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Most of the articles on these WebPages have been written by godly men with a central belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. However as with most of us, they may have different beliefs concerning some particular doctrines. These articles have been made available for the purpose of “gleaning the good” where good can be found. I do not necessarily endorse all that is written by others, anymore than I expect others to endorse all that I write.

Experience of Grace

Elder Baxter Hale

Dr. Day's Hospital,

Jacksonville, Ill., Jan. 3, 1915.

Dear Kindred in Christ:

     This sad and lonely Sunday morning while lying on  my bed, having undergone an operation for tuberculosis  of  the spine by the kind and skillful hand of Dr.  J.  A.  Day, and suffering in body, I can rejoice  in  the  Lord and say in the language of Job 13: 15, "Though he  slay me, yet will I trust him."

     I was born in Russell Co., Va., November 5, 1874.   Before  I was two years of age we moved to  Wise  Co.,  Va.,  and there lived until I was fifteen  years  old.   While  there  many  serious  thoughts  of  death   and  eternity  would  pass through my mind.   Often,  while  dear  old Elder Morgan T. Lipps would be preaching  in  father's  house, as he often did, I would  see  father  and  others  shedding tears.  I wondered why  or  what  would cause them to weep.

     I  often  got hurt and would  cry  over  childish  things,  but if I could only get to mother's  arms  it  was a great relief to me.  But when, later on, my poor  heart was burdened with sin, mother could not  relieve  me.   While  it  pleased God to take  mother  home  to  heaven  when  I was but nine years old,  I  can  still  remember  her kindness to me, especially when I am  in  such  condition  as at present, having  to  depend  on  others to care for me.  We have good, kind,  attentive  nurses  here  that we highly appreciate,  and  a  good  building well arranged and nicely furnished, yet it is  not like the trundle bed that mother placed beside the  fireplace  that  I might be in  the  most  comfortable  lace in the old log cabin with mother's kind hands to care for me.

     Dear  Christian  friends, pray for  me.   I  must  close for today.   Monday morning, Jan. 4, 1915.       After a kind "good morning" by the nurses, and  a  nice  breakfast, I feel somewhat refreshed,  and  wish  now  to tell my brethren and friends a little more  of  my past life.

     We  moved  from  Wise Co., Va.,  to  Grange  Co.,  Tenn., while I was in my fifteenth year, where I  soon  had  many young friends.  Some were quite good,  moral   boys,  and  others were not so good and  loved  strong  drink  and card games and other such things  as  wild,  reckless boys would call fun.

     After I had gained some knowledge of vocal music,  I  accepted  a  position in the  Methodist  church  as  leader  in their song service.  I would go  to  Sunday  School  and take part with them, and afterward  go  to  some secret place to spend the remainder of the day in  card  playing or some other disgraceful way, which  we  called  fun,  feeling  and knowing that  I  was  going  against the will and advice of a Christian father, and  showing  disrespect to the good mother who dandled  me on her knees when I was only a babe.

     I  went on fulfilling the lusts of the flesh  and  of the mind, dead to the knowledge of God and alive to  sin  and  wickedness,  dead  in  trespasses  and  sin,  without  God  and  without  hope  in  the  world,  not  realizing  that I needed a Savior, until I was  in  my  nineteenth  year.  I often went to a small town,  one- half  mile from home, and there waited in my  friend's  store  until  the customers all left.  Then  we  would  engage in our games, sometimes until break of day, and  father  at home suffering with the same disease, as  I  now  believe,  that I am suffering with here  in  this  hospital, needing my company that his mind might be at  rest  about his baby boy.  Oh, dear friends,  what  an  awful condition I was in!  But I praise God today  for  he moment, when I was engaged in one of these  games,  that it pleased God to show me the sad condition I was  in.  Trembling and shaking, I arose from the game  and  started  home with a heavy heart.  I stopped at  times  on my way and got down on my knees and tried to  pray.   When I reached home I went into my bedroom.  It  being  dark  I knelt by my bedside and begged God to  forgive  me,  for  I knew I had done wrong.  So, dear  ones,  I  have  a hope that on that night the Lord began a  good  work in my poor, sinful heart.

     Now, after a sad, yet pleasant day, with my  good  wife  and  oldest daughter, and some good  friends,  I  must close.  Tuesday morning, January 5, 1915.       After   a  nice,  good  breakfast,  and  as   the beautiful light of the morning appears, I note a large  tree  stands out from the building, with its  branches  reaching  out  close to my window.  A  beautiful  gray  squirrel comes near, playing and chattering, as if  to   say,  Cheer up, God is still reigning to give  us  the  sweetness  and the sunlight of another day.   Yet,  my  mind is turned back to the time of darkness when I was  afraid that God would not hear my prayers.

     Soon  after  the dark night  above  mentioned,  I  began to attend a protracted meeting at the  Methodist  church spoken of before, conducted by Rev. Mort, as he  was called.  I often got in such condition as to leave  my company and seek the secret places in the  lonesome  forest.    I  sometimes  listened  to  the  call   and  pleadings of the workers in the meetings and would  go  to  the mourners' bench, hoping to get relief from  my  troubled condition.  It seemed to do me no good, but I  attended during the four week's service, and conducted  the  song  service, trying to believe  the  preaching.   This   same   preacher  commenced   a   meeting   near  Tatespring,  Tennessee, and I attended there.   Father  often  asked me if I was sick, but I would  tell  him,  "No," and get out of his presence as soon as I  could.   I had a place by the manger in the old log barn  where  I  would get on my knees in secret, and beg  the  Lord  for mercy and to spare my life.

     On one bright, sunshiny morning I got ready to go to  church.   My  brother next  older  than  I,  said,  "Baxter,  if  you will wait a few minutes I  will  get  ready and go with you."  I, desiring to be alone, told  him  I would walk on slowly and he could overtake  me.   So I started and as soon as I got out of sight of  the  house, left the road and turned into a neighbor's  lot  where I could keep some cedar trees between me and the  house  until I could reach a thick cluster  of  cedars  and  shrubbery  where I desired to  pray.   The  large  stones that stood above the surface of the earth,  and  the  evergreen trees, and the birds and  insects  with  their  noises,  all  seemed  to  be  crying,  "Guilty,  guilty,  guilty  sinner."  At last I thought  I  would  make my last effort to pray, and I do not know whether  I bowed on my knees or not, but something came over me  that  gave  me relief, and I was laughing  instead  of  mourning, and the stones looked pleasant and the trees  looked  bright.  The birds and insects and all  nature  seemed to be singing praises to God.

