The Use and Need of the Life of Carry A. Nation.
The life of a soul moved on by the Holy Spirit is beyond human expression, as well as human understanding. "He that is spiritual judgeth (examines) all things. Yet he himself is judged or examined of no man." The spiritual man can see the condition of the unregenerate for he was once in darkness, but the unregenerate can never understand the condition of the regenerate. The impulses that move one born of God is one of the puzzles not possible to be known by the wisdom of the wise of this world. 'Tis a secret, 'tis hidden, and can come only by Divine Revelation and is always a miracle, the greatest ever performed. It raises from the dead, never to die again. It opens the eyes never to be closed again, 'tis an armor that causes us to handle serpents (devils) without harm and we can hear or drink deadly poisons, or doctrines but they will not kill our soul. "These signs shall follow them that believe. The real Christ life is and always will be hateful to the world. I have often heard it said of me; "I cannot bear that Carry Nation!' I would only to do the people good. I do not blame these as I once did; "For the natural man is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can he." "Marvel not that the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." I know that when I was ten years old I felt the movings of God's spirit--got an answer of peace, but like a little infant pined away, for lack of care and nourishment. Nothing but the divine mercy of Almighty God could have directed the affairs of my tempest-tossed life. I now know there are no accidents. A sparrow falls by a special providence. There are no sins or temptations that I can not say: "My God delivered, saved and forgave me for that." I go to prisons and all kinds of houses of sin. I say: "I can tell you of one who can save and forgive you for that, he forgave me, and he will forgive you, for I was as bad, or worse, than you." I have never seen anyone whom I thought had committed more sin than I. Many will lift up horrified hands at this but 'tis true. I never saw the corruption of but one life, one heart,--that was mine. I was never so shocked, so disgusted, so distracted with remorse over any life, so much as my own. My heart was the foulest place I ever saw. I do not know what is in other people's hearts. Paul meant this when he said: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief;" Said, this, "is worthy of all acceptation" or was, a good testimony. Because one can never see how bad the heart is, until God sheds the light to see it. So many people are deceived, as a blind man. They may be in filth, and do not know it. It is there, but not seen, for lack of light.
I was first condemned by reading the Psalms. I said: "If Christians have impulses to "rejoice", clap their hands, and "shout", I do not know what it is. I find no response of gladness in my heart." I trembled with fear to think of God and the judgement day. This continued from youth up to the age of forty. At this time I received from Christ the "Gift of the Holy Ghost", the "Unction", that which "leads unto all truth." There are many names for this; I call it the Bible name. "Hold fast the form of sound words." Before this I had never spoken a word for God or prayed in public. At one time I was called on to do so, and was terrified and mumbled out something, that was no prayer. Now all was changed: "I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord." I was anxious for my time to come to tell how good Jesus was to me. When I met my neighbors I would be heavy- hearted, because they talked of servants, house cleaning, the new fashions, and these seemed so vain, so frivolous. I liked to direct their minds to speak of the Scriptures, and of the ways of doing work for God. I soon found out I was not welcome, I was looked upon as an intruder, was often avoided, I could see the frowns and glances of impatience at my presence. These would cause me many a cry and mortification. My best companion was the Bible. I then knew what David meant when he said: "More to be desired are they, than gold, yea than much fine gold; sweeter also than the honey and the honey comb." I often kiss and caress my Bible; 'tis the most precious of all earthly treasures.
