IN BUSINESS AND SOCIAL ANXIETIES.
HELP IN PAYING A MORTGAGE.
A business man in New York had several large amounts due for payment. An unprecedented series of calls from tradesmen wishing their bills paid sooner than customary, drained his means, and he was satisfied from the situation that his means would not be sufficient to pay them all. His business receipts, at this juncture, fell to one-half what they had usually been. A loan was due at the bank; a mortgage on his property, as well as large notes. He could do no more than ask the Lord constantly in prayer, to either send supplies of business, or open ways of relief. Committing his cares all to the Lord, he endeavored to throw off his burden and with diligence in trade do what was possible for protection.
He was greatly surprised when the bank loan fell due to learn that a trifling payment would be acceptable, and the rest extended at his convenience. This was remarkable, as the security had depreciated somewhat, and the loan had been then extended longer than usual.
The holder of the mortgage did not call as usual for his interest. In great surprise the tradesman dropped a note, saying he would meet his demand, but if not all the mortgage was needed, its extension would benefit the use of the capital in his business. To his surprise, he received a reply that the mortgage would be extended one-half until the next interest day, and the rest might be paid now if it could be spared. This was just the money which the tradesman could spare, and was intending to propose, but refrained from mentioning it.
A sudden opportunity in business arose which enabled him to see how to use the rest of the money he had on hand, as capital, whereby he could clear within three months the remainder of the mortgage before it became due.
Thus the Lord in answer to prayer, relieved his necessities, eased his creditors, gave him knowledge and intelligence of profitable ways of trade, and helped him freely according to his faith.
Thus business needs prayer, as well as the interests of the home, the church and the soul. When the means derived in business is used to bless the Lord's poor, "The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble."
A REMARKABLE PRAYER AND ITS ANSWER.
A lady, who had led for many years a life of faith, caring for orphans and invalids, was led one day in thought to wish that she might devote all her money to the work of the Lord, and use it specially for one branch of his service which few had ever entered. She possessed only a thousand dollars; and not knowing whether the thought was her own and therefore rash, or whether it came from the Lord, she asked the Lord in prayer, that if the thought was from Him "it might be continually before me; if it were not, that I might cease to think of the matter."
"It was kept before me as a privilege, to help me realize a greater personal nearness to God as my Father. It was a very important matter, and fearing a mistake, I requested a sign. I asked God, if he wished me to give the money, (which we held at His disposal,) that He would send me one dollar, (no more, no less,) from some individual with whom I had no acquaintance. About three weeks after my request, I attended a prayer-meeting, where about a dozen ladies were gathered. After the meeting, an elderly lady I had never seen before, put something in my hand saying, 'You will not be offended, dear, will you?' When I looked at the money, I found that it was just one dollar, my token. I exclaimed, mentally, dear Lord, do not let me ever doubt thee again. I afterwards asked the lady why she gave me the dollar. She said, 'Before I went to the prayer-meeting, I felt that I ought to take a dollar with me, and when I saw you, I felt that you were the one I should give it to.'"
"Nearly five years have passed since then, when I gave all, and my purse has never been empty. I have been constantly occupied in work of love, and my Father has sweetly cared for me in every respect."
This lady in her faith work has had under her constant care as many as twenty-two helpless invalids, of utter poverty, yet prayer has always brought them needed supplies, and the Lord has kept them.
RECOVERY FROM INSANITY.
A most remarkable case of recovery from insanity is given by President William M. Brooks, of Tabor College, Iowa.
"A young lady of my acquaintance, of a finished education, lost her reason in the Winter of 1871-2, and in August, 1872, was placed in the institution for the insane, at Mt. Pleasant, Ia. No encouragement was given of her recovery, and a year later, when her father visited her, in June, 1873, she appeared so badly, that he said it would be a relief to know that she was dead. Soon after, Mrs. H., the wife of a Baptist minister, who had long known and loved her, being shut up for days in a dark room, because of inflamed eyes, felt drawn out in special prayer in her behalf, and finally sent for the father and told him of her exercises, and of the assurance gained that his daughter would be fully restored.
"In a few days, came news of a sudden change for the better, and in a little over two months she returned home well, and is now teaching with all her powers in full vigor.
"The acting superintendent of the hospital, who is not a professed Christian, and who knew nothing of the prayers referred to, said that when the change occurred there was not a case among the five hundred inmates of which he had less hope, and that it was the most remarkable case of recovery which he had known during the eight years of his connection with the hospital."
SEEKING DIRECTION IN BUSINESS.
A lady clerk employed in an apparently successful business was offered an opportunity in a new business, which, though much smaller and less successful than the first, yet had rich promise in it for the future. The salary promised was the same in either case. In doubt, she often waited upon the Lord, and asked to be guided,--a whisper in her heart kept saying, "Go," "Go." Constant praying kept it growing stronger and stronger,--at last she decided to go, feeling it was the decision of the Lord. She accepted the new position, was pleased, and often declared she never desired to return. The old business in less than three years decreased so that half of the employees were discharged; the rest had their salaries reduced. The new business doubled in its extent, and her salary was increased one-fifth.
SEEKING GUIDANCE OF THE LORD.
A school teacher, without family or a special home, in New York City, asked the Lord for direction in finding a home, and prayed often that the way might be made so plain, she might acknowledge His hand, and understand His direction.
Soon it transpired, in taking lunch at a restaurant kept by a man and his wife, that they advised her to choose a certain family hotel. She did so, and found in time more friends and acquaintances, and a pleasanter home than she ever possessed before.
She also gained new scholars to her school. Sufficient to pay for her living.
Was she not fully answered? "They that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing."
SAVED FROM CHOLERA.
The Rev. J.B. Waterbury relates several incidents which prove the power of Prayer.
"In the year 1832 he was compelled by pulmonary symptoms, to leave his field of ministerial labor in one of the eastern cities, and travel south, hoping that a milder climate might be favorable.
"He had not proceeded far, before the cholera, that fearful scourge, made its appearance in the States, and obliged him to rejoin his family in the city of Brooklyn.
"Whilst many were dying around him, his health continued to improve; so that with the disappearance of the epidemic he found himself sufficiently restored to venture, if Providence should open the door, to resume his ministerial work.
"But where should he go? The future, to human view, was shrouded in uncertainty. In so important a matter, affecting his usefulness and happiness, there was nothing left, but to give himself to prayer. His faith in that promise, 'In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy Paths,' led him to pray without ceasing, 'Lord, what wilt thou have me to do.'"
On a certain day, when the burden lay heavily upon his heart, he retired as usual, to implore light and guidance. He read on that occasion, the chapter of Acts where, by divine direction, Cornelius the Centurion sent messengers to Peter at Joppa, to come to him with the Gospel. The apostle, meanwhile; is instructed by a vision to go to Cornelius.
The case was so applicable to the circumstances that the writer was led to cry mightily to God for light to be shed also upon his path.
While thus praying the door-bell rang, and the servant announced two men who wished to see me.
This was somewhat startling. After introducing themselves, they remarked that they had come on a very important errand, viz: to ask my services for a vacant church in which they were officers.
"But how is this," I inquired, "How did you know of me?"
They did not until that very day. But inquiring at the Bible House in Nassau street if any of the officers of that Society knew of a minister who could be recommended to fill their pulpit, now vacant for some months.
Dr. B., the Secretary, answered, "Yes, I know a young minister in Brooklyn, whom I can recommend, provided his health, which has been delicate, is adequate."
So the messenger came inadvertently over to B----, and I was called from my knees to receive their invitation. I promptly responded, "Yes, I will go?" for what was I that I could withstand God. A successful and happy ministry of fourteen years, attests the good results of that decision.
THE AID OF THE LORD IN BUSINESS AND SOCIAL PROSPERITY. THE WONDERFUL DELIVERANCE OF DANIEL LOEST.
