Oh the precious
To the pious given,
Sending by the dove of
Holy words to heaven!
Arrows from the burning
Cleave the quivering air;
Swifter, loftier, surer
Speeds the dove of prayer,
Bearing from the parted
Words of holy love,
Warm as from the heart they
To the throne above.
Not long after the
excitement caused by the earthquake had subsided, Frank
Kauffman informed his father-in-law, Mr. Miller, of Edwin's
intention to change his place of employment and took great
pains to mention the young man's good qualities. As a result,
Frank returned with the message: "My father-in-law will be
glad to have you help him on the farm even before harvest, and
you are at liberty, he said, to come just as soon as you care
to do so." Accordingly, at the end of the month Edwin,
together with his trunk and other baggage, was transferred to
the home of Mr. Miller.
When the news of Edwin's
departure from the neighborhood came to the ears of Mrs.
Kauffman, she rejoiced, because she felt that his influence
over her son in regard to smoking would not be so great; but
little did she know what the move was to mean to Edwin or that
it would bring him even more directly into her life.,p> Mr.
Miller, a well-to-do old farmer, was still strong for his age
and well able to assume the responsibilities connected with
his business; so the greater part of his help was hired by the
day. But since he would need one steady hand to help him
throughout the harvest-season with the barn- and house-chores,
he hired Edwin for two months. Finding that all that Frank had
said of him was true, the Millers took Edwin into the home as
a member of the family.
Edwin was not long in
discovering that he greatly enjoyed being in this home, for
both Mr. and Mrs. Miller were good people, and Mrs. Miller was
a professor of religion. But to the young man so hungry for
the right kind of living the lack of profanity between the
husband and wife was the thing most noticeable and gratifying.
He had been there but a
short time when the motherly sympathy of Mrs. Miller was
aroused on account of his extreme ignorance on many subjects,
and she did not grow weary in explaining the meaning of new
words and in doing all else that she knew to do to enlighten
his mind. That she might have a better opportunity to talk
with Edwin, he was invited to share with the old couple the
smoking-hour that was spent in the little summer-kitchen (for
both Mr. and Mrs. Miller were fond of their tobacco). For this
kindness Edwin was very grateful.
The little summer-kitchen,
which had been built just back and a little apart from the
large, convenient farm-house, was principally for the purpose
of keeping the larger building free from the offensive odors
that might arise from the cooking or the use of tobacco; but
Mrs. Miller was so extremely neat and clean about her
housekeeping that this room too was always cozy and inviting.
In the chimney-corner of the kitchen a large fireplace had
been built, and the latter had been covered by a closed iron
cooking-grate. Above the rustic stove was a mantel, upon which
the tobacco supplies of the old people were kept, and Edwin
was told that he was welcome to place his pipes and cigars
with theirs if he desired to do so. The invitation was gladly
accepted, and when Edwin's things were arranged, the mantel
was well filled. The other furnishings of the room were a
large cupboard, the necessary articles for cooking, a long
home-made dining-table in the center of the room with long
benches on both sides, and a few old-fashioned straight-backed
chairs. And here they met night after night to smoke and to
The congregation to which
Mrs. Miller belonged was in the habit of holding their weekly
prayer-services in the residences of the different
church-members, and soon after Edwin's arrival in her home
Mrs. Miller told him that on the following Thursday evening
there was to be a prayer-meeting at her house.
"A prayer-meeting!" Edwin
exclaimed with as much wonder and astonishment as he had
displayed when talking with Frank about prayer; and
immediately he connected the words with those that he had
listened to on the porch of his friend's home. And when he
asked simply, "What is a prayer-meeting?" she hid her surprize
and explained that some people from different parts of the
neighborhood would come together after supper in some room and
spend an hour in reading, praying, and singing hymns.
"Can I be with you too?"
Edwin asked as though he expected to be denied the privilege;
but when Mrs. Miller answered, "Certainly," the beseeching
look immediately changed to one of gladness.
