awful solemn thing to marry." She replied, "I know it, dad, but it is a heap solemner not to."
It is a perfectly natural thing to marry. Man never got up this scheme; it is a plan of God. It is folly to try to beat it.
I have heard of a man whose wife mistreated him and then left him with a small baby boy in his arms. He hated his wife and with her all other women.
He took that baby boy into the wilds of Alaska, planning that he should never see women, but when he was 21 years old he took him back to civilization and he attended a county fair. Among other wonderful things he saw about twenty lovely young ladies dressed in white, singing. He stood entranced, exclaiming, "Father, what are they?" The father replied, "My son, pay no attention to them; they are geese." The son passed on and the father hoped he had forgotten the incident, but at the close of their stay the father said, "My son, we will now go back to our desert home. What shall I buy you to take back?"
The son replied, "Father, buy me a
goose." He had never seen one before, but he wanted it. I tell you
they will get you.
The true minister of the Gospel does not charge a regular fee for his services at the marriage. He depends upon the generosity of the bridegroom and his appreciation of his bride.
The minister has many avenues for his surplus change and his income is generally limited. Don't forget the preacher, boys!
It is very poor taste indeed for the bridegroom after the ceremony to ask the minister what his bill is or what the charges are. This is often done, but it is not the thing to do; it throws a sort of coldness over the meeting.
The bridegroom ought to have his offering for the minister in his vest pocket, or better still, in an envelope, and then quietly hand it to him.
That sum ought not to fall below $5.00. A ten-dollar bill looks better to me!
The groom who remembers the minister liberally will not lose in the long run. A man ought not to be married often during this earthly life and he can afford to be manly and generous at this time.
This whole transaction from start to finish is a test of manhood. Brother, walk up and stand the test!
I have often married people where I received no fee at all, but it seemed to me a good deal like tying up cattle.
The largest fee I ever received was $50.00, but I prayed eight hours for that fellow. I said, "Lord, work him up and help him give me a good fee, for I need the 'dough.'"
He gave me, sealed in an envelope, ten five-dollar bills. I praised the Lord and used the money. One of the smallest, meanest fees I ever got, was some shade trees for the church and the trees died. I guess they got ashamed and quit.
I am a firm believer in marriage. We can never beat the evils of the present day except the people enter the marriage relation and establish their own homes. God says, "He setteth the solitary in families."
Marriage is the order of God, the foundation of society, the church and the state. Many people among us who have their own homes do not know the intense desire of those who are not so situated. Our cities are crowded with women, good women, who have no chance to meet agreeable gentlemen, and there are many good men on ranches, farms and in mining, and even in our crowded cities who have small opportunity to meet good women.
In recent years, on account of my age and experience, many come to consult with me on this subject. Mothers bring their daughters and beg me to use my influence to have them properly settled in life. It might do the skeptical on this subject much good to read some of the letters I receive. One lady said, "The desire for a home and love is with me constantly; it haunts my every waking hour."
In the Bible you may read a very beautiful story of how Isaac got his wife, in Genesis, twenty-fourth chapter.
Abraham's eldest and most trusted servant attended to this business with alacrity and devotion, and with the evident blessing of God.
Other people can dip in a little to help others if they have the skill and ability. I have a bureau of information on marriage in my down-town office, which in the past year has worked wonders. I have a most competent secretary who takes the details off of me and I hope to assist many worthy people in the future.
ROM the time I was a little boy until now I believed that there was a living God and that He wrote a book. As I have before stated, while I lived on a Minnesota farm I was able to find a colt that had been lost for months. I did not ask any person where she might be, but taking the promises of God I just prayed, and as I have stated on another page, I rode to the place where she was, a distance of seven miles. It was then revealed to me that God heard prayer and I have never believed anything else.
On one of these occasions I was very anxious to have a certain horse, which we called Black Sally, to ride a half dozen miles to St. Peter, Minn., to a celebration held there.
My brother was promised the horse to drive with an animal belonging to a friend of his, so I had no chance. But I did not give up; I made the whole matter a subject of prayer.
I thought that God could manage it better than any one else. I went down to the woods-pasture and kneeled down day after day and told God what I wanted. The night before the celebration it was arranged by the young people that my brother's friend should furnish both horses and that left Black Sally to me.
But I learned to my sorrow another thing; that is, that by earnest prayer, asking without conditions, we may be able to get things from God that are all kinds of trouble and discomfort. My horse was a care and a burden from the beginning to the end. She was afraid of every firecracker and shyed at everything on the road, until before night I wished Black Sally was safe in the pasture.
After that I continued to pray and to read the Bible with the expectation that I should receive an answer; that God was really the living God, just as He said He was, just as Daniel found Him to be.
