By: N. DanielTHE LAYMEN'S EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP
1. Early Years
2. Deeper Spiritual Life
3. Ann's Experiences
4. Ann's Ministry
5. Called to Higher Service
Christian life is a life of victory and triumph over sin, sickness and death. We see this in St. Pauls life. "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ " (II Cor.2:14). "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil.4:13). This note of victory we find throughout his life. John Wesley is another who professed and lived the same life of victory. Theological disputations have not led men into this life of victorybut those who believed with their heart the death and the resurrection of Jesus always triumphed in their practical life. Here is one, a very simple servant girl who experienced the same life of joy and victory and was led of the Holy Spirit in all her life. I was personally blessed when I began my Christian life by studying the life of Ann Preston. Those that read this, I believe, will certainly be inspired into a life of prayer and sanctification. A Spirit-filled life will be a life of walking with God. His Spirit in us will enable us to live according to the mind and will of God." And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Ezekiel 36:27.
1 EARLY YEARS
Ann Preston was born in a secluded village Ballamacally just about a mile from the little town of Market Hill in the County of Armagh in Ireland. Her home was a little cottage with thatched roof, and the pigsty was very close to her back door. Her father James Preston was a hard-working herdsman, who also did a little tilling at home on a potato-patch, the women folk also helping him. She had two elder sisters who looked after her, and two younger brothers. She was a very dull-headed girl and got often whipped for her unwise actions. She had a very godly aunt who made a great impression on her mind. She was of choleric temper and her sudden flashes of anger made her miserable when she became a child of God. All her education was over within a weeks time for the teachers could do nothing with her. One good lady tried her best to teach her the Lords Prayer but all in vain. She was a strong girl and worked hard. She was employed under a master with many servants, who now and then indulged in drinking whisky. She dreaded this drink and kept herself at a distance from it. But at one time, to have a diabolical delight, these men forced some drink down her throat. In course of time she developed a love for this drink, but always had a kind of dread for it. God somehow saved her from becoming a slave to it.
She was next employed in the house of a Christian mistress Mrs. Mackay, who had a strong dislike of liquor. She was brought also under the influence of godly people in her home. She did not know what was the New Testament and when asked to bring it she brought the newspaper. Mrs. Mackay cautiously exercised her good influence to bring her into Methodist religious meetings. Weeping for sins and praising God for salvation were strange phenomena to her and she could not understand why such things happened. One Sunday she was sent to hear Mr. Armstrong Haliday in a private home. One verse was impressed upon her mind, and that was Matt. 6:6 "But Thou when thou prayest enter into thy closet " And between eight and nine that evening she went up to the attic and voluntarily knelt down for the first time in her life, and cried unto God for mercy. She began to see all her sins before her. Then she burst out, crying, "God be merciful to me a sinner." But she saw hell opened ready to swallow her. She was very desperately crying when Mrs. Mackay tried to hush her up lest she should disturb Mr. Mackay. Her answer was, "I dont care madam if all the world hears me. I must cry for mercy" After some time she went to her room and continued to pray till 12 oclock. She cried "No mercy Lord for me?" And she jumped up in despair. Then she saw the Saviour on the Cross, and saw His bleeding body. A thought flashed into her mind that the atoning blood of Jesus had cleansed her from sin. There was great joy in her heart. She picked up a New Testament and prayed like a child to God, "O Lord, you that has taken this awful burden intolerable to bear, will you not enable me to read one of these little things?" God enabled her to read and the text was, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give shall never thirst."
For the first Ann read the Bible. She had never read any other book before. This was the beginning of divine assistance to an ignorant girl. Next morning she had an opportunity to bear testimony. She told about this experience to her parents, and her mothers reply was that she was going out of her head like her old grandfather. But she got a letter from her elder sister Mary, congratulating her on the new life she got from the Lord. This letter was written two days before this experience actually came to Ann.
