A trustful Christian, whose heart had been deeply touched with thoughts of religion, was one day thinking and pondering and wishing that he might be more truly convinced of the actual existence of the Holy Spirit. "If," thought he, "there is a Holy Spirit, a Superior Mind and Will, I reverently and sincerely wish that I may be convinced of it beyond all doubt; that I may indeed know God is a living reality and daily guide and mighty among the plans and ways of men." Though having all the needed mental, historic and heart belief and trust in God -- still there was desired that special satisfaction which can only come by personal evidence.
With reverent feeling one morning, he asked the Lord humbly, in Prayer, "What can thy servant, do for thee this day? Teach him, that he may gladly minister to any one in thy name." In the course of the day there came to him the thought of the revival services then proceeding in Brooklyn, and feeling a cordial sympathy, he sat down and wrote a letter to Mr. Moody, with these words: "I know not how you are supported, or anything of your needs; but I feel like helping you in your good work. Enclosed find check for [USD]25; take it and use it if you need it for yourself; if not, then do some good with it." The circumstance was almost forgotten, when the day after there came this wonderful reply from Mr. Moody:
"Your letter came to hand in the SAME MAIL, at the SAME INSTANT of TIME, with a letter from a brother in distress WANTING THE SAME AMOUNT. And now you have made him happy, and my heart glad, and the Lord will bless you for it."
Had there been a direct revelation from heaven, it could not have been more astounding than this, to the heart of that Christian. His own prayer was answered, as to his search for the evidences of the Holy Spirit, but oh, how wonderfully!
None but a Superior, Higher, Overruling Spirit, could have known the thoughts and desires of each heart. Nothing but an Omnipotent hand of Power and Wisdom could have brought these two letters together at that identical instant of time. None but an All-knowing Father could have fixed the amount of money which the one was to give and the other was to pray for.
This was a wonderful conjuncture of time, desire and amount, and could never have happened by any chance operation of Nature or the natural heart and will. Strangest of all, neither of the parties had ever met, known or corresponded with each other before. Neither did Mr. Moody know of the desire of the one, nor the necessity of the other, until in the act of opening the two letters side by side. In the one envelope was the prayer; in the other the answer.
That check, those letters, with all signatures and endorsements and those persons are this day living and can testify to the authenticity of the circumstance.
THE PRAYER OF FAITH.
The family of Mr. James R. Jordan has resided in Lake View, Chicago, since the spring of 1871. They are members of Lincoln Park Congregational Church. The father, Mr. James R. Jordan, died in October, 1882, aged eighty-four years. Through a long series of financial trials, sorrows, afflictions by death and pressing cares, this family learned to depend on God for their daily prosperity; and the cures wrought in them, according to God's Word, are only a small portion of the remarkable answers to prayer with which their history is filled.
It is an instructive fact for Christian meditation, that when the exercise of intelligent faith was necessary to their cures, the faith was there ready for exercise. They had not to begin, as, alas! so many do, at the very foundation, and find out first, what faith is, and next, how to exercise it. They had learned long before what faith is and what faith is not; that faith is trustful obedience to the Word of God; that it is not a determination to have one's own way, nor to expect the immediate gratification of a desire, simply because the desire has been made known to God. They knew that faith obediently accepts God's commands and promises, expects to comply with the conditions of those commands and promises, and, so complying, expects to receive the results of such obedience at such times and in such ways as God appoints; all of which truths they found, and all of which may be found in the Holy Scriptures.
Thus living in the hopes of the Gospel, realizing as much that their "home is in heaven" as that their "rest is not here," they have, through the years, performed the daily duties of their pilgrimage.
The writer has known them for thirteen years, and gratefully testifies that their faith has strengthened her's, and that their cheerful hope in the Lord has been a strong consolation to many who were in trouble.
After the sudden death of the youngest son of the family, in 1880, the care of the family devolved entirely upon the two daughters, Mrs. H.J. Furlong and Miss Addie S. Jordan.
In April, 1876, Mrs. Jordan fell and badly fractured her hip. She was then seventy-seven years old. On account of her age she could not well be etherized, nor endure the repeated necessary resetting of the bones, and consequently they grew together irregularly. Her hip-joint was stiff, so that she was never able to walk without the support of a cane or crutch. For eight years she could not leave her own little yard, nor climb into a carriage, nor walk without support.
Through this misfortune her afflictions grew worse. In January, 1884, she fell and broke one bone and dislocated another in the left wrist. Notwithstanding all that medical help could do, the shock brought on a severe sickness, and when, after eight weeks, she left her bed to move around feebly, she had almost lost her sight and hearing, her hand was useless, and her mind greatly impaired.