     I  went  on  to the church  and  my  brother  was  standing  outside  by  the door.  As I  walked  up  he  looked pleasant and said, "Which way did you come?"  I  made  some excuse, and just then the preacher came  to  the door and said, "Well, Baxter, you look better."  I  answered  him that there had been nothing  the  matter  with me, and walked away, vowing within myself that  I  would  never  tell what had taken place.   I  returned  home  after meeting with my brother.  I went into  the  yard whistling, and when I went into father's room  he  said,  "Son, you are feeling better, are you not?"   I  said, "I have not been sick."

     I  went  to the barn and wept, but not as  I  had  before.   I wanted to tell father all about  what  had  happened, but something seemed to say, "It won't do to  tell it."  So I went on.  Church members would call me  "brother,"  and my associates outside would  say,  "He  has religion," but I would deny it and say, "Not  me."   In order to show them that there had been no change in  me,  I  entered  into  their  fun  again.   But,  dear  brethren, it was no fun for me, for all the  enjoyment  of  card playing, drinking, dancing and such like  was  gone.   When  I  engaged in a game  in  the  same  old  storehouse  I  felt as though the  floors  would  sink  through  with me, and the parties I was  playing  with  said,  "What is the matter with Baxter?"  I  threw  my  cards  on  the  table and said,  "I  will  never  play  another game of cards," - and I never have.

     I got into such a condition I thought I could not  stay  at  home,  so  I prepared  to  go  back  to  old  Virginia.  I well remember what father said to me  the  morning  I left.  "If you cannot stay with me  and  be  satisfied,  you will have to go, but the Lord go  with  you."   I went into Wise Co., Va., never expecting  to  see  home again.  I thought I would go there,  no  one  would know anything of my troubles and it would be all  right.  When I had worked awhile someone said, "Baxter  is surely a Christian, he doesn't drink and swear."  I  did  not  stay long there, but took work in  the  coal  mines among people of other nationalities.  They would  ask  me  what made me so good and I'd  soon  look  for  another  job.  So I left the coal mines and went  into  Kentucky  where my only sister lived.   While  staying  there  I often waited until after the others had  gone  to  bed,  then I would go into my room,  kneel  by  my  bedside and beg the Lord for mercy and pardon.  I  did  very  well  until  my two  older  brothers  came  from  Tennessee  and  told  me  of  father's  condition.   I  thought  I never could go back and live.  I  sought  a  hiding  place  to pray and  sometime  afterward  found  myself near the river in a thicket of laurel, with  my  sister,  her mother-in-law and my brothers, and I  was  begging  the  Lord  to  take me  from  this  world  or  reconcile me to go back home.

     I left there and went back to Virginia, and  went  to  work in the iron ore mines.  My work was far  back  under  the mountains and all along in my room the  top  was so low that I could not stand straight, but had to  go  bowed down or on my knees or lying down to  do  my  work.   This, dear brethren, was a miserable place  to  stay  all  day long alone, yet I  enjoyed  many  sweet  moments  in  there.   I sang the good  old  songs  and  sometimes I felt the presence of Jesus.  My mind would  go  back to the place where I first saw the light  and  the  burden of my heart was removed and I  would  find  myself  praising  God.   The dear Lord's  arm  is  not  shortened  that  it cannot save, neither  is  his  ear  heavy  that  it  cannot hear, and  his  mercy  endures  forever.   I  feel that his rich mercy  was  all  that  saved my life in the heart of that mountain.

     After  toiling  there for more than a  year,  one  morning  while lying on my side, mining the dirt  from  under the ore, I moved backward and turned on my back,  with  my  face toward heaven to rest  my  tired  arms,  thinking  of father at home needing my help, and  what  it  was  that was keeping me from home.  All  at  once  something  fell  by  my side, just caught  my  hand  a  little and brushed my shoulder and knocked my lamp off  my  cap.  When I found my matches and lamp and had  my  light  burning  again, I found that the piece  of  ore  that I had been working under, which would weigh  over  a  ton, had fallen.  I turned my eyes  toward  heaven,  and said, "Praise God for sparing my life."  Something  seemed  to  say to me, "Blessed art thou, go  home  to  your father."

     I  turned and went out, leaving my tools  in  the  mines,  went  to the office and got my  pay  that  was  coming to me, told the clerk where the tools were  and  that I was going home.  When I arrived at my  boarding  house there was a letter from home, stating that if  I  ever wanted to see father alive I should come home  at  once.

     I  pondered for awhile, the language of David  in  the  139th Psalm came to me, "Though I make my bed  in  hell, behold, thou art there."  I soon was on the  way  home, and when I arrived was received with great  joy,  and praise went up to God from father for keeping  and  preserving  the  life of his baby boy for  three  long  years and bringing me home again that he might see  my  face again while he lived on the earth.

     Soon my troubles were started again with the same  temptations before me that I left three years  before.   Some  one would say, "Come on, Baxter, let us  have  a  game."   I would say, "No, I have quit."   Some  would  say,  "Let  us have a drink."  I would reply,  "No,  I  have  quit."   I  soon started to  Sunday  School  and  became  a member and had my place among them the  same  as before I first left home.  Father never forbade  me  going to Sunday School, but he would often tell me his  objections  to them.  But I went on thinking them  all  right.   One  evening, while Elder  Hiram  Cooper  was  visiting  father,  I went into father's  room  and  he  called me to sit by his bedside, and said, "Baxter,  I  have asked all the other children, and they gave me an  evidence of their hope in Christ.  Now, I want you  to  tell  me before I am called away, how you feel."   Oh,  dear brethren, a trying moment to me!  I did not  want  to be untrue to father in his last days, so I answered  him  and said, "I do not know, papa, but I will say  I  always  ask  God  to  help me to do  right  in  all  I  undertake."   Father raised his poor, trembling  arms,  and  clasped his hands and said, "Thank the  Lord,  he  has a praying heart, I am ready to go home."   Brother  Cooper and he wept until I left the room.

     Now,  this evening, as I lie on my bed, after  my fellow-laborer, Elder Stuart Flanigan, of Springfield,  Ill.,  has been in to see and comfort me and cheer  up  my poor soul in coming from his home here to visit me,  and after a few kind words and good night by Mary  and  the doctor and nurses, I will close for today. 

 Thursday morning, January 7, 1915.       A fairly good night's rest, and a nice  breakfast  and  the beautiful sunshine, make our  hearts  rejoice  and  feel  refreshed to start  another  day's  journey  toward  the  end of this life of pain and  sorrow  and  suffering.

     Still  my mind runs back to father's bedside.   I  stayed with him and did all I could for him.  While at  home  I was married to Miss Alvenia Smith.  She was  a  member of the Primitive Baptist church with father and  stepmother.  We lived with father until it pleased God  to  take him home to rest.  During the evening  before  he  passed  away, he was lying with  his  face  toward  heaven, his lips were moving, his hands raised, and  I  stood by him and asked him if he wanted something.  He   said,  "Son, just let me be, I am at rest."   All  was  done  that we could do for him.  Our good friend,  Dr.  Pierce,  standing  by  his bed at the  moment  of  his  death,  said,  "Baxter, a good man has  gone,  do  not  grieve after him, but pray that you may be prepared to  meet  him  in eternity."  I have been trying  to  pray  that prayer this morning, and my heart rejoices in the  sweet hope that I will meet him beyond the grave.  But  my  eyes are filled with tears of sorrow, that  I  can  not  tell him the feelings and hope of my  heart  this  morning.

     After  father's death I went on to Sunday  School at  the  Methodist  church  and  attended   protracted  meetings,  worshipping with them and serving as  their  leader in singing until they hired Rev. Jones.   While  he  was holding his first protracted meeting  I  never   missed  a service.  All the time I denied that  I  had  ever  had any change, or thought of trying to  live  a  Christian  life  until  one day I was  on  the  floor,  trying  to lead the singing, and the preacher  was  in  the stand and called for mourners.  Eight of the  boys  and girls had come forward and bowed around the altar,  and  the preacher made a request that any desiring  to  be prayed for come and give him their hand.  One of my  best  boy friends started from the back of the  house.   I  saw the tears running down his cheeks.  I  had  all  confidence that he was earnestly desiring the  prayers  of  God's people.  I stood in the altar, with my  song  book  in my hands.  He walked up and reached his  hand  toward  me first, then to the preacher.  I  could  not  lead  the remainder of the song, but stepped  over  to  the  second seat by the side of the stand,  trying  to  hide my tears.  The preacher did not ask me to start a  song,  but  began singing "How firm a  foundation,  ye  saints of the Lord."  The language of Paul to  Timothy  (II. Tim. 2: 19) came to my mind.  "The  foundation  of  God  standeth sure having this seal, the Lord  knoweth  them that are His."

     I do not remember how I got there or what I said,  but  when  I  saw myself again, I  was  in  the  stand  talking, and I quit and looked around.  Brother  Jones  was sitting down on a seat out of the stand, and as  I  went  out  he arose and said, "Brethren, I  am  always  ready to take a lower seat when a preacher comes."   I  wept  and desired to be out of sight of  human  faces,  but  I could not hide what I had done and said.   Then  Brother  Jones  and  many  others  said,  "Baxter  got  through today."

      Friday morning, January 8, 1915.  I  told Brother Jones that I did not know what  I  got through, or whether I had any religion or not, but  I  was determined to live a different life to  what  I  had ever lived before.  I went home and my wife having  stayed  at home that day had a nice dinner  ready  for  me.   When  I sat down to dinner I could  hardly  keep  from  thanking God aloud for his blessings,  but  soon  after  dinner a neighbor girl who had been at  meeting  that day came in and told her the whole story.  I  had  left  the house when she came in.  When I returned  my  good  wife  met me with an expression of love  in  her  face  and  tears of joy in her eyes, and said  to  me,  "The  Lord bless and keep you in the way of all  truth  and right."  When the evening came, we sat before  the  fire and sang, "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe."

     She  told me her experience and it was much  like  what  I had felt, but she was not disobedient  to  her  vision.   She went home to her friends and  told  them  what great things the Lord had done for her soul.   So  we  sang  and prayed and praised God very  nearly  all  night.    Our  lives  began  in  the  Christian   race  together,  being  made manifest to  each  other.   She  would  go with me to the Methodist church and  I  with  her to the Primitive Baptist church.  I wanted to join  the Methodist church, yet I wanted to be with my wife.   I  had a place among the Methodists I did not want  to  give up.  Brother Jones told me if I would go with him  he  would  see  that I got a  good  education  and  be  prepared  for the ministry, and then he knew where  he  could  get me a place that would pay me  nine  hundred  dollars  a  year for preaching.  I told  him  I  never  expected to be a preacher.

     He  made  a visit to my home and we had  quite  a  talk, with some disagreements.  When we got to  church  that evening I was farther from being a Methodist than  I had been since I first started to Sunday School, but  yet I went on.  Just before meeting at the Old Baptist  church,  when they were looking for old Brother  Hurst  down,  I  told my brother who belonged to  the  church  that if they would let me I would bring my class  down  from Mary's chapel and sing for them while they washed  feet.  He told me to bring them on.  I instructed  the  class  the next morning at Sunday School how  to  seat  themselves in the Old Baptist church and we would show  them  how to sing.  Our class was the banner class  in  Grange  County Song Convention.  We had won  the  flag  over  several other classes of the county in Old  Time  music.  Accordingly, I seated myself a little in front  of the class and over several seats to the side.  Dear  old  Brother Hurst in his sermon told a great deal  of  my  experience and sometimes I could hardly sit in  my  seat.

    When they were getting ready to wash feet,  my  brother,  Sampson,  said, "Baxter, start a  song  that  everybody can sing."  I started a good old song.  

     "Oh, the night of time soon shall pass away,

         And the happy golden day will dawn,

  When the saints shall sing unto Christ their King

              In the golden, glad array.



            We are watching for the light

            For the new Jerusalem to come,

            We are waiting for the Christ,

          Who will call His children home."


     When  we  were through singing, I saw  the  tears  running down the old brother's cheeks.  He opened  his mouth  and  sang, "When I can read  my  title  clear."   This  was  one of the songs we sang when  we  won  the  banner,  and  the class sounded every  part.   I  soon  forgot  the  leadership of the class.  When  the  song  closed I was standing talking to Brother Hurst and the  church.  The best I remember, I had not more than told  my  story until I looked down the aisle and one of  my  old school teachers and a close friend, Jeff  Wheetly,  was  coming with his eyes full of tears and his  heart  full of love to God, and reached his hand and said, "I  am just like Baxter, I want a home among these people,  and I love this church."  The church received us  that  day  and  we  were  baptized  the  next  month.   Dear  brethren,  that  was  a happy day that  I  will  never forget.  When I arose from the watery grave, rejoicing  in  the Savior's love, I felt my duty  all  performed,  and my burden all removed.  But only my first duty  in  the house of the Lord had been done.


    Saturday morning, January 9, 1915.  After a good night's rest and a good breakfast  I  feel  stronger, yet am troubled that I  cannot  attend  the  regular  meeting  at  Little  Flock  Church  near  Chandlerville, Ill., where I have been serving for the  past ten years as pastor.  But, may God be with  them!   I  lie here in bed with a sad heart trying to look  on  the bright side of life.

     I wish to record a few more things that  occurred  while  we  yet lived in Tennessee.  Soon after  I  had  joined the church strong impressions would come to me,  either in dreams at night, or in my meditations in the  day,  that I must go before the public in  defense  of  the   truth.    I  would  plead   my   inability   and  unworthiness,  and  beg  the Lord to rid  me  of  such  thoughts.  Different passages of scripture would  come  to my mind and I thought about them and looked them up  and read them.  Sometimes I could get rid of them in a  short time and sometimes I would lie awake until  late  in  the night.  It would be two or three  days  before  any  interpretation or thought of relief  would  come.   My trouble grew worse and worse, and I often sought  a  hiding place that I might be alone and try to pray the  Lord to rid me of the weight and thought of having  to  preach.   I felt I was not prepared and knew  I  could  not prepare myself.  I had found in my experience that  all my help and strength must come from God.

     One  bright morning I went out to plow corn  near my  brother's  house, when this scripture came  to  my mind,  "The harvest truly is great, but  the  laborers  are  few."   My  thoughts ran back to  the  time  when  Grandpa Lipps used to preach in father's house.   Soon  there  seemed to be before me a very large  beast.   I  have  never  seen one like it.  It was  the  prettiest  beast  I  ever saw and was in a very narrow  path.   I  looked to my right and there was a field of corn,  and  a  fence  between me and the corn.   I  followed  that  beast around  he cornfield, looking at its beauty  and  all  at  once it fell.  I saw the blood run  down  the  hill from it, and watched it all vanish.  When it  was  all  gone  I raised my head and I was  in  the  field.   Grandpa  Lipps, Uncle Tommy Harris, Daniel  Rinee  and Hiram  Cooper,  all Old Baptist  preachers,  and  many  others I did not know, were all around me and we  were  all  at work.  I can in my mind, yet, seem to see  the  beautiful  heaps of corn in the field and we were  all  singing the same song.

     When   this  had  all  passed  and  my   thoughts  returned,  I  was standing between  the  plow  handles  about  midway the field.  I started my horse and  went  on,  and something seemed to say to me that the  great   beautiful beast, which is the beauties of this  world,  will fall and fade away; it cannot live in the  narrow  way.

    "But the field of the Lord is bright and fair,

      And it's sweet to my soul to labor there."


     Before  I got back to the end near  my  brother's  house  I heard the neighbor's dinner bell.  I went  to  the  house and it was 11:30, so I unhitched  my  horse  and  went home, wondering what it all meant.  I  could  not  believe or understand that God would call such  a  poor,  unworthy, weak, uneducated one as I  to  preach  the  unsearchable riches of his grace.  I went  on  in  gloom and sorrow.

     The  next year I moved to Brother Cooper's  farm,  and  often wife and I would sing and bow on our  knees  and  pray aloud before retiring.  What a relief to  my  poor soul, when, one evening after we had prayer, some  one knocked at the door.  I opened it and there  stood  Brother  Wheetly.  I could hardly speak to ask him  in  for  I feltthat he had heard me.  He came in  and  we  sang,  and talked about our experiences,  and  praised  God until he went home.

     The next year I moved back on the home place with  the thought of staying there.  During that year  Elder  Cooper  would  ask me to offer prayer  sometimes,  and  sometimes I would get to feeling that I wanted to  say  a word.  But my efforts were so weak I resolved in  my  mind never to try again.  The church had liberated  me  to  speak in public wherever God might direct  and  my  lot be cast.  In October 1900, we sold what we had and  came  to  Jacksonville,  Ill.,  landing  here  in  the  morning  of  the 28th day.  After pleasant  visits  by  dear  friends  and a very good day, I will  close  for today.

  Sunday morning, January 10, 1915.  Another  bright morning appears and life is  made  brighter with the thoughts of getting better and being  able to go home, and being out again in a few weeks.      In  Illinois I soon found a place to work, and  a  house  to live in, about ten miles north and  west  of  Jacksonville,  on  John Branner's farm.   I  commenced  work for him November 1, 1900.  In a few days he  came  to  where I was shucking corn and he told me about  an  Old  School Baptist church being about two and a  half  miles from where I lived.  I asked him if he cared  if  I  went to meeting.  He told me to go if I  liked.   I  walked  across  a field and as I passed by a  house  I  enquired  the  way  to  the  Baptist  church.   I  was  informed  by  a young man.  Soon after I  reached  the  church  an  old man came up and said he lived  at  the  place  where  I  enquired  the way.   He  told  me  he  belonged  to the church, and the pastor was gone  away  and there would be no service until the first Saturday  in  December.   I went back at that  time,  and  Elder  Silas  Hughett  preached.   I  soon  found  they  were  Primitive  Baptists.  I went back on the third  Sunday  and heard Elder W. R. Dyer, the pastor of the  church.   I  attended regularly, doing very well until  in  May, while engaged in the service of feet washing, my  mind  was caught away from the things of nature and  carried  up to a higher plane.  I shouted aloud and praised God  for  the blessed privilege of being permitted to  meet  with  the  dear people of God, and sing the  dear  old  songs,  and  worship  with  them  in  the  plain   old  fashioned way.

     After  service, Elder Dyer requested that I  ride  with him in his buggy to Brother Orr's for dinner.  As  we rode along he enquired if I had ever talked any  in  public.  I told him the church in Tennessee had  given  me license, but I did not make the attempt very  often  until  I left the state, for I thought they  had  done  wrong.   He talked to me of the power of God; that  he  was  able  to take poor, unlearned  fishermen  as  was  Peter and James and make good ministers of the  gospel  out  of  them, and his power is always the  same.   He  assured  me that if the Lord had begun a good work  in  me, he would perform it.  The thought in my mind  was,  Am  I  the one to do this work?  I began to  pray  the  Lord to give me a brighter evidence of his calling and  my mind would run back to the vision of the harvest.

