloth dress for the Sunday-school treat.

       *       *       *       *       *

Once more we planned to leave Canada for China, and a serious problem
faced me. Our eldest son could be left to face the world alone, but not
our daughter of sixteen. It was necessary that a suitable guardian be
found for her. I called on three different ones whom I thought would
feel some responsibility toward the missionary's daughter, but all three
declined to accept the responsibility. I then saw that it was not for me
to try to open doors, but for this also I must look to the Lord. I
prayed that, if he wished me to return to China, he would send me one to
whom I could commit her.

A short time passed; then a lady called, whose life had been devoted to
the training of young women. Her beautiful Christian character made her
the one above all others in whose care I could gladly leave my daughter.
This lady told me that in her early years she had hoped to give her life
for service in China, but the way had been closed. She now felt that the
Lord had laid it upon her heart to offer to take charge of my child.
Years have passed since then, and she has fulfilled my highest
expectations of her. Rarely has a more definite answer come from a
loving Father, nor one that brought greater relief and help; for this
offer, coming as it did in answer to my prayers, seemed to be
unmistakable proof that the Lord would keep my child as I gave her up.

       *       *       *       *       *

The time had almost arrived for beginning the last preparations for the
long journey to China, when one day Ruth came in from her play with her
heavy coat almost in shreds, she having in some way torn it on a barbed
wire fence. The coat was the only heavy one she had, and I had planned
to make it do for the ocean voyage, intending to get a new one in
England. I tried to find a new one in the stores, but the season was
past and I could not; and I had no time to make another. I just took
the need to the Lord and left it there, believing that in some way he
would provide. A few days later a friend telephoned me that her mother
had recently returned from a visit to Chicago, and wished me to come
over to see a parcel she had brought for me. Oh, the relief that came
when I found that the parcel contained, among other things, a handsome
red cloth ulster, which fitted Ruth perfectly. This fresh evidence of
the Lord's overshadowing care touched me deeply. Those who have never
known such tokens of the Lord's loving care in the little things of life
can scarcely understand the blessedness that such experiences bring.

          "Whether it be so heavy that others cannot bear
           To know the heavy burden they cannot come and share;
           Whether it be so tiny that others cannot see
           Why it should be a burden, and seem so real to me,
           Either and both I lay them down at the Master's feet
           And find them alone with Jesus mysteriously sweet."

       *       *       *       *       *

As I attempt to recall the answers to prayer on this furlough, so many
come to mind it is impossible to record them all--help in keeping my
appointments, courage and power for public speaking, physical strength,
and guidance in facing many difficult problems.

It was at this time I formed a habit of getting a message for a meeting
on my knees. It often seemed to me very wonderful how, as in a flash,
sometimes, an outline for a talk on China would come. Never having kept
notes, nor even outlines of addresses, I have frequently been placed in
circumstances when I have felt utterly cast on the Lord. And I can
testify that he never failed to give the needed help, and the realized
divine power. Yet sad, sad is it that often at just such times, no
sooner would the address be ended than the Satan-whispered thought would
come, "I have done well to-day."

Oh, is not the goodness and forbearance of our God wonderful; wonderful
that he ever again would deign to give help when asked for it?

       *       *       *       *       *

A short time since I asked a dear friend whose writings have reached and
inspired multitudes throughout the Christian world: "How did you do it?"

Softly, with deep reverence in look and tone, she replied: "It has been
done all in and through prayer!"

With deepest gratitude and praise to our ever faithful God, I too can
testify that any little service I have been able to do has been done by
his grace in answer to prayer.

          "I stood amazed and whispered, 'Can it be
           That he hath granted all the boon I sought,
           How wonderful that he for me hath wrought!'

              *      *      *      *     *     *

           Oh, faithless heart! _he said_ that he would hear,
           And proved his promise, wherefore didst thou fear?
           How wonderful if he should fail to bless
           Expectant prayer with good success!"



VIII

OUR GOD OF THE IMPOSSIBLE

          "Behold I am the Lord, . . . is there _anything_ too
          hard for ME?" (Jer. 32:27.)

          "Ah, Lord God! there is _nothing_ too wonderful
          for thee" (Jer. 32:17, margin).


THE following illustration of the truth, "What is impossible with man is
possible with God," occurred while we were attending the Keswick
Convention in England, in 1910.

One evening my husband returned from an evening meeting, which I had not
attended, and told me of a woman who had come to him in great distress.
She had been an earnest Christian worker, but love for light, trashy
fiction had so grown upon her as to work havoc in her Christian life.
She had come to Keswick three years in succession, hoping to get
victory, but had failed.

My whole soul went out to the poor woman; I longed to help her. But Mr.
Goforth did not know her name, and the tent had been so dark he could
not recognize her again; besides, there were about four thousand people
attending the convention. That night I lay awake asking the Lord, if he
knew I could help her, to bring us together, for I, too, had at one
time been almost wrecked on the same rock.

Three evenings later the tent was so crowded that I found difficulty in
getting a seat. Just as the meeting was about to begin, I noticed a
woman change her seat twice, and then rise a third time and come to
where I was, asking me to make room for her. I crowded the others in the
seat and made room for her--I fear not too graciously. While Mr. F. B.
Meyer was speaking I noticed she was in great distress, her tears
falling fast. I laid my hand on hers, and she grasped it convulsively.
At the close of the meeting I said, "Can I help you?"

