William S Cochrane.

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3 3433 07994829 9

Conflidt and Vid

William S. Cochrane






"f^^ ** Overcome evil with good."




Jknninah and Graham.


The writer is indebted for assistance to
many literary people whose thoughts have
oft refreshed him. He would gladly make
acknowledgment if possible^ but, having
disposed of his library years ago, and be-
ing too weak for study, quoting almost
entirely from memory, is unable to do
more than to ask those who recognize their
own literary thought to accept his thanks.
William S. Cochrane.

Ridgetoiun, Ont,



To THE Reader, - - - 5

Introduction, - - - 9

An Appreciation, - - - - 15

part L


I. Experience and Testimony, - 27

II. Lessons, - - - 43

III. Consecration, . . _ 59

TV. Culture, - - - 87

Y. Co-operation, - - - 107

VI. Christian Conduct, - - - 131

part II.

YII. The Fatherhood of God and the

Brotherhood OF Man, - - 153
YIII. Encouragement, - - - 169
IX. Intelligent Goodness, - - 185
X. The Kesponsibility of Citizen-
ship, ... - 203


The readers of this book, of whom I
hope there may be many, will not be able
to appreciate its real value without know-
ing something of the man, and of the con-
ditions under which he wrote it.

The Rev. William S. Cochrane has been
an honored and faithful member of the
Minnesota Annual Conference of the
Methodist Episcopal Church since 1888.
In 1900 he passed to the roll of veterans
on account of disability rather than age.

His twelve years of effective service
were characterized by careful and con-
scientious work, and in every place he
measured up to its demands. He was an
all-round Methodist preacher, and gave

1 Introduction.

himself entirely to his work. He is a man
of clean hands and a pure heart.

As a pastor he was faithful to his duties,
and as a preacher he was far above the
average. His sermons were prepared with
great care, usually written in full, and
were delivered in an easy, graceful, and
effective manner. His diction was elegant,
his exegesis sound, while it was always
his own ; his illustrations were appropri-
ate, and he was easily followed.

For three years before he was super-
annuated lie battled hopefully and heroic-
ally with disease, still continuing his work,
until it became clear to him, as it had been
to his friends for some time, that there
was no hoi)e of recovery without entire
rest from labor.

His disease, which has finally been pro-
nounced rheumatoid arthritis, progressed
slowly, insidiously, but constantly, until
nearly every joint in his body became rigid
and he was helpless. Five years ago his

Introduction. 1 1

eyesight began to fail, and again, slowly
but surely, this trouble progressed, until
our brother had passed into the twilight
and then into the dark— he is now blind.

Truly he could say, with Job: **Have
pity upon me, have pity upon me, ye,
my friends; for the hand of God hath
touched me."

During all these years of retirement and
disability he has continued cheerful, and
has never murmured at his hard lot.

He retains all his old-time interest in
the affairs of this world, both in Church
and State, takes a lively interest in his
old Conference and his old comrades, and
enjoys the visits and letters of friends to
the full limit.

During the past four years he has re-
sided at London, Ontario, until this spring
he removed to Ridgetown, Ontario.

Those who have visited him testify to
his remarkable patience and cheerfulness,
his Christian experience and life, and say

1 li Introduction.

that a visit to liis room is a means of
grace — he gives quite as much, even more,
than he receives from the visitor.

From this darkened chamber of help-
lessness he sends out this little book —
written at the request of friends — hoping
it may do some good in the world from
which he is shut out.

It breathes a divine fragrance to all who
remember the circumstances under which
it was written. Having read a large part
of the manuscript, I wonder at the fresh-
ness and vigor of his thought, the marvel-
ous retentiveness of his memory, and,
through constant correspondence with him
during all these years of his invalidism,
1 glorily God on his behalf who has en-
abled him to triumph and to glory even
in tribulation.

I am sure T shall be pardoned if I say
a word of the faithful, devoted woman,
wlio, during all these years, has borne a
double burden in caring for her suffering

Introduction, 13

hnsband. She has been to him hands and
feet and eyes, nurse and amanuensis —
faithful, true, constant. She has grown
old, not with years, but with double care
and anxiet}^ as truly a martyr as any who
faced the wild beasts in the Colosseum in
the early years of our era. The heroes
and heroines are not dead, thank the Lord,
and if the Son of man should come now
He would find faith in the earth.

When you read this book, think of him
who wrote it shut in from commerce with
the outer world and who can never see the
light of the sun, the blush of the rose, or
the face of wife, child, or friend, until he
sees in the light of that world where

"Sickness and sorrow, pain and death.
Are felt and feared no more."

E. R. Lathrop.
Hastings, Minn.


The Introduction to this little volume
has been written by the Rev. Ezra R.
Lathrop, A. M., an honored superannuate
of the Minnesota Conference, who looks
back on the past and forward to the sun-
rising from the summit of fifty years of
effective Christian ministry. His heart is
as young as ever, and his sympathy with
all men grows with his years. He has
written out of his heart of the author of
this book, and the greater part of the story
he has left untold. It is in my heart to
set down here a few words of further ap-
preciation of one of the noblest and most
strangely tried souls I have known. And


16 An Apjfyreciation.

I do it because trust has won such a vic-
tory, and because the story should be told
that those who need it may be comforted.

Nearly a score of years ago there came
into the membership of the Minnesota
Conference of the Methodist Episcopal
Church a young man of medium height,
erect, alert, a gentleman — whose speaking
eye and pleasant smile brought him at
once into the fellowship of the best minds
in that body. Plis well-trained mind and
his previous business life made him at once
the careful student and the wise manager
of the Churches he served. We took Wil-
liam S. Cochrane into full membership in
our hearts long before his Conference pro-
bation was ended.

His i)rogress was steadily upward in the
confidence of his brethren and in the re-
gard of the Churches. When his sky held
no cloud and his future seemed to hold
many years of effective service, his disease
brean its work TV\< was in the autumn

An Appreciation. 17

of 1896. He continued his work and, with
one leg in a plaster cast, got out and dis-
tributed the Annual Minutes of his Con-
ference, of which he was the secretary.
He was then in an important Church, and
between that and Asbury Hospital, in Min-
neapolis, the year was passed, varied by a
trip to Hot Springs, Ark. He took a lighter
work in 1897— coming to crutches, mean-
time—and preached until he could stand in
the pulpit no longer. By this time the
disease had progressed so far that he could
not hold in his arms the last infant he bap-
tized. Thus it went on: another winter
at Hot Springs, and the next in a private
hospital in Toronto, which he left in Feb-
ruary, 1900, pronounced an incurable.
What this sentence meant to this earnest,
consecrated man we will never know.
Since that time, for more than seven years
he has never been able to be dressed, ex-
cept in a loose dressing gown, and he has
not been able to lie in any position but


18 An Appreciation.

on his back in all these years. In the
winter of 1900, while taking the hot cyl-
inder treatment in Toronto, he noticed
that his back, hips, neck, and knees were
beginning to stiffen. For about a year
after he could sit propped in a chair an
hour or two each day. It required two,
and part of the time three, to lift him
from his cot to a chair. During all this
time his sufferings were intense. The
stiffening of the joints progressed until
there is scarcely any action possible, ex-
cept in the arms and feet. He can bend
his arms a little at the elbows, and can
move his shoulders in a slight degree.
He has not been able to get his hands to
his head for five years. His left hand is
not deformed and he can use the fingers;
but the right hand is pulled out at the
wrist joint, and any attempt at movement
causes great pain. For five years he has
not been able to feed himself.
Then dimness of vision came, and while

An Appreciati&n. 19

he can distinguish daylight from dark, it
is four years since he lost the ability to
distinguish any objects, and the darkness
is increasing all the time. This loss of
sight is one result of his disease.

While he could see the time passed more
quickly. He was interested in everything
about him. He noted the habits of the
birds, the squirrels, and domestic animals.
He watched the rain and snow and clouds.
The changing foliage, the waving grain,
the farmers in the fields — all gave him in-
terest and pleasure.