     The  next year we moved to southwest Missouri  in  Webster county.  Soon after I heard of an Old  Baptist  church about fifteen miles away in Wright county.   My  own  brother, Sampson, and I went over to meeting  and  when we rode up near the house we heard them  singing,  "Am I a soldier of the cross?"  I remarked to Sampson,  "They  are  Old Baptists."  We went in the  house  and  Elders  Cooper  and  Will Taylor  were  there.   Elder   aylor preached and O how my heart rejoiced that I had found  another  place where I could feel  at  home  in  service  with them.  We remained over until  the  next  day  and meeting was announced for Monday  and  night.   Brother  and I returned home Sunday  evening  reaching  home a little after dark.  The sleet was so heavy that  many  of the limbs and small bushes were bent  to  the  ground.   We went to bed but I could not sleep,  so  I  arose  in the morning at 3 o'clock and told my wife  I  was  going back to Wolf Creek church.  She  wanted  to  get my breakfast, but I said, "No."

     I  rode  six miles, left my horse, and  took  the  train to Mansfield, then walked three miles out to the  church.   At  the close of the  meeting  Elder  Taylor baptized five of the dear children of God who had come  seeking  a  home with the church of God.   I  returned  home rejoicing and told my wife all about the meeting.   Soon  after  that we decided to get our  letters  from  Tennessee  and  cast out lot among them.   Elder  John  Taylor, our pastor, often called on me to take part in  the  public service, and I would try, but  my  efforts  were  so  poor, I would vow in my heart never  to  try  again.  We lived there about seventeen months and came  back to Illinois.

     Now,  with  an earnest prayer  to  be  remembered  kindly by all, I close for today.    Monday, January 11, 1915.       On  returning to Illinois I located  near  Little  Flock  church,  in Cass county, and went to  work  for  Nathan  Cayce  on  the farm a few  weeks  later.   Two  funerals  were to be at the church on Sunday, and  the  two Elders Witty were to preach.  I went over.  I  had  met Elder Jack Witty before I went to Missouri.   They  insisted that I go into the stand with them and that I  introduce  the  services,  which  I  did.   After  the  funeral  was  over, some one suggested  that  we  have  meeting  on  the second Sunday in the next  month  and  Brother Tom Witty agreed to be there.  As I went  home  I tried to pray asking God to relieve me of the burden  I  felt  was upon me.  They had not  had  any  regular meeting  at  the church for some  time,  so  something  seemed to say, "You must go and preach for them."  Oh,  dear brethren, such a weight on my poor heart!  I wept  and prayed to be relieved, but no relief came until  I  yielded  to that impression, and said, "I will do  the best  I  can."  I have been going as  regularly  as  I could ever since.

     Seven  years ago, I moved to where I now live  on  Eddy  Smith's farm near Indian Creek church,  where  I   heard  my  first sermon in this state.   Afterward  we  sent to Missouri to get our church letters and  placed  them  in  the Indian Creek church.  I  felt  that  the  brethren there knew I had all the liberty that I ought  to have.

     We  went on until October 1909, and while in  the  conference meeting, to my surprise, there was a motion  made and seconded that the church call help and ordain  me to the full work of the ministry.  The faithful old  moderator knew that all the members were not  present,  so he held it over until the next meeting.  After  the  meeting I went to the one who made the motion and told  him  I wanted him never to say another word about  it.   I   thanked the moderator and told him never to let  it  come  before  the  church again, for he  knew  that  I  should  not be ordained.  He assured me it would  work out  all  right.  I went home and the more  I  thought  about  it the heavier the burden became.  In  November  the  moderator was not able to be at the church and  I  told the brethren I did not want it to come before the  church  until  the  moderator could  be  present.   In  December the weather was so bad we could not  get  to  the church.  My trouble grew worse all the time  until  I had no mind to do my work.     

     One  morning I went out to shuck a load  of  corn  and  worked  as I thought until I had  my load,  then drove  to the barn, but found that I scarcely had  the  bottom  of the bed covered.  I went to the  house  and  Sister  Smith,  the mother of the man  who  owned  the  farm,  asked me, "Brother Hale, why is it you want  to  give up the place?"  I replied in astonishment, "I  do  not  want to give up the place."  She told me  that  I  had  told  Eddy that I would not be there to  run  the  farm  another year.  I broke down and left  the  house  weeping.   I  knew my mind was gone and  I  could  not  work.  I was no comfort to my family.  I vowed I would  never  see the church again, but when the meeting  day  came I got ready and we all went to church.  I did not  go into the stand and when the time came the moderator  said  he had some letters to read to the  church.   He  had word from the members who could not be there,  and  all  were there who lived close enough.  Some  of  the  letters stated that they knew me and thought I  should be ordained.  Some said they were not acquainted  with  me, but were satisfied with what the church did.   The  motion was put before the church and all voted for  my  ordination.   Due  to  the weather and  roads  it  was  proposed to have the ordination in May if that  suited  me.   I told them that was all right with me, so  that  was the time agreed upon.

     I went home that day feeling I was condemned  for death.  I knew that I was not worthy, neither could  I  feel that I was qualified to take the full work of the  ministry.   During the next week I would try to  work,  but could not think of what I wanted to do.  I went to  the  house one day and asked my wife if she  would  go  with  me to California.  She, weeping, said she  would  go anywhere with me, but she said, "Papa, you know  it  will  take everything we have to get us there,  and  I  know  it is not the best."  I told her my  health  and  mind were both gone and I could not live here and left  the  house  with my eyes full of tears  and  my  heart  broken  with sorrow.  I went away out of hearing  from  the house and begged the good Lord to take my life.  I  did not want to live in that condition.  I returned to  the  house,  picked  up my gun and  started  out,  not  knowing  where  I was going.  Wife met me  and  taking  old of the gun, said, "Papa, where are you going?"  I  broke  down again and crying, let loose the  gun,  and  walked  out  telling  her I was going to  one  of  the  neighbors.   I  went to a piece of  timber  and  there  begged the Lord to relieve me in some way, even if  it were to take me from this world.

