It set us a thinking the other day -- Here is something that no one doubted, has proved unreliable; and the thought flashed across our mind: Is there not something like it in the Church of God to-day?
IT IS THE WEAPON OF THE RANK AND FILE THAT IS FAULTY!
It is not the General's brain, or the Officer's weapon that is unworthy, but the private's! Does this apply to us? Is not PRAYER to the Church what the bayonet is to the soldier -- that which the private member has to use? Those who cannot preach or write books, or even teach in the Sunday School, can pray. We ask the question -- Are there as many praying-people in proportion to our numbers as there used to be? What is the testimony to those who attend our prayer-meetings? Is not this the weak place in our army to-day?
The bayonet has won the battle many a time over for England, and if we are weak here, we are weak where we used to be strong. In the war with the Arabs in Egypt, the squares were sometimes broken. Was that the fault of the bayonet? England cannot afford to be weak here; nor can Methodism bear defeat where she has won so many fights. We have many a time
WON THE BATTLE OF THE LORD UPON OUR KNEES,
and if we are to be soft there, we may as well retire from the conflict at once. Many a time, when holding Missions, we have felt that if we could but get the members of society to be often in secret but earnest prayer, we should carry the battle to the gate, and more than once we have felt the tide turn, as we have noticed the people get more and more in an agony of supplication.
Now that the authorities at the War Office have found out the failing, we shall soon have the faulty bayonets cast out and perfect ones provided. We don't want weak-kneed Christians cast out of the church, we want them improved. And this may be done. Let every one of our readers ask the question
AM I AS STRONG IN PRAYER AS EVER I WAS?
If not, why not? Or am I one of those who cannot point to direct answers to pleading prayer, because I never did plead? Is there not a cause? Look at what James has said in his epistle, iv.2-4. Is not this "friendship with the world" the cause of this feebleness in prayer? We want all that we can get in pleasure and self-indulgence, and to see our church become a power also. The two things cannot be. This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting, and if we wish to see England won to Christ we must become reliable in prayer.
We shall be glad to know that what we have said leads to
AN INSPECTION OF ARMS.
Let our Class-leaders ask the question of their members -- Do you pray in secret? Do you wrestle with God? How long is it since you had a direct answer to prayer? This is our weak place. May we soon be strong where we are now weak, that the prophecy may be fulfilled, "HE THAT IS FEEBLE AMONG YOU AT THAT DAY SHALL BE AS DAVID, AND THE HOUSE OF DAVID SHALL BE AS GOD."
A TEACHER OF SIN.
Few men have covered themselves with infamy as did Jeroboam, of whom it is said often he "made Israel to sin." And yet what a chance he had to have led the people, over whom God had made him king, in the path of righteousness? Instead of teaching evil, he might have led his people into the ways of the Lord. Influence is a talent which brings with it enormous responsibility. Perhaps to none is this more applicable than to parents. Let those of us to whom God has given children, use our influence to
TEACH THEM HOLINESS.
We teach them every day by example, if not by precept, and example is the teacher whose lessons are followed easiest. What can be worse for a child than to have a parent who teaches his children to sin? Perhaps at the Day of Judgment, the most terrible sights will be where children will reproach father or mother or both, for shewing them the way to the left hand of God!