TO MY SISTERS
To Amy and Catharine
who lived those dear days with me;
and to Maxine who wishes that she had.
HIS BANNER OVER ME
Song of Solomon 2:4
WHEN I THINK of my youth, bands begin to play, banners wave and bugles blow. All the birds in the world burst into golden song, and a harp throbs in my heart. For a long time after the procession has passed, faint far music drifts back to me.
Surely the sun did not rise in cloudless splendor with each new day nor set in glory every night. Could all the clouds have been rosy with scalloped radiant edges, as I recall them? Spring cannot have been eternal. Did not the summer flowers die, and winter’s storm and cold follow? Frost must have nipped toes and fingers besides etching delicate tracery on window panes.
Looking back through the vista of years, I realize with the appreciation of maturity that the wonder and beauty were all a gift from God, who for my refreshing, “led me often to His banqueting house, and His banner over me was love!”
I AM GREATLY honored with the request to write a brief introduction to the account of a life which I consider to be one of the most amazing demonstrations of the grace of God that I have witnessed on this earth. Truly Martha Snell Nicholson illustrates perfectly the teaching of the Scriptures that God will give “beauty for ashes” and that when He has finished testing His children, they shall “come forth as gold.”
Very few of the Lord’s own have been led through the crucible of such physical pain and mental anguish as has she: physical, in that for years she has endured the agony of a number of incurable diseases; and mental, in the loss of her apparently strong, loving husband and constant companion, who was taken to be with the Lord five years ago. But Mrs. Nicholson, like the Saviour whom she adores, “learned obedience by the things which [she] suffered” and her personal knowledge of Him deepened with every trial. Out of her troubles were born the exquisite verses which have blessed and comforted thousands of Christians the world around.
I rejoice that God has given her strength to tell her own story in order to cheer and help others who are walking along the shadowy path of sorrow. This book will furnish a moving, interesting and appropriate background for the poetry which has been torn from her heart and life, and which in seven attractive volumes has now taken its place with the best Christian literature of all time.
It has been my joy to know Mrs. Nicholson personally for a number of years. Her example of patient uncomplaining devotion to God and her unfailing and gracious encouragement of my ministry have blessed me more than any word of mine can express. May God continue to pour upon her His richest blessing “until the day break, and the shadows flee away.”
Louis T. Talbot, D.D., L.L. D.
Chancellor of the Bible Institute of Los Angeles