CALLED TO SERVICE
Boldly and wisely in that light thou
There is a hand above will help thee on.
When Edwin heard of the heathen in other lands across the
sea, a great longing to help them to understand God's love and
to bear them the message of Jesus' mission to the earth came
into his heart. So great did this longing become that he spoke
of it to the brethren at the church, but he was told that it
would be better to first prove his calling at home, for there
were plenty of heathen all around him needing his help.
Without criticism or feelings that he had been dealt with
unwisely, he accepted this judgment as proper and right, and
at once began by seeking for opportunity to talk about his
experiences with both neighbors and friends. In this way he
made his efforts for doing good to count, and he became
personally acquainted with the greater part of the community.
Mr. and Mrs. Kauffman, seeing Edwin's zeal and courage, were
surprized and pleased, and, taking note of the good he was
accomplishing, offered him the privilege of holding
prayer-meetings in their home. Soon others gave him the same
opportunity, and it was evident that God was using him even to
the saving of a few souls.
As Edwin continued to grasp every opportunity for
usefulness, the brethren who had refused to accept him as a
candidate for membership in their church, became anxious to
have him enroll, but Edwin told them: "No, my ten years are
not yet up. You must remember that I told you I wanted that
long to prove to you that I could stand and that I am truly
When Edwin felt that he could spare the time from studying
the Bible and doing spiritual work, to resume his labors as a
farm-hand, he found that it required no effort to find a
place, as all seemed to know of his ability and willingness to
work. There was even contention among the farmers as to who
would be so fortunate as to secure his services.
Finding out the true state of affairs, Edwin was pleased,
and he decided to divide his time among them. In this way he
was able to enter other homes and lives and to help them
spiritually as well as with his labor. But through all this
service Edwin was not without various trials and tests; but in
everything he was able to give God thanks and to draw useful
lessons. "For thou, O Lord, hast proved us: thou hast tried us
as silver is tried." (Psa. 16:10).
After a time Edwin felt that he would like for at least a
while to try city life. Finding a man that was engaged in
peddling spring-water, he agreed to work for him for a share
of the income. The business did not prove to be a profitable
one for Edwin, but by very careful management he was able to
make both ends meet. But when he had met his necessary
expenses, he had nothing left that he could use for the work
of the Lord.
This soon became a great trial to Edwin, and when one
Sunday there was a call (in the new church he was attending in
the city) for a liberal amount of money, he felt that he must
subscribe twenty-five dollars even though he did not know how
he could ever pay it. He believed that in some way or other he
would be able to raise the money even though the time allowed
for paying it was only one month. "God will help me in this
thing as he has helped me through all my other difficulties,"
he said as he set out on Monday morning in his covered wagon
to dispose of his bottled water.
At first the sales were as they had been on other days, but
along in the afternoon they began to increase, and when night
came and he had time to figure up the amount of the water
sold, he found that there was over and above all his expenses
five dollars extra to his credit. For four successive days
this increase of sales continued, until he had four
five-dollar bills laid aside.
On Friday morning Edwin started with a glad heart; for he
thought, "If only I succeed today as well as I have been doing
all week, by this evening I shall have the amount I
subscribed." He expressed his gratitude in thanksgiving and
praise to God. To his great disappointment, that day the extra
amount of water was not sold, and on Saturday and Sunday he
did not peddle. Climbing into his covered wagon filled with
bottles, he started out for his boarding-place; but he was not
in the least discouraged, for he was sure that the remainder
of the money would be raised in some unexpected manner before
the month was up.
Scarcely had Edwin dismissed the matter from his mind when
he came to an electric-car crossing. It was a dangerous place,
for a few feet above the crossing the track was completely
hidden from view by a large ledge of rock and a sudden curve.
At this place Edwin always listened carefully for a signal.
Hearing nothing and knowing that the car had been due fully
ten minutes before, he was soon driving upon the track without
any thought of danger, as he had so often done before. His
surprize was therefore complete when, just as the back wheels
of the wagon were dropping heavily over the last rail, there
was a sudden breeze and whiz came the car around the curve. No
warning whatever had been given, and a second later Edwin
found himself among the legs and hoofs of the faithful animal
that he had been driving.
It was indeed a narrow escape, and as Edwin crept from his
dangerous position he found that not only his horse but his
wagon and load of bottles were upside down and that the
conductor and motorman were by his side inquiring of him how
badly he was hurt.
Edwin himself was uninjured, and after the harness had been
loosened, the horse was able to rise, and when the wagon and
bottles were examined, it was found that nothing was at all
harmed. But before Edwin was again on his seat in the wagon,
the conductor had taken his name and address.
As he drove away from the scene of the accident Edwin was
rejoicing in the fact that he had escaped so well, and with no
thought of ever hearing any more about the affair he was soon
putting his things away for the night. In the morning,
therefore, he was greatly surprized when he was called to the
door and by the same conductor that had the evening before
taken his name and address was handed an envelope and told
that the contents were his because of the accident that had
occurred the evening before at the crossing. Edwin tried to
explain that no harm had been done to anything, but the
conductor replied that the blame was his because he had given
no signal. "But," he continued, "it will always be a mystery
in my mind how such an accident could occur without a single
injury to anything."
Then the conductor went away, and when Edwin opened the
envelope, he found that it contained just five dollars, the
exact amount that he needed to complete his purpose-money. One
week out of the four had not yet passed, and yet he had the
full amount of his obligation. And when, on Sunday morning, he
carried the money to the church and told of the wonderful
manner in which it had been supplied (for indeed it was
wonderful), many marveled.
In the city Edwin continued to do all in his power for the
Lord as he had done in the country, and just about two years
from the time that he attended his first prayer-meeting in the
home of Mrs. Miller, he received an urgent invitation from Mr.
and Mrs. Kauffman to return to their home and hold a series of
revival meetings; "for" said the letter, "our house and all
that we possess are turned over to the Lord, and we feel that
you have proved yourself sufficiently to come and be our
To Edwin the privilege of holding the meeting and the
confidence of these people meant very much indeed, but he
still felt keenly his inability of doing anything in his own
strength. To think of himself as a preacher he did not, for
God at that time had not revealed to him his calling in life.
Still, he submitted the matter entirely to the Lord, and when
the way was opened for him to go he was glad to accept the
opportunity. As a result there was a wonderful revival; for
Mr. and Mrs. Kauffman did their best to have the meetings
advertised, and as Edwin's present, and early history as well,
was well known throughout the country, the people for miles
around, many of them out of curiosity, however, came to see if
what they had been hearing about Edwin as a Christian was
When the meeting closed, Edwin had in the minds of the
people proved himself to be a real minister of the gospel, and
arrangements were soon made to buy a piece of ground and to
build a small meeting-house. The idea was sanctioned by Edwin,
and he saw it carried into effect, but when they begged him to
stay as their pastor, he refused. "It is better," he said,
"for you to get some one else to be your leader until I know
positively that God has set me apart for that work"; and
referring them to a certain brother who claimed to be a
minister, he left them in his charge and returned to the city
where he had been peddling water.
Edwin's object in leaving the community in which he had
been holding the meetings was that he might have a better
opportunity to know positively whether or not God had really
called him to preach the gospel. His first duty, therefore,
after arriving in the city was to go to the minister for
advice and counsel. After confiding his desire to work for the
Lord and the manner in which he had been used in the meeting,
he was told: "There are many who mistake their calling in
life. Sometimes the enemy of souls puts such feelings in the
heart to mislead honest souls, or to get them out of God's
order." And the minister related an instance of a young man
who had once come to him just as Edwin had come for advice.
"Seeing his earnestness, I gave the fellow a chance to prove
himself, but it was found that he had no gift or ability at
all to teach. In fact, he did so poorly in all public work
that he was forced to confess that he was really mistaken.
After that he never wanted to preach again, and it was even
difficult for him to testify."
"Well," Edwin answered, "if it is the enemy in my case, I
will have no trouble to get rid of this feeling, for I shall
only be too glad to know that I am misled. All I want to know
is what God wants me to do. If he doesn't want me to preach,
that is the last thing I would care to do."
From that moment Edwin ignored the thought of preaching,
and while he applied himself to his manual labor, he
endeavored to forget all about his usefulness during the
revival. And as he was thus striving with himself, the
minister in whom Edwin had confided, desiring to know if there
was anything to Edwin's convictions, paid a visit to the
community in which Edwin had held the revival. Several months
had passed, but the fire was still burning in the hearts of
the people (although the one left in charge of them had done
more harm than good), and as the minister listened to the
glowing accounts of Edwin's works among them and the good that
had been accomplished through his labors, he was forced to
change his mind. "God's hand must surely be on that man for
service," was his secret thought, and on the Sunday morning
following his tour of investigation he brought the matter
before the church.
Nearly the entire congregation with the exception of Edwin
were present, and as the minister related carefully and in
detail what had taken place recently in the community where
Edwin had been so "strangely" converted and had formerly made
his home, he added that only the wisdom and power of the Holy
Spirit could have enabled him to accomplish such a work.
"There is no doubt now in my mind," he continued, "that God's
hand is upon the young man for the ministry; for his moral
character is without spot and blameless in the eyes of all who
know him, and he is well known and respected throughout the
country for this and because of his unusual conversion."
In that meeting it was decided that it would be best to
have another talk with Edwin before he was encouraged to
preach. When the minister went to him, it was with these
"Edwin, do you still feel your desire to preach the
"Oh yes," Edwin answered. "Since talking with you, I have
tried in every way to get rid of the thought of preaching, if
it was not God's will for me to preach, but the burden is only
growing heavier. I have submitted the matter to you and the
church, however, to decide for me, and I know that God knows
the same; so I can quietly trust him until you tell me what
you think would be best for me to do."
"Are you still fully agreed to allow the church to consider
the matter for you?" Edwin was then asked.
"Oh yes, sir!" he quickly replied. "I have submitted
everything into your hands, for I want to know just what you
consider is best. I will be perfectly satisfied either way it
may go. I am not anxious; for I know that if God really wants
me to preach he will take care of it all and will work
everything out in his own good time and way. If he does not
work it out so that I am considered capable of preaching, then
I shall take it for granted that it was a suggestion of the
enemy, and I will take a vehement stand against those feelings
as an imposition of the enemy. Now, I consider what I have
said is sufficient, and it will be no trial for me, for I
shall feel that I am in God's order, and I care for nothing
When the minister heard Edwin's humble answer and noted his
willingness to allow God to have his perfect way with him and
compared his manner with the many remarkable reports to which
he had listened concerning his experiences, he was more
convinced than ever that God's hand for service was surely
upon this devoted young man. But he felt that since the thing
had been left for the church to decide, he must in Edwin's
absence once more place the subject before the congregation.
The time chosen was the following Sunday. When the minister
asked for an expression from the people concerning Edwin's
case, with one united vote they said that they were perfectly
agreed to accept Edwin as a minister, provided he could prove
his gift. It was therefore decided that since they had never
heard him preach, they would call him in and let him deliver
the morning sermon; and severe as was the test, it was carried
When Edwin a few minutes later entered the room and looked
over that large audience, he had not the faintest idea of
preaching to the people. His only thought was to learn what
their decision had been, and his surprize was therefore
complete when the almost painful hush that prevaded the room
was broken by the request that he take the pulpit and assume
full charge of the meeting that morning.
Had it not been that Edwin already knew the Lord to be an
unfailing source of strength and an able helper in every time
of need, his courage might have failed him, for upon the
rostrum were several ministers and gospel workers. Instead, he
instantly submitted the matter to the Lord, and, forgetting
about his ignorance, he rejoiced that he could have an
opportunity to glorify God and took his position between God
and poor blighted humanity.
"Let us pray," were his first words, and, falling upon his
knees, he poured out his heart in fervent prayer to God,
asking him for help and divine guidance in this, his great
hour of need. While still upon his knees he was given a text,
and, rising to his feet, he opened his Bible, turned to Luke
7:47, and read, "Her sins, which were many, are forgiven; for
she loved much."
Then as he explained the meaning of the words, his eyes
became blinded by tears. As he lost sight of his audience, the
Holy Spirit came to his rescue, and as the words poured forth
from his mouth, it was evident to all that the sermon was
given him by divine power. So lost to himself and the opinions
of others did he become that he seemed to be swimming out into
the vast ocean of God's boundless love.
That God was glorified and his name honored it is needless
to say, and from that time Edwin was accepted without question
as a gifted and qualified minister of the gospel, and his
calls both in his home community and in other places were
many. He was even preferred above other able ministers because
of his strange and wonderful experiences.
As Edwin continued to preach, he remembered how hard it had
been for him to understand that there were other languages
than his own mother tongue, and he prepared himself to preach
not only in the German and the English languages, but in
Pennsylvania Dutch as well.
While studying his Bible he found that there was even
healing virtue in prayer. In James 5:14, 15, he read, "Is any
sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and
let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of
the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the
Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they
shall be forgiven him." In his own case he had found this to
be true. God had not only healed his soul's sickness but also
removed his bodily afflictions. Finding that he could receive
such instant relief for himself, he was soon exercising his
gift for others, and many were healed through his earnest
In one place where he was preaching, he made his home with
a family in which there were two small children, a girl three
years old and a boy about one year younger. To these children
Edwin soon became greatly attached, and their love for him was
no less than his own. Once when Edwin was away for a few days
holding a series of meetings, the little boy became seriously
ill with pneumonia. The parents, who knew the worth of prayer
in time of sickness, took his case at once to their Great
Physician; but although they prayed very earnestly, their
prayers seemed to be of no avail, for the child grew
constantly worse. A number of the brethren were repeatedly
called in to pray for little Charley, but the child grew
constantly worse until it seemed that it would be a question
only of a few hours until he would be called into eternity.
