April 11th.—Your note has reawakened a question I have often had occasion to ask myself before. Why do my friends speak of my letters as giving more pleasure or profit than anything that goes to them from me in print? Is human nature so selfish? Must everybody have everything to himself? It might seem so at first blush, but I think there are two sides to this question. May it not be possible that God sends a message directly from one heart to another as He does not to the many? Does He not speak through the living voice and the pen that is that voice, as He does not do in the less unconstrained form of print? At any rate, I love to believe that He directs each word and look and tone; inspires rather, I should say.
I should like you to offer a special prayer for us on Saturday. That day completes twenty-five years of married life to us, and, though it has its shades as well as its lights, I do not think I can do better for you than ask that you may have such years,
“For who the backward scene hath
But blessed the Father’s guiding hand?”
I can more truly thank Him for His chastisements than for His worldly indulgences; the latter urge from, the former drive to Him. I am saying a great thing in a feeble way, and you may multiply it by ten thousand, and it will still be weak.
The hymn, “More Love to Thee, O Christ,” belongs, probably, as far back as the year 1856. Like most of her hymns, it is simply a prayer put into the form of verse. She wrote it so hastily that the last stanza was left incomplete, one line having been added in pencil when it was printed. She did not show it, not even to her husband, until many years after it was written; and she wondered not a little that, when published, it met with so much favor.
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Her Silver Wedding. “I have Lived, I have Loved.” No Joy can put her out of Sympathy with the Trials of Friends. A Glance backward. Last Interview with a dying Friend. More Love and more Likeness to Christ. Funeral of a little Baby. Letters to Christian Friends.
If 1870 was the crowning year in Mrs. Prentiss’ life, the 16th of April was that year’s most precious jewel. As the time drew nigh, a glow of tender, grateful recollection suffused her countenance.
Her eyes are homes of silent prayer.
She talked of the past, like one lost in wonder, while the light and beauty of the vanished years appeared still to rest upon her spirit. The day itself, which had been kept from the knowledge of most of her friends, was full of sweet content, rehearsing, as it were, all the days of her married life; and, at its close, the measure of her earthly joy seemed to be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
To Mrs. Leonard, New York, April 16, 1845-1870.