(From the Sanders Family Files of Legacy Keeper Donna Thompson.)
At the 4th Sunday in May, 2009, Helon (Merchant) Delk gave me (Donna Sanders Thompson) these copies of letters and writings of Grandma Sanders. They were mainly letters she had written to Emmett (Mutt) and/or Jettie Lee Merchant.
Feb. 3, 1938
Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Merchant,
Greetings to you this morning, in the Name of Him who doeth all things well.
I realize that you are having a trying time during this affliction. So sorry that this misfortune has overtaken you, truly hope that you may soon be an over-comer and that it may yet prove a blessing in many ways. J. M. is very poorly has not been out of the room in quite a while, is almost blind, can’t rest at night but generally gets some sleep during the day. I’m doing fine considering his condition.
Just thought I’d write and let you know that I still remember you and keep you on my prayer list. May God wonderfully bless you and give the needed strength and Grace.
Always remember me as a true friend.
Mrs. J. M. Sanders
Nov. 28, 1943
Mr. Emmett Merchant,
Dear “Eternity” bound friend and neighbor:
No doubt you will be surprised to get this message from me, but my reason for writing you is - because I am interested in your soul. I have heard from several different sources that you are very often seen these days under the influence of that dreadful curse to humanity, the liquor habit. A sad, sad, picture indeed for any poor soul and more especially that of a husband and father, to whom God has given such precious, sweet, innocent, little children to love, protect and raise for His glory. According to the teachings of the Bible, no drunkard, including many other sinful habits, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. What then will your answer be when you are called to stand in the presence of Him who knows all about how you have spent your time, talent and means, that you have been blest with while here, with so many golden opportunities for living a Christian life?
I’ll never forget the night during our preaching Circle, while you were in the hospital, your life, hanging in the balance, your dear, anxious, heartbroken, mother made such a pretty talk and asked everyone to pray for your recovery. The dear Lord spared you, gave you another chance, now, what are you giving Him in return? We were also at Mt. Pisgah the night you joined the Church, have you been true to your Church vows? Then, too, are you as true and attentive to your companion, whom you vowed to love and cherish in sickness and in health till separated by death? Are you as true to her as you would have her be to you? God knows whether you are or not, and you may be quite sure that your record will be safely kept for Eternity. There’s an All-seeing Eye watching you and some day when you come to the end of the way of life, you will meet the record that you have made while here, then if you are not prepared to meet God in “Peace,” how sad it will be – “Standing Outside the Gate,” cast away, to meet your fatal doom. Emmett, I’m begging you, (as a Christian and as one who loves the soul of every one living,) that you heed this message, get your mind off the perishable things of earth and get it on things Eternal. Think of the great sacrifice that Jesus made, and what it means to humanity. Stay away from the dens of vice and sin, abstain from all appearance of evil.
Jettie Lee, I deeply sympathize with you and your mother in the death of her companion and your father. May God bless you all and fill up the vacancy with His great love.
My life is far spent. I am nearing 77, I’m expecting to make heaven my home. I’m begging that you, Emmett, and the sweet little children strive to meet me over yonder, where sin, sickness, and death are not known. I’ll be looking for you, if I go first, don’t disappoint me. You may not appreciate this but, it is from a pure heart and motive.
With Christian love and fellowship.
. Your old neighbor
Mrs. Emma Sanders
Dec. 16, 1946
With many good wishes to each of you for a very Merry Christmas, a Happy and prosperous “New Year” spent for God and “The Right.” May your lives be one of sacrifice and service.
Emmette, please do be good during these Christmas holidays. Your life has been spared for some noble purpose. I well remember the night at the “Tabernacle” when you were in hospital your life hanging in the balance, your precious heartbroken, mother requested special prayer for you. And so you are still here, but are you satisfied as to how you are spending your time, talent and means? Always remember that your record is being safely kept for eternity, and, what you sow you’ll reap, some time, some where.
Would you be willing to meet God in your present condition? I am your friend and am interested in your soul as well as all others. You may not appreciate these words of warning but I feel that they may be my last. May the dear Lord help you to accept Him as a personal Savior before too late. You owe it to Him as well as to your dear wife and sweet children that He has given you to care for and to rear for His Glory. He will hold you responsible for the example you set before them.
Do Abstain from All appearance of evil. This is my sincere prayer for you. Love to all the family,
As ever your old friend and neighbor
What Sort of A Father Are You?
Dear eternity bound soul:
I notice in most all papers there is much good advice given to mothers on the training of the girls. But the lines are few and far between as to fathers in regard to boys. There seems to be an idea prevalent among the fathers that the boy will get through the world all right. Probably he will, but what about his life and influence while he is getting through? And will he get through to heaven all right? I think we need more true Christian boys and men in our land, and to make them so, they need the same care and training as the girls.
