Copyright
P. H. (Patrick Henry) Fleming.

Mother's answered prayer online

. (page 1 of 5)
Online LibraryP. H. (Patrick Henry) FlemingMother's answered prayer → online text (page 1 of 5)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


i)^-^:




m



■^^' ^'^:m^



\^ r ti.^^\\^\a '



XI aB



MOTHER'S
ANSWERED PRAYER.






Rev. p. H. FLEMING,

PASTOR CHRISTIAN CHURCH, BURLINGTON, N. C.



PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR

BY THE CHRISTIAN SUN, ELON COLLEGE, N. C.

I 905



THE HEW YOKK?

PUBLIC LIBRA

TIU>EN FOUNDATfONi, j



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1905, by The

Christian Sun, Elon College, N. C, in the Office of

the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



'RESSES OF EDWARDS & BROUGHTOt
RALEIGH, N. C.



tilts Itttk hulum^ is t^nJi^rlfl tttsrnh^b.



INTRODUCTON.

"There is no great and no small
To the Soul that maketh all:
And where it cometh, all things are;
And it Cometh everywhere."

"There is one mind common to all individual
men. Every man is an inlet to the same and to
all of the same. He that is once admitted to the
right of reason is made a freeman of the whole
estate. What Plato has thought, he may think ;
what a saint has felt, he may feel; what at any
time has befallen any man, he can understand.
Who hath access to this universal mind, is a
party to all that is or can be done, for this is the
only and sovereign agent. * * * It is this uni-
versal nature which gives worth to particular
men and things. * * * This human mind wrote
history and this must read it. The Sphinx must
solve her own riddle. If the whole of history is
in one man, it is all to be explained from individ-
ual experience. * * * in other words, there is
properly no History; only Biography. Every
soul must know the whole lesson for itself." So
wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson of " History."

In the following pages somewhat of history is
set forth from individual experience. One soul
has been touched with a high lesson and "Moth-
er's Answered Prayer" is the product of that
souPs learning and utterance. The lesson is of



6 INTRODUCTION.

a high theme, and the reader will somehow feel
that his own, and not the author's experience, is
being related. For in this Christian land, where
is the boy or girl, man or woman, who in over-
coming temptation has not felt the help of a
power more than himself or herself, or in yield-
ing felt that other hands than those of self were
being stained, or facing life's serious problems
felt that "Mother prayed for me, or father did, or
friend, and if I succeed, as God helping me I will,
it will be by virtue of prayers uttered by other
lips, and more worthy than my own?'' For into
every life that overcomes there is poured strength
from many sources other than its own. Good
mothers and great explain great men; and the
boundless faith of a dying mother is the key to
the boundless labors of many a stalwart son.
There is yet hope for the boy who has had, or
now has, a praying mother. But the world may
well stop to pity the boy or girl, it matters not
what the other accomplishments and acquire-
ments may be, for whom no devoted mother or
godly father has ever uttered a fervent prayer.

The following pages tell the life story, in the
plainest and most straight-forward fashion, of a
man now, a boy then, for whom his mother
prayed. While yet in early childhood, and with-
out knowledge of prayer and its significance, that
mother passed out into the spirit land and the
child was left an orphan to face the trials and



INTRODUCTION. i

temptations of a none too friendly world. Not
till that sainted mother's prayer was answered
in his own life did he know anght of its utter-
ance. He is himself a living example, well
known and much loved for his faithful service to
humanity, of "Mother's Answered Prayer." If
any doubt that prayer is answered in this world,
let them read with hope and faith these pages.

The printed page reveals the author and needs
no word of introduction. This "foreword" is
only written to let the reader know that at least
one other than the writer prays God's blessings
upon it, and having been himself much edified
and benefited by reading, sometimes with tears,
all the time with joy and a grateful heart, the
manuscript, believes sincerely, and fervently
hopes, that others will be helped by a reading of
these printed pages. For most truly has the
author written, not to add one more book to the
multitude gone before, but because he had a mes-
sage, his soul a loving thought, which he must
needs give utterance to. The reader may not
think the utterance proportionate, but no one
more quickly than the author, we are sure, would
agree with the words of Emerson, "We but half
express ourselves, and are ashamed of that di-
vine idea which each of us represents. It may
be safely trusted as proportionate and of good
issues, so it be faithfully imparted, but God will



8 INTRODUCTION.

not have His work made manifest by cowards.
A man is relieved and gay when he has put his
heart into his work and done his best; but w^hat
he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no
peace.'' We freely bespeak for the reading some-
thing of that peace that the author has enjoyed
in preparing these pages of '^Mother's Answered
Prayer.''