     I was shown a beautiful vineyard and the laborers were  all  singing, all seemed to be in  harmony;  but  after  awhile confusion arose and there were  but  few  that  sang  the same song, and the words came  to  me,  "Lay  aside  the  weight and the sin  that  so  easily  besets you and run with patience the race that is  set  before you, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher  of your faith," and "My grace is sufficient for thee."   I said, "Lord, help me, I will do the best I can."  "I  will submit to the will of my brethren, and I want  to  do the will of my God." Thus,  dear brethren and friends, I  have  passed  through many dark hours of sorrow since then and  many  sweet  seasons  of peace.  The pathway  in  nature  is  dark, but the grace of my God is always sweet.


     Tuesday, January 19, 1915.   A  week  ago this morning my mind  seemed  to  be  relieved  from  writing, and I turned to  reading.   I  have read the New Testament through and now will write  some more of my life.      The ordained help called for to ordain me came to  our  meeting at the time set, and on  Saturday  before  the  third Sunday in May 1910, I was ordained  to  the  full  work of the ministry.  Many times I feel that  I  have  not done what God impressed me to do and I  feel  that I have been chastened by the hand of the Lord for  my  disobedience.   Ofttimes I have left my  home  and  loved ones crying after me, "Papa, you are not able to go."   I  would say good bye with a  heart's  desire  to serve my God and his people, and turn my head to  hide  my  tears, and go, as I trust, to serve my God and  to comfort his people.

     When  I went into the homes of my  brethren  they  told  me to enjoy their comfortable homes as  my  own,  for which I would feel thankful, but my thoughts would  go back to the poor comforts of my dear companion  and  little ones at home.  I have often left their presence  to hide my tears and pray God to reconcile me with  my  poor lot here upon earth, and when I felt my  messages  delivered I could never get home quick enough.

     At home I labor with my own hands to provide  for  those  of my own household until the time comes to  go  again.  Sometimes I say, "I ought to stay and labor at  home," but my dear companion will say, "I would rather  see  you go."  That means much to me for I   know  she  enjoys  my  company at home, but I feel that  she  was  given me of the Lord to help me bear my burden.

     So,  today, while here in this lonesome place,  I  pray to God that I may again be able to work for their  support, but if not, to reconcile me to his will,  and  may  his grace be bestowed upon them.  Dear  brethren,  farewell.  These are a few of the troubles and joys of  the life of a poor sinner in this world. 

     Carlinville, Ill., March 11, 1922.

     Dear Kindred in Christ:

     Starting  again  where  I  left  off  writing  on  Tuesday,  January  19, 1915.  The Lord  has  heard  my  poor,  feeble prayers and blessed me that I  might  go  again  and  labor  for the support of  my  family  and  travel among the dear people of God.  I have fulfilled  the vow that I made when I went on the operating table  that  if  the dear Lord would spare my  life  I  would  serve  Him the best I could the remainder of my  days.   But,  dear  friends, I, like the children  of  Israel,  have broken the vow and today I am lying on the bed at  my  home suffering from a very badly broken  knee.  

     I was  kicked by a horse Friday, March 3, and  the  Lord  only knows what I have suffered.  The doctor tells  me  I will be a cripple for life.      As I went from Doctor Day's private hospital  and  took  up the occupations of life, I went on  attending  Little Flock church and baptized a few, and the church  seemed to revive.  We had some very good services  for  three years, until I was compelled to take a  position  against  one  of the members on a doctrinal  line,  he  taking  the stand that all we do, both good  and  bad,  was  just what God's will was for us to do.  Our  home  churches  took up the case and I was released  and  he  excluded.   So  I vowed I would not take the  care  of another church.  They then called Elder D. M. Masters. went on to my home church with Elder Dyer until  his death,  sometimes  visiting other  churches  at  their requests, doing the very best I could to stand on  the  foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus  Christ himself   being  the  chief  cornerstone.   Being   in  fellowship,  and  having  as  a  good  old  father  to  instruct  me, Elder William Dyer, and along  with  him  Elders  Giles  Reeder, D. W. Owens and  Allen  Murray,  (all  have  gone  home to rest from  their  labors)  I  enjoyed  many  sweet and comforting moments  in  their  company.   I received much good advice given  by  them  which  I  hope to never forget.  When Elder  Dyer  was  called  away our church was without a pastor, so  they called me and Elder Modlin jointly to the care of  the church.


 Sunday morning, March 12.  As  I lie here on my bed and watch the rising  of  the  beautiful sun, I can feel to praise God  for  his  blessings.  I feel a little improvement in my limb.  I  can  move  it  a little and the doctor  gave  me  much  encouragement about it, yesterday.  I think they  will  take  me  to  the hospital for an  X-ray  of  my  knee  tomorrow.  This is the time of our meeting at  Concord  church, and a dark place comes in my poor life because  I am not able to be there.

     So  now,  my  mind turns  back  to  Indian  Creek  church.  Elder J. A. Modlin and I worked together  two  years, then they called me alone.  But dear  brethren,  I  never  was worthy nor competent to fill  the  place  that  the  dear, old father in Israel had  filled  for  thirty-five  years.  Through all the troubles and  the  divisions  that  have come among  our  people,  Indian   Creek  has never had a division and they  have  always  been  ready to encourage and help me bear my  burdens,  as well as my fellow-laborers.

     Elders S. Flanigan, J. A. Modlin, D. M.  Masters,  W.  A.  Chastain, A. J. Conlee, J. A.  Conlee,  L.  E.  Sutton,  L.  E.  Frazee, G. W.  Murray  are  the  ones  closest  to me, while I have had many others of  other  states  who have been equally as close  in  fellowship  and  spirit.  I have visited among all their  churches  with  much joy and fellowship, for which I can  praise  God.  While my efforts to preach have been very  weak,  it  is, and has been, a great strength to me  to  have  them  visit my home church and to hear them speak  the  wonderful   works   of  God  according   to   my   own  understanding, which I trust God has given me.  

     Monday morning, March 13.  I  suffered yesterday and last night more than  I  had for four days, yet I passed the day very well.   I  had  thirty of my brethren, friends and  neighbors  to  see  me and they did everything they could to  comfort  me.   I thank the dear Lord for friends and  brethren.   Some, as they went from my bedside, would leave a gift  in  my hand to help me and I especially want to  speak  of one who does not belong to any denomination.  After  he  had spent the afternoon talking to me and  telling  me  a  few funny things that occurred during  the  six  years  he  was in congress,  the  conversation  became  sacred,  and as others had taken their leave, he  drew  his  chair  close to my bedside and said, "I  want  to  help  you," and as he did so laid ten dollars  on  the  side  of my bed.  Dear ones, my heart was filled  with  praise and thanksgiving to God, for I believe that God  has  filled his heart with love for me.   "Praise  God  from whom all blessings flow."