Finally the mother said, "If Edwin were only here, I believe
that the child would be healed," but Edwin did not even know
that little Charley was ill.
At last the parents, while gazing down upon the little
unconscious form burning with fever, gave up all hope of his
recovery, consecrated their child afresh, and submitted their
own wishes in the matter to the One who had lent them the
darling. Then they seemed to see upon the fevered brow the
angel touch of death, and the troubled spirit of little
Charley, moaning piteously, appeared to be preparing for its
upward flight to a better world.
Feeling that there was nothing more that they could do, the
brethren had taken their departure, but only a short distance
from the house they met Edwin returning unexpectedly from his
trip. Had Edwin endeavored to do so, he could not have told
them why he was coming just at that hour, but something seemed
to bid him hasten, for his presence was needed. From the
brethren he learned of the child's illness, and, hurrying into
the house, he was soon beside the parents, who were still
weeping over their little one.
As Edwin looked down upon the face of the one whom he so
dearly loved, the words, "The prayer of faith shall save the
sick" (Jas. 5:16), appeared to be all that he could see or
hear. He went hurriedly to the door and called loudly to the
brethren and bade them return at once. Fortunately, the latter
had been walking slowly, for their hearts were troubled
because of their neighbor's distress, so they heard the sound
of Edwin's voice calling to them, and they immediately
retraced their steps.
The little group, with the addition of Edwin, once more
gathered around the child's crib. As Edwin knelt he clasped
his own hands and raised them before him; then with upturned
face and pleading tones, he asked God, for Jesus' sake, to
heal little Charley.
For several minutes he prayed, and in his earnestness his
body swayed backward and forward, and tears flowed freely over
his cheeks. When the prayer was ended, and Edwin opened his
eyes to look about him, to his great surprize and joy he saw
before him upon the floor the little child with his hands
clasped and raised as Edwin's had been and his large blue eyes
turned heavenward. He too was praying, trying to imitate
Edwin's example. At the very first of the prayer when Edwin's
voice arose, the child regained consciousness and, seeing his
friend upon his knees beside him, he had begged his mother to
allow him to "pway" too. Lifting him tenderly from the crib,
the mother had placed him carefully upon the floor. From that
moment little Charley was well, and soon called for some food.
At another time, when Edwin was holding a meeting about
seventy-five miles from this home, the little girl became
seriously ill. "Have Edwin pway! have Edwin pway!" was all
they could hear from little Charley; so a letter bearing the
news and telling the nature of the child's illness was posted
as soon as possible. When the word reached Edwin, he went to
his room and there remained before the Lord until he felt that
his little friend was healed. When another letter came from
the mother, it brought the word that the little girl was
healed, and the day and hour that the work was done agreed
perfectly with the time when God had witnessed to Edwin in his
room that the child was healed.
A few days after the healing of the little girl Edwin
received still another letter. This time it was from the wife
of a certain man for whom Edwin had worked and whose
confidence he had won before God called him to preach. "Please
pray for my husband," the letter ran. "He is in the hospital
with a cancerous sore upon his right leg. The doctors give him
no hopes that he will recover, but we have not forgotten how
often God has heard your prayers, and we believe that if you
will pray for him he will recover. There is no earthly remedy
that can help him."
Edwin remembered the old gentleman well, and he went out in
the woods where he could be alone and prayed earnestly a long
time for the man, but he received no answer or impression that
the work was done. For three successive days Edwin went alone
to the woods to pray. On the third day he felt that the man
would recover, and immediately he mailed a letter to the lady
to that effect.
When the message was received and read to the sick husband,
the faith of both him and his wife were increased and
strengthened, and they too believed that he would soon be
well. From that very hour there was a change in the man's
condition, and the sore began at once to heal. When the nurses
came to dress the sore, they were astonished at the change,
and the doctors confessed that it was a mystery too deep for
them to fathom, but to Edwin it was only another blessing from
"And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he
gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and
to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease"
(Matt. 10: 1).
"For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall
not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and
the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that
call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the
Lord shall be saved.... How beautiful are the feet of them
that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of
good things!" (Rom.