"Can it be possible,"
thought Edwin the following day as he went about his work,
"that in this very home where I am now living they will have
prayer. Only three more days! How can I wait until Thursday
When at last the appointed
evening had arrived, Edwin with great inward emotion and with
bright anticipations watched the people as they arrived in
groups of twos and threes, some on foot and others in
carriages. When all had arrived and had passed on into the
house, they were greeted by Mrs. Miller, and Edwin was invited
to join them in the comfortable sitting-room of the large
Edwin felt that these
people were conferring upon him a wonderful privilege and
honor, but he could not get away from the feeling that he was
an intruder in their meeting. He was surprized that no one
else seemed to look upon his being there as strange. In fact,
all were so very kind that he decided to get all the good
possible from being there and to solve, if he could, the
puzzle of prayer, also to find out what it meant to become
Now, Edwin had never
learned that there was any other language than the
Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, and having never been in a
neighborhood where the Bible truths in any language were
taught in his hearing, and not knowing that there was a Bible
or a Savior, he had no way of understanding (even in his
mother-tongue) what to most people would have been simple and
When all was in readiness
for the service to begin, a song was sung and then a chapter
from the large German family Bible was read. After that all
knelt to pray. Edwin knelt also, but he faced the others and
gazed upon the upturned faces as though they belonged to
creatures from another world. When Amanda and Mrs. Kauffman
prayed and he saw their faces beaming with the glory of God,
he was sure that their prayers were informal, for no books
were before them and the words seemed to come from their
hearts. The reason that he could not understand what was said,
he felt sure, was because they were talking to God, and the
language was that of another world.
When they arose and began
telling of God's goodness to them, some even leaping and
shouting at times, Edwin supposed that it was another form of
prayer, and as the words spoken were all in German, they too,
he reasoned, must belong to another world. Notwithstanding he
rejoiced because he was there, and he believed that everything
was just as it should have been.
When the meeting had been
dismissed and the people had gone to their homes, Edwin and
Mr. and Mrs. Miller went to the summer-kitchen to smoke before
retiring. While they were filling their pipes and selecting
the coals to light them, Mrs. Miller inquired, "How did you
like the meeting tonight. Edwin? Was it like you thought it
would be?" His answer did not reveal the fact that he had not
understood enough of what had been said or done to form any
new conclusion. He did tell her, however, that he thought the
meeting was really wonderful, and he asked how they all knew
that they were on the road to heaven. For Mrs. Miller this was
a very hard question to answer, for she too was living in
great uncertainty regarding the future and her reward; so she
"They don't know anything
about that for sure in this life. They must wait until after
they die before they can find that out."
In reply to Edwin's
questions on prayer and what it means to be converted, Mrs.
Miller explained that she had gone forward and given her hand
to the minister a long time before and that after waiting a
year's time he had told her she was in the church, and that
joining church was what was meant by being converted.
"What do you mean by
'church'?" Edwin asked, feeling that he had found another word
bearing upon the great subject that was perplexing him.
"Why the church is that
big building down on the first four corners as you go into
town. You can't miss it, for it's the only building there, and
if you want to go down there with us some time to a meeting,
you can. We have meeting, you know, every Sunday at the
But Edwin did not know, so
he said, "Do you mean that you have prayer-meeting every
"Oh, no," she answered;
"it isn't a prayer-meeting. We just get together and listen to
the minister talk, but we always sing, and the minister prays
"And don't you know,
because you go to that church, that you will go to heaven when
you die?" Edwin said in astonishment, but the answer was, "Oh,
no; we don't really know anything about that."
As Edwin pondered over the
matter that night when alone, he said, "If it took Mrs. Miller
a whole year to get into the church, it will take me that long
to get converted; but I can't see why she doesn't know any
more than she does about getting to heaven."
Although Edwin could get
no understanding in regard to the deep things that were upon
his mind, he never for one moment thought of giving up in his
efforts to search for them and to find out. In his heart he
was still sure that there was a way to know these things, and
although his friends had failed to discover them, his
confidence in their sincerity was not in the least shaken.
"The Lord is not slack
concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is
long-suffering to usward, not willing that any should perish,
but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3: