A poor woman, at Berwick St. John, in Wiltshire, the wife of a farm labourer, being called by the grace of God, her husband became a bitter persecutor; and, because his wife would not relinquish the service of God, he frequently turned her out of doors in the night, and during the winter season. The wife, being a prudent woman, did not expose this cruelty to her neighbours, but, on the contrary, to avoid their observation, she went into the adjacent fields, and betook herself to prayer. Greatly distressed, but not in despair, her only encouragement was, that with God all things are possible; she therefore resolved to set apart one hour every day, to pray for the conversion of her persecuting husband. This she was enabled to do without missing one day for a whole year. Seeing no change in her husband, she formed a second resolution to persevere six months longer, which she did up to the last day, when she retired at about twelve o’clock as usual, and as she thought for the last time. Fearing that her wishes, in this instance, might be contrary to the will of God, she resolved to call no more upon Him;
her desire not being granted, her expectation appeared to be cut off. That same day her husband returned from his labour in a state of deep dejection, and instead of sitting down as usual to his dinner, he proceeded directly to his bedroom. His wife followed and heard to her grateful astonishment, that he who used to mock had returned to pray.
He came downstairs, but refused to eat, and returned again to his labour until the evening. When he came home, his wife affectionately asked him, “What is the matter?” “Matter enough,” said he, “I am a lost sinner. About twelve o’clock this morning,” continued he, “I was at my work, and a passage of Scripture was deeply impressed upon my mind, which I cannot get rid of, and I am sure I am lost.”
His wife encouraged him to pray, but he replied, “O wife, it is of no use, there is no forgiveness for me.” Smitten with remorse at the recollection of his former conduct, he said to her, “Will you forgive me?” She replied, “O yes.” “Will you pray for me?” “O yes, that I will.” “Will you pray for me now?” “That I will, with all my heart.” They instantly fell on their knees, and wept and made supplication. His tears of penitence mingled with her tears of gratitude and joy.
He afterwards greatly exerted himself to make his neighbours acquainted with the way of salvation by Christ Jesus.
Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw,
Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;
Gives exercise to faith and love;
Brings every blessing from above.
Restraining prayer, we cease to fight;
Prayer makes the Christians armour bright;
And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.
While Moses stood with arms spread wide,
Success was found on Israel’s side;
But when, through weariness, they failed,
That moment Amaiek prevailed.
Have you no words? ah! think again;
Words flow apace when you complain,
And fill your fellow-creatures’ ear
With the sad tale of all your care.
Were half the breath thus vainly spent,
To heaven in supplication sent,
Your cheerful song would oftener be,
“Hear what the Lord has done for me.”