J. O. Atkinson.



PREFACE,

The noblest heritage that parents can give to
their children, is that of a Christian parentage.
The Psalmist David says, ''I have been young
and now I am old, yet have I not seen the right-
eous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.'' Our
God is a just and loving Father, and though He
visits the iniquity of the fathers upon the chil-
dren unto the third and fourth generation of
them that hate Him : yet He sheweth mercy unto
thousands of them that love Him and keep His
commandments. In Deuteronomy 7: 8 we read,
"Know therefore that the Lord thy God, He is
God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant
and mercy with them that love Him and keep His
commandments, to a thousand generations."

I know of no higher eulogy to pronounce upon
my parents than this, that they gave to me a
Christian birth and the attendant blessings there-
of. My parents and my grandparents were Chris-
tians. I count that a noble heritage. I mention
this, because in the following narrative, we trace
in the history of a life, something of the Chris-
tian influence of parents, and a mother's prayer
for her little son, then between eight and nine
years of age.

P. H. Fleming.

BURLINGTOX, N. C.



CONTENTS.

PAGE.

I. Prayer 13

II. Parentage and Birth 14

III. Recollections OF Early Life 17

IV. Mother's Sickness and Death.. 26

V. Father's Illness AND Death 36

VI. Why Was Father;:Not Spared? 42

VII. The Call to Preach 48

VIII. His First Sermon 61

IX. MotherXPRAyer Answered 70

X. Is Mother Near? 82

XI. A Visit to the Old Home 90

XII. Conclusion 95

"To My Mother." Postlude 97



MOTHER'S
ANSWERED PRAYER.



CHAPTER I.



PRAYER.



'' Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
Uttered or unexpressed,
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast."

'' Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of an eye,
When none but God is near."

*' Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try ;
Prayer the sublimest strains that reach
The Majesty on high."

** Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
The Christian's native air ;
His watchword at the gates of death,
He enters heaven with prayer."

''Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice,
Returning from his ways ;
While angels in their songs rejoice.
And cry : ' Behold he prays.' "

'' thou! by whom we come to God,
The life, the truth, the way,
The path of prayer thyself hast trod ;
Lord ! teach us how to pray."



CHAPTER II.

PARENTAGE AND BIRTH.

In a Southern country home, in Carolina, there
was born on the 3d day of August, 1862, a little
boy, the subject of this sketch. He was of Chris-
tian parentage, and was born in the Christian
home of his grandparents. He was his mother's
first born, and she called him Henry. The war
between the North and the South was at that
time fiercely raging; but Henry's father was yet
at home. A younger brother of Henry's father
had volunteered to take his place in the army, in
order that Henry's father might remain at home.
This younger brother was not yet of military age,
and he said that he had only himself to look after
and to care for, while his older brother had a
family. It was a noble example of brotherly
love and devotion: the willingness to take a
brother's place in the hour of danger, and if
needs be of death, in order that a brother who
had others dependent upon him might remain at
home with those he loved, and thus shelter, pro-
tect and care for them.

This arrangement did not last long, for when
this younger brother became of military age, he
took his own place in Lee's army, and by his side
stood this older brother, who had left all — home,
wife, child — in obedience to duty and to his coun-



PARENTAGE AND BIRTH. 15

try's call. They were in Company C, 46tli Regi-
ment, Cook's Brigade, Heath's Division, and A. P.
Hill's Corps.

