Letter to Orson Spencer, dated July 22, 1847, at Merthyr Tydfil. (Vol 9:238,239)
LETTER TO PRESIDENT ORSON SPENCER
Merthyr, July 22, 1847.
Dear President Spencer,-- I have received your letter, written by President Richards, which brought the mournful intelligence of your ill health; and it would be put superfluous for me to say that my whole soul sympathises with you in your deep and multiplied afflictions, many of which I have witnessed with regret in Nauvoo, besides those untold in the wilderness, and lastly in a foreign land. Truly the Saviour (who himself was "a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief") foretold that "in the world ye shall have tribulations," and moreover he said "rejoice for I have overcome the world," hence ye shall also. 'Tis a consolation to know that, although you are in a strange land, you are by no means among strangers; and for your consolation I say, dear brother, that when I read your request for an interest in the prayers of the Welsh Saints, in the Saints' meeting; such a sympathy, a reciprocating spirit I hardly ever saw manifested on any occasion. When, after explaining the nature of the case, I moved that we should pray, and not cease to pray, until that we should hear of brother Spencer's recovery, it was so heartily responded to with such a faithful "amen," by over 500 Saints, that it certainly reached the ears of our heavenly Father speedily, methinks. And we do it with the greater faith, because we have abundance of evidences we think, that we have not transgressed so as to render ourselves unworthy of your teachings,
precious counsels, and guidance; neither can I believe that the Lord of the great and busy harvest will call you hence now, nor let you be confined from your labours long. All the Saints, as well as myself, anxiously wait the arrival of every post to bring the glad news of your recovery, for such we verily believe to be the will of our heavenly Father.
Dear Brother,--Doubtless the following intelligence will be pleasing and recreating in your weakness, to one who loves to see the prosperity of the work of God among every tribe and nation, and especially as it makes manifest the wonderful condescension, power, and love of God throught the Gospel. I mean to say, that one day last week one of the Hindoos, late from Bengal, called at my door for charity, clothed in his native costume. At first sight I felt a great attachment to him, because, as I thought that he was now, as I had been in my youth in his native land--that is, a stranger and without a friend,--I had retained in my memory some little of his langauge, and invited him in. He came, and by mixing a little Hindoostanee with the little broken English which he understood, I preached to him the Gospel; and strange as it may seem he believed it all as fast as he could understand. Ever and anon he would lift up his jet black eyes to heaven in gratitude, and then again he would be animated with the good news, and want to hear them again, as though too good to be true. I fed him, and invited him to call again, which he did each day punctually to the hour, and appeared very thankful for the instructions he received. I took him to our church meeting on Sunday, and requested the Saints to pray that the great dispenser of all spiritual gifts would cause him to be instructed in a language which he understood, and that it should be
for a testimony to him. The gifts and 'tongues,' in particular, are profusely enjoyed here generally, but this time more abundantly, so that before the close of the meeting I knew, and all the Saints indeed knew, that he had heard a language which he understood, and great was our joy when he said that he had heard the great things of God taught him in that meeting in eight different languages of the east, which he understood more or less of. But what astonished him the most was, a song which one of the sisters sung in the Malabar language (as he called it), and another in the Malay; this so animated him, that he pulled a Hindoostanee hymn book out of his pocket, and fain would sing in the meeting with them, supposing they could follow him in that too. Thus were our prayers answered so far to his great joy and ours. On Monday I felt impressed the more of the necessity of perseverance to bring him to the knowledge of the truth, and (whether in order or not, I know not) I called several, of the Elders and brethren that had the gifts to my house, and brought him, or rather he brought himself amongst us. We covenanted in prayer to seek his conversion in the Lord's way further, and for the space of four hours the brethren, through the gifts of the spirit, taught him the gospel so plain and forcibly, that before he left the room he requested to be baptized. Sometimes he interpreted in English as well as he could, and the speakers again, by the gift
of interpretation in Welsh, in some instances almost verbatim.
Now, to test the depth of his sincerity, I invited him to come and live in my house, free of cost, and eat at my table, but so far his only reply is, that all he wants of me is "good religion to please the great 'Shurinah,'" and so has sustained himself.
But to be brief with my narrative, yesterday I took and baptized this first fruits (I presume) of a numberous, inoffensive, and idolatrous nation, and we have had intimations through the spirit that he is to be like the leaven in much meal to leaven the whole. May it be the case is my sincere prayer. Amen.--He rejoiced greatly after the ordinance that the Lord lead him to my house.
Your brother in the Gospel,