A Labor of Love

A Labor of Love

by Elizabeth Ryder Wheaton

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Dear Reader: Over twenty years have passed since God called and commissioned me to go to those that were bound. Within five years from the time I entered upon the work, I had been enabled to preach the gospel in every state and territory and had held meetings in nearly every state-prison in the United States and in the prisons in Canada and Mexico. My first trip to Europe was made in 1890. I have not only held meetings in prison, but have endeavored to "preach the gospel to every creature"—to those in authority, governors, prison and railroad officials, and trainmen, as well as to those in churches, missions, prisons, hospitals, alms-houses, dives, brothels, saloons and the slums. In all places God has fulfilled His promise to be with me and has given me evidence that my labor was not in vain in Him.

When I was made to feel that the Lord required me to write of the victories He had wrought and of the work yet waiting to be done I was amazed and am still, though it is more than ten years since God first told me to write for Him. Early left an orphan, my childhood was spent in the country where I had to walk two miles across the fields and through deep snows in order to get to school, and my life-work has been crippled by my lack of education. How then can I write? Yet the command of the Lord has been upon me and the cry of the needy has rung in my ears. Words cannot describe the cruel wrongs, the awful injustice, the scenes of desolation and degradation that have come to my knowledge. Much has been done, much is being done; and yet, O how much still needs to be done, in behalf of those in prison! Wrongs that are indescribable still cry to God for vengeance in this our own land. Cruelties that are beyond the power of language to describe still exist, and the cry of the oppressed comes up to the ear of Him who has declared "Vengeance is mine, I will repay."

One reason I have for writing, is to show the great need of Holy Ghost workers—those whose hearts God has touched—to carry the gospel to those whose lives are darkened, blighted and blasted, and tell them of a mighty deliverance from the bondage of sin, and of freedom in Christ.
Reader, if you could see the many inside prison walls going insane, you would not wonder that, by the grace of God, I am determined to prosecute my work as I have never done before, to save these poor prisoners from despair, and to do with my might what my hands find to do.

I have kept no diary or journal and nearly all of ten years' correspondence was destroyed at one time by fire. Hence I have written largely from memory, and without any attempt to give an orderly and connected account of my work. I have endeavored to put before you, dear reader, such glimpses of the work and the field as would fairly illustrate that which has been done and that which needs to be done.

I ask for my imperfect work your kind consideration, and trust that you will overlook my many mistakes and pray God's blessing to rest upon the effort; and if I can only awaken in your hearts a deeper compassion for lost girls and fallen men and the heart-broken friends who mourn the loss of loved ones, I shall not have written in vain.
In the selection, arrangement and preparation of manuscript, I have been assisted by several friends who have been much interested in the work, whose labor and patience can only be rewarded by Him whom we serve. Among these are Brother and Sister Shaw, of Chicago, who have so kindly given the introduction to the work, having full knowledge of its contents and ability to judge of its merits. I will also mention Brother and Sister Kelley, of Tabor, Iowa, who have rendered valuable assistance.

With many prayers and tears I send this work forth, hoping it may find a place on your book-shelf and a corner in your heart, and that you and I, dear reader, may meet where there are no prison walls, iron bars, nor breaking hearts.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940016298733
Publisher: WDS Publishing
Publication date: 03/14/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 2 MB

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