"I ask Thee for a thoughtful love,
Through constant watching, wise
To meet the glad with joyful smiles,
And to wipe the weeping eyes;
And a heart at leisure from itself
To soothe and sympathise.
"Wherever in the world I am,
In whatsoe'er estate,
I have a fellcnvship with hearts,
To keep and cultivate;
And a work of lowly love to do
For the Lord on Whom I wait."
FOSBERY'S "Hymns and Poems," &c.
IT is the object of this chapter to illustrate what has been already remarked, how Mother Harriet, while wholly devoted to and absorbed in the Community life and work, had lost nothing of the warm sympathies with which she had ever been drawn to "weep with them that weep, and to rejoice with them that do rejoice." Only as her spiritual life advanced, her tone, and the substance of her intercourse with those in the outer world who sought and welcomed her aid, assumed an increasing spiritual depth. She influenced men as well as women. Her genial disposition, her ready frankness, her quick discernment, the practical business-like way in which she dealt with cases of spiritual or indeed of any kind of trial and difficulty that came before her, had a very peculiar charm. Shy and reserved natures opened to her at once, and there was a breadth of experience, and a power of appreciating facts, which gave a quiet assurance. She would go straight to the point, and keep to the main issue, and it was seldom that some high principle, or some common sense judgment, or some consoling thought, was not the result of even a brief converse. If the case was one of real importance, it would become matter of lasting interest to her, of frequent inquiry, and, if need required, of unfailing diligence in giving the assistance in her power.
Of what passed in conversation, little can be recorded. But there are many letters treasured by those who have felt the value of her loving aid in times of sorrow or spiritual need, which convey an idea of the kind of cases which she was drawn to assist, and the kind of assistance she would give. A few selected instances from her correspondence, which have been kindly intrusted to the author, with permission to publish what might, as it is hoped, be more widely, helpful, will best serve this purpose.
The following is a series of letters written, in the earlier days of her work at Clewer, to the eldest daughter, then quite young, of a family with whom she had lately become acquainted, on occasion of the illness and the death of the mother. The first was written when her death was daily expected; the two subsequent ones immediately on her death, when, in the keen distress of such a bereavement, the first oppressive sense of personal responsibility involved in it, was being felt by the daughters.
"MY DEAR----, The account this morning is not so cheering as I had hoped to have heard. I had been anxious to know how the dear one was going on, and hoping to hear of advance in strength, but GOD'S loving care is best for her, and we must not wish for other than He sends. Hers is one of those cases in which one knows not what even to wish, except for herself and for you grace to have a will perfectly conformed to GOD'S Will. It is a bright and blessed home of life, and love, and rest, to which she is travelling, and GOD has dealt very gently with her on the journey hitherto, and we may trust Him to the end, even though the pang of parting and the loneliness of earth to the parted ones has in it a depth of unfathomed sorrow which nothing can heal but the hand of love, which teaches us that the healing lies in a firm trust in His Love, and a will that can believe His will is best. When I hear of her as more suffering, I long to be near enough for the carriage to fetch me to her side when she wishes for me."
On hearing of her death she wrote immediately:
"MY DEAREST------, I will most gladly go to your------ If I can spare you anything in the way of arrangement, or be in any way a comfort to you, I shall only be too thankful.....Yes, dear, her happiness is the sweetest thought to rest on, and which of us would call back our loved ones? and it is blessedness in our lives to feel that link with the invisible ever drawing us upwards. But then there is the side of our own loss, and that loneliness which day by day creeps into our heart and gives us many and many an oft-repeated struggle, ere the heart can quite echo the words, Thy Will be done. Do you not every hour feel what a blessing that consciousness on Tuesday was? GOD has dealt very gently with you and her, but I would not have you put down grief now, sooner or later it will find its course, only pray that by degrees you may learn entire submission, and draw the links of love closer and closer to each other.
"On you, dear child, while you are still almost a child, presses a heavy care and responsibility, and on------too a great duty; draw more and more into oneness, and GOD grant each may learn to feel the true blessing of dependence on each other, while you fill up GOD'S purpose for you in being the guide and stay of all. How she loved to trace in you a growing fitness for it, and to realise the bond of unselfish love that bound you all into oneness, while she felt, as she once said to me of your father, 'you see how fitted he is to be father and mother to them all.' GOD bless you, dear ones.