I prayed when I went away to college; I prayed for the things I needed, like clothes, food and books.
A remarkable prayer in my life that was signally answered was a prayer I made in the Methodist Church about my work in the ministry. I was asking God to direct me so as not to make a mistake in my calling. I thought that was a very important matter. I told God as I sat there that the church at Litchfield, Meeker County, Minnesota, was vacant; if He would call me to it without any effort on my part I would always believe that He called me. That happened just as I said to God.
About four weeks afterward the authorities of the church asked me to take that church and I did so, and from that day to this I have never doubted His divine call which was a signal answer to my prayer.
Then for years I did not get remarkable answers to prayer, because my temporal needs were not great; I was in no great straits for money or for anything else.
When a man gets answers to prayer he must be in a hole; that is to say, he must be in great need.
In the fall of 1889, when I began my independent work in Omaha, I was brought in a close place; that is, where I had to cry mightily to God, and there prayer found its literal fulfillment.
I firmly believe that God answers prayer. God does not change, nor do His promises. If we but fulfil the conditions of those promises we shall have our prayers answered.
When our prayers are not answered there is a reason. Some years ago I took a blank book and recorded the date of my prayers for special subjects, and on the opposite page I recorded the facts and the time of the answer. That book is a very interesting one to me.
My present work in the People's Church is in direct answer to prayer. I have not a single doubt but that God has given me this field and is blessing me in it.
I want to here record some remarkable answers to prayer.
In the fall of 1889 I hired Boyd's Opera House at $25.00 a Sabbath and a man at $50.00 a month to train a large chorus of singers. I paid a dollar a day house rent and had other expenses in proportion. I preached to large congregations in the opera house for nearly a year. I had no one to help me in this heavy spiritual and financial work but God.
One Saturday afternoon, while I was away to a funeral, Lilly, my little Jersey cow, got out of the lot and ran off. I looked for her for ten days. My friends and a police officer of the city assisted me in the search. She was nowhere to be found. I came home one day made up my mind the case was a desperate one and I would go to God about it.
I opened my Bible to Mark, 11:24, and read these words: "Therefore I say unto you, what things so-ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."
I got down on my knees and pleaded that promise before God until I saw the ground under me was firm; until I saw that God would really keep His word with me.
The keeping of this promise on God's part meant everything to me. It not only involved this case, but whatever should come up in my after life. Could I take temporal things to God? That was the question.
While talking to God on my knees out of the sincerity of my heart, I had the assurance from Him that I could.
My prayer for the cow was answered then and there. I was no more certain when I led her home by the halter than I was at that moment. So certain was I that the Lord had heard that I looked out the window, thinking I should certainly see her.
She was not there, but I was not disappointed. I went down stairs and asked my wife if she had prayed for the cow. She said, "Yes." I asked, "What answer did you get?" She replied, "I think we shall find her
if it is the will of God." I said with great emphasis, "I have found her; God has given her back to us!"
I put on my hat and overcoat and ran about two miles, praising God every step of the way that He had answered me and that He then was leading me to her.
I was not the least in doubt which way to go, nor did I take a circuitous path. I was impressed to ask at a little white cottage that stood off by itself if they had seen my cow. The lady said, "No." I said, "That is very strange, for I am sure I am very near her. I am playing at that old game of hot and cold and I am getting hotter every minute." She inquired, "Was she a little Jersey cow, with white and brown spots?" I said, "Yes." She said, "Well, mister, I'll bet you a dollar she is in that barn yonder," pointing to a stable near. I said, "Madam, I will not take the bet, for I know she is!"
I put my hand on the fence and jumped over into the stable yard. I opened the door of the stable and the second cow, with her head in the stanchion, was my Jersey.
I had made three conditions in my prayer. The first was that I should find her, the second that she should still give milk, and the third that it should not cost me anything to get her, for the simple reason that I did not have anything to pay with.
Every one of these conditions was fulfilled and in one hour from the time I had offered the petition the cow was in my barn.
The next Sabbath I preached on the subject. The sermon was printed and widely read. It was much commented upon, favorably and otherwise, but I have since learned from that incident a number
were brought to God and many were encouraged to take the small affairs of this life to God.
"Be careful for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God."
I give one other incident in my life of recent occurrence. I decided not to leave my work and go about begging men for money to help me carry on my labors. I promised God that I would not do this, but that I would attend faithfully to my spiritual work and trust Him for the means. I needed a double-seated carriage for the use of my family. I told God about it and asked Him to help me in the purchase. I believed that He would do it and I ordered the carriage; it was to cost about $100.00.
