I ■■!<si;!'!wi^*i''"«»jm'*Mwpfiaii^^^ Pray For The Kingdom, OR, THOUGHTS ON TliY KINGDOM GOME." BY / REV. JOHN S. McCtU Wichita, Kansas * FEB 13 1911 Tray For the Peace of Jerusalem." — Fs. 122: 6. FBESS OF THB MIRBOH, WJ CHITA, KANSAS. l89o. ■^dUk^^S^^^ Jlk COPTRIOHTBD BY JOHN S. MCCLUNQ, 1895. Single copies sent postage paid, 25 cents. Five copies sen1 postpaid to one address, $1,00. When pastors, or others, ordei twenty or more copies sent in one package, they to pay carriage 15 cents each. The cash must accompany all orders. Usual ratei Write names and directions plainly. Address, Rev cClung, Wichita, Kansas. CONTENTS. Chapter i. The Dapendence of the Gospel for Success on Prayer. Chapter ii. Bible Exhortations to Constancy In Prayer. Chapter hi. All Christians Should Learn to Pray. Chapter iv. Conditions of Successful Prayer. Chapter v. i What Prayer Can Accomplish. Chapter vi. Further Illustrations of the Results of Prayer. Chapter vii. For What Shall We Pray? Chapter viii. For What Shall We Pray?— Continued. Chapter ix. Personal Responsibility. ,^ Chapter x. Obstacles in the Way. Chapter xi. Youngs People's Societies and the Coming: of the King-dom. Chapter xii. Will You Not Pray for the King-dom? PREFACE. This book is the outgrowth of a sermon on the patition, "Thy king"doin come." There was reason to believe that the discourse caused many to see their duty in a new light, and spurred them to greater earnestness in prayer. It has been impressed upon me that it would be well to present these considerations to a larg-er audience, and, as far as I could, to awaken God's people to greater importunity in prayer. I trust the Lord led me in this, and that His blessing will attend the humble effort. If this little volume proves as helpful as it should, it must be kept in easy reach and be made a devotional companion. It must be read and re-read, so that these great interests per- taining- to tl^e king"dom of God may be kept vividly before the mind, and warmly open the heart. One g-reat trouble with us is, we are so apt to forget all about the welfare of Zion. Not so with the Jvord: "I have graven thee upon the palms of iny hands; thy walls are continually before me." His eyes are never taken off His church, and if ours were ever turned in that direction how much more constant and earnest our prayers would be. And let me sug-g-est that there is no better time or place to plead with God in behalf of the king-dom tkan at ttie family altar. There is something so beautiful, so touching-, in the entire circle joining- in fervent prayer for the spread of the g-ospel and for the salvation of the perishing-. But alas! this is asig-ht too sel- dom witnessed in these latter days. In so many Christian homes the family altar has been broken down; in so many others it was never erected. How much batter and deeper the re- lig-ious influence upon all connected with the family when the incense of morning- and even- ing- prayer ascends in the home. Here is some- thing- that demands the utmost dilig-ence of pastors. Before parting- with my readers I desire to make two requests. One is, that they may overlook the literary and other defects of this little volume. The other, that all who read it may earnestly pray that the Lord may bless the reading- of these pag-es to stimulating- His people to g-reater prayerfulness and to g-reater activity in the service of Christ. John S. McCi,ung. Wichita, Kansas, August 6, 1895. PRAY FOR THE KINGDOM. CHAPTER 1. The; Dependence; of the Gospei. for Suc- cess ON Prayer. "Thy Kingdom Come." 'T'HE form of prayer which our Lord taug-ht ^ his disciples has been universally admired ; so beautiful, so brief, yet so comprehensive. It g-ives utterance to all the needs of humanity; 1, while it embraces all that pertains to the r? king-dom of God. And it should never be j forgotten that the first petition in this sum- t mary is prayer for the king-dom; teaching- by^ implication that our first and most import ant * prayers should be for the prosperity of Zion. Hence if we follow the instructions of tjhe dear Master, we will plead first and above all for the building- up of his king-dom. But this is not the way we usually do; we are apt to ask for almost everything- else, then we may, in a few sentences, pray for "The 8 peace of Jerusalem." In so many public prayers, at least, intercession for the success of the Lord's work is left away in the back- g-round. It has been remarked that some of the most noted preachers of our land in their public prayers do not mention sacred or relig"- ious interests, outside of those of their own churches. Often, too, in prayer meeting-s the petitions do not take a much wider rang-e. But this is not as it should be. We should feel the deepest concern for the welfare of the Redeem- er's king-dom in all the earth. Our interest in His cause should not be limited by the narrow boundaries of our church community, but our hearts should g-o out toward "the reg-ions be- yond." This we must do if we tenderly remem- ber and faithfully obey the command of our Saviour. And the object of these pag-es is to try and stir up God's people to greater prayerfulness in behalf of Zion. I want to influence His people, as far as in me lies, to plead importunately, to wrestle mig"htily with the God of Jacob for the advancement of his kingdom. May His divine blessing abundantly yest upon the effort, ) And at tlie very beg-inning of this little book, in which Christians are so earnestly entreated to g"ive themselves unto prayer, it will be well to notice an inference that may be drawn. Persons might suppose the author considered that prayer was everything-; that it was all that is necessary to advance the king- dom of God. But he begs leave to assure his readers that this treatise is not built upon one idea; but that while the attention is turned to one great means of advancing the kingdom, still other agencies are by no means over- looked. The cause of Christ cannot be built up without active efifort. The gospel must be preached; the word of life must be given to dying men. Without this, prayer is in vain. Just so, we cannot content ourselves by pray- ing without giving of our means, without mak- ing sacrifices for our holy religion. Praying without paying will not convert the world. These means of grace are all necessary; they must be employed to accomplish the Lord's work. But this book is based on the assumption that at this age of the church, prayer is not 10 keeping- pace with the other ag-encies em- ployed; is not offered in due proportion. Hence so many efforts are without avail; the power is lacking", so that there are not the results there should be from the ag-encies used. More prayer is needed to secure divine efficiency and g-rander results. And one rea- son, no doubt, why more prayer is not offered is because the connections between it and the coming- of the king-dom is not fully understood. The importance, the absolute necessity of prayer is not realized. Christians in general appear to think tha.t it is well to pray for the success of the g"ospel; that this sacred duty should not be neg-lected; yet few seem to com- prehend the fact that we cannot expect any gracious results without prayer. But this is the case, for the g-ospel, of itself, is powerless; the truth of itself cannot chang-e the hearts and lives of men. It makes no difference how earnestly the g-ospel may be preached, how forcibly the truth may be pre- sented, this alone cannot bring- men into the king-dom. "Not by migfht, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts." 11 "Without me ye can do nothing-." The word needs to be accompanied, as at Pentecost, by the power of the Hol}^ Ghost; as at Corinth, "In demonstration of the Spirit and of power," or as at Thessolonica, "Our g-ospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost." And when the divine Spirit accompanies the word, producing con- viction and conversion, it is in answer to pray^er. He does not come unbidden, unsoug-ht. He does not visit churches and communities in saving-' power without being entreated. The Father bestows his Spirit upon those "who ask him." When the Holy Spirit descends, bring- ing the blessings of salvation, we may not know who, but some have been praying. It is true that the Lord loves the souls of men; loved them so as to provide a most costly re- demption, and now his great, compassionate heart yearns to save. Yet for all this he "will be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them." "Ask and ye shall receive, seek and ye shall find;" these are the only condi- tions on which success is promised. Of course we must not overlook nor under- 12 value the intercession of our great Hig-h Priest, still if prayer is not oifered we have no reason to expect the cause of Christ to make any advance, or that sinners will be brought to the Saviour. It is like this: There may be a loco- motive, complete in all its parts, still that per- fect machine can accomplish nothing- till steam gives it power. So in the Lord's work the most earnest efforts may be pxit forth, yet there may be no results, because the power of the Holy Spirit, which comes in answer to prayer, is lacking. Hence if earnest cries do not ascend to Israel's God, if there are no earnest wrestlings, the most faithful work can- not be expected to produce any results. Turn to Paul's epistles and see how he implores Christians to pray for him. "Breth- ren, pray for us. " ' 'Praying- always, with all prayer and supplications in the Spirit .... and for me." "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course and be g-lorified." With such burning words as these, he entreated the prayers of others on his behalf. He seemed assured that he could be successful iu his work only in answer to 13 prayer. And if he, the g-reat inspired apostle, was thus dependent for results on the prayers of others, how much more are the Lord's ser- vants now dependent for success on the prayers of others in their behalf. Here, doubtless, is the reason why there is such a wide difference in the success of the same minister in different fields of labor. At times a man has had remarkable success; there is almost a constant revival, and all the lines of church work move on splendidly. On the strength of his reputation he is called to another charg-e. But how are the mig-hty fallen! Here his labors are fruitless and he utterly fails. Often the true explanation, no doubt is, one was a prayerful people, while the other was not. Would that it could be impressed upon Christians — burnt into them, that the prosperity of Zion depends on the prayers offered in her behalf. For then far more of those who really regard her welfare would be almost chained to their knees in earnest, wrestling prayer for her at the throne of grace. CHAPTER II. Bible Exhortations to Constancy in Prayer. A S these pag-es will be occupied so largely ^~^ in urg-irrg- Christians to constancy in prayer, it will be well to show Scripture authority for this. To most people this mig-ht seem unnecessary, but this is a strange world, and there are some who seem to be afraid of people being too prayerful. They do not deem it wise to press the matter of devot- ing a good portion of the time to prayer. Religious newspapers have refused to publish articles that exhorted to greater devotion in prayer, yet their columns were open to almost g.ny other contributions from the same pen. But it is easy to show that there is not much danger of going beyond the exhortations and the examples of the word. Our Saviour spoke a parable "To this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint." If we follow the example of the poor widow who is here commended we will IS come with importunity before the lyord. If our petitions are not granted at once, we will press our suit. We also have the example of the Man of sorrows himself. When upon earth he spent much of his time in prayer. We are told how he often retired alone to pray; some- times rising- a g-reat while before day, or g^oing- out into a mountain and continuing- "all nig-ht in prayer unto God." The old patriarch wrestled the whole nig-ht, till the breaking- of the day, and still refused to let go without the blessing-. The Psalmist declares. "Even- ing-, morning-, and at noon will I pray and cry aloud." "At midnig-ht will I arise and g-ive thanks unto thee because of thy rig-hteous judg-ments." "But I g-ive myself unto prayer'» There, too was "Anna, a prophetess," tliat honored handmaid of the Lord, she "departed not from the temple, but served God with fast- ing's and prayers nig-ht and day." When Herod cast Peter into prison, "Prayer was made without ceasing- of the church unto God for him." Then when we g-et over to Paul's epistles he commands in the most unmistak- able lang-uag-e to g-ive ourselves to prayer. 