"In one of the lovely homes of Massachusetts, while the snow was falling and the winds were howling without, a lady sat on one side of the cheerful fire, knitting a little stocking for her oldest grandson, and her husband, opposite to her, was reading aloud a missionary paper, when the following passage arrested the attention of the lady and fastened itself in her memory.
"'In consequence of failure to obtain my salary when due, I have been so oppressed with care and want, as to make it painfully difficult to perform my duties as a minister. There is very little prospect, seemingly, of improvement in this respect for some time to come. What I say of my own painfully inadequate support, is substantially true of nearly all your missionaries in this State. You, of course, cannot be blamed for this. You are but the almoners of the churches, and can be expected to appropriate only what they furnish. This, however, the Master will charge to somebody as a grievous fault; for it is not His will that his ministers should labor unrequited.'
"This extract was without name or date. It was simply headed 'from a missionary in Northern Indiana.' Scores of readers probably gave it only a passing glance. Not so the lady who sat knitting by the fire and heard her husband read it. The words sank into her mind, and dwelt in her thoughts. The clause, 'This, however, the Master will charge to somebody as a grievous fault,' especially seemed to follow her wherever she went. The case, she said, haunted her. She seemed to be herself that very 'somebody' who was to answer at the bar of God for the curtailed supplies and straitened means of this humble minister.
"Impelled by an unseen, but, as she believes, a divine presence and power, after asking counsel and guidance of the Lord, she took twenty- five dollars which were at her own disposal, and requested her husband to give it to the Rev. Dr. H -- -- -- for the writer of the above communication, if he could devise any way to obtain the writer's address.
"Doctor H -- -- -- is a prompt man, who does not let gold destined to such an end rest in his pocket. Familiar with the various organizations of the benevolent societies, and only too happy to have an agency in supplying the wants of a laborer in Christ's vineyard, he soon started the money on its appointed errand. Early in April, the lady in her rural home had the happiness of receiving the following note, of which we omit nothing, save the names of persons and places:
"'DEAR MADAM. -- I have just received a draft for twenty-five dollars, as a special donation from you. This I do with profound gratitude to you for this unselfish and Christ-like deed, and to Him who put it into your heart to do it. How you, a lady a thousand miles away, could know that I was, and had been for some time, urged by unusual need to pray for succor and worldly support with unwonted fervency, is a matter of more than curious inquiry. It is an answer to my prayer, for the Lord employs the instrumentality of his children to answer prayer, and, when it is necessary, he moves them to it. This is not the first nor second time that I have been laid under special obligation by Christian sympathy and timely aid. May He who said, He that giveth a cup of cold water to a disciple, in the name of a disciple, shall not lose his reward, repay you a thousand-fold for this favor.'
"Does not this little incident illustrate the power of prayer? The man of God, weary and heavy-laden, in his closet in Indiana, spread his case before the Lord. A disciple in Eastern Massachusetts, a thousand miles away from the spot where the prayer was offered, who did not know anything about him or his need, is touched with his wants, and moved to send him immediate aid."
MR. SPURGEON'S COW.
"My grandfather was a very poor minister, and kept a cow, which was a very great help in the support of his children -- he had ten of them; -- and the cow took the "staggers" and died. 'What will you do now?' said my grandmother. 'I cannot tell what we shall do now,' said he, 'but I know what God will do: God will provide for us. We must have milk for the children.'
"The next morning, there came L20 to him. He had never made application to the fund for the relief of ministers; but, on that day, there were L5 left when they had divided the money, and one said, 'There is poor Mr. Spurgeon down in Essex, suppose we send it to him.' The chairman -- a Mr. Morley of his day -- said, 'We had better make it L10, and I'll give L5.' Another L5 was offered by another member, if a like amount could be raised, to make it up to L20; which was done. They knew nothing about my grandfather's cow; but God did, you see; and there was the new cow for him. And those gentlemen in London were not aware of the importance of the service which they had rendered.
"TRUST IN THE LORD."
"A poor woman, after the death of her husband, had no means of support for herself and two little children, except the labor of her own hands; yet she found means out of her deep poverty to give something for the promotion of the cause of her Redeemer, and would never fail to pay, on the very day it became due, her regular subscription to the church of which she was a member. In a hard Winter she had found great difficulty in supplying the pressing needs of her little family; yet the few pence for religious purposes had been regularly put by.
"As one season for the contribution came round, she had only a little corn, a single salt herring, and a five-cent piece remaining of her little store. Yet she did not waver; she ground the corn, prepared her children's supper, and then, with a light heart and cheerful countenance, set out to meeting, where she gave joyfully the five cents, the last she had in the world.
"Returning from the church, she passed the house of a lady to whom, a long time before, she had sold a piece of pork, so long indeed that she had entirely forgotten the circumstance. But, seeing her this morning, the lady called her in, apologized for having been so tardy in the settlement, and then inquired how much it was. Old Sukey did not know, and the lady, determined to be on the safe side, gave her two dollars, besides directing her housekeeper to put up a basket of flour, sugar, coffee, and other luxuries for her use. Poor Sukey returned home with a joyful heart, saying, as she displayed her treasures, "See, my children, the Lord is a good paymaster, giving us 'a hundred-fold even in this present life, and in the world to come life everlasting.'"
EXACTLY EIGHTY DOLLARS. -- "THEY ARE SAFE THAT TRUST IN THEE."
A clergyman somewhat advanced in years recently related to a correspondent of The Messenger an incident in his own life, which well illustrates the provident care of our heavenly Father over his children.
"His first church was at V -- -- , and, though he labored diligently, working with his own hands for his support, he became eighty dollars in debt. It was a grievous burden, and all his efforts to remove it proved unavailing. One day, when he felt especially cast down, he retired to pray over the matter, and on his knees he besought the Lord to aid, as he despaired of help from any other source. He felt strengthened and hopeful when he left his closet, and entered his church on Sabbath morning with a lighter heart than usual. As he passed the door a young lady met him, and placed in his hand fifty dollars, saying that twenty was to go for the Sabbath-school library, and the remaining thirty was for himself. He was so surprised that he scarcely trusted his senses, and asked her not less than three times, that he might not be mistaken. As he preached that day, God seemed 'a very present help.' At the close of the service, a young man, noted for his free-hearted, impulsive character, stepped up and requested that he would perform a marriage ceremony for him the next week. He did so, and received for his services a bill, which he placed in his pocket, and, on looking at it afterwards, found it fifty dollars, thus making up exactly the eighty he had prayed the Lord to send him."
We too often forget that God is as willing to listen to our temporal wants as to our spiritual, and that "no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly."
A PRAYER FOR FOUR DOLLARS.
A Home Missionary from Brooklyn called one day upon an editor to gather some tracts for distribution which he had published. The editor became interested in the story of his visits among the poor, and though at first not specially moved to give money at that time, yet toward the last, putting his hand into his pocket he pulled out all the bills there were there, [USD]4, and gave them to the missionary with these words: "There is something which may come useful." The gift was all forgotten until a few days afterward the missionary returned and said to the editor, "After I left you I received a letter from a poor lady who had been owing money for rent for several months, which she could not possibly pay. That very morning the landlord came and said that if she could only raise [USD]4 he would excuse the rest; but she did not have the [USD]4. I did not know where to get it. I happened to drop in to see you; did not tell you anything of the need, and asked for nothing; yet you gave me the exact [USD]4 to answer that poor woman's prayer."
An infinite Creator and God had brought these circumstances together in this exact way. Neither the editor nor missionary had ever met before. The missionary did not know that the lady was in distress. Who was it that sent the landlord to the lady and fixed that amount of [USD]4 in his mind? Who was it that sent the home missionary to the office of a person he had never seen or known? Who was it that knew of the [USD]4 waiting in that pocket and prompted that hand to take it out and give it away? Who was it that led that missionary to obtain and send relief just as she was praying for that special amount?
Was it chance or science? No, No. It was the will of a loving God.
"AUNT SALLY'S" FAITH.
"'Aunt Sally,' says the American Messenger, was a devout, working, trustful Christian. Her husband was a cripple, almost helpless, an unbeliever, and to some extent an opposer of religion. They lived alone. The severity of a northern winter was upon them, and in spite of her best exertions their stock of fuel was scarcely a day's supply.
"'What can be done?' was the anxious inquiry of the unbelieving husband as they were rising from their bed. 'The Lord will provide,' was 'Aunt Sally's' cheerful reply. 'I know you always say so, and so it has always proved,' was the answer of her unbelieving companion; 'but I see no way in which we can be provided for now.' 'Nor do I,' said 'Aunt Sally.' 'But help will come. God will not desert us.'
"That winter's morning had not passed when their son, who had been a soldier in the Mexican war, entered the door. It had been long since they had heard from him, and they feared he was not alive. The sun went down upon an abundant supply of fuel, cut in the forest by the strong arms of the soldier-boy, and drawn to the door by means of his procuring. The unbelieving husband and father declared he would never be distrustful again.
GOD CARETH FOR YOU.
"Nearly forty years ago I was given up by the doctors for a dying man from consumption. I had a wife and five children dependent on me, and for many months was unable to provide for them by my own labors. All our earthly resources were gone, and one Sabbath morning, when breakfast was over, we were entirely destitute; there was no meal in the barrel nor oil in the cruse. In family worship I read the fortieth chapter of Isaiah. I think up to that time I had never found the word of God so sweet and precious. I had very near access in prayer, and was enabled to lay my burden at the Saviour's feet. I closed with the Lord's Prayer; it seemed made on purpose for me. I think the petition, 'Give us this day our daily bread,' was offered in faith.
"Within an hour there was a rap at the door. When I opened it a young man stood there who had come three miles to bring us bread, sugar, and money. He apologized for coming on the Sabbath morning, but said an aunt of his was at their house the evening before, and felt so anxious about us she could not go away till he promised her he would come and bring us those things."
A PRAYER NOT ANSWERED.
"Many years ago, a man then recently married, settled in my native town. It was then quite new, destitute of religious privileges, and given to all manner of wickedness. There was no Sabbath, and no sanctuary. The man was pious. The thought of bringing up a family in such a place distressed him. He wished to remove; and he used to retire daily to a little grove, and pray that God would send some one to buy his farm. This prayer was not answered. Better things were in store. A neighbor was taken sick. He visited and conversed with him. In the midst of the conversation, one sitting by interrupted him and said, 'Sir, if what you say is true, I am lost.' This gave new interest to the occasion. Prayer was offered, the Spirit was found out, and many were converted. A prayer-meeting was started; other revivals followed; in due time a church was organized, a house of worship built, and a pastor settled, mainly through the instrumentality of that one man; and he trained up his family there, and lived to see most of them members of the church of Christ. Do not despair, God will either answer your exact prayer, or do something better for you; He knows what is for your best good."
TRUST IN THE LORD.
"A pious woman, who was reduced to extreme poverty and deserted by her intemperate husband, was taken sick, and lay several days without physical power to provide food for her two little children. She had directed them where to find the little that was remaining in the house, and they had eaten it all. Still she lay sick, with no means of obtaining more, as night closed upon the hungry household. The children soon forgot their hunger in sleep; but not so the mother. She saw no help for them but in God, and she spent the night-watches in spreading before him their necessities. As the morning approached her confidence in God increased, and that passage from his word rested with peculiar sweetness upon her mind, 'Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.'
"Morning came. The starving children managed by her direction to build them a little fire, and almost before they had commenced telling their mother of their hunger, a stranger came in. She introduced herself as Mrs. J., saying she had known for some time that there was a new family in the neighborhood, and intended to call and make their acquaintance, but had been prevented. During the last night she had been so troubled and disturbed about it, that she thought she would run in early, lest she should again be prevented, and see if there was any way in which she could be of service to them. The mother in bed, with her head bound to mitigate its pain, revealed the story of her sufferings, and the good lady soon learned their entire destitution. They were immediately made comfortable; and all will be glad to know that it was the beginning of better days to that deserted wife and mother."
THE NECESSITY OF ASKING GOD'S BLESSING EVERY DAY, UPON YOUR DAILY WORK. EVERY WORK, HOWEVER GOOD, NEEDS SPECIAL, SPECIFIC, DAILY PRAYER FOR ITS PROSPERITY.
"A colporteur in the Wabash valley became quite discouraged and was almost ready to give up his work, on account of the smallness of his sales. On every side, his ears were filled with complaints of 'hard times;' the wheat crop had partially failed two years in succession -- the California emigration, and railroad and plank-road speculations had almost drained the country of money. Frequently he would be told, that if he could come after harvest they would buy his books, but that it was impossible to do so then. His sales were daily decreasing, and he became more and more disheartened, until one night, after a laborious day's effort, he found that he had only sold twenty-five cents' worth! He felt that he could not go on in this way any longer. He was wasting his strength and time, and the money of the Society. On examination of the state of his heart, he found that it had, gradually and almost unconsciously, grown cold and departed far from Christ. He felt that he had not prayed as he ought to have done, especially he had neglected each morning, and on his approach to each dwelling, to pray that then and there God would guide him, and own and bless his efforts to sell books. He saw that probably here was at least a part of the cause why his sales had become so small. Early the next morning, before any of the family were up, he arose and retired to the adjoining woods, where he had a long and precious season of communion with God. There he anew dedicated himself and his all to the service of Christ. There, as under the eye of the Master, he reviewed the time he had labored as a colporteur, and prayed for forgiveness for the past and grace for the future. There he told the Saviour all about his work, and asked him to go with him that day, preparing the way and enabling him to succeed in the work on which he had entered. The result was what might have been expected. He went forth a new man; his heart was interested more deeply in the truths which he was circulating -- they were more precious than ever to his own soul, and he could recommend his books, as he failed to do when his heart was cold and prayerless. That first day he sold more books than during the whole week before. In one instance, he sold several dollars' worth in a family where, as he was afterwards told by pious men in the neighborhood, the father was most bitterly opposed to everything connected with true religion. God had prepared that man's heart, so that he was ready to purchase quite a library for his family. And in many families that met him that day with the usual salutation, 'no money,' he succeeded in disposing of more than one volume by sale. As he went from family to family, lifting up his heart in prayer to God for success in the particular object of his visit, God heard his prayers and owned his efforts. And so, he assured me, it had been since; whenever he had been prayerful -- prayerful for this particular object, and then had diligently and faithfully done his best, he had invariably succeeded in doing even more than he expected."
PRAYER FOUND THE REMEDY FOR THE DISEASE.
"A correspondent of The Illustrated Christian Weekly, states that a mother of her acquaintance had a child taken alarmingly ill. She sent for the physician. The child was in convulsions. The doctor began at once vigorously to apply the customary remedies -- cold water to the head, warm applications to the feet, chafing of the hands and limbs. All was in vain. The body lost nothing of its dreadful rigidity. Death seemed close at hand, and absolutely inevitable. At length he left the child, and sat down by the window, looking out. He seemed, to the agonized mother, to have abandoned her darling. For herself, she could do nothing but pray; and even her prayer was but an inarticulate and unvoiced cry for help. Suddenly the physician started from his seat. 'Send and see if there be any jimson weed in the yard,' he cried. His order was obeyed; the poisonous weed was found. The remedies were instantly changed. Enough of the seeds of this deadly weed were brought away by the medicine to have killed a man. The physician subsequently said that he thought that in that five minutes every kindred case he had ever known in a quarter century's practice passed before his mind. Among them was the one case which suggested the real, but before hidden, cause of the protracted and dreadful convulsions. And the child was saved.
"Now, is there anything inconsistent or unphilosophical in the belief that, at that critical moment, a loving God, answering the mother's Helpless cry, flashed on the mind of the physician the thought that saved the child? Is it any objection to that faith to say, the age of miracles is past? If the mother, may call in a second physician, to suggest the cause and the cure, may she not call on God? What the doctor can do for a fellow-practitioner, cannot the Great Physician do? Though the doctor had often tried and thought, yet it was not till the last prayer and call on God, brought the remedy to his mind."
PRAYER INSTANTANEOUSLY ANSWERED FOR CONVERSION.
On the evening of the fifty-first daily prayer-meeting in Augusta, Ga., a large gathering assembled in the St. John's M.E. Church, at which Dr. Irvine presided, and some very touching communications were read. One was from a widowed mother, asking thanksgiving for the salvation of her youngest daughter, recently from a boarding-school in New York city, where she had finished her education. Some weeks ago she had sought the prayers of the daily prayer-meeting for the conversion of her precious child, who was spending a few weeks with some friends seventy miles from Augusta. Prayers were offered accordingly, but without intimation of any change. The loving mother sent in a second application or prayer to Dr. Irvine, to be read on a recent Monday morning; all this without her daughter's knowledge. On Tuesday the mother received a letter from her daughter, dated two o'clock on Sabbath, informing her that on that day, and at that hour, she had resolved to give her heart to Christ, intending to ask admission to the church at the next communion. Strange to say, at the very moment when the faithful mother was writing her application for prayers for that child, she was announcing her own conversion.
What a verification of the blessed promise: "Before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear."
HELP FOR THE SHIPWRECKED.
Admiral Sir Thomas Williams, a straight-forward and excellent man, was in command of a ship crossing the Atlantic Ocean. His course brought him in sight of the Island of Ascension, at that time uninhabited, and never visited by any ship, except for the purpose of collecting turtles, which abound on the coast. The island was barely descried on the horizon, and was not to be noticed at all; but as Sir Thomas looked at it, he was seized by an unaccountable desire to steer toward it.
He felt how strange such a wish would appear to his crew, and tried to disregard it; but in vain. His desire became more and more urgent and distressing, and foreseeing that it would soon be more difficult to gratify it, he told his lieutenant to prepare to "put about ship" and steer for Ascension. The officer to whom he spoke ventured to respectfully represent that changing their course would greatly delay them -- that just at that moment the men were going to their dinner -- that at least some delay might be allowed.
But these arguments seemed, to increase Captain Williams' anxiety, and the ship was steered toward the uninteresting little island. All eyes and spy-glasses were now fixed upon it, and soon something was perceived on the shore. "It is white -- it is a flag -- it must be a signal!" And when they neared the shore, it was ascertained that sixteen men, wrecked on the coast many days before, and suffering the extremity of hunger, had set up a signal, though almost without hope of relief. What made the captain steer his ship in the very opposite direction to what he and his crew wanted to go, but the superhuman Spirit of God.
SAMUEL HARRIS'S LAWSUIT, AND HOW THE LORD SETTLED IT FOR HIM.
"When Samuel Harris, of Virginia, began to preach, his soul was so absorbed in the work, that he neglected to attend to the duties of this life. Finding, upon a time, that it was absolutely necessary that he should provide more grain for his family than he had raised upon his own farm, he called upon a man who owed him a debt, and told him he would be glad to receive the money.
"The man replied: 'I have no money by me, and cannot oblige you.'
"Harris said; 'I want the money to purchase wheat for my family; and as you have raised a good crop of wheat, I will take that of you instead of money, at a current price.'
"The man answered: 'I have other uses for my wheat, and cannot let you have it.'
"'How then,' said Harris, 'do you intend to pay me?'
"'I never intend to pay you until you sue me,' replied the debtor, 'and therefore you may begin your suit as soon as you please.'
"Mr. Harris left him, meditating. Said he to himself, 'What shall I do? Must I leave preaching, and attend to a vexatious lawsuit? Perhaps a thousand souls may perish in the meantime, for want of hearing of Jesus! No; I will not. Well, what will you do for yourself? Why, this will I do; I will sue him at the Court of Heaven.' Having resolved what he would do, he turned aside into a wood, and on his knees laid the matter before the Lord. Mr. Harris felt such an evidence of Divine favor, -- he felt, to use his own expressive language, that Jesus would become bondsman for the man, and see that he was paid if he went on preaching. Mr. Harris arose from prayer, resolved to hold the man no longer a debtor, since Jesus had assumed the payment. He therefore wrote a receipt in full of all accounts against the man, and dating it in the woods, where he had prayed, signed it with his own name. Going the next day by the man's house, on his way to meeting, he gave the receipt to a servant, directing him to give it to his master. On his return from meeting, the man hailed him, and demanded what he meant by the receipt he had sent him in the morning.
"Mr. Harris replied: 'I mean just as I wrote.'
"'But you know, sir,' answered the debtor, 'I have never paid you.'
"'True,' said Mr. Harris, 'and I know you said that you never would unless I sued you. But, sir, I sued you at the Court of Heaven, and Jesus entered bail for you, and has agreed to pay me; I have therefore given you a discharge!'
"'But I insist upon it,' said the man; 'matters shall not be left so.'
"'I am well satisfied,' answered Harris. 'Jesus will not fail me. I leave you to settle the account with him at another day. Farewell.'
"This operated so effectually on the man's conscience, that in a few days he came and paid the debt."
A WAGON-LOAD OF FOOD.
"A young minister and his wife were sent on to their first charge in Vermont about the year 1846. On the circuit were few members, and most of these were in poor circumstances. After a few months the minister and his wife found themselves getting short of provisions. Finally their last food had been cooked, and where to look for a new supply was a question which demanded immediate attention.
"The morning meal was eaten, not without anxious feelings; but this young servant of the Most High had laid his all upon the altar, and his wife also possessed much of the spirit of self-sacrifice; and they could not think the Saviour who had said to those he had called and sent out to preach in his name: 'Lo! I am with you always,' would desert them among strangers. After uniting in family prayer he sought a sanctuary in an old barn, and there committed their case to God; -- his wife met her Savior in her closet and poured out her heart before him there.