     I  moved from Morgan to Macoupin county in  March  1918.   I  often  had requests to  take  the  care  of  churches,  but would refuse.  What a burden it  seemed  to me to take the oversight of the dear flock of  God!   I  knew  I  was not able to do as  an  under  shepherd  should.  Often my dear wife told me it would be easier  and  better  if  I would just take the  care  of  four  churches.   I  was not looking at the easy  part,  but  only  desired  to get away from the full care  of  the  churches  as  their pastor.  I here desire to  beg  my  brethren's  forgiveness  for the way  I  have  treated  them,  especially  Liberty Mosquito church,  near  Mt.  Auburn, Ill., and the church at Hindsboro.  I know  it  was not because I did not love you, but because I felt  unworthy of a place among you.  I felt disqualified to  do a pastor's work.

     After  awhile, when it pleased God to bring  dear  Elder  Owens down to his last days he sent  a  special  request to me to come over and help him.  Accordingly,  I went, and he told me he needed me as the brethren of  Macedonia needed Paul.  When he told me that, my heart  was  broken  and my eyes filled with tears.   I  said,  "Not  me,  surely, not me."  He  said,  "Yes,  Brother  Hale,  I need you, emphatically you, for I  am  broken  down and the brethren want you."  The last time I  was  there,  just before he passed away, he said,  "Brother  Hale,  take care of Mt. Gilead church."  So, after  he  was  gone  a request came and I went, but  made  every  excuse  I could reasonably, though did not say that  I  would  not  accept.  I sought a pastor  for  them  but  failed,  and I finally accepted their call.   I  moved  over  into  the north part of the county  in  February  1921,  near  Concord church. When I  was  not  there,  Elder  Modlin, their pastor, requested the  church  to  release  him  and call me, and so they did.   I  could  find  no reason for not accepting only unfitness,  and  they  would  not accept that, so this  made  me  three  churches,  first  Sunday  at  Mt.  Gilead,  second  at  Concord, and third at Indian Creek.

     At this time I declared I would not take  another  church,  yet sometimes I felt that it was a sweet  and  happy  place  to be.  When dear, old  Sister  Knowles,  seventy-eight  years old, came forward at our  meeting  at  Mt.  Gilead and dated her experience back  to  her  thirteenth year and asked that I baptize her, I,  with  joy, told her I was at her service.  The next month  I  baptized her and when we went back to the church,  her  little  great  granddaughter, thirteen years old,  came  and  gave  me  her hand and told us  her  desires.   I  baptized  her  the  next month.  So  I  get  a  little  encouragement  along  the  way, in spite  of  my  very  rebellious  nature.   I  confess I  am  a  disobedient  servant.

     Last  November,  a call came to me  from  Prairie City.   I went over there and found they had  searched  for a pastor but all in vain.  Again, I began to  make  excuses, but found none acceptable to them.  They  had  called  me to their care on the fourth Sunday  of  the  month.  This I accepted, yet in my poor, sinful heart,   I  would  declare that I would give them  all  up  and  quit.

     Last month, just before the meeting at Concord, I  told  my wife I never would go again; I would stay  at  home and work for her and the children until we got in  better circumstances financially.  But with the burden  of  my  poor heart and the encouragement  of  my  good  companion,  I went on feeling in my heart, I  will  go  this time, but never again.  Until Friday, March 3,  I  was hunting for excuses, and found myself thus engaged  that morning when I arose.  I was wishing I might  not  have  to  go to Mt. Gilead church.   Very  suddenly  I found  an  excuse for not going.  A horse  kicked  me,  unjointing  my knee, and I fell behind her.   She  yet  kept kicking.  I could feel the breeze from her  hoofs  as  they would pass my head and hit the wall  back  of  me, but God in his great power did not let her hit  me any  more.   So,  by his exceeding mercies  I  am  yet  alive. 

    Tuesday morning, March 14.  Dr.  Hiffey  was  here  yesterday.   He  said  he  believed  I was getting along well, but wanted  me  to  have  an X-ray taken.  They made arrangements to  take  me to the hospital today, but it rained so last  night  and  is  yet raining this morning that  the  ambulance  cannot  come.  I took some medicine to ease  the  pain  and get some rest.  After ten last night I rested very  well,  but it is not like natural rest.  I hope  in  a  few days or weeks that I can rest.      

    Dear children of God, how long, how long, till we reach that sweet land of rest?  As the storm rages and  the rain falls, and the clouds shut off the brightness of  the  morning  sun, yet I can see a  ray  of  light  shining in my heart telling me the storm will soon  be  over  and the sunshine of God's grace will drive  back  the  dark clouds of suffering, and pain,  and  sorrow,  and  shine  above the brightness of the  morning  sun.   Earthly  ties are many to me, for I just now  finished  reading the letters of love and sympathy from some  of  the dear saints of God saying they are praying for me.  O dear saints, I am not worthy of your prayers.   Yet,  as  I told dear, old Brother Weller yesterday,  as  he  laid his gift of fifteen dollars in my hand, though  I  am unworthy to receive, yet I know it is freely given.   God's grace has been sufficient and will be sufficient  for me, but I am so weak.

      Dear saints of  God, I do hope you will pray  for  me, for I need your prayers, and if it pleaseth God to  answer  them in my behalf, and I am ever  restored  to  health again, I hope that I may never get so low as to  say I will not go into His service.  It is not the way  my  brethren  have treated me that has  caused  me  to  neglect  serving  them;  no, many times,  no!   It  is  because  of the sin that is in me and the weakness  of  the  flesh.  So may God's grace keep me and  guide  me  through  this world that I may not become a  castaway,  but  that my life may yet be of some comfort to  God's  dear children.  O, children of the living God who  are  out  of the church, come in and let us  walk  together  while  it is day, and praise the Lord while  we  live. 

     So I close.

     Sunday, March 19, 1922. 