"Ever your loving friend,
The next letter followed shortly after:
"MY DEAREST------, Though I am too busy to go and look you up, I am not too busy to remember to love you, and think of and pray for you all at a season when past and present, the seen and the unseen, mingle into one, and the song of joy thrills through earth and heaven, rising above all sorrow, all sadness, and toning down and sanctifying all joy, till all hearts find their meeting place in one universal song of adoration and of love.
"Give Christmas greetings and blessings from me to each and all, with special tender love and sympathy to your father, and to dear------very special love."
These three letters were the opening of a long and constant correspondence, and a warm and lasting friendship. Those which follow are selections, extracts from letters to the same young friend from time to time to help and comfort her under changing phases of her new position.
The following extract relates to the visit of a male friend.
"About 2 p.m.------appeared .... he is so specially full of spiritual life, I know no man more so,--whenever one gets deep enough down below the surface life which we all wear more or less as a mask, one gets at this spiritual world of inward craving which feels that earth cannot satisfy the life within that is made for immortality. We all agreed how much of life is spoiled by the incessant chaff of the day,--I am sure it is a great temptation and a great loss to our better being. One's deeper self starves instead of growing, and souls who would strengthen and cheer each other on the journey onwards lose this blessing because of the passing rubbish for which they can care nothing. I wonder how this could be altered, I am sure no one seriously stands still and looks at a day's talk without wishing it bore better grain, and they would in their better moments throw half the chaff at least to the winds, and yet ponderous preaching talk is not what one wants, nor canting talk, nor surface discussions of controversial subjects, nor any appearance of being better than one's neighbours. Still there is an indescribable want, and loss, in this everlasting hiding under this guise of all that is best and noblest in us, of all that forms the meeting point of soul with soul, all in us that has an undying life. It is easy for an old woman like me who lives at the other side of life, and knows that abiding rest is only found by living above in a calm nest, formed nearer heaven than earth, to get into this broad expanse of spiritual life, where there is a perpetually renewed and renewing beauty of landscape, and brightness of colouring, that throws a glow over all; but for you young ones there is a journey of some kind to be made ere you can mingle the brightness of earth with the brightness of the Divine Life. Perhaps the neutral tints of life have not been laid on heavily enough as yet for you to be able to blend into oneness what seems so opposite, and yet they are not opposed, they are in truth one, and never look so lovely as when they are seen through the light transparent colouring of youth. What is it that is wanting? I suppose it is a deeper love of Him Who is the source of life and of brightness, a deeper realising that as the unseen, almost unspoken, parts of our being are the deepest, almost the only real part of our lives, so the unseen verities on which we must muse in stillness, and the unfelt union with Him Who is our life, are in truth the realities of our mysterious selves which are ever craving, and never can be satisfied till we are drawn above the chaff of earth into the good fruit of a life of holiness and union with GOD. You must think, or rather pray, out this subject in the stillness of some of your life in Scotland, where there is more time for thought and less need for constant action, and tell me what you arrive at when we meet."
To the same, with advice as to her own spiritual self-discipline and the general family life:
"... All spiritual life is a growth through different stages; (i) The conquest of actual sin such as we feel we must and ought to struggle against. (2) Then the gradual rising beyond the struggle into a state when the soul seems growing and deepening on all sides, and the inward consciousness is increasing, that the immortal within can find no rest till it has found its repose in GOD; and this is a time of long, and slow, and gradual growth, great worlds to travel in here. There is a distinct consciousness that we mean to be on GOD'S side, we mean to give Him our heart. This is a time when oftentimes the only appearance of progress we have is the longing not to fall back, and then something comes and opens a long vista before us, and we see the way to walk in, and live more in the sunshine of GOD'S Presence; and then (3) comes that wondrous state of Divine love and union, when the soul is fixed steadfastly in regions above earth, and comes down to touch earth only in ministries of love, and with a will wholly one with the Divine Will--a life of beatitude when all has been offered up, and we are wholly one with GOD--that life which our LORD speaks of, S. John xiv. 23. But we must plod on a bit yet, ere we reach this, though it helps us to catch glimpses of it, and makes us feel at times we could give up all to attain to it.
"As the middle state is the one for the present, I suppose to each earnest soul the practical question of how to walk in it in their circumstances, is the one we all need answered, and which, if we ask faithfully, GOD will teach us day by day.
"Now for all you, young things, whose duty lies in being agreeable, jolly, kind to every one; living a life without much to do, but that which seems self-pleasing, is an anxious question. And yet that is manifestly GOD'S will and purpose for you. In your own case, you have added to it large cares and duties which you have always and very wisely and rightly made it a point not to make look like cares and duties. There is GOD'S way of living this life, and here is the question, How? Very difficult to answer, for I think the perfectly holy young girl would combine so much of a Divine life, mingling in with the brightness and happy influence on all around, without that weary nothingness which is the bane of that life. Still she would not be pedantic or canting.