Ann began to experience Gods help in all her duties. She was receiving spiritual help at the Methodists class meetings. Things so happened that she had to leave Mrs. Mackay and had to take up a situation under Dr. Reid who happened to be an elder of a Methodist Church. The pastor who was interested in Ann, made her promise never to leave this house. Ann tried to keep her promise. Her pay was two dollars per month. There were ups and downs in her spiritual life but she always repented when she went wrong. Her uncontrollable temper brought her many trials and she wanted to commit suicide by throwing herself before the vicious cow owned by them. But the cow was gentle to her, contrary to its nature, and Ann really thought that God cared for her and wanted her to live. Ann began to pray putting her trust in God in times of danger. When she was alone at night to keep the house, she could believe that God could help her when thieves came in to steal. God gave her wisdom to protect herself and also the house. When danger seemed inevitable she called on God and all of a sudden either the master would return or some other thing would happen to make the thief flee from the spot. Mrs. Reid and herself were once alone when a thief wanted to break in, but Ann acted in such a manner that the wicked purpose of the intruder failed.
2 DEEPER SPIRITUAL LIFE
At this time Dr. Reid decided to leave Ireland for Canada. Ann was ready to keep her promise to the minister that she would never leave the family of the Reids. Anns parents begged her to change her mind. Dr. Reid also offered to release her from her promise but all in vain. She told her parents that they would live only a short while and that she should be allowed to leave them. These unkind words came back to her mind often and she very much repented for such a cruel statement. Her mothers face haunted her many a long days. The voyage across the Atlantic took seven weeks, and Ann had to serve three families who were all very seasick. Her master held family worship three times a day and other passengers were very much annoyed. Mrs. Reid was bed-ridden having received a terrible shock while she was on the top deck. A man fixing the rigging lost his hold when the ship gave a sudden lurch, and fell dead almost at her feet. This made things harder for poor Ann. She gave vent to her Irish wrath on several occasions at people who interfered with her things. There were two great storms during their voyage, and the passengers were very fond of praying Ann then. On one occasion when it seemed the end had come to all of them, Ann committed herself to the Lord.
Piety prompted by danger is usually evanescent. And the passengers returned to their normal life of gambling and cursing as soon as the waves calmed down. They entered the port of New York and sailed the Hudson river and thence to Toronto and settled down at Thornhill, three miles from the city. Here Mrs. Phoebe Palmer led a class in the Methodist Church. She was an excellent lady of good Christian experience. But Ann would not attend her class.
After five years stay in this place, Mrs. Reid was called Home and this made Anns life a busy one full of responsibility. She became the general housekeeper and had the sole charge of the children. Dr. Reid had the family worship and as usual was the class leader at the church. Ann began to backslide. The trials were too much for her, as the mother of the children was not there to check them. Her terrible outbreaks of temper at the annoying children who rushed with muddy shoes immediately after her scrubbing the floor were very inconsistent with her profession. Even Dr. Reid tried her sorely. He once pulled her by the hair when she did not follow his instructions and her temper blazed up and she threw a log of wood at him, which did not reach its mark. Both of them felt sad for their actions. She did not know how to help herself. It was a time of awful sinning and repenting and Ann did not know there was an abiding rest in Christ with complete victory. God allowed the stage of things until there was a subdued cry in her heart, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death, I thank God through Jesus Christ " Romans 7:24-25.
Ann experienced the life of Jesus, which brought into her brokenness of the spirit. She repented of every ill deed she was responsible for. This is the true Christian that never justifies himself in a wrong action, but condemns himself severely. Ann did not know there is a higher life in Christ which some call sanctified state. Christ came to give not only life but also life abundant. Some receive life but do not go after life abundant. By doing so they often grieve the Spirit and the Spirit of God which came to them at conversion will leave them. Then they begin to live a carnal Christian life, and live upon past experience. There will be no victory in their life. This is a dangerous spiritual condition. There are natural Christians (1 Cor. 2:14), carnal Christians (1 Cor. 3:3), and spiritual Christian. Those that are led of the Spirit of God subjecting themselves to the authority of the Word and guidance of the Holy Spirit live a victorious life. Carnal Christians who once had a true experience and had witnessed to it will be a puzzle to the unconverted. Natural Christians who never believed with their heart but simply gave a mental assent to the Gospel of Jesus are those who never feel sorry for their ill deeds. They never started their life with repentance and there will never be the brokenness of spirit in them. Some of these are religious leaders. They have their likes. Water finds its own level. They make Jesus a moral teacher and a good example, but not a Saviour who delivers us from the clutches of sin. There are many such preachers in India. They have never claimed sonship of the Risen Saviour. We are sons and daughters whom he hath begotten through His death and resurrection and we get a new nature, for Christ liveth in us.