"Oh, no," she replied, "there is no hope for me; it is those cursed
novels that have been my ruin."

I looked at her in amazement, and almost gasped: "Are you the one who
spoke to Mr. Goforth Saturday night?"

"Yes; but who are you?"

Scarcely able to speak for emotion, I told her, and also of my prayer.
For the next few moments we could only weep together. Then the Lord used
me to lead the poor crushed and broken soul back to himself. As we
parted, a few days later, her face was beaming with the joy of the
Lord.

While addressing a gathering of Christians in Glasgow I was giving a
certain incident, the point of which depended upon a verse of a certain
hymn. When I came to quote the verse, it had utterly slipped my memory.
In some confusion I turned to the leader, hoping that he could help me
out; but he said he had no idea what the hymn was. Turning again to the
people, I had to acknowledge that my memory had failed me, and, feeling
embarrassed, I closed my message somewhat hurriedly.

Sitting down, I lifted my heart in a cry to the Lord to lead me to the
verse I wanted, if it was in the hymn-book used there. I took up a
hymn-book and opened it, and the very first lines my eyes fell on were
those of the verse I wanted, though it was the last verse of a long
hymn. Rising again, I told the people of my prayer and the answer, and
gave them the verse. The solemn stillness which prevailed indicated that
a deep impression had been made. Some two years after, a newly arrived
missionary in China told me he had been present at that meeting, and how
this little incident had been a great blessing to him.

"They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and
were not confounded" (Psa. 22:5).

Before leaving Canada we had written to the China Inland School at
Chefoo, China, hoping to get our children admitted there; but, shortly
before we left England for China, word reached us that both the boys'
and girls' schools were overflowing, with long lists of waiting
applicants. This was a great blow to me, for I had been looking forward
to engaging once more in the aggressive out-station work.

But the children could not be left, and were too old to be taken away
from their studies. It seemed necessary, therefore, that a good
Christian governess should be found, who would teach the children and
take charge of the home in my absence. All the way across the Siberian
route this matter was before us. Earnestly did I pray that the Lord
would direct the right one to us; for I knew that to get a young woman,
who could fill the position we wanted her for, would be very difficult
in China.

We had planned to go direct to our station, but illness forced us to
break the journey at Peitaiho, where we met a young lady, the daughter
of a missionary. Many difficulties appeared in the way of her coming on
with us, but one by one these were removed; and when we continued our
journey this young woman was one of our party.

Time proved her to be truly God-given. Not only was she all and more
than I could have hoped for, but the Lord answered my prayers that her
young life might be consecrated to the Lord's service in China. She
later went through her training in England as a nurse, and is now in
China as a missionary of the China Inland Mission.

       *       *       *       *       *

The summer holidays at Peitaiho were drawing to a close. Heavy rains had
fallen, making the roads to the station, six miles distant, almost
impassable. Word had come that our two children, Ruth and Wallace, must
leave by the Monday morning train in order to reach the steamer at
Tientsin, which was to take them to Chefoo, where they were attending
the China Inland Mission schools. All day Saturday and Sunday torrents
of rain continued to fall, with a fierce wind from the north.

I rose before daybreak Monday morning, to find the rain still pouring
down in torrents. I roused the servant, and sent him off to make sure
about the chair, cart, and donkeys. A little later he returned to say
that the chair had been blown over, and the chair-bearers had refused to
come. The carters also refused, saying the roads were impassable; and
even the donkey boys said they would not go.

I was truly at "wit's end corner." I went alone, and did not take time
even to kneel down, but just lifted up my heart to my Father to stop the
rain and open a way for the children to get to the station. I felt a
sudden, strong confidence that the Lord would help, and going out again
I ordered the servant to run fast to the village near by and get fresh
donkeys. He was unwilling, saying it was useless, no one would venture;
but I said: "Go at once, I know they will come."

While he was gone the children had their breakfast, boxes were closed
and taken out, and the children put on their wraps. Then the rain
stopped! Just then the servant returned with several donkeys. Within
five minutes, children and baggage were on donkeys, and started for the
station. A few hours later one of the donkey boys returned with a
hastily written note from Ruth, saying they had reached the station
without any mishap, and quite dry; for it had not rained on the way
over, but had started to pour again just after they had got on the
train. The rain continued for days after.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the close of our four months of meetings in Great Britain, in 1910, I
felt a strong desire to send a gift of five dollars to five different
objects in Britain, to show in a practical way our sympathy with the
workers in these various branches of the Lord's work.

My husband was in the midst of his accounts when I asked him to give me
five pounds for this purpose. He told me it was impossible, as we had
barely enough for the journey to China. As I left him I wondered why I
seemed to have these gifts so definitely laid upon me to send away, when
there was no money. Reasoning that if the thing were really of the Lord
he could himself give me what he wished me to send, I put the matter
from my mind.

That evening's mail brought a letter from a stranger living some
distance away, judging from the postmark; for the letter had no address,
and was not signed. The letter said:

"I do not know you, nor have I met you, but the Lord seems to have laid
it on my heart to send you this five-pound note as a farewell gift, to
do what you think best with."

It was with a joyful heart I sent off the gifts to the five Christian
workers in Britain. Had the giver said it was "for work in China," as
was usually the case, I could not have used it for any other purpose.