John Daniel Loest, a celebrated German tradesman of Berlin, Germany, was, by the aid of the Lord, so prospered in his worldly circumstances, that by steady industry, he raised himself to rank with the most respectable tradesmen of Berlin, where he kept a well-frequented fringe and trimming shop.
He was always benevolent, willing to help others, and both fervent in spirit and constant in prayer, asking the help of the Lord in the minutest details of his business.
Yet there once occurred in his experience a season of severest trial, which demanded his utmost trust and unflinching confidence in God. He seemed almost forsaken, and circumstances almost impossible to overcome. But his deliverance so astonished him that he was lost in wonder at the mysterious way in which the Lord helped his business and sent him all that he needed.
By means of acquaintances of high social character, whom he fully trusted as good Christians, never supposing there could be any degree of hypocrisy, he became security for a Christian lady of good property to the amount of six hundred thalers. The attorney assured him that there was not a shadow of a risk in going security for her, as her property would be more than ample to cover any claim.
Months elapsed, and the circumstance forgotten, when Mr. Loest was most unpleasantly reminded by receiving an order from the Court to pay in on the following Tuesday the six hundred thalers for which he had become security, under the penalty of execution.
He now discovered that he had been designedly mystified, and there was no escape. The six hundred thalers must be paid before the next Tuesday. He had just accepted a bill for three hundred thalers, to be paid for on the ensuing Saturday. And in his first thoughts of his perplexity, he hoped to get out of his dilemma by hurrying to a rich friend to obtain a loan. On his way to his friend's home, he stumbled on another acquaintance who had lent him four hundred thalers on a mere note of hand, and he saluted him with the news that he must try for repayment of that sum on the following Friday, as he required it to pay for a parcel of goods which would arrive that day.
"You shall have it," said Loest, as he hurried on to his friend. The friend was at home, but before Loest could speak his errand, he is addressed thus: "It is lucky you came, my friend, for I was just going to send for you, to request you to make provision to pay me back the five hundred thalers you owe me, for I must needs have it on Wednesday to pay off a mortgage on my house, which has just been called up." "You shall have it," replied Loest, calmly, yet his heart became heavier every moment.
Suddenly it occurred to him that the widow of a friend just dead was possessed of large means, and she might be inclined to help him. But alas, disappointment thickened fast upon him. Loest owed the deceased friend five hundred thalers for note, and three hundred thalers for goods just delivered. As he entered the room of the widow, she handed him an order from the court of trustees, under which he was bound to pay up the five hundred thalers on Thursday, and, continued the lady, before the poor man had time to utter a word, "I would earnestly entreat you to pay the other three hundred thalers early on Saturday to me, for there are accounts constantly pouring in on me, and the funeral expenses," here her voice faltered. "It shall be cared for," said Loest, and he withdrew, not having had opportunity to utter one word as to the business that took him thither. He had failed at every turn; not one thing was for him, all seemed against him. But though the waves surged, and rose, and oppressed, yet they did not overwhelm his hope; the more the discouragements, the greater became his faith that all things were appointed for his good, and thought he could not guess, yet even the trial would result by God's own working hand, to the honor and glory of his great name.
Yet here was his situation. Six hundred thalers to be paid on Tuesday, five hundred on Wednesday, five hundred on Thursday, four hundred on Friday, three hundred Saturday morning, and three hundred on Saturday afternoon; in all, two thousand six hundred thalers. It was already the Saturday just previous, and his purse contained only four thalers. There was only one prospect left, and he went to a rich money lender, and in response to his request for relief in money difficulties, was met with this reply of irony and sarcasm from one who loved to indulge his enmity to the Christian faith. "You in money difficulties, or any difficulties, Mr. Loest! I cannot believe it; it is altogether impossible! you are at all times and in all places boasting that you have such a rich and loving Master! Why don't you apply to him now." And the unseen face could not conceal his pleasure at this opportunity of testing a Christian.
Loest turned away; hard as the random taunt and remark of his opponent was, yet it recalled him to a sense of his duty, and his forgetfulness of the fact that he had not hitherto asked of God for special help in this circumstance. With cheerful steps he hurried home, and in long and imploring prayer, asked for help and forgiveness in this, his neglect of trust in one so rich and generous. He was refreshed and comforted, and the Sunday was one of peace and sweetness. He knew and felt assured, "That the Lord would provide."
The eventful week opened, and on Monday he arose with a cheerful thought in his heart; ere he had had full time to dress, he noticed with great surprise, that both his sister and the assistant in the store, seemed, notwithstanding the earliness of the hour, to have full as much as they could do in serving customers and making up parcels, and he at once hastened into the shop to give them assistance, and thus it continued all day. Never, in all his experience, could Loest remember such a ceaseless stream of customers as poured, on that memorable Monday, into his rather out-of-the-way shop. Cooking dinner was out of the question; neither masters nor maid had time for that; coffee and bread, taken by each in turn, served instead of the accustomed meal, and still the customers came and went; still three pairs of hands were in requisition to satisfy their wants.
Nor was it for new purchasers alone, that money came in. More than one long outstanding account, accompanied by excuses for delayed payment, and assurances that it had not been possible to settle it sooner, enlarged the contents of the till; and the honest-hearted debtor, on whom this unwonted stream of money flowed in, was tempted every minute to call out, "It is the Lord."
At length night came, when Loest and his literally worn out assistants, after having poured out their hearts in thankful adoration in family prayer, sat down to the first meal they had that day enjoyed in common. When it was over, the brother and sister set themselves to count over the money which had that day been taken. Each hundred thalers was set by itself, and the result showed six hundred and three thalers, fourteen silver groschen.
This was sufficient to pay the first debt due the next day, and leave but ten shillings and eight pence over, a trifle less than they commenced the day with. Loest was lost in wonder and grateful emotion at this gracious testimony of how faithfully his Lord could minister to him in his earthly necessities.
"How countless must be the host of his ministering servants, seen or unseen, since He can employ some hundreds of them, and send them to buy of Daniel Loest to-day, or pay him that bill which thou owest. What a wondrous God is ours, who in the government of this great universe, does not overlook my mean affairs, nor forget His gracious promise, 'Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee.'"
Tuesday was a repetition of Monday's splendid business, and brought in the five hundred thalers which he needed the next morning to pay off the mortgage of his friend's house, due that day.
Wednesday's sales gave him five hundred more thalers, which he was obliged to have ready to pay on Thursday morning into the court of trustees.
Thursday's sales brought him four hundred thalers, just the amount he had given promise to pay the next day for goods delivered.
And Friday's sales gave him just three hundred thalers with which to honor the widow's demand on Saturday, to pay funeral and contingent expenses.
During these days of wonderful business and deliverances, after each indebtedness was discharged, there still was not left cash in hand a sum exceeding three to five dollars.
On Saturday morning, after he had sent the three hundred thalers to the widow, he had left precisely two thalers and twenty silver groschen (six shillings eight pence sterling), the smallest balance he had yet had; and what seemed most alarming, the rush to the shop seemed to be entirely over; for while during the five days past, he had had scarcely time to draw his breath from hurry and bustle, he was now left in undisturbed possession of his place. Not a single customer appeared. The wants of the vicinity seemed to have come to an end, for not a child even entered to fetch a pennyworth of thread, or a few ells of tape. This utter cessation of trade was as unusual and out of the accustomed shop business, as the extra rush had been.
At five o'clock on Saturday, was due the debt of three hundred thalers to his scoffing and tantalizing money lender. Three o'clock came, and still there was but six shillings eight pence in the till. Where was his money to come from? But Loest sat still, and "possessed his soul in patience" for he knew the Lord would choose the best time, and he desired to be found waiting and watching for the Lord's coming. The trial was severe. It seemed hopeless, and if it should happen that, the creditor came and went away unsatisfied, his commercial character would be injured, his credit shaken, and his reputation severely suffer. That last hour ran slowly on. At a quarter to four, almost the last few moments of painful suspense, a little old woman came in, and asking for Mr. Loest, said to him half in a whisper, "I live here close by, quite alone, in a cellar, and I have had a few thalers paid me, and now I want to beg of you to be so good as to keep them for me. I have not slept over night since I had them; it is a great charge for a lone woman like me."
