Saturday, April 22, 2017

This Week in Texas Methodist History  April 23

Martin Ruter Writes Nathan Bangs from Texas, April 26, 1838

Probably the last letter Martin Ruter wrote was to Nathan Bangs on April 26, 1838.  His last letter to his wife, Ruth Ruter, in New Albany, Indiana, was written 3 days before.  Nathan Bangs ran the Publishing House in New York City, edited the Advocate, and handled mission correspondence for the Methodist Episcopal Church.  The two men knew each other well.  Ruter had headed the Cincinnati Publishing House from 1820-1828, and they knew each other from General Conference sessions. 

The “last letter” mentions the illness that would kill Ruter within only three weeks from the writing, but also contains a prayer for spiritual welfare of Texans.  Here is the letter.

My health was uniformly good until the first of the present month.  Since that time I have been afflicted with a fever, which I hope is now nearly subdued.  It is supposed to have been produced by fatigue, and by riding too much in the sun.  My travels on horseback have exceeded two thousand miles, and may have been in some instances, too great for my strength.  My object has been to visit as much of the country as practicable, and supply with occasional preaching all the destitute places my time and strength would permit.  And when we consider the change of climate, new state of country and the privations with are unavoidable, it is surprising that my health has been thus far preserved.  It has pleased the great Head of the Church to smile upon our feeble efforts, enabling us to say,  “We know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  Even here, in the land where hostile armies recently met in dreadful conflict, and where the thunders of battle were heard, where we still hear of war and rumors of war, the Prince of Peace is extending his peaceful kingdom.  And let it extend!  O let it spread rapidly here, and in other regions until the angel shall proclaim that the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of the Lord


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