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Sophia Smith's Journal, 1861-1870:
Selected entries relating to the disposition of her property



 

May 12 [1861] ... O may I henceforth live for Him who died for me. Almighty Saviour, wilt Thou grant me wisdom and strength to devote this estate to thy service. Wilt Thou guide me by thy counsel and grant me thy free spirit.

June 2nd [1861] ... I will try to live nearer to my Saviour. I don't know what to do in the circumstances in which I am placed. Lord, what [wilt] Thou have me do? Wilt Thou teach me and guide me. Wilt Thou give me a heart willing to give and devote this estate to Thy services and grant me wisdom from above that I may be willing to consecrate myself and this estate to Thy service...

June 28th [1861] Have had a lonely day, heavy cares weighing on my mind. May I not be impatient. May I discharge the obligation faithfully….

October 28 [1861] How solitary Not one of all my family left! I stand alone to buffet the storms of life.... Oh that I had wisdom from above to direct me in these responsibilities....

March 23 [1862] ... I feel exceedingly weak, powerless to do good. No one to go to or counsel. Everyone coming to me for selfish ends. The greater the flattery the more selfish the ends.

April 19th [1862] ... I see selfishness all around me, -- all seeking their own ends, clutching for themselves... my responsibilities are very great. I do not feel equal to them. I do not know my duty. I want strength to perform it. I want guidance...

October 25 [1862] ... I have had a great many calls made upon me which have been against my feelings; perhaps I have done wrong in not complying with their requests. I feel my character to be very weak….

June 22 [1863] ... I have written a letter to Andover this morning. I hope it is a Judicious thing; do not feel quite sure. May [my] steps be directed in the right way this day and every day. Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do? Wilt Thou lead me and guide me in concerns this day....

Sunday [October] 11 [1863] ... How changed the time with me; how lonely and desolate. Every one that approacheth [me cometh] for some selfish purpose.... I know not what to do ....

January 17, 1864. Two weeks have past since I have written in this journal, an occurrence [sic] quite unusual with me. It reminds me how rapidly the weeks pass. -- And I am also reminded of the swiftness of time and of the momentous concerns that hang on this brief period....

February 14, 1864 ... Death has been in our midst. He has taken the old and the young, and come near to me. O may I be ready with my lamps trimmed and burning. I have read light reading for the last week too much, which is not profitable. I feel placed in critical circumstances. A great responsibility rests upon me. I am watched. I feel a want of efficiency; a want of a guide, a friend to direct me. [image]

May 15th [1864]. Have been to church all day. A collection for the wounded is taken up. I have given a large sum, more than my usual amount. May it do good.

December 26 [1864] ...We are about establishing a large library here. I hope it may prove useful and successful, and that I may profit....

May 28 [1866] ... Goodness has more weight than talents. Love is the basis of all. true characters. Giving without love is nothing,-- so many dollars counted and given out, measured and without a corresponding feeling. Charity proceeds from the heart.

June 17th [1866] ... Wilt Thou direct me what to do. I come to Thee for wisdom, for Thou promisest to give it liberally to those that ask of Thee. And Wilt Thou guide me in all my concerns and keep me from ruining myself .... May I have the gift of Charity and give liberally as my means and duty demand of me. Jesus Christ pleased not himself.

October 15,1866. I do not go to Church this forenoon, but hope to go in the afternoon for the purpose of contributing to the American Missionary Society, a society I have known but little of, for the benefit of the freedmen in the south which I am free to say I have not taken much interest in. I desire to give where duty calls....

May 25th [1867] ... I have just read a memorial of the fiftieth anniversary of the Theological Seminary at Andover, to which I have given thirty thousand dollars for the endowment of a professorship of Theology and Homiletics, a short course of study for indigent young men who are desirous to enter the gospel ministry and to preach to the destitute in the western parts of our country where there are so many destitute colleges. Thus what I gave was to be kept by itself to all future time for this express purpose. May it do good. May I try to do all the good I can. May I be led by my Father in Heaven....

December 13, 1867 ... I am placed in circumstances which require a great deal of wisdom. I feel the responsibility of this great property. My desire Is to do right, but I fail in all things ....

March 7, 1868 ... May I have wisdom to dispose of this property aright. Almighty Father, wilt Thou grant me wisdom and strength to act to Thy glory. Thou knowest my weakness. In Thee is righteousness and strength.

Sunday, March 15, 1868 ... I feel a dissatisfaction with every thing around me. O that it would lead me to God .... Oh that I had wisdom to direct me in managing this property....

June 30, 1868 … I have endowed a professorship for a special course to instruct young men for the ministry. Mr. Taylor is the Professor; is to take young men from the Churches that are older or have not the means to go through a regular course, and give them a year's study in the English Bible, which is to prepare them for preaching in the west. It is not to take the three years' students from the Seminary, but young men that are not able to go that course of three years.


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