     Dear Loved Ones:

     It  is  raining this morning and I  can  see  the  lightning  and  hear the sound of thunder.  As  I  lie  here and meditate on the things of the past, and of my  present condition, my mind runs back to the time  when  I lived near Gillespie, Ill.  The doctor came and told  us  there was no other hope for our dear  girl,  Lena,  than  to  go to the hospital and be  operated  on  for  appendicitis.  We agreed and she wanted to go.  So we,  with Doctor Jones, started for the Baptist hospital in  St.   Louis,  leaving  home  with  sad  hearts.    She  cheerfully  said  to  her  cousins  and  brothers  and  sisters, "Good-by, kids," and we drove away from home.   We arrived at the hospital about 11 o'clock, August 3,  1918.  She went on the operating table about 1 o'clock  and went through the operation nicely, awaking in good  spirits.   On Monday about 2 o'clock she  became  very  restless  and we could do nothing that  would  comfort  her.   About 5 o'clock I was just out of the room  and  the nurse came and called me.  I rushed to her room to  find  an  entirely different expression on  her  face.   She  said, "Papa, I have been with Jesus and he  said,  'Lena,  I  want you to go home with me.'  Papa,  I  am  ready  to go.  When I was at Hopewell at meeting  last  month  I could hardly keep from joining the church.  I  wanted to join and be baptized, and now I wish I  had;  but papa, I know it is all right, for a while ago we .  . . . . and Elder Modlin baptized Mary, . . . ."     She  told the nurses and the doctor who  operated on  her.  The nurse would shed tears, but  the  doctor   called  it a very ugly dream.  She said,  "Papa,  send  for mama, I want to tell her."  I phoned her mama, and  when  she came she told her the same sweet story.   On  Wednesday morning, August 7, the morning she took  her  leave  to go home and live with Jesus, she  called  me  again, and said, "O, papa, isn't it a pretty  morning?   It's the brightest morning I ever saw.  Everything  is  so bright before me."  These were her last words,  and  she  passed away in peace. Dear friends, I could  but say,  "The  Lord  giveth and  the  Lord  taketh  away;  blessed be the name of the Lord."

     Dear friends, I feel today that I have that sweet hope  that when I leave this world of sin and  sorrow,  suffering and disappointment, that we will meet and be  with  Jesus,  and  sing the same  song  of  redemption  through Jesus' blood.  What a meeting!  What a meeting  that  will  be, when we all meet around  God's  bright  throne.  

     Monday morning, March 20, 1922.  Have had a good breakfast at home at the hands of  a  loving companion and children.  My rest was not  so  good  last night, but can see a little improvement  in  my limb.  The weather and roads were so bad they  have  not taken me to the hospital to have an X-ray, yet.  I  only get a few hours rest when I take medicine to ease  the  pain.  Doctor says I just have to endure it.   He  is good and kind to me, sometimes walking a mile  from  the  hard  road to get to see me.   I  appreciate  his  kindness, but oh, dear loved ones, it is not like  the  kindness of the Great Physician who gives ease to  the  troubled  soul.   This morning I feel  to praise  the Lord, the Great Physician, and say there is a balm  in  Gilead, enough to cure a sin-sick soul.

     March 25, 1922.  I  am  yet  in  bed, but  see  a  great  deal  of  improvement  in my limb.  Many good friends have  been  to  visit me since I wrote last, but many dark  clouds  of sorrow have come over me.  My landlord, Mr.  Oliver  V. Conlee, the one who was so good and kind to me  and  gave me a place to live on his farm, passed from  this  time  world to eternity, March 21.  The last words  he  said  to  me when I carried his grip to  the  hospital  where  he  died, after I had said, "Oliver,  put  your  trust  in  the Lord and he will do what is  right  and  take  care  of you," were, "Mr. Hale, I  am  perfectly   satisfied  about  that.  That is not bothering  me  at  all."   These words and many others give me reason  to  believe  he was a Christian man.  When I came to  rent  his farm, I said, "Mr. Conlee, farming is a  secondary  matter  with  me.   I may leave the  corn  planter  or  binder  setting in the field and go in the service  of  my  Lord.  You may think I ought to be at home, but  I  want to put the service of God first, then I am  ready  to  serve you the best I can."  He answered me with  a  smile  and said, "That is all right.  I want  you  and  your  family on my farm for a number of years, and  if  you  work as they tell me you do and you don't make  a  living and some money besides, I will give you  some."   So, dear ones, you see that I have lost a good  friend  and, I believe, a brother in the Spirit.

     He leaves a wife in possession of his estate  for  her lifetime.  The next day after his burial she  came  to my bedside weeping and told me his desire to see me  was  great.  She called the doctor the morning of  the  funeral  and asked if they could not get me  to  their  home,  but he thought it not best.  His  kind  brother  offered  to help carry me on the  stretchers  one-half  mile  to the house, but all considered it best to  not  take  me.   So I lay on my bed at home  mourning  with  them, realizing my loss was great.  I truly sympathize  with  the widow, the three daughters, and other  close  friends which are many.

     This  is the day of our meeting at Prairie  City,  and  I mourn within me that I cannot be  present  with  them.  May the Lord give them a good service.  As I lie here on my bed at home this rainy Sunday  morning, seeing my dear wife and children going  about  their work, and hearing their voices talking and  some  of the little ones singing merrily, it makes my  heart  leap  for  joy and praise to God who  gives  me  these  loved  ones  to comfort me and lighten my  burden  and  brighten my poor, sinful life.

     The  doctor was here yesterday and told me I  was  doing  fine  and  would soon be able  to  get  out  on  crutches, which is a great encouragement to me.      I must not close this writing without telling you  that  my  first  grandchild  was  born  to  my  oldest  daughter,  March 21.  Her  name  is Lola Elenor Lucas.   We  hope she has been given to brighten our  lives  in  our later years.  While we have so many things to live  for,  the brightest and most joyful of all is  a  hope  that  anchors beyond this vale of tears,  whither  the  forerunner  for us has entered, even Jesus,  the  high  priest of our profession.  His is the only name  given  under  heaven or among men whereby we must  be  saved,  and  in  him, and in him alone, we  feel  our  eternal  salvation is secure.  I can only say spiritually it is  the grace of God that makes me what I am.      Dear friends, if you never hear from me again, it  is  my great desire that I may live in peace with  all  men as much as is possible, but above all things, that  I may die in peace with Jesus.  I ask all who may read  this  to  please cast the mantle of  charity  over  my  imperfections  and  pray  for me, a  sinner  saved  by  grace, if saved at t       h