And all this time his mind has been as
clear and strong as in the days of his
health. With almost utter helplessness
upon him he joins in the family conversa-
tion and listens to the reading of the daily
and religious papers. In hours when he
is alone he outlines sermons, plans for
some shut-in like himself, and contributes
to the common fund of cheerfulness. A
letter from his pastor tells us that he

20 An Appn^eciation.

does more for his callers than they do
for him. He never sends his friends a
doleful message, but is an optimist through
and through. And this man, whose plan
of life was changed by a power not his
own, wlio was turned from a life of in-
creasing effectiveness in the wide field of
service into a quiet room to suffer, where
the windows of the world about him have
darkened into night, lives on, loves on,
hopes on, because he has the victory of
faith and has found the grace of God suf-
ficient for all his need. We thank God for
liis example now, which is mightier than
any sermon he ever preached. He knows
that his disease is incurable, and he knows
not when he shall be summoned to eternal
life and Ii.c:lit, but his victory is already
won, and all the rest is a small matter.
1 have written so nuich because I want
you to road this book as if you could see
liim in his sick chamber, as if you could
hoar his message in the same cheerful

An Appreciation. 21

tones which were his when we used to hear
him speak.

There is a gracious, patient woman who
has ministered at his bedside through all
these years. She is just the same now as
at the beginning, for love does not fail.
Other things fail : other things pass away :
but not love. Thank God !

One further word. I am hoping that this
little book will have a wide sale. It is
unique and worthy, and it will help far
beyond its cost. And each book sold will
add its mite to the comfort of that little
home in Ontario where lies one of God's
chosen, who watches and waits for the

H. C. Jennings.





"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord
Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of
all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation,
that we may be able to comfort them which are in
any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves
are comforted of God."

"When thou passest through the waters, I will be
with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not
overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire,
thou Shalt not be burned; neither shall the flam©
kindle upon thee."

"My grace is sufficient for thee."


In writing this and the following chap-
ter, my only purpose is to give encourage-
ment to tried and trusting believers, and
add my testimony to the keeping power of
the Christian religion. I have been greatly
helped by reading the accounts of other
sufferers who found in the Christian re-
ligion an all-sufficient support, and this
may be my opportunity to pass the bless-
ing on. If I can in this way reach and
comfort some one, as I have been reached
and comforted, then I shall be satisfied.

Brought up on a farm, educated at the
public school and Collegiate Institute, and
given a fine training in the hardware busi-
ness, I entered the ministry with a fair
knowledge of men and things. I knew
something of the strenuous nature of mod-


28 Conflict and Victory,

ei'ii business and professional life, and this
gave my ministry a decidedly practical
turn. It was ever my aim to preach a
gospel of applied Christianity. That 1
had ambitions and aimed to rank well
among my brethren, I am frank to ac-
knowledge. Had I pursued my ideal less
earnestly, it might have been better phys-
ically with me to-day, but having had un-
interrupted good health for over twenty
years, I had come to regard myself as able
to endure almost any amount of exposure,
pastoral work, and hard study. During a
pastorate of fourteen years three short
vacations are all that T can record.

The folly of such a course is wonderfully
apparent to me now. In this particular I
think our Church for the ])ast twenty-five
years has ])ursued a policy that has been
destructive of valuable energy. Her
Preachers' Meetings, Ministerial Insti-
tutes, and Clerical Clubs liave been given
over altogether too much to the discussion

Experience and Testimony. 29

of ministerial work. She has been em-
phasizing sound preaching, pastoral work,
methods of study, evangelization, and ap-
plied Christianity, until the conscientious
pastor has returned to his charge rebuked
for the smallness of his results and goaded
to a determination to bring up his charge
to what other people think it ought to be.
I believe there are hundreds of preachers
who are working beyond their strength,
and are, year in and year out, on the
ragged edge of physical endurance
through pursuing just such an insane
policy as that which has brought me into
my present condition.