"It will give you something to do to meditate on this as you sit looking into the sea, and learning great wisdom from it, for I always think the sea is a wise teacher, it is so boundless, so constant in its motion, so still in its deep heart, so unvarying and yet so varying in the fulfilment of its appointed task. And after all it is solved by the one amazing thought of 'CHRIST in us, the hope of glory,' in the gradual clearing of the mists of self and sin, and pride, Sic., that dim the crystal vSs'e of our tabernacle which contains the Divine life,--while we grow into the meekness and gentleness, the poorness of spirit, and the purity of heart, which are the manifestations of the Divine Indwelling."
To the same, when needing encouragement:
"Do not doubt GOD'S love. He draws us by His Love to love Him, and though we can at first catch but transient gleams of feeling, still they are true, and as we are faithful brighten up into a steady glowing light, becoming more and more abiding as we wear on and bear on, yielding ourselves more and more to the drawings of Divine Love. We love Him because He first loved us. All true heart religion springs from the faith that lays hold of that Love, and makes it one's very own."
To the same, on the announcement of a hope that a brother would seek to be admitted into Holy Orders:
"I am so pleased to hear about------, both for his sake and all of yours. How gently GOD deals with His children, sending the sunshine with the rain, always giving us tokens of His tenderness, of His Love. With what a sweet smile and earnest-hearted joy she would have greeted these tidings for her dearly loved son, and yet still her joy will be more complete, as each one of her loved ones is drawn nearer to GOD, nearer to her in GOD, and in more entire conformity to His Will. The link that binds us to those within the veil is invisible, we dare not strive to penetrate too much, and yet how truly our hearts tell us it is not broken."
To the same, in reference to the destiny of the Sisters:
" . . . . ------seems very true to her vocation. I hope she will get stronger when the struggle is over; it must be a hard struggle for her, but I doubt not she has heard the call and will follow. For you, dear, home has such a call, that I doubt if it is not GOD'S place for you. Get closer and closer into the heart of" JESUS; let every part of your being come under the discipline and power of His Life, and be among them all the strength and revelation of that life,--this, I doubt not, is your true vocation."
To the same, on the question of how to reconcile social and religious duties:
" .... I can quite sympathise with your feeling, but I think you were right to go to Holy Communion. It was a moment in which GOD spoke to your soul, and you might have missed a blessing if you had not gone. I am far from thinking it possible to serve GOD and the world,--but living in the world is not serving the world. It is as much your duty to entertain in your father's house, as it is ours to invite the outer world to our Commemoration Day. I believe Houses like ours are a great blessing, and a great rest to people living in the world. One knows that everywhere the heart has to be guarded with a jealous care for GOD but as it was your duty to be at your own entertainment, surely there was nothing inconsistent in seeking to have our Blessed LORD present with you there. What GOD says is, 'My son, give Me thine heart.' Give that to GOD, and then you will find all fall into its place,--the home duties, the watchfulness over one's own inner life, the devotion to GOD, and the life of usefulness."
To the same, as to her own spiritual progress:
" .... I send you some meditations, they contain so much teaching which comes out to the soul as you use them, not as a book to read through, but as points to meditate on. I feel sure you will find much in them to meet thoughts in your own mind, and deeper stirrings of your spiritual being; it is always a help to find the response in another mind to what one is just beginning to grasp for oneself. All closer drawing of the soul to God is the more personal consciousness of the union between us and CHRIST, the indwelling of the HOLY GHOST, and our part in the Mystery of the Incarnation. From this first consciousness there opens before the soul the whole life of the following of our LORD; for each of us He has traced the pathway through the darkness of earth, and as we get into it we see here and there the light glowing from the footprints of JESUS, and as we follow we leave a track of light that we have received from Him, to be the guide, and the stay, and the comfort, of those whom we are permitted to shine for and lighten. Our light is bright, because it is the Light of CHRIST shining through us, and we must let the stirrings of love which He kindles in our hearts grow, and deepen, and strengthen, and increase into that fulness of light and love which He has ordained for us. The grace of GOD is ever being shed abroad in our hearts, but it is long before we open our hearts to receive it, and when it is a little opened, long before we cast out everything that impedes its inflowing. Thus we read back the history of all our past life, and thus when moments come in our lives that make us stand still, we learn to read the future; and then comes the question, how will we read it? how much give up to GOD? If we will make a response worthy of His love, first listen to what He asks--He says, 'My son, give Me thine heart,' and if we will make the true and satisfying response, we say with generous love, 'I will give it.' But weigh well what the gift means,---your very self; what a gift is,--it is given, not to be taken back; to Whom you give it,--it is to the Crucified, to Him Who says, 'Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly of heart.' It matters not what our future course is, if once we give our heart to GOD. It may be given in home life, in married life, in the consecrated life. Each has different outward forms, each different responsibilities, but the given heart is one and the same in all.