I wonder how people can live any kind of Christian life without reading the Scriptures and prayer. If I neglect this one day I feel impatient, restless,--a soul hunger. Spurgeon is my favorite of all ministers. I read where he said, "Being a Christian was something like taking a sea bath. You go in up to the ankles and there is no pleasure, then to the knees is not much better, but if you wish to know the pleasure of a bath take a 'HEADER' and plunge. Then you can say, How glorious." Christian life is like a journey. There are flowers and fruit and streams; thorns, dark valleys and fires; rocky steeps from whose summits you can see beautiful prospects. There is rest, refreshment, sleep and bitter tearful watchings. 'Tis a great pleasure to me to be in a spiritual meeting. To know by the testimony how far they have traveled. Some one in the garden of delights; he wonders why that one tells of the dark valley. One at the base of the hill cannot understand why others see what he cannot. The young beginner tells of the beautiful sights and songs; and maybe the one who has been on the road almost a life time will tell of the "continual heaviness, hours of darkness, and the smoking furnace, and the lamp." I have found that the warrior is never as bouyant as the new recruit, in his dress parade. We humor children, and call on men to labor. Few, comparatively, get to the place where they prefer hard labor; to endure desolation of heart; to seek self in nothing; to see all loved but himself; to see others exalted but only abasement for self; to "endure hardness as a good soldier;" to lay on the ground; to eat hard tack; to make long, weary marches; footsore and still fight on; to suffer traveling over rocks and thorns; to endure the loss of all things." I will take this last for mine. 'Tis the best, Oh my God, give me this! "He that goeth forth and WEEPETH bearing precious seeds shall doubtless come again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." I do not ask this because I enjoy suffering but to prove my love and gratitude to Him who loved me, and gave Himself for me.
After we moved to Medicine Lodge the Free Methodists came there and held a meeting. I had never heard the doctrine of the "second blessing" or "sanctification" taught. It was very interesting to me. Three women called to see me in my home, to ask me if I had ever "had the Gift." I told them I had something peculiar given me from God in Texas; asked them to pray to God to give this great blessing to me or a witness that he had done so. These sisters were Mrs. Painter, Green and Marvin. I also prayed for myself. In about ten days from that time I was in my sitting room. It was raining. A minister and his daughter were at our house (Mr. Laurance, a Baptist). We were all quietly reading in the room. I was in meditation, praying and saying: "Just now, blessed Father, give me the witness." Then a wonderful thing took place, which it is not "lawful" or possible for me to utter. Something was poured on top of my bead, running all over and through me, which I call divine electricity. The two persons who were in the room, Mr. Laurance and his daughter, were very much startled, for I jumped up, clapped my hands, saying: "I have this from God, this divine Gift." I went below in the basement that I might give vent to my gratitude, and under my breath I walked up and down, thanking, praising, crying and laughing.
Like the woman that found the piece of silver that was lost, I had to tell my neighbors. I wrapped myself up to be protected from the rain, and ran to Sister Painters, near by, then to Sister Dollars and Marvin's and several others, to tell them of my great blessing.
When I returned I opened my Bible. Every word and every letter was surrounded with a bright light. I turned over the leaves, and I saw the meaning on the pages at a glance. There was a new light and meaning. I have never been able to express that experience in any other way than to say I was "eating" the word of God. I could now understand why we do not understand the figures and expressions used in the Bible, because I have had several experiences, that were impossible to explain by human language.
I told Mr. Nation that the Bible was a new book to me, tried to explain to him; told him I now saw the meaning of everything. He said: "Explain Lazarus and the rich man." I turned to it instantly. The divine light gave a new meaning to me. I commented thus as I read it: "This rich man is the Jewish nation, with its gorgeous temple service. The poor man is the Gentile nations called dogs, no temple, no altar, no God, no healing; like a man with an incurable loathsome disease. These begged from the Jews the crumbs that fell to their dogs. This rich man had much goods. He could have shared to bless, but through lack of charity he withheld.
The beggar died, and angels took him to Abraham's bosom, the very place the Jews thought was only for them. This is a figure of the death to sin, and the life to righteousness. The natural must die before the spiritual can live. The rich man died, and was buried. The Jewish nation died as it is here predicted, and in hell, he lifted up his eyes, being in torments. It is not said that the Gentiles, or Lazarus were buried. The Jews as a nation are dead, never to be resurrected. They have been scattered abroad in torments, a people without a land, a hiss and a by- word, as God said. The Jew sees the Gentiles with the good things, he once had. Has time and time again begged relief from them. The Jews wish no companionship in their misery, have no missionaries. Five is a number applied to humanity.--five senses, five fingers, five toes. The gulf spoken of as being impassable, is the separateness of the Jews from all others.
The rich man wants one from the dead to go to his five brethren, or humanity. Abraham or the Gospel reminds the Jew that Moses and the prophets were as convincing; they would not believe them. Christ said: "If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed me for he wrote of me. If ye believe not him, neither will ye believe, though one arose from the dead." Christ in this parable prophesied of his own death and resurrection, they did not believe when he arose from the dead.
Scripture was given a meaning I had never heard of before. This light continued for about three days. Oh! if I had devoted all my time then to reading while I had this divine light! We never know the value of any blessing, until it is gone. Persons almost universally say of me: "You have studied and remember so much of the Bible," but this is a gift from God. I know why God gave this to me. Because I have always been a reader and a student of holy teachings, even when it was sealed, and often to me, contradictory. "If any will do His will, they shall know of the doctrine." Jesus said: "Search the Scriptures." Study to show thyself a workman well approved unto God, that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly divining the word of truth." 'Tis a sweet love letter by an independent God to a dependent people. "Oh! the depth of the wisdom, both of the knowledge and power of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and his ways past finding out." Yet His love can be felt and known by all. Not one of the severe judgements of God but they reflect this tender love of God, in destroying that which love hates, because sin is the enemy of love, the bitter foe to the happiness of mankind; therefore 'tis an evidence of the intensity of love to destroy sin. Take for instance the destruction of the Amalekites. This people was a curse to the earth and the enemy of all good. "Remember what Amalek did unto thee, by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt." "How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindermost of thee, even all that were behind thee when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be when the Lord thy God hath given thee rest from thine enemies, thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven." God waited four hundred years from this time. They still were murderers. Then he told Saul to utterly destroy this cruel nation. The state kills a man now. This is not a cruelty but a mercy, "And those which remain shall hear and fear and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil." " 'Tis a righteous retribution to recompense tribulation to those who trouble you."
Persons often argue that the books of the Bible are written by man and cannot be said to be written by God. I illustrate the way God wrote the Bible by this: You have a package of letters from your mother. Some are written with red ink, some with black, some with a stub pen, some with a fine point, some with a pencil, etc. You do not say, the pen wrote me this letter and the pencil wrote me that. No, this is not spoken of or considered. You say: "My mother wrote these letters to me." Just so, Moses is God's pen, with which he wrote the five books of the Pentateuch. Joshua was also a pen, and Ezra, Job, David, Solomon, and so with the writers of the New Testament. God guided them as we do our pen. The Bible carries within itself its own evidence of divinity. It requires no proof. It but weakens its own evidence, to appeal to human aid. The fulfilled prophesy, its inimitable poetry, is proof to the natural man to KNOW it to be above the human mind, and to a child of God it speaks with life, and love more potent than an earthly parent to their child. The Holy Spirit only can interpret his own words: " 'Tis foolishness to those who perish, but unto us who are saved it is the power of God."
I have a great benediction on my work. Wherever I go the dear mothers shake my hand and kiss my face, saying: "God bless you. I want to help you. You did what I wanted to do." It is the heart of motherhood running over with love. "The gentle are the brave, the loving are the daring."
I got a telegram from a man saying: "Your article in Physical Culture on the use of tobacco has cured me of the vice." One man from Omaha, Nebraska, wrote: "Three years ago I was a drunkard. I had a drug store. I was losing business and going to ruin generally. When I heard of what you did, I said: 'If that woman can do that to save others, I ought to do something for myself.' So now I am a changed man. My wife is a changed woman. I have to thank you and Almighty God. My business is growing every day."
Upon several occasions I have had people to put five dollars in my hand. While I was lecturing in Pasadena, California, for the Y. M. C. A. one young man put in my hand what I thought was a silver dollar, but on looking it was a twenty dollar gold piece. I said: "I will lay that up in heaven for you." And so I have. I never learned his name but he will certainly find that twenty dollars in the bank of heaven with interest.
When I first started out in this crusade I was called crazy and a "freak" by my enemies, but now they say: "No, Carry Nation, you are not crazy, but you are sharp. You started out to accomplish something and you did. You are a grafter. It is the money you are after." Jesus said: "John came neither eating or drinking and ye say, Behold a wine bibber and a glutton." So it is the world never did understand an unselfish life. It is a small thing to be judged by a man that withers as grass. "If I yet please man, I should not be the servant of Christ."