Isabella was deeply involved in the Christian Endeavor movement. Each month the Society of Christian Endeavor published meeting guides and lesson plans for local chapters to use in their meetings. When the May 1894 meeting guide focused on Peter’s actions in the book of Luke, Isabella wrote a special “open letter” to the youngest C.E. members to help them understand the context of the lesson. Here’s what she wrote:
Dear Young People:
Some of you are studying this month about Peter. You are dreadfully shocked over him as you read his story in the twenty-second chapter of Luke. I do not wonder. How terrible it must have been to Jesus to have heard Peter say, “I know him not!”
And in another place it tells how Peter even swore that he did not know him! Poor, wretched Peter!
If we had not heard anything more about him, we should have despised him all our lives. And as it is, we are quite sure that we would never have done such a thing as that, if we had been on earth when Jesus was. I heard a boy say so, once.
“No, ma’am!” he said, his cheeks growing red at the thought. “I tell you, I am very sure I never should have denied him. The idea!”
Yet only the next day that boy was playing croquet with some other boys, and two began to swear.
“Hush!” said one of them, after a minute. “We mustn’t swear before Tommy; he’s a goody-goody boy and has promised never to use any naughty words. Run away, Tommy, before we hurt you.”
What did Tommy say? Remember, he was the boy who knew he would not have denied Jesus. He laughed, and blushed, and said:
“I’m not afraid of your words; say what you like.”
Why did he say that? Why, because he was ashamed to own before those boys that he belonged to Jesus Christ, and had promised to try to please him. Don’t you think he denied him quite as much as Peter did?
Oh, there are many ways of doing it. I am reminded of a girl I used to know, whose mother did not approve of little girls taking walks on Sunday.
On the way home from Sunday-school, her classmates said to her:
“Come on, let’s go down to the river for a walk;” and she answered:
“Oh, I can’t today; I have a little headache.”
She said this, not because of her headache, which was not enough to keep her from going anywhere she pleased, but because she did not like to own that she had been taught it was not the right way to spend Sabbath time, and she was trying to do right. Do you think there was a little bit of denial of Jesus in her heart just then?