How to get the sewing done for my family and yet meet the pressing calls
made upon me as the wife of a pioneer missionary, for almost thirty
years has been perhaps the most difficult and constant problem of my
missionary life. In connection with the solving of this problem, I have
seen some of the most precious evidences of God's willingness to
undertake in the daily details of life.

The following story must be given in detail to be really understood, as
one of the striking instances of how God, in his own wonderful way, can
work out the seemingly impossible.

Returning home to our station from an unusually strenuous autumn's
touring, I planned as usual to give the month of December to the
children's sewing, so as to leave January largely free for a
Bible-women's training class. But my health broke down, and I could make
scarcely any headway with the thirty-five or forty garments which had to
be made or fixed over, before the children returned to their school in
Chefoo. By the eighteenth of December we decided to cancel the class on
account of my ill-health; and to all the women, except one whom I
entirely forgot, I sent word not to come.

As the days passed, the burden of the almost untouched sewing became
very great. At last I cried to the Lord to undertake for me. And how
wonderfully he did! On December twenty-eighth, when I was conducting the
Chinese women's prayer-meeting, I noticed in the audience Mrs. Lu, the
very woman to whom I had forgotten to send word. She had come a long
distance, with her little child, over rough mountainous roads, so I felt
very sorry for my thoughtlessness. Mrs. Lu accompanied me home, and I
gave her money for a barrow on which to return the next day. I then sat
down to the sewing machine. The woman stood beside me for a little, and
then said:

"You are looking very tired, Mrs. Goforth; let me run the machine for
you."

"You!" I exclaimed, astonished, "why, you don't know how."

"Yes, I do," she replied.

She was so insistent that at last, in fear and trembling, I ventured to
let her try--for I had only one needle. It took but a few moments to
convince me she was a real expert at the machine. When I urged her to
stay and help me, she replied that, since the class was given up, she
would return home on the morrow.

That night I was puzzled. Why should the Lord lead this woman to me--the
only one, so far as we knew, who could do the machine work--and then
permit her to leave? I could only lay the whole matter before the Lord,
and trust him to undertake. And again he answered. That night a fierce
storm came on, lasting several days and making the roads quite
impassable. Mrs. Lu, finding herself storm-tied, gladly gave all her
time to me. The roads remained impassable for a whole month, during
which time I did not once need to sit down at the machine.

       *       *       *       *       *

While in Tientsin with my children during the revolution in 1912, I had
occasion to go into the Chinese city with my servant. We visited three
stores. On our way home by the tramway I discovered I had lost a
five-dollar bill and one of my gloves. I had foolishly put the bill
inside the glove. Ashamed to let the Chinese servant know of my
carelessness, I sent him home when we reached the end of the tram line.
As soon as he was out of sight I took the tram back to the city. On the
way I confessed to the Lord my carelessness, and asked him to keep the
glove and money, and lead me to where they were. I retraced my steps
back to two of the stores where we had been. As I entered the second,
which was a shoe store, a number of men were in the shop; but there,
right in sight of all, on the floor lay my glove, and I knew of course
with the five dollars inside. It was with a heart full of gratitude to
my loving Heavenly Father, and an enlarged vision of his love, that I
picked up the glove and returned home that day.

       *       *       *       *       *

On one occasion when on furlough with several little children, and my
husband in China, I had no settled home. When the time came to do the
sewing for the long journey back to China, I had simply no way to get it
done. I just had to look to the Lord; and, as so often before, he was
again faithful, and opened the way. When shopping down town, one day, I
met a minister's wife from a distant country charge, who said: "I want
you to come with all your children, and get your sewing done with me. A
number of the ladies of our congregation sew well, and will be delighted
to help you."

I gratefully accepted her invitation, and while staying with her a
sewing-bee was held in the church. In one week the sewing was finished,
which would have taken me many weeks of hard, constant labor to
accomplish alone.

       *       *       *       *       *

The winter of our return from China, after the Boxer tragedies, I felt
keenly the need of a good sewing machine, as I could not possibly do
the children's sewing by hand and still get time for meetings. One day,
as my husband was leaving on a deputation tour, I asked him for money
for a machine. He assured me it was impossible; that we had only
sufficient for bare necessities. I knew well he would gladly give me
money for the machine if he had it. So I laid my need before my Father,
confident that he knew it was a real need, and that according to his
promise he could and would supply it.

I was so sure that somehow the money would come, that I went down town
especially to choose a suitable machine. I found it would cost
thirty-six dollars. A few days later I received a letter from a band of
ladies in Mount Forest, Ontario, enclosing twenty-three dollars and some
odd cents, and saying: "Please accept the enclosed to buy something you
have lost as our substitute in China." Only a day or two later another
letter came, from quite another part of Ontario, enclosing twelve
dollars and some cents. The two amounts came to exactly the sum I needed
to purchase the machine.

The second letter stated that the money was sent to help me buy a sewing
machine. It has always been a puzzle to me how they came to send the
money in that way, for I had not spoken to any one but my husband about
wanting a machine. When Mr. Goforth returned I was able to show him what
the Lord could give me, though he could not.

       *       *       *       *       *

I had been holding a class for women at an out-station, staying in the
home of the elder, Dr. Fan. The day before I was to return home, Mrs.
Fan asked me to go with her to visit a very sick boy whom the missionary
doctor had sent home from the boys' school, Wei Hwei, because of his
having tuberculosis of the lungs. Mrs. Fan told me the mother was in
great distress, and begged me to come and pray with her. I found the lad
in a truly pitiable condition. His mouth was swollen, his face a ghastly
hue, and every moment a cough racked his frame. He seemed to me quite
beyond hope, and looked as if he could not live long.