"That morning a young married farmer, a mile or two away, was going with a number of hands to his mowing-field. But as he afterward told the minister, he was obliged to stop short. He told his hired help to go on, but he must go back -- he must go and carry provisions to the minister's house. He returned to the house, and telling his wife how he felt, asked her help in putting up the things he must carry. He harnessed his horse into his wagon; put up a bushel of potatoes, meat, flour, sugar, butter, etc. He was not a professor of religion. The minister's wife told me there was a good wagon-load. He drove it to the house, and found that his gifts were most thankfully received. This account was received from the minister himself, -- David P. -- , who died in Chelsea, Mass., in Dec.1875, and subsequently from his wife, -- and communicated to a correspondent of 'The Christian.'"
"A lady who lived on the north side of London, set out one day to see a poor sick friend, living in Drury Lane, and took with her a basket provided with tea, butter, and food. The day was fine and clear when she started; but as she drew near Islington a thick fog came on, and somewhat frightened her, as she was deaf, and feared it might be dangerous in the streets if she could not see. Thicker and darker the fog became; they lighted the lamps, and the omnibus went at a walking pace. She might have got into another omnibus and returned; but a strong feeling which she could not explain made her go on. When they reached the Strand they could see nothing. At last the omnibus stopped, and the conductor guided her to the foot-path. As she was groping her way along, the fog cleared up, just at the entrance to Drury Lane, and even the blue sky was seen. She now easily found the narrow court, rang the number 5 bell, and climbed to the fifth story. She knocked at the door, and a little girl opened it.
"'How is grandmother?'
"'Come in, Mrs. A -- -- ,' answered the grandmother. 'How did you get here? We have been in thick darkness all day.'
"The room was exceedingly neat, and the kettle stood boiling on a small clear fire. Everything was in perfect order; on the table stood a little tea-tray ready for use. The sick woman was in bed, and her daughter sat working in a corner of the room.
"'I see you are ready for tea,' said the lady; 'I have brought something more to place upon the table.'
"With clasped hands the woman breathed a few words of thanksgiving first, and then said, 'O, Mrs. A -- -- , you are indeed God's raven, sent by him to bring us food to-day, for we have not tasted any yet. I felt sure he would care for us.'
"'But you have the kettle ready for tea?'
"'Yes, ma'am,' said the daughter; 'mother would have me set it on the fire; and when I said, 'What is the use of doing so? you know we have nothing in the house,' she still would have it, and said, 'My child, God will provide. Thirty years he has already provided for me, through all my pain and helplessness, and he will not leave me to starve at last: he will send us help, though we do not yet see how.' In this expectation mother has been waiting all day, quite sure that some one would come and supply our need. But we did not think of the possibility of your coming from such a distance on such a day. Indeed, it must be God who sent you to us.'
"'The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.'"
HOW THE STOLEN SLEIGH WAS RETURNED BY A THIEF.
The widow of a minister of the Gospel sends to "The Christian" the following instance illustrating God's faithfulness in hearing and answering prayer:
"About the year 1829, my husband, who died January 2d, 1854, lent his sleigh and harness to a man calling himself John Cotton, to go some twenty miles and be gone three days. Cotton was quite a stranger among us, having been in our place but six weeks. During that time he had boarded with my husband's brother, working for him a part of the time, and the rest of the time selling wooden clocks, of which he had bought a number. Three days passed, but he did not return. The fourth went by, and we began to think he had absconded. On inquiry, Mr. P. found that the clocks had been purchased on credit, and all sold for watches or money; that Cotton owed sixty dollars toward his horse, and had borrowed of the brother with whom he boarded, horse-blanket, whip, and mittens. Now it seemed sure that he was a rogue, but what could be done? Pursuit was useless after such a lapse of time.
"My husband felt his loss severely, for we had little property then, and what we had was the product of hard labor. But he was a Christian, and, I believe, always made his business a subject of prayer.
"About three weeks passed away. One evening, having been out longer than usual, he came in, and, with his characteristic calmness, said: 'I shall not worry any more about my sleigh and harness, I think I shall get them again.' 'Why do you think so?' His answer was: 'I have been praying to God to arrest Cotton's conscience, so that he will be obliged to leave them where I can get them, and I believe he will do it.'
"From this time, which was Wednesday evening, he seemed at rest on the subject. The next Tuesday morning, as he stepped into the post-office, a letter was handed him from Littleton, N.H. It was written by the keeper of a public house, and read thus:
"'Mr. P. -- Sir, Mr. John Cotton has left your sleigh and harness here, and you can have them by calling for them.
Yours, etc., J -- N
"He returned home with the letter, and started for L -- -- ; went there the same day, some forty miles; found sleigh and harness safe, with no encumbrance. The landlord informed him that, a few nights before, at twelve o'clock, a man calling himself John Cotton came to his house, calling for horse-baiting and supper; would not stay till morning, but wished to leave the sleigh and harness for Mr. S. -- - P. -- - of Marshfield, Vt. He said he could not write himself; and requested the landlord to write for him, saying he took them on a poor debt for Mr. P., in one of the towns below! He started off at two o'clock at night, on horseback, with an old pair of saddle-bags and a horse blanket, on a saddle with one stirrup and no crupper, on one of the coldest nights of that or any other year. He took the road leading through the Notch in the mountains, left nothing for either of those he owed, and we have never since heard from him."
"NONE OF THE LORD'S CHILDREN LEFT DESOLATE."
"The Christian Era tells of a Dutch preacher who held a meeting one evening in a strange city. While he was preaching, and enforcing upon the hearts of his hearers the doctrine of the Cross, a police officer came into the room and forbade him to go on. He even commanded him to leave the city. As he was a stranger in the place, and the night was dark, he wandered around the city gates. He was not, however, without consolation; for he remembered Him who had said, 'Lo, I am with you always. I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.'
"He had long been in the school of Christ, and had learned to watch for the slightest intimations of His will. While he was thus wandering around, suddenly he saw a light in the distance. 'See,' he said to himself, 'perhaps the Lord has provided me a shelter there,' and, in the simplicity of faith, he directed his steps thither. On arriving, he heard a voice in the house; and, as he drew nearer, he discovered that a man was praying. Joyful, he hoped, that he had found here the home of a brother. He stood still for a moment, and heard these words, poured forth from an earnest heart: 'Lord Jesus, one of thy persecuted servants may, perhaps, be wandering, at this moment, in a strange place of which he knows nothing. O, may he find my home, that he may receive here food and lodging.'
"The preacher, having heard these words, glided into the house, as soon as the speaker said, 'Amen.' Both fell on their knees, and together thanked the Lord, who is a hearer of prayer, and who never leaves nor forsakes His servants."
THE NEW COAT THAT FITTED EXACTLY.
"A few years since, a young preacher in the State of Massachusetts, who was laboring in a field which yielded no great pecuniary returns, had laid aside the sum of fifteen dollars from his scanty income, with which to purchase himself a coat, of which he stood in need. Before he had time to obtain it, there was presented to him a certain charitable object which seemed to demand a portion of his little store. After some consideration as to whether it was his duty to give as much as the ten dollars, which first presented itself to his mind as the proper sum to bestow, he concluded to follow his convictions, and thus assist one who was more needy than himself, and trust in the Lord to provide the coat.
"Within two or three days afterwards, he was visiting at the house of his mother, in another town, and she, as mothers will, noticed that his coat had arrived at that condition which usually affords the preacher of the Gospel evidence that he is shortly to have a new one, and she made some remarks about its worn appearance, saying, 'It seems to me you need a new coat.' 'I know it,' he replied, 'and I shall get me one as soon as I get the means.' She said, 'There is a coat up stairs which your brother had made for him not over two weeks ago, which he never has worn but once, because it was made too small, and he said that you might have it, if you wanted it.'
"The coat was accordingly brought down and tried on, and it fitted exactly. The young man gladly accepted the coat, wondering a little at the wisdom of the Lord in clothing him at the expense of his brother, who was not particularly interested in the Lord's work, and who was so much larger than he was, that nothing short of the wisdom of Providence could have made a coat that was measured for one of them ever to fit the other."
This was the return that God made to him for his sacrifice to the Lord. Never withhold from the Lord.
PRAYING TO STOP THE WIND AND THE SAILING OF A VESSEL.
The late aged and venerable Rev. Dr. Cleaveland, of Boston, relates the following incident:
"In a revival of religion in the church of which he was pastor, he was visited one morning by a member of his church, a widow, whose only son was a sailor. With a voice trembling with emotion, she said, 'Doctor Cleaveland, I have called to entreat you to join me in praying that the wind may change.' He looked at her in silent amazement. 'Yes,' she exclaimed, earnestly, 'my son has gone on board his vessel; they sail to-night, unless the wind changes.' 'Well, madam,' replied the doctor, 'I will pray that your son may be converted on this voyage; but to pray that God would alter the laws of His universe on his account, I fear is presumptuous.' 'Doctor,' she replied, 'my heart tells me differently. God's Spirit is here. Souls are being converted here. You have a meeting this evening, and, if the wind would change, John would stay and go to it; and, I believe, if he went he would be converted. Now, if you cannot join me, I must pray alone, for he must stay.' 'I will pray for his conversion,' said the doctor.
"On his way to the meeting, he glanced at the weather-vane, and, to his surprise, the wind had changed, and it was blowing landward. On entering his crowded vestry, he soon observed John, sitting upon the front seat. The young man seemed to drink in every word, rose to be prayed for, and attended the inquiry meeting. When he sailed from port, the mother's prayers had been answered; he went a Christian. The pastor had learned a lesson he never forgot. The Lord had said, 'O, woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee, even as thou wilt.' God answered that prayer because the mother was seeking to advance His own kingdom. God always hears a prayer that will in any way bring a soul to the Lord."
INSANITY CURED AND SUICIDE PREVENTED.
"Augusta Moore, writes The Christian, of a young lady called home by the illness of her widowed mother, who died before she could reach her. This alone was a terrible shock to the delicate daughter, who, having been reared in luxury, was ill-fitted for firm endurance of calamity. But, when it became known that a relative, in whom she had placed confidence, had managed, in ways that need not be explained, to defraud her out of her inheritance, her mind gave way and she became insane.
"For years, her distressed husband strove in every way to restore her reason, but she seemed rather to become worse, and showed signs of intentions to commit suicide; and her family and friends lived in a wretched state of apprehension. In spite of the most faithful watchfulness, she twice succeeded in securing the means for self-destruction, but something prevented her from accomplishing her design. At last, it occurred to a friend to present this woman's case in the prayer-meeting, to the Lord, and earnest prayer was offered for her restoration.
"No immediate result appeared; but the friends persevered. During the Winter, a revival of religion occurred in the town where she dwelt, and, with much difficulty, the insane woman, who declared that she was utterly and finally forsaken by God, was prevailed upon to attend the meetings. They began immediately to have a good effect upon her. She could sleep better; she grew more cheerful, and, in a short time, her reason returned to her. A happier, or more grateful woman than she now is, no mortal eyes ever beheld, and she affords one more instance of the Lord's willingness to hear and answer fervent prayer."
ANSWERS TO PRAYER.
Dr. Newman Hall, minister of Surrey Chapel, London, gives the following instances of answers to prayer from his own experience:
"The writer's brother, when superintendent of a Sunday School, felt a strong impulse, one Saturday evening, to call on a member of his Bible-class, whom he had never visited before, and to inquire if he was in any need. He found him very ill. Though the mother and sister seemed in comfortable circumstances, he felt constrained to inquire if he could aid them in any way. They burst into tears, and said that the young man had been asking for food which they had no power to supply, and that, on Monday, some of their goods were to be taken in default of the payment of rates. When he knocked at the door they were on their knees in prayer for help to be sent them. By the aid of a few friends, the difficulty was at once met -- but the timely succor was felt to be the divine response to prayer.
"With that brother, the writer was once climbing the Cima di Jazzi, one of the mountains in the chain of Monte Rosa. When nearly at the top, they entered a dense fog. Presently, the guides faced right about, and grounded their axes on the frozen snow-slope. The brother -- seeing the slope still beyond, and not knowing it was merely the cornice, overhanging a precipice of several thousand feet -- rushed onward. The writer will never forget their cry of agonized warning. His brother stood a moment on the very summit, and then, the snow yielding, began to fall through. One of the guides, at great risk, rushed after him and seized him by the coat. This tore away, leaving only three inches of cloth, by which he was dragged back. It seemed impossible to be nearer death, and yet escape. On his return home, an invalid member of his congregation told him that she had been much in prayer for his safety, and mentioned a special time when she particularly was earnest, as if imploring deliverance from some great peril. The times corresponded! Was not that prayer instrumental in preserving that life?"
BISHOP SIMPSON'S RECOVERY.
Bishop Bowman gives the following instance from his own experience:
"In the Fall of 1858, whilst visiting Indiana, I was at an annual conference where Bishop Janes presided. We received a telegram that Bishop Simpson was dying. Said Bishop Janes, 'Let us spend a few moment's in earnest prayer for the recovery of Bishop Simpson.' We kneeled to pray. William Taylor, the great California street preacher, was called to pray, and such a prayer I never heard since. The impression seized upon me irresistibly, Bishop Simpson will not die. I rose from my knees perfectly quiet. Said I, 'Bishop Simpson will not die.' 'Why do you think so?' Because I have had an irresistible impression made upon my mind during this prayer.' Another said, 'I have the same impression.' We passed it along from bench to bench, until we found that a very large proportion of the conference had the same impression. I made a minute of the time of day, and when I next saw Simpson, he was attending to his daily labor. I inquired of the Bishop, 'How did you recover from your sickness?' He replied, 'I cannot tell.' 'What did your physician say?' 'He said it was a miracle.' I then said to the Bishop, 'Give me the time and circumstances under which the change occurred.' He fixed upon the day, and the very hour, making allowance for the distance -- a thousand miles away -- that the preachers were engaged in prayer at this conference. The physician left his room and said to his wife, 'It is useless to do anything further; the Bishop must die.' In about an hour, he returned and started back, inquiring, 'What have you done?' 'Nothing,' was the reply. 'He is recovering rapidly,' said the physician; 'a change has occurred in the disease within the last hour beyond anything I have ever seen; the crisis is past, and the Bishop will recover.' And he did."
The doctor was puzzled; it was beyond all the course and probabilities of nature and the laws of science. What was it that made those ministers so sure -- what was it that made the patient recover, at the exact hour that they prayed? There is only one answer, "The ever living Power of a Superior Spirit which rules the world."
THE SEVEN LETTERS.
The following incident is given by "The Presbyterian," on the authority of a private letter from Paris:
"At a Bible reunion, held at the house of an English Congregationalist minister, where several colporteurs, teachers and others meet for devotional reading and conversation, a brief anecdote was related by a clergyman living in La Force, who established there an institution for epileptics, where he has now three hundred, supported entirely on the principle of faith, like Muller's orphanage.
"At one time, he found himself in debt to the amount of five hundred pounds. After a sleepless, anxious night, he found, on his table, seven letters. Opening five, he found them to be all applications, some of them most painful in their details, for the admission of new inmates. His excited mind could not bear it. Without opening the other two letters he threw them to his wife. 'Put them into the fire,' he said, and turned to seek relief in the open air. 'John,' said a sweet voice, 'this won't do. Come back.' So he did, taking up the sixth letter, which proved to be from a stranger, enclosing a check for three hundred pounds. The other envelope gave him just what was needed, just that and no more. He thanked God, and took courage. Will he ever again hear the sweet, sad voice, 'Wherefore didst thou doubt?'"
THE LORD DID NOT FORGET THE POTATOES.
"A correspondent of Arthur's Magazine tells of a poor woman who had been washing for us, who said: 'Seems as if the Lord took very direct ways to reach people's feelings sometimes. Now, I was astonished once in my life. I lived away out West, on the prairie, I and my four children, and I couldn't get much work to do, and our little stock of provisions kept getting lower and lower. One night, we sat hovering over our fire, and I was gloomy enough. There was about a pint of corn-meal in the house, and that was all. I said, 'Well, children, may be the Lord will provide something.' 'I do hope it will be a good mess of potatoes,' said cheery little Nell; 'seems to me I never was so hungry for taters before.' After they were all asleep, I lay there tossing over my hard bed, and wondering what I would do next. All at once, the sweetest peace and rest came over me, and I sank into such a good sleep. Next morning, I was planning that I would make the tinfull of meal into mush, and fry it in a greasy frying-pan, in which our last meat had been fried. As I opened the door to go down to the brook to wash, I saw something new. There, on the bench, beside the door, stood two wooden pails and a sack. One pail was full of meat, the other full of potatoes, and the sack filled with flour. I brought my hands together in my joy, and just hurrahed for the children to come. Little dears! They didn't think of trousers and frocks then, but came out all of a flutter, like a flock of quails. Their joy was supreme. They knew the Lord had sent some, of his angels with the sack and pails. Oh, it was such a precious gift! I washed the empty pails, and put the empty sack in one of them, and, at night, I stood them on the bench where I had found them, and, the next morning, they were gone. I tried and tried to find out who had befriended us, but I never could. The Lord never seemed so far off after that time,' said the poor woman, looking down with tearful eyes."
THE PRAYER IN THE WOODS.
A friend relates the following incident, as received from the lips of a poor afflicted, crippled orphan boy, whose own experience is a practical illustration of the words: "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." Ps. xxvii 10.
"Out of many instances of answered prayer I will tell the following one: In August, 1874, I wished to go to Lowell, a distance of some thirty miles, or more. I had no money, and did not know how to get there. I asked the station-agent and the conductor, but each refused, saying it would not be consistent with their duty. Knowing of no human help, I left the depot and went into the woods, some ways from the station, where I could be alone, and tell that Friend who is able to provide, and who is rich unto all that call upon Him. I knelt down beside the stump of a tree and prayed, and told the Lord all about it, and asked Him either to give me money, or provide some way that I could go where I desired. I felt that the Lord heard and answered me, and filled my soul with praise and joy. The language of my heart was, 'Bless the Lord.'
"As I turned and was going out of the woods, I heard a voice saying, 'Halloo.' As I had seen no one, and knew not that any human being was near, I was surprised at this greeting. 'Halloo!' said the stranger,' I never heard such a prayer in my life. Why did you go and pray?' I told him that I felt heavy, burdened, and I took the burden to the Lord. He said, 'I heard you pray -- you want money, do you? The Lord has opened the way; here is five dollars. It is the best way to go to the Lord, and trust Him to open the way. Go and use the money.' I thanked him, and I thanked the Lord, and went oh my way rejoicing in Him whose promise is,' My God shall supply all your needs,' and who himself had heard and answered my request."
THE LORD CAN DO IT.
"In one of the mountainous towns -- says The Christian -- in the north- western part of Connecticut, there lived, some time since, an aged couple who had seen some eighty years of earthly pilgrimage, and who, in their declining days, enjoyed the care of a son and daughter, who resided with them at their home.
"In process of time, the son became sick, and drew nigh the gates of death. The doctor pronounced him incurable, saying that one lung was consumed, and that he could live but a short time.
"The fear of her brother's death, and the thoughts of being left alone to bear the responsibility of the aged parents' care, burdened the sister's heart exceedingly, and led her to cry mightily to the Lord, to interpose for his recovery, and spare him still to them; and her importunate supplications ascended to God, until the answer came to her heart as a sacred whisper, -- 'I have heard thy cry, and have come down to deliver thee.'
"Comforted by this sweet assurance, she rejoiced exceedingly, knowing that what our Heavenly Father promises he is abundantly able to perform, and that He will fulfill his word, though heaven and earth shall pass away. But her faith was destined to be tried, and, on the very day after she had obtained the assurance of her brother's recovery, in came some one, saying, 'The doctor says S -- -- can live but a little time.' For an instant, these words were like a dagger to the sister's heart, but she still held fast her confidence, and replied: 'If men can't cure him, the Lord can.'
"From that very moment, the brother began to amend. On the next day, when the physician came, he looked at him, commenced examining his symptoms, and exclaimed in astonishment: 'What have you been doing? You are evidently better, and I don't know but you will get up, after all.'
"His recovery was so rapid, that in two weeks' time he was out about his customary duties on the farm; and that in weather so damp and foggy that it would have kept some stronger men in-doors. But he was well; the prayer of faith was answered, and it had saved the sick."
ANSWER TO PRAYER IN ALL THE LITTLE TEMPORAL ANXIETIES OF LIFE
The question having been asked, "Does God answer Prayer, in even all the little anxieties and cares of daily life." The Illustrated Christian Weekly, called in 1876, for testimonies of the surety of God in fulfilling his promise, and giving answer in little things as well as great things. Many, even good Christians have believed that they should not pray for anything for themselves, but only for those things which were to be used for God's work. The following instances show that those who are devoted to God's good work and helping in his service can ask for anything needed for their personal comfort, and expect the Lord to grant them. In truth the Lord has commanded all his disciples, "Ask and receive, that your joy may be full." "Anything that ye shall ask in my name, I will do it."
BREAD TO THE HUNGRY.
"God was pleased to deprive me totally of my hearing in early boyhood. By the late war I lost all of my earthly possessions. I have a wife and family totally dependent on me for a support. A man employed to attend to my little manufacturing business as manager, by imprudent management, deprived me of every earthly dependence for a support. I had no refuge but God. This feeling was intense beyond expression -- God was my only hope. I laid my case before him. Then this came to me, 'Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.' 'Now,' I said, 'I am deeply conscious that I and my wife seek and desire the kingdom of God above all things; God then will give us temporal help.' Then a feeling came over me, a feeling of waiting upon God. It was sweet waiting. I was at rest. I had thought frequently if I could get two hundred dollars I could start my little business again. While thus trusting, and waiting, and praying, a package was handed to me by the express-agent containing [USD]200 from a stranger in a distant county, against whom I held an old note dated 1856; and for many years I had forgotten the note, and would have taken twenty-five cents for it any time. The man was bankrupt, and did not fear the Lord, nor know anything of my situation in life. He was under no legal obligation to pay the note."