GOD bless you, dear------.
"Ever yours very affectionately,
To the same, on difficulties in the soul's progress:
" .... I hope you can soon write and give me a cheery account of yourself and dear------. I shall hope when she comes home to get to see her.....I do not wonder at discouraged states coming over her soul. The spiritual life of the soul is of such a tender texture, we can grasp with our faith so much more than we bring into practice, and the inconsistency of the two is perplexing to the soul.
But GOD is Love, and the more simply we lay hold on His love, -and the more we strive to love Him, without too much perplexing ourselves over our own inconsistencies, the better. Tell her to try and rest in the thought of GOD'S love, and as she dwells on it, she will herself grow more into loving GOD, and being loved by Him, and when once love to GOD really takes possession of the soul, all the rest quickly follows."
To the same, on the sickness of one of the members of the family:
"I shall be very glad to see dear------, and trust my visit may bring peace and comfort to her. Tell her, with my love, to try and rest like a little child in the tender arms of a loving Father; we do not enough realise the love of GOD, which JESUS has purchased for us,--bought us back with that love, not because we are worthy, but because He has first loved us. Tell her to say frequently, 'Hold thee still in the LORD, and abide patiently upon Him,'---safe, hidden in the loving heart of JESUS,--none can pluck her out of His arms, and in all her doubts and fears she has but to run and hide herself there. She takes her eyes off JESUS, and looks on the sea and the waves and the enemies around, and then she sinks. Let her but look steadfastly unto JESUS, and she will find she can walk steadfastly, and JESUS will stretch out His hand to uphold her."
Mention was made in one of the above letters of the intention of one of the brothers of the same family to take Holy Orders, but the idea was at last given up, and it was on hearing of this change that she wrote to him the following letter:
"MY DEAR------, Well, it is a bright dream of mine passed away, but it is far better that it should be so, than that you should take Orders without a full clear purpose. These are days when to go forward in any form of religious life, I mean, bearing the standard of the Cross, one must go well prepared at every point to tread the way of the Cross, and if you cannot with a whole heart say, 'We are able,' then better not to set out on that path. ------will no doubt be sorry, very sorry, but she would not have had you a priest without a clear call. No, the follower of the Crucified must bear the marks of the Crucified. I do not think your father will for a moment feel you had one unworthy motive, .... and now, dear------, as a layman, you must strive to live to glorify GOD.
"Thanks for the rose from my home,--the only spot of earth I ever call, or shall call, home. [Meaning her husband's grave.] I build up, as GOD permits me Homes for His children, but mine is within those rails in that bright, sunny land.
"I am so glad you have seen, and enjoyed Sorrento. I spent two summers there, and know its charms well. I visit other lands, but I dare not go to Naples, to wake up the memories of life in its earth's sunshine. Now, it has one unclouded sunshine, but it is not from earth. It plays amid the flowers of Paradise, it is with me within the veil, and shines so bright that the spot of earth under my feet each day wherever they tread, is always bathed in its light."
The next series of letters express different lines of thought, and were written under different circumstances. They were addressed to a young friend whose acquaintance with Mother Harriet was quite casually made, and who afterwards, even till within a few days of her death, continued to look to her for spiritual advice, and who became a medium of obtaining like help for others.
Her account of the manner in which the acquaintance commenced is an instance of how casually, as it seemed, openings occurred for Mother Harriet's kindly aid.
"My first meeting with Mrs. Monsell took place in 1870. I was staying with relations of hers, and during my visit she came to spend a night with them. At that time I much wished to become the Associate of some Sisterhood, and finding myself in the society of the Mother Superior of Clewer, I longed to speak to her on the subject; but the opportunity was difficult to find, for I knew she was leaving early the next morning.