There are far too many fathers who neglect to take the right kind of interest in their children, both boys and girls. I mean Spiritual interest. They teach them to do various kinds of work but how many fathers fully teach them the blessings of always walking in the path of truth, honesty, temperance and virtue? How many teach the Word of God, how to pray and the value of prayer? How many of you fathers ever took your children off to some secret place, got down on your knees and prayed with and for him/or them?
There are lots of homes where they don’t even have a blessing at the table much less have family prayer. The father who fails to live the right kind of life before his children, is often made to wonder and grieve over a roving, wicked, worthless, son or daughter. Fathers you are only reaping just what you sowed. For it is true to a great extent, the kind of father (or mother) you are, is just the sort of son or daughter you are going to have.
Therefore be very careful what you say and how you say it, what you do and how you do it, for God will surely hold your accountable for the way you raise the precious children He has given you.
What sort of a father are you to your boy?
Do you know if your standing is good?
Do you ever take stock of yourself and check up
Your accounts with the boy as you should?
Do you ever reflect on your conduct with him?
Are you all that a father should be?
Do you send him away when you’re anxious to read,
Or let him climb up on your knee?
What memories pleasant of you will he have
In the years that are certain to come?
Will he look back on youth as a season of joy,
Or an age that was woefully glum?
Come father, reflect! Does he know you today,
And do you know him as you should?
Are things so important to you that you leave
It to chance, That your boy (or boys) will be good?
Take stock of yourself and consider the lads,
Your time and your thoughts are their dues.
How would you answer your God should
He ask, “What Sort of A Father Are You?”
This will apply to mothers and girls too.
Each passing day the Death knell is sounded for many precious souls who are ushered into the presence of Him who holdeth the issues of life and death in His own hands. As we ascend the stairway of “Time” and get a clearer vision of things “Eternal,” we are made to realize more fully that, here, we have no continuing “city.” People in every avocation of life, both young and old are called from the state of action into an endless “Eternity.”
On October 6th, 1941, our hearts were made doubly sad when the news was wafted over the wires from a Birmingham hospital that one of our neighbors and dearest friends had slipped away to meet God. She was best known as Mrs. Alice Merchant, a woman of sterling integrity, she was courageous, persevering, sincere in her convictions, a devoted mother, a neighbor that can not be excelled and many other traits of character pertaining to the life of a Christian could be attributed to her. Back in the years, her companion was taken from her by death, leaving several small dependent children to support, thus making her life one of toil, hardships and sacrifice, but with such determination as she possessed the faith she had in Him who hears the widow’s and orphan’s cry, with the help of her children, who loved her so tenderly and kind friends who stood by her in a financial way she was able to earn an honest support for herself and family. We realize that the chain of love and union that binds all Christians together has been weakened and that her going away has cast a wave of sadness over the entire community in which she was reared and lived during her stay on earth. Her life work is ended and she has gone to obtain her reward. She prayed earnestly that God might take her out of her suffering and left the sweet testimony, that she was ready to go. She has left a vacancy that no one else can fill, but we sustain the glad thought that the good influence she wielded will continue to live on in the hearts of those she loved best. We trust that she has been numbered with that “Blood washed Throng” where there is no pain and they never more die. May the God of all comfort deal gently with her lonely children and help them to know that the “Eternal God” is their refuge and underneath are the “Everlasting Arms.” May her passing be an incentive to guide their footsteps to that “Holy City” where the faithful and true are safely sheltered from all sorrow.
Interment was in Wofford Cemetery, with Short Funeral Company in charge.
Our friends are passing over, as their labor here is done, and as we cross the “River,” we may meet them one by one.
By Mrs. J. M. Sanders
IN MEMORY OF MRS. ALICE MERCHANT, WHO DIED MONDAY, OCT. 6, 1941
A mother lay within a casket
In a robe of white,
She’s gone to answer the call
That will come for me and you.
59 years God left her here on earth,
To be of service to Him.
But Monday He called her
To again return to Him.
Long hours she’s toiled here on earth,
To do her masters teachings,
Sometimes the task would seem to hard,
And pain would be increasing.
But no more pain and sorrow,
Can tug at her heart strings now.
For God has given her a release
And she is at rest now.
Dear ones do not grieve for her
For should she speak I know she’d say
Shed not a tear for me,
For all is bright as day.
Look up and take comfort.
From above comes this thought,
There’ll be no more partings
In the land that God has wrought.
(Note: Tennie Boman Spann was a sister to Edna Boman Sanders)