On her birthday, June 10, 1884, when she was eighty-five years old, she greatly mourned that she had outlived her usefulness; that she could no longer feed herself, nor read her Bible, nor remember the desirable subjects for her prayers, and she hoped that she should not linger here long in such a helpless and useless condition.
During the latter part of this time the two daughters were sick, Mrs. Furlong with paralysis and Miss Jordan with consumption.
In the latter part of 1882 Miss Jordan, then in feeble health, was needed at home to attend the father's last sickness, and Mrs. Furlong was left to conduct their business alone. 'The extraordinary exertion brought on paralysis. It began in her right arm, which became so insensible that the strongest ammonia produced no sensation or apparent effect. Gradually her whole right side lost power, her foot dragged, and though she did manage to move about, she was comparatively helpless. Physicians spoke not hopefully; and protracted rest was recommended as a possible relief. She planned to take electric treatment, though not very hopeful about the result. She failed once to meet her physician, and while planning the second time to take the treatment, and considering Christ's miracles of healing, and the Bible's promises to the sick, and having a feeling that possibly she might be doing wrong in not relying entirely on the Lord, who had hitherto so much helped them, she delayed a little, and failed again to meet the appointment. It was a Saturday evening in January, 1883.
She went home and sat down that evening alone, in the dining-room, depressed. The enfeebled family -- the aged crippled mother, the sick sister and her own young son -- had retired. As she thought the subject through, she became convinced that it was not good to spend time and money in the way proposed. Instantly the words THE SAVIOUR filled her soul with indescribable hope, and as she thought of His miracles, and how the same Jesus, on earth, healed paralyzed ones, the hope grew that He would heal her.
With the well hand she stretched out her paralyzed hand on the table and said: "Dear Lord, will you heal me?" Like an electric shock the life began to move in her arm, and the continued sensation was as though something that, previously, had not moved was set in motion. The feeling passed up to the head, and down the body to the foot. She was healed! and she was grateful! She did not speak of her experience to the family, but retired. She rose early the next morning, and awoke her son, -- a prayerful, dutiful young man, -- and said to him, "I'm going to church, to-day." He replied, "Then I'll get up and go with you," expecting that she must ride.
Her soul was solemnly full that day of the felt presence of the Holy Spirit, and she did not like to talk. Her son watched her movements, astonished.
She went to the church, took a class again in Sunday School, and; in going back and forth to church that day and evening, walked about sixty blocks without weariness.
We are not permitted, here, to draw aside the curtain, to dwell upon the surprises and the grateful joy of that ever-to-be-remembered, sacred day.
A few days after this healing, she, with a consciousness that she was running a risk, lifted a heavy weight, and a numbness returned. She confessed the sin to the Lord, and asked Him that, when she had been sufficiently chastened, He would take the trouble away. Gradually, within two days, it disappeared, and has never returned.
At the time when Mrs. Furlong was healed, in answer to prayer, Miss. Jordan's case was considered hopeless. Her lungs had been diseased since 1876. In November, 1879, her physician had decided that tubercles had formed in the left lung, and that the right lung was much congested and hardened.
In 1882 she had many hemorrhages, and gradually grew worse, so that she could not use her left arm or shoulder without producing hemorrhage.
Mrs. Furlong, soon after her own healing, received a comforting assurance from the Lord that her sister would be healed; but Miss Jordan, herself, had not that assurance. At this time she took little or no medicines, the physicians and the family having no confidence in their curative effect; but, on the 1st of January, 1884, she had so many chills and hemorrhages, that they sent for the family physician to aid in checking, if possible, the severe attack.
During this apparently rapid descent deathward, Mrs. Furlong continued to repeat to the family and to the physicians that the Lord would heal her sister.
Miss Jordan was one day so low that she could just be aroused to take her medicine. As Mrs. Furlong went to give it, Miss Jordan said to her, "Do you want to throw that medicine away?" Mrs. Furlong said "Yes," and threw it away. Six hours of united waiting upon the Lord followed. They were hours of pain. From nine in the morning till three in the afternoon she suffered indescribable pain. A few minutes after three, the pain left her, and with a bright look she said, "I believe I'm better." She wanted to rise and dress, but Mrs. Furlong advised her to rest through the night. She said she had not, in five years, been so free from weariness and pain.
The aged mother was sick in bed with that broken wrist, and Mrs. Furlong feared that her sister's improved condition would shock and perplex her.