Ann had passed through this stage of defeated life and did not know the way out of it. She did not know John Wesleys teaching of sanctification. Her ungovernable temper was her besetting sin. She wept over it, confessed it and fought against it. But all too frequently the whole process had to be repeated. A young man who stayed at the Reids home one night conducted family worship. Psalm 34:16 was impressed on her mind, "The face of the Lord is against them that do evil to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth." Ann prayed that night and asked God to enable her to read this verse. God helped her to read it. She cried, "Lord, what is evil?" Then the answer came, "Anger, wrath, malice." All night she wept and prayed as the inward sinfulness was revealed to her. Towards the morning in desperation she cried, "O Lord how will I know when I get deliverance." The answer was, "Well, Jacob wrestled until he prevailed." She began asked, "What does prevail mean?" The reply was, "getting just what you come for and you want." Again she questioned, "And what will it do for me when I get it?" Then answer came, "I will enable you to rejoice ever more, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks. You will live above the troubles of the world and the things which now upset you." All her failures flooded into her mind. She knew there was deliverance promised. She determined to have this victorious life whatever it might cost her. The young preacher asked her why she was crying all night. And she replied, "I want to be sanctified in body, soul and spirit." He told her just as she was justified by believing, complete victory would also come in the same way.
Ann resorted to prayer and she began to plead the promise of God. "Lord, I had been knocking the whole night. Open unto me, open unto me." The answer came there and then. The house was filled with her shouts of praise. The nature around her seemed to put on new hues and the trees clap their hands and praise God. She said, "Father, did you not intend that man should praise thee more than these." She was eight days without food as she could not eat anything for the great joy she had. For two years it seemed to her that she had entered heaven. For seven and half years she felt that she had been living in heavenly places. Her heart was filled with joy, her mouth with praises and her hands were clapping involuntarily. The tempter tempted her now and then. But she kept on by faith. In dream it was revealed to her that "the just shall live by faith." When she began to trust in God, perfect peace and calm came upon her. Her life began to show itself and some Catholic boys called her in fun "Holy Ann." This epithet of derision clung to her and she was called by every one "Holy Ann." The whole tenor of her life changed. She became a faithful witness for God and became an inspiration to all who knew her.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit means having a heart and mind of God. A pure heart and a clean conscience are the necessary consequences of repentance and salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus. When this is attained, very often people allow their conscience to be stained once again. But if they are filled with the Holy Spirit as Ann Preston was, the purity of the heart and conscience is always maintained. They will be fond of the Word of God as their guide. They will love to meet God alone to commune with Him. The result of such communion always conforms to the written word. Ann began to live the Word of God. She began to hear God speak to her and began to live in the will of God. Her prayers were always heard both for herself and for others. People came to her with requests of prayer and she immediately brought them before the Throne of Grace. Her dependence on God was so entire that she would even ask the Lord for her comb and looking glass if they were found missing. In fact the children in the house in order to see how she would talk to God, would hide her things in the most unlikely places. Ann simply would kneel down, ask her Father and get the answer. She would then go straight to the spot and pick up the thing. If the children lose anything, they would appeal to her and she would pray and get it. They would watch her with great interest. Thus God became very real to her and to the children in the house.