16 As "Pray without ceasing-," "Continuing' in- stant in prayer," "Praying- always, with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit," "Con- tinue in prayer." Thus the call to unceasing- prayer ring-s out clear and distinct all through the word. It is plain to be seen, then, that there is no dang-er of g-oing- beyond the precepts of the Bible in this respect. We cannot g-ive too much of our lives to prayer. And I want to exert what influence I can in this little book, to induce Christians to give more of their time to prayer. I do want that they should plead more earnestly, more importunately, *^hy kingdom come. " More of God's people should make prayer to a greater extent the occupation of their lives. This should be their business, the main thing to which their life is really de- voted. In the morning begin to pray; as the hours pass by continue in prayer, and so week by week and year by year. It is not meant by this that the person cannot engage in some occupation, for a person can ardently pursue his calling yet give his days to prayer. We are not to suppose that we can engage in prayer only 17 wlien we take time and kneel down. It should be clearly understood that acceptable prayer can be offered at any time, and in any place. While lying" on the bed awake at night, while walking- or riding- along- the road, or while the hands are busily employed in daily toil. When- ever the mind is free to think and the lips to move, then acceptable prayer can ascend. Some have the sweetest seasons of communion with God while they are most busily eng-aged at work. The impressions will remain with me to my death that were made in my youth by read- ing an account of "The Praying Reaper." It was before the days of modern machinery, when they reaped the grain with a sickle. This man went out in the morning to reap, and he spent the whole day in prayer. He found at night he had reaped more i:han any day during the harvest, and it had been one of the happiest of his life. He alwaj'^s looked back to it as a day of Heaven upon earth. And who can tell what the prayers of that godly man accomplished that day? Were we faith- ful in improving our opportunities we could IS all have such days of Heaven upon earth. But let no one imag-ine that because we can pray acceptably while busy at work, that this willsuflice, and that hence we need not take any time for prayet. The Lord cannot be put off in that manner. It is a difl&cult matter to cheat the Almig-hty. If we are not willing- to g-ive some of our time to devotion the Lord is likely to reject that which we offer during- our working- hours. If we want to g-ive our time to the Lord in the way that will be most useful, we cannot do better than to spend it in prayer. It is prayer that moves the Lord to exert his power to ad- vance his king-dom; this is according- to the method of his administration. He has g-iven prayer that prominent place; constituted it the great ag-ency for building- up his cause on the earth. Since this is the case there is little danger of spending- too much time at the throne of g-race. There is something- very touching- in the life of the late Dr. Bonar. He had always been a man of prayer, but as the years rolled by his seasons of devotion leng-th- ened, so that in his later years that venerable ■?^m3i;-!S!5'r5!K^lC«p!^^^B5p^;^!^^g| 19 man was not satisfied unless he had spent from three to six hours in prayer, out of the twent}''- four. And while his ministry was wonderfully successful, yet eternity may reveal that he ac- complished more for the kingdom of God by his prayers than he did in any other way. Some mig-ht suppose that a life of prayer must be somewhat g-loomy. That it would to some extent cast a dark shadow over the life. But nothing- could be further from the truth. The one who g-ives his life to prayer dwells nearer, perhaps, than all others "In the secret place of the Most Hig-h; abiding- under the shadow of the Almig-hty." This constancy in prayer keeps the person near to God, in har- mony and sympathy with him. Thus iiis pres- ence, favor and love are secured, so that the "Peace of God, that passeth all understand- ing-," pervades the heart and life. Do we want to lead happy lives? We cannot render this as certain in any other w^ay as by g-iving- our lives to prayer. A word of caution may here be in place, (thoug-h it is uncertain how often it mig-ht prove to be necessary, ) ag-onizing- prayer makes 20 a greater drain upon the vital forces than the hardest mental labor. Prudence and g-ood judg-ment should be exercised, lest the powers of endurance be overtaxed. Some by pleading- too long- and earnestly have broug-ht on mental prostration. Care should be taken that we maintain our standing-, in every respect, as wise, prudent Christians. CHAPTER III. AlIv Christians Should Lkarn to Pray. JVA ANY who read the title of this chapter ^ *^ will think it a blunder, or a contradic- tion. For, as thej believe, all Christians, as a matter of course, do learn to pray. Would that all did; but it is a sad fact that there are too many prayerless Christians; that is, those who at least do not pray before others. Nearly every pastor knows this too well. In almost every church there are those who give evidence of piety, yet as far as taking- part inprayer before others is concerned their lips are sealed; under no consideration can they be induced to make the attempt. Some of these, I am sorry to say, when closely questioned, have to admit that they are nearly, or quite, strangers to secret prayer. This is a mortifying fact, still there is scarcely a pastor, who has exercised fidelity on this point, but has found those among his people who are leading lives destitute of prayer. One great reason why there are so many church members who will not pray before others, is that pastors do not urge this duty 22 ^ ' ^ upon those received into the church, as they should. There is so much in g-etting- started rig-ht, and if, when .young- people and others are received on profession, pastors should urg-e this duty upon thdm, the most of them would begin this duty. Then is the time to com- mence a life of prayer, and if neglected then it is so much harder to begin in after years. Still at whatever period in life people begin to pray, they usually find it hard at the commencement. There are scarcely any who do not find it a difl&cult task at first; perhaps they are ashamed that they cannot pray any better, and are dis- couraged. But the only way is to keep on and learn to pray by praying. Just as the case of a man who became noted in the history of our country.* He had been a member of the church for years, but had never taken part in prayer meeting. One Sabbath his pastor preached on the subject. After the sermon he told the pas- tor he was convinced that it was his duty to take part, and to call on him hereafter. So the next prayer meeting the pastor requested him tb lead in prayer. He did wretchedly, however, •Stonewall Jackson. Pv.- „., •^.--■»-T..'-^i™.^s^p!5JJf|^S!(l|9,gf^ip^i,^ 23 yet lie said to tlie pastor: **I feel that it is my duty, and I want you to call on me." After a few attempts the pastor went to him and said kindly: "Perhaps I had better not call on you." But he persisted: "It is my duty, call on me." He blundered along" and learned to pray, and the petitions that fell from his lips in later 3^ears were simply marvelous. He will be re- membered for his prayers almost as much as for his brilliant deeds. Let no one seek to excuse himself or her- self from praying- because it is hard. If this excuse were valid, as we have seen, then all would be exempt. We should faithfully meet this obligation, the same as any other. The way to look at it is, ' 'It is my duty, and by the help of God I will keep on trying- until I can pray." And in almost every case where a per- son is faithful it is not long- before prayer be- comes easy and affords the sweetest enjoyment. But whether it becomes easy and yields enjoy- ment or not, it is a sacred duty, and every Christian should learn to pray. CHAPITER IV. Conditions of Successful Prayur. TN order to pray acceptably and prevailingfly for the coming- of the king-dom several thing-s are necessary. Only a few of these can be mentioned. One is a deep interest in the welfare of the church and of the souls of men. These interests need to be deeply, warmly cherished; they should lie very near the heart. We should bear something- of the love for those precious interests that the Lord himself bears. We should have such a deep concern for the welfare of the church that we can cry with the Psalmist: "If I forg-et thee, O Jeru- salem, let my rig-ht hand forg-et her cunning-." And our hearts should be so burdened for the salvation of our fellow men that we can say with the apostle: "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for others is that they may be saved." "I have g-reat heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart" for those on the way to ruin. Or with the weeping- prophet: "O that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I mig-ht weep day and »''™^-7'"^«i?»S«»%lSpb<ffi«WW!!(»!- 25 nig-ht for the slain of the daug-hters of mj peo- ple. " Our prayers will not amount to very mucli unless we do have something" of this deep solic- itude for the welfare of the chur9h and for the souls of men. We must also have an earnest desire for the coming- of the king-dom. This naturally follows. If. we feel a deep, heartfelt interest in the welfare o^ Zion, as a matter of course we must desire her prosperity. If our hearts are burthened for the salvation of the perishing-, we will long^ to see them broug-ht to Jesus. We will feel that we cannot endure it unless others secure eternal life. We need to g-et the welfare of the church and of the souls of men on our very heart of hearts; then with burthened, breaking- hearts, we can but plead, "Thyking-- dom come." Ag^ain, if our prayers are g-oing- to avail anything- we must seek to lead blameless lives before God and before our fellow men. If we lead inconsistent, unholy lives, no difference how earnestly we mig-ht plead in behalf of Zion the Lord would turn away and refuse to answer; "If I reg-ard iniquity in my heart, 26 tiie Lord will not hear me." Then if the un- saved see us leading- inconsistent, wicked lives it turns them ag-ainst religion. O how many professed Christians do such a world of harm by their manner of life. Ah, if we desire to advance the interests of the king-dom we must endeavor to walk very closely in the footsteps of the holy Saviour. "What manner of persons oug-ht we to be in all holy cottversation and g-odliness." Let not the frequenters of the theatre, the dance, the card table or the wine suppers; or the profane, the impure or the g"am- bler imag"ine that their prayers are acceptable, and that thus they can help in the Lord's work. No amount of prayer that such can offer can counterbalance the evil they are doing- to their own souls and to the souls of others by their manner of life. Any such practices as these separate between us and our God, and cause him to hide his face from us that he will not hear. One reason, no doubt, why there are not greater results from the volume of prayer that does ascend, is that it takes so much prayer to counteract the bad effects of the inconsistent, unholy lives of so many church members. So 27 much prayer is utterly neutralized. That is a hard statement, and