Delivered by JEMIMA T. PRAY at the First Missionary Conference of Quaker Women in American, Indianapolis, April 1888.
Cox, Eliza Armstrong, Looking Back Over The Trail. Bloomington, IN: Women's Missionary Union of Friends in America, 1927.
This is The Quaker Homiletics Online Anthology, Part 3: The 19th Century.
We rejoice in the associations linking us together, and hail with joy this privilege of assembling and uniting ourselves for the fuller and better prosecution of our work. May our bonds of union thus be strengthened.
Our appreciation of your presence in our midst has been well expressed by our (Yearly Meeting president), Eliza C. Armstrong. We heartily endorse her words of welcome and trust that before you leave our city, the most cheering words of welcome coming from loving hearts will have been realized and emphasized by the hospitality you have received. May your stay in our homes not only be a source of pleasure but may you leave a benediction behind.
I remember that Charles Spurgeon in his boyhood made his home with his grandfather, who was a minister; there came another minister visiting at the home; he stayed some days and often talked to Charles who at the time was not a Christian. Spurgeon says, "When this visitor went away he laid his hand upon my head, saying, 'I am persuaded, my boy, that you are going to be a minister of the gospel and that you will win many souls' to Jesus Christ!'" And Charles H. Spurgeon rose up to call blessed the aged father who talked to him in his boyhood and left impressions that he never forgot. And so Francis Ridley Havergal was greatly impressed when the Bishop, placing his hand upon her head, said, "Defend Oh, Lord, this thyl child, with the heavenly grace, that she may continue thine forever." May our Father rest His hand in special benediction upon this Conference. And in the coming years may there be those from our homes who will remember your stay with us, by impressions which, through the Holy Spirit, have been made in hearts consecrated to the will of God.
In welcoming you we would humbly present ourselves with you to the cross afresh, that we may receive a new inspiration from Jesus the Crucified. May He be made to us Wisdom. In our closets let us hear Him and wisdom will rule in our counsels.
Sisters, prayers have ascended from the altars of many hearts, that we may be very near in spirit to cheer, comfort and help one another, and the spiritual influence here set in motion, be felt in our home work, resulting in the sisters of our church being more actively identified in this work. The rich treasures of this mine are yet so little known to us. More, and deeper shafts, are needed to be sunk.
We believe, in thus counseling is wisdom; and in such union is strength; and we doubly welcome you. We greet you as bearers of the sacred treasures of divine truth; and oh, that the Holy Spirit will seal upon our every heart that which will better fit us to do our Master's will.
Years ago there gathered at Castle Garden, New York City, pilgrims from different nations, and the Christian people of that city gave a concert for their benefit. During the exercises Jennie Lind stepped upon the platform and sang John Howard Payne's wondrous home song. Every heart was touched, and in different language the building was filled with the melody of "Home, sweet Home."
So, dear sisters, we, as "pilgrims and strangers on this earth," have gathered in this upper room while with us sits the "King of Kings." Our hearts are not only touched and filled with praise to our dear Lord, who has so wonderfully made a way for His children to meet together for the furtherance of this work, but we trust our lives are consecrated to the work of spreading His blessed gospel among those who sit in darkness and in speeding the day when all nations will join in filling this earth with the grand anthem, "All hail the power of Jesus' name; We crown Him Lord of all."
Sisters, you are thrice welcome. May you be blessed in coming, and we in receiving.
(See also the Address of Welcome by Eliza C. Armstrong delivered at the same Conference.)