Not that I would undervalue good
preaching, wise methods, and earnest en-
deavor, but I would make the work of the
ministry to conserve rather than deplete
valuable energy, nervous force, and good
health. Only once do I remember of hav-
ing listened to a common-sense paper on
the important subject of ministerial health

30 Conjlict and Victory.

and its relation to success in the ministry,
and that was when Dr. H. C. Jennings,
then of Red Wing, Minnesota, read his
paper, entitled, '^A New Puritanism,'' be-
fore the Preachers' Meeting in St. Paul,
and the unfortunate thing about it was
that it was not half appreciated. I plead
for a month's vacation at least each year
for every minister of the Gospel. Give
him an opportunity to get out from under
the burden and indulge in restful relax-
ation. It is the conscientious, faithful
preachers who will be most benefited by
such an outing and who will make the most
valuable returns for vacation investments.
As a minister of the Gospel, I tried to
be faithful in my pastoral labors, espe-
cially to the unfortunate and the shut-in.
My work among the latter class was most
beneficial to me, for I saw, as I could not
otherwise see, the value of our holy reli-
gion where the testing strain of life is the
severest. So impressed was I with this

Experience and Testimony. 31

fact that it became a part of my stock in
trade to declare that the Christian can be
happy and rejoice under the most distress-
ing circumstances. I had seen it, and I
believed it, but I little knew then that I
would be called upon to illustrate my own
positions in my own life.

As I look back now I feel that my pur-
pose was pure in doing what I could to
merit promotion and enlarge my field of
usefulness, but the lack of wisdom lay in
my methods of procedure. I failed to
give myself fair play, and as a result,
nervous prostration set in. In this weak-
ened condition I became an easy prey to
rheumatoid arthritis which, up to the pres-
ent, has defied all medical treatment.

My first trial came to me when I was
pastor of an influential Church and secre-
tary of my Conference. The apprehension
that progressive ministerial work must
cease, temporarily at least, filled me with
distressing forebodings. It overtook me

32 Conflict and Victory.

when I felt that my family especially
needed me, and taken in connection with
the thought that I must relinquish my
chosen work seemed almost unendurable.
I shall never forget the sadness of my
feelings at the last Annual Conference I
was privileged to attend. The resigning
of the Conference secretaryship was in it-
self enough to discourage the most san-
guine of men, but when I asked for lighter
work and was met by a feeling of distrust
of my physical ability to care for it on the
part of those who had the good of the
work at heart, my previous apprehensions
seemed suddenly to become realized, and
the distress of the hour was severe beyond
measure. Only those who have passed
through such an ordeal can appreciate in
any due measure the severity of the trial.
The religion of Jesus Christ is the only
thing that can steady, cheer, and sustain
in such an hour.
The packing up, moving, and settling

Experience and Testimony. 33

which the taking of lighter work necessi-
tated, made a serious inroad upon my vital
energy. This was followed by a painful
year, relieved, so far as human effort
could minister, by the earnest sympathy and
hearty co-operation of a loyal people, who
asked of me the direction of the forces and
only such service as my strength would
permit me to render. They came so near
to me in their willingness to relieve me of
any service which they could perform that
I have ever since borne them in a loving
remembrance. Even the little boys and
girls vied with each other in rendering
some service which assured me of the
genuine sympathy of the home and that
m}" affliction was properly talked over
when I was not present. Although that
year's cloud was heavy, it had its silver
lining, and when the year closed it was
found to be one of progress with a very
marked change of sentiment to that which
characterized its opening. I verily believe

34 Conflict and Victory.

that my affliction was a benediction to that
Church. I was fortunate in following a
pastor who, although not needing it him-
self, having his own home, took the pre-
caution and had built and paid for under
his own supervision a well-arranged par-
sonage, so that my last year in the min-
istry was made much more comfortable by
his thoughtful consideration.

The closing of the year brought its sad-
ness and trial, for it meant the breaking
up of our home and the sending away of
the older child, a mere girl needing a
mother's oversight, to the home of a
friend, that she might continue her edu-
cation. The storing of the household
goods and preparations for a journey to a
health resort, taken in connection with the
disappointment caused by the failure of
the lighter work to do for us what we had
anticipated, and the stubborn progress of
the disease, made real to us in a marked
manner the Biblical statement, ''Hope de-

Expey^ience cmd Testimony, 35

f erred maketh the heart sick.'' It made a
''via dolorosa'' of what under other cir-
cumstances would have been a very de-
lightful trip.