Loest was only too glad to accept the money, and offered interest, which she declined. She hurried back, brought in her money, counted it out on his table, and there were just three hundred thalers, six rouleaux of fifty thalers each.
She had scarcely left the house, with her receipt in her pocket, ere the clerk of the creditor with his demand in his hand, rushed into Loest's presence. He received his three hundred thalers, and both parted speechless with amazement.
Loest was lost in wonder at the marvelous way and exactness of time in which the Lord delivered him, while the creditor was astonished thus to find Loest's Mighty Friend had not failed him in his hour of need.
Thus in one short week, from a beginning of less than five thalers, God had so exactly supplied his business needs that he had paid all his obligations of two thousand six hundred thalers, saved him from failure, saved his honor and good name, and now all was peace.
The history of Loest and other providences which helped him in his business, are still further given more at length in a little book, "The Believing Tradesman," from the records of the Religious Tract Society of Berlin.
This sketch illustrates the necessity of looking to God daily for help, and strength, and success, and deliverance in our business occupations as well as the concerns of our soul, and must effectively prove that those who use their business and the means from it to honor the good works of the Lord on earth, will be blessed on earth with the favor of the Lord. It teaches the sublime lesson that money and prosperity are gifts from the Lord, and must be considered as such, acknowledged with thankfulness, and used to please the Giver.
Whenever the Christian learns to love the gift more than the Giver, the Lord takes it often away to remind him of his need of dependence upon Him. But whenever the Christian loves the Giver because of His gifts, and spends his means again to please his Heavenly Father, he becomes the Father's steward, and his lap is filled with bountiful blessings, such as one finds by true experience, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want."
SPURGEON'S PRAYER FOR MONEY.
Charles Spurgeon relates this incident connected with his ministry: "When the college, of which I am President, had been commenced, for a year or so all my means stayed; my purse was dried up, and I had no other means of carrying it on. In this very house, one Sunday evening, I had paid away all I had for the support of my young men for the ministry. There is a dear friend now sitting behind me who knows the truth of what I am saying. I said to him, 'There is nothing left, whatever.' He said, 'You have a good banker, sir.' 'Yes,' I said, 'and I should like to draw upon him now, for I have nothing.' 'Well,' said he, 'how do you know, have you prayed about it?' 'Yes, I have.' 'Well, then leave it with Him; have you opened your letters?' 'No, I do not open my letters on Sundays.' 'Well,' said he, 'open them for once.' I did so, and in the first one I opened there was a banker's letter to this effect: 'Dear Sir, we beg to inform you that a lady, totally unknown to us, has left with us two hundred pounds for you to use in the education of young men.' Such a sum has never come since, and it never came before; and I have no more idea than the dead in their graves how it came then, nor from whom it came, but to me it seemed that it came directly from God."
THE PRAYER OF LATIMER.
The prayers of the martyr, Latimer, were very remarkable for their faith. There were three principal matters for which he prayed:
1. That God would give him grace to stand to his doctrine until death.
2. That God would of His mercy restore His gospel to England once again, repeating and insisting on these words "once again," as though he had seen God before him, and spoken to Him face to face.
3. That God would preserve Elizabeth; with many tears, desiring God to make her a comfort to this comfortless realm of England. All these requests were most fully and graciously answered.
A MOTHER'S PRAYERS ANSWERED.
A Christian evangelist, whose work has been most singularly blessed, related this incident, how once in the days of his folly and sin, while as yet his course of life ran counter to the fondest wishes and prayers of his mother's heart, he one day asked her the strange question, whether she really believed that he ever would be converted to God. And her answer, inexpressibly touching and instructive, as being the answer of assured faith, which could see as yet no signs of the coming of what it so anxiously sought, was,
"Yes, I believe that you will one day be as eminent as a Christian, and an instrument for good, as you have been eminent in sin, and an instrument for evil."
In later years the evangelist looked back with admiration to the faith of his mother, and thanked the Lord for His gracious answer to her prayers.
HOW THE LORD RESCUED HIM.
A wonderful incident is told by Dr. S.I. Prime among his many facts relating to prayer, as published in The Observer and "The Power of Prayer."
"A young man held a good position in a large publishing house in this city. He was about thirty years old, a married man, and happy in all the relations of life. The missionary of the church knew him through years of comfort and prosperity. Years passed away, and there came a dark place in his life. Intemperance, of the most depraved kind, made his career most dreadful. He disappeared, and was not heard from for some time. He separated himself from his family, and from all good.
"He was met in Boston one day by an old friend, after long years, who noticed a marked difference in his appearance. He approached him, grasped him by the hand and said:
"'I am a changed man. I one day got up in the morning, after a night of wakefulness, and thinking over what a wretch I had become, and how wretched I had made my poor wife and children, I resolved to go to the barn, and there all alone, to pray that God would take away utterly forever my accursed thirst for rum, and to pray till I felt answered that my prayer was heard. I went down on my knees, and on them I stayed until I had asked God many times to take away all my appetite for rum and tobacco, and everything else which was displeasing to Him, and make me a new creature in Christ Jesus--a holy, devoted Christian man, for the sake of Him who died for sinners. I told God that I could not be denied; I could not get up from my knees till I was forgiven and the curse was forever removed. I was in earnest in my prayer.
"'I was on my knees two hours, short hours, as they seemed to me; two blessed hours, for I arose from my knees assured that all of the dreadful past was forgiven, and my sins blotted out forever. Oh! I tell you, God hears prayer. God has made me a happy man. I left all my appetite in the old barn. In that old barn, I was born again. Not one twinge of the old appetite has ever been felt since then.'"
JESUS KEEPS ME FROM DRINKING.
A young man arose in the Fulton Street prayer-meeting one day, and detailed his struggles and triumphs with his appetites. He was a perfect drunkard, helpless, poor; his friends' best efforts to reclaim' him were of no avail. The most solemn vows that he had ever taken, still were unable to hold him up. At last he gave himself up for lost. There seemed no hope for him, and in his despair he wandered away to the ocean shore. He met a young man who showed him a good many favors, and to whom he offered a drink from his flask of liquor.
"'No,' said he, 'I never drink intoxicating drink, and I ask the Lord Jesus to help me never to touch it.'
"I looked at him with surprise, and inquired, 'Are you a Christian?'
"'Yes, I trust I am,' he answered.
"'And does Jesus keep you from drinking intoxicating liquor?'
"'He does, and I never wish to touch it.'
"That short answer set me to thinking. In it was revealed a new power. I went home that night and said to myself, as I went, 'How do I know but Christ would keep one from drinking if I would ask him?'
"When I got to my room, I thought over my whole case, and then I knelt down and told Jesus what a poor, miserable wretch I was; how I had struggled against my appetite, and had always been overcome by it. I told Him if he would take the appetite away I would give myself up to Him to be his forever, and I would forever love and serve Him. I told Him that I felt assured that He could help me, and that He would.
"Now I stand here, and I tell you all most solemnly, that Jesus took me at my word. He did take away my appetite then and there, so that, from that sacred moment of casting myself on his help, I have not tasted a drop of liquor, nor desired to taste it. The old appetite is gone.
"The last two weeks have been rich experience of Divine goodness and grace."
MR. MOODY'S FAITH, IN PRAYER. A REMARKABLE ANSWER.
Mr. Moody, on his return from England, while conducting a prayer-meeting in Northfield, Mass., gave this illustration of the power of prayer to subdue the most unlikely cases of sin and unbelief:
"There is not a heart so hard that God cannot touch it. While in Edinburgh, a man was pointed out to me by a friend who said, 'Moody, that man is chairman of the Edinburgh infidel club.' So I went and sat down beside him, and said, 'Well, my friend, I am glad to see you at this meeting. Are you not concerned about your welfare?' He said that he did not believe in a hereafter. I said, 'Well, you just get down on your knees and let me pray for you.'