"A number of years ago I went West to better my condition.... After a little time I went into business of my own, had but little capital, and my good name to be punctual in paying for what I bought on credit was of great importance to me. I had promised to pay on a certain day a note of about [USD]60. I thought I was sure to get the money, but was disappointed; I went to the Lord for help, not knowing how he could send me the money, but convinced that he was able to do it. At about noon the same day a man inquired for me. I knew him by sight; he had the name of being a hard man, took all the interest he could get, and never put any money out without security. He had not the note, but he asked me if I wanted to hire any money; if so he had sixty dollars he would like to let me have. The man took my note and never did ask for any security.
"At another time, being away from home some 2,000 miles, was at the house of an uncle; same evening I received a letter from my wife that the children were very sick and but little hope of recovery. The letter had been written for over a week. I communicated the contents of the letter to my aunt; went up in my room and prayed the Lord to be their physician. I felt so sure that my prayer would be answered that I could not help singing; when they heard me they thought what a cold-hearted man I must be to sing if the children were dying at home. But from, that day the children did get better, and in a short time were out of danger.
"In my younger years I had a good many ifs, but those are all gone; I know that the Lord has the means at his command to answer all my prayers if I come believing, asking in the name of Christ."
THE HORSE IS HIS.
"The writer was preaching Sundays at a little country church, about 70 miles by rail from the institution where he attended. He went Saturday, returning on Monday. One Saturday the train ran off the track. All day long they worked at the wreck. At last, finding it too late to make connection with the other railroad, he took the down train back to the institution. What should be done? A promise to preach forty miles across the country had been made. There was also an appointment six miles beyond for an afternoon service. It was now night. To drive across the country was the only way open, or stay at home. Two disappointed congregations the result in the latter case. But the roads were heavy from recent rains. 'Twill be so late that none can direct. Friends said, 'Stay; you can't go forty miles across, to you, an unknown country.' But the writer felt it duty to go. Hiring a horse noted for endurance, at nine o'clock at night -- dark, threatening -- he set out. As he headed the horse in the direction of the village -- for he could find none who could tell him the exact road -- he prayed: 'O God, starting out to preach thy word to-morrow, direct the way -- guide this horse.' The night wore on; as cross-roads came, dropping the lines over the dashboard, the same prayer was offered. When the horse chose a road, the driver urged him on. As day began to break, emerging from some wood in an unfrequented road, they entered the village they sought. The sermon that morning was from the text, 'Son, go work to-day in my vineyard.' The largest congregation of the Summer had gathered. It will not do to say that the horse knew the road. Returning in broad daylight the next day, though directed and directed again, we lost the way and went seven miles out of our course. A scientist might laugh at this way of driving, or at asking God to guide in such trivial matters. But we shall still believe that God led the horse and blessed us in our attempt to serve him."
ALL OUR NEEDS.
"About eight years ago, while a Student in college, I became embarrassed for want of funds. Debts began to accumulate. Anticipating money from usual sources, promises had been made to pay at a certain date.
"The time to make these payments approached. The anticipated money did not come. A student in debt is most dependent and hopeless. In great distress, locking the study-door, I sat down to think. First came visions of an auction sale of a few books and scanty furniture; then of notes and protests; finally the promises of God came into mind. I knew he had promised to supply my wants. 'All things whatsoever ye have need of,' came home in great power. I am needy, I have given up business, all, to preach the gospel. I remember as 'twere yesterday the feelings, the struggles, of that hour. With all earnestness I asked for help in my hour of distress. At last I felt confident that the aid needed would come in time, Saturday; this was Monday. I thanked God for the answer -- and being questioned by a needy creditor of that afternoon, assured him that his money would be ready.
"Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday passed -- no sign, but faith said God will not fail. Friday morning -- heart beat fast as I went to the post-office -- it seemed as if through its agency the help would come. Nothing. But it must be here to-day. Returning from the office Friday evening, wondering how God would send deliverance, I saw on my table a long official envelope. A classmate preceding me at the office had brought it. A letter from a gentleman in Wall street whom I have never seen. On Monday, he casually asked of a tea-broker, an acquaintance, if he knew of any one in H -- -- . The broker mentioned, after a little thought, my name.
"The letter contained a request for service of a peculiar sort, connected with some legal matters, contained money and promise of more. Over three times the sum I asked God for was finally given. More than enough for a term's expenses.
"I never mentioned the matter of my need at that time to a human being, nor spoke of the prayer. I have always thanked God for that, and am sure he provides for me in accordance with his promise."
HE HEALETH THE SICK.
"The wife of Deacon W. was sinking rapidly with pneumonia. Friends gave up all hope of her recovery, and even the hopeful physician felt that he was hoping against hope. In his despair the husband bore the case directly to God; he sought the prayers of his minister and of the church; and he asked all Christians to pray that the mother of his little children might be spared. She lingered between life and death for several days, when unexpectedly to many, she began to gain strength, and in due season was about again. This was several years ago, and she has been an active worker in the church and Sunday-school ever since."
A POWERFUL DREAM.
"My father, a minister of the gospel, was prostrated by sickness. A large family of little ones was dependent upon him for support. Funds ran low. One evening my mother remarked that she had broken the last dollar. My father lay awake most of the night, praying to his God for help in this emergency. That same night a man in a parish not many miles distant was much impressed by a dream. He dreamed that a minister who preached in his church not long before, was sick and in want. He knew neither his name nor his place of residence. He arose at the first dawn of day, and going to his own pastor inquired the name and address of the stranger who had recently preached for them. These obtained, he mounted his horse, and knocked at our door just as my mother drew up the window-shades. She answered the knock, when, without a word, a stranger placed an envelope in her hand and immediately rode away. The envelope contained a ten-dollar bill, which we all believed was the Lord's answer to our father's prayer. Afterwards these facts were disclosed by the pastor to him whom the Lord chose to disperse his bounty."
ASK AND YE SHALL RECEIVE.
"In 1874, through Providence, I became sore pressed to provide for myself and family; two of my children had just begun to learn to read. I was desirous to procure for them the 'N. -- -,' (a children's journal,) but I could not see how I was to pay for it and meet other obligations. So I carried it to our Father in heaven, asking if it was best and according to his will my children should get the 'N. -- -.' In about ten days afterward I received a note from a lady friend, with whom I or none of our family had had any communication for weeks, and in that note she advised us that her little daughter, the same age as our second, had sent as a Christmas gift a subscription for the 'N. -- -,' to be sent to our Mary's address. 'If ye abide in me, and my words in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.'"
CASTING ALL YOUR CARE ON HIM.
"Once, soon after the death of my husband and the loss of all his large property, I had a bill of fifty dollars to pay, and was notified two weeks beforehand that not a day's grace would be given. Besides what I was earning by my pen, I had due me, in a neighboring city, just the amount I should need -- the income on my only remaining piece of real estate; and, as my tenant was always prompt, I wrote to him where to send me the money, and gave the subject no farther thought. But, when the time for his response was already past, and I heard nothing from my debts, and but a few days to the time of my own need yet remained, I felt anxious and sought divine direction as to the course I ought to pursue. Rising from my knees, I took up my Bible, and the very first words my eyes rested upon, were these: 'Casting all your care upon Him, for he careth for you.' All anxiety from that hour left me; but I felt impelled to apply to a certain editor for the payment of twenty dollars he owed me, and I felt sure the other thirty would come from somewhere.
"So the days passed until the morning of the day upon which I should be called on for the fifty dollars, and still I had not a single dollar on hand to meet the claim. At ten o'clock my creditor came, but half an hour before him the postman had put into my hand a letter containing a check for fifty dollars, the exact amount I needed. It had come from the editor to whom I had applied for twenty dollars, and lo! he had sent me fifty. The thirty advanced he said I could give him credit for on my next MS. He did not know my need, but God did, and thus He had answered my prayer."
IN EVERYTHING MAKE KNOWN YOUR WANTS.
"Six years ago, on the low country of South Carolina, a friend asked me to go with him to a camp-meeting. I was delighted with the idea, for, in my estimation, a good camp-meeting comes nearer heaven than any other place on earth.
"Just three days before we were to go, an unexpected circumstance connected with his business, made it impossible for him to leave. It was with real heartfelt sorrow I heard of it. The day before we were to have started, as I saw another member of the family, who was going with a friend, packing her trunk, it seemed to me I could not bear it. I carried my trouble to my dear heavenly Father, begging him to send me a way to go.
"I rose from my knees with the sweet assurance in my heart my prayer was heard -- packed my trunk and waited patiently. When night came and the men came home, in the place of the expected buggy came a small spring-wagon, and a seat for me. What may seem more remarkable, the change between buggy and spring-wagon was made ten miles away, while I was praying.
"I believe I enjoyed the meeting more for the feeling of thankfulness that pervaded my whole being while there."
THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.
"Nearly five years ago, after a decline of almost two years, I was brought very near to the grave. Medical aid availed nothing. I was fearfully emaciated, and my death was daily expected. A devoted mother and a sister, who had watched over me tenderly during my long illness, were completely exhausted.
"I determined to apply to the Great Physician, as directed in James 5:14. As I united with others in prayer, unconsciously I uttered these words, 'I shall yet praise Thee in the great congregation.' All present felt assured that it was the will of God to restore me to health. Appearances were against me; for some time I could sleep but very little, and there was no perceptible gain. But trusting in the sure promise, the next Sabbath I rode a short distance to church, and, as I thus ventured out little by little, my strength gradually returned. A few months later, my mother, who through disease had been in a state of despair for some years, was enabled again to hope in God's mercy."
SHALL SAVE THE SICK.
"I was desperately ill. My physicians had done all in their power, without success -- and yet I lived! For my father's sake, the hearts of hundreds waited the issue, and prayed for me! For his sake, the bells in the neighborhood were tied -- the criers did not come within sound of the house -- nor was the sound of wheels heard upon the street. There was a death-like stillness without and within.
"The physicians sat with folded hands and wept, because the blow seemed too heavy for my father to bear -- the thought that I was going to die without any assurance that I trusted in my Saviour!
"'It cannot be,' he said, 'I will wrestle with my God until He hears me!' Sunday came. In almost every church a special prayer was offered for my recovery. After morning service, a band of devoted women met, and offered fervent prayers that God would spare my life. Evening came -- the weary doctors went home, leaving the last sacred moments to my parents. Early next morning they came again, and exclaimed, as they entered the room, 'She is better! Prayer has saved her!' I still live, 'a spared monument of God's mercy.'"
ALL-SUFFICIENT FOR ALL NEED.
"I am a mother of seven children. By the help of our Father in heaven, we have all of us gone regularly to church and Sunday-school. We are poor; and at length the time came we were not clothed so we could comfortably go to church. I earnestly asked our Father to show me, within a week, which was right for us to do: to go in debt for clothes, or stay at home. Within that week, I received a large package of ready-made clothing. The clothing came from a source I never thought of receiving anything from."
A VERY PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE.
"At one time, during a season of adversity, there was urgent occasion for a certain sum beyond the income of the family, and there was no way of borrowing it. I took the matter to the Lord in prayer, asking Him, if the money were really needed, as it appeared to be, to send it, and, if it were not, to remove the distressing circumstances. The answer came in a sum five times the amount asked for, and in a manner totally unexpected."
* * * * *
"At another time, the mother of the family was very ill, and, when apparently near death, the physicians had ordered a remedy which was to be constantly employed, as her life, so far as they could judge, depended on its use. One night, her symptoms became so alarming as to compel the writer (who had charge of the nursing) to use this remedy more freely than ever, and, about midnight the supply was exhausted. There was no possibility of obtaining any more before morning, and the rest of that night, while attending to the other directions of the doctors, I spent in one earnest, agonizing prayer that God would so overrule natural causes that death would not occur in consequence of what I felt to be my own culpable carelessness in not having provided a larger quantity of an article so necessary. In His great mercy, He granted the prayer, the dangerous symptoms did not increase during the seven or eight hours that intervened before the remedy could be procured. One proof that it was a special mercy, is found in the fact that there was no other such standing still of the disease, either before this or afterward. And the doctors were astonished when they saw that the disease had made no progress, under conditions that rendered that progress inevitable in the usual law of cause and effect. And when, on her final recovery, Doctor Parker told her that she owed her life to the good care I had taken of her, my thoughts went back to the long hours of that night of anguish, and I said, 'It was the Lord that took care of her.' 'I meant your care, under Providence,' was the reply."
HE SHALL DIRECT THY PATHS
"I am a teacher by profession, and, a few years ago, I found myself placed in a school whose every surrounding was utterly repugnant to my tastes, and to all my ideas of right and wrong and what good teaching should be. At first, I kept hoping that things would grow better, and that I should, at least, be able to have some influence on the modes of teaching; but I soon found that everything connected with the establishment was directed by the iron will of an unscrupulous and tyrannical woman, whose laws were as irrevocable as those of the Medes and Persians. I at once decided I could not stay there long, but I had no other position in view, and it was not easy to secure one in the middle of the term. As usual, I made it a subject of prayer, and the result was that, in a short time, I was most unexpectedly, and without the least solicitation on my part, offered a much better position, in every respect, which, of course, I was only too thankful to accept. That is only one instance, out of thousands I could name, where God has heard and answered my prayers, and I believe He will do so to the end."
HOW THE LORD IS CONSTANTLY CARING FOR HIS TRUSTING POOR.
A city missionary recently found, in this city on the streets, a refined Englishwoman with her children, who had been turned out of her home for non-payment of rent. With the aid of a few friends he installed her in a new domicile, and procured work for her. From time to time he visited her, and rejoiced with her that God had sent him to her in the hour of extremity. At length, pressure of business kept him away for some time, until, one evening, he started out to look up a few dollars owing him, in order to procure some delicacies for a sick wife. One dollar was all he could procure, and with that in his pocket he was returning homeward, when he became so impressed with the idea that he should visit the Englishwoman that he turned aside and did so. He found her in tears, and asking the cause, heard the sorrowful tale of no work, no food in the house for to-morrow, which was Sunday. He was in doubt whether to give her the dollar and suffer his sick wife to go without something palatable, but in a moment, "Blessed is he that considereth the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble," presented itself to his mind, and -- the dollar dried the widow's tears.
Upon reaching his home he found a lady had called on his wife and brought with her three or four kinds of jellies, fruit, home-made biscuit, various relishing things; three times more than the dollar would have purchased.
The same gentleman, while calling on a poor family one day, discovered a little house in the rear, which he visited, finding a neat, cleanly room, occupied by an old lady, crippled with rheumatism. He found she had no one in the world but a sister, a monthly nurse, to care for her. When first setting out on his tour that morning, the missionary had fifty cents given him by a gentleman, who expressed the hope that "it might do some good during the day." Although a number of visits had been made, he had not felt called upon to bestow it until then, nor could he tell why he should want to put it in the old lady's hand at parting, but he did so.
She was too much overcome by her emotions to speak, but she took his hand and led him to a little table, on which lay a Bible, opened at the passage, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give it you." She said, "Please tell me if any one sent you here?" "No." "Did you ever hear that I lived here?" "I did not." "Then the Lord sent you in answer to my prayer this morning. For the first time in my life, I am without food. My sister was to have come home yesterday, but has not. I was just asking the Lord to provide for me when you knocked at the door."
Such scenes as these amply repay our missionaries for all the toils and weariness, all the anxieties and perplexities of the work.
A PRAYER FOR BREAD.
"Washington Allston, who stood at the head of American artists a half century ago, was, at one time, so reduced by poverty, that he locked his studio, in London, one day, threw himself on his knees and prayed for a loaf of bread for himself and wife. While thus engaged, a knock was heard at the door, which the artist hastened to open. A stranger inquired for Mr. Allston, and was anxious to know who was the fortunate purchaser of the painting of the 'Angel Uriel,' which had won the prize at the exhibition of the Royal Academy. He was told that it was not sold. 'Where is it to be found?' 'In this very room,' said Allston, producing a painting from a corner and wiping off the dust. 'It is for sale, but its value has not been adequately appreciated, and I would not part with it.' 'What is its price?' 'I have done affixing any nominal sum. I have always so far exceeded any offers, I leave it to you to name the price.' 'Will four hundred pounds be an adequate recompense?' 'It is more than I ever asked for it.' 'Then the painting is mine,' said the stranger, who introduced himself as the Marquis of Stafford, and, from that time, became one of Mr. Allston's warmest friends and patrons."
THE DAUGHTER'S PRAYER.
The late Doctor Krummacher, chaplain to the king of Prussia, in referring to faith and prayer, writes as follows:
"A little incident occurs to me which I can hardly withhold, on account of its simplicity and beauty. The mother of a little girl, only four years of age, had been, for some time, most dangerously ill. The physician had given her up. When the little girl heard this, she went into an adjoining room, knelt down, and said: 'Dear Lord Jesus, O make my mother well again.'
"After she had thus prayed, she said, as though in God's name, with as deep a voice as she could: 'Yes, my dear child, I will do it gladly!' This was the little girl's amen. She rose up, joyfully ran to her mother's bed, and said: 'Mother, you will get well!'
"And she recovered, and is in health to this day. Is it, then, always permitted for me to pray thus unconditionally respecting temporal concerns? No; thou must not venture to do so, if, whilst you ask, you doubt. But shouldst thou ever be inclined by God's Spirit to pray thus, without doubt or scruple, in a filial temper, and with simplicity of heart, resting on the true foundation, and in genuine faith, then pray thus by all means! None dare censure thee; God will accept thee."
THE LORD WILL PROVIDE.
"A city missionary, one Saturday night, was going home with a basket of provisions on his arm. Meeting a policeman, he asked him if there had any families moved in the bounds of his beat during the week. He answered, 'Yes,' and, pointing to a building up an alley, said, 'a woman and some children are living there now.'
"The missionary went to the house, rapped at the door, and was admitted. The woman was sitting by a small light, sewing. In the corner of the room, were two little girls, apparently from nine to twelve years of age, playing.
"The missionary said, 'Madam, I am here to see if you will allow your girls to attend Sunday-school to-morrow morning.' 'I would, sir; but what you see on them is all the clothing they have, and you would not wish them to go as they are now.' 'The Lord will provide, madam. Have you no money?' 'Not yet, but I have committed my case into the hands of the Lord.' 'Have you anything to eat?' 'Nothing, sir!' 'What will you do for breakfast?' 'O, sir, I once had a husband; he provided when he could. These children had a father; he supplied their wants; but he is dead now. Yet my Maker, even God, is my husband, and He has promised to be a father to the fatherless. We have committed all to Him, have called upon Him in this our day of trouble. I am trusting in God to take care of a poor widow and her children in a strange place, and I know He will provide.' 'Thank God for such faith,' said the missionary; and, handing her the basket, said 'here is your breakfast, and you shall have the clothing for your children.' With tears streaming down her face, she replied: 'Oh, thank God for his faithfulness! He heareth and answereth prayer. May He bless you!' And, said our dear brother to us, 'I felt the promise was sure, for she was blessed in receiving, I was more so in giving.'"
A PRAYER FOR A LOAD OF WOOD.
Here is an illustration of the way in which God sends relief in trouble. The story is told by the Christian woman to whom it happened, in her own language:
"About the month of January, 1863, I was living in Connecticut, alone with two little boys, one of them four years old, and the other about a year and a half old. My husband was away in the service of his country. When the coldest weather came, I was nearly out of wood. I went down into the village, one day, to try and get some, but tried in vain; so many men were away in the army that help was scarce. Very little wood was brought into market, and those living on the main street, got all that came, while those who lived outside the village could get none. I tried to buy a quarter of a cord from two or three merchants, but could not get any. One of them told me he could not get what he wanted for his own family. Another said he wasn't willing to yoke up his team for so small a quantity; but, as I only had a dollar and seventy-five cents, I could not buy any more, and so I was obliged to go home without any. I went back to my little ones, feeling very sad. But while I sat there, almost ready to cry, the words of Abraham came into my mind, 'Jehovah- Jireh, the Lord will provide.' Then I went up to my chamber. There I knelt down and told God of my trouble, and asked him to help me and send the relief that we needed. Then I went to the window and waited, looking down the street, expecting to see the wood coming. After waiting a while, without seeing any come, my faith began to fail. I said to myself, 'The Lord did provide for Abraham, but He won't provide for me.' Our last stick of wood was put in the stove. It was too cold to keep the children in the house without fire. I got the children's clothes out, and thought I would take them to the house of a kind neighbor, where I knew they could stay till we got some wood. But, just as I was going out with the children, in passing by the window, I saw the top of a great load of wood coming up the road towards our little house. Can that be for us? I asked myself. Presently I saw the wagon turn off the road and come up towards our door. Then I was puzzled to know how to pay for it. A dollar and seventy-five cents I knew would only go a little way towards paying for all that wood. The oxen came slowly on, dragging the load to our door. I asked the man if there wasn't same mistake about it. 'No, ma'am,' said he, 'there's no mistake.' 'I did not order it, and I cannot pay for it,' was my reply. 'Never mind, ma'am,' said he, 'a friend ordered it, and it is all paid for.' Then he unhitched the oxen from the wagon, and gave them some hay to eat. When this was done, he asked for a saw and ax, and never stopped till the whole load was cut and split and piled away in the woodshed.
"This was more than I could stand. My feelings overcame me, and I sat down and cried like a child. But these were not bitter tears of sorrow. They were tears of joy and gladness, of gratitude and thankfulness. I felt ashamed of myself for doubting God's word, and I prayed that I might never do so again. What pleasure I had in using that wood! Every stick of it, as I took it up, seemed to have a voice with which to say 'Jehovah-Jireh.' As Abraham stood on the top of Mount Moriah he could say, 'The Lord will provide.' But every day, as I went into our woodshed, I could point to that blessed pile of wood sent from heaven, and say, 'The Lord does provide.'"
A REFRACTORY MAN COMPELLED TO PAY A DEBT.
A refractory man who owed a small debt of about [USD]43, refused to pay it all, but offered to do so if ten dollars was taken off. His creditor, feeling that it was just, declined to abate the amount.
For more than a year the creditor waited, after having no attention paid to his correspondence or, claim by the debtor, who exhibited unmistakable obstinacy and want of courtesy. At last it was put into the hands of a lawyer. The lawyer, too, was fairly provoked at the faithlessness of the debtor in his promises or his attention to the subject; thus matters dragged wearily for months, yet exercised leniency in pressing the claim.
The creditor, whose forbearance had now reached the extremity of endurance, at last was led to take it to the Lord in prayer; saying he would "willingly forgive the whole debt if in anything he was wrong, but if the Lord thought it was right, hoped that his debtor might be compelled to pay the amount he so obstinately withheld."
To the astonishment of all, a letter received from the lawyer four days after, informed him that his debtor had called and paid the claim in full with interest to date. "In doing so, he said he paid it under protest," thus showing he was compelled by something he could not resist to pay it all.
A HURRICANE PASSES AROUND A SHIP.
A Sea Captain relates to the editor of the Christian, a remarkable incident, whereby in one of his voyages his ship was unaccountably held still, and thereby saved from sailing directly into the midst of a terrible hurricane: -- "We sailed from the Kennebec on the first of October, 1876. There had been several severe gales, and some of my friends thought it hardly safe to go, but after considerable prayer I concluded it was right to undertake the voyage. On the 19th of October we were about one hundred and fifty miles west of the Bahamas, and we encountered very disagreeable weather. For five or six days we seemed held by shifting currents, or some unknown power, in about the same place. We would think we had sailed thirty or forty miles, when on taking our observations we would find we were within three or four miles of our position the day before. This circumstance occurring repeatedly proved a trial to my faith, and I said within my heart, 'Lord, why are we so hindered, and kept in this position?' Day after day we were held as if by an unseen force, until at length a change took place, and we went on our way. Reaching our port they inquired, 'Where have you been through the gale?' 'What gale?' we asked. 'We have seen no gale.' We then learned that a terrible hurricane had swept through that region, and that all was desolation. We afterwards learned that this hurricane had swept around us, and had almost formed a circle around the place occupied by us during the storm. A hundred miles in one direction all was wreck and ruin, fifty miles in the opposite direction all was desolation; and while that storm was raging in all its fury, we were held in perfect safety, in quiet waters, and in continual anxiety to change our position and pursue our voyage One day of ordinary sailing would have brought us into the track of the storm, and sent us to the bottom of the sea. We were anxious to sail on, but some unseen power held us where we were, and we escaped."
The Captain was a prayerful man, trusting in his Lord, though his faith was tried, and he thought the Lord was not helping him. Yet the Lord was keeping his promise to him, "The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him, and the Lord shall cover him all the day long."
RECOVERY FROM SPINAL DISEASE.
"Miss M -- -- is the daughter of a respectable farmer, an elder in a Presbyterian church in Western Pennsylvania. When a young girl her spine was injured while nursing her aged and helpless grandmother, and she has been a great sufferer for many years. For eleven years she has not been able to attend church nor to go from home, and for a long time was unable to leave her chamber or her bed. Two years ago she was so ill that hopes of her recovery were abandoned, her mind was thought to be seriously, even hopelessly impaired. Her physician acknowledged that her disease baffled his skill.
"A few months ago, being near her residence and hearing that her health was better, I called on her, and to my surprise, found her able to sew, walk about, and even go down stairs. She informed me that she suffered so intensely from the remedies used for her cure, and constantly grew worse, that she determined to do nothing more; it seemed like fighting against God; she would put herself into His hands to do with her as He pleased. Then it seemed to her that the Saviour came to her and said, 'M -- -- , what aileth thee?' She told Him all her case, and He soothed and comforted her. From that time she began to improve; the paroxysms of pain grew less, and disappeared; her nervousness was relieved, she could sleep, her mind was full of peace. She said, 'I am not cured, and do not expect to be well, but I can bear what I have to suffer, and am willing to depart whenever it is the Lord's will to take me away to himself.'"
PRAYER FOR A PAIR OF BOOTS.
In the Fall of 1858, H -- -- , a student in the Theological Seminary at Princeton, N.J., was in great need of a new pair of boots. His toes were sticking out of his old ones, and he had no money to purchase new ones. All the money he could command was barely enough to pay his fare to his home, where be had promised a dear friend to be present on the approaching communion Sabbath.
H -- -- was a man of great faith, and was accustomed to carry all his wants to God in prayer. To God he carried the present emergency, and earnestly importuned Him, that He would send him a pair of boots, and that He would do it before the approaching Sabbath. He was persuaded that God heard, and would answer his petition, yet his faith was sorely tried. Saturday morning came and still there was no answer; he resolved, however, to go to his home, fully persuaded that God would in good time grant his request. He took the morning train at the Princeton depot, and reached home about eleven o'clock. It was a hard trial for him to go to "Preparatory Lecture" with his boots in the condition they were in; yet at two o'clock he went, still praying that God would send him a new pair of boots. During the service, a merchant in the town took a seat in the same pew with him, and at the close of the service, without a word being spoken on the subject, the merchant, after shaking hands with H -- -- and inquiring of his welfare, asked him if he would do him the favor of going down town to a certain boot and shoe store and select from the stock as good a pair of boots as he could find, and, said the merchant, "have them charged to me." It was, as, H -- -- said to me on his return to the seminary, a direct answer to prayer. Indeed, it might be said of H -- -- that he went through college and seminary on prayer. He laid all his plans before God, pleaded his promises, and never was disappointed.
UNDER GARMENTS IN ANSWER TO PRAYER.
Among the students in the Theological Seminary at Princeton, N.J., in 1860, was my intimate friend L -- -- . He was at the time poorly clad, but was a devoted Christian, and is at present a successful foreign missionary.
One day when on the Seminary campus, I heard two of the students very thoughtlessly criticising the exceeding shabbiness of L -- -- 's wearing apparel, his short pants, old shoes, and socks with no heels in them. At almost every step L -- -- took when playing ball, his bare heels could be seen. That day, after evening prayers, I took L -- -- by the arm, for a walk to "Orthodox point," a tree about a mile distant from the Seminary. During our walk, I gently told him of the criticisms I had heard, and learned more fully than I had ever done of his destitution of wearing apparel, especially of under garments. I offered him a share of mine, or the loan of money, so as to meet his present wants, but this he declined to receive, saying, that he "would take it to the Lord in prayer," and that God would in good time supply all his wants. I, too, bore his case to the throne of grace. The next day after this, on going into his room, he laid before me an empty envelope, and a five dollar bill, and asked me the question, "Did you throw that envelope with that bill in it, through that ventilator?" I assured him that I did not. "Well," said he, "when I came in from recitation a short time ago, I found this envelope on the floor and that five dollar bill in it. It has evidently been thrown in through the ventilator." We both recognized God's hand in the provision made and mentally gave thanks to our Heavenly Father. Soon after this, "a missionary box" was sent to the Seminary, and my friend was therefrom well supplied with under garments. Frequently afterward did he say to me, in substance, "Prayer is the key to God's treasury. Trust in Him and the Lord will provide."
Henry Badgerow was a man about seventy years of age at the time of the incident, and a resident of Steuben county, State of New York. This was in the year about A.D.1830-31. He had been for many years an invalid -- so much so that he couldn't walk -- the result of a horse running away with him. In a forest, isolated from neighbors, the old man resided alone with an aged wife. They were quite poor, and wholly dependent upon the labor of a son who worked away from home for others. This son was at length taken sick with a fever, and unable to minister to his parents' wants. This was in mid-winter, when storms were frequent and the snows deep and lasting. One evening when the storm was at its highest, this old couple found themselves without a particle of food in the house. Matters were desperate with them. They could see but starvation staring them in the face. They resolved upon prayer, having a firm trust in their Heavenly Father, whom for many years they had been humbly serving. They did not retire, but continued in fervent prayer that God would send them food. About two and a half miles distant lived a young married man in comfortable circumstances, by the name of Joseph Clason (the author of the story). He was not at this time a Christian, although it was not long after this he was converted, and has since lived an eminently active and godly life. About 12 o'clock on the night of the snow storm above mentioned, young Clason awoke. His first thoughts were of old Mr. Badgerow and his condition in that storm. His mind became so impressed with the thought of him, and so wrought upon that he could not again go to sleep, although trying so to do. At length he awakened his wife, told her that he was in trouble about Mr. B., for fear he and his wife were starving. She replied that if he would get right up and make a light, she would prepare something, and that he had better take it right down. Young C. did so, taking with him a pail of provisions. After a jaunt through the storm and snow in the dead hour of night, he reached the old man's cabin. There he found a light burning. He knocked; the door was opened by the wife. The old man was fervently praying; but when he saw young C. with the pail of provisions, he held up both hands and said, "Now I know that God heareth prayer. Not one mouthful have we in the house to eat. I know that God sent you here." Young C. staid with the old couple until daylight. The conversation revealed that about midnight the old man perceiving that a storm had arisen, and that unless relief came, which was not likely, they would starve, resolved to appeal to his Heavenly Father, saying that God who sent the ravens to feed Elijah would feed him if he went to him in faith, and now God had heard his prayer, and he blessed God that he could do so in all trouble and trial.
The old man having asked C. how he came to visit them, he replied he didn't know, but supposed God had sent him, as he had awoke and couldn't again sleep on account of thought of him.
The incident made a serious and lasting impression on young C's mind.
In the morning, as C. was returning home, he came by his father's house; his mother, espying his pail, wished to know where he had been. He replied, "To feed the hungry." His father spreading the incident, the neighbors all turned out and brought in enough provision to last them during several weeks, the old man being greatly loved and respected by his community, on account of his sterling Christian life and character.
Mr. Joseph Clason is still living, now seventy-five years of age, in Bazine, Ness county, Kansas.
THAT BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS GIFT. HOW THE LORD USED IT.
A lady and gentleman were walking up Madison avenue, New York City, from church, when incidentally the lady said, "We are trying to get up Christmas decorations and entertainment for our Mission School."
"Well, put my name down for anything you like," and then came into his mind a certain sum to give.
A day passed on, it seemed forgotten; but a note from the lady reminded him of his promise, and he responded, giving the exact sum originally thought of, [USD]25. Notice, now, the most singular disposition of it, which, by the hand of Providence, was made to go on its circuitous way to meet those who needed it most.
The next Sabbath, the lady and gentleman again meeting each other, she said, "Your gift was too large. I cannot take so much from you. I shall give you back part."
"But I won't take it."
"Well, you must. I can't keep it."
It resulted in the lady taking [USD]15 from her muff and forcing it back into the gentleman's hand.
The gentleman felt badly. "I intended this for the Lord, and now it is refused. It is the first time I ever heard that money ever given to a Sunday school was not wanted. I meant the whole for the. Lord. If she don't want it and wont keep it, I will give the rest away. It does not belong to me." Before night he had enclosed it in a letter and sent it out of the city to an invalid as a Christmas present. He had occasion not long after to visit the invalid, and was fairly astonished at the extraordinary circumstances connected with its use; and this is his story, told in his letter to the lady who returned the [USD]15.
"The sequel to the [USD]15 is far more beautiful and wonderful than anything I have ever known. This invalid had been praying for some money for a needed article of dress to protect her from cold. The [USD]15 came the very next morning in answer to her prayer. But it was more than enough. As a consistent Christian, having asked the Lord only for enough to meet but one need, she felt as if the rest belonged to the Lord and must be used for Him. So in wondering how to use it, she thought of a poor woman who needed a new calico dress, and at once bought it and gave it to her. She had but [USD]5 left. A dear friend was in distress; his horse and carriage had been seized for failure to pay the livery bill of their keeping; he could not collect any money of the debts due him, to pay his bill, and had nothing. His wife and children were in New Britain, and here he was, no means to get there. The little Christian invalid sent him her [USD]5, the last money she had, not knowing where her next was to come from, with these words: "The Lord has sent you this," and though he offered to return, or use only part, she said, "No, the Lord meant this for you. You must keep it, I will not take it back." Now see how beautifully all these incidents have been made to work for the good of many, by the managing hand of Providence.
"My original gift of [USD]25 to you was more than enough. You did not need it all for your Sunday-school, and the Lord made you force back the [USD]15 upon me. I could not keep it, because I felt, it belonged to the Lord. So I sent it to the little invalid.
"She, too, had only needed a part, and used only what she asked the Lord for, and then she, in her turn, gave the rest away. The most wonderful part of it is, that the money you gave back to me, and I gave to the Lord, was three-fifths of the amount you received, and the money the little invalid gave away to the Lord was also three-fifths the amount she received. The money which you kept for your use was just two-fifths, and the money that the invalid kept for her own use was just two-fifths also. The very next day after she had given her money away, a lady called and gave her some money, which was precisely the same amount which the poor woman's calico dress had cost, (though she knew nothing of the circumstances), and in return for the [USD]5 which she gave her friend in distress, and refused to take back, the Lord remembered her and gave her a good home.
THE WIDOW'S WOOD AND FLOUR. -- THE UNBELIEVING ONES MADE SPEECHLESS.
The following instance is known to The Christian as true, and to a remarkable degree indicates how thoroughly God knows our minutest needs, and how effectively He makes those who ever reproach his name ashamed of their unbelief.
"A friend and relative of the one who was 'a widow indeed,' one who trusted in God, and continued in supplications and prayers day and night, was once brought into circumstances of peculiar straitness and trial. She had two daughters who exerted themselves with their needles to earn a livelihood; and at that time they were so busily engaged in trying to finish some work that had long been on their hands, they had neglected to make provision for their ordinary wants until they found themselves one Winter's day in the midst of a New England snow storm, with food and fuel almost exhausted, at a distance from neighbors, and without any means of procuring needful sustenance.
"The daughters began to be alarmed, and were full of anxiety at the dismal prospect, but the good old mother said, 'Don't worry, girls, the Lord will provide; we have enough for to-day, and to-morrow may be pleasant,' and in this hope the girls settled down again to their labor.
"Another morning came, and with it no sunshine, but wind and snow in abundance. The storm still raged, but no one came near the house, and all was dark and dismal without.
"Noon came, and the last morsel of food was eaten, the wind was almost gone, and there were no tokens of any relief for their necessities.
"The girls became much distressed, and talked anxiously of their condition, but the good mother said, 'Don't worry, the Lord will provide.'
"But they had heard that story the day before, and they, knew not the strong foundation upon which that mother's trust was builded, and could not share the confidence she felt.
"'If we get anything to-day the Lord will have to bring it himself, for nobody else can get here if they try,' said one of the daughters, impatiently, but the mother said, 'Don't worry.' And so they sat down again to their sewing, the daughters to muse upon their necessitous condition, and the mother to roll her burden on the Everlasting Arms."
Now mark the way in which the Lord came to their rescue, and just at this moment of extremity, put it into the heart of one of his children to go and carry relief. Human Nature at such a time would never have ventured out in such a storm, but waited for a pleasant day. But Divine Wisdom and power made him carry just what was needed, in the face of adverse circumstances, and just at the time it was needed.
"Mr. M. sat at his fireside, about a mile away, surrounded by every bounty and comfort needed to cheer his heart, with his only daughter sitting by his side.
"For a long time not a word had been spoken, and he had seemed lost in silent meditation, till at length he said, 'Mary, I want you to go and order the cattle yoked, and then get me a bag. I must go and carry some wood and flour to sister C.'
"'Why, Father, it is impossible for you to go. There is no track, and it is all of a mile up there. You would almost perish.'
"The old man sat in silence a few moments and said, 'Mary, I must go.' She knew her father too well to suppose that words would detain him, and so complied with his wishes. While she held the bag for him, she felt perhaps a little uneasiness to see the flour so liberally disposed of, and said, 'I wish you would remember that I want to give a poor woman some flour, if it ever clears off.' The old man understood the intimation and said, 'Mary, give all you feel it duty to, and when the Lord says stop, I will do so.'
"Soon all things were ready, and the patient oxen took their way to the widow's home, wallowing through the drifted snow, and dragging the sled with its load of wood and flour. About four o'clock in the afternoon, the mother had arisen from her work to fix the fire, and, looking out of the window, she saw the oxen at the door, and she knew that the Lord had heard her cry.
"She said not a word -- why should she? She was not surprised! -- but, presently, a heavy step at the threshold caused the daughters to look up with astonishment, as Mr. M. strode unceremoniously into the room, saying, 'The Lord told me, Sister C, that you wanted some wood and flour.'
"'He told you the truth,' said the widow, 'and I will praise Him forever.'
"'What think you now girls?' she continued, as she turned in solemn joy to her unbelieving daughters.
"They were speechless; not a word escaped their lips; but they pondered that new revelation of the providential mercy of the Lord, until it made upon their minds an impression never to be effaced.
"From that hour they learned to trust in Him who cares for His needy in the hour of distress, and who, from His boundless stores, supplies the wants of those who trust in Him."
A PAIR OF SHOES. -- THE LORD'S REBUKE TO THOSE WHO "DIDN'T BELIEVE."
The following incident occurred in Connecticut: In an humble cottage two sisters were watching over and caring for a much-loved brother, who, for many long months had been upon a bed of sickness. At length, the younger of them began to be discouraged. She was dependent, for her clothing, upon her labor; her shoes were worn out, and how should she get another pair, unless she could leave the sick bed and go away from home and work and earn some money.
"Well," said the mother, "I know you need a pair of shoes, but don't worry, the Lord will provide."
"Do you think that THE LORD will come down from heaven and buy me a pair of shoes?" said the younger sister, with an expression of discouragement and vexation on her countenance.
"No," said the mother, "but perhaps he will put it into somebody's heart to buy you a pair."
"Perhaps He will, but I don't believe it," said the discouraged girl.
"Well," said the other sister, who was a little more hopeful, "you won't get them any quicker by fretting, so you might as well be quiet." Then the subject dropped and the day passed as usual.
As the shades of evening were gathering, a brother who lived at some distance, and who knew nothing of their previous conversation, called to inquire after their prosperity. After the customary salutations he said, "You have been sick here a long time, and I thought I would come round and see if I could not do something for you; thought perhaps by this time the girls needed something." Then turning to the younger sister, he said, "How is it, aren't your shoes worn out?"
She dropped her eyes, blushed deeply, and, perhaps, a little conscience-smitten, answered not a word. Nothing was said of the previous conversation, though it was not forgotten by those who heard it. The brother soon saw for himself enough to satisfy him, and said no more, but went away. The next day two pairs of shoes were sent around to her, and with them came to her heart a lesson which she never forgot.
She lived many years after that, but was never heard to murmur in that way again, and often said that the two pairs of shoes taught her to wait, hope and trust, and thereby learn implicit confidence in Him who sendeth all blessings. The last time she alluded to the occurrence, she said, "I was speechless then, but, by the grace of God, I will not be in the world to come."
THE LAME HEALED.
Rev. Charles G. Finney, during his life-time, was familiar with the circumstances connected with the remarkable healing of a sick lady in Oberlin, O., the wife of Rev. R.D. Miller, and these facts were vouched for as unquestionably authentic. Mr. Finney says:
"Mrs. Miller is the wife of a Congregational minister, and a lady of unquestionably veracity. However the fact of her healing is to be accounted for, her story is no doubt worthy of entire confidence, as we have known her for years as a lame, suffering invalid, and now see her in our midst in sound health. This instantaneous restoration will be accounted for by different persons in different ways. Mrs. Miller and those who were present regard the healing as supernatural and a direct answer to prayer. The facts must speak for themselves. Why should not the sick be healed in answer to the prayer of faith? Unbelief can discredit them, but faith sees nothing incredible in such facts as are stated by Mrs. Miller. Mrs. Miller's own statement is as follows, and it is fully endorsed by the most reliable citizens and members of the First church at Oberlin:
"From my parents I inherited a constitution subject to a chronic form of rheumatism. In early life I was attacked with rheumatic weaknesses and pains, which affected my whole system. For nearly forty years I was subject to more or less suffering from this cause, sometimes unable to attend meeting for months at a time. For seven years, until the last three months, I have been unable to get about without the aid of crutch or staff, generally both. I have used many liniments and remedies, but with no permanently good result. I have been a Christian from early life, but last Spring, in our revival, I received a spiritual refreshing from the Lord, which gave a new impulse to my faith. Since then my religion has been a new life to me.
"Last Summer, several of us Christian sisters were in the habit of spending short seasons of prayer together, that the Lord would send us a pastor. Some of our number had read the narrative of Dorothea Trudel, and had spoken to me on the subject of healing in answer to prayer. My faith had not then risen to this elevation. I had in fact accepted what I supposed to be the will of God, and made up my mind to be a lame and suffering invalid the rest of my life. I had long since ceased to use remedies for the restoration of my health, and had not even thought of praying in regard to it, for I regarded it as the will of God that I should suffer in silent submission.
"Notwithstanding what had been said to me, I remained in this opinion and in this attitude until the 26th of September, 1872, when several ladies met at our house, by appointment, for a prayer-meeting. I had been growing worse for some time, and was at that time unable to get out to attend a meeting. I was suffering much pain that afternoon; indeed, I was hardly able to be out of my bed. Up to this time none of the sisters who had conversed with me about the subject of healing by faith, had been able to tell me anything from their own experience. That afternoon, one lady was present who could speak to me from her own experience of being healed in answer to the prayer of faith. She related several striking instances in which her prayers had been answered in the removal of divers forms of disease to which she was subject. She also repeated a number of passages of Scripture, which clearly justified the expectation of being healed in answer to the prayer of faith. She also said that Jesus had shown her that he was just as ready to heal diseases now as he was when on earth; that such healing was expressly promised in Scripture, in answer to the prayer of faith, and that it was nowhere taken back. These facts, reasonings, and passages of Scripture, made a deep impression on my mind, and, for the first time, I found myself able to believe that Jesus would heal me in answer to prayer. She asked me if I could join my faith with hers and ask for present healing. I told her I felt that I could. We then knelt, and called upon the Lord. She offered a mighty prayer to God, and I followed. While she was leading in prayer I felt a quickening in my whole being, whereupon my pain subsided, and when we rose from prayer I felt that a great change had come over me, that I was cured. I found that I could walk without my staff or crutch, or any assistance from any one. Since then my pains have never returned; I have more than my youthful vigor; I walk with more ease and rapidity than I ever did in my life, and I never felt so fresh and young as I now do, at the age of fifty-two.
"Now, the hundred and third psalm is my psalm, and my youth is more than renewed, like the eagle's. I cannot express the constant joy of my heart for the wonderful healing of my soul and body. I feel as if I was every whit made whole."
The testimony of eye-witnesses to this healing is as follows:
"We were all present at the time of the healing, and know the facts to be true. We are all Christians, and have no interest in deceiving anybody, and would by no means dishonor God by stating more than the exact truth. Since the healing, Mrs. Miller is still with us, and in excellent health. Neither the severe cold of last Winter, nor the extreme heat of this Summer, has at all injured her health. From our first acquaintance with her, she has been so lame as to be unable to walk, except by the aid of crutches. Since which time she has been able to walk without help, and appears perfectly well."
Her husband, also adding his testimony, says:
"She has been unable to walk without crutches for a series of years. A long time ago, we tried many remedies and physicians, with no lasting good results, and were expecting she would remain an invalid. Of late, she had applied no remedy, nor taken any medicine. At the time of her cure, she was much worse than for a long while before, being in great pain continually, until the moment she fully believed, and, in an instant, she was restored to perfect soundness. From that moment to this she has not felt a particle of her former complaint.
"She can now walk for miles as fast as I wish to, without feeling very much fatigue, does all her own housework, and attends seven meetings during the week. In short, she is stronger, and seems as young and spry, as when we were married, thirty-two years ago. The work of the dear Savior in her cure seems to be perfect, and she is an astonishment to all who knew her before and see her now. To His name be all the praise.
"Another lady, the same week my wife was healed, a member of the First Congregational Church, confined to her bed with a complicated disease, was prayed for, and restored at once to soundness."
THE WONDERFUL CURE OF MRS. SHERMAN.
Although there are so many cases of healing in answer to prayer, yet the incident of the healing of Mrs. Sherman is so minute, and resulted in such a radical change of the physical constitution, that it is necessary to relate it in full detail. It is too well proven to admit the possibility of a doubt.
"Mrs. Ellen Sherman is the wife of Rev. Moses Sherman, and, at the time of this occurrence, in 1873, they were residents of Piermont, N.H. She had been an invalid for many years. In the Winter after she was fifteen, she fell on the ice and hurt her left knee, so that it became weak and easy to slip out of joint. Six years after, she fell again on the same knee, so twisting it and injuring the ligaments that it became partially stiff, and, the physician said, incurable.
"The next Summer, by very fast walking, one day, she brought on special weakness, which no physician was able to cure. From that moment she was subject to severe neuralgia, sick-headaches, at least monthly, and sometimes even weekly.
"In December, 1859, while stepping out of doors, she slipped, by reason of her stiff joint, and fell, striking near the base of the spine, directly across the sharp edge of the stone step. This caused such a sickness that she was obliged to leave the school she was attending.
"Three years after (in January, 1862), she fell at the top of a stairway, striking just as before, and sliding all the way down to the foot. This nearly paralyzed the spinal cord, and caused deep and permanent spinal disease. After this she was up and down for many years, attended by various physicians, yet nothing bettered, but, rather, growing worse. It may be said, for short, that every organ of the lower body became chronically diseased, and that the headaches increased in violence.
"In September, 1872, through a severe cold, she took her bed, where she lay, except when lifted from it, till the night of August 27, 1873. She was unable to walk a step, or even stand. She could sit up only a short time without great distress. The best medical skill that could be procured gave only temporary relief. The spine grew worse in spite of every appliance, and the nervous sensitiveness and prostration were increasing. During the two or three weeks immediately preceding her cure she was especially helpless, two persons being required to lift her off and on the bed. On the Monday before, one of her severest neuralgia sick-headaches came on. During Wednesday she began to be relieved, but was still so sick that when, in the evening, she tried to have her clothes changed, she could only endure the change of her night-dress."
It will be seen from this her utter physical helplessness, and not the slightest hope of any amelioration. During the night of August 27th, she enjoyed a blessed time of communion with her Lord, giving herself, in all her helplessness, wholly to Him to do as he wills.
With feelings beyond all expression, she felt the nearness of her mighty Savior, and the sense of receiving a new and most delicious pulsation of new life. At last, though she had been bed-ridden for twelve months, and incapable of any bodily assistance, she felt an uncontrollable impulse to throw off the clothes of the bed with her left arm, and sprang out of bed upon her feet, and started to walk across the room.
"Her husband's first thought was that she was crazed, and would fall to the floor, and he sprang towards her to help her. But she put up her hands against him, saying with great energy, 'Don't you touch me! Don't you touch me!' and went walking back and forth across the room speaking rapidly, and declaring the work which Jesus had been working upon her.
"Her husband, quickly saw that she was in her right mind, and had been healed by the Lord, and his soul was filled with unutterable emotion.
"One of the women of the household was called, also their son, twelve years old, and together they thanked God for the great and blessed wonder he had wrought.
"In the morning, after a sleep of several hours, she further examined herself to see if entirely healed, and found both knees perfectly well; and though for sixteen years she had not been able to use either, now she lifted the left foot and put it upon the right knee, thus proving the completeness of her restoration.
"At the end of two years from her healing, inquiry having been made as to how thorough had been the work, Mrs. Sherman gave full and abundant evidence. 'I cannot remember a Summer when I have been so healthy and strong, and able to work hard. I am a constant wonder to myself, and to others, and have been for the two years past. The cure exceeded my highest expectations at the time I was cured. I did not look forward to such a state of vigor and strength. No words can express my joy and gratitude for all this.'
"The parents of Mrs. Sherman also testify of the wonderful change physically which occurred with the cure.
"Before, her appetite was always disordered, but on the very morning of the healing it was wholly changed, and her food, which distressed her formerly, she ate with a relish and without any pain following; and she so continues. For years before a natural action of the bowels was rare. From that day since, an unnatural one is equally rare.
"For fifteen years, with few exceptions, she had had severe neuralgic sick headaches monthly or oftener. From that time she has been natural and without pain, with no return of the headaches, except a comparatively slight one once, from overdoing and a cold taken through carelessness.
"There was also at that time an immediate and radical change in the action of the kidneys, which had become a source of great trouble before. Moreover the knee which had been partially stiff for so many years was made entirely well. In fine, her body, which had been so full of pain, became at once free from pain, and full of health.
"The week after she was healed she went fifty miles to attend a camp-meeting, riding five miles in a carriage, the rest by cars. A near neighbor said, 'She will come back worse than ever.' Though the weather was especially bad, she came back better than when she went."
These are but few out of many expressions respecting her extraordinary recovery, which fully satisfy the believing Christian that the Great Physician is with us now, "healing the lame," and curing the sick. It is faith only, unyielding, which the Lord requires ere he gives his richest blessing.
The unbelieving one simply sees in it "something strange," which he can not understand, but the faith-keeping Christian knows it is the sign of his Precious Lord, in whom he trusts and abides forever.
DR. NEWMAN HALL'S TESTIMONIES TO THE VALUE OF PRAYER.
Dr. Newman Hall, of London, in his wide experience has met with many incidents of answered prayer, and thus relates several:
A PRAYER FOR THIRTY POUNDS.
"On a recent evangelizing visit to Newport, one of its citizens said to me, 'In yonder house dwell a man and wife, who recently needed a sum of L30 to meet some payment the next morning. Having failed in their efforts to collect it, they earnestly prayed God to provide it. The store was being closed for the night when a sea-captain knocked at the door and asked for some seamen's clothes. The gas was relighted, and various articles were selected; the purchaser then asked for the account, and the money was paid -- a little more than L30. The man and his wife thanked their Heavenly Father for sending it in this way in answer to prayer.'"
RECOVERY FROM DANGEROUS ILLNESS.
Dr. Newman Hall was once visiting, on his dying bed, John Cranfield, son of the great originator of ragged schools, under the ministry of Rowland Hill.
"We were conversing on prayer. He said, 'A remarkable instance occurred in connection with my father. The former organist of Surry Chapel, Mr. Howard, was dangerously ill. He was greatly beloved, and his friends met for special prayer that God would spare his life. My father on that occasion was remarkably earnest in asking that the life of his friend might be lengthened, as in the case of Hezekiah. The next day he began to recover; and during fifteen years was a blessing to his friends and the church.'"
A SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER IN DISTRESS.
"My brother," says Dr. Hall, "told me that when superintendent of a Sunday school he felt a strong impulse, one Saturday evening, to call at the home of one of his teachers whom he had never visited before. He found his mother and sisters in such evident distress that he inquired the cause. With much reluctance they explained that, being unable to pay their taxes, their goods were to be taken on the coming Monday, and they had been asking special help from God to save them from a disaster which they felt would be a dishonor to religion. By the aid of a few friends the difficulty was at once met, but the timely succor was regarded as the divine answer to their prayer."
RESCUED IN PERIL.
"With my brother I was once climbing the Cirrha di Jazze, one of the mountains in the chain of Mount Rosa. When nearly at the top, we entered a dense fog. Presently our guides faced right about and grounded their axes on the frozen snowed slope. My brother, seeing the slope still beyond, and not knowing it was merely the cornice overhanging a precipice of several thousand feet, rushed onward. I shall never forget their cry of agonized warning. He stood a moment on the very summit, and then, the snow yielding, he began to fall through. One of the guides, at great risk, had rushed after him, and seizing him by the coat, drew him down to a place of safety.
"No one could be nearer death and yet escape. On his return home, an invalid member of his congregation told him that she had been much in prayer for his safety, and mentioned a special time when she was particularly earnest, as if imploring deliverance from some great peril. The times corresponded. His life was saved in answer to her prayer."
A PHYSICAL IMPEDIMENT REMOVED.
"A clergyman, of great scholarship and genius, has told me of a remarkable answer to prayer, authenticated by three missionaries known to himself, who are personally acquainted with the facts.
"A Prussian, the master of a hotel in India, was anxious to relinquish his large income, and labor as a missionary among the Santil tribes. Objection was made to him on account of an impediment in his speech which would render him, in speaking a foreign language, incapable of being understood. Believing in the efficacy of prayer, he called together his friends, specially to ask that his impediment might be removed. The next morning, he presented himself again at the Mission House -- the impediment had gone! He was accepted, relinquished his business, and is now preaching the gospel to the Santils in their own tongue."
RESTORATION FROM DEATH.
"My father, the author of the Sinner's Friend, narrates in his autobiography a circumstance which he often used to speak of with great emotion.
"My mother was very ill, and apparently dying. The Doctor said that now, if at all, the children might be brought for her to look at them once more. One by one we were brought to the bedside, and her hand was placed on our heads.
"Then my father bade her farewell, and she lay motionless as if soon to breathe her last.
"He then said to himself, 'There is yet one promise I have not pleaded, "If ye ask anything in my name I will do it." He stepped aside, and in an agony of soul exclaimed, 'O, Lord, for the honor of thy dear Son, give me the life of my wife!'
"He could say no more, and sank down exhausted. Just then the nurse called him to the bedside saying, 'She has opened her mouth again as if for food.' Nourishment was given, and from that time she began to recover. The doctor said it was miraculous. My father said it was God, who had heard his prayer."
THE HELP OF THE LORD IN LITTLE THINGS.
The Rev. Dr. Patton, of Chicago, in receiving many letters from clergymen, received one from Mr. F., a pastor in Massachusetts.
In it he speaks of his unsuccessful search for a valuable knife, prized as a present from a friend, which he had lost on a hillside covered with laurels. He paused in prayer, asked to be guided, commenced his search, and was almost immediately successful thereafter.
The same letter also mentions the case of a friend in a responsible position under the government, whose accounts failed to balance by reason of an error, which, after long search, he could not detect.
In great distress he betook himself to prayer, and then opening his books, on the very first page, which he happened to glance at, and at the top of the column, he saw instantly the looked for error, standing out so plainly that he wondered he had not seen it before.
The writer also speaks of a rubber shoe being lost and promptly found after mention in prayer.
These may seem little matters, but they are the privileges of the righteous to ask "anything" of "Him who careth for them."
A BOY'S FAITH IN PRAYER
In a letter to Dr. W.W. Patton, by Mr. T.I. Goodwin, M.D., of Staten Island, he describes a little incident which happened to him when only thirteen years old.
"He lost a choice penknife while collecting and driving several cows from a pasture covered with grass two inches high. Having read Huntington's Book of Faith, he thought of prayer, and in childlike trust he knelt under a tree, outside the bars, and prayed for his lost treasure; for he was a farmer's boy, and his spending money amounted to only about fifty cents a year. 'I rose up, cast my eyes down on the ground, and without planning my course or making any estimate of probabilities, walked across the meadow centrally to near its farther edge, saw the penknife down in the grass directly before me, and picked it up all as readily as I could have done had any one stood there pointing to the exact place. Had I gone ten feet to the right or left I could not have seen the knife, for the grass was too high.'"
A PRAYER FOR FIVE DOLLARS.
One of the City Home missionaries in New York city received on a certain day five dollars with special directions that it be given to a certain poor minister in Amos street. In the evening the missionary called and gave him the money.
For a moment the good man stood amazed and speechless. Then taking down a little journal he turned to the record made in his diary of that morning, and showed it to the missionary. "Spent two and a half hours in earnest prayer for five dollars."
"And now here it is," said the man, with a heart overflowing with gratitude. "The Lord has sent it." Both giver and receiver had their faith strengthened by the incident.
GO TO THE POST-OFFICE.
A correspondent of "The Guiding Hand" relates this incident:
"In the year 18 -- , having a brother living in the city of R., I went to see him. Going to the store where he had been at work, I found that the firm had suspended, and that he was thrown out of employment, and had broken up housekeeping, but could not ascertain where he was, only that he was boarding somewhere out in the suburbs of the city. I searched for him all day, but in vain.
"It was absolutely necessary that I should find him. What MORE to do I knew not, except to pray. Finally, I was impressed to write a line and drop it into the post-office, and I obeyed the impression, telling him, if he got it, to meet me at a stated place, the next morning, at ten o'clock. I prayed earnestly that the Lord would cause him to go to the post-office, so that he might get my letter. I felt full of peace, and at rest about the matter. The next morning, at ten o'clock, I went to the place appointed for him to meet me, and he soon came in."
This incident might seem one of ordinary or chance occurrence, but for the following unusual circumstances:
"As they were returning to their home, his brother said: 'There is something very strange about my going to the post-office this morning -- I had my arrangements all made to go with a party, this morning early, to the bay, fishing; but, when I awoke, I had such an impression to go down to the post-office, that I had to forgo the pleasure of going to the bay, and went to the post-office and found your letter.'
"I replied, 'It was the Lord that impressed you in answer to my prayer, for I have prayed earnestly for the Lord to send you to the office this morning,' and, although but young in years and religion, I gave God the praise for his guidance and His grace."
THE WIDOW'S TREE
Not many years ago a violent storm, with wind and thunder, spread devastation all through the valley of Yellow Creek, Georgia. For a mile in width, trees were uprooted, barns and fences were prostrated, and all the lands were desolated.
Right in the center of the tornado stood a small cabin. Its sole occupants were an aged widow and her only son. The terrible wind struck a large tree in front of her humble dwelling, twisting and dashing it about. If it fell it would lay her home in ruins. Desolation, death itself, might follow. The storm howled and raged. The great trees fell in all directions. When it seemed her tree must also fall and there was no remedy, she knelt in fervent supplication to Him who gathereth the wind in his fists, that he would spare that tree. Her prayer was heard. The tree was spared, and was the only one left within a considerable distance of the widow's cabin.
THE LORD PAID HIS INTEREST.
A most curious answer to prayer occurred in the experience of a home missionary in Brooklyn. It illustrates how God, in his trials of faith to see if His people do really cling to the promises, compels them to march right into the scene of danger, and into the mouth of the cannon, that apparently is open specially to shoot them down.
The interest on the mortgage of his property was due in a few days. Its amount was [USD]300. He did not have the money -- did not know where to obtain it. With anxious heart during the day, he kept up his faith and courage by thinking of the Lord's promises, and, the last night before the eventful day, was spent in prayer, until the assurance came that all was well. Often he pleaded, often he reminded the Lord that, as his life was His, to save him from reproach, and not let his trust in the Lord suffer dishonor before others.
The last moment came -- no money -- no relief. With sinking heart he went to the holder of the mortgage to announce his utter inability to meet his demand. While there, just at the last moment, when he was about to leave, the gentleman said, "By the way, here is an envelope I was told to give you."
The missionary opened it, and out came six fifty dollar bills, just the three hundred dollars prayed for. The Lord met and delivered him in the very jaws of the enemy.
WILL THE LORD DELIVER FROM BAD HABITS OF TOBACCO, RUM, LIQUOR, LICENTIOUSNESS, ETC., IN ANSWER TO PRAYER.
This question having been asked by a clergyman of Brooklyn, Rev. S.H. Platt, he received a large number of communications, which evidently prove that the Lord is willing and does, either instantaneously or gradually in answer to prayer, deliver and take away wholly the bad habits and appetites of those who are willing to forsake their sinful ways and cleave only to Him. The Lord's salvation cleanses and delivers the body as well as the soul.
We quote a few extracts from his correspondence, which is but a small portion out of many published in his volume, "The Power of Grace."
CURED OF TOBACCO APPETITE.
"A little more than a year has elapsed since I left off the use of tobacco. This further time has more fully developed the thoroughness of the case spoken of and the completeness of the victory over an evil habit. I am filled with wonder, for I expected a terrible fight with an appetite, strengthened by an indulgence of about thirty-five years, but the enemy has not shown his head. Not only has the desire for smoking been effectually squelched, but a perfect hatred of smoking has been developed on account of the offensiveness of the odor of tobacco. I frequently cross the street, or change my seat in a car to escape the puff of smoke, or the fetid breath of a smoker. 'Thanks be unto God who giveth us the victory.'"
BAD HABITS WHOLLY OVERCOME.
"A physician of extended practice was converted and reclaimed while I had charge of the place in which he lived. He had acquired the habit of using large quantities of whiskey and brandy, and withal more or less given to licentiousness. Since that time he has been steadily advancing in morals and moral power, till he now preaches the gospel as a local preacher, side by side with the best of the district."
WAS IT INSTANTANEOUS?
"Yes, as respects tobacco; he became convicted of its sinfulness by a voice saying, 'That is not the way to glorify God: stop, and stop now.' And from that moment he says he has never used it, neither does he in any way like the smell, or even the sight of tobacco."
THE LORD DELIVERS FROM BODILY SINS.
"I had used tobacco from my childhood, and the love and use thereof grew upon me. I became convicted of its sinfulness, went to God and said, 'Destroy the appetite, and give me power over it. Save me that I may glorify thee as a God of power for our present sins, and I will glorify thee ever more.' I wrote out the contract and signed it, and from that blessed afternoon have no recollection of ever desiring it even."
"Tobacco was a great trouble to me; and I had tried a number of times to leave it off, but could not do so. One night as I was retiring to rest, I thought I would kneel by my bed and ask Him, who never refuses to answer prayer, to take from me the desire for tobacco, and from that moment it has been impossible for me to use it.
NOT YOUR OWN STRENGTH CAN BREAK THE HABIT.
"I smoked tobacco excessively for fifteen years, commencing when I was about twenty years old. I often strove to break off from the use of it; indeed I determined time and again to desist from it, sometimes abstaining for a few months or weeks, once for twelve months, but the desire never left me, and whenever I tasted it I was sure to take to it again. I sometimes vowed whilst upon my knees in prayer, to abstain from it and never touch it again, but I always attempted to do this in my own strength; hence I failed, being overcome by the almost irresistible influences it had upon my appetite, so long accustomed to the use.
"One Sunday morning, I retired to a secluded place, got down upon my knees, and asked the Lord to help me quit it, determining then and there that I would, God being my helper, never touch the accursed thing again by any kind of use in the way of consumption, and from that day to this, I have never had any desire to smoke or chew tobacco, or to use it in any way; I lifted my heart to God, imploring his assistance in abstaining from it. I have now been clear of the desire of it for nearly twenty-three years."
A DOUBLE CURE.
"At the age of twelve years I commenced to use tobacco, and continued to use it, both smoking and chewing, till five years ago, when in answer to prayer the appetite was instantly removed.
"The circumstances were as follows: I had tried many ways to leave off the use of tobacco, but the appetite was so strong that I could not withstand it. At one time I left it off for a month, but not a day passed but I craved it, and when I did begin again it tasted as good as ever. I found that tobacco was injuring my health. My nervous system was much deranged.
"For more than a year before I left it off there was scarcely a night but I lay for two or three hours, before I could go to sleep. I resolved a great many times I would leave off, but always failed. I had also acquired the habit of drinking, and became a confirmed drunkard.
"I knew the habits were killing me, but I was powerless to stop. One evening a prayer-meeting was appointed at my house. The minister in his remarks spoke about habits, and said that religion would cure all bad habits, such as tobacco, &c., and that by prayer God would remove all evil appetites.
"I thought but little about it that night; was very careless and trifling about it. The next morning I took out my tobacco to take a chew, and thought of what the minister had said the night before. It was a new idea to me. I put the tobacco in my pocket again, and said, 'I'll try it.'
"I was alone in my barn; I kneeled down and asked God to remove the appetite from me. It was done. I was cured. I felt it. I knew it then. I have never had a desire for it since. There has been no hankering for it or for strong drink since. My sins were all forgiven, and I was made a new man all over, inside and outside.
"When I go into company where they are smoking, I have no desire for it at all, neither have I for drinking, any more than if I had never had those habits. My nervous difficulty was also instantly cured. No more trouble about sleeping, and I know that Jesus can heal and remove and destroy all evil habits."
A SPECIAL WORD TO ALL SEEKING TO ESCAPE EVIL WAYS.
Should these words meet the eye of any one so troubled over any evil way or bad habit from whose bondage he would gladly escape, let me say to you these words of good cheer: "The Lord can save you, the Lord can deliver you, the Lord can wholly heal you. He can take away your appetite and cleanse you thoroughly. He has done it for many others. He can do it for you. Realize that your own strength can not do it. Forget not that it is only in answer to your own prayer. Those who want this good gift must pray for it. Deliverance may be instantaneous or gradual, but do not cease your prayer. Seek in the Bible for those promises which show that he can deliver from all evil, and plead them and then trust in Him and his strength to fulfill them.
"Forget not also to ask others to pray for you, and remember that the answer is sure to come if you add to your prayer these true thoughts of your heart, 'Deliver me and I give myself to thee forever.'
"If you expect so great a gift from the Lord, he asks of you, 'What are you willing to do for me?'"
HELP AT THE VERY LAST MOMENT. FAITH REWARDED.
A clergyman in the State of New York, through the influence of a disaffected member, was unfairly and precipitately deprived of his pulpit, which involved a large family in necessity. At supper the good man had the pain of beholding the last morsel of bread placed upon the table without the least means or prospect of a supply for his children's breakfast. His wife, full of grief with her children, retired to her bed. The minister chose to sit up and employ his dark hours in prayer, and reading the promises of God. Some secret hope of supply pervaded his breast, but when, whence, or by whom, he knew not. He retired to rest, and in the morning appeared with his family, and offered family prayer. It being the depth of Winter, and a little fire on the hearth, he desired his wife to hang on the kettle, and spread the cloth upon the table. The kettle boiled, the children cried for bread; the afflicted father, standing before the fire, felt those deep emotions of heart over his helplessness and impending starvation which those reared in affluence never know.
While in this painful state some one knocked at the door, entered, and delivered a letter into the minister's hand. When the gentleman was gone the letter was opened, and to the minister's astonishment it contained a few bank bills, with a desire for acceptance. So manifest an answer to prayer from Divine Goodness could not but be received with gratitude and joy, and fulfills to the very letter these promises: "Verily thou shalt be fed." Psalm 37:3. "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee." Heb.13:5.
To ascertain how this occurrence came to take place, this remarkable coincidence of relief at the identical moment of time when there was the last appeal to God, the incident was communicated to the editor of a religious journal. Having an intimacy with the gentleman said to be the one whose hand had offered the seasonable relief, he determined the next time he made him a visit to introduce the subject, and, if possible, to know the reason that induced the generous action. The story was told with a modest blush which evinced the tenderness of his heart. On interrogation, he said "he had frequently heard that minister. On a certain morning he was disposed for a walk; thought in the severity of the winter season a trifle might be of service, as fuel was high; felt a kind of necessity to enclose the money in a letter; went to the house, found the family, delivered the paper and retired, but knew not the extreme necessity of the minister and his family, either at that time nor till this very moment when his friend introduced the subject. Thus it is seen none but God knew the want or moved the hand that gave the supply, and brought them to meet at the right time.
SPINAL DISEASE CURED.
"There was a little girl in this place that had the cerebro-spinal-meningitis; several had died with this disease, and the physician had given her up to die. The weekly prayer-meeting met in town that night, and her parents wrote a note and sent it by their little son, requesting prayer that their little daughter might live and not die, signed with the names of both parents. From that time she began to recover, and to-day she is a bright little girl, with full use of every faculty, and not deformed as most persons are from this terrible disease. I cannot view it in any other light than a direct answer to prayer."
AN OLD MAN'S PRAYER.
"I feel also like mentioning another instance. I knew an old father in Israel, a minister of the gospel, who once in speaking with a brother minister, after a revival of religion in which five of his grandchildren had professed their faith in Christ, among others with whom he had labored; said if he could only live to see his one remaining granddaughter brought into the fold, and the two Presbyterian churches, then, called the Old and New school, united, he could say, like Simeon of old, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.' About three years after, the two Presbyteries met near this place in Germantown, Mo., and he seemed as if he could not contain himself till the time came for the meeting, so anxious was he for this great desire of his heart to be fulfilled. On the day of meeting he took sick and could not be present at any of the sessions, but many of his brethren were with him, among whom was this one he had been conversing with. The sessions lasted three days, and upon the last evening his wishes were gratified, the two Presbyteries merged into one, singing 'Blest be the tie that binds;' and his youngest granddaughter united with the church, and after the meeting adjourned this brother came to watch with the aged servant of God. He was permitted to convey the glad news to him, and see a heavenly smile light up his countenance as he passed away with his earnest prayer gratified."
THE MYSTERIOUS LEADINGS OF PROVIDENCE.
The following incidents are contributed to the book by a prominent clergyman:
"A period, ever memorable in the life of the writer, occurred in the Autumn of 1832, while attending a protracted meeting of more than ordinary interest and power, held under the auspices of the Baptist church in the city of Schenectady, under the then pastoral charge of Rev. Abraham D. Gillette, this being his first settlement. It was in one of the meetings that the Holy Spirit impressed my mind of its sinfulness and the need of a Savior, not only to cleanse my soul of sin and sinful stains, but to save me. These impressions caused me to humble myself at the feet of sovereign mercy; and in the midst of my pleadings, God answered my prayer, and opened to me new views, views of the heavenly kingdom, which so electrified my soul, that with a full heart I could say, 'Blessed be the Lord who has shown me marvelous works in this lonely place beneath the star-lit sky.'
"This great change was, and is, to me the most wonderful interposition of God in my behalf in answer to prayer. This answer to prayer the promised result of faith in Him."
"Again, in the year 1836, the writer in the year mentioned was employed by a transportation company, in the city of Troy, in the character of an employee having direction of a portion of the business of the company which brought me into close relation with the many boatmen connected with the company. Association with the boatmen was painful to my religious nature, compelled, as I was, to hear all manner of offensive talk. The latter led me to indulge a wish that I might free myself from such company, in order to form associations with persons of my own religious turn of mind. But God willed otherwise, as will be learned from the recital of God's dealings with me on an occasion of a journey alone in a carriage from Troy to Schenectady. It was on the occasion alluded to that most of the time was occupied in prayer, and the burden of my prayer was 'that God would open up a way for me wherein I could find more congenial company, where in fact my religious feelings would not meet with the trials incident to my present associations.' But He who knew my needs better, came to my relief in words seemingly distinct enough to be heard. This was the answer: 'I have placed you just where I want you.' Instantly my prayer for a change of location or separation from my business and its connections ceased, and since, instead of looking for easy positions, wherein the principles of the faith which is in me may be undisturbed, I deem it suited to my growth in grace and increase in devotion to my Master's cause, to covet the association of men whose only tendency is to evil continually. I have found by experience in the latter direction, that although many tongues are loose in the habit of profanity, I am roused more and more by grace to impart words of counsel. I know that efforts at consistency in Christian conduct and converse will stop the mouth of profaners of the name of our Redeemer, God."
Another instance of the presence of God with his children is clearly manifest in the following sketch of a meeting of two brethren, of whom the writer was one, held in the conference room of the First Baptist church in Troy, N.Y., of which church he was a member. The meeting alluded to occurred in the early spring of 1840 or '41. We were accustomed to meet almost every day for the purpose of arranging the Sunday school library, but would occupy a portion of the time, usually at noon, in prayer for such persons or objects as were presented to the mind. On the particular occasion we propose to mention, it was mutually agreed that we pray for one of the brethren, whose gifts were of a high order, and his usefulness hindered by a lack of spirituality. We mutually bowed in prayer for this brother, and while thus engaged the door of the room was opened, and a person entered and knelt between us, but who he was, or the purpose of his visit we knew not until we had ended our prayer, at which time the person spoke and requested us to continue praying for him.
At the conclusion of the service, the question was mooted how he came there. His reply was in substance as follows: "When standing on a stoop on the corner of Fourth and Congress streets, cogitating which way I should go, I was impressed by a voice within which directed my course to the Conference Room. I debated with the impression, taking the position that it being noon no meeting was then in progress. Still the impression remained, and could not be removed. Noticing this, I gave way to the voice and here I am." Neither of the three thus brought together could doubt for a moment that our prayer for this brother was answered. His joy was great in view of being thus called from his delinquency to share in the fullness of his Savior's love.
"Another instance in the experience of the writer very clearly shows the power and worth of prayer. About the year 1840, in the Autumn thereof, he experienced a lack of vital, spiritual energy. This had been of months' continuance, but to his joy, culminated after retiring to rest. After this manner, before sleep overcame him, he was impressed to present his case before the mercy-seat. To do so he arose from his bed, retired to a quiet part of his home and bowed in prayer, seeking to occupy the entire night if need be in prayer for the bestowal of the Holy Spirit, and the consequent revival influences of other days. This season of prayer was of short continuance; but not by reason of disrelish for the exercise, but because my prayer was answered and a complete breaking away of the previous hindrances to my spiritual enjoyment. Since the event alluded to, now more than thirty-six years, I have not been afflicted by doubts, and counsel brethren and sisters not to allow themselves to be made unhappy by this evil to our spiritual progress."
LIFE SPARED FOR TWO WEEKS.
"On the 8th of January, last, I was called upon to visit a dying man in Jersey City, whom the doctors had said could not live but a few hours. I found him in severe bodily sufferings and a terrible agony of mind. He had lived a moral and upright life in the eyes of the world, but careless and neglectful of all religious duties, and now with eternity before him he felt his life a failure and his imperative need of help.
"In his agony he would cry out, 'Lord, help me,' and perhaps the next moment blaspheme the name of God. I sought to show him his great sin in having so long neglected God and his salvation, and at the same time assured him that Jesus was a great Savior, 'able to save to the uttermost all who would come unto Him.' I went from his bedside to the union prayer-meeting, held in our city during the week of prayer, where I presented his case and asked the brethren to pray that God would save this poor man even at the eleventh hour, and spare him to give good evidence of his conversion. His case seemed to reach the hearts of all present, and most earnest prayers were offered in his behalf; so strong was the faith that many came to me at the close of the meeting and said that young man will certainly be saved before he is taken from this world.
"In answer to prayer he was spared nearly two weeks, and for some six or seven days before his death, gave much clearer evidence of being truly converted than could have been expected of one in his condition."
A MISSIONARY'S EXPERIENCE IN MEXICO.
"While laboring with my wife as a missionary in Northern Mexico, we supported ourselves for nearly four years by teaching and such other ways as the Lord opened up to us.
"But our schools being decidedly Protestant, and I preaching regularly, the opposition from Romanists was very strong; this, together with the extreme poverty of the people, made our income very small. Frequently the opposition would rise to that pitch that only the children of the poorest would be permitted to come, but we never turned these away, though they could pay no tuition, trusting that God would provide for us in some other way.
"Early in the year 1869, we were much exercised to know the will of the Lord concerning us, whether he would have us continue or not. We brought our case before the Lord and prayed him to make known his will and provide for our necessary wants. In about three weeks we received a check for eighty dollars, sent us, as we felt, truly by the Lord in answer to our prayer through a friend in New York, who knew nothing of our circumstances or prayer.
"In August the same year, our condition became such that it seemed as if in a few days we would be wholly without the necessaries of life. We laid our case before the Lord, and as he did not appear to open up any way for us to leave the field, we went forward with our work as faithfully as we knew how, believing that the Lord would provide in his own time and way, when one evening, just after family worship, a rap came to the door. I opened it, there came in quite a company of persons, all bearing something, and just exactly the things we needed most, and to the amount of over fifty dollars' worth, and about a sixth of it was, as we learned, given by Romanists who had opposed us very strongly all the time we had been there. Truly the Lord answers prayer and turns the hearts of men to do his will."
THE GREATEST OF PHYSICIANS.
Miss X. of Brooklyn, had suffered long and severely from a distressing tumor. One physician after another had plied his skill, but to no purpose; even the celebrated Doctor Simms of New York, corroborated their verdict, that there was no help for her but in the knife. She finally consented to that terrific method, but was in no condition of strength to bear the operation. It was decided to postpone it till the 22d of June. Twelve doctors were invited to be present. Meanwhile a diet nurse sent from New York, remained with her, to prepare her system for the ordeal.
Three days preceding the one appointed for the operation, she was attacked by severe nausea, which lasted two days, and so weakened her that again the doctors were all notified by the attending one, that a further postponement was imperative, and a certain date fixed in November.
All this time her own prayers were unceasing, those of her friends added to her own; and many a remembrance in the Fulton Street meeting, cheered and encouraged her.
By November, the tumor had totally disappeared! That was two years ago. She is still well, strong; able to walk three miles any time.
She is as certain that the whole cure was performed by the Lord in answer to all those fervent prayers, as she is certain she lives and moves.
HOW THE LORD PAID BACK THE [USD]5.
Mr. H., missionary, was appealed to by a poor man who seemed almost distracted. He had a wife and five children; one of them ill; had been sick himself for three months, and owed rent for the whole of that time. The landlord had served him with a writ of ejectment, and he could get no other tenement, unless he could pay five dollars on the rent. He had applied to a well-known society in Brooklyn; but they were entirely out of funds and gave him a note to the missionary, hoping he might have or find the desired help. But missionaries' pockets are more often depleted, than those of benevolent organizations, and the one in question was fain to take the applicant to a friend, whom we shall call Q.
The poor man told his story, asked the five dollars only as a loan, and, having an order for the painting of two signs, said he should be paid for them when done, and could return the loan the next Saturday, one week from that time.
Mr. Q. saw, at once, that the utter destitution of the family, and the need of everything, would prevent the man returning the money, however much he might wish to, and so refused to lend it. The case was urged, but without avail; and the missionary sent the man away, promising to see him again that night or on Monday. After his departure, the following conversation passed between the gentlemen:
Q. -- "Now, H., I don't take any stock in that man. Can you not see that his paying that money back, is a simple impossibility?"
H. -- "Well, perhaps so; but the question with me in such cases, is this: What is duty? Admit that he cannot pay it, or even that he will not try; is it not better to relieve his desperate need, than to have him perhaps turn criminal and prey upon society? He must leave the house he is in; he cannot get another without the money, and he is desperate; feels that five dollars he must have, by fair means or foul. Moreover, think of his wife and children, leaving him out of the question. Now let us open this little Bible, and see what meets our eye first."
Q. -- "Oh, pshaw! You know I do not believe in that kind of thing! Do you go to the Bible for everything?"
H. -- "Why not? Can we have any better guide?"
Q. -- "Oh! well, I don't work that way. Now about that man and his money. I will toss up a penny with you, whether I lend or not."
H. -- "No you won't! You know I don't believe in chance, but in the Lord. And would you sooner rest your decision on a gambler's test, than on God's promise? Now just let us open the book."
Q. -- "Well; what do you see?"
H. -- "'The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again; but the righteous sheweth mercy, and lendeth.'" 37th Psalm, 21st verse.
As there was no hunting up of passages, nor leaves turned down to open easily, the coincidence was impressive, as well as amusing, and H., following it up, said, "Lend him the money, and if he does not pay you next Saturday night, I will."
It was so agreed upon, and, when the man called on the missionary on Monday morning, he was sent to Q. for the relief.
The week passed on, as they all pass, weighted and freighted with human ills; some capable of alleviation, some not; but of the former, a full share had come under the notice and care of the missionary, and Saturday found him stepping into the Fulton street prayer-meeting, N.Y., for fresh encouragement and benediction on his labors.
At its close, a gentleman said to him, "Mr. H., I have known you by sight for years; know your work; but have never given you anything; and I promised myself the next time I saw you, I would do so. Have you any special need of five dollars now? If so, and you will step to the bank with me, you shall have it." Instantly it flashed through the mind of H. that this was the day when, either the borrower or he, must pay his friend. It may be supposed that he went to the bank with alacrity. Going back to B. and meeting the friend, he learned that neither man nor money had appeared, and at once tendered the five dollars, telling the story of the Lord's care in the matter.
Q. was so interested in this manner of obtaining supplies, that he refused to take the money, and instructed H. to use it in the Lord's work.
PRAYING FOR MONEY FOR A JOURNEY.
A lady, Miss E., residing in New Bedford, received a letter telling of the serious illness of her mother, in New York. Sick herself, from unremitted care of an invalid during eight years, poor as Elijah when his only grocers were the ravens, too old for new ambitions, too well acquainted with the gray mists of life to hope for many rifts through which the sunshine might enter, she had no sum of money at all approaching the cost of the trip between the two places.
"He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust," is a text bound over her daily life, as a phylactery was bound between the eyes of an ancient Hebrew. She lives literally, only one day at a time, and walks literally by faith and not by sight. So then as ever, the Lord was her committee of ways and means; but for three days the answer was delayed. Then, an old lady called to express her indebtedness for Miss E.'s services three years before, and ask her acceptance of ten dollars therefor, "no sort of equivalent for days and days of writing and searching law papers, but only a little token that the service was not forgotten."
There was the answer to her prayer; there the redemption of the pledge: "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth, even forever."
A man and wife were out of employment, and in very great trouble. Mr. H. (missionary) had added his efforts to theirs, and sedulously sought among the families he knew, for positions for them. After two weeks' fruitless endeavor, he said to the man, "Well, John, let us go into the Fulton street meeting and leave it with the Lord." They did so; the request was read and remembered.
The very next day, Mr. H. received a note from one of the families to whom he had already applied, and without success, requesting him to send the man and wife of whom he had spoken. Very joyfully he did so, and they were both engaged! Mr. H. considered it a very marked answer to prayer, inasmuch as it was quite difficult to find a family who wanted a man as well as woman servant; and that particular family was, of all others, the least likely to make such an arrangement!
A BARREL OF FLOUR.
For the "Faith Home for Incurables" Mr. H. received, one day, five dollars. A barrel of flour was terribly needed. He went to a large house in New York, hoping the Lord would incline the proprietor to sell him a barrel for that sum. He felt too poor, was not willing; and with a heavy heart, Mr. H. returned, asking the Lord what next he should do. He called at the store of a friend, where the following conversation took place. "Well, did you get the flour?" "I did not; they feel too poor, and I am terribly disappointed. It is almost dark now; I have lost my time going over there, and at this hour, the flour merchants here are closed." "Well, Mr. -- -- called here, and I told him you were in, and on what errand you had gone to New York. He said he would send a barrel to my store if I would send it up to the Home; and I did so, about an hour ago."
WONDERFUL WAYS OF THE LORD IN GUIDING HIS PEOPLE.
Our missionaries move amidst the reality of scenes which religious fiction vainly strives to equal. Remarkable proofs of genuine and vivid piety, triumphs of patience and grace, lifting their possessors above the most painful and distressing circumstances, are met with in all their explorations, and more than repay them for toil or privation.
WONDERFUL CONVERSION OF A ROMAN CATHOLIC.
A frame dwelling in an alley, two rooms on the first floor, in the smaller one a bed-ridden old colored man, who had fought the battle of life for ninety years, fifteen of them on his bed, with eyes so dimmed by age that he could not even read; and a wife who was eye, ear and solace to him, are the salient points of our first picture.
They were both earnest, exultant Christians, around whom the angels of God encamped day and night. The wife was brought up in the West Indies, as a Catholic, but her ideas of religion consisted mostly in counting beads on a rosary. After coming to Brooklyn, she became a servant in the family of a well-known naval officer, and was always a favorite on account of her vivacity. One day, a young painter who was working there, and proved to be one of the Christians whose light shines for all in the house, spoke to her, and invited her to a prayer-meeting in a Protestant chapel. She refused, laughing; but the painter's assurance next day, that she had been prayed for in that meeting, made her restless, uneasy and sick. In a few days, she was confined to her bed and pronounced by some doctors, a victim to consumption. One, more sagacious than the rest, said her trouble was of the mind, not the body, and a minister would be better than a doctor.
It proved to be the case; she was soon led into a glimmering hope, though feeling that she literally carried a burden on her back. Starting out, one night, to look for a place of worship, she turned her feet to a Methodist meeting from whence the sound of singing had reached her. In the prayer and exhortation, however, there were words which revealed to her the secret of faith and salvation. She felt the burden loosen and fall from her shoulders, so sensibly, that involuntarily, she turned and looked for it on the floor. In a few moments she began to realize the freedom she had gained, and started to her feet in joy and wonder.
Her work then began in her own home, and through her prayers of faith, five members of the Commodore's own family and an Irish Catholic servant girl, were brought to "Christ, the living way." For years her faith was proved by her works; her daily example in the household, her watchings and waitings by the bedside of her helpless husband -- poverty, sickness, perplexities of every sort, but made her hope the brighter, her hold the firmer. With no dependence for their daily bread but the benefactions of one and another person, sometimes entire strangers, they never knew what it was to suffer actual want, nor did Frances ever believe that her friend would forget her.
REMARKABLE PRESERVATION OF LIFE FROM LIGHTNING IN ANSWER TO PRAYER.
I was riding on top of the Boulder Pass of the Rocky Mountains, in the summer of 1876, when a sudden storm of rain, wind, and furious tempest came up. There was no shelter from rocks, no trees or buildings to be seen -- a lonely, wind-swept summit. I knew that the lightning on those high elevations was fearful in intensity. I was appalled at the prospect before me, but feeling that God had promised to care for his children -- "No evil shall befall thee or come nigh thy dwelling" -- I composed myself, and though on horseback, with the rain beating in torrents, I offered simple prayer to God that he would save me from the rain and stop it. But No, it came harder than ever; then I prayed that I might be protected from all danger, "for I trusted in Him!"
I rode on and on for miles, chilly, cold, wet through, the clouds hanging low and the lightning flashing above me, around me, striking near me, constant flashes, peals of thunder; but I was not terrified. "God must keep me." Twice I was distinctly struck with the electric flash, detached portions or sparks from the electric cloud, directly in the center of the forehead, but it had no more force than just to close my eyes, shake my head a little, obscure my sight a moment, and then it was all over, and I was clearer, cooler, calmer, happier, and more self-possessed than ever before. I attribute my protection from peril entirely to prayer, and the fierceness of the tempest and the proximity of danger were permitted by the Lord to try my trust. Those portions which struck me, if in ordinary times had been given me from an electric battery in a school-room, a shock with sparks only one-hundredth the size, would have killed me.
I can thus say with thanks, faith was then made perfect in danger, and the Lord was faithful in hearing his child's cry, and delivered him.
GOD NEVER FAILED HER.
An aged colored woman, lived that life of faith which shines brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Born a slave, on Long Island, she was never taught to read, never enjoyed any social privileges; but the God of the widow of Sarepta, who had neither "store-house nor barn," was her God, and brought her out of the house of spiritual bondage.
She outlived all her early associations; all her children and grandchildren, husband and brother passed on before, leaving her alone in poverty and sickness. Yet she sat in her little hut, a cheerful, happy Christian; a living witness for God as a covenant-keeper. Doubting, despondent souls were always glad to visit her, to listen to her simple words of wisdom and gather strength from her invincible trust. Roman Catholic neighbors persecuted and even threatened her; but in reply to a missionary who remarked that it must be very trying and somewhat dangerous, she said, "Don't you know the Lord has a hook in the jaws of the wicked, so they shan't hurt us if we belong to him? Jesus is always with me; so I'm never alone and never afraid."
HIS MOTHER'S PRAYER.
A poor sailor, leading a most profligate and abandoned life, whose praying mother followed him like a shadow into and out of his drinking saloons and gambling houses, at last absented himself from home, whenever he was in port. Her burden, finally, seemed too great to bear, and she resolved to make a stronger effort than ever before, to cast it upon the Lord. As she knelt, with her heart well-nigh bursting with this desire, she felt a powerful conviction that, at last, she was answered. For several years the son went on in his wicked career, and the mother sorrowed that it was so, but her soul was no longer laden with fear; she felt the assurance of his conversion, sooner or later. Again, for several years, she never heard of him, and thought him dead; then she ceased praying for him, and was steadfast in the faith of meeting him in heaven. But sight was to be given her, as a reward for faith. He returned, at last, only thirty years of age, but broken down in health, and worn out by dissipation and hardship. Still unconverted, but, to satisfy his mother, he consented to remain in the room during a visit of the missionary of that district; a man with sufficient tact not to make his efforts obnoxious. He did not tell the young man he was a sinner and must flee from the wrath to come; he merely presented the love of Jesus; the love that saved to the very uttermost; that waited more patiently than any earthly friend, and forgave more royally. At first, he listened indifferently, but, at last, burst into tears, saying, "I thought I was so bad He didn't want anything to do with me." A long conversation, and others at intervals followed, and, before his death, which occurred several months after, his mother's heart was gladdened by the account of his change, and the knowledge that, in farthest lands, his thoughts were back with her. The deeper he went in sin, the more unsatisfactory and abhorrent it became, and he would have turned, long before, to the Lord, had he believed there was the least hope for him. When he closed his eyes to earth, a few friends enabled his mother to give him respectable burial, in the same grave where, years before, his father was laid.
THE HEART OF STONE RELENTS.
Another consumptive in the neighborhood, was thoroughly an infidel. Mr. A. visited the house three times a week, and, at last, succeeded in overcoming his objections to a weekly prayer-meeting in his house. In his hearing, earnest supplication was always made for him, and, at the end of four months, the heart of stone relented. He had not, at first, the courage to appropriate the promises to himself; but one morning very early he sent for the missionary to reveal the news that he felt all his sins forgiven, and had "Christ in him, the hope of glory." four months more he lived to hear witness continually to God's amazing mercy, and then joyfully expired, declaring himself saved by grace alone.
A DISCOURAGED ONE REVIVED.
Mr. C -- -- , walking home one Saturday afternoon, fell into a discouraged train of thought because he appeared to have done so little for the Master that whole week. At that moment a young man took him by the hand saying -- "You do not know me, but I know you. A few weeks ago I was on the high road to destruction, but now through your instrumentality I am in the narrow path which leads to everlasting life. I attended your prayer-meeting one evening in company with a friend of mine. You spoke with great earnestness, and after we sang the last hymn you remarked, 'How can I bless whom God has cursed? For he declares, If any man love not the Lord, he shall be accursed.' I cannot describe my sensations. For several days I could find no peace, but when at last my faith rested on Jesus, I found that peace which flows like a river; and now, like Moses, I have chosen rather to suffer affliction with the children of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin, for I know if I have to face any trouble on account of my religion, I can look forward to a glorious reward."
THE PRISONER LOOSED.
On the third floor of a tenement house, a missionary, Mr. B., found a comely, intelligent young English woman in great distress. Her heart seemed wrung by grief. A few kind words of sympathy drew from her the story of her woe. She came to this country with her husband and three young children. He was employed as book-keeper in a large mercantile house; but soon became addicted to drink, and the story is ever the same; loss of position, poverty, disgrace, suffering and recklessness. On the day of the missionary's visit, he was in a prison cell, committed as a vagrant and common drunkard. The wife was bitterly weeping in her cheerless home, and the children around her fretting with hunger. Mr. B. was so touched he could scarcely find words with which to console her, but turned to Isaiah and read, "For thy maker is thy husband; the Lord of Hosts is his name." "For a small moment have I forsaken thee, but with great mercies will I gather thee." After his prayer, she felt calmer, and entreated him to come the next week, on the day her husband would be released. He complied; found a prepossessing and cultivated man; and upon telling him how earnestly his wife and himself had prayed for him, was rejoiced to learn that in that lonesome cell the Spirit of God had visited him, filled him with a sincere wish to reform the future and redeem the past. The missionary called again and again, and witnessed the strong determination of the young man to fight against his pernicious habit. He was soon employed again in a large house, became a regular attendant at the Lord's house, and began to pray both publicly and privately for help from on high. Only a few months, and both husband and wife united with a church and became teachers in the Sabbath school. Their own home, once laid waste, again blossomed like the rose.
PRAYING FOR TEA.
On a top floor in a street of tenements lives a colored woman one hundred and ten years old! Her son, a man over seventy, lost his wife, a neat, active Christian woman, very suddenly, and his aged mother was plunged in despairing grief. "Why, why was I left, old and rheumatic and useless, and Mary, a smart, busy, capable woman taken away without a minute's warning?" was her continual cry. But the son was left desolate, and the two rooms were to be kept clean, the meals provided before he left for his work in the morning, and after his work at night; there was no one else to do it, and love for him called out new effort. With cane in one hand she treads the rooms back and forth, performing the household duties. Eyes undimmed, faculties unimpaired, she does what she can. Upon receiving a call a few months after the death of her daughter-in-law, she said -- "You've brought me a whole pound of that nice tea! Well, honey, I asked the Lord for some good tea last night, and I knowed well enough it would be along some time to-day, cos He never keeps me waiting long. I found out why he took Mary instead of me; old as I was, I wasn't half so fit to go, and he was so full of mercy he let me stay long enough to see it! You know, honey, I've got no one to talk over old times with. There ain't none of 'em left that I was young with, and not many I was old with; but I'm never lonesome, for I'm too busy thinking of all the Lord's watching and waiting for me. I'm dreadful little use, but my son couldn't get along very well without me, and then I tell you I'm so busy thinking, I ain't got any time to be lazy or lonesome. Good many little things we want, too, and I have to be runnin' to the Lord for 'em."
"Do they come every time, auntie?", "Every single time, honey! He never fails, no matter who else does. He knows I don't ask for no nonsense; only for the things we really need, and he has promised them all the time." "But, are there not times, auntie, for instance, when your son is sick, when you cannot see where rent and food is coming from?" "Don't want to see, honey! What's the use seein'? Believin's the thing! Believin's better than money." And so, all the revolving months, this relic of the last century walks by faith in the unseen.
GIVING HER LAST DOLLAR TO THE LORD.
A poor woman, sitting in a little church, heard the minister make an urgent appeal for money enough to pay a debt of two hundred dollars, contracted by the church the previous Winter. She had one dollar in her pocket; half drew it out; thought of the improbability of having any more for several days; put it back. Thought again, "Trust in the Lord for more;" drew it wholly out, and deposited it in the basket. The next morning, a lady called to settle a bill of two dollars, so long unpaid that it was, long before, set down among the losses.
THE DANISH GIRL'S BLESSING.
A very poor Danish girl, broken down in health, utterly unable longer to labor for her own support, was provided with the means, and urged to go to Denmark, as her friend felt sure there was some good in store for her there, meaning, more definitely, the restoration of her health. She could not be induced until, thoroughly satisfied by several tokens that it was the Lord's will, and then she consented.
A devout, humble Christian missionary became acquainted with her soon after her arrival, and, being struck with the beauty of holiness in every action and conversation of her life, asked her to marry him, that he might have the constant satisfaction of rendering her life comfortable, and finding his own encouragement in her unfailing faith. His letters are full of his saintly wife, and her signally blessed efforts in winning people to put their trust where it need fear no betrayal.
THE SWEDISH GIRL BLESSED.
A Christian Swedish girl, who had, for three years, done the washing of a certain family, had so interested them by her care of an aged father, and gained their esteem by her humble piety, that, wishing to go to Europe for six months, they offered her two rooms in their house for that time, that she might not only save the labor necessary to pay her rent, but, also, take charge of their effects. The offer was gladly accepted, and recognized as a token especially from the Lord.
In times when the father was yet able to work a little, they had economized to a degree that resulted in saving twenty dollars. It was laid by for three months' rent, when he should be no longer able to earn it. That time had come; as yet the money had not been touched; but Satan sent a wicked woman to hire the next room, and, while the father was asleep, and his poor daughter at church, she stole it. Their grief was great, but they reminded the Lord how hardly it was earned, and how faithful lie had always been to His promises. It can be easily understood with what emphasis this unexpected offer came to them.
SAVED FROM DROWNING.
A poor German woman rushed frantically through the street and into the house of a countrywoman, very little better off than herself, declaring she would drown herself that very night if no one would give her work. A family on the same floor gave her the use of a very small, bare room for one week, free of charge; after that, it would be eighty cents per week rent. Her countrywoman shared with her, such as she had for the evening and the morning, and after the breakfast, sent for a good, ever-ready missionary to talk and pray her into a better frame of mind. He did so, but confirmed and rested her faith on substantial works. He procured employment for her before the sun set; enough to pay the rent and get a little common food. Then obtained coal sufficient to last a couple of months; and so, leading her little by little into light and hope, drew her into regular attendance at the Mission chapel in her neighborhood.
THE WIDOW IN "WANT".
A home missionary in Brooklyn, who has an enviable reputation for his entire consecration to the work of helping the poor, one day when engaged in his benevolent works, entered a restaurant, kept by a Christian friend, a man of like spirit with himself, who, in the course of conversation, related to him the following circumstances, illustrative of the power of prayer.
He had, on a certain day, cleared a large sum, part of which consisted of Mexican dollars. Returning home in high spirits, he felt as if he could go to sleep sweetly on this silver pillow. But a thought suddenly intruded, which gave a new turn to his feelings. It related to a poor woman in his neighborhood, the widow of a very dear friend of his, whom he knew to be in want. "Shall I take all this money to myself?" thought he. "Does not the Providence who gave it to me say, No! Give some of it to the widow of your friend."
With this impression he retired, as was his habit, quite early, but he could not sleep. The thought of the needy widow haunted him. "I will go to-morrow," said he to himself, "and see what I can do for her." But this good intention proved no opiate to his disturbed mind. "Possibly she or I may not live to see to-morrow." Something seemed to say go now. He tossed from side to side, but could not sleep. Go now kept ringing in his ear. So at length the restless man had to dress himself and go.
At this late hour, not far from eleven, he sallied forth to find the widow. Seeing a dim light in the upper story where she resided, and following its lead, he crept softly along on the stairway, until he reached the room from which a low sound issued. The door was slightly ajar; through which he could hear the voice of prayer, scarcely audible, but deeply earnest. He dared hardly stir, lest he should disturb the praying widow. But he came on an errand, and he must accomplish it. But how? Recollecting at the moment, that he had in his pocket a few of the Mexican dollars, he gently pushed at the door, and it opened just wide enough for his purpose. So taking each piece of money between his fingers, he rolled it in along the carpet, and withdrew as noiselessly as he had ascended. Returning to his home, he fell asleep and slept soundly, as well he might, after this act.
The widow at length arose from her knees, and was struck on seeing the shining money lying about her floor. Where had these pieces of silver come from? Here was a mystery she could not solve. But she knew it was from the Lord, and that he had answered her prayer. So with tears of gratitude, she gave thanks to Him, "whose is the silver and the gold."
Shortly after this event, she attended prayer-meeting, where she felt constrained to make known this wonderful interposition in answer to prayer. The Christians present were as much astonished as herself. The silence which ensued was broken by a brother of that church, who rose and said, "What this good woman has told you, is strictly true. These dollars came from the Lord. They came in answer to her prayer." He then detailed the circumstances before related. "God deputed me to carry this money, and providentially I am here to night to testify to the fact that God hears and answers prayer."
It seems, from a subsequent statement, that this widow, owed a certain sum, that she was obliged to pay immediately, and having nothing in hand, she was pleading, that night, that her Heavenly Father would send her the needed amount.
THE SEWING GIRL RELIEVED JUST IN TIME.
A sick Scotch girl was found lying on a narrow bed in a close, uncomfortable room, her sobs audible to the missionary, when half-way up the stairs. Her story was short. When about, she earned three dollars and a half a week, at a business that was killing her. Of that, she paid three dollars for her board; leaving but the half-dollar for clothing or incidentals. But now -- she had been lying there two weeks; six dollars were due for board, and still she was unable to rise, and, when she did, how could she ever pay the back indebtedness?
The woman with whom she lived, was too poor herself to give her the lost time, and, moreover, was one of the class whom struggle and battle hardens. The missionary came just in time to quell the poor girl's fears, and paid her debts; mind and body were set at rest, and, one or two Christian ladies being made acquainted with the case, attended to the comforts which hastened her recovery; and, when once more pursuing her avocation, her "mither's God" seemed very near, not as one afar off.
PRAYING FOR A HOME.
A young Southern girl, who had lost a position through five months' sickness, and found herself, at last, in the street and penniless, turned her steps to a daily prayer-meeting. She said her earliest impressions from her mother were, that the Lord never failed those who really put their trust in Him. She had sought work for food and shelter, though destitute of sufficient covering to keep her from trembling with cold, and, so far, sought in vain; but she was sure it was waiting for her somewhere, and she thought perhaps God's people could tell her where. She was right. A sweet-faced lady, who had listened, said she wanted some young girl who might help her a little when she left for her summer residence, and she had been waiting to find a child of pious parents. Bessie went home with her from that very meeting, and, in two weeks, came back, with bright eyes and warm, good clothing, to say good-by to the ladies who had spoken to her so kindly, and, in whose midst, she had found a second mother. They were to leave town the next day, and she asked permission to come to the meeting once more and tell what the Lord had done for her.
HOW MUCH GOOD TWO DOLLARS DID.
A lady sent two dollars to a brave-hearted sister -- who, by faith alone, and not by money, had gathered some sick and poor about her, and lived only by prayer -- and a note of apology and half-contempt that it was such a miserable pittance. She received, in reply, the following little financial statement:
"My Dear Friend: -- Remember the five loaves and two fishes, and listen to the message of your two dollars. This is the way I expended it:
Corned beef,. . . . . . . . . . . . . [USD]0 80
The balance bought the coal with which it was cooked, and fifteen people were fed!"
SAVED FROM STARVATION.
On the second floor of a rear house lived a lady well known once as among the foremost members of a wealthy church. The first blow of adversity opened a wide passage for a succession of disasters. She passed through the whole sliding scale, until the missionary found her in the poor, dilapidated tenement where, for two days and nights, she had lain in bed to keep warm; or as nearly so as her scanty covering would admit.
It was Saturday, and the only food she had to keep her alive until Monday, was two soda biscuits! She had sold everything comfortable in the way of furniture; all her clothing but one respectable suit for the street, and the only thing remaining, that pointed to the history of better days, was a pair of gold eye-glasses, given her by her dying mother. Within a few months her dire necessity had often pointed to the glasses; but she could not see without them, nor could she sell the gold frames unless she had means to have the glass set in commoner ones. Moreover, the harpies who feed and thrive on the miseries of the poor, would in no case have given her more than twenty-five cents for them; and the short respite derived from that amount would not have compensated for the sacrifice. She had looked at them that morning; felt that starve she must and would, but that souvenir of her mother should never leave her. She went back to bed and prayed fervently that the Lord would show her some way of escape, or take her that day to himself. She slept an hour or two, and then awakened, strong in the conviction that he would show her some way before night, and though it was six o'clock P.M., before the missionary called, no doubt had arisen to trouble her mind; and as soon as he entered and introduced himself, she said -- "You are a messenger from the Lord, sir; I have been expecting you."
GOD WITH US.
An old woman was taking home' some sewing the night before, and passing through a narrow and dark street, was knocked down by a runaway horse. Taken up senseless and unknown, she was carried into the house of a kind family who sent for a physician. It was not till next morning that she recovered consciousness, and was able to give her address. A messenger was at once dispatched to her husband, who was supposed to be wild with terror. He was truly thankful to hear from human lips of her whereabouts; but said he knew she was not dead, and he would see her in the morning; for the Lord had been with him all night and assured him of it. He had also kept the fire from going out; and now that she would be brought home in a few hours, he was ready to trust his Father, as he had been through the night. His hourly friend was Immanuel, God with us; not God somewhere or other in infinite space.
A VESSEL SAVED.
A vessel was six months making the passage from Liverpool to Bermuda Island. Fogs enveloped it; winds sent it hither and thither; captain and mate lost their reckoning, lost their senses; and when, added to the rest, the vessel sprung a leak, gave up in despair. Crew and passengers were finally reduced to a few drops of water and one potato a day, and they merely waited death from starvation or drowning. All but one! One man; a minister, whose faith and belief in their final escape burned but brighter and brighter, as the others sank in the gloom of silent despair. A few days before they made the land, the leakage suddenly ceased; no one could account for it; but a week after their arrival, when the vessel had been condemned by the authorities as unsea-worthy, it was proposed to turn it bottom upward and see what stopped the leak. God seemed to have performed a miracle for them, when it was discovered that that end of the vessel was entirely covered with barnacles!
A REMARKABLE PRAYER CONCERNING A REMARKABLE TEXT.
A clergyman, accustomed to preach regularly in his journey through Fleming Circuit, Kentucky, was preparing on one Saturday for the labors of the next day. He was then staying at the residence of a family named Bowers, from which he was to journey the next day five miles to preach at 11 A.M., at a church called Mt. Olivet. On this Saturday, as he relates the incident, as soon and as privately as practicable, I pored over the Bible in quest of a suitable subject for the next day at Mount Olivet, and strange to tell! not one passage in the whole Book, that afternoon and night, could I fix upon, as, in my estimation, suitable for the next day. There was one passage, (two or three clauses of which I had by some means got fixed in my memory), that early that afternoon appeared in my mind as though each word was written in CAPITAL LETTERS. I turned to the whole passage as soon as I could find it; Heb.6: 4-6; and read, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened," etc., etc. I had previously studied that whole subject, as recorded in the original, and as disposed of by learned Commentators of different creeds. I had settled in my own mind the import of the passage. But it seemed unsuitable for me, not then three years old in the ministry, to attempt the settlement of a theological question, about which the best and most learned of modern days had differed. I therefore tried to dismiss it from my mind, and to find some passage more suitable for the coming morrow. But my constant effort proved unsuccessful; and the said passage in Hebrews often recurred to my mind. Thus passed my time till I had to go to bed, resolving to attempt an early settlement of the growing difficulty next morning. But the morning studies produced no change in the unsettled state of the question, what shall I preach from to-day? Thus matters remained until I reached Mount Olivet, and had to begin service without a text. But I concluded if a suitable text did not occur while singing, praying and reading some Scripture lesson, rather than have no text, I would take Heb.6: 4-6. And, cornered in this dilemma, so I did, and used it as well as I could.
I then passed around the circuit as usual, and the fourth Saturday thereafter, I arrived again at Brother Bowers', preached, met the class, etc. Then, when all the class had left the room except their own family, Brother and Sister Bowers said to me, each manifesting intense feeling and interest, "Have you heard of the strange thing that happened when you were here four weeks ago?" Said I, "No! what was it?" They said, "Did you see a man sitting in the house while you was preaching to-day?" describing his dress, looks, etc. I answered, "Yes." Said they, "Did you see a woman sitting over there," describing her? I said, "Yea." Said they, "They are husband and wife -- their name is -- (I have long since forgotten the name) -- they are good members of the Presbyterian church, their children are members of our class, as you have called their names every time you have examined us. The man and his wife were here and heard you four weeks ago -- they know our rules, and when those not of our church were dismissed, they left their children with us, as usual, and their parents started home. And, as they themselves tell us and others, as they went along, said the woman to her husband, 'Does not Mr. Akers preach to-morrow at Mount Olivet?' And he answered, 'I believe he does.' Said she, 'Well, if I thought he would take a certain text I would like very much to go and hear him.' Said her husband, 'What text?' And she repeated the whole passage in Hebrews 6:4-6. Said her husband, 'Well, I reckon he will take some subject that will be interesting, and if you say so we will not go to our own church to-morrow, we will go to Mount Olivet.' She answered, 'Agreed, and I do pray the Lord that he may take that text.' And she says, she continued to pray all that evening and next morning, until sitting in the church at Mount Olivet, she heard you read out the said text, when she knew the Lord had answered her prayer, and she could scarcely help from loud crying of thanks to God."
I then told Brother and Sister Bowers my troubles about that text, as above stated. The Lord answers prayer.
HOW SHE LEARNED TO LOVE THE BIBLE.
The Rev. Frederick G. Clark thus writes of an answer to prayer, from one who wanted to love the Bible more:
"Twenty-seven years ago, in the congregation of my first charge, was a lady whose love for the Bible was something remarkable. In the confidence of a pastoral visit, she told me of her joy in the divine word, and also recited the incidents of her experience in this regard. She had formerly read her Bible as so many do -- a chapter now, and a halfchapter then, without much interest or profit. She was, even then, most interested in religious things. But her chief sources of spiritual strength were in such writings as those of Baxter, Payson and Robert Phillips. It was her custom to read the Bible from duty, and then turn to these uninspired volumes for the kindling of a higher devotion. For a good while this satisfied her; but, at length, she came to feel grieved about it. She thought it a dishonor to God's word that any book should be as interesting to her as the Bible. She tried to change this, but, at first, with little success. The Bible was still duty -- Baxter was pleasure and spiritual elevation.
"At length, she could bear it no longer; so she took the case to God, with strong crying. She told her Heavenly Father how grieved she was that any book should rival the Bible in her affections. She asked this one thing -- and she renewed her prayer every day -- that her first delight might be in reading the word of God. I think it was some time before she felt that her request was granted. But, at length, the answer to her prayer was complete and marvelous. A strange light came over the sacred page. A fascination held her to her Bible. She discovered a depth, a meaning, a curiosity, a charm, which were all new and most wonderful. Sometimes, when she had finished reading her Bible for the night, and had closed the book and had moved towards her bed, she would go back again and enjoy the luxury of a few more verses.
THE BLIND RESTORED TO SIGHT.
At the age of twenty years, a lady in Winchester, Iowa, began to lose her health, and in a short time was confined to her bed. And she writes: -- "In addition to this I lost the use of my eyes, and was blind and helpless, a greater portion of my time for five years.
"I enjoyed the blessing of prayer and trust some six months before feeling a liberty to pray for the healing of my body; fearing I should desire it without due submission to God's will. It was with fear and trembling that I first made known this request. Though my pleadings in this direction were earnest, and often agonizing, yet I could say with a fervor as never before, 'Not my will, but thine be done.'
"About the end of November, or early in December, 1873, I realized that my faith was perfect, that I was ready now to be healed, that my faith was momentarily waiting on God, resting without a doubt on the promises. From this time forward my faith remained fixed with but one exception. During the time between December, 1873, and July, 1874, I was healed to such an extent that I could walk some, and see more or less every day, though sometimes with only one of my eyes. A portion of this time I felt as though in a furnace of fire; but amid the flames I realized the presence of the Son of God, who said, 'have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.' This for a time seemed an answer to my petition, and so thought it my life-work to suffer; for a while my faith became inactive, and I almost ceased praying for my health. Though I felt submissive, yet somehow I was soon crying, and that most instinctively, 'Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.' After this, my faith did not waver. Oh, the lesson of patience I learned in thus waiting on God's good time. And with what comfort could I present my body an offering to Him, realizing that as soon as at all possible with His will, I should be healed; I had an assurance of this, but did not know whether it would be during life, or accomplished only at death.
"In this manner I waited before God until the morning of the 29th of July, when, without ecstasy of joy, or extra illumination, came a sense of the presence of Jesus, and a presentation of this gift, accompanied with these words: 'Here is the gift for which you have been praying; are you willing to receive it?'
"I at first felt the incoming of the Divine power at the parts diseased, steadily driving out the same, until death was swallowed up in victory. I at once arose from my bed, and proceeded to work about the house, to the great astonishment of my friends, some of whom thought me wild; but I continued my work, assuring them that Jesus had healed me. Realizing the scrutiny and doubt with which I was observed, I said to my father, 'What do you think?' He replied, 'It is supernatural power; no one can deny it.'
"My healing took place on Wednesday; on Saturday was persuaded to lie down, which I did, but found the bed was no place for me; thought of Peter's wife's mother, who 'arose and ministered to them; knew that to her, strength, as well as health, was instantly given, as in the case of the palsied man, who rose, took up his bed, and departed. I returned to my work, backing my experience with those in God's word, and since then have not lain down during the day time.
"My friends could not realize the completeness of the cure, until I read a full hour, and that by lamp-light, and until asked to desist, the first opportunity after being healed.
"A week from this time, I discharged the hired girl, taking charge of the household work, which I have continued with perfect ease. About four weeks after my healing, had occasion to walk four miles, which I did with little or no weariness. Let me add to the praise of God, that I have no disease whatever. Am able to do more hard work with less weariness, than at any other period in my life, and faith in the Lord is the balm that made me whole."
THE WIDOW'S SHOES.
A poor woman -- a widow with an invalid son -- a member of the church, could not attend church, or the neighborhood prayer-meetings, for the want of shoes. She asked the Lord for the shoes. That very day the village school-master called in to see her son. Meanwhile he noticed that the boy's mother had very poor shoes. He said nothing, but felt impressed, and inwardly resolved to purchase the poor woman a pair of shoes forthwith. He accordingly hired a horse, rode two miles on horseback to a shoe-store, bought the shoes, and requested them sent to the widow's cottage without delay. They proved a perfect fit; and that very night the overjoyed woman hurried to the prayer-meeting to announce that in answer to prayer the Lord had sent her the shoes.
The young school-master, who, I suspect, was my informant himself, now a venerable, white-haired man, heard the poor woman's testimony; and his pillow that night was wet with tears of gratitude and joy because God had used him thus to bless the poor widow, and to answer her prayers.
A REMARKABLE DREAM.
The late Dr. Whitehead was accustomed to repeat with pleasure' the following fact: In the year 1764, he was stationed as an itinerant preacher in Cornwall. He had to preach one evening in a little village where there was a small Methodist Society. "The friend," said he, "at whose house we preached, had at that time a daughter, who lived with one of our people about ten miles off. His wife was gone to attend her daughter, who was dangerously ill of a fever; and her husband had that day received a message from her, informing him that his child's life was despaired of. He earnestly and with tears desired Mr. Whitehead to recommend his daughter to God in prayer, both before and after preaching. He did so in the most warm and affectionate manner. Late that evening, or very early next morning, while the young woman's mother was sitting by her daughter's bedside (who had been in a strong delirium for several days), she opened her eyes and hastily addressed her mother thus: 'O mother! I have been dreaming that I saw a man lifting up his eyes and hands to heaven, and fervently praying to God for my recovery! The Lord has heard his prayers, and my fever is gone; and what is far better, the Lord has spoken peace to my soul, and sealed His pardoning love on my heart. I know it, I feel it, my dear mother; and His Spirit bears witness with my spirit, that I am a child of God, and an heir of glory.' Her mother, thinking that she was still in delirium, desired her to compose herself, and remain quiet. The daughter replied, 'My dear mother, I am in no delirium now; I am perfectly in my senses; do help me to rise, that upon my bended knees I may praise God.' Her mother did so, and they both praised God with joyful hearts, and from that hour the young woman recovered so fast, that she was soon able to attend to the affairs of the family where she lived. She had never seen Mr. Whitehead, previous to this remarkable time; but some weeks after, she saw him, and the moment she beheld his face, she fainted away. As soon as she came to herself, she said, 'Sir, you are the person I saw in my dream, when I was ill in a violent fever; and I beheld you lift up your hands and eyes to heaven, and most fervently pray for my recovery and conversion to God. The Lord, in mercy, heard your prayers, and answered them to the healing of my wounded spirit, and to the restoration of my body. I have walked in the light of His countenance from that time to the present, and I trust I shall do so as long as I live.' How remarkably does this circumstance illustrate the words of St. James, 'The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him!'"
"YOU MUST NOT GO."
A remarkable instance of deep impression occasionally made by the Holy Spirit on the mind of the Rev. William Bramwell during prayer, occurred in Liverpool. A pious young woman, a member of Society, wished to go to her friends, then living in Jamaica. She took her passage, had her luggage taken on board, and expected to sail on the following day. Having the greatest respect for Mr. Bramwell, she waited upon him, to take leave and request an interest in his prayers. Before parting, they knelt down, and he recommended her to the care of God. After he had been engaged in prayer some time, he suddenly paused, and thus addressed her, "My dear sister, you must not go to-morrow. God has just told me you must not go." She was surprised, but he was positive, and prevailed upon her to postpone her voyage, and assisted her to remove her luggage out of the vessel. The ship sailed, and in about six weeks intelligence arrived that the vessel was lost, and all on board had perished.
A correspondent of the Guide to Holiness says: "We remember a poor woman who had had a life of sore vicissitude which she bore with remarkable Christian cheerfulness; and after a time of the suspension of trial, a bad prospect came in sight. She resorted to a friend to whom she confidingly related the threatening evil, and at parting said, 'Oh pray for us.' The case as it was known was taken immediately that early morning to the throne of grace and laid out in all its circumstances with a deeply sympathizing heart, and a consciousness of the past sufferings of that woman -- and as the friend rose from prayer, the answer was given that the evil was averted, and a new change would come to that afflicted one.
"That very day a strange deliverance and opening appeared which set that family at rest from their peculiar trials for the rest of life."
HOW A POOR LITTLE CRIPPLE CONVERTED A VILLAGE.
Mr. D.L. Moody relates the instance of a poor little cripple, whose prayers were answered to the conversion of fifty-six people.
"I once knew a little cripple who lay upon her death bed. She had given herself to God, and was distressed only because she could not labor for Him actively among the lost. Her clergyman visited her, and hearing her complaint, told her from her sick bed she could pray; to pray for those she wished to see turning to God. He told her to write the names down, and then to pray earnestly; he went away and thought of the subject no more.
"Soon a feeling of religious interest sprang up in the village, and the churches were crowded nightly. The little cripple heard of the progress of the revival, and inquired anxiously for the names of the saved. A few weeks later she died, and among a roll of papers that was found under her little pillow, was one bearing the names of fifty-six persons, every one of whom had in the revival been converted. By each name was a little cross by which the poor crippled saint had checked off the names of the converts as they had been reported to her."
PLEASE GOD, GIVE US A HOME.
Mr. Moody tells of a beautiful answer to the faith of a little child.
"I remember a child that lived with her parents in a small village. One day the news came that her father had joined the army (it was the beginning of our war), and a few days after, the landlord came to demand the rent. The mother told him she hadn't got it, and that her husband had gone into the army. He was a hard-hearted wretch, and he stormed, and said that they must leave the house; he wasn't going to have people who couldn't pay the rent.
"After he was gone, the mother threw herself into the armchair, and began to weep bitterly. Her little girl, whom she taught to pray in faith, (but it is more difficult to practice than to preach,) came up to her, and said, 'What makes you cry, mamma, I will pray to God to give us a little home, and won't He?' What could the mother say? So the little child went into the next room and began to pray. The door was open, and the mother could hear every word.
"'O, God, you have come and taken away father, and mamma has got no money, and the landlord will turn us out because we can't pay, and we will have to sit on the door-step, and mamma will catch cold. Give us a little home.' Then she waited as if for an answer, and then added, 'Won't you, please, God?'
"She came out of that room quite happy, expecting a home to be given them. The mother felt reproved. God heard the prayer of that little one, for he touched the heart of the cruel landlord, and she has never paid any rent since."
God give us the faith of that little child, that we may likewise expect an answer, "nothing wavering."
"OF COURSE HE WILL."
Mr. Moody also gives the story of a little child whose father and mother had died, and she was taken into another family. The first night she asked if she could pray, as she used to do.
They said, Oh, yes! So she knelt down, and prayed as her mother taught her, and when that was ended she added a little prayer of her own: "Oh, God, make these people as kind to me as father and mother were." Then she paused, and looked up, as if expecting an answer, and added, "Of course he will."
How sweetly simple was that little one's faith; she expected God to "do," and she got her request.
The following incidents are specially contributed to these pages by Rev. J.S. Bass, a Home Missionary of Brooklyn, N.Y.:
"While living in Canada, my eldest daughter, then a girl of ten years of age, rather delicate and of feeble health, had a severe attack of chorea, "St. Vitus's dance." To those who have had any experience in this distressing complaint, nothing need be said of the deep affliction of the household at the sight of our loved one, as all her muscles appeared to be affected, the face distorted with protrusion of the tongue, and the continuous involuntary motions by jerks of her limbs. The ablest medical advice and assistance were employed, and all that the sympathy of friends and the skill of physicians could do were of no avail. She grew worse rather than better, and death was looked to as a happy release to the sufferings of the child, and the anguish of the parents; as the medical men had given as their opinion that the mind of the child would become diseased, and if her life were lengthened, it would be an enfeebled body united to an idiotic mind.
"But God was better to us than our most sanguine hopes far better to us than our fears.
"In our trouble we thought on God, and asked his help. We knew we had the prayers of some of God's chosen ones. On a certain Sunday morning I left my home to fill an appointment in the Wesleyan chapel in the village of Cooksville, two miles distant. I left with a heavy heart. My child was distressing to look upon, my wife and her sister were worn out with watching and fatigue. It was only from a sense of duty that I left my home that morning. During the sermon God refreshed and encouraged my heart still to trust in him. After the service, many of the congregation tarried to inquire of my daughter's condition, among them an aged saint, Sister Wilson, widow of a Wesleyan preacher, and Sister Galbraith, wife of the class-leader. Mother Wilson encouraged me to 'hope in God,' saying 'the sisters of the church have decided to spend to-morrow morning together in supplication and prayer for you and your family, and that God would cure Ruth.'
"Monday morning came. Ruth had passed a restless night. Weak and emaciated, her head was held that a tea-spoonful of water should be given her. My duties called me away (immediately after breakfast) to a neighbor's; about noon, a messenger came, in great haste, to call me home. On entering the sick-chamber, I noticed the trundle-bed empty, and my little girl, with smiling face, sitting in a chair at the window, (say eight feet from the bed.) I learned from the child that, while on the bed, the thought came to her that, if she could only get her feet on the floor, the Lord would help her to sit up. By an effort, she succeeded, moving herself to the edge of the bed, put her legs over the side until her feet touched the floor, and sat up. She then thought, if she tried, the Lord would help her to stand up, and then to walk; all of which she accomplished, without any human aid, she being left in the room alone. The same afternoon she was in the yard playing with her brothers, quickly gained flesh, recovered strength, with intellect clear and bright; she lived to the age of twenty-two, never again afflicted with this disease, or anything like it. At the age of twenty-two, ripe for heaven, it pleased God to take her to himself.
"The sisters, led by Mother Wilson, waited on God in prayer, and God fulfilled that day the promise -- Isaiah 65:24: 'And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.'"
A REMARKABLE CASE.
On the afternoon of Monday, August 20, 1869, I was sent for to visit Mrs. M., who was reported to be very sick. Arriving at the house, I was told that "Mrs. M., after a hard day's work, had retired to rest Saturday night in her usual state of health, that immediately after getting in bed she had fallen asleep and had not awoke up to this time, (6 o'clock Monday evening,) that three physicians had been in attendance for 30 hours, that all their efforts to arouse her were without avail."
In the chamber, Mrs. M. lay in the bed apparently in a troubled sleep, she was a woman of medium size, about 50 years of age, the mother of a large family; around her bed stood her husband, four sons and a daughter, and relatives, about twelve persons in all. The husband and sons were irreligious, but awed in the presence of this affliction.
I felt, as perhaps I never felt before, my ignorance, my helplessness, and the necessity of entire dependence on God for guidance and inspiration, that prayer should be made in accordance with his will.
I knelt at the bedside and held the woman's hand in mine, lifted up my heart to God and prayed, "If it be thy will and for thy glory, and for the good of this family, grant that this woman may once more open her eyes to look upon her children, once more open her lips in counsel and holy admonition." While thus praying, as I believe, inspired by the Spirit of God, and with faith in Jesus Christ, I was conscious of a movement around me, and opening my eyes, I saw Mrs. M. sitting up in bed. Some of the persons in the room were weeping, others laughing; the sons came nearer the bed, and asked, "Mother, do you know me? do you know me?" She called each by name, and beckoned to her daughter, held her by the hand. I, poor faithless one, was wondering what does this mean? One of the sons took me by the hand saying, "Oh! Mr. Bass, God heard and answered that prayer." I sung the hymn, "There is a fountain filled with blood," Mrs. M. singing to the close, and then, apparently exhausted, sank back on the pillow, speechless and unconscious. The physicians were sent for, came, wondered, speculated, administered medicine, blistered the calves of the legs, and cupped the back of the neck, but to no purpose. She remained in speechless unconsciousness till the next afternoon, when, while prayer was being made, she again opened her eyes, sat up and conversed with her children and friends. In a few days she resumed her household duties, enjoying a good degree of health and strength, and faithfully serving God and her generation until it pleased God to call her home to the rest prepared for the people of God, three years after the incident, the subject of this paper.
A LITTLE GIRL'S BEAUTIFUL FAITH.
A little German girl, who had never hitherto known the name of the Lord Jesus, was led to attend a Mission school. It was the custom at the school, before the little ones received their dinner, to lift their hands and thank God for their food.
When in course of time she spent her days at home, and her father's family were gathered around their own table, this little girl said:
"Pa, we must hold up our hand's and thank God before we eat. That's the way we do at the Mission."
So winning was the little one in her ways, the parents yielded at once.
At another time her father was sick and unable to work, and the little girl said, "Pa, I'm going to pray that you may get well and go to work to-morrow morning."
At four o'clock in the morning she awoke and called out, "Pa, don't you feel better." The father said, "Yes, I am better," and he went to his work in the morning, although weak and obliged to rest by the way.
There came a time once when he could not get work, and there was no food in the house for dinner.
This little girl knelt down and asked God to send them their dinner, and when she rose from her knees, she said, "Now we must wait till the whistle blows, till 12 o'clock."
At twelve o'clock the whistle blew, and the little girl said, "Get the table ready, it is coming," and just then in came a neighbor with soup for their dinner.
THE LORD HELPS TO PAY DEBTS.
The author of this incident is known to the editor of "Remarkable Providences," and speaking of it says: "God never gave me exactly what I wanted. He always gave me more."
"When I married I was a working man; I had not much money to spare. In about three months after my marriage, I fell ill, and my illness continued for more than nine months. At that period I was in great distress. I owed a sum of money and had no means to pay it. It must be paid on a certain day, or I must go to jail. I had no food for myself or wife; and in this distress I went up to my room, and took my Bible. I got down on my knees and opened it, laid my fingers on several of the promises, and claimed them as mine. I said, 'Lord, this is thine own word of promise; I claim thy promises.' I endeavored to lay hold of them by faith. I wrestled with God for sometime in this way. I got up off my knees, and walked about some time. I then went to bed, and took my Bible, and opened it on these words: 'Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.'
"I said, 'it is enough, Lord.' I knew deliverance would come, and I praised God with my whole heart. Whilst in this frame of mind I heard a knock at the door. I went and opened it and a man handed me a letter. I turned to look at the letter, and when I looked up again, the man was gone.
"The letter contained the sum I wanted, and five shillings over. It is now eighteen years ago. I never knew who sent it. God only knows. Thus God delivered me out of all my distress. To Him be all the praise."
PRAYING FOR A LOST POCKET-BOOK.
A contributor to The Christian writes as follows:
"A few months since I lost my pocket-book, containing money and papers of a large amount -- more than I felt able to lose -- and which I should feel the loss of, as I was owing at that time about the same amount.
"On the day of my loss, I had been from home about a mile and a half, and it was about 9 o'clock in the evening, when I returned. And it was not till then that I ascertained my loss.
"My health was very poor, and the prospect of regaining the lost pocket-book was quite uncertain; it was so dark that I thought it would be impossible for me to find it. Consequently I determined to remain awake during the night, and at 3 o'clock in the morning search for it, and if possible, find it before any one should pass over the road.
"The seeming impossibility of finding it, and the reflections consequent upon the loss of the money were so unpleasant to me that I was led to make it a subject of prayer, fully trusting that in some way God would so direct that I should come in possession of it. If so, I determined to give him [USD]25 of it.
"As soon as I had formed this purpose, all that unpleasant feeling left me, and I did not admit a single doubt but I should get it.
"Accordingly, at 3 o'clock in the morning I made a thorough search, but could not find it. Yet my faith in God's guiding hand did not fail me, and I believed that my trust would be realized.
"While I was thus thinking of the certainty of the fulfillment of the promises of the Gospel to the believer, I was called on by a gentleman, a leading business man of the place, who came to know if I had lost anything.
"I told him I had lost my pocket-book. He wanted to know how much it contained. I told him. He said his son had occasion to pass early on that morning, and had found it in the road, and that in all probability I should otherwise have lost it, as two men passed by immediately after it was found.
"Thus God found it and returned it to me."
* * * * *