On arriving in Chicago, we found Brother T -- -- , who had charge of the work in the city, at 1612 Prairie Ave. For nearly a year my brother and I assisted him in the work, and then, as he insisted that we become responsible for the work in a general way, we took charge.
When we first went to Chicago, we were not just sure what God wanted us to do. The first winter I helped hold meetings for homeless men in the slum district. As a class, these people were so deep in sin that it was hard to reach them. A few, however, did get a real experience of salvation; but it was difficult for them to keep saved, and when they would give up, they would not stop until they had gone into the grossest kind of sin. Some of them would get converted again and again, only to be overcome by the tempter. Their characters had been so weakened by indulging in sin and giving way to their appetites that it seemed hard for them to become established. It took a great deal of patience and labor to get any of them established. The religious career of many of them was very brief, but others struggled on for a long time. No doubt some became thoroughly established and remained true to the Lord.
This work was not very satisfactory to us. True, the souls of these people are as precious in the sight of God as the souls of any other people, but we soon saw that the energy expended upon these people of the slums would, if directed toward people in the great middle walks of life, accomplish far more in the salvation of souls. Gospel workers, if the Lord leads you to take up slum-work, be sure to obey the Lord, but be equally sure that you don't attempt slum-work unless God is leading you.
As the work was not satisfactory to us, my brother rented a house for five years as a missionary home. The monthly rent was [USD]25, and it was wonderful how God answered prayer and brought the means to pay the rent. Many times our support would come from a distance. For two or three years before we came to the city, Brother T -- - had held meetings every Sunday afternoon in the Masonic Temple. The rent for the room in which we held services in the temple for two and one-half hours each week, was for a time [USD]15 a month, and later [USD]16. Besides the meeting in the Temple, we had cottage-meetings in different parts of the city.
Besides renting the home in which most of the workers lived, my brother rented for a year a house to serve as a home for workers in the slum district, paying a monthly rental of [USD]60. As my brother was ignorant of what he was getting into, the Lord seemed to humor him for two or three months by providing the money for the rent of this building. Then my brother got into trouble. He prayed earnestly for money to pay the rent on this building, but his prayers would not go through. Heaven seemed closed against him. After making several efforts in this way, for a while without avail, my brother said that if he could not get his prayers through for money to pay the rent, he would pray that God would make the landlord willing to give up the lease. His prayers were heard, the landlord surrendered the lease, and George got out of his difficulty. Subsequent events showed that the Lord was willing to provide money for us in abundance as long as we acted in accordance with his divine plan for us.
In consideration of the facts that we paid our [USD]40 a month for rent on our home and meeting-place, and that we enjoyed but limited privileges in holding meetings, my brother felt impressed before the five years were out that the Lord wanted us to build a home which should be permanent and which should be the property of the church. The work was begun in March, 1903, and by the blessing of God and the cooperation of the church in general, the home and chapel were both finished by Christmas. The greater part of the work was donated, one experienced carpenter giving over [USD]600 worth of labor.
Our work in the city was a school of trust. We trusted the Lord for food, for raiment, for rent, and for everything else that we needed. Sometimes when I would have a little money laid by, an opportunity would come to use it, and I would think,
|I don't want to give this up, for I may need it later.| Then the voice of the Spirit would say to me, |If you don't keep your purse open and use the means you have, God will not supply you.| I obeyed God, and he never allowed me to be confounded. Many times when we did not have sufficient food for the whole day, we would get down and ask God to send either money or food. It was marvelous how our prayers were answered, and that from sources from which we should have least expected help. The Lord wonderfully encouraged our hearts in this way.
When we were building the home and chapel, a number of the workers felt led to purpose a certain sum to be paid in a year's time. The first year my purpose was [USD]100, to be paid before December 31. I got just enough to finish paying it December 30. The workers were all encouraged in like manner. The next year some of them suggested that, as God had helped them through so marvelously the first year, we should purpose twice as much. I received sufficient money to pay the [USD]200 by Thanksgiving, a month sooner than I had paid the [USD]100 the year before.
We often had to trust the Lord for car-fare, and many times it came to us in remarkable ways. One day one of the sisters started out to make a call in the city with only enough money to pay her fare one way. While she was sitting in the car, she looked down into her lap and there lay a quarter. How it got there was a mystery. Sometimes even strangers passing us on the street would feel impressed to hand us enough money to pay our fares. Again, some of the workers while trusting the Lord would find just the amount needed.