"'I don't believe in prayer.'
"I tried unsuccessfully to get the man down on his knees, and finally knelt down beside him and prayed for him. Well, he made a good deal of sport over it, and I met him again many times in Edinburgh after that. A year ago last month, while in the north of Scotland, I met the man again. Placing my hand on his shoulder, I asked, 'Hasn't God answered the prayer?'
"He replied, 'There is no God. I am just the same as I always have been. If you believe in a God, and in answer to prayer, do as I told you. Try your hand on me.'
"'Well,' I said, 'God's time will come; there are a great many praying for you; and I have faith to believe you are going to be blessed.'
"Six months ago I was in Liverpool; and there I got a letter from the leading barrister of Edinburgh, telling me that my friend, the infidel, had come to Christ, and that of his club of thirty men seventeen had followed his example.
"How it happened he could not say, but whereas he was once blind, now he could see. God has answered the prayer. 'I didn't know how it was to be answered,' said Mr. Moody, 'but I believed it would be and it was done. What we want to do is to come boldly to God.'"
THE WONDERS OF A SINGLE PRAYER.
The Rev. Dr. Edwin F. Hatfield, of New York City, well known and eminent among the clergymen of the Presbyterian church, is personally acquainted with the following instance of a remarkable case in answer to prayer. From the mother of the daughter he obtained this statement, which has been published by Dr. Patton, of Chicago, in his volume, "On Prayer."
"My daughter was for fourteen months afflicted with hip disease. It was brought on by a fall, and a consequent dislocation, when she was eight years of age.
"Her right side was paralyzed, and she had an abscess. I placed her in a hospital, under the care of good nurses, and the very best medical advice.
"Everything possible was done for her, but all to no avail; she grew worse instead of better, and the doctors directed me, as there was no hope for her, to take her home to die.
"But I did not cease to hope. I did as the doctors directed, but continued to pray the prayer of faith for her recovery for two weeks. One morning, at the end of this period, we were conversing together about the wonderful cures wrought by the Savior, when on earth, and particularly that of the man at the pool of Bethesda.
"In the midst of our conversation, my daughter rose to obtain a drink of water, when she exclaimed, 'Mother, I can walk.' 'Thanks be to God!' said I, 'Come, and let me see you!'
"Her crutches, the only means by which she could move about, before, were now useless. Upon examination, I found that the abscess had entirely disappeared, and that the paralyzed limb was restored whole, like the other.
"She was again dangerously ill, five months afterward. I prayed for her recovery one night, before retiring, and the next morning she arose, perfectly cured."
She is now twenty-one years of age, and during all this intervening time has been free from any trouble of this kind. To-day she is as well as any one, working and running about without the slightest trouble."
THE TAVERN KEEPER OVERCOME.
Rev. Charles G. Finney relates, in his "Spirit of Prayer," of an acquaintance of his whose faith and importunity in prayer and the answer were very remarkable:
"In a town in the northern part of the State of New York, where there was a revival, there was a certain individual, who was a most violent and outrageous opposer. He kept a tavern, and used to delight in swearing at a desperate rate, whenever there were Christians within hearing, on purpose to hurt their feelings. He was so bad, that one man said he believed he should have to sell his place or give it away, and move out of town, for he could not live near a man that swore so.
"This good man of faith and prayer that I have spoken of, was passing through the town and heard the case, and was very much grieved and distressed for the individual. He took him on his praying list. The case weighed on his mind when he was asleep, and when he was awake. He kept thinking about him, and praying for him, for days; and the first we knew of it, this ungodly man came into a meeting, and got up and confessed his sins, and poured out his soul. His barroom immediately became the place where they held prayer-meetings."
VICTORIES OVER BAD HABITS, TOBACCO, OPIUM, ETC.
The Rev. W.H. Boole, a city missionary in New York City, has been witness in his ministries, of many cases of complete deliverance from bad habits, and appetites, solely by believing prayer. Many are contained in a little tract written by him, "The Wonder of Grace." He gives a few of these incidents:
"One is an officer in a church in New York, who had used tobacco for forty years, making during that time many efforts to abandon the practice, but always failing because of the resultant inward growing. But he was brought to an act of specific faith in Jesus, to save him from the appetite, and now, after several years, he testifies, 'From that hour all desire left me, and I have ever since hated, what I once so fondly loved.'"
"Another is of a prominent church member in Brooklyn, N.Y., who had used tobacco for thirty years, and could not endure to be without a cigar in his mouth, and sometimes even rose and smoked in the night; after many failures to overcome the habit, one night when alone, he cast himself on his Savior for just this victory; and from that hour was delivered from the desire as well as from the outward act, and now wonders that he ever loved the filthy practice."
"A certain old lady, who lived near Westbrook, Conn., aged seventy, was a confirmed opium eater, and used daily, an amount sufficient to kill twenty persons. She was led to see that the habit was a sin; and as such, she abandoned it, with specific application to Christ to save her from it. She was heard, and lived for two years afterward, free from any desire for that drug."
"A similar case was that of a carpenter, in Brooklyn, N.Y., who, from taking morphine to allay the pain of a fractured leg, fell into its habitual use, till he almost lived upon it for several years after his recovery. He once swallowed, in the presence of several physicians, a dose which it was calculated would destroy the lives of two hundred ordinary men. Not long since, he was made to look at this as a sin, and tried to break off the habit, abstaining, with an alarming reaction, till five physicians declared that death would ensue, if he did not resume it. This he did for a year; but then on a certain Sunday evening, broke off again, casting himself by faith on Christ, from which moment the desire left him, and has never returned, and he has experienced no reaction or other ill effect, but has greatly improved in health."
MRS. WHITNEY'S CURE IN ANSWER TO PRAYER.
Mrs. C.S. Whitney of Hartford, Conn., a lady well known for her Christian work among the poor, thus gives in a letter to Dr. Patton, her personal testimony of the efficacy of prayer:
"Three years ago, I was healed of a bodily disease. I had been troubled from my birth with canker, and at times suffered greatly. I had consulted some of the best physicians in the land, and had been treated by the most skillful. My case was said to be incurable. When I learned to trust Christ for everything, I applied to Him for healing. My husband joined with me in this prayer for three weeks; but all the time I was growing worse. I then prayed for entire submission. About the first of October, 1872, my stomach, throat and mouth were so cankered, I could scarcely eat anything. One day, I took up the little book entitled, 'Dorothea Trudel;' and while reading, I seemed to hear a voice saying unto me, 'All things are possible unto him that believeth.' 'According to thy faith be it unto thee.' I claimed the faith, and immediately asked God to heal me, and in His own way. While yet on my knees, it seemed very clear to me that I should go to Boston, and ask Doctor Cullis to pray with me. I obeyed that leading, and made preparations to go the day following. Just as I was ready to start for the depot, I realized that I was cured. An entire change was wrought in my system, and my soul was filled with joy and gratitude."
PRESIDENT FINNEY'S PRAYER FOR RAIN.
The following incident of the prayer of President Finney for rain, and its immediate answer, is furnished by Professor Cowles, the intimate friend of President Finney:
"Somewhat more than twenty years ago, the village of Oberlin and its adjacent country along the lake shore, suffered severely through the hot season from a total failure of rain, for nearly three months. Clouds that seemed to promise rain were repelled from the heated dry atmosphere over the land, and attracted by the more moist atmosphere over the lake, to pour out their waters there. On one such occasion, the clouds had gathered dark, low, and heavy over the lakes, and lay there with no particular indication of rising. President Finney walked out with his eye on these clouds. I give the sequel in his own words, as they fell from his lips, less than three months since:
"'In this walk I met Ralph, who turned sharply upon me. 'Mr. Finney, I should like to know what you mean in preaching that God is always wise and always good, when you see him pouring out that great rain upon the lake, where it can do no good, and leaving us to suffer so terribly for the want of that wasted water?'