3 ANNS EXPERIENCES
Ann once hurt her ankle very severely. She had to be in bed and became weak. At one time fresh eggs were ordered for her with milk. It was not the season when hens in the country would lay eggs. So the servant failed to get her eggs. So she prayed to her Father. A hen drew nigh to her. Her Father told her that this hen would supply her with fresh eggs. Every day for three weeks the hen would come, lay an egg and go away. She began to tell others that her Father supplied her eggs when she wanted them even though it was out of season. Her other needs also were supplied likewise. Once she made two barrels of soap, half of it to be given to the poor. The soap did not thicken and so she prayed. The Lord told her it needed some fresh marrow and that He would send the marrow bone also. She in her simple way told her inquisitive children that the bone would be sent by her Father by next morning. Early morning she found a big bone with marrow lying down near the place, and began to break it and mix the marrow in the soap. "Oh!" the children cried out, "some dog dropped it here." She answered, "I dont care if the devil brought it. My Father sent it." The Salvation Army was stationed near her village. Ann was interested in their work and wanted to give them supplies. She did not have money, and her fowls were not laying eggs then. She resorted to prayer and asked her Father for eggs. She brought over a dozen eggs from the barn, and others were amazed.
One day she wanted to go to the church two furlongs off and found that there had been a heavy fall of snow. She prayed, "Father, I cannot go to the meetings tonight. Wont You send someone to make a path for me?" There was no servant to help her to shovel the snow. But suddenly five horses appeared and they began to run up and down in a straight line until there was a perfectly beaten track all through the deep snow. Ann attended the meeting and witnessed to them what the Lord had done to her.
The well that supplied them with water used to be dry in summer. The children had to haul water in barrels from a well about half a mile away. It was hard work, for the supply was not only for the household use but for the livestock as well. One night as she related to the children in the kitchen the answers of her faithful Father they threw a challenge to her, all in joke. "Why dont you pray for water in the well?" Ann took this seriously and began to plead that night with her Heavenly Father. She prayed until she was assured in her heart that God had heard her prayer. Next morning she took her buckets and began to lower them into the well. The boys were getting ready with their barrels to go for water, and began to watch her with surprise. Instead of a bang they heard a splash of water. And Ann brought two pails full of clear sparkling water into the house. Thus those who lived with Ann could see that she lived with a loving Father who lived and made Himself real to her. One of the girls lost a five dollar bill, and even after much search they could not find it. Ann prayed that night and was led exactly to the spot where it was lying hidden in the snow on a hillside. The girls were amazed how Ann walked with God and got answers for prayer.
Ann could read the Bible and the Bible alone. Every other book was foreign language to her. Once with great difficulty she read the word "Lord" in a newspaper and she asked her neighbours if that word was Lord. She expressed her surprise why her heart did not burn with joy, for when she read that word in the Bible she found her heart in exultation. People nearby read it and said it was a man, Lord Robert, about whose achievement the paper was giving news. She immediately said, "Oh he is not my lord." To every one who came to her she would pray and get from her Father the verse even without knowing in what circumstances the people concerned were placed.
"He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever have I said unto you," John 14:26. Many thought that Ann had a wonderful memory because she poured forth scripture verses, and scriptures were woven into her everyday phraseology. But it was always the prompt supply of information by the Holy Spirit. She could neither remember nor memorize anything of the scriptures all her life. She wanted to give scriptural quotations and references as others had done and asked her Father to enable her to do so. God said that He was the all satisfying portion, and all in all to her. She wept for the gift of memory. But the Lord said He would give her all that was needed at the right time. When she wanted a verse on Bible portion suitable for an occasion she would go to a corner and a perfectly apt scripture portion would be given her by her Father.
Ann could neither remember house nor the names of persons but she would walk along the streets and pray at the crossroads for the right direction. She would step into the proper house and ring the bell, and acquaintances would meet her. "My Father says this is the house," she would say. Her companions would not venture to go in to ring the bell. She was always ready to take the so-called risk, and surprise everyone with the unerring guidance of God in all things of life.
There were many occasions when the wicked tried to destroy her life and rob her of virtue. It looked as though the angels guided her. When she was alone gathering wood, a man came near her and asked her about her husband. She told him the whole truth. Next day he promised to come after dusk with a load of wood with wicked intentions. Ann was warned by a dream that night and was prevented from going to the spot. Years after Ann found him in a house of evil fame notorious as a den of vice. She went there to rescue a woman from a life of sin. At another time a robber came with the intention of stealing things when she was all alone. She prayed to the Lord for help while giving him a drink of butter milk. He also wanted her to repair a hole in his trousers. Before anything could happen, Mr. Reid made his appearance in the compound. Three days after, the same came dressed as an old woman. Her Father warned it was the man who came sometime back. This time also she escaped from the wicked man by acting wisely and shouting for Mr. Reid, for the seeming "woman" wanted to meet him. Thinking that Mr. Reid, was really within ear-shot the pretending "woman" made good her escape.