The Lord showed us here in the city as he did while we were in California, that he wanted us not only to appreciate and enjoy the blessings sent us, but also to pass some of our blessings to those who were needy, and that in so doing we should be blessed as well as those who gave to us. Brethren, God's plan is an unselfish one. If we expect to grow in grace and to develop in trust and in other of his precious graces, we must unselfishly impart what God gives to us. |Freely ye have received, freely give.| |He that watereth shall be watered again.| |The willing and the obedient shall eat the good of the land.| If we withhold blessings from others, whether it be means or any other help that we can afford them, we ourselves shall be losers, and they will be deprived of their rights.
Some little time after we located in the city we had our mother come to live with us. She had been a widow for some years. I counted it a happy privilege that I should be allowed to care for her in her old days. I had long desired to care for her and took advantage of the first opportunity of having her come to us. I had also desired that in her old days she should not lose her mind as some old people do, and that she should enjoy a good long [Illustration: MARY COLE Five years after her healing]
[Illustration: MOTHER REBECCA COLE In her 92d year. From a photograph taken fourteen months before her death] life. My prayers have been answered and my hopes realized.[Footnote: Nearly a year after the above account was written, on October 22, 1914, Mother died at the age of ninety-two years. She had the right use of her mind until the last. After she had lost the power to see and hear distinctly, she would recognize me by a sign to which we had agreed and would call my name, and even after speech had failed, she still attempted to say, |Mary.|] We had been in Chicago only about a year when news came from Hammond, Louisiana, that my oldest brother, Jeremiah, had died at that place, October 13, 1899. While we were in California, Jeremiah came to that State and held meetings, although he was with us only a short time. For some years before his death his health had not been very good, and in the fall of 1899 he went to the South for the third time to winter. While he was holding meetings nor far from Hammond, Louisiana, October 1, he became suddenly sick while preaching and had to leave the pulpit in the middle of his discourse.
Bro. F. M. Williamson, at whose home he was staying, begged to be allowed to write or telegraph to his folks, but Jeremiah said, |No, my illness will last but a few days, and it is no use to worry my folks.| He lingered until October 13, when he died. Brother Williamson, who was with him until the end, said that my brother had the confidence of everybody in that part of the country and that he died a triumphant death. Shortly before my brother's death a letter was sent us saying that he was very sick, but it did not reach us until several days after his burial.
Before going to Chicago, we had worked almost altogether in small towns and in the country. Of course, the work in such a large city as Chicago was quite different. Nevertheless, we were glad for the experience we had had and of the chance we now had for putting it in practise and of making improvement. We learned, however, that the souls of men are much the same, whether they live in a city or in the country, and that God gives his ministers authority over evil spirits wherever they may be found.
When we took the Chicago work in charge, there was in the congregation a certain man who had gotten under a wrong spirit and had led others away with him, thus causing trouble and dissension. The false spirit seemed to be strongly entrenched and very hard to get rid of. This man of whom we have spoken, and whom, for want of a better name, we shall designate as Brother B -- , sent word to quite a large number of the saints in the city to be present at the meeting-place on a certain Sunday evening, as he would occupy the pulpit from five until six after the regular meeting closed. Some of our company were out of the city during that week, and on Saturday night a fearful snow-storm came, continuing on into Sunday.
I wished very much that those workers who were out of the city should return for the Sunday evening service, as I saw that we were going to have to meet the enemy in a very bold way. When I awoke Sunday morning, however, the Lord made me know that I must be willing to face the enemy with him alone, and this song rang in my heart:
|I'll go where You want me to go, dear Lord;
I'll say what You want me to say.|
God was my perfect sufficiency. Some of the members of the congregation who might be included under the Scriptural term |lambs| stood by me like warriors. Two of them sat in the pulpit with me, one on each side to hold my hands, as it were. God had warned me in a dream of the enemy's attack and had shown me some things that were very helpful in that very hour. In my dream I had seen the enemy in the form of a ferocious animal approaching to destroy God's children. We were in a large pavilion which was entered by a large open door. In my dream I thought that God told me to go and shut that door. I started to obey, and when I got near it, the animal was about to enter, but God made me to know that he would help me through and enable me to get the door shut. As I shut the large door, the Lord showed me another little door, saying, |Go and shut that too.|
On the Sunday of which I am speaking, when I really had to face the enemy, God gave me as a subject for my sermon various instances in the history of the church where the enemy had attacked God's children and work and where God himself had defended them and defeated the enemy. I spoke of how Joseph's brethren plotted to take his life and finally sold him into Egypt as a slave; of how God made him a prince and a ruler over his brethren and finally their savior and benefactor. I spoke of Jesus -- how the Jews killed him, put his body into a sepulcher, closed it with a great stone, sealed it with the king's seal; how the Lord defeated their purpose, arose from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of God. Right in the middle of the sermon God showed me what he meant by shutting the big door and made me to know that I must expose and renounce the one under the spirit of the devil who was trying to undermine the work. He showed me, furthermore, that another man who was helping him was the little door and that he wanted me to denounce him also.
As I began denouncing the spirit of error that had crept into the congregation, the poor deluded ones clamored for a chance to defend themselves, but God showed me that I should give no place to the devil. I advised all the true children of the Lord to leave the meeting-place at the proper time, and not to listen to the enemy's pouring out against God's work and cause. Most of the people took my advice and left at the proper time. Just a few backsliders and chronic grumblers remained to hear Brother B -- 's message. I can not tell you how God used this victory to encourage and strengthen my soul. He seemed to humor and pet me all the next day and to bring it to me again and again that he was pleased with me. I seemed to hear him say again and again, |I am well pleased with you.|
One of the company who had been with us for some time, did not seem to be making the development as a worker that we had expected him to make. He came so far short of our anticipation that we were tempted at times to conclude that we were mistaken in encouraging him to remain in the work with us. The enemy, of course, worked hard to discourage him and we were beginning to think that perhaps it would be well to discourage his remaining longer with us. When I prayed earnestly over the matter, however, the Lord made me understand that this was a worthy child of his and that in his soul there was a trueness and faithfulness not to be found in every worker. The Lord showed me that if we would exercise patience with him, development would come in good time. The outcome has been all that could be desired. For a number of years this brother's name has been familiar throughout the church, and he is still holding some of the most responsible places.
At another time this same brother was going through a fiery trial. God no doubt was permitting the trial to broaden him and to develop him for future usefulness. What he was enduring, however, became a severe trial to me. Finally it seemed as though I had endured about all that I could, so I said to him one day, |Either you or I will have to leave. I can't stand this any more.| He did not answer me, but went away by himself and asked God to give me more compassion.
Dear brothers and sisters in the ministry, right here I would sound a note of warning. Let us be careful when a young worker comes among us. Even if he does not seem promising at first, let us have patience with him and give him a chance; let him prove himself. Let us give him all the encouragement we can and do what we can to help develop him. Perhaps you can help such a one by telling him some of God's dealings with you and how he helped you out of difficulty, how he tided you over and lifted you above discouragements, how he brushed away the dark clouds. Do not be too quick to conclude, |Well, I don't believe God had his hand upon that person, after all,| for we might find ourselves working against God instead of being coworkers with him.
We had not been in the city a great while until we had more calls than we could fill. People wrote asking us to call on their friends to see if we could not get the truth to them. We were called to visit places that were by no means inviting. We also had calls from suburban towns and other near-by places, and at times we were led to hold meetings for a week or two in places outside the city. Surely we fulfilled the scripture, |Sow beside all waters.| We soon learned from experience that not all who came to the home telling pitiful stories of need were deserving of help. Sometimes after giving provisions and even money, we learned that our charity had been misapplied. We soon learned that it was wise to find out whether we were helping the worthy poor or impostors.
After the chapel was built, opportunities for reaching souls greatly increased. We now had meetings whenever we chose, especially on Sunday evenings, Thursday afternoon and evening, with good attendance of saints and truth-seekers. Our expenses, too, were greatly lessened in this way, especially at the time of the yearly assemblies. One year the rental of the building in which the assembly was held, was, I think, [USD]300 for ten days. Before a certain assembly the saints had contributed freely to provide money for the coming assembly. Shortly before the meeting began the treasury was robbed of over [USD]200.
During the ten years I spent in the Chicago work, I witnessed many wonderful deliverances from sin, from disease, and from evil spirits. The account of these experiences would of itself make a large volume; I can mention only a few here. Sister Pearl Horman, who came to the home, was taken very sick with fever. Her case was very serious, the fever being very high. The Lord rebuked the fever and in a short time she was well. Sister Myra Barrett came to a meeting we were having in the chapel one night, and remained all night in the home. Before morning she had an attack of erysipelas in the face, accompanied by a high fever. The Lord put his rebuke on the disease and not many days later she was able to resume her duties in an office in the city.