One day, soon after this, when the time of payment was rapidly approaching, I grew anxious and almost troubled about the money, and not having it in hand I decided to have the matter out with God. Now I was greatly in need and He told me to ask Him. I set apart a day for importunate prayer. I went to my study at 8 o'clock one morning and decided to stay there until I heard from heaven. I would walk the floor back and forth and plead the text found in Phillipians, 4:19: "My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
I plead that text, walked the floor from 8 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, and fifty times or more I went to the window and looked out, expecting to see some fellow bringing it.
At 3 o'clock in the afternoon a man rang my doorbell. I went down and spoke kindly to him, asking him how I could assist him. He said he wished I would marry him at 8 o'clock that evening. I replied, "Very well. Bring your official papers, your lady and your witnesses and I will perform the ceremony." When 8 o'clock came the party was there.
But during the time that elapsed between the visit of this gentleman, namely, from 3 p. m. to 8 p. m., I spent in prayer, and this is what I said to God: Now, Lord,
work him up and help him to give me a good fee and whatever he gives, Lord, I will pay on the buggy."
I had my faith worked up to about $10.00, but God is better to us than our small measures of faith.
There was nothing in the appearance of this man or his bride to indicate that he would pay me a large fee. They were very ordinary looking people. The marriage was solemnized and the party bade us good night, but before the bridegroom shook hands with me at the door he handed me an envelope, sealed, with my name written on the outside.
It appeared to me it was quite bulky. I said to myself, "There is a bill inside wrapped in some paper." But on opening the envelope I found there was nothing inside but money. There were ten five-dollar bills. That was the largest fee that I have ever received and I have married nearly 3,000 couples. I believe that this was given in direct answer to special prayer.
When my carriage was completed it was paid for. We give the praise to God. I fully believe the middle verse of the Bible, which is Psalms, 118:8: "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."
I had a very remarkable prayer answered in the summer of 1900. Owing to the sinfulness and treachery of a professed minister I was left in almost a destitute condition.
My church building stood on leased ground and that lease was held by a hard-fisted man who demanded his money promptly every month.
On account of the treachery of my brother minister my church was almost destroyed and I was left without financial income. Under these circumstances I needed $16.00 to pay for this ground rent and I had no money. In my hour of need I took the matter to God.
I had been on my knees in prayer perhaps a half hour when a ring at my lower door attracted my attention. On attending the door I met a lady whom I had never seen before. She was dressed in a brown suit and was an intelligent looking person.
She said to me, "Is this Mr. Savidge?" I said, "Yes." She then remarked that she felt deeply impressed to bring me some money this morning. I told her I was very grateful for such divine impressions. She then opened her purse and counted me out three five-dollar bills. Then she took out a silver dollar and turned it over in her hands a time or two and then put it back in her purse.
The only thing that surprised me was that she should get away with that dollar, because I had asked God in my prayer for $16.00. However, I thanked her kindly for her gift.
I went at once and told my wife that a lady had given me $15,00, but that I did not see how she carried off that dollar. I said to Mrs. Savidge, "Did any money come in from any other source?" She replied, "I sold a dollar's worth of milk." I then saw why this woman should walk off with that money.
In the latter part of October, 1912, I was powerfully wrought upon to pray for one of my children, who at that time was exceedingly ill. He had not obeyed God nor been wise in his choices, and through the breaking of God's laws things looked very dark for him. I had never had such trouble as that in all my life. But I found I was helpless to deliver my boy and I cried to God for help. For three mornings at 4 o'clock the burden and struggle of prayer was on me. This agony was accompanied by great feeling and strong crying and tears. The burden of my prayer was for God to undertake in the case and I further told Him I could not have it this way. His case was so distressing and so terrible that I spoke to God in the way I have mentioned.
My agony was so great in prayer that in my cries and struggles I awakened the whole house, until my wife and another son came and got in bed with me and held me.
But in a short time the Lord spoke to me and plainly told me, "Leave the case to Me." I was impressed that the promise of deliverance had been given me, but that time would be a necessary element in the perfect cure.
More than a year has passed since then, and from
the hour of my answer to the present, improvement has been marked, slow at first, but lately more rapid.
In July, 1913, I was very desirous of paying the balance on the land on North Thirtieth Street location for the new House of Hope. The sum I desired was a little more than $1,300.00.
I had no earthly prospect of securing such a sum. I took the matter to the Lord in prayer and within a few days two young men in this city gave me the required amount.
There was no earthly reason why these young men should do this; they had not given me any money to speak of before this and were not men who would be likely to do such a thing, but they did do it. I believe that God put it into their hearts to do it.
© 2003 for the NEGenWeb Project by Pam Rietsch, Ted & Carole Miller.