Miss Jordan lay on the lounge the most of the time for two days. One of her expressions was, "It's perfect bliss to lie here free from pain." Her breathing became perfectly natural, and very soon the great hollow place in the upper part of the chest, over the left lung, filled out. Shortly before her healing she only weighed eighty pounds; but a few months after her weight had increased to one hundred and twenty pounds.
She progressed in health rapidly, and on the second Sunday after the healing came she attended church. The feeble mother was most sensitively anxious lest her daughter should pursue some unwarrantable course which should lead to relapse.
Miss Jordan's health steadily improved, but it was several months before a cough entirely left her. You may be sure that doubters made the most of that cough! But it left her! At one time she brought on a slight relapse by giving lessons in crayon drawing. She came to the conclusion that the Lord had other work for her to do: and at this writing, September, 1885, having prayerfully and watchfully followed the leadings of the Lord, is a missionary among the freedmen of the South, and is strong in health and in faith, "giving glory to God."
One of the aged mother's perplexities was that the Lord should want her to live on in such a helpless and useless condition, while her daughters, who might be so useful, must die; but oh, how successful she had by precept and example taught those daughters that "He hath done all things well!" How patiently she suffered whatever she thought was the Lord's will! How sweet was her constant thanksgiving! Said a pious Christian neighbor, whose poor health restricted her attendance at church, "When I'm hungry for a blessing I go down to see old lady Jordan."
After eight painful weeks, she so far recovered from the sickness consequent on the broken and dislocated wrist as to move around feebly, but sight and hearing were almost gone. Her leg was stiff, her hand stiff, her wrist deformed, and her mind greatly impaired.
Miss Jordan became very hopeful, and received strong assurance, in answer to prayer, that her mother might be healed. Mrs. Furlong received no assurance whatever in her mother's case. There was a great deal of talking and praying about it, in the family, and finally Mrs. Jordan humbly claimed the Lord's help, beseeching Him that since He had recorded that He would make the blind to see, the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear, if it was His will He would heal her. This was the night of June 16th, 1884.
In the morning Miss Jordan was so hopeful that she rose early, and attentively listened to the movements in her mother's room. She called the little family's attention to them, saying, "Just listen to her;" and as, holding on by the banister, the aged mother came with her accustomed slow movements down to the dining room, Miss Jordan said, to them, "Now, watch her."
According to the long habit of eight years, she began to reach out for her cane, unconscious that she had been walking around her room with new freedom. Miss Jordan went toward her and said, "Mother, do you want your cane?" and, wondering, the old lady walked freely into the dining room. They gathered around her, and said, "Are you not healed, mother?" and she began to think she was, and sat down in her chair by the table. Could she move her hand? The doubled-up thumb, and straight, stiff finger, were perfectly free and as limber as ever, and the stiff wrist joint moved with perfect freedom! She heard as well as anybody! Could she see? She went up-stairs to her Bible, whose blurred, dim pages she had thought closed to her forever, and she could read as well as ever, and without glasses! She could thread the finest needle. Could she kneel and thank the Lord? She had not knelt for eight years. Yes, she could kneel as well as when she served the Lord in her youth!
Christian reader, stop here and think what a joyful family that was that June morning. That aged saint, of a little more than 85 years, was in good health again! And her two daughters had been snatched from the jaws of death! What a triumph of blessed memories to leave in legacy to that young, hopeful, Christian son, who, in childhood, had himself repeatedly proved that the Lord hears and answers prayer!
Mrs. Jordan has never used cane or crutch since that morning. She has frequently walked five blocks, to go to her church; and, a few weeks after her healing, she one day walked the distance of about fifteen blocks. She has walked for hours in Lincoln Park, among the plants and flowers, and she goes up and down stairs, and wherever she likes, as well as anyone.
She has the use of her faculties, and an altogether comfortable use of her sight, though that is not so acute as at first. Her earliest joy was that she was permitted to see that the Lord had some purpose in sparing her so long.
Dear Christian reader, shall the wonderful manifestation of that "purpose" strengthen your faith? It helps me.
"Is anything too hard for the Lord?" "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him." "If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."
In the hopes of the Gospel,
Miss E. Dryer.
150 Madison St., Chicago.
ALMOST A BANKRUPT.
A prominent Christian had just entered a merchant's counting-room, when the head man of the place said to him, "Let us kneel and ask God to help me through, for without his help, I shall be a bankrupt before the setting of the sun." So they knelt and prayed. That man went through the pressure, and did not become a bankrupt.
"HE COULD NOT FLEE FROM THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT."
