We received a letter from Bro. Chamberlain of Connecticut, urging us to attend a conference in that State. We decided to go if we could obtain means. Husband settled with his employer, and found there was ten dollars due him. With five of this I purchased articles of clothing which we much needed, and then patched my husband's overcoat, even piecing the patches, making it difficult to tell in the sleeves the original cloth. We had five dollars left to take us to Dorchester. Our trunk contained nearly everything we possessed on earth. We enjoyed peace of mind and a clear conscience, and this we prized above earthly comforts. We called at Bro. Nichols, and as we left, sister N. handed my husband five dollars, which paid our fare to Middletown, Ct. We were strangers in that city, and had never seen one of the brethren in the State, and had but fifty cents left. My husband did not dare to use that to hire a carriage, so he threw the trunk upon a pile of boards, and we walked on in search of some one of like faith. We soon found Bro. C. who took us to his house.
In company with Bro. C. we went to Rocky Hill to meet with the brethren there. We were informed of the sickness of Bro. T. Ralph,
and called to see him. Consumption had marked him for the grave, and he knew that he could not live. He was strong in God, and his whole interest was in the truth. We left our dear afflicted brother, promising on our return to call again.
When we called at night we found the young man very near his end. His mortal frame was racked with pain. We prayed with him, and his heavy breathing and groaning ceased while we were praying. The blessing of God rested down in that sick room, and we felt that angels were hovering around. He was relieved a little, yet knew that he was dying. He tried to have us understand that hope lightened up the future, and that to him it was not a dark uncertainty. We understood from broken sentences that he should have part in the first resurrection, and then be made immortal. Said he, "Tell Bro. Bates that I will meet him then." His faltering tongue often spoke that dear name, so precious to the dying Christian-- Jesus--in whom all his hope of eternal life centered. He fell asleep in Jesus a few hours after we left. My husband attended the funeral. There were many present who had listened to his faithful exhortations, and despised them while he was living, and some who had abused him on account of his faith, a short time before. They looked upon the countenance of the dead, which bore a pleasant smile,
and turned from the sight with quivering lip and moistened eye. We could but think, though dead, he speaketh. It was the testimony of all present that they had never seen so pleasant and lovely an expression upon the face of the dead. We followed the body to the grave, to rest until the righteous dead awake to immortality.
The conference was held at Rocky Hill, Ct., in the large, unfinished chamber of Bro. Belden's house. I will here give an extract of a letter from my husband to Bro. Howland respecting that meeting.
"April 20th, Bro. Belden sent his two-horse wagon to Middletown for us and the scattered children in that city. We arrived at this place about four P. M. In a few minutes in came Brn. Bates and Gurney. We had a meeting that evening of about fifteen in all. Friday morning the brethren came in until we numbered about fifty. They were not all fully in the truth. Our meeting that day was very interesting. Bro. Bates presented the commandments in a clear light, and their importance was urged home by powerful testimonies. The word had effect to establish those already in the truth, and to awaken those who were not fully decided."
Two years before this I was shown that we should visit Western New York at some future time. We were invited to a conference at Volney,
in August, 1848. Bro. Edson wrote that they were generally poor, and he could not promise that they would do much towards defraying our expenses, but he would do what he could. We had no means to travel with. My husband was suffering with dyspepsy. His diet was very spare. But the way opened for him to go into the field to mow grass. It seemed then that we must live by faith. When we arose in the morning we bowed beside our bed, and asked God to give strength to labor through the day. We would not be satisfied unless we had the assurance that the Lord heard us pray. He then went forth to his labor, not in his own strength, but in the strength of the Lord, to swing the scythe. At night when he came home, we would again plead with God for strength to earn means to spread his truth. We were often greatly blessed. I will give an extract from a letter written to Bro. Howland by my husband, July 2d, 1848.
"It is rainy to-day so that I do not mow, or I should not write. I mow five days for unbelievers, and Sunday for believers, and rest on the seventh day, therefore I have but very little time to write. God gives me strength to labor hard all day. Praise the Lord! I hope to get a few dollars to use in his cause."
Again he wrote to Bro. H. July 23d: "We have suffered with labor, fatigue, pain, hunger, cold, and heat, while endeavoring to do
our brethren and sisters good; and we hold ourselves ready to suffer more if God requires. I rejoice to-day that ease, pleasure and comfort in this life, are a sacrifice on the altar of my faith and hope, amen.
"If our happiness consists in making others happy, we are happy indeed. The true disciple will not live to gratify beloved self; but to Christ, and for the good of his little ones
"The brethren here are being tried by the gospel straightener. Some here who had to work hard to get a living have been complaining of their lot, and when asked to help in the cause of Christ, have thought very strange. O why should we murmur when we feel the curse, we who have a hope of being freed from it. The promise is, if we suffer with Christ we shall also reign with him. The sufferings of the human race while under the curse, will not raise them to fellow-heirship with Jesus on his throne. This is the lot of mortals in this world. The heir of God, then, is required to suffer still more. Yes, his whole body is to be a living sacrifice unto God. He is to sacrifice his ease, his pleasure, his comfort, his convenience, his will, and his own selfish wishes, for Christ's cause, or never reign with him on his throne."