Anxious to do what I could to regain my
health, I determined to spend the winter
in Hot Springs, Ark., and try what a warm
climate and the hot baths would do to re-
lieve my trouble. I was doomed to further
disappointment, for my condition steadily
grew worse instead of yielding to treat-
ment. ^Hien I went to Hot Springs I
could manage to get around with a crutch
and a cane, but when I left, eight months
later, although I had given the baths a
fair trial, I had either to be wheeled in a
chair, or carried. We accepted an invita-
tion to the old home for the summer, hop-
ing that a summer on the farm might have
a restorative effect, and once again I was

Up to this time 1 had not given up the
hope of a recovery, and as drowning

36 Conflict cmd Victory.

people catch at straws, I laid hold upon
another hope. A Methodist preacher in-
formed me that his wife had been cured
of the same trouble that afflicted me by a
specialist in Toronto, in whose private hos-
pital rheumatism was made a specialty. I
went and took the hot cylinder treatment
for four months, returning at the expira-
tion of that time pronounced by the phy-
sician in charge an incurable. That was
seven years ago, since which time I have
never been dressed. I have only been able
to sit up for a limited time, and for the
last five years have lain on my back, only
sitting up while my cot was being made.
At present, half an hour every other day
is my limit.

I thought I had reached my heaviest
trial when I realized what it meant to be
an incurable. I can not describe the feel-
ing, the strange sinking at the heart which
came upon me when I realized that for the

Experience and Testimony. 37

rest of the journey I should belong to the
ranks of the totally disabled, and be to
those whom I loved most and who most
reciprocated my love a burden and a care.

Once more I was mistaken, for a deeper
sorrow and a heavier affliction awaited me
in the darkening of the world and the fad-
ing of those faces, the light of whose coun-
tenances meant so much to me.

If my ideal had been less exalted, my
hopes less sanguine, and my prospect of
success less promising, I might not have
suffered such mental agony, such soul tor-
ture, in being reduced to my present con-

As I look back over it all now, I can
not realize what I know I have passed
through ; but of one thing I can confidently
affirm, and that is, that the declaration of
my earlier ministry regarding the sustain-
ing power of the Gospel of Christ holds
good. If it had not been for this, I never

38 Conflict and Victory.

could have come through it as I have. I
have put some of God's promises to the
test and have found them verifiable. Yea
and amen to him that believeth.

"The tears we shed are not in vain;

Nor worthless is the heavy strife ;
For, like the bruised seed of grain.

They rise to renovated life.
It is through tears our spirits grow;

'Tis in the tempest souls expand;
They simply teach us how to go

To Him who leads us by the hand.
Let 's welcome, then, the stormy blast;

Let's welcome, then, the ocean's roar;
They only drive more sure and fast

Our trembling bark to heaven's bright

That a great opportunity has been given
to me to demonstrate the worth of our holy-
religion I can now see clearly, but I can
see just as clearly that T have not meas-
ured up to the greatness of the oppor-
tunity. May the uext man who follows in
mv wake do much better. He can do

Exj^erience and Testimony. 39

better, vastly better, if he will start in with
the knowledge and purpose which 1 now

There are some lessons which we may
learn in the fnrnace of affliction that we
can not learn elsewhere, but these I must
leave for another chapter.


I see the wrong that round me lies,

I feel the guilt within;
I hear, with groan and travail-cries.

The world confess its sin.

Yet, in the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by storm and flood.

To one fixed trust my spirit clings:
I know that God is good.

I dimly guess from blessings known

Of greater out of sight.
And, with the chastened Psalmist own

His judgments, too, are right.

I know not what the future hath

Of marvel or surprise.
Assured alone that life and death

His mercy underlies.

And if my heart and flesh are weak

To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed He will not break,

But strengthen and sustain.


I BELIEVE that a Being of infinite, active
love controls the universe. I have no
theodicy, never having been able to con-
struct one that did not raise more ques-
tions than the greatest Christian philos-

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Online LibraryWilliam S CochraneConflict and victory → online text (page 1 of 8)