Mr. Reids children left some of their valuable things with Ann Preston. A woman in the neighbourhood pretended to be friendly with her in order to rob the childrens goods. One day she brought her, while she was indisposed, a cup of tea. Her Father warned her not to drink it. But the woman prevailed on her and forced her to drink it with the result she immediately became very sick. With penitent tears she cried out to God for mercy with the result God forgave her and reminded her of Paul who was bitten by a viper. Immediately she vomited out the poison and the purpose of the wicked woman was frustrated.
4 ANNS MINISTRY
The only brother of Ann was living a very sinful life and so she brought him to the New World hoping that he would improve. He for some time professed conversion but only sank deeper into sin. He became a confirmed drunkard and threatened the life of Ann if she entered his house. When she rebuked him for his life of vice he threw a chair at her violently to kill her. She was bold as a lion saying, "My Father has the guiding of it," and the chair came down with great force to be broken to pieces. His only daughter was used to fetch him his drink from the saloon. Ann felt her life would be ruined soon in such circumstances, and cried to God to save her from the evil surroundings and influence. She received such assurance from God that she boldly told her brother that her Father would not allow his daughter anymore to go to the liquor shop. It only enraged him. The child became sick and grew so ill that her brother sent for Ann to pray for the child. She sent word that her Father would take away the child to deliver her from the wicked home. And it did happen. She did not give up visiting her brother James still trying to win him. One day her Father asked her to go to her brothers house. She replied that it was miles away and she could not walk. The Lord reminded her that the earth and the gold and silver are His and all the cattle upon a thousand hills. Ann added, "The horses too Father!" She saw a grey horse coming over the hill, and her Father said, "That is the horse that is to take you." She overtook the horse and found that it was a minister that was riding the horse. He soon realized that she was a child of God and made her ride the horse to reach her brothers house. All the while she was praising her Father for His wonderful provision of the free ride to her brothers house. Her brothers wife was wonderfully converted and the change was just as real and deep as in the life of Ann herself. An experience of close intimacy which God vouchsafed to her and the wonderful answers to her prayers proclaimed the truth of the Gospel.
Anns attitude to secular matters was the same to the spiritual. When she worked, she worked hard and earnestly. It is to such God will entrust spiritual gifts. A heart that is not sincere and earnest in secular things cannot also be sincere in prayer life. So a Christian is always a hardworking, trustworthy man even in secular duties. Joseph was like that and Daniel too. They stood before kings and before men. God honoured them with gifts from on high and glorified Himself through their lives. Ann kept her covenant with the Reid family and remained with them even after the death of her parents. She kept house for the children until they grew up and required her service no longer. Even then she followed them with her prayers. Two of the boys went to seek their fortune in the South in New Orleans. One night she dreamt that the younger of the two was no more, and so she stopped praying for him. Her companion in prayer, Mrs. Hughes was so surprised that she was very sure that the dream was given of God. Very soon the news reached them to confirm this truth. When her services were not needed any longer, the boys assured that she will never be allowed to be in want as long as they lived. They built her a little cottage in the village and furnished it comfortably. But it so happened that all of them died before the Home-call came to Ann and her Heavenly Father lovingly cared for her in her grand old age. She finally moved to Toronto to live with her own friend Mrs. Hughes. This meant a wider sphere of influence and many of the city churches were greatly benefited by her wonderful witness.
Ann was a very bold person for it is a natural outcome of her entire dependence of God. Her knowledge was very limited, particularly in church history. Once living with a Catholic friend she attended their service. It so happened a Catholic Bishop began to criticize the Methodist leaders. She at once got up in the cathedral and contradicted the bishop at which her good friend was alarmed. Even when the Catholic friend pulled her down, she refused to sit until she finished her talk. She was however allowed to go in peace after the service. Even in her own church if anything went wrong at Thornhill she would boldly get up and check it.
