If a minister's wife accompanies her husband in his travels, she should not go for her own special enjoyment, to visit and to be waited upon, but to labour with him. She should have a united interest with him to do good. She should be willing to accompany her husband, if home cares do not hinder, and she should aid him in his efforts to save souls. With meekness and humility, yet with a noble self-reliance, she should have a leading influence upon minds around her, and should act her part and bear her cross and burden in meeting, and around the family altar, and in conversation at the fireside. The people expect this, and they have a right to expect it. If these expectations are not realised, the husband's influence is more than half destroyed.
The wife of a minister can do much if she will. If she possesses the spirit of self-sacrifice, and has a love for souls, she can with him do almost an equal amount
of good. A sister-labourer in the cause of truth can understand and reach some cases, especially among the sisters, that the minister cannot.
A responsibility rests upon the minister's wife which she should not and cannot lightly throw off. God will require the talent lent her, with usury. She should work earnestly, faithfully, and unitedly with her husband to save souls. She should never urge her wishes and desires, or express a lack of interest in her husband's labour, or dwell upon homesick, discontented feelings. All these natural feelings must be overcome. She should have a purpose in life which should be unfalteringly carried out. What if this conflicts with the feelings and pleasures and natural tastes! These should be cheerfully and readily sacrificed, in order to do good and save souls.
The wives of ministers should live devoted, prayerful lives. But some would enjoy a religion in which there are no crosses, and which calls for no self-denial and exertion on their part. Instead of standing nobly for themselves, leaning upon God for strength, and bearing their individual responsibility, they have much of the time been dependent upon others, deriving their spiritual life from them. If they would only lean confidingly, in childlike trust, upon God, and have their affections centred in Jesus, deriving their life from Christ, the living vine, what an amount of good they might do, what a help they might be to others, what a support to their husbands; and what a reward would be theirs in the end! "Well done, good and faithful servant," would fall like sweetest music upon their ears. The words, "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord," would repay them a thousand times for all
the suffering and trials endured to save precious souls.-- "Testimonies for the Church," Vol. I, pages 451-453.
If married men go into the work, leaving their wives to care for the children at home, the wife and mother is doing fully as great and important a work as is the husband and father. While one is in the missionary field, the other is a home missionary, whose cares and anxieties and burdens frequently far exceed those of the husband and father. The mother's work is a solemn and important one,--to mould the minds and fashion the characters of her children, to train them for usefulness here, and to fit them for the future immortal life.
The husband, in the open missionary field, may receive the honour of men, while the home toiler may receive no earthly credit for her labour; but if she works for the best interests of her family, seeking to fashion their characters after the divine Model, the recording angel writes her name as one of the greatest missionaries in the world.
The minister's wife may be a great help to her husband in seeking to lighten his burden, if she keeps her own soul in the love of God. She can teach the Word to her children. She can manage her own household with economy and discretion. United with her husband she can educate her children in habits of economy, teaching them to restrict their wants.