"I was very young; she had scarcely spoken to me, or noticed me since her arrival, and I felt it would be presuming to encroach upon her time which was so fully occupied by others. At length, however, just as we were separating for the night, I ventured to say timidly, 'May I ask you a little about Sisterhoods to-morrow morning before you go?'
"She looked at me for a moment, as if surprised by the question, then added kindly, 'I am leaving very early tomorrow, so I must see you to-night: go to your room, sit down by your fire, and I will come and pay you a visit presently.' That visit was the beginning of a lifelong friendship; a friendship for which I thank GOD as one of His greatest gifts. I began by asking her questions upon Sisterhood life, and from this went on to many a subject near my heart, until I had told her all the trials and difficulties of my life, and received comfort and advice in return which was a constant source of help and blessing for many a year after.
"From that day forward she became one of my dearest friends. Her letters to me, and our conversations together at Clewer or elsewhere, have been some of the greatest spiritual helps of my life. Our happy intercourse continued unbroken during her life, and I was allowed the privilege of being much with her at Folkestone, only a few weeks before she was taken from us.
"The following letters have been of so much comfort and help to myself and to many of my friends that I trust they may be equally helpful to others.
"The first was written for a friend who was going through a time of spiritual darkness and desolation.
"The second contains valuable hints as to correspondence, and the arrangement of time.
"The third gives practical advice to a young lady living an easy idle life in a luxurious home.
"The fourth was written to me during a long visit to friends, when my time was so fully occupied as to leave little space for the spiritual life.
"The fifth I received during a long illness which obliged me to relinquish all active work. This was almost the last letter I received written by her own hand. A few months later she ended a letter with the words, 'Eyes and hands both seem to say, they have done enough, and I must soon give up.'
"From that time I rarely wrote to her; not wishing to add to her labours in any way, but her interest in her correspondents remained as strong as ever, and the letters dictated by her during her latter years will ever be treasured by all who were fortunate enough to receive them."
"MY DEAR------, Thanks for the Angel of Prayer, a very helpful visitant to come to one on S. John's Day.
"I am very thankful for what you say of yourself, and trust your life may have an ever deepening calmness in the midst of whatever activities of soul or body GOD may call you to exercise. I am sure you feel with this calmness increasing powers of going out of yourself into GOD.
"And now about your friend; do not be the least disturbed, GOD has given him great powers, and from your account enlarged desires, to use them for His glory. Then why is he led through the wilderness? 'to humble him and to prove him'--the night of desolation comes to the souls that aim high, and have great desires, and may last long or short, as GOD wills. Some great Saints have had to pass through it for years, and out of it the soul comes with a great strength, because it has found GOD in the darkness. Those words, (And Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where GOD was,' are very wonderful.
"He must not get indifferent to this state, and he must look very carefully to see if it is caused by any sin, or self-love in any form; if it is, the work is clear, there must be a most careful cleansing of the soul. But if it arise from no special cause that can be discovered, then the soul must bow down meekly and say, 'It is the LORD, let Him do what seemeth Him good;' 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him;' and he may walk on in peace, but ever reaching out in the darkness to find Him Who is the Light, and Who may shine out at his side at any moment, and show him how very near He has been all the time.
"Some time let me hear if your friend has got into the Light, but if he is true and humble and faithful do not feel dismayed because GOD keeps him long in the darkness.
"I shall like to see the hymns when they are out. Write to me whenever I can be of any help to you. Always remember when we set out to follow our dear JESUS, it must be from Bethlehem to Calvary and to the holy hill and to the dwelling of GOD. Many a weary step has to be trod in the footsteps of JESUS, and if we can help and uphold each other by the way, it is of GOD'S love, and a thing to be thankful for.
"Ever yours affectionately, "S. HARRIET, Sup'.
"Com. S. John Baptist.
"God bless and strengthen you, and give you at this time a great blessing of peace from the Prince of Peace."
"I think my shortest way of answering your question is by altering your time-table and saying, take from 12 to three days for reading, three days for writing letters, and as a rule make your letters as short as possible without curtness. I believe one may say exactly the same thing in few words as in many, if one practises it,--but there is a great deal in getting just the right medium, for one may be too short and dogmatic,--still to cut in words both in writing and in speaking and yet preserve meekness, gentleness, and tenderness, is a great gain.
"Let the brothers have their full share of your thoughts, your time, and your prayers. Let your young lady friends have your help and your sympathy without becoming dependent, which is what people are always fond of being, while their duty is to stand on their own legs, not yours,--and you only want to help them to do this. And for yourself, my dear child, let simplicity and humility be your great aim; just to do GOD'S work for GOD alone,--without an atom of self-love in it. This is your aim, keep it ever true and pure, and all will come right."