In answer to a call from Joliet, Illinois, we went to that place and anointed a brother who was very sick with the quinsy. In answer to the prayer of faith, God wonderfully healed him. One winter night a call came from the suburbs of the city for some one to come and anoint a child suffering from a violent attack of pneumonia. The snow lay deep on the ground and the weather was very cold. My brother and I answered the call. As the night was far spent, the street-cars were no longer running in the direction we had to go, and so we had to walk over a mile facing the wintry storm. God answered prayer in behalf of the child. It was better before we left next morning and was soon entirely well.
At another time we were called upon to pray for a boy who had appendicitis. The doctors who examined him said that without an operation he could not possibly live, but his father, being a saint, desired prayer. Brother Reardon and I anointed the boy, prayed the prayer of faith, and the boy was healed. God got the glory that time instead of the doctor, not to speak of the saving of a great deal of suffering and a heavy doctor-bill.
My mother was in the home at the time Sister Barrett was healed of erysipelas. About ten years before this time Mother had the same affliction, and it came near taking her life. As a result, she had an especial dread of this disease. Before coming to the home, Mother had not been able to wholly trust the Lord for healing, but when she came to live with us, she decided to trust the Lord. But when she saw Sister Barrett having such a severe attack of erysipelas, she became a little alarmed and used something as a preventive, not realizing that it would hinder her faith. In nine days she had a severe attack of erysipelas. For a number of days she had quite a fight of faith, and we sent telegrams to The Trumpet Office twice. God in his mercy rebuked the disease, and she recovered rapidly for one of her age. Although she was past eighty-one, her recovery was much more rapid than it had been ten years before, when she had trusted the doctor.
Sometime after mother was entirely well, we found the little preventive she had in her pocket and asked her about it. She confessed with tears that she had been using the preventive. We encouraged her to trust God fully for protection as well as for everything else. From that time forward she has been able to put her trust wholly in God. Some say that people get too old to trust the Lord, but in her case the older she gets, the more childlike becomes her trust in God.
A brother Jones, now of West Virginia, came to the home from a place where there was an epidemic of smallpox. He was just beginning to take the disease; in fact, a pimple or two had already appeared. He would take spells of being deathly sick, a common occurrence before breaking out with smallpox. The brother was innocent in coming to the home in that condition, thinking that he had been exposed to the chicken-pox and that he was just coming down with a bad case of that disease. He trusted the Lord wholly for healing, and we all united our faith with his against the disease.
The Monday following his arrival he, in company with my brother and others of the saints, went to the camp-meeting at Moundsville, W. Va. That same evening God made us who were left at the home to understand very definitely that the brother had the smallpox and that we should pray very earnestly that God would keep him from breaking out until the nature of the disease could be discovered and the brother be put under quarantine to protect the camp-meeting. Our greatest fears were that the whole camp would be quarantined. The Lord encouraged our hearts to continue in prayer that he would overrule the whole matter. In a few days they found out that Brother Jones was taking the smallpox, and they put him under quarantine. Very soon afterward he broke out. God had answered our prayers to keep him from breaking out, and he also protected us at the home and those at the camp-meeting. Our God is able to protect in every time of need.
Two or three days later a boy came from the same smallpox-infected district. By this time physicians in Michigan City had found out that the disease they had there was smallpox, and were going to put the house where he had been staying under quarantine. The brother who had just come thought he had sufficient faith to protect himself and others from the disease; but we who were older in the work and understood the ways of the Lord better, advised him to return, lest if he should have the smallpox in the city, they would put him in the pest-house, where he would not have the same chance to trust the Lord that he would if at home. So he returned to his home and had the disease there. Again God marvelously protected us.
A young sister came to the home for help in both soul and body. After earnest prayer in her behalf, we found that she was in no condition to get help to her soul until her body became stronger. She had greatly overworked and her mind was about to give way. It was a month before we were able to talk to her at all about her soul. Her nerves were in such a condition that when she heard a prayer, a song, or a scripture, she could scarcely keep from screaming. As soon as she was able, we did all the Lord showed us to do for her soul. We found that all that God had laid to her charge was overworking and neglecting her spiritual life. Soon everything was made right with her soul, but it took months for her nerves and brain to get back to their normal condition.