On our way home to Mrs. Fan's, the message of James 5:14, 15, kept
coming persistently to me, as if spoken by a voice: "Is any sick among
you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over
him, . . . and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall
raise him up."

I simply could not get away from those words. On reaching Dr. Fan's
home, I sent for him, and asked if he and the other elders would be
willing to pray with me over the lad. He consented, though at first he
seemed rather dubious. There were quite a number of Christians gathered
around as we placed the boy in our midst. All knelt down, and I read the
words from James. I told them plainly that I could not say that it was
indeed the Lord's will to heal the boy; all that was clear to me was
that we must obey as far as we had light, and leave the rest in God's
hands for life or death. Several prayed, and we then dispersed.

Early the following morning I left for home. Circumstances prevented my
return to that place, and in time we moved to another field. More than
two years later, while visiting Wei Hwei, I met Mrs. Fan, who told me
that the lad had completely recovered and was then working with his
father. Still a year later I met Dr. Fan, and upon inquiring about the
lad, the doctor told me he was perfectly well, and was in business in
Wei Hwei City.

       *       *       *       *       *

The power of intercession is shown in the following two incidents:

In the winter of 1905 a call came for my husband to hold special
meetings in Manchuria. On reaching Liao Yang for these meetings, one of
the missionaries showed him a letter from Mr. Moffat, of Korea, which
said: "I have a thousand Christians here who have promised to pray for
Mr. Goforth, and I know their prayers will prevail with God." Can we
doubt that their prayers had something to do with the marvelous revival
movement which followed?

When in England, in 1909, my husband was the guest of a lady in London
who was noted for her power in intercession. He was telling her of the
great revival movements he had been through, which took place in
different provinces of China; and she asked him to look at her diary, in
which were notes of times when she had been led out in special
intercession for Mr. Goforth. These dates exactly corresponded to the
times of greatest revival power.

       *       *       *       *       *

A few months after we returned to China from a furlough, I invited a
certain missionary and his wife and children to pay us a visit.
Peculiarly touching circumstances had led me to give this invitation.
Both husband and wife were in ill health, and greatly needed a change.
They resided in a far inland station, quite cut off from other
missionaries. They were not connected with any Society, and were looking
only to the Lord for their support. Just as these friends had started
toward us, on their five-days' journey, smallpox broke out at our
station, and one of the missionaries died. A telegram was sent, hoping
to catch them before they left, but it did not reach them until they
were a short distance from our station. Then the whole family had to
turn around, and once more take the long, trying journey, homeward. As
the weather was very cold at the time, one could imagine what a terrible
trial to faith the whole experience meant to them. I felt so deeply for
them that I planned to send sufficient to cover at least the expense of
the journey. But, on getting out of quarantine, I found I could not draw
on our treasurer for the fifty dollars needed, as Mr. Goforth was not at
home. However, the Lord had seen the need long before I felt it, and had
the exact amount ready. Three days after I got out of quarantine I
received a letter from Mr. Horace Goven, of the Faith Mission, Glasgow,
enclosing a draft for five pounds which, at the rate of exchange at that
time, came to fifty dollars Mexican. The gift came from the workers of
the mission, and he stated that they wished me to accept it as a
personal gift. Needless to say, the draft was sent off that same day to
the needy friends in the far-off station.

On one occasion, while we were temporarily stationed at Wei Hwei, Honan,
I was called to nurse a fellow missionary who had contracted black
smallpox. This missionary died; and it was while shut away from every
one during the time of quarantine that I had the following experience:

I awoke suddenly one night feeling greatly troubled for one in Canada.
So strong was the impression that this friend needed my prayers, that I
felt compelled to rise and spend a long time wrestling with God on this
one's behalf; then peace came, and I again slept.

As soon as I was out of quarantine I wrote to my friend and told of this
experience, giving the date. In time the answer came, which said
that--though no date could be given, as no note had been made of it--as
far as could be judged, it was about the same time that I had had the
burden of prayer that my friend was passing through a time of such
temptation as seemed almost overwhelming. But the letter said: "I was
brought through victoriously; I know that it was your prayers that
helped me."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following incident may seem trifling to some; but to me no answer in
my life ever brought more intense relief. For this reason I have
reserved it, as the final testimony of the original prayer record.

My husband had gone to hold revival meetings in a distant province, and
while he was away I went with my Bible-woman to a certain out-station at
the urgent request of the Christians, to preach at a four-days'
"theatrical," which brought great crowds. The four days there were
enough to wear out the strongest; for many hours daily we had to face
unruly crowds coming and going; and at the end of our stay I turned my
face homeward utterly worn out. My one thought was to get to Wei Hwei,
our next station, for a few days' rest with my youngest children, who
were attending school there. A sight of them, I knew, would recover my
energies better than anything else.

But in getting home I in some way lost the key of the money-drawer. It
was Friday, and the train for Wei Hwei left on Saturday at ten o'clock.
Different persons came for money, but I had to put them off with some
excuse. There was too much money in the drawer for me to leave with the
key lying around somewhere; besides, I myself could not go without
money.

As soon as I had my supper I started searching everywhere. Drawers,
pigeonholes, shelves, were all searched in vain. After hunting for two
hours, until I was too exhausted to hunt any more, I suddenly thought,
"I have never prayed about it." Stopping still just where I stood by the
dining-table, I lifted my heart to the Lord. "O Lord, you know how much
I need a rest; you know how much I long to see the children; pity me,
and lead me to the key."

Then, without wasting a step, I walked through the dining-room, hall,
and women's guest room into Mr. Goforth's study, to the book-case (which
covers one side of the room), opened the door, slipped two books aside,
and there was the key. So near did the Lord seem at that moment that I
could almost feel his bodily presence. It was not that I remembered
putting the key there, but he led me there.

Yes, I _know_ God answers prayer.



IX

TO HIS PRAISE!

          "They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy
          great goodness."


THIS chapter is written more than seven years later than the foregoing,
in further testimony and praise.

Returning to Canada at the time of the Great War, we came face to face
with a serious financial crisis. Only two ways seemed open to us. One
was to lay our affairs frankly before the Board, showing that our salary
was quite insufficient, with war conditions and prices, to meet our
requirements. The other course was to just go forward, get a suitable
home and whatever we required, and trust our Father to supply what was
needed above our income. We decided on the latter course.

A dear daughter felt indignant that we should have a salary insufficient
for our needs; but we assured her that to trust God for what was lacking
was not begging. The day came when this child and myself took possession
of our new home. As we entered the dining-room we found a large mail
from China on the table.

One letter was forwarded from the lady in Australia whose gifts, in the
past, seemed always to have met some felt need. Her letter enclosed
fifty pounds, with the expressed wish that thirty pounds should be used
for work in China, but twenty pounds was to be used to meet some
personal need. I handed the letter to my daughter, saying: "Shall we not
believe that God will undertake for us? It seems to me as if our Father
were beside us saying, 'My child, take this hundred dollars as an
earnest of what I am going to do for you.'"

Tears stood in her eyes as my daughter gave the letter back, saying:
"Mother, we don't trust God half enough!"

Were I to attempt to write the history of the months that followed, a
long chapter would be required; but my testimony along this line is
surely sufficient.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was on this same furlough that I came to have an enlarged vision of
my Heavenly Father's willingness to undertake in what some might term
the minor details of everyday life. Missionaries, especially we
missionary women, know only too well how we are criticized in the matter
of dress, when in the homeland and when traveling. I have had, through
the years, not only many amusing but trying experiences in this
connection, and I resolved to make the question of dress a definite
matter of prayer. And I rejoice to testify that the result of this
decision became a constant source of wonder and praise. Yes, I found the
Lord could guide me even in trimming my hat to his glory! That is, so
that I could stand up before an audience and not bring discredit to my
Master. Praise his name!

          "There is nothing too great for his power,
           And nothing too small for his love!"

At the time of the Great War a son had gone to England with the first
Canadian contingent. When this news reached us in China, I began to pray
definitely that the Lord would use my son's gifts in the best way for
his country's good, but would keep him back from the trenches and from
actual warfare. My boy did not know of this prayer.

Some weeks after reaching England he was looking forward to leaving for
the trenches in France, when orders came that he was needed in the
Orderly Room, and his unit left without him. Months later a call came
for volunteers, to fill the great gaps made at the time of the first
use of gas. My boy resigned his position, and joined the company of
volunteers to be sent to France. Just before they were to leave he was
again sent for from Headquarters, and told he was to go to the Canadian
Base in France as adjutant. His duties in this capacity kept him at the
Forwarding Base. A year later he again planned to resign, in order to
get to the trenches. He had begun making arrangements for this step,
when he had a fall from his horse, which caused him to be invalided home
to Canada, where he was kept till the close of the war.

It would indeed be difficult to persuade his mother that all this
happened by chance; for one day, when in great distress, expecting any
day a cable to say he had left for the trenches, I received a most clear
assurance from the Lord that he had the boy in his keeping.

       *       *       *       *       *

After our return to China, when in great trouble, I prayed the Lord to
grant me a clear sign of his favor by giving me a certain petition,
which affected a child in the homeland. The request was a complicated
one, including several definite details. A little more than a month
later, a letter reached me from the one for whom I had asked the Lord's
favor. She wrote joyously, telling that she had received just what I had
asked for, and in every detail as I had prayed.

       *       *       *       *       *

When my husband resigned the regular field work of Changte, Honan, it
became necessary for us to find a home elsewhere. The only suitable
place, meeting all our requirements, was on the hills at Kikungshan,
South Honan. On going there to get a site for our home, though we looked
for more than a week, we could find no place. As we started down the
hill, one morning soon after midnight, I was feeling our failure very
keenly, for we had given up our old home. When my husband saw how bad I
felt, as he told me later, he began to cry earnestly to the Lord to give
us a site. And before we reached the station the assurance had come that
we would get a place. A friend on the train, traveling third class, saw
us getting on the second class, and came in for a few words before
getting off the train. When he heard we had failed to get a site, he
said:

"I know of a beautiful site which our Mission is reserving for a future
missionary. I'll ask them to give it to you."

A few days later the treasurer of this Mission wrote us that they had
unanimously and gladly voted to give us the site.

I am now writing these closing words in our God-given home, built on
this beautiful site, one of the most lovely spots to be found in China.
So from this quiet mountain retreat, a monument of what God can give in
answer to prayer, this little book of Prayer Testimonies is sent forth.

As the past has been reviewed, and God's wonderful faithfulness
recalled, there has come a great sense of regret that I have not trusted
God more, and asked more of him, both for my family and the Chinese.
Yes, it is truly wonderful! But the wonder is not that God _can_ answer
prayer, _but that he does_, when we so imperfectly meet the conditions
clearly laid down in his Word.

In recent years I have often tested myself by these conditions, when
weeks, and perhaps months, have passed without some answer to prayer,
and there has come a conscious spiritual sagging. As the discerning soul
can plainly see, all the conditions mentioned in the list below may be
included in the one word "Abide."


Conditions of Prevailing Prayer

    1. Contrite humility before God and forsaking of sin.--2 Chron. 7:14.

    2. Seeking God with the whole heart.--Jer. 29:12, 13.

    3. Faith in God.--Mark 11:23, 24.

    4. Obedience.--1 John 3:22.

    5. Dependence on the Holy Spirit.--Rom. 8:26.

    6. Importunity.--Mark 7:24-30; Luke 11:5-10.

    7. Must ask in accordance with God's will.--1 John 5:14.

    8. In Christ's Name.--John 14:13, 14, and many other passages.

    9. Must be willing to make amends for wrongs to others.--Matt.
       5:23, 24.


Causes of Failure in Prayer

    1. Sin in the heart and life.--Psa. 66:18; Isa. 59:1, 2.

    2. Persistent refusal to obey God.--Prov. 1:24-28; Zech. 7:11, 13.

    3. Formalism and hypocrisy.--Isa. 1:2-15.

    4. Unwillingness to forgive others.--Mark 11:25, 26.

    5. Wrong motives.--James 4:2, 3.

    6. Despising God's law.--Amos 2:4.

    7. Lack of love and mercy.--Prov. 21:13.



X

VICTORY FOUND


AT THE close of this little volume it seems fitting to recount again a
wonderful personal experience, narrated in The Sunday School Times of
December 7, 1918.

I do not remember the time when I did not have in some degree a love for
the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour. When not quite twelve years of age,
at a revival meeting, I publicly accepted and confessed Christ as my
Lord and Master.

From that time there grew up in my heart a deep yearning to know Christ
in a more real way, for he seemed so unreal, so far away and visionary.
One night when still quite young I remember going out under the trees in
my parents' garden and, looking up into the starlit heavens, I longed
with intense longing to feel Christ near me. As I knelt down there on
the grass, alone with God, Job's cry became mine, "Oh, that I knew where
I might find him!" Could I have borne it had I known then that almost
forty years would pass before that yearning would be satisfied?

With the longing to know Christ, literally to "find" him, came a
passionate desire to _serve_ him. But, oh, what a terrible nature I had!
Passionate, proud, self-willed, indeed just full was I of those things
that I knew were unlike Christ.

The following years of half-hearted conflict with sinful self must be
passed over till about the fifth year of our missionary work in China. I
grieve to say that the new life in a foreign land with its trying
climate, provoking servants, and altogether irritating conditions,
seemed to have developed rather than subdued my natural disposition.

One day (I can never forget it), as I sat inside the house by a paper
window at dusk, two Chinese Christian women sat down on the other side.
They began talking about me, and (wrongly, no doubt) I listened. One
said, "Yes, she is a hard worker, a zealous preacher, and--yes, she
nearly loves us; but, oh, what a temper she has! _If she would only live
more as she preaches!_"

Then followed a full and true delineation of my life and character. So
true, indeed, was it, as to crush out all sense of annoyance and leave
me humbled to the dust. I saw then how useless, how worse than useless,
was it for me to come to China to preach Christ and not _live_ Christ.
But how could I live Christ? I knew some (including my dear husband)
who had a peace and a power,--yes, and a something I could not define,
that I had not; and often I longed to know the secret.

Was it possible, with such a nature as mine, ever to become patient and
gentle?

Was it possible that I could ever really stop worrying?

Could I, in a word, ever hope to be able to live Christ as well as
preach him?

I knew I loved Christ; and again and again I had proved my willingness
to give up all for his sake. But I knew, too, that one hot flash of
temper with the Chinese, or with the children before the Chinese, would
largely undo weeks, perhaps months, of self-sacrificing service.

The years that followed led often through the furnace. The Lord knew
that nothing but fire could destroy the dross and subdue my stubborn
will. Those years may be summed up in one line: "Fighting (not finding),
following, keeping, _struggling_." Yes, and failing! Sometimes in the
depths of despair over these failures; then going on determined to do
_my_ best,--and what a poor best it was!

In the year 1905, and later, as I witnessed the wonderful way the Lord
was leading my husband, and saw the Holy Spirit's power in his life and
message, I came to seek very definitely for the fulness of the Holy
Spirit. It was a time of deep heart-searching. The heinousness of sin
was revealed as never before. Many, many things had to be set right
toward man and God. I learned then what "paying the price" meant. Those
were times of wonderful mountain-top experiences, and I came to honor
the Holy Spirit and seek his power for the overcoming of sin in a new
way. But Christ still remained, as before, distant, afar off, and I
longed increasingly to know--to _find_ him. Although I had much more
power over besetting sins, yet there were times of great darkness and
defeat.