"'His words cut me to the heart; I turned, and ran home to my closet, fell on my knees, and told the Lord what Ralph had been saying about Him; and besought Him, for the honor of His great name, to confound this caviler, and show forth the glory of His power and the greatness of His love. I pleaded with Him that He had encouraged His people to pray for rain, and that now the time seemed to have come for Him to show His power in this thing, and His faithfulness as a hearer of prayer.
"'Before I rose from my knees, there was a sound of a rushing, mighty wind. I looked out, and lo! the heavens were black; that cloud was rolling up, and soon the rain fell in torrents, two full hours.'
"The writer, (Professor Cowles,) himself remembers how that cloud lay over the lake; how it drove him, also, to his closet; and that soon and signally the prayers of that hour came back to us in mighty rain."
LUTHER'S MIGHTY PRAYER AND PROPHECY.
At one time in the life of Luther, there was a critical moment in the affairs of the Reformation. Bitter persecution prevailed with extraordinary power, and threatened every one. They were the dark days when faith could only cling. There were but few friends to the reformers, and these were of little strength. Their enemies were every where strong, proud, arrogant. But Luther relied on his God, and at this moment, with his favorite hymn in his heart, "A strong fortress is our God," he went to the Lord in prayer, and prayed that omnipotence would come to the help of their weakness. Long he wrestled alone with God in his closet, till like Jacob he prevailed. Then he went into the room, where his family had assembled, with joyous heart and shining face, and raising both hands, and lifting his eyes heavenward, exclaimed, "We have overcome, we have overcome."
This was astonishing, as there was not the slightest of news which had yet been heard to give them hope of relief. But immediately after that, the welcome tidings came that the Emperor, Charles V., had issued his Proclamation of "Religious Toleration in Germany." In Luther's prayer was fulfilled the remarkable promise of Proverbs, 21: I. "The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will."
JOHN KNOX AND HIS PROPHETICAL PRAYER.
"John Knox was famous for his earnest prayers. Queen Mary said that she feared his prayers more than she did all the armies of Europe. One night, in the days of his bitterest persecution, while he and his friends were praying together, Knox spoke out, and declared that deliverance has come. He could not tell how. Immediately the news came that Queen Mary was dead."
MELANCTHON'S LIFE SAVED FROM DEATH IN ANSWER TO LUTHER'S PRAYER.
The most powerful tribute to the efficacy of prayer, was the answer to Luther's prayer which the Lord sent. A messenger was sent to Luther that Melancthon was dying. He found him presenting the usual premonitory symptoms of death. Melancthon roused, looked in the face of Luther, and said, "O Luther, is this you? Why don't you let me depart in peace." "We can't spare you yet, Philip," was the reply, and turning around, he threw himself upon his knees, and wrestled with God for his recovery for upwards of an hour. He went from his knees to the bed, and took his friend by the hand; again he said, "Dear Luther, why don't you let me depart in peace?" "No, no, Philip; we can not spare you yet," was the reply. He then ordered some soup, and when pressed to take it, Melancthon declined, again saying, "Dear Luther, why will you not let me go home and be at rest." "We can not spare you yet, Philip," was the reply. He then added, "Philip, take this soup, or I will excommunicate you." He took the soup, regained his wonted health, and labored for years afterwards in the cause of the Reformation; and when Luther returned home he said to his wife with joy, "God gave me my brother Melancthon back in direct answer to prayer."
In this incident is given this extraordinary statement that while death has really seized a man, who too wished to die, and did not want to live longer on the earth, yet his life was given back to him again in answer to the prayer of faith of another.
THE WONDERFUL POWER OF FAITH AND TRUST IN THE LORD TO DELIVER WHOLLY FROM BAD HABITS.
A victim of licentiousness and sensuousness, who often, amid his sinful pleasures, had the memory of Christian parents before him, felt his was indeed a life of shame. But the downward steps had destroyed his will, his self-control, his manliness, his virtue. He had no power to resist, all was wickedness, irresolution, constant yielding. In vain he hung back, and tried to save himself from the cursed appetite; at last he realized that in a few weeks' time he must go to the grave; strength could not stand such a waste of life. "What a miserable life. What wicked ways, what wicked thoughts; how I wish I was pure; O, that I might get free; I do not love this sin any more, I don't want it, but I can't stop it. O, I wish I could be a Christian, and wholly free."
Such were his constant thoughts. In mercy, the Lord who had been reading his thoughts, sent him a great reverse in business, and in agony of heart, he knew not where to turn but to the Lord, and pray for relief. His prayer, too, asked to be emancipated from his wickedness, and his strength and health restored. "Lord, save me and I will be thine forever. I am lost unless thou wilt come and save."
By gradual degrees, in the absorption of his thoughts over other distresses, his mind was diverted from his usual ways and thoughts of sinful living; gradually the habits of lust grew less and less strong, and finally ceased altogether. But the body still remained under excessive weakness. But faith that the Lord who had saved others, could save him too, led him to pray, not only for the destruction of the habit, but entire recovery from its evil effects. His perseverance was persistent, and met with a triumphant reward. After a long; time, he felt himself wholly healed. New strength, new life, came back to him. "It seems as if my life had been put back again ten years, and I was young again." "I never have any more wicked thoughts or imaginations, while I was once full of them. Since I learned to seek the Lord and love his Bible, I have never had such peace, or purity. I love the name and tender mercies of my God." If in a few months, prayer saved that man's life, and so wholly changed it from a foul blot to a thing of purity, what can it not do again. No sin can ever be conquered until in humility either saint or sinner gets down upon his knees, and implores the love and power of the Lord in never ceasing prayer, to wholly emancipate him from the control of the evil habit. The Lord will surely hear it. He can as truly deliver the body from the most persistent and enchaining habit, as he can wholly convert the mind and heart. The result is not always instantaneous; more often gradual, but always sure if the sufferer always prays.
It is simple enough for the sinning one to believe that the Lord can, and seeking the Bible for the Lord's own promise that he, will; to cling to it and never surrender.
The sin may be repeated when you can not resist it, and do not desire for it, but take all pains to avoid; still pray though you often fail; still try, still trust the Lord to loose your chains and remove your desire, and deliverance is sure to come at last.
RECOVERY FROM PARALYSIS.
"Between two and three years ago, the writer was struck down by paralysis, disabling entirely the limbs of the left side. In this apparently helpless state, I employed a man to take care of me, and felt that unless God should interpose, I must be a continuous burden on my friends. My kind physician gave me no hope of entire recovery.
"In this state I made my prayer to God continually, that he would so far restore my strength as to enable me to take care of myself.
"This prayer he was pleased to answer, for in eight weeks I dismissed my attendant, finding myself able to take care of myself. I now walk more than half a mile each day, and attend to all the associations of home life. I record with thankfulness this restoration of my disabled frame in answer to prayer."
THE STOLEN BONDS RETURNED.
The New York Observer relates a remarkable instance of the return of stolen property, which in its extraordinary way can be accounted for only by the control of a Supreme Will, and all in answer to prayer.
"On February 16, 1877, United States and railroad bonds and mortgages to the amount of $160,000, belonging to Edgar H. Richards, were stolen from the banking house of James G. King's Sons, of this city. No clue whatever to the robbers could be obtained. Several parties were arrested on suspicion, but nothing could be proved, and the mystery remained unsolved.
"Mr. Richards, being a member of one of our most prominent churches, made it a subject of constant prayer, that the Lord would wholly prevent the thieves from any use of the property and cause it to be returned to him. When asked if he was ever incredulous, he said, 'No, I have never lost my faith in recovering this property. I believe in prayer, and I have made it from the first a subject of prayer, and it will be answered.'
"Meanwhile some curious influences must have been at work among the thieves, for they acted in an extraordinary manner as follows:
"One day last week a stranger, well dressed, modest looking, gentlemanly, walked into the office of Elliott F. Shepard, Esq., one of Messrs. King's counsel, and tendered his services for the recovery of the property, asserting he knew nothing about the robbery, nor the thieves, but that he could get the treasure. He was told that a reward would be paid for the capture of the thieves, but he earnestly protested that it was entirely out of his power to obtain any clue to the person or whereabouts of the thief; and no inquiries ever disclosed that this was not a perfectly true statement. Indeed, it proved that he had been selected as an agent to do this work, and that there were at least five or six connecting intermediaries between him and the robbers, each exercising that virtue which is called honor among thieves, and which on this occasion proved a wall of adamant to every attempt to pierce it or break it down.
"True to his word the stranger caused the delivery at Mr. Shepard's office, at the appointed hour to a second, of an ordinary pasteboard bandbox, wrapped in newspaper, by the hands of a little boy. He had come in a pelting rain-storm, and part of the newspaper had become torn, and disclosed the blue, unsuspected hat box. The boy knew nothing about it, except that a gentleman had given him a dime in the street to bring the box.
"Mr. Richards being present, opened the bandbox, examined and checked off the contents with one of Messrs. King's head clerks, and found every single item of his missing securities, stocks, bonds, mortgages, accounts, bank books, wills, everything. A most remarkable thing! The parties could hardly believe their eyes."
MR. MOODY'S ANSWERS TO PRAYERS.
Mr. D.L. Moody, the Evangelist, when a boy, was possessed of an unusual amount of muscular strength and animal spirits, and a strong will that knew little of impossibility or submission. When only six years old, being wistful to do something to help his mother, he was set to drive the cows of a neighboring farmer to and from their mountain pasture. On one occasion, a heavy fence fell upon him from which he could not extricate himself. After trying his utmost and crying as loud as he could for help, but in vain, the thought struck him that God would help him if he asked him. In his own simple language he prayed to his mother's God for help, and made another effort, and succeeded in getting free. This, his first answer to prayer, made a vivid impression on his heart, which gave a decided turn to his opening life.
NO FLOUR IN THE HOUSE--IN THE DAYS OF FAMINE, HIS SOUL SHALL BE SATISFIED.
Mr. Moody's domestic life has always been a happy one, but in the early days of his marriage, he was very poor, and his faith was often put to the severest tests.
One day, on leaving home in his missionary work and labors of love, he remarked to his wife, "I have no money, and the house is without supplies. It looks dark; is it possible that the Lord has had enough of me in this mission work, and is going to send me back again to sell boots and shoes." But he prayed. In a day or two, a Stranger sent him two checks of $50 each--one for himself, and one for his school.
On another occasion his wife informed him that they had no flour for the day's use, and asked him to order some on his way. Having no money in his possession, he was perplexed how to proceed to raise the required amount; but meeting a person in whose spiritual welfare he was concerned, he forgot all about such sublunary considerations as money and flour, and went heart and soul into the Lord's work before him.
On his return home at night, he felt somewhat nervous about his reception on account of his not having sent the flour, but to his joyful surprise, he found that on his arrival the table was spread with a bountiful repast.
It seems that a friend of his was powerfully impressed that morning, and without seeing the family or knowing anything about their need, had packed up a barrel of flour and sent it.
Others of his friends, who were interested in his work, and felt confidence in his work, unknown to him, selected a new house, and furnished it throughout with every facility for convenience and comfort, and when all was completed invited him and his family to it, and made him a present of the loan of his house, and all its contents.
Thus the Great Helper remembered him and answered his daily prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread."
At one of the prayer-meetings at the Brooklyn tabernacle, Mr. Moody closed by narrating an instance of persevering prayer by a Christian wife for an infidel husband. She resolved to pray for him at noon for eighteen months, and at the expiration of that time, her knocking not having been responded to, she exclaimed, "Lord, I will pray for him, every day, and at all hours, as long as life lasts."
That day the Lord heard her knock, and gave her the desire of her heart, in the conversion of her husband. When the Lord saw her faith would not give up, he sent the answer immediately.
NOAH'S PRAYER.--HE DID NOT GET DISCOURAGED.
The life of faith and the necessity of uncompromising hold on the promise's, expecting their fulfillment, is admirably explained in the illustration of Noah's prayer. One day Mr. Moody was much discouraged, and it was as dark a Sabbath as ever he had, and a friend suggested to him to study the life of Noah.
"I got out my Bible, and the thought came over me, 'Here is a man who labored and talked a hundred years, and didn't succeed; didn't get a convert notwithstanding all his efforts, all his prayers, but he didn't get discouraged.'
"But he took God at his word; he worked right on; he prayed right on; and he waited God's time. And, my friends, from that time, I have never been discouraged. Whenever I think of him, it lifts me up out of the darkness into the light. Don't get discouraged."
The lesson of Noah's life is briefly this: He never converted a soul outside of his own family. That was the work God gave him to do, and he prayed and waited and worked, and never gave up, and he was saved and all his family with him.
So every Christian must recognize that his field is not far off, but right around him, in his house, among his friends, working, praying, waiting, but never getting discouraged. The Lord will never fail those who "abide in Him."
SAMUEL HICK'S PRAYER FOR RAIN.
Samuel Hick was one of the men of "mighty faith" in the Lord, and as a preacher among the Methodists of England. He was of great eminence for his happy spirit, remarkable trust, powerful and practical preaching, and unbounded liberality. Among the many incidents connected with his life of faith, we quote a few to illustrate with what simplicity he expected always an answer to his prayer, and was not satisfied until he got it:
In the course of a Summer of excessive drought a few years back, when the grain suffered greatly, and many of the cattle, especially in Lincolnshire, died. Samuel Hick was much affected. He visited Knaresborough, at which place he preached on the Lord's day.
Remaining in the town and neighborhood over the Sabbath, he appeared extremely restless in the house in which he resided, during the whole of Monday. He spoke but little--was full of thought, now praying, now walking about the room, next sitting in a crouching posture--then suddenly starting up and going to the door, turning his eyes toward heaven, as if looking for some celestial phenomenon, when he would return again, groan in spirit, and resume his seat. The family, being impressed with his movements, asked him whether there was anything the matter with him or whether he expected any person, as the occasion of his going to the door so frequently.
"Bless you Bairns," was his reply, "do you not recollect that I was praying for rain last night in the pulpit, and what will the infidel at Knaresborough think if it do not come; if my Lord should fail me, and not stand by me." But it must have time; it can not be here yet; it has to come from the sea. Neither can it be seen at first. The prophet only saw a bit of cloud like a man's hand. By and by it spread along the sky. I am looking for an answer to my prayer, but it must have time.
He continued in the same unsettled state, occasionally going out, and looking with intensity on the pure azure over his head; for a more unclouded sky was rarely ever seen. Contrary to all external signs of rain, and contrary to the expectations of all, except himself, the sky became overcast toward evening, and the clouds dropped the fullness of a shower upon the earth. His very soul seemed to drink in the falling drops. The family grouped around him, like children around their father, while he gave out his favorite hymn, "I'll praise my Maker while I've breath;" "and after singing it with a countenance all a-glow, through the sunshine of heaven upon his soul, he knelt down and prayed. All were overpowered; it was a season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.
His biographer says of him: "Samuel had no weather glass upon which to look except the Bible, in which he was taught to believe, and expect that for which he prayed; nothing on which he could depend but God, and his faith was set in God for rain."
PRAYING FOR THE WIND TO COME.
A remarkable incident, showing how God makes the winds to obey him in obedience to the prayer of his righteous ones, and the expectations of their faith, occurred also in Samuel Hick's life, which is really an astonishing proof of God's supernatural power.