Once when they were under fire of the enemy,
and were lying flat upon the ground, and the elder
brother had his head on the younger's feet, a
shell burst near them and seriously wounded the
younger brother. He was unconscious for some
time. When consciousness returned, one of the
first things he remembered was his older brother
asking him about his future. Under shot and
shell his thoughts turned to the spiritual condi-
tion of his brother, who he thought was now
dying. He recovered, however, minus an arm.
In 1864, about the Crater at Petersburg, Va.,
Henry's father was taken prisoner, and carried
to Point Lookout. After General Lee surren-
dered and the w^ar was declared ended, it was
some three months or more before Henry's father
could get home. Henry was now nearly three
years old. His mother had resided during the war
with her husband's parents; and it was to the
old, old home that Henry's father returned when
the war was over. Of the four brothers that en-
tered the bloody and hard-fought battles in the
war between the States of the North and of the
South, three returned to the old homestead
alive. One was brought back dead, before the
war closed. There was great rejoicing in that
home when the three soldier bovs returned to the



16 mother's answered prayer.

old home, in their tattered and worn suits of
Confederate gray. The gray-bearded father, and
mother, the younger brothers and sisters, and
Henry's mother, all rejoiced. The war was over,
and nearly everything had been losst, except love,
truth, devotion to duty, and faith in God; these
all remained, together with true manhood and
womanhood, to grace, make happy and hopeful;
and to build once more beautiful and peaceful
Southern homes.



CHAPTER III.

RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY LIFE.

Not long after the return of Henry's father
from the war, to the old home, his parents moyed
some two miles from his grandparents, and set
up housekeeping on their own account. His
mother kept house and his father tilled the soil.
There were many diflfiiculties confronting the
home-builders of those days. All business was
in an unsettled condition. The future looked
dark and apparently had within it but little hope.
Henry's parents never owned a slave, but in the
new order of things brought about by the result
of the war, and congressional legislation, they
felt some of the evils which came in that period
of Southern history, known as "Reconstruc-
tion.'' But with a firm trust in God, believing
that He rights the wrongs and that He delivers
those who trust in Him, out of all their troubles,
they hopefully and cheerfully pursued their
daily avocations. The steps of a good man are
ordered by the Lord; and He delighteth in His
way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast
down: for the Lord upholdeth him with His
hand. Ps. 37 : 23-24.

Henry's mother was a "crown to her husband,
and her price was far above rubies. She looked
well to the ways of her household. She ate not

2



18



the bread of idleness. She stretched forth her
hands to the needy. She opened her mouth with
wisdom, and her tongue uttered the law of kind-
ness. She feared God, and safely trusted in
Him. A prudent wife is from the Lord, and a
woman that feareth the Lord shall be praised."

Henry remembers very little about this new
home and the difficulties which confronted his
parents in their first home-building. It is best
that he does not. God sometimes kindly veils
from our eyes the difficulties, struggles, heart-
aches and tears of those whom we love, when we
are powerless to aid or to soothe. Among the
recollections of this his new home, there is not
the slightest sorrow of any character. Not a
cross word, not a sigh, not a tear. He was young,
and to him it is all joy and sunshine. His first
recollection of childhood is a happy childhood
with joy and sunshine everywhere. For him the
birds sang, the flowers bloomed, and a negro boy
told wild and weird stories of the long-ago, or
of hobgoblins, jack-o'-lanterns, wild creatures of
the forest, of ghosts which were believed to wan-
der in deserted houses and to linger about the
graves of the sleeping dead, and about the won-
derful witches and Avizards which were thought
to come and to go at will. But Henry believed
that these things never harmed the good.

It was always a very great pleasure to Henry
to go with his father and mother to see his grand-



RECOLLECTIONS OP EARLY LIFE. 19

parents. It was his other home. Little did he then
dream or think that the home of his grandparents
was soon to become his only home. Henry's pa-
rents were devoted to him, and bestowed a great
deal of care on him, as also did his grandparents,
whom he never ceased to call ^Ta'' and "Mam-
my," even when he had grown to be a man. His
own father and mother he called "Papa'' and
"Mamma." After remaining on this rented farm
for about one year, they moved some twenty
miles distant and settled on a farm of their own.
This was in the fall of the year 1866. When
they first went to housekeeping they had rented
or leased a farm from an old gentleman near the
old home place. But now they had property of
their own, and they settled upon it, thinking
perhaps there to spend their days, and there to
share life's joys and sorrows together, and to
fight life's battles as one. The way seemed to be
brightening. There was much joy and gladness
in that home. They saw not the gathering cloud,
heard not its distant mutterings, and its forked
lightnings flashed not as yet before their eyes.
The rainfall of tears fell not as yet upon the
mother's rosy cheeks, nor upon the sun-browned
face of the father ; nor from the eyes of the little
ones who threw their arms about mother's neck,
and climbed into papa's lap for glad good-night
kisses. But a cloud of deep sorrow was gather-
inff. Yet God was in that cloud. The cloud had



20 mother's answered prayer.

its rainbow of promise, and when the mists shall
have cleared away we shall then know why that
cloud came. But not now. It was a happy fam-
ily. Love was in that home. The house consist-
ed of a two-story frame building, fronting south.
It had a porch in front and a rock chimney at
each end. On the west end by the side of the
chimney was a door which opened out upon a
small porch. In the northwest corner of the
yard stood the kitchen, and west of the kitchen
stood the stables on a flint-rock knoll. Some
distance from the house in a westerly direction
was a spring of excellent water at the foot of a
steep hill. Approaching the house was a long
lane, with farm lands on each side. In the front
yard stood a beautiful mimosa tree; and here
also were quite a number of Paradise trees.
North of the house were wild mulberry, walnuts,
and oaks. East of the house was the garden,
and between the house and the garden was a row
of cedar trees and holly bushes. The yard was
large and well shaded. It was inclosed, and all
together it made a delightful place to play. And
here under the mulberry's leafy shade, or watch-
ing the humming bird flit from flower to flower
inhaling nectar sweet, in lane, in garden, about
the barn and the farm, Henry spent many of his
childhood's happy hours. The west room of the
house was known as "Mamma's room," and here
it was at night-fall that the family gathered so



RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY LIFE. 21

peaceful and happy. Here it was they knelt in
prayer at evening tide, when the day's work was
done. From his mother's room Henry watched
the falling rain or the beautiful snow beating
against the window pane. Here it was that
Henry fell asleep on his little bed, right beside
his mother's, when his little prayer had been
said, and the good-night kisses given. And there
he quietly slept till rosy morn, while mother and
angels kept watch.

There were born unto Henry's parents four
children, two boys and two girls. One of the
girls died in infancy. Some one said that her
name was Kate, but if she ever had a name given
her, Henry remembers it not. But God knew her,
and remembered her when she reached the pearly
gates, and Jesus received her I am sure, because
He loves little children. Jesus said when He
dwelt on the earth in human form : "Suffer the
little children to come unto me, and forbid them
not : for of such is the kingdom of God. And He
took them up in His arms, put His hands upon
them, and blessed them." And perhaps the an-
gels named her when they carried her to Jesus.
If so, I know they gave her a beautiful name.
Henry's brother and remaining sister lived, and
together they shared the sorrows which soon be-
fell the family. Henry was the oldest child of
the four, and he was less than ten when his
mother died. His brother was five or six and his



22 mother's answered prayer.

sister some two or three years old when the home
was broken up by death. At this time the family
consisted of husband and wife and three chil-
dren ; and it is the history of the oldest child — a
boy — Henry by name, that we wish to trace in
the remarkable answer to his mother's dying
prayer. Henry often said when he became a
man, that '^What I am, is the result of Christian
parentage, Christian training, and mother's pray-
ers through Christ Jesus, the Saviour."

He realizes that as an individual he has had
to decide against sin and in favor of righteous-
ness; that he has repented of sin and confessed
Christ in the forgiveness of sins. But, O! the
blessed help that has come from Christian pa-
rents and from his mother's prayers. Especially
her last prayer for her little boy. Henry's
mother prayed not alone for him, but for all the
family, papa, brother and sister; but she named
especially that which she prayed to God that
Henry might be.

Photographed on Henry's mind are pictures
of his parents which time can not efface; and he
thinks that he will know them when he gets to
the home in heaven. Here are in part word pic-
tures of his parents. His father w^as a tall, erect
man with black hair and beard. His eyes were
brown. His shoulders were broad, and he pre-
sented a manly appearance. He was a manly
man, a follower of Christ and a member of the



RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY LIFE. 23

Christian church. In prayer he was noted as
one who seemed to talk to God as friend with
friend.

His mother was a beautiful type of Southern
womanhood. Her complexion was fair, her
face round. Her hair was black. Her form
was graceful, and her words were gentle. Her
eyes were blue, and at times seemed to swim in
tears; liquid eyes that emitted expressions of
love, joy and peace. Her lips were rosy, and
ofttimes a slight flush was seen upon her cheeks.
Sometimes her eyes showed that she had been
weeping. But none saw her weep. She had
been alone, talking with God. She had been
praying. She told her Heavenly Father all about
her sorrows and cast upon Jesus all her care. We
shall learn, by and by, something of her prayer to
God, and of His answer to her request. A part
of the answer came long years afterwards, but
it came.

She bore the burden of wifehood and mother
without complaint, and when lingering diseai^e
and intense suffering came, she was still hopeful
and trusted in the blessed Saviour's love. All
that knew her loved her. She was a child of God,
she loved her Saviour, and was a member of the
Christian church. She would often take her chil-
dren and tell them about Jesus and His love.
She taught them how to pray, and read to them
from God's Holy Book, the Bible. She taught



24 mother's answered prayer.

Henry how to sing his first Sabbath school hymn.
At night-fall when the sun was set, and the stars
came out, it was Mamma who tucked the children
away in their little bed, after the good-night
kisses had been given, and their little prayers
had been said. In much tenderness and love
would she do this, and then go about her work,
occasionally humming some familiar hymn. Per-
haps more than once the children may have seen
a tear drop and felt its warmth upon their cheeks,
as she bent over and kissed them good-night. But
the tears were quickly brushed away and she said :
"Now go to sleep." She was doubtless thinking
about the children when other hands would put
them to bed, and was wondering if they then
would be loved. Would they be trained for
Christ? Who would be mother when she was
gone? She was beginning to realize that she
could not be with them much longer. The chil-
dren knew it not, and in their gleeful childhood,
Avith frolic and joy, went to bed without pain,
sorrow or tear. They knew mother was near.
But no doubt if they could have awakened in the
stillness and darkness of the night, save the fire-
light on the hearth, and lay quietly without
speaking a word, and looked by their little bed,
there they might have seen some one dressed in
a white robe, bowed down upon the knees, the
hands up to the face, the elbows resting upon
their little bed. Long the bowed form lingered



RECOLLECTIONS OF EARLY LIFE. 25

in prayer. And could the children have heard
the heart speaking with God, when all others of
the household slept, they would have recognized
Mamma praying to God to care for her little chil-
dren when He should take her to live with Him in
heaven. And through sorrow^s dark cloud, and
the rain of tears, God's beautiful rainbow of
promise always appeared. She realized that God
did hear and that He would answer her prayer.
From her knees she would arise, brush back the
tears, stand a moment looking down upon her
sleeping little ones, and then turn her eyes
heavenward and say, "Father, not my will, but
Thine be done." God saw her, and heard her
prayer.



CHAPTER IV.

mother's sickness and death.

As time passed on, Henry's mother grew pale
and thin, and often showed signs of extreme suf-
fering, but not a word of complaint or murmur
escaped her lips. Her heart was staid on God
and she had sweet peace within. The rose in her
cheeks began to fade and her eyes seemed to be
sinking in her head. Her hands grew thin and
bony. Her steps became slow and trembling.
She suffered much. The physician came regu-
larly. One day two or three doctors came. They
examined her carefully and consulted together
regarding her condition. They said that she had
a spinal affection, but gave encouragement as to
recovery.

Being young in years, Henry did not know
what all this meant. And had not the Doctor
said that his Mamma "must get well, and that
she would be living at Christmas and weighing
forty pounds more than she did then"? This
was in the last days of June, and Christmas, the
time when we hang up our stockings, was a long
way off, to Henry. And then the Doctor had
said that "Mamma would be well at Christmas."
What a happy time that would be for Henry!
His mother well, the rose in her cheeks, the hang-
ing up of stockings on Christmas eve! Christ
was born, you know, on Christmas day. What



mother's sickness and death. 27

joyous anticipations thrill the hearts of the little
ones. But our brightest hopes are often blasted.
It soon became apparent, to those old enough to
understand, that Henry's mother was in very
poor health, and that unless something could be
done for her relief, she could not live long. The
physicians came, but all their efforts to cure her
proved futile. She grew rapidly worse.

One morning Henry came to his mother's room
and noticed that she had been crying. He never
knew the reason. But there were tears in her.
eyes and tears in her voice. He went close to
her, but said not a word. He could not under-
stand. His father looked sad. The conversa-
tion changed when Henry came in, and soon the
tears disappeared.

It soon became apparent that the end was near.


1 3 4 5

Online LibraryP. H. (Patrick Henry) FlemingMother's answered prayer → online text (page 1 of 5)