It was during one of these latter times that we were forced to return to
Canada, in June of 1916. My husband's health prevented him from public
speaking, and it seemed that this duty for us both was to fall on me.
But I dreaded facing the Home Church without some spiritual uplift,--a
fresh vision for myself. The Lord saw this heart-hunger, and in his own
glorious way he fulfilled literally the promise, "He satisfieth the
longing soul, and _filleth_ the hungry soul with goodness" (Psa. 107:9,
A. V.).

A spiritual conference was to be held the latter part of June at
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and to this I was led. One day I went to
the meeting rather against my inclination, for it was so lovely under
the trees by the beautiful lake. The speaker was a stranger to me, but
from almost the first his message gripped me. Victory over Sin! Why,
this was what I had fought for, had hungered for, all my life! Was it
possible?

The speaker went on to describe very simply an ordinary Christian life
experience--sometimes on the mountain-top, with visions of God; then
again would come the sagging, and dimming of vision, coldness,
discouragement, and perhaps definite disobedience and a time of
down-grade experience. Then perhaps a sorrow, or even some special
mercy, would bring the wanderer back to his Lord.

The speaker asked for all those who felt this to be a picture of their
experience to raise the hand. I was sitting in the front seat, and shame
only kept me from raising my hand at once. But I did so want to get all
God had for me, and I determined to be true; and after a struggle I
raised my hand. Wondering if others were like myself, I ventured to
glance back and saw many hands were raised, though the audience was
composed almost entirely of Christian workers, ministers, and
missionaries.

The leader then went on to say _that_ life which he had described was
_not_ the life God planned or wished for His children. He described the
higher life of peace, rest in the Lord, of power and freedom from
struggle, worry, care. As I listened I could scarcely believe it could
be true, yet my whole soul was moved so that it was with the greatest
difficulty I could control my emotion. I saw then, though dimly, that I
was nearing the goal for which I had been aiming all my life.

Early the next morning, soon after daybreak, I went over on my knees
carefully and prayerfully all the passages on the Victorious Life that
were given in a little yellow leaflet that the speaker had
distributed.[1] What a comfort and strength it was to see how clear
God's Word was that victory, not defeat, was his will for his children,
and to see what wonderful provision he had made! Later, during the days
that followed, clearer light came. I did what I was asked to do--I
quietly but definitely accepted Christ as my Saviour from the _power_ of
sin as I had so long before accepted him as my Saviour from the
_penalty_ of sin. And on this I rested.

I left Niagara, realizing, however, there was still something I had not
got. I felt much as the blind man must have felt when he said, "I see
men as trees, walking" (A. V.). I had begun to see light, but dimly.

The day after reaching home I picked up a little booklet, "The Life That
Wins,"[2] which I had not read before, and going to my son's bedside I
told him it was the personal testimony of one whom God had used to bring
great blessing into my life. I then read it aloud till I came to the
words, "At last I realized that Jesus Christ was actually and literally
within me." I stopped amazed. The sun seemed suddenly to come from under
a cloud and flood my whole soul with light. How blind I'd been! I saw at
last the secret of victory--it was simply Jesus Christ himself--his own
life lived out in the believer. But the thought of victory was for the
moment lost sight of in the inexpressible joy of realizing CHRIST'S
INDWELLING PRESENCE! Like a tired, worn-out wanderer finding home at
last I just _rested_ in him. Rested in his love--in himself. And, oh,
the peace and joy that came flooding my life! A restfulness and
quietness of spirit I never thought could be mine took possession of me
so naturally. Literally a new life began for me, or rather _in_ me. It
was just "the Life that is Christ."

The first step I took in this new life was to get standing on God's own
Word, and not merely on man's teaching or even on a personal experience.
And as I studied especially the truth of Christ's indwelling, victory
over sin, and God's bountiful provision, the Word was fairly illumined
with new light.

The years that have passed have been years of blessed fellowship with
Christ and of joy in his service. A friend asked me not long ago if I
could give in a sentence the after result in my life of what I said had
come to me in 1916, and I replied, "Yes, it can be all summed up in one
word, 'Resting.'"

Some have asked, "But have you never sinned?" Yes, I grieve to say I
have. Sin is the one thing I abhor--for it is the one thing that can, if
unrepented of, separate us, not from Christ, but from the consciousness
of his presence. But I have learned that there is instantaneous
forgiveness and restoration to be had _always_. That there need be no
times of despair.

One of the blessed results of this life is not only the consciousness of
Christ's presence, but the _reality_ of his presence as manifested in
definite results when, in the daily details of life, matters are left
with him and he has undertaken.

My own thought of him is beautifully expressed in Spurgeon's words:

          "What the hand is to the lute,
           What the breath is to the flute,
           What's the mother to the child,
           What the guide in pathless wild,
           What is oil to troubled wave,
           What is ransom to a slave,
           What is flower to the bee,
             That is Jesus Christ to me."

The special Bible-study which I made at that time was embodied in a
leaflet. Proving helpful to others, it is added below.[3]


=God's Presence=

          The secret of Victory is simply Christ himself in
          the heart of the believer. This truth, of Christ's
          indwelling, is, and always has been, a _mystery_.

          Romans 16:25.
          Ephesians 3:9 with Colossians 1:26, 27.
          Ephesians 5:30, 32 (R. V.).
          Colossians 4:3.

Christ himself taught this truth.

          John 14:20, 23; 15:1-7; 17:21-23.
          Matthew 28:20.
          Revelation 3:20. (See also Mark 16:20).

It was a vital reality to the Apostle Paul.