Many people appealed to Ann from their sick beds for her faithful intercession. And invariably God answered her prayers. Once she visited a patient suffering form typhoid who could not sleep for days together. She went and prayed to her Father and immediately the patient had a comfortable night and her condition improved. In the beginning she prayed indiscriminately for every person but soon learnt to know Gods perfect will with regard to healing. To heal without giving Gospel will make men live longer to serve the devil. Once she prayed for a dying woman whose husband appealed to her. She prayed "Lord, give back the life and prove me that I am true to my profession." The woman was restored immediately and lived for years, a life that dishonoured and brought discredit to the cause of Christ. Once a boy remarked to her that he never knew any wonderful thing happening though he had heard so much about her. In a few days time one of the cows became very ill with no hope of recovery. She wanted to prove to that young boy that her Father was faithful. Like Gideon, she asked for two or three signs and then assured him that the cow would not die. The boy saw it and believed. God respects the faith of the simple and proves Himself through them thereby proving them to be his children. "I honour them that honour Me," says the Lord.
The saints of the kingdom of God have common habits such as the Lord Himself had when He was on the earth. The subconscious mind is strained with accumulated emotion. This is released in prayer. By pouring out our heart before God we relax the mind. If this includes humble prayer for others it will mean an exercise of love. This exercise of love is greatest healer of ones own body. You cannot love others until you know your God who loved you and died for you. Ann Preston got alone with God to pray to Him in secret for two hours every day. A Salvation Army Officer, touched by her great testimony, wanted to see if her private life was in accordance with her public utterances. It so happened the officer had to stay one night with her and she observed her life of prayer carefully. Till midnight, Ann was uttering praises to her Father. At five in the morning, the same was heard now and then mingled with queries to her Father in her simple way asking for her clothes where they were. While sponging herself with cold water she would suddenly say, "What is that you say Father?" and then an exclamation would follow, "Yes, Father, thank you that is it!" She would repeat the following verses, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Ezekiel 36:25-27. After completing her toilet she knelt down for quiet prayer for an hour. The Lady was quite satisfied when she saw the private life of Ann. The boys had built for her in a little grove of cedar trees a little prayer house. Every day for two hours Ann would retire to this quiet spot to pour out her soul in earnest petition. Her prayers were of immense blessing to others.
Once when the sky was black with clouds she was asked by a lad to pray for clear weather, as a sick mans land had to be ploughed for charity. After her prayer, the sky was more threatening than before, but it did not rain. Ann had once to go in a horse buggy to call on a friend when thick clouds gathered overhead and continual flashes of lightning indicated an imminent thunderstorm. Ann prayed and proceeded. Only after she had finished her work there was a downpour!
5 CALLED TO HIGHER SERVICE
Saints of God have to be very careful as to where they should stay and with whom they should associate themselves. Ignorant people like Ann Preston who entirely depend upon Gods guidance should not be under the influence of spiritual novices. There are people with fond theories holding to them as all the scriptural truths and overemphasizing and over-specializing on that one aspect of Christian life. Such men will not grow to the stature of Christ, like St. Paul.
Walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh are always opposed to each other. When a spiritual man comes down to the level of walking in the flesh he becomes a carnal man. At such times the evil one makes very good use of them to destroy their own works for the Kingdom. "He that abideth in Him sinneth not." The wonderful Christ-likeness in this uneducated woman was due to this for she stayed in the secret place of the Most High and walked in faith in His presence. At the general rally of Methodists in Toronto they gathered in the Metropolitan Church for a love-feast followed by a fellowship meeting. Ann took her chance to witness for her Father and when she exceeded the time the chairman cautiously reminded her. Ann replied very sweetly, "Yes, that is so, the time is my Fathers". She sat down. The chairman was informed of her and expressed his hope that she would not be offended. She said, "Oh, no," and lifted her eyes to her Father for an answer and then from the scripture quoted "Great peace have they that love Thy law and nothing shall offend them." Psalm 119:165. At another time Ann acted in a very different way. A certain member in the congregation blessed the Lord for her witness. Ann thought she was asked to sit down and replied, "I will not sit down till my Father wants me to." But Ann lost all her joy and the radiance of her countenance disappeared. But when Ann came to know the truth that the man had said, "Praise the Lord," she humbled herself before the Lord very much. At the close of her life she was invited to a country place to a very comfortable home. The one who invited her showered upon her so much kindness that Ann was thrown off her guard. This man was a specialist in preaching about the bride of Christ and the second coming of our Lord. Ann naturally liked to be with her Lord and to be caught up at His coming. But the peculiar tenets of his teaching began to limit her vision and forget the fundamentals. So extreme she had become in her views that she limited the church to herself and to the man who taught this that they were the two persons to be caught up. She also said about that man, "This is my beloved son. Hear ye Him." She said the church could not be blessed unless they paid heed to his teaching. One elderly gentleman who went to preach in this place checked her and this peculiar group. These men were indignant but Ann prayed that night and the Lord revealed to her the folly and she tried to come away from that place to Toronto the very next morning, for her Father told her so. Within a weeks time she was back at her own house. For months her reason was beclouded and her actions were contrary to her faith. People thought that she was deranged. Many saints of God humbly pleaded her cause before the Throne of Grace, and mental vigour and spiritual balance were restored to her. Once again she began to shine for the Master. Here I give a caution to all believers that they ought to be in the perfect will of God and not to be guided by extremists advocating special form of faith and belief and deceive themselves by thinking that they are better than others.
When Ann Preston exhibited a life of consecration for fifty years of ministry in Canada, the ministers all around saw what walking with God and talking with God meant. All her talk with any one at any time turned on eternal things, on the Kingdom of God. She was tempted like any others and she asked the Lord about it. The answer was "Why Ann, you are all the time trying to tear down Satans kingdom, and he will not let you alone." She made use of scriptures in a remarkable way, when she prayed and conversed with others. Methodist preachers were astonished at her familiarity with the Bible. Even in the pulpit she was never equalled. She affirmed that she was sanctified wholly and the blood of Jesus cleansed her from all unrighteousness. Her conduct and character were never out of harmony with her profession. "The memory of the just is blessed." Proverbs 10:7. This holy person preached more through her life than through her witness. One minister said that the memory of her prayer was a benediction to him and that when she prayed one got the feeling of nearness to the Almighty God. "Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord." Deut. 33:29. She always repeated verbatim the verses she needed by receiving them from her Father and thus proved her constant communion with God. Like Enoch of old, she walked with God. Another Salvation Army leader with tears rolling down his cheeks said that she poured forth the torrents of living truth from a heart overflowing with love and praise to her God. Words of wonderful power sent forth by the Holy Spirit that indwelt that humble and feeble body of clay lighted up her face. To the ministers all around she was a great inspiration in this way. Some were witnesses to her life in the Reids home. She was a genial companion to the children exhibiting the Lords kindness under different circumstances. Like Abraham she could say, "The Lord told me this." Communion with God with reciprocal talk is the highest form of intercourse with God. A Catholic priest once became very much interested to talk to her in the train. Her usual talk clothed in scriptural language turned ones attention at every point towards the things of God. He looked at her with wonder and certain amount of admiration as much as to say, "Here is an Irish uneducated woman who knows more vital godliness than myself." We do not know how this impression influenced his life. She did not hesitate to reprove or exhort the ministers who were not true to the Word of God and the light given to them. When people came to her she was able to tell them what was to happen to them and to assure them of victory. It would happen exactly as she foretold.
Anns Home-call was drawing nigh, but to the end she was very active and constant in witnessing. One Sunday she went to the Methodist Church and slipped and fell. After that she took very ill and had a paralytic stroke at the age of ninety-six. Mrs. Pedlow the humble widow who gladly shared her home with Ann during the last years of her life rushed back having heard of the sickness of the child of God. In a few days, on Thursday 21st June, 1906, this great but humble daughter of our Lord closed her eyes forever. She must have opened them again in the heavenly places to see her own throne and crown waiting for her among the saints. Thus ended Ann Prestons glorious life of great victory and triumph for the King of Kings.