Old Nanny
A member of the Christian Commission in the American Civil War, relates this telling story of him-
"I had been in the army but a few days when I was taken sick with malarial fever and carried to a division hospital. It was my first experience of sickness in camp. I said to myself when they had carried me into the tent and left me alone: 'Now you will have the opportunity to try the efficacy of the counsel you have so often given to soldiers in like circumstances.' But I found it far easier to preach than to practice. I passed a sleepless night alone, and without a light. My theology said 'It is right and well for me to be sick among strangers, if God wills.' But my heart always added, 'Yes, but it would be better to be sick at home.'
"While I lay thus thinking and tossing on my blanket, just at grey dawn the folds of my tent parted, and a black face peered through. It was 'Old Nanny,' a coloured woman who had taken my washing the day before. I could hear no one else moving about the hospital; what had sent her there at that hour! Looking tenderly at me she said:—
" 'Massa, does yo> see de bright side dis mo'nin'?' "
" 'No, Nanny,' said I, 'It isn't so bright as I wish it were.' "
" 'Well, Massa, I allus see de bright side.' "
" 'You do?' said I; 'maybe you haven't had much trouble.' "
" 'Maybe not,' she said. Then she went on to tell me in her simple, artless way, of her life in Virginia, of the gelling of her children one by one, of the auction sale of her husband, and then of herself. She was alone now in the camp, without having heard from one of her kindred for years, 'Maybe I ain't seed no trobule, massa!' she concluded.
" 'But, Nanny,' said I, 'have you seen the bright side all the time!' "
" 'Allus, Massa, allus.' "
" 'Well, how did you do it?' "
" 'Dis is de way, massa. When I seed the great black cloud comin' over'—and she waved her black hand inside the tent as though one might be just settling down there, 'an' 'pears like its comin' crushin' down on me, den I just whip aroun' on de odder side, an' I fin' de Lord Jesus dar; an' den it's all right an' cl'ar. De bright side's allus whar Jesus is, Massa.' "
" 'Well, Nanny,' said I, 'if you can do that, I think I ought to.' "
" ' 'Pears like you ought to, Massa, an' you's a preacher of de Word of Jesus.' And with this well-directed home-thrust, she went her way.
"I turned myself on my blanket, and said in my heart, 'The Lord is my Shepherd.' It is all right and well. Now come fever or health, come life or come death, come burial on the Yazoo Bluff or at home—'The Lord is my Shepherd! ' With this, sweet peace, rest in God's care and love, became my portion. I fell asleep. When I awoke I was in a perspiration; my fever was broken. Old Nanny's faith had helped to make me whole."
"Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Cor. 1 : 3).—C. Knapp, in "The Indian Christian.''