would to God it were not true. When will the Israel of God come out fully from the world and be separate — a pecu- liar people? When will the caf^ of salvation be freed of dead weig*hts? If all who have named the name of Christ should lead holy, consecrated lives and would be as active in the Master's service as they should be and as prayerful; in a very few decades the whole world could be broug-ht to Christ. Only one thing" more can be mentioned. We should not only pray; we should also put forth corresponding- efforts for the upbuilding- of the king-dom. "Faith without works is dead." Work, as well as prayer, is required to build up the cause of the Redeemer, and every one who wishes that cause well should improve every opportunity for active service. There may be instances where persons are so situated that they have no opportunity of rendering- active service; under these circum- stances prayer is the whole duty. But such cases are rare; generally when the prayer is earnestly offered: "I/ord what wilt thou have 28 me to do?" some line of usefulness will be opened. It is too bad that there is such an amount of talent wrapped up in napkins in our churches; so much latent talent, so much cap- ital unemployed, and hence that bring-s in no returns. So few, comparatively, eng-ag-ed in Christian work. Many in our churches who are best fitted for usefulness do nothing-. They seem to think that all they were brought into the king-dom for, was merely to be saved. They do not consider that the dear Master, has any demand upon their time, their talents, and all that they have. Hence they simply fold their hands and try to g-et to Heaven just as easily as possible. There are church mem- bers of thirty or forty years standing- who never yet have made any efforts to win others to Christ and to Heaven. It is to be feared that many in that brig-ht world will wear "starless crowns." When will the drones be g-ot to work? When can the latent talent and power in the churches be utilized? At the same time there are a g-reat many who complain and are deeply g-rieved because ry^^^r^^^ss^^'^i^m 29 there is notliing* for them to do. At times per- sons cannot find just the kind of work in which they wish to engag-e. All cannot be Sunday school teachers, or superintendents, or preach- ers; yet there are few, as has been said, who earnestly ask the Lord what he would have them do, and are willing- to do what comes to their hands, but what they can find something- in reach to do. And there is one line of effort and usefulness that is open for all; there is one department that is not overcrowded, and never will be; no Christian can ever excuse himself because there is nothing he can do — all can pray. CHAPTER V. What Prayer Can Accomplish. TJERK, perhaps, some are ready to say: ^ ^ "But we want a work that amounts to something-; a line of effort by which we can accomplish visible, tang-ible results. If we merely pray how can we be certain that we have really ever done any g-ood?" No doubt many Christians sincerely think that it would be but little they could do throug-h prayer; hence they do not feel to spend much time in pleading- **Thy king-dom come;" while the facts are, perhaps, that there is no other line of effort that promises as large results; there is no other means by which we can accomplish as g-reat and lasting- g-ood > nothing- in which we can eng-ag-e that really may do as much to advance the king-dom of God as prayer. Yet it is a severe test of our faith, ior in the nature of the case we can know so little of the results. Much of the prayer offered for the coming- of the king-dom is of such a nature that nothing- can ever be known of the an- 31 swers. In other departments we can often see the direct results of our efforts; but we can never know in this life just how much our prayers have accomplished. We have simply to leave our prayers in the hands of a faithful Promiser. Our faith, however, should b« strong- enoug-h so that we can confidently leave the case in his hands. And when "the mists have rolled away" no one will be disappointed at the results of his earnest wrestling-s before the throne of grace. For if a person was so situated that he should devote his entire lifetime to praying* for the King-dom, he would accomplish g-rander results than he could in any other way. Just devote the life to prayer, make that the daily occupation, the one business in which he en- gag-es, and no one need fear of being" dis- appointed when he opens his eyes in eternity and sees the fruits of his life. Let me give a few examples of what persons have accom- plished by their prayers: A -pastor had charg-e of a church forty years, and all through, those years were almost a continuous revival, precious souls in large 32 numbers under his ministry kept coming- to Christ. He did not know to what to attribute his success. At the end of those years one of the members ofhischurch died. He never had been very prominent, but in securing- informa- tion for the funeral services he learned that this brother had spent every Saturday night till twelve o'clock for the last forty years in praying for the blessing- of God to rest upon the labors of his pastor the next day. When the pastor learned of those forty years of prayer in his behalf he knew very well where those forty years of revival came from. Many years ago, in Virginia, there was a church in which religion was at a very low ebb. There had been no revival for a long time and the young people were growing up very irre- ligious. This greatly troubled an old gray- headed elder, and one Saturday night he went and knelt down on a bridge near the church and spent the whole night in prayer for the blessing to be sent. During the services in the church the next day a revival began .which swept through that country. That old gray- headed man wrestled alone in prayer and prese. 33 vailed. And often one person does wrestle alone with Israel's God and prevail; as in the following- instance g-iven by Prof. Charles G, Finney: A pious man in western New York was sick with consumption. He was poor, and Wcis sick for years. An unconverted merchant of the place used to kindly send him things for his comfort, or for his family. At length it occurred to him that the best return he could make for this kindness would be to pray for the man's salvation. He began to pray, his soul became enthused, and he was led on to a wider field. He knew some thirty churches and ministers, in whom he felt an interest. He set apart certain times to pray for a revival in their churches. He also selected some mis- sion stations in foreign lands. He was. very earnest in prayer; he was in such an agony of soul and he struggled so hard for the blessing- that at times his family feared he would des- troy his life. In his diary he would write that on such a day he was able to offer the prayer of faith, as he called it, for the out-pouring- of the Spirit on such a church, and he trusted 34 there would soon be a revival there. And the revivals came in very nearly the order he had noted that he had been enabled to offer the prayer of faith. These places included the mission stations in heathen lands and the place where he lived. This latter was a deep and widespread work of g-race, during- which the merchant was hopefully converted. It is within the bounds pf truth to assert that there were few persons living- at that time who accom- plished more for the Lord than that hopeless invalid. There was the case of another invalid, as related by Mr. Moody: A little cripple lay on her dying bed. She had given her heart to the Saviour, and she was distressed only because she could do nothing to secure the salvation of others. Her pastor visited her and hearing her complaint, told her that while lying on her sick bed she could pray for those she desired to be saved. He told her to write the names down and then to pray earnestly for them. He went away and thought no more of it. Soon a deep religious interest sprung up in the place, and the churches became nightly crowded. The little cripple was eag-er to hear of the progress of the work and anxiously in- quired the names of those converted. A few weeks later she died, and among- a roll of papers that was found under her pillow was one bearing" the names of fifty-six persons, every one of whom had been converted during- the meeting-s. By each of the names was a little cross, by which the poor crippled saint had checked off the names as they had been reported to her. One more case showing- the possibilities of prayer must be g-iven: The pastor of one of the leading- churches in a larg-e state, and an eminently successful "soul-winner," dates his success in the Master's work to the realization by himself and his people of the power of con- stant and united prayer. Up to that time he had been fairly successful in his ministry, but not more than ordinary. Since this baptism of prayer cind of earnest labor came upon him, and largely throug-h him upon his people, it can be justly said that there has been a con- stant revival. Multitudes have been g-athered into the fold, and he has g-rown wonderfully 36 In power and usefulness as a g-ospel preacher. What mig-ht not be accomplished if pastors, with their people generally, became baptized with this spirit of prayer? What g-racious revivals could be recorded; what wonderful victories. In view of these instances, and others like them that could be g"iven, how groundless the fear that the seasons of prayer are wasted; that it is time thrown away. Who has accom- plished more, in the sameleng-th of time, than those did in the examples just given? True we cannot always know the results of our prayers, but we can anchor our souls upon the promises of God, and confidently leave all in his hands. Many of God's dear people are doing- this; relying- upon the sure promises they are beseiging the throne of grace in be- half of Zion. But their prayers are so compre- hensive, covering as they do almost every de- partment of the broad field, that it is utterly impossible for them to determine when, where or how their petitions are answered. Yet their confidence is such that they sweetly rest on the faithfulness of Jehovah. CHAPTER VI. Further Illustrations of the Results op Prayer. "\^ERE it possible for us to know the real history of the Lord's work in all ag"es and in all places, we could easily see how the prosperity of the king-dom depends on prayer. But this we cannot fully know; so much of the church's history remains unwritten. As it is, however, many wonderful illustrations of the ag-ency of prayer can be g-iven. There was the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Ghost came in such overwhelming- power, and three thous- and were converted in one day. But the one hundred and twenty had tarried in Jerusalem pleading- "the promise of the Father." They had held a ten days' prayer meeting- and then the mig-hty power of God was displayed. It is safe, perhaps, to say, that if they had not thus waited upon God there would have been no Pentecost. Just so during- all the history of the church from that till now, in almost every instance when the Holy Spirit has descended to 3S turn men to God, the work of grace can be traced to special prayer. As in Scotland, some centuries ag"o, a band of Christians spent the whole nig"ht in prayer. The next day at that place there were five hundred converts under one sermon by Mr. Living-stone. It was the same at Enfield where Jonathan Edwards preached his famous sermon from the text, "Their feet shall slide in due time." For months there had been most g"ra- cious revivals in that section, but the church at Enfield had not shared in "the showers of blessing-," and they began to fear lest they should be passed by. So a number of the mem- bers met and spent all the night in prayer. During- the delivery of the sermon the next day the Spirit came in wondrous power. The convictions of many were overwhelming; some crying out in terror, caught hold of the seats, really thinking that their feet were sliding into perdition. The extensive revivals of modern times have nearly all