A clergyman of distinction gives this instance of the worthlessness of all attempts to flee from the Power of the Spirit.
"I looked out of my window one morning, while it was yet dark, and saw a lady standing at my gate, leaning against a post, and evidently weeping bitterly. I knew her. She was a member of the church, and was an earnest, consistent Christian. She was married to one of the most bitter Universalists I ever knew. I stepped down the steps to her, and asked, 'What is the matter?' She replied, 'Oh, my poor husband! I had so hoped and prayed that he might be converted in this revival! and now he has rode away, and says that he will not come back till this religious flurry is over. What shall I do to bear up under this?'
"I said, 'It is near the time for prayer. We will go and lay his case before the Lord, and make special request that God will bring him back again under the power of the Spirit. The Lord can bring him home, and I believe He will do it. We must pray for him.'
"She dried her tears in a moment, and seemed to seize hold of this 'strong hope,' as we walked to the place of prayer. We found the room crowded. It fell to my lot to lead the meeting.
"At the opening, I stated the case of this Universalist husband, who had undertaken to run away from the influence of the Spirit, by fleeing into the country. I said that we must all pray that the Holy Spirit may follow him, overtake him, and bring him back again, show him his sins, and lead him to Jesus.
"The meeting took up the case with great earnestness, and I could not but feel that prayer would in some way be answered.
"But can you imagine our surprise when, at our evening prayer meeting, this same Universalist came in?
"After standing a few minutes, till the opportunity offered, he said:
"'I went away on horseback this morning, and told my wife I was going into the country to stay till this flurry was over. I rode right over the hills, back from the river, into the country, till I had got eighteen miles away. There, on the top of a hill, I was stopped as Paul was, and just as suddenly, and made to feel what a horrible sinner I am. I am one of the worst sinners that ever lived. I have lost my Universalism, and I know I must be born again, or I can never see the kingdom of Heaven. Oh, pray for me that I may be converted; nothing else will do for me.'
"He took his seat amid the tears and sobs of the whole assembly. The hour was full of prayer for that man's conversion.
"This strong and intelligent man, once one of the bitterest Universalists I ever knew, is now an elder in a Presbyterian church, and one of the most joyous, happy, energetic men of God you will meet in many a day. He believes he was 'converted on the spot in that prayer meeting.'"
LIFE BROUGHT BACK AGAIN IN THE MIDST OF DEATH.
The following instance, when death itself was made to give back the life it claimed, is personally known to us to be true: A mother, in this city, sent a request for prayer to the Fulton street prayer-meeting, asking the Lord for the recovery of her daughter, who was sinking rapidly, and who she felt was almost dying.
Her husband, an eminent physician, and others, also, the most skilled physicians of the city, gave up the case as hopeless. The mother felt that now none but God could or would help; that in the Fulton street prayer-meeting were sympathizing friends, and to it sent her request. She came to the meeting herself, to join in their prayers and testify her faith. The moments of the meeting passed on. One request after another was read, but hers was not touched. She was sadly disappointed. Her child was so weak and almost dying, it could not live the day through, perhaps. The time was within a few minutes, less than three, of the close of the meeting. She, at last, with faltering steps and palpitating heart, pressed her way to the desk and asked if her request was there. Upon search, it was found that it had been overlooked. Too late, said the leader, to read it to-day. See, the clock is at its last moment; but it shall be read first thing at 12 o'clock, to-morrow, and special prayer shall be offered immediately.
With what heavy heart the mother went away, back to the chamber of the dying one, none can ever know. All night the waiting ones watched, with their ceaseless attentions and silent prayers.
A few minutes before 12 o'clock the body sank, the eyes closed, pallor came over the features, the spirit seemed gone, and all was still; not a breath, not a motion -- death had come.
The mother had taken her watch, hung it on the pillow of the bed, and with streaming eyes, yet ceaseless prayer, they watched the slow finger move to 12 o'clock. At precisely twelve, all joined in prayer, lifting their hearts to God. At fifteen minutes past twelve, the daughter opened her eyes, saying, "Mother, I feel better," then sank into sleep, breathing steadily; after three hours awoke to consciousness and sat up in bed, and before night was able to walk the floor of her chamber. Prayer brought that life back, even when death had taken it. At the very moment when that precious prayer was offered in the meeting, the Lord came and touched the dying one, and gave it new life. The mother's faith and prayer was honored, and the Lord remembered his promise, "If ye believe, ye shall see the glory of God." The same Lord who raised Lazarus and bade him come forth, also came and bade this precious life come