I must speak of his faithfulness as a worker. It has been referred to in better language than I can give, but Brother Powell was indefatigable; he knew no rest; when he toiled until the string snapped he would go down into a sickness that lasted usually just six days; then he would rise as quickly. This one instance will show how he sacrificed himself. On one Sabbath he preached two or three times; then on Monday he sank down in a six days’ illness, but on the next Sabbath morning he had agreed to preach in Mr. Beecher’s church in Brooklyn, and taking himself out of his bed, he did preach in that church twice, and then sank down into another six days’ illness. It was in this way that the man burned out his life in the service. I often urged him to rest, I urged his dear wife to persuade him to rest, but I always had from him the assurance, “It is more wearisome to spend the day in trying to rest than to work.” He always worked at a white heat or he was sick.
Brother Powell was a consecrated man, and with this I shall close. His eloquence was appreciated. He had calls to go elsewhere, to greater fields with larger salary, to apparently greater popularity, but these he always and unhesitatingly declined. He stayed with us, and I believe that it was Brother Powell’s sympathy with the Lord Jesus Christ in those poor, degraded races that led him to say, I will give my life to them and let the honors and emoluments of the world go. Such was the man we loved and honored in our hearts.
I knew Brother Powell, of whom the friends have spoken so beautifully, touching our hearts so deeply.
I was most impressed by two things in Brother Powell—his radiant joyousness and his delightful humor, and the ease with which he could make the transition from the telling of a funny story to the uttering of a devout prayer, thus leading others with him up to the very steps of the throne of grace.