been preceded and accompanied by special prayer. The sweeping- revival of 1857 in this country was born in a prayer meet- 39 ing. That deep and thoroug-h work of grace in the north of Ir^and in 1858 traced directly to special, wrestling- prayer as its source. The same is true of the great awakening- in Scot- land the following- year. There had been such extensive revivals in America and in Ireland, the brethren in Scotland yearned for a similar blessing- to visit their churches. They ag-reed to pour out their hearts before God in prayer, and he was true to his promise. There have been revivals of g-reat power concerning- which no record seems to have been left, as to whether they had been preceded by gfreat prayerfulness or not. That in the south- ern states early in this century was such, when the Cumberland church beg-an. And yet such revivals as these may have been prayed down. We have simply received no account of the matter. The prayers, too, may have been offered in distant lands. Take the work of the leading- evang-elists at present; to a man they depend on prayer for their success. When they ag-ree to hold a series of meeting-s at any place they arrang-e for Special prayer services to be held weeks, often 40 montlis before they g-o to beg- In their work. At times these men, when they have g^one to the place and found a state of coldness and prayerlessness on the part of Christians, they have refused to g-o on with the work. They consider that to do so, under such circum- stances, would be a waste of time, and utterly useless. And these evang-elists are nearly, if not all, men of g-reat prayerf ulness. They zeal- ously devote all the tim^they possibly can to prayer. _It, would not be courteous to these brethren to itivade-th^ir privacy by turning- a search-lig-ht upon their seasons of devotion, but without mentioning- names some of their habits in this respect may be g-iven: Thirty years ag-o a young- man was converted in a meeting- held in one of our larg-e cities by a man who had an international reputation. Under God he accomplished a wonderful work. This young- man, from peculiar circumstances, spent a g-reat deal of time with the evang-elist, and he told me that they would hardly have reached their room when the evang-elist would say, "Let us pray; let us lay these cases before ^"TV^^^!?^/^ 41 the Lord." He said that the evang-elist spent nearly the entire time between meeting-s in prayer. Years ag"o there was a man, not very widely known, but he was eminently a man of God, and w^as very successful in revival work. He was deaf — could not hear the ring- of a bell or a rap on his door. The families where he was entertained during- a meeting- always knew where to find him when they w^anted him to come to his meals — in his room on his knees in prayer. It was my privileg-e once to participate in a meeting- nnder the leadership of one whose labors it has pleased the Lord to bless above those of most of others; he has almost uniform success. After holding- from three to six ser- vices during- the day and evening-, he would spend the most of his nights in prayer. Pour to six in the morning- frequently found him still on his knees, in his room, before God in prayer. If we should g-o on and notice the lead- ing- evang-elists of former, as well as of modern times, we would find them, perhaps, to a man, eminent for prayer. They pay the price for success in their work. 42 Thus it has ever been; those who have accomplished great thing-s for God have been men of prayer. Crushed almost with a sense of their own helplessness; deeply realizing- "Without me ye can do nothing-," they have been driven to God as their only refug-e, and he has not failed them. "The eternal God is their refug-e, and underneath are the everlast- ing arms." Had it not been for his prayers Martin Luther could not have set Europe on fire; but for his prayers John Knox could not have secured Scotland. Then there is One before whose name all others pale, as stars before the sun — the blessed Christ. He came to do a work such as was never entrusted to another in the universe, and he, "the Man of sorrows," was pre-emi- nently a man of prayer. He laid the founda- tions of his kingdom in praj'er, as well as in tears and blood. Glimpses are left of his habits in this respect; so often it is recorded he retired alone for prayer. At times he spent the whole night in praj'er, "The morning- star finding him where the evening star left him." If there had been a phonograph on these occasions rv^T5^>T!;w;a^^_:;:§S63Bg5 '^ 43 when he wrestled with the Father, to have caug"ht aud transmitted those tearful petitions as thej ascended for his church, what wonder- ful cries could be heard. Just such breathing-s, no doubt, as we find in the I7th of St. John, No one can doubt but that these prayers have been answered on during- all the centuries, and will be answered to the end. But he prayed not merely while on earth; he has ascended to the rig-ht hand of God, "where he ever lives to make intercession." He is pleading- now for his church, and is not his example one for all his people to imitate? How can they be his followers and fail to copy his example in this respect? The testimony of the entire history of the church is that prog-ress and prosperity depend on prayer. ' 'Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it." In no line of Christian work can success be expected with- out earnest, importunate prayer. In view of all this how is it that so many prof essed , Christians are either almost or en- tirely prayerless, as far as the cause of the Re- deemer is concerned? No difference how earn- 44 estlj some pray for themselves they scarcely ever plead with God for the prosperity of Zion, or if their prayers ever do turn in this direc- tion they are cold, dead, heartless. "We often wonder, when we think of it, why the Lord does not make short work of it and speedily bring- about the conversion of the whole world, yet when we reflect upon the prayerlessness of so many Christians, the wonder rather is that the king-dom of God advances as rapidly as it does. O, it is too bad that so few, compara- tively, plead "Thy king-dom come." The ten- der command of our Saviour rests upon us thus to pray. There are such promises assur- ing* us that the Lord will g-raciously hear and answer. Millions perishing- yet in darkness and millions perishing- from under the sound of the g-ospel appeal to them for their prayers. How can any of the Lord's people, in view of all this, refrain from prayer? What can drive them to their knees if all this does not? CHAPTER VII. For What Shall We Pray? \17HEN Christians attempt to praj for the upbuilding- of the king-dom they are often at a loss to know for what to plead. And frequently when they have mentioned a few thing-s thej^ run out, and it seems to them there is nothing- more to be said. Even when experienced Christians in prayer meeting- pray for the cause of Christ, the poverty of their ideas is often surprising-. But if any should devote themselves to a life of prayer they need not be at any loss for petitions to present. There are enoug-h objects that tenderly appeal to our prayers to occupy all the hours of every day. When any attempt to present these ob- jects, in all their phases, taking- a survey to some extent of the wide field, new objects come crowding- upon them; there appears to be no limit to the vast rang-e of view. The field is the world, embracing- every feature of the work and all the varied interests involved. Look at it: There, for instance, are the Jews. They were once the chosen people, the 46 seed' of Abraham, the friend of God, the breth- ren of our Lord, as coneerning- the flesh. It is heart-rending- to think of their condition, for they are still spurning- the dear Saviour. Nine- teen centuries after the advent of their Mes- siah they are still rejecting- him through blind unbelief, and are g^oing- down to darkness and death without hope. How many generations more of that people are to perish ere they "look upon him whom they have pierced and mourn?" How long, O Lord, how long? We may be con- fident of this, if that volume of prayer was offered for them that should be, their eyes would soon be opened to behold in Jesus of Nazareth their long-expected Messiah. "All Israel" then would soon "be saved." There is no people that appeals more strongly and ten- derly to our prayers than ancient Israel. Again, take the present condition of Eur- ope, and what spiritual desolations are wit- nessed there. In all those vast countries there is very little true piety. The teeming millions of that continent, to such an extent, are living in worldliness and sin; either rejecting religion altogether, or else satisfied with its mere 47 empty forms. The relig-ious condition of that country is dreadful, when we think of its mil- lions hastening- to ruin. Yet there are hopeful indications. The fields appear to be whitening for the harvest. Of late years there is a great demand for the word of God, and the Bible is being widely circulated. The Scriptures are in reach of a large portion of that people. Now if the Holy Spirit should descend to quicken the word; to bring the truth home to their con- viction and conversion,millions in Europe could be brought to Christ. How God would be glor- ified and what a precious harvest of souls would be saved were those people turned to the Lord. How can Christians keep from, praying for those perishing millions? There, too, is Africa, that dark continent. The light is now penetrating its jungles ajid plains. Mission stations are not only dotting its shores, but also the far interior. Mission- aries following in the track of Livingstone and Stanley have carried the gospel to the very heart of that almost inaccessible land. Oases are beginning to "make the wilderness and the solitary places glad." And many of 48 the dark faces of that people are being- lit up with the joy the g-ospel alone can bring-. It is a very fruitful, hopeful mission field; there is a g-reat readiness to receive the g-lad tidings of salvation, and if the I^ord's people only remem- bered that benig-hted land in prayer as they should, "Ethopia would soon stretch out her hands unto God." So, of almost every land. The outlook is hopeful in almost every quarter. The harvest of the world appears to be ripening-; all seem- ing-ly that is needed to the gathering- in of an immense harvest is the power of the Holy Ghost to bring- the word home to the heart with saving- power. And, let it be repeated, he comes in answer to prayer. How can the Lord's people neglect to pray for the perishing at such a time as this. O that every Christian J^ )iivould take to pleading with brokenness of heart, "Thy kingdom come," and "Come O Spirit, breathe upon these slain, that they may live." Were this course pursued, a scene re- sembling the last resurrection could be wit- nessed in nearly all the earth. For then the Holy Spirit would be "poured out on all flesh," 7-^5 F|^3^w?F!T^^7ir 49 and the dead in tresspasses and sins would be raised up to a new life. Immense armies would be raised up to serve the living- God and "nations would be born in a day." It seems clear that the g-reat need of the kingdom of God today is a greater volume of prayer. Prayer has hardly kept pace with the aggressive work of the church. This is an age of great activity, and the work has been fruitful. Yet the gospel has been taken to such multitudes who have not embraced it. Millions upon millions in home and in heathen lands are perishing under the sound of the gospel, and from within reach of the Saviour's arms. Now, without stopping the sower, the reaper ought to catch nearer up. How can this be done? By greater pray erf ulness on the part of God's people. For then the gospel, brought home to the heart by the divine Spirit, will be made "the power of God unto the sal- vation" of vast multitudes of these who are now rejecting it. 46 seed of Abraham, the friend of God, the breth- ren of our Lord, as coneerning the flesh. It is heart-rending- to think of their condition, for they are still spurning- the dear