          Romans 8:10.
          1 Corinthians 6:15.
          1 Corinthians 12:27 (R. V.).
          2 Corinthians 5:17.
          2 Corinthians 13:5.
          Galatians 2:20.
          Galatians 3:27.
          Galatians 4:19.
          Ephesians 3:17.
          Philippians 1:21
          1 Thessalonians 5:10.
          Hebrews 3:6.

          The words "in Christ," which recur in many other
          passages, will have a new literalness when read in
          the light of the above.

          The Apostle John had a like conception of Christ's
          indwelling presence.

          1 John 2:28 to 3:6, 24.
          1 John 4:4, 12, 13, 16.
          1 John 5:20.


=God's Purpose=

          As Victory is the result of Christ's Life lived
          out in the believer, it is important that we see
          clearly that _Victory_, and not _defeat_, is God's
          Purpose for his Children. The Scriptures are very
          decided upon this truth.

          Luke 1:74, 75.
          Romans 5:2.
         [A]Romans, chaps. 6 and 8.
          1 Corinthians 15:57.
          2 Corinthians 2:14.
          2 Corinthians 10:5.
          Ephesians 1:3, 4.
          Colossians 4:12.
          1 Thessalonians 5:23.
          2 Thessalonians 3:3 (R.V.).
          2 Timothy 2:19.
          Titus 2:12.
          Hebrews 7:25.
          1 Peter 1:15.
          2 Peter 3:14.
          1 John 2:1.
          1 John 3:6, 9.
          And many other passages.

          That Christ came as the Saviour from the _power_
          as well as the _penalty_ of sin we see in Matthew
          1:21, with John 8:34, 36, and Titus 2:14.


=God's Provision=

          God knew the frailty of man, that his heart was
          "desperately wicked," that even his righteousness
          was "as filthy rags," that man's only hope for
          victory over sin must come from the God-ward side.
          He, therefore, made kingly provision so rich, so
          sufficient, so exceeding abundant, that as we
          study it, we feel we have tapped a mine of wealth,
          too deep to fathom. Just a few suggestions of its
          riches:

          God's _greatest_ provision is the gift of a part
          of His Own Being in the person of the Holy Spirit.
          The following are but some of the many things the
          Holy Spirit does for us, as recorded in the Word:

          He begets us into the family of God.--John 3:6.
          He seals or marks us as God's.--Eph. 1:13.
          He dwells in us.--1 Cor. 3:16.
          He unites us to Christ.--1 Cor. 12:13, 27.
          He changes us into the likeness of Christ.--2 Cor. 3:18.
          He helps in prayer.--Rom. 8:26.
          He comforts.--John 14:16.
          He guides.--Rom. 8:14.
          He strengthens with power.--Eph. 3:16.
          He is the source of power and fruitfulness.--John 7:38, 39.

          Some of the victorious _results_ in our life, as
          Christ has His way in us, are shown in:

          Romans 8:32, 27.
          Romans 15:13.
          2 Corinthians 9:8, 11.
          2 Corinthians 2:14.
          Ephesians 1:19.
          Ephesians 3:16, 20.
          Philippians 4:7, 13, 19.
          Colossians 1:11.
          1 Peter 1:5.
          2 Timothy 3:17.
          Jude 24.
          John 15:7.

          To the seeker for further Scripture help the
          writer would suggest a plan that has proved a
          great blessing to herself.

          Read the Psalms through, making careful record of
          all the statements of what the Lord was to the
          writers of the Psalms. The list will surprise you.
          Then on your knees go over them one by one, with
          the prayer that Christ may be to you what he was
          to David and the others.

          Take a Cruden's, or better still a Young's,
          concordance and look up the texts under such
          headings as Love, Fulness, Power, Riches, Grace,
          etc., grouping them into usable Bible studies. As
          a sample, taking this last word, "grace"; the more
          one studies it the more wonderful does it become.
          Here are some of these headings:

          Grace for grace.--John 1:16.
          Sufficient grace.--2 Cor. 12:9.
          More Grace.--James 4:6.
          All Grace.--2 Cor. 9:8.
          Abundant grace.--Rom. 5:17.
          Exceeding abundant grace.--1 Tim. 1:14.
          Exceeding riches of His grace.--Eph. 2:17.

          But let us remember that to simply know of riches
          will never materially benefit us. We must make
          them our own. All fulness dwells in Christ. It is
          only as we "apprehend" (which means take hold or
          take in) Christ through the Holy Spirit can it be
          possible for these spiritual riches to become
          ours. The slogan of this glorious life in Christ
          is just "Let go and let God."

FOOTNOTES:

[1] This leaflet, giving a carefully selected list of Scripture
references on the Victorious Life, may be had from The Sunday School
Times Company, 1031 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa., at 50 cents per
100 copies; or 15 cents for 25 copies; postpaid.

[2] "The Life that Wins" may be obtained from The Sunday School Times
Company at 2 cents each; or 20 cents a dozen copies, or $1.50 per
hundred, postpaid.

[3] This leaflet may be obtained from the Christian Life Literature
Fund, 600 Perry Building, Philadelphia, at 15 cts. a dozen, 60 cts. a
hundred, or 2 cts. each.

[A] The 7th chapter of Romans should be read in the light of the 6th and
8th chapters.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's notes:

Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

Page 129, "4" missing from list of Conditions of Prevailing Prayer. The list was
renumbered to correct this.





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