We learned a good lesson from this incident. If we neglect our spiritual lives, we shall be losers every time. The Lord is a jealous God, and if he can't be first, he won't be second. If we want him to work in and through us, we must give him a chance to keep our souls replenished and ready for work. At different times while in city-work I have myself allowed temporal things to get too much on my mind, thus causing me to neglect my devotions. My spirituality would begin to weaken, and I would become less capable of being a blessing to souls. Had I been more diligent at certain times in secret prayer and searching the Scriptures, I should have been spared some sad experiences and heartaches.
One day the sister who was doing the cooking, made up a large batch of light bread, containing, I think, fifteen or twenty pounds of flour. The sister waited the proper length of time for the bread to rise, but it showed no signs at all of rising. Some of us talked the matter over and concluded that we could not afford to throw the flour away and that we had better ask God to make the bread rise. We did so, but the bread remained as lifeless as before. Finally a number of us gathered in the kitchen, knelt down on the floor, and asked God to make the bread rise. It was not long until our prayers were answered. That batch of dough made as good bread as I have ever eaten. God wonderfully stirred up the thanksgiving in our souls for this answer to prayer.
One of the company in the home had been exposed to the measles, and they were beginning to break out on his body. The Lord brought to his mind that he did not need to have the measles and that if he would put up a fight of faith against them, the Lord would heal him. He was anointed and prayed for, and God did put his rebuke on the affliction. The following day he exercised himself too much and had to have prayer again. That was on Saturday evening. Monday morning he was sufficiently well to start on a trip to Ohio to see his people. The possibilities of faith can not be comprehended by the finite mind of man. Well did the apostle say, |Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.|
Among many precious ones associated with us in the work in Chicago was Sister Clara Tuttle, now gone to her reward. She was a great help to my brother and me, and a blessing to the work in general. Shortly after she became acquainted with the truth, she asked the Lord what was her place in the body, and he told her it was to be a good mother. She filled her place well. This dear sister was not only a good mother to her own children, but to others, especially to the young workers who had no mother or whose mothers were unsaved. She not only gave good counsel to the young workers, but prayed with them in times of perplexity. Would to God there were more mothers in Israel like her! |Her children will rise up and call her blessed.| I still remember the counsel she gave a brother who, was coming to the Missionary Home to stay for a time. |Now, brother, you have been acquainted with Brother Cole and his sister as gospel workers and have loved them dearly; but you have seen, them only in the pulpit and public meeting, where you have had but little opportunity to come in contact with their human weaknesses. When you go into the home to live with them, you will find that they are but human and make some mistakes. Be careful now that you do not judge them. Be careful that you don't allow these human weaknesses to hide the fact that they are ministers anointed by God to carry the gospel message to a lost world. Remember that God does not judge them from a human standpoint. If he judged any of us in that way, we should all be found wanting.|
In Memory of February 5, 1822
Time moves on, and on, and onward, Piling up its teeming years; Each unfolds its store of blessings, Each one brings its joys and tears. Ninety years have thus been numbered Since one cold and wintry morn, On the fifth of February, When |our Mother Cole| was born.
While her little life was tender, Only in its babyhood, God removed her loving mother To a world more pure and good. Left now the little helpless baby Without mother's love or care, Many shadows o'er it hovered, Many sorrows it must share.
But her father kind and faithful Bro't much sunshine in her life; Tenderly he loved and blest her Until she became a wife. As a mother she was noble, Bore her lot with fortitude, Worried not o'er |sad tomorrows,| But looked forward to the good.
When Life's cares and trials oppressed her, She had One in whom to trust; Lovingly He bore her sorrows, And in Him her soul was blest.
She had always words of kindness For the sad and those alone; And she often bore their sorrows As if they had been her own.
Old age does not foil the beauty Of her sweet unselfish ways; She still clings to Christ her Savior, On her lips are words of praise. Tho' upon her bed she lingers, There's no sorrow in her room, For her cheery words of comfort Dispel darkness and the gloom.
Like a sunbeam softly falling As if on an errand of love, Cheering up some lonely hour, Pointing to a world above; Or, the lily rich with fragrance, Shedding forth its sweet perfume, So the life of our dear mother Cheers and brightens up her room.
When her pilgrimage is ended, And her days are numbered here, She will only bloom the sweeter In that paradise o'er there. Soon the angels will be coming, Bear her to that land of rest, Where she'll ever be with Jesus, To rejoice among the blest.
[Illustration: FAITH MISIONARY HOME 300 W.74th St., Chicago, Illinois]
[Illustration: ANDERSON OLD PEOPLE'S HOME Anderson Indiana]