Saviour. Nine- teen centuries after the advent of their Mes- siah thej are still rejecting- him throug-h blind unbelief, and are g"oing- down to darkness and death without hope. How many g-enerations more of that people are to perish ere they "look upon him whom they have pierced and mourn?" How long-, O Lord, how long-? We may be con- fident of this, if that volume of prayer was offered for them that should be, their eyes would soon be opened to behold in Jesus of Nazareth their long--expected Messiah. "All Israel" then would soon "be saved." There is no people that appeals more strong-ly and ten- derly to our prayers than ancient Israel. Ag-ain, take the present condition of Eur- ope, and what spiritual desolations are wit- nessed there. In all those vast countries there is very little true piety. The teeming- millions of that continent, to such an extent, are living- in worldliness and sin; either rejecting- religion altog-ether, or else satisfied with its mere 47 empty forms. The relig-ious condition of that country is dreadful, when we think of its mil- lions hastening^ to ruin. Yet there are hopeful indications. The fields appear to be whitening- for the harvest. Of late years there is a gfreat demand for the word of God, and the Bible is being widely circulated. The Scriptures are in reach of a larg-e portion of that people. Now if the Holy Spirit should descend to quicken the word; to bring- the truth home to their con- viction and conversion,millions in Europe could be broug-ht to Christ. How God would be glor- ified and what a precious harvest of souls would be saved were those people turned to the Lord. How can Christians keep from praying for those perishing millions? There, too, is Africa, that dark continent. The light is now penetrating its jungles and plains. Mission stations are not' only dotting its shores, but also the far interior. Mission- aries following in the track of Livingstone and Stanley have carried the gospel to the very heart of that almost inaccessible land. Oases are beginning to "make the wilderness and the solitary places glad." And many of 48 the dark faces of that people are being- lit up with the joy the gfospel alone can bring-. It is a very fruitful, liopeful mission field; there is a great readiness to receive the g"lad tiding-sof salvation, and if the Lord's people only remem- bered that benig-hted land in prayer as they should, "Ethopia would soon stretch out her hands unto God." So, of almost every land. The outlook is hopeful in almost every quarter. The harvest of the world appears to be ripening; all seem- ing-ly that is needed to the g-athering- in of an immense harvest is the power of the Holy Ghost to bring the word home to the heart with saving power. And, let it be repeated, he comes in answer to prayer. How can the Lord's people neglect to pray for the perishing- at such a time as this. O that every Christian would take to pleading with brokenness of heart, '*Thy king-dom come," and "Come O Spirit, breathe upon these slain, that they may live." Were this course pursued, a scene re- sembling- the last resurrection could be wit- nessed in nearly all the earth. For then the Holy Spirit would be "poured out on all flesh," 49 and the dead In tressipasses and sins would be raised up to a new life. Immense armies would be raised up to serve the living- God and "nations would be born in a day," It seems clear that the g-reat need of the king-dom of God today is a greater volume of prayer. Prayer has hardly kept pace with the aggressive work of the church. This is an age of g-reat activity, and the work has been fruitful. Yet the g-ospel has been taken to such multitudes who have not embraced it. Millions upon millions in home and in heathen lands are perishing under the sound of the gospel, and from within reach of the Saviour's arms. Now, without stopping- the sower, the reaper oug-ht to catch nearer up. How can this be done? By greater pray erf ulness on the part of God's people. For then the gospel, broug-ht home to the heart by the divine Spirit, will be made "the power of God unto the sal- vation" of vast multitudes of these who are now rejecting- it. c\ £)L. CHAPTER VIII. For What Shall Ws Pray? — Continued. A S was said, when Christians are urged to *^ pray for the coming- of the king-dom, so many of them feel that there is really so little for which to pray, and their praj'^ers are lim- ited to a very few objects. Their attention has never been broug-ht to survey the wide field, the broad expanse that lies spread out. The author wants to make these papers as helpful as possible, hence he will present some further sugg-estions as to the field our petitions may cover. This will be entirely unnecessary in the case of many, yet there are many who think the range is so narrow and circum- scribed. It is so important to lead such out, and get them to gain some conception of the immensity of the field this petition of the Lord's prayer covers. In making suggestions, then, let me say first of all, do not forget to thank God for what he has done; give him full credit. So often in our approaches to the throne we merely present petitions; we act as if the Lord had 51 never enlarg*ed 7,'ion, sent a revival, or saved a soul. There should be more thanksg-iving- and praise, more expressions of gfratitude in our prayers. There can be no doubt that if we were more thankful for the spiritual mer- cies bestowed we would have far more of these blessing's for which to be thankful. | Of course our own personal interests are not to be overlooked; our needs, our friends, pastor, church, our country. We should earnestly plead for the church at larg-e; that Christians may have deep, fer- vent piety; that they may be built up in Christ, sound in the faith; that they may lead consis- tent, prayerful, consecrated, holy lives, active and useful in the Master's service. That ministers may be holy men of God, full of faith ai^d prayer, wonderfully anointed of the Holy Ghost; that they may have g-reat wisdom and fidelity; that they may have an abiding" sense gf the sacredness of their calling-, and of the eternal interests involved in their work; that they may preach a pure gospel, and be abundantly blessed in building- up believers and in saving dying- men. S3 That every means of grace may be blessed; that the word may everywhere be accompanied by divine power. Here I want to emphasize, the word is powerless of itself, only as it is followed by the Holy Spirit, can it prove "the wisdom and the power of God unto salvation." How God's people should plead then, if pos- sible above everything- else, that the gospel, however presented, may ever3^where be at- tended by the convicting and converting power of the Holy Ghost. Want of pra3^er for the Holy Spirit is perhaps the great reason why so many efforts to win men to Christ are without avail. We should plead earnestly for the child- ren and youth, that they may be kept from snares, follies and all evil influences. That the schools may not be irreligious, tending to lead them astray. That they may early be brought into the fold, instructed and trained up in the service of God. That they may grow up intelligent, industrious, useful, prepared for the duties and responsibilities of the life here, and that to come. That the lyord may choose young men who S3 shall preach the g-ospel, at home and abroad. That they may be thoroug-hly qualified and equipped for this great work. Also that He may select young- women and prepare them to g"0 as missionaries, teachers or physicians to the heathen. That the g"0spel may be sent into all the earth, so that the untold millions who have never yet heard of Christ may soon learn the way of salvation. That the missionaries may be comforted and sustained in their work, and may have great success. That the heathen may readily receive the g"Ospel, be rapidly converted. That the heathen converts may stand firm, be trained up for the service of Christ, and be prepared to g-o forth to others yet in darkness, Laafiiiiig tne word, ot lite. ~^o that all the ends of the earth may soon hear and turn to the Lord. That g"reater benevolence be g"iven to the Lord's people; that they may g"ive more largely of their means to spread and sustain the g-ospel. That all may appreciate what a sweet privilege it is to g"ive, and that the treasuries of all benevolent enterprises 54 and institutions may be abundantly supplied. For the overthrow of intemperance, pro- fanity, gambling-, Sabbath-breaking-, and all the sins and vices that hinder the success of the gospel and ruin the souls of men. For the destruction of Mohamedanism, Romanism, and all forms of false religion and of error, that deceive men and keep them from embrac- ing the gospel of Christ. Where any special danger threatens the cause of Christ, that it may be averted. This is so often the case in foreign missions — as during the late China- Japan war; the present designs of the French against Madagascar, and the present (August, 1895) uprising against foreigners — especially the missionaries — in China. For the speedy "binding" of Satan, and the removal of all hindrances to the success of the Lord's work. For the pouring out of the "Spirit on all flesh." For the triumph of the gospel in all lands, and the speedy con- quest of the whole world to Christ. Now these are but a few suggestions. This list might be enlarged almost indefin- itely. Many will wonder why these topics y 55 were mentioned, while others of equal import- ance were not. "The field is the world," and it is not possible to cover the entire g-round. It would be well for each one to make out a list of those thing-s which weig"h most heavily upon his heart, and that seem to him of greatest importance, and then bear these up before the Ivord. In this vast sweep, dif- ferent persons will usually be led out in different directions, so that by this wide rang-e of prayer the entire field will be more nearly covered. Would that the eternal welfare of our ruined humanity could be laid more heavily upon the hearts of God's dear people, so that they could not help crying- to the Lord with tearful earnestness for our guilty world. Thank God this does rest as a heavy burden on many hearts, and it almost chains them to their knees. At times when some are bearing- these precious interests before the Lord, the needs of our lost world start up before them with such startling vividness, that they are almost overwhelmed, and they can hardly bring themselves to cease 56 from prayer. O that this number were multi- plied bj the hundred. "'W'^ CHAPTER IX. PlERSONAI, RkSPONSIBILITY. /^NK great hindrance to the advancement ^-^ of God's king-dom is that the great mass of Christians do not realize their individual responsibility. Thej are unwilling- to recog- nize that any responsibility rests upon them, hence they are not ready to shoulder any of the burden of carrying- on the Lord's work. They do not consider that they are person- ally under obligation to use their efforts to advance the cause of Christ and secure the sal- vation of their fellow-msn. Thus the church is not awake. She does not come up to the help of the Lord. Too many are "at ease in Zion." Plead with them personally and try to g-et them to lay hold of the work and they are ready to say, "What is that to me?" "Am I my brother's keeper?" It is amazing that any who have a hope of eternal life can be in- different to the eternal welfare of others, and unwilling to put forth efforts to save the per- ishing. It seems impossible that any of God's people could look with unconcern upon those 58 around them — perhaps in their own family — g-oing- to ruin. In the autumn of 1869 a steamer on the Mississipi river, heavily laden with precious human freig-ht, took fire. In a little while the proud steamer was a sheet of flames. While all was terror and confusion, twelve men jumped into the yawl and made for the shore, thoug-h the boat would have carried forty or fifty persons as well. Having* arrived safely on land, eleven of those men stubbornly re- fused to return to save others, though two hundred of their fellows were struggling in the river, ready to sink into a watery grave. Ivang-uage fails to express our condemnation of such a course. They had escaped the dan- g"ers of fire and water unharmed, yet they would not make the least effort to save their fellow-men struggling there in the jaws of death. But what shall be said of those who have been saved by the free grace of God, yet who will not do anything toward rescuing others. Having escaped the jaws of eternal death, their fellow-men perishing in sin around them ^-!n?5:_ .jjPM 59 have strong-er claims upon them to put forth efforts to rescue them than those about to be destroyed by the billows of fire or water had upon those hard-hearted wretches, who coolly looked upon that scene of destruction. It is enoug-h to make the heart sick to see the utter indifference of so many Christians in regfard to the salvation of others. Those who neglect this sacred duty render themselves liable to be called to a fearful account before the bar of God. The great reason why we should put forth our utmost efforts to secure the salvation of men, is because God is glorified in every soul that is saved. And if we are his people we are under the strongest obligations to do all we can to promote that glory; this is to be the ruling purpose of the new life. And there is nothing that brings such a tribute of glory to the God of Heaven as the salvation of guilty men. In redemption new attributes of the divine character are displayed, and all his per- fections are made to shine forth with new luster. The divine power and wisdom are seen from the visible creation. "The heavens 60 declare the g"lory of God and the firmanent showeth his handiwork." But the divine love and mercy — these tenderer characteristics — are manifested in redemption. Here alone we see the g-reat heart of God — his boundless love, his infinite mercy. "Here the whole deity is known." No wonder the "ang-els de- sire to look into" these things, for here only, as far as we are informed, can they perceive certain traits of the deity. For, as far as we know, ours is the only race of fallen intelli- gcences to which mercy has ever been shown. So that God is more honored in the salvation of one soul than in the creation of a world, because new and hig-her attributes are dis- played in the scheme of saving- mercy. All created intelligences will behold the redeemed of our race with greater admiration, with more rapturous praise, than all creation be- side. To all eternity the redeemed will stand as so many monuments, commemorative of the divine love and mercy. And while eternity lasts, Jehovah will look with infinite satisfac- tion upon the redeemed, the work of all else nearest his heart. Redemption is his crowning ■-• S»T»S1(^>,^^ 61 work, his masterpiece. If then we have rig-ht affections toward God we must g'ive ourselves earnestly to the work of saving- men, which is the work uppermost in his mind and heart. In being- zealous for the upbuilding- of his king-- dom we are zealous for his glorj. Then how we should feel for the unsaved! For it is such an awful thing- for a soul to be lost. It is impossible for us to fully weig-h eternal wretchedness; but O how dreadful to be banished forever from the presence of God; to have to dwell under his awful wrath against sin, a prey to fiery remorse; a companion of the damned from all worlds. And all this without one ray of hope for the future. That dreadful word "forever" is written upon the penalty of the law; upon the divine justice; over the entrance to the dark prison-house; upon the flames of hell. And shall we be in- different to the fate of our fellow-creatures? Shall we look with unconcern upon the multi- tudes thronging- the way to destruction and make no attempt to save them? When we are so aroused, when our fellows are in tem- poral danger, and will risk our lives even for 62 their help, shall we be indifferent when they are in danger of eternal destruction? How can we ever appear insensible to their eternal interests? Thank God some are alive to these great concerns; some are burdened for the eternal welfare of dying- men. Such was Henry Martyn, of precious memory. Seeming-ly almost any position in the realm of Britian was open to him. He turned away from them all, and from one dearer to him than life, to bury his talents — as some look at it — as a missionary in India. After laboring there for years, without seeing scarcely any results, he cried: "I could bear to be torn limb from limb if I could but hear a Hindoo ask, 'What must I do to be saved?' " This same all-consuming fire burned in the heart of a young man who sought appoint- ment as a missionary. Said he to the Board of Missions: "Gentlemen, send me to Africa, send me to Africa. I know the climate is a deadly one, but if I can but die there I ask no more." And as he lay dying in that torrid clime, turning to his friends he said: "Never '^^^^^^fff^^^^SBSpRPI- 63 mind me; let thousands of us di2, only let Africa be saved." This passion for souls had possession of a Welsh preacher. "I am," said he, "a broken- hearted man. God has given me such a sight of the value of precious souls that I cannot live if they are not saved." This all-absorbing- desire for the salvation of men is felt by thousands in the ministry. Ever before their eyes is a great throng rushing to destruction, and the query forces itself upon them, "What can I do to rescue them?" Often this feeling is so intense they can scarcely eat or sleep. Plenty of men, women and children in our churches have a yearning desire for the wel- fare of the unsaved. Their very "heart's de- sire and prayer to God" is that . the perishing may be brought to Christ. But the question is, how can this desire help but glow in the breasts of all Christians? When the glory of God is so intimately in- volved and the souls of men are beyond all value, w^hy are not all believers pleading with burthened hearts for a display of his saving power everywhere? If Christians were only t>4 awake and on the alert! In a church or com- munity where a few become burdened for souls and are crying- to God for salvation, we say a revival has beg-un. Now should this be- come g-eneral throug-hout Christendom, if be- lievers, the world over, were to become deeply concerned for the unsaved, and should wrestle on their bshalf "with strong- crying- and tears," how the windows of Heaven would open; what mig-hty blessing-s would descend in all parts of the earth. And how often the Beloved comes to his people while they are absorbed in worldly cares and pleasures, seeking- to arouse them from their slumbers. He knocks tenderly, lovingly. His voice comes plaintively, "What, could ye not watch with me one hour?"- He needs their prayers, their service, their in- fluence. And there he stands knocking-, plead- ing-, "Till his head is filled with the dew, and his locks with the drops of the nig-ht." Yet multitudes of his people, in love with slum- ber, satisfied with their ease, resist all these tender appeals, and the dear Saviour has to turn weeping- away. Dear reader has he thus -■^'^^s's^^^gi 65 been calling to jou, and shall he call longer in vain? And is not the Lord at the present time saying to the church universal, "Now it is high time to awake out of sleep." "Awake, awake, put on thy strength O Zion." But the only way for the church to awake is for the individual members to awake. That is the very thing I want to do; as far as I can secure the attention of God's people I want to say, "Brother, sister, you are personally respon- sible for the prosperity of the kingdom, and for the salvation of dying men. By the help of God rise clear up to your responsibility, so as to clear your skirts of the blood of all men." How can you bear the thought, my dear friend, of giving up your account at last to God, and of facing the unsaved within your influence then, unless you have endeavored, as far as you could, to bring them to Christ? Would that there were a trumpet that could as effec- tually waken slumbering Christians as the one that will be heard on the resurrection morning awakening the dead. CHAPTER X. ObstacivES in the Way. 'T^HERE have been frequent occasions for •^ mentioning- the difficulties in the way of building- up the cause of the Redeemer. These obstacles may be divided into those that are preventable — as far as Christians are con- cerned — and those that are not preventable. It vp^ould not be profitable, perhaps, to notice those which are beyond our power to prevent, but I wish to consider some of the other class, so that they may be avoided. As far as in us lies, we should remove every obstacle out of the way of the advancement of the king-dom, and we should be extremely careful that we place none in the way. But too often Christians; by their conduct, do place hindrances in the way, thus perhaps preventing- the answer to their most fervent prayers. One g-reat dang-er threatening- the church of the future is that the Sabbath school child^ ren do not attend church. Nearly the only exception to this is where the parents live in the country, hence, on account of the convey 67 ance, the cliildren of necessity have to remain for church, but take it in towns and cities; at the close of the school a break is made for the door, and nearly every scholar leaves the house of God, to be seen there no more till time for school the next Sabbath. And so many of these scholars, when they g-et up in their teens, graduate from the Sunday school; then they are done with the church. Any number of people, with families growing* up around them, seldom or never attend a place of wor- ship. Speak to them about it, they will reply, "O yes, we used to attend Sunday school, but we were never accustomed to attend church." Now, as far as Christian parents are con- cerned, this, to a g-reat extent, can be reme- died. It is their duty to see that their child- ren go to church. While it is best, if possible, to avoid compulsion, if the proper course is pursued they can usually secure their attend- ance. In city churches some children have grown up and have never known anything else but to be at the church services. As a rule these early come to the Saviour and become pillars in the church. On the other hand k. 6d those who have only gone to the Sabbath school, if they are converted they do not usually have a clear understanding- of the gos- pel and of Christian duty, as they have not been accustomed to go to church, so often they are by no means regular in their attend- ance. So there is a great liability of their abandoning their profession, or at best plod- ding on, mere nominal members. Christian parents should endeavor by all means to cor- rect this neglect of the sanctuary by their children. There is not a more beautiful sight, nor one more inspiring to the pastor, than to see the children at churc?. Another danger is a disregard of the Sab- bath. Religion cannot be maintained without the observance of the Sabbath, and the near- er the distinction is broken down between this and other day^ the less power the religion of the Lord Jesus will exert. And this dis- tinction in these latter days is becoming pretty well obliberated. I do not refer now to Sabbath deseqration by the railroads, by Sunday excursions, concerts in the parks, base ball games, open saloons, etc., only in so 69 far as Christians lend their influence and their patronag-e to these monstrous sins. I refer more particularly to the Sabbath desecration that has been creeping- into Christian homes, such as doing- marketing- and other unneces- sary work on the Sabbath; traveling- on the Lord's day, especially on the trains; reading- Sunday newspapers and other improper read- ing- on the Sabbath. This is not near the end of the list, but it is enoug-h to show how Sabbath distinc'';ion is fading out; how the day is disregarded by many professors of religion. Here is a loud call for reform. It is astonishing how many members of churches will put off going a journey of business, pleasure or visiting until the Sabbath. We cannot say really that the Sunday trains and newspapers would have to stop if members of churches should withold their patronage, but it would be a serious loss to these institutions of iniquity. And it seems there ought to be piety and principle in the churches to stop a great deal of it. This pro- fanation of the Lord's day by professed Christians is a reproach to religion, in the 70 eyes of worldly people, and no doubt causes the Lord very often to refuse to bestow his blessing" upon the church. Then the almost constant chang-e of pas- tors is a great hindrance to the Lord's work. It used to be that when a young- man was set- tled in his first charge he was expected to spend his entire ministry there. But we, es- pecially in the west, have fallen upon, evil times, in this respect. The averag-e leng-th of the pastorate, in the denominations that choose their own pastors, is not much over two years. The pastor and his family hardly become acquainted with the people, so as to do efficient work, when they have to leave. Inhere are many reasons for this sad state of a (fairs. One of the most common is a disposi- tion on the part of so many church members to t.ike up little, trivial thing's ag-ainst the pas- tt)r. Often these are really not worthy of men- tion, yet they are brooded over, tzdked about, till the poor man has to leave. But so fre- quently in driving" him away the church is split into two factions, and when the next man comes, one or the other is opposed to him, and 71 soon fig-hts him awaj. Thus a squabble is at times kept up from one g-eneration to another. And there is nothing- that more effectually prevents the Lord's work than such strife. The Holy Spirit is grieved away and the peo- ple of the world are turned ag-ainst the church and often to infidelity. When a pastor is set- tled every member who desires the welfare of the cause of Christ should accept the situation and do his utmost to make his work a success. Sometimes, however, it is the pastor's fault. He is ambitious, restless or discour- ag-ed, so he tears himself away. And often the Lord whips him for it, just as he fre- quently does a clique in a church that unjustly turns the pastor away. Both pastor and peo- ple often see afterwards that it would have been better to have reg-arded that shrewd advice: '"Tis better to endure the ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of. '* Or the advice of the apostle, "Be content with such thing's as ye have." Is there no way to stop this constant change, which en- 73 tails such dreadful hardships upon the pastor and his family, and works such injury to the cause of Christ. The tendency to ritualism is another dan- ger now threatening the Protestant churches. This is a very insidious foe. It comes clothed in such an innocent garb and glides in so stealthily. But it is nevertheless a deadly foe to religion. The history of the church shows that it blights and destroys true piety. And it is so congenial to the human heart. We would so much rather pay our worship by mere forms and ceremonies than by sincere heart worship. But our Saviour declared- "God is a Spirit, and they that worship hitu must worship him in spirit and in truth." The Almighty cannot be put off by a set of rites and ceremonies, however beautiful or aesthetic. And there is no question, ritualism is creeping into our churches. Look at the way Christmas and Easter are observed, and Good Friday and other days are being taken up. Great strides have been taken in this direction di^ying the \a^t few years. If many of our 73 fathers and motliers wlio went tome to their rest only twenty or thirty years ag-o should return to earth and enter their old church on Easter morning they would perhaps exclaim, "What, am I in a Catholic church?" Nowldonot say that this has g-one so far as to be actually wrong-, but the danger is, "Whereunto these things may grow." After the Arab's camel got his nose into ,the tent it was not long be- fore he was clear in, and there was no room for anything else. It seems now that the camel of ritualism was getting his nose pretty well into some of our churches, and the sad havoc that ritualism has wrought in what was once pure, spiritual churches, ought to be a warning to all who desire a pure church to be maintained. The only safe way is to adhere to the old Latin adage, "Obsta principia," ("resist the first beginnings.") Don't let the destroye%get a foothold. Zealously maintain a simple, spirit ual worship. Still another danger that appears to be growing, is an inordinate selfishness. This is the natural tendency. As the country in- creases in wealth the love of pleasure and of 74 luxury is liable to increase, and people are un- willing- to make self-denials for tlie sake of Christ. I was startled lately by what a re- turned missionary . said to me. He had been gone some ten years, and he said since his re- turn he could notice that during- that time a desire for self-indulg-ence and luxury had been g-rowing- among- the churches, and an unwill- ing^ness to make sacrifices for the Master. He was fearful for the consequences upon the work of foreig-n missions. He may have been mistaken, yet it is evident that there is not that willing-ness to make any and every sacrifice for the dear Master, there shoul d be. Christians are so far from reaching the example of him "Who thoug-h he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor." And just in the degree that Christians are selfish; loving ease and luxury, and unwilling to make sacrifices, in that degree Ihey are shorn of their power, consequently in the same degree the cause of the Redeemer must lan- guish. There is an intimate and direct con- nection, in this respect, as cause and effect. Nor was there ever a time when the Lord's 75 work demanded greater sacrifices than now; in wrestling- prayer, in devoting- time, effort and money to the work, and in g^iving- self up to be wholly the Lord's. Why is it that all God's people cannot rise to the thoug-ht of the exalted privileg-e of making- sacrifices for the precious Saviour and for the souls of men. But I wish to speak more particularly of g-iving- our means. What a crying- need there is for money now, to carry on the Lord's work. What larg-e and white fields, at home and abroad, cannot be improved for lack of means. In benig-hted lands many of the heathen, re- mote from mission stations, have learned some- thing- of the g-ospel, and of the blessed results of the work of the missionaries. And they often come long distances, pleading- that mis- sionaries may be sent to them. But, althoug-h there are applicants at home waiting- to be sent to just such opening-s, yet these requests so often have to be denied for lack of funds. And how hard to refuse these pressing- en- treaties. There needs to be a revival, at pres- ent, on the line of benevolence. So many are unwilling to give of their abundance; others 76 are unwilling* to exercise economy and self- denial in order that they may be able to g"ive; as a consequence the chariot wheels of salva- tion frequently move slowly, and precious souls have to perish in darkness, without a knowl- edge of the Saviour. Will not every one give then, "As God has prospered him?" That is the standard, and it is certainly a reasonable x)ne. And no person loses anything by giving. The Lord usually more than makes it up. Then, if we give from the right motive, we are "laying up treasures in Heaven," increasing our gracious and eternal reward. Besides, our money will do such good employed in the Lord's work; will bring such glory to our divine Chfist, and will help to save undying souls. It seems wondrous strange that all Christians cannot rise to the appreciation of the "luxury of giv- ing." It is a duty to give — yes, it is a sacred duty — ^but, O, my friend, it is a far sweeter privilege. Here I want to address any of my readers to whom the Lord has given large wealth. There are many true Christians, in nearly all 77 denominations, who, in the providence of God, have great possessions — some are mil- lionaires. Brethren, one of the most desirable things in the world is to have large wealth, so as to be able to make large benefactions to worthy objects, and it thus affords such an opportunity of helping on the kingdom. But, brethren, it will be a fearful thing to meet our Judge if we have kept our talents selfishly hoarded up, instead of employing them in the Master's service. Large wealth brings in- creased responsibility, and may God deliver you from the awful fate of your money burn- ing on your conscience like molten lava in the eternal world. Meet your responsibilities, then, brethren. Give largely of your means to the cause of your Master, and thus be prepared to receive an approving verdict from your final Judge. "He is worthy." He has redeemed you with his own heart's blood, and has bestowed upon you all that you possess. Bring, then, your princely gifts and lay them at your Redeemer's feet. And bestow your gifts during your life- time — at least a share of them — while you can 78 be jour own executor. It seems rather selfish to hold onto our money till we can hold no long-er, then make provision for giving- it to the Lord. Besides, when it is bequeathed, so often it never reaches its object — the lawyers g-et it. There is also such a satisfaction in knowing- that our money is doing good while we are living. One great reason why so many persons of large wealth do not give more largely is they feel that they must leave their fortune to their family and relatives. Now God forbid that I should advocate wronging the dear ones. They should be well cared for. Due provision should be made for them. That is but just and right. But let me remind the wealthy that they are under greater obligations to their Redeemer than to any earthly relations, and He, of all others, should not be wronged. And frequently the fortune that is left for the family does them no real good; it goes in legal contests; or if it does reach the family it really proves a curse to some of them. In view of what constantly comes under observation, there can be no very strong 79 inducements to bequeath larg« fortunes to relatives. Oh that the Lord's j)eople who have been entrusted with g-reat wealth, or with only moderate means, may lay these things to heart, especially at this time, when there is such a crisis for funds to carry on the work. If some of our multi-millionaires would give a million or more dollars for the work of foreign missions, what an amount of good they could do. Funds are so needed for that work, and at present there are larger results, in the way of conversions, in proportion to the number of workers, in foreign than in work at home. And the pressure for money for the work at home is about as great. What an opportunity for people of wealth to come to the help of the ^ Lord. This is an emergency that will deter- j mine whether the love of Christ or of self is stronger — a testing time. May the Lord open hearts to respond to humanity's need in such a way as to show the sweet, the all-constraining' power of Jesus' love. ^ CHAPTER XI. Young Pbopi^e's Societies and the Coming OF THE Kingdom. 'yHE "Christian Endeavor" and the other ^ societies for young- people are one of the most hopeful features of the church of the future. They wonderfully brig-hten the pros- pect for the spread of the gospel. These societies are doing- such a work in helping- and encourag-ing- young- converts, and in de- veloping- and training- them for the Lord's service. This is a work that has always been needed, and it is curious that some method such as this had not been devised centuries ago. Every person is ready to ask, *'How did the church manage to do so long- without them?" One of the best features of these societies is that they accustom the young- people to take part in prayer. Young Christians need to learn to pray. They should be drawn out in prayer from their very entrance upon the new life. Unless they take up this duty then, tUey are apt to neglect it afterward. Now these 81 societies come rig-lit in and tend to do this very thing-, and the proportion of young- people who take part in prayer now is vastly g-reater than it was during- the last generation. Where these societies have done their work the situ- ation in a church cannot be like one that was reported some years ag-o. There were some seventy or eig-hty members in the church, and of all that number only four or five would take part in the prayer meeting's. Not only so, the young- people are now put to work; these societies g-et them right into the traces. They are thus trained for active service. Usually pastors now lean g-reatly upon their young- people. When they want anything done they know just where to lay the hand upon the ones to do it. Thus new blood and vigor are brought into almost every department of the Lord's work. When we think back we are zdmost aston- ished that the churches accomplished as much as they did when there was so much latent power, useless material, such undeveloped resources. Sirice these energies have been 82 awakened and this latent power broug-ht into activity, her growth must be more rapid, her conquests must be greater. To me, the young- people's societies is one of the grandest movements of modern times. But while all this is true, I am pro- foundly convinced that, as yet, these societies, or at least many of them, are far from do- ing- as efficient work as they should. There are "Dead flies in the ointment." As I have attended these societies, in different places, several defects in the method of conducting- them have deeply impressed me. One of the most serious is the little time devoted to prayer. Not always, but so largely. Oftsn there are only one or two brief prayers in the whole hour. Now this is not waiting upon the Lord for his blessing as they should. They should earnestly seek the divine bless- ing to rest down on all the varied interests. Again, this affords little opportunity to draw those who need it out in prayer. And if the young people do not learn to pray in these societies they fail in a very important particular. 83 Then is so many instances there is a de- fect in the Bible study. The leader, perhaps, copies the references on slips; he takes these to the meeting", hands them around, and the members simply read these verses from the slips. Here there is no real study of the word. Even the leader did not search out references bearing- on the topic, he merely copied them from some paper. The leader and every member ought to "Search the Scriptures" for passages bearing on every topic, and they should be able to give some thought which the passage contains. Frequently, also, there is very little speaking in the meetings, and the young are not led out in this direction. Even on "con- secration," or experience dajy nearly all con- tent themselves by reading a verse. I have been surprised to see those who had been members of the church for years and ought to be able to to speak intelligently and with profit; yet they scarcely ever pretend to say a word. Now those who attend these meetings should gather ideas and learn to express them. If they do not, the society does not do the work it should. 84 But, as has been said, these societies, with their defects, have done a great work. They are training- up and fitting- the present g-eueration for service, as no former one has ever been. They are an important factor in the future prog-ress of the church. They possess almost untold possibilities for useful- ness. And owing- to the ag-ency of these societies, I, for one at least, am looking- for- ward for a more speedy and powerful coming- of the king-dom of Christ. Here let me beseech all young- Christians who read these pag-es to lay themselves out in prayer for the upbuilding- of the king-dom. Take a deep concern, young- friends, in these g-reat interests. Rest not satisfied until the welfare of Zion and of the souls of men weig"h heavily upon your hearts. Kndeavor to get into full sympathy with the dear Saviour in what he endured to provide redemption. You know the self-denial and the dreadful anguish it cost him. Try to attain something- of that same love for perishing- men, and a willing-ness to make any sacrifice to win them to Christ and to Heaven. " -- «7- fV^I'iU^''«"t'' 85 Also reflect much upon the worth of the soul, and what an awful thing- it is for any to be lost. If these thing's lie tenderly on your hearts, the love of Christ and of the souls of men will constrain you to do all in your power to save men. O if these thing-s are only im- pressed upon you, there will be no trouble about you praying- for them. You could not help but pray. Pour out your very hearts in prayer for the perishing". Wrestle as long- as you live in behalf of the dying. Thus only can your skirts be clear. Remember, young- friends, your responsi- bility; that to an extent you are accountable for the salvation of lost men. It will be a fear- ful thing- when we stand before the bar of God, not to be able to say with the Apostle: "I am clear of the blood of all men." And if you beg-in to pray for the perishing in your early years and follow it up as long as you live, eternity only can reveal what your prayers have accomplished. When, also, you come to stand before the throne, you will have a crown studded with the brightest jewels to lay at your Redeemer's feet. And 86 you will hear from his gracious lips the ap- proval, "Well done, g-ood and faithful ser- vant." And in the eternal world many will come and thank you for being- the means of their salvation. What say you, young- friends? Will you lead a life of prayer? Will you plead with brokenness of heart for the perishing-, and do what you can by personal effort for their sal- vation? Or will you g-ive the lost, occasion to complain, "No man cares for my soul?" CHAPTER XII. Win You Not Pray For The Kingdom. T N VIEW, therefore, of the glor j of God and ^ the salvation of immortal souls, I do en- treat all God's people to g-ive themselves to lives of prayer. Brethren, plead as the days, months and years roll by for the upbuilding- of the Redeemer's kingdom, and for the eternal welfare of dying men. The soul is so prec- ious; svich eternal interests are involved in the case of every human soul; it is such an awful thing for anyone to go down to darkness and death; yet what multitudes are perishing! As you consider the vast multitudes who have never heard of the way of life and are perish- ing in darkness, and the millions in. Christian lands who enjoy the light, but are spurning the Saviour, how can you fail to plead that God may bring all men to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus? O, if all Christians only did this, how much more rapidly the kingdom of God would come, and how many more would be spared from dying "Without God and without hope!" Will not those in our 88 churches especially, who are long-ing- for some- thing* to do for the dear Master, take to pleading- with all the heart "Thy King-dom Come"? And would that I could induce ag-ed Christians to spend the remainder of their days in prayer. There are many ag-ed minis- ters who have had to retire from active ser- vice; and there are other Christians who are reg-retting- that their days of usefulness are past, and that all they can now do is to await the summons, "It is enoug-h, come uphig-her." Yet if these worn out veterans should spend what remains to them of life in pleading- for the coming- of Christ's king-dom, they could ac- complish more, perhaps, than in their days of active service. Thus their declining- years mig-ht bear the most abundant fruit. And would it not be a grand thing for all Christendom to observe a year of special prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in all the earth, and for the salvation of men? We are so inclined to do what everybody else is doing — even if it is praying — that if a twelve months were set apart for special pray- 89 er, so many more would join in earnest pray- er. "The Week of Prayer" has secured the most gracious results; large harvests of prec- ious souls have been g-athered into the fold as the fruit of its observance. What grand re- sults then mig-ht reasonably be expected if all the Lord's people, in all parts of the earth, were to spend a year in wrestling- for the de- scent of the Holy Spirit, and" for the salvation of the perishing-? Could a/^^ear be thus sac- redly observed, I believe under God it would secure the salvation of untold multitudes, and g-ive a new impetus to the spreading- abroad of the kingdom of God's dear Son over all the earth. The Lord's people never yet have proved him by prayer as they should. When will the sacramental hosts of God come up to their duty in this respect? And there is an emergency on the church now that demands greater watchfulness and prayer fulness, because of new obstacles that have to be met. During the past, when the church had adopted new measures, secure'd better equipments, and thus been prepared for a more eflficient, aggressive service, Satan has 90 set himself to counterect these new agencies. Everyone knows full well that during- the last two or thrfee generations new methods and new machinery have been employed in the Lord's work, and this has been a period of wonderful activity and of surprising re- sults. But the Prince of Darkness has not been asleep in the meantime, nor has he given up the cause as lost. He has set up new engines, adopted new tactics, and the church of today has to face some of the most difficult problems and meet some of the greatest obstacles of her entire history. If she is not girded with new force she will be worsted in the contest. Unless the mighty power of God undertakes in her behalf she will enter the new century in a crippled con- dition. Hence the providence of God and the welfare of the kingdom demand at pres- ent a higher standard of piety, a holier, more consecrated life, a greater degree of prayerfulness. I believe that through divine grace Christians will meet this demand, and that greater achievements await the church in the immediate future. But unless they 't.i^r j'T^-K^^-'Sf-r- 91 do come up to the occasion wide-spread dis- aster and defeat may be expected. Yes the prospect is hopeful, but it will be what WE make it. Would that we could come up to our possibilities. There is reason to believe from the word of God that a time is coming- when our world shall receive a most gracious visitation from the presence of the Lord. A time when he will literally "Pour out his Spirit on all flesh," when upon all the world around there will be one universal revival. Millions upon millions will turn to the Lord, and "Nations will be born in a day." But we can be assured that that day will not come until a corresponding- vol- ume of prayer ascends for that wonderful blessing". It is perhaps within bounds to assert that the Christians of the present gen- eration could bring- about this g-lorious time, and secure these wonderful results. Breth- ren shall we do what we can to bring- this about? Do we really desire that all the "ends of the earth should turn to the Lord?" And are we willing- to pay our part of the price? 92 I must speak these burning- words. They have been on my heart for years. I have also been trying" in my humble "way to observe this importunity in prayer. And I entreat ministers to dwell more earnestly on the duty of prayer, and to try and induce their people to plead more importunately for the enlarg-e- ment of Zion. I do entreat every child of God who reads these pages, for the sake of the precious Christ who redeemed you, and for the sake of dying- men, cry unto God with brokenness of heart for the building- up of his king-dom and for the salvation of the lost. Wrestle mig-htily in prayer for the prosperity of the church, and for the eternal welfare of the perishing. And don't let your g-oodness be "As the morning- cloud, and as the early dew," but persevere in prayer. Shall the great multitudes g-o on to ruin and the love of Christ and the souls of men not impel us to plead for their salva- tion? Oh that the "Spirit of g-race and of supplication" may be poured out more richly upon all God's dear people, so that 95 they may cty more earnestly, more impor- tunately "Thy kingdom come." "Even So Come Lord Jesus." ^jfeiy jiJSi'jwiSiesftrfkiCj-; ^ ^^- ■-.