"A Priest of much experience has given me the enclosed aids for your friend. (Here followed some rules for the particular case.)
"Practically I advise her to learn a language, or enter on some safe intellectual employment that will occupy her mind.
"We have such great capacities in our being that pine for occupation, and people hardly estimate the blessing of really learning so as thoroughly to master one or two things; it braces up the whole being. Young ladies' lives are generally so desultory, or so unchastened and irregular, let her lay down some gentle moderate Rule for her life, possible under her circumstances to keep, and then she will see how often she breaks it, perhaps through day-dreaming, or over-haste, or undertaking too many things. But one must remember while aiming after it faithfully, how very difficult it is to lead a really chastened life, so she must not be overanxious or discouraged; discouragement is one of Satan's tools he loves to use to keep us back from GOD.
"I trust you are better, and that this new year will bring you many blessings, teaching you that deep lesson GOD has for you, 'their strength is to sit still."
"GOD bless you and your friends, tell them to struggle on bravely, and not murmur at not having any help GOD withholds from them. He knows best what we need, and if only we will be His children, His faithful children, He will be sure to take care of us.
"Ever yours very affectionately,
"S. HARRIET, Supr C. S. J. B."
"Many days have passed since I got your letter when it came I was in Retreat, and since then I have been with a Sister who was very dangerously ill, so I have had no quiet time to write.
"So you, poor child, you have got to sit still when you wanted to be doing so much. How often GOD thus lays His hand on our activity to make quite sure that we live only in His will.
"You must not think there is much to be done. GOD can do that in His own way, and He is teaching you there is much to be done in you in His own way. You have given yourself to Him, you are His, let Him then use you as He will.
"No, dear, it will not be a refreshing time, because as you say, there is no thinking; but it will be a perfecting time, for when is the being most perfect? Is it not when it has simply learned conformity to GOD'S will? Try and learn this; it will cost you a great deal to learn to lay aside all activity and simply commune with GOD in the quiet resting in Him,--but when you learn it, you will find it is the highest reach of the soul; GOD'S will, my all--not bent this way or that, but just simply as GOD wills. Get 'Hymns for the Sick and Lonely,' written by C. Noel, my cousin; she wanted to be an active Sister of Mercy, and GOD has made her for years a quiet sufferer.
"I doubt going over to Ireland being the best thing for you, do not force circumstances, let it all be as GOD guides.
"I am glad to hear of----, I trust she will grow more and more into the fulness of peace, and find how to joy in GOD in the midst of sorrow.
"Love to your father and mother. GOD be with you: say only very little ejaculatory prayers, and take one or two words to dwell on,--such as Holy, Holiness, Love, Calmness, Stillness in GOD, and live them, and you will grow into them.
"Ever your loving friend and Mother, "S. H., Supr.'
"For yourself I feel more inclined to prescribe. You cannot live without quiet time for prayer, for reading, and cherishing your spiritual life,--and I think it cannot be right for you to give up this side of your life for any consideration of friendship or anything on earth. GOD has the first claim on your life,--give Him what is His due, and then do what you will with the rest, but clearly no life can go on well, or continue to go on, in which you sacrifice what is due to GOD.....
"There should be no talking after eleven at night, and you ought to have a quiet uninterrupted hour for prayer and meditation in the morning. You would be a far better companion afterwards, for your own soul having taken in light, could give out light . . . but clearly life will not go on with you as you are now doing, there will simply be a break down somewhere or somehow.
"For the other matter it is quite one of vocation--if GOD calls you both to a life of closer union with Him--and JESUS says, 'Follow Me,' then 'faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it.' You can in obedience to His call leave all to follow, and be His alone. But the more you strive to lead this life, the more it must be maintained by prayer, and inward tranquillity and contemplation, thus the soul upheld is able to meet the wear of outward life, but we must meet it with a filled, not with an empty vessel of our being,--thus being at rest within it is easy to live for, and act on others--one's own life is satisfied in GOD. Do not, dear, enter on the one life without the fulness of the other; and if we would be filled, we must wait upon GOD."
It is to be borne in mind, that the power shown in these letters, of entering into the needs of others, of going forth to meet them, and of so clearly and fully advising remedies in various cases, was being exercised up to the very close of her working days, and while the countless daily calls and anxieties of her own special work were continually increasing.
Further instances of this loving care, reaching out thus widely, will be given in the following chapter.