A church gathering was to take place at Micklefleld, and Samuel had promised two loads of corn for their use. The day fixed drew near, but there was no flour in the house, and the wind-mills, in consequence of a long calm, stretched out their arms in vain to catch the rising breezes. In the midst of this death-like quiet, Samuel carried his corn to the mill nearest his own residence, and requested the miller to unfurl his sails. The miller objected, stating that there was "no wind." Samuel, on the other hand, continued to urge his request, saying, "I will go and pray while you spread the cloth." More with a view of gratifying the applicant than of any faith he had, the man stretched his canvas. No sooner had he done this than, to his utter astonishment, a fine breeze sprung up, the fans whirled around, the corn was converted into meal, and Samuel returned with his burden rejoicing, and had everything in readiness for the festival.
In the mean time, a neighbor who had seen the fan in vigorous motion, took also some corn to be ground; but the wind had dropped, and the miller remarked to him, "You must send for Sammy Hick to pray for the wind to blow again."
SNAILS IN THE ARK.
To many who with despondency protest that they have not faith enough, get along so slow, are too weak, &c, the following sharp retort of Hick will prove a bright lining to their dark cloud of failing, and lead them to plod on in prayer.
"To a gentleman laboring under great nervous depression, whom he had visited, and who was moving along the streets as though he was apprehensive that every step would shake his system in pieces, he was rendered singularly useful. They met, and Samuel, having a deeper interest in the soul than the body, asked: 'Well, how are you getting on your way to Heaven.'"
The poor invalid, in a dejected, half desponding tone, replied, "But slowly I fear," intimating that he was creeping along only at a poor pace.
"Why bless you Bairn," returned Samuel, "there were snails in the ark."
The reply was so earnest, so unexpected, and met the dispirited man so immediately on his own ground, that the temptation broke away, and he was out of his depression.
It was a resurrection to his feelings, inferring that if the snail reached the ark and was saved, he too, "faint yet pursuing," might gain admission into heaven.
HE GAVE ALL THE MONEY HE HAD.
At one time he attended a missionary meeting near Harrowgate. "We had a blessed meeting," said Samuel, "I was very happy and gave all the money I had in my pocket." After the meeting was concluded, he mounted his horse to return home. No one had offered to pay his expenses--he had not a farthing in his pocket. Advanced in life--a slow rider, and not a very sprightly horse--in the night--alone--twenty miles from home. Think of the lonesomeness; the time for the tempter to come and lead him to distrust in his Lord. But he struggled; the trial was short and the victory complete, for, said he, "Devil, I never stuck fast yet."
Just as he entered Harewood, a gentleman took his horse by the bridle, asked him where he had been, talked with him long, and to whom Samuel's talk was a wonderful consolation. Said Sammy:
"I have not wanted for any good thing, and could always pray with Job, 'The Lord gave and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.'"
The gentleman asked, "Can you read?"
"Yes," returned Samuel.
"Then," replied the gentleman, holding a piece of paper in his hand, which was rendered visible by the glimmering light of the stars,
"There is a five pound note for you. You love God and his cause, and I believe you will never want."
And Sammy said, "I cried for joy. This was a fair salvation from the Lord. When I got home, I told my wife. She burst into tears, and we praised the Lord together," and he added: "You see, we never give to the Lord but He gives in return."
"THE LORD WILL PROVIDE."
A poor but pious widow in Boston, in her eighty-seventh year, said to a friend, "When I was left a widow with three little children, I was brought into such extremity that they were crying for bread, and I had nothing for them to eat. As I arose on a Sabbath morning, I knew not what to do but to ask my heavenly Father to feed my little ones, and commit myself and them to his care.
"I then went out to the well to get a pail of water, and saw on the ground a six cent piece, which I took up; and learning that it did not belong to any of those who lived in the same house with me, I thought I might take it to feed my famishing children. Though it was a Sabbath morning, I felt that it would be right to go to a baker who lived in the neighborhood, tell him our circumstances, and buy bread with the money Providence had thus cast in my way. The baker not only did this, but the Lord opened his heart to add a bountiful supply; and from that hour to the present, which is nearly fifty years, I have never doubted that God would take care of his children."
ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S FAITH IN PRAYER.
When President Lincoln left his home in Springfield, Ill., February 11, 1861, on his way to Washington, he made the following farewell address to his friends and neighbors: "My friends, no one not in my position can appreciate the sadness I feel at this parting. To this people I owe all I am. Here I have lived more than a quarter of a century; here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. A duty devolves upon me which is perhaps greater than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days of Washington. He would never have succeeded except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid which sustained him, and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support; and I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance, without which I cannot succeed, but with which success is certain. Again, I bid you all an affectionate farewell." That simple but earnest request sent an electric thrill through every Christian heart, and without doubt, in response to it, more prayer was offered for him throughout his administration, than for any one who ever before occupied the Presidential chair.
At a Sabbath-school convention in Massachusetts, a speaker stated that a friend of his, during an interview with Mr. Lincoln, asked him if he loved Jesus. The President buried his face in his handkerchief and wept. He then said, "When I left home to take this chair of state, I requested my countrymen to pray for me. I was not then a Christian. When my son died--the severest trial of my life--I was not a Christian. But when I went to Gettysburg, and looked upon the graves of our dead heroes who had fallen in defense, of their country, I then and there consecrated myself to Christ. I do love Jesus." Rev. Mr. Adams, of Philadelphia, stated in his Thanksgiving sermon that, having an appointment to meet the President at 5 o'clock in the morning, he went a quarter of an hour before the time. While waiting for the hour, he heard a voice in the next room as if in grave conversation, and asked the servant, "Who is talking in the next room?" "It is the President, sir." "Is anybody with him?" "No, sir; he is reading the Bible." "Is that his habit so early in the morning?" "Yes, sir. He spends every morning, from 4 o'clock to 5, in reading the Scriptures and praying."
It was the Lord who Guided the mind of Mr. Lincoln in his extraordinary act of the Emancipation of the Slaves of America. The Lord had prepared it, and chose him as the means whereby to accomplish it.
Were not his Prayers and efforts specially blessed by the Lord in wisdom, for the guidance of our Nation?
EXTRAORDINARY CARE OF THE LORD IN ANSWER TO PRAYER.
"The scenes of the riots in New York, at the time of our civil war, are of national celebrity; but few, however, know that one of the most atrocious acts of cruelty attempted to be perpetrated by the malefactors, and which utterly failed of its purpose, came solely in answer to prayer. On the first day of the mob, however, several thousand men, women and children, armed with clubs and brickbats, suddenly appeared at the door of the Colored Orphan Asylum, and effected an entrance by breaking down the front door with an axe. The building was soon fired in ten or fifteen places, and the work of destruction was accomplished in twenty minutes.
"There were at the time two hundred and twenty-three children in the building with their attendants and teachers. The matron having assembled all the children after the first alarm, one of the teachers thus addressed them: 'Children, do you believe that Almighty God can deliver you from a mob?' The reply was promptly made in the affirmative. 'Then,' said she, 'I wish you now to pray silently to God to protect you from this mob. I believe that he is able and will do it. Pray earnestly to him, and when I give the signal, go in order, without noise, to the dining-room.' At this every head was instantly bowed in prayer, such prayer as is not frequently offered, the silent, earnest supplication of terrified and persecuted little children. When, at the sound of the bell, their heads were raised, the teacher said the tears were streaming, but not a sound, not even a sob, was to be heard. They then quietly went down stairs and through the halls, and she remarked that 'to her dying day she should never forget the scene;' the few moments of eloquent silence, the streaming noiseless tears, the funereal march through the halls, the yells and the horrible sounds which were nearer and nearer approaching. Not one of these helpless innocents was injured in the least; but in spite of the threats and the blood-thirstiness of the rioters, through whom they were obliged to pass, all were removed unmolested to a place of safety."
A REMARKABLE DECISION BY A JURY.
"In one of our northern cities, a trial at law took place between a Christian and an infidel. The latter had sued the former for a heavy sum, falsely alleging his promise to pay it for some stocks which he claimed to have sold him. The Christian admitted AN OFFER of the stock, but protested that so far from promising the sum demanded, he had steadily refused to make any trade whatever with the plaintiff. Each of the parties to the suit had a friend who fully corroborated their assertions. Thus the case went before the jury for decision.
"The charge of the judge was stern and significant. 'It was a grave and most painful task which devolved upon him to instruct the jurors that one of the parties before them must be guilty of deliberate and willful perjury. Their statements were wholly irreconcilable with each other; nay more, were diametrically opposite; and that either were innocently mistaken in their assertions was impossible.
"'Your verdict, gentlemen,' he said in conclusion, 'must decide upon which side this awful and heaven-daring iniquity belongs. The God of truth help you to find the truth, that the innocent suffer not.'
"It was late in the day when the judge's charge was given, and the finding of the jury was to be rendered in the morning. The plaintiff went carelessly from the court arm in arm with the wicked associate whom he had bribed to swear falsely on his behalf. The defendant and his friend walked away together in painful silence. When the Christian reached his home, he told his family of the judge's solemn charge and of the grave responsibility which rested upon the jurors. 'They are to decide which of us has perjured ourselves on this trial,' he said; 'and how terrible a thing for me if they should be mistaken in their judgment. There is so little of any thing tangible for their decision to rest upon, that it seems to me as if a breath might blow it either way. They cannot see our hearts, and I feel as if, only God could enable them to discern the truth. Let us spend the evening in prayer that he may give them a clear vision.'"
The twelve jurymen ate their supper in perplexed silence, and were shut in their room for deliberation and consultation. "I never sat in such a case before," said the foreman. "The plaintiff and defendant have sworn point-blank against each other; and how we are to tell which speaks the truth, I can not see. I should not like to make a mistake in the matter; it would be a sad affair to convict an innocent man of perjury." Again there was silence among them, as if each were weighing the case in his own mind. "For myself I feel as if the truth must be with the defendant; I am constrained to think that he is an honest man. What say you, gentlemen?" Every hand was raised in affirmation of this opinion. They were fully persuaded of its truth, and gave a unanimous verdict accordingly.
Thus the Christian man was rightfully acquitted, and gave thanks to God, with a new and stronger confidence in the power of prayer. "Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me," saith the Lord.
THAT WONDERFUL $25. ANOTHER EVIDENCE OF THE EVER-PRESENT SPIRIT OF GOD.
The following incident is marvelous, as at the time of its occurrence neither party had ever been known to each other:
In New Haven, Conn., lives a little invalid widow, almost helpless, with no one upon whom to rely for support, and only indebted to friendly acquaintances for a temporary home. With no money, no acquaintances, she had nowhere else to turn to but to the Father of all good. She had prayed often, and often had answers, but this time, though needing money, still she received none. The answer was long delayed; she was almost discouraged. "Was God at last to fail and forget her? No, it could not be. Let God be true even if I perish, I shall still cling to Him. I can not give Him up."
Just at that time a business man in New York, who had been absent on a long journey for the Summer and had just returned, happened to pick up a note among many hundred lying on his desk, and noticed that the writer asked for some trifling favor, saying she was poor, had no means.
Her circumstances were unknown: he knew nothing but her name. He was eager to minister to the little ones of the Lord, and felt deeply impressed in prayer that morning, in asking a blessing on his day's labors, that he might be able to help the need of some of "his children" who might then be in want. In his business hours the thought came over him with the depth of emotion, "WHAT CAN I DO? LORD, THY SERVANT IS READY." Just at that moment he picked up this note of the little invalid, who asked the trivial favor, saying it would be such a comfort. (No money whatever was asked for in this note.)
Suddenly the thought came to him, "Perhaps this is my very opportunity. This may be the Lord's little one in need." But there was nothing in the letter to indicate she was a Christian. She solicited no money or pecuniary help.
Immediately there came to his mind, amid floods of tears, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these, my children, ye have done it unto me." Instantly he understood it as a message from the Lord, and the intimation of the Holy Spirit. He immediately sat down and wrote a check for $25, and enclosed it to her, saying, "I know not your need; you have not asked me for help, but I send you something which may be useful. I trust you are a Christian. I shall be happy to learn if it has done good, and made you happy. Give me no thanks. The Lord's blessing is enough for me."
The letter was sent and forgotten, but a strange presentiment came over the mind of the writer. "I am afraid I did not direct that letter right." He sent a second postal card, asking if a letter had been received at her home; if not, to go to her post office and inquire.
Now notice the wonderful singularity of incident. Here is a man sending money, never asked for, to an unknown person, about whom he knew nothing; then misdirecting his letter, and then remembering and sending another message to go and find where the first had gone to. But notice the marvelous result. The little invalid received the postal card, but not the letter. She sent to the post office, and sure enough there was the first letter with its misdirection. She was just in time to save it from being sent to another woman of the same name living in another part of the same city.
She opened her letter, and with tears of thankfulness perused this wonderful reply, a marvelous witness to the power of an overruling Spirit, who had directed everything.
"My heart is full, that God should so answer my simple prayer. I first asked him for $10, then $15, and then for $25. I asked him for $25 several times, and was astonished at my boldness, but the amount was so fixed in my mind, I could not ask for anything else, and then I humbly trusted it to Him, and from that time I thought, I will not name any sum; let it be as He knows my need. And how He has honored my simple faith and trust in these dark days. Your letter contained exactly the $25 I prayed for. I have not had $1.50 to spend this Summer. I have suffered for everything. But through it all I have felt such perfect faith in the Lord, that his hand was leading me, even when I could not see a step before me; and that He should move your heart to help me seems so wonderful, so good. I am so glad I can thank you now, but ah, so much "over there" where words will express so much more in the beautiful atmosphere of heaven. Your letter and kind gift was mailed the very same day that I was praying in great distress and trial. I knew not but that I should be without even a home. My verse was Psalms 50: 15. O, how I had to pray that day. So day by day I was comforted, and now to-day the answer has come."
Here, then, is a portion of the story of a sweet life who trusted God, not as a God of the past, nor far off, but ever living, ever present, ever faithful, and believed Him able, willing, and that He would help her in her daily life. She tried her Lord, to prove if his promises were indeed true, and she clung to them to the very last. No one knew her need. No one knew what she was praying for. The stranger did not know anything of her. She had asked money of no one but the Lord. Hesitant ever, she dared not name any amount of the Lord, but that ever present Spirit of God guided her heart, made her fix the amount, and then touched the heart of the stranger and fixed the amount also in his mind, and then, by his own guidance saved the letter from being lost, and behold! when opened the prayer of the one and the gift of the other was the same.
What a comfort, what a privilege, then, it is for the true-hearted Christian thus to feel, "There is one who careth for us."
WHY HE FAILED.
A prominent business man failed in the Spring of 1877. He had been for years a prominent and consistent member of a Christian church. He had even supported a church once almost entirely. Nothing was known against his character, but he failed; he failed in business. No one knew the reason why, but there it was, failure.
At last, in moments of bitter repentance before God, he unbosomed himself to his pastor, and said, "Long ago I promised to give the Lord one-tenth of all the profits I gained from my business, and while I did so, I was immensely prosperous and successful; never did any one have any such splendid success,--but I forgot my promise, stopped giving, thought that I did not need to spend so much, and I began to invest my means in real estate. When I stopped giving I stopped getting. Now all is gone. I lost my all because I did not keep my promise to the Lord."
This incident is a practical one, telling how utter is the impossibility of true success, without the aid of the Lord, and how absolutely necessary it is to our own peace and comfort of mind to religiously observe one's promises made to God. The Bible only too truly tells of the end of those who forget Him.
"But Jeshurun waxed fat, then he forsook God which made him; and when the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, and said, 'I will hide my face from them.'"
"Ye can not prosper; because ye have forsaken the Lord, He hath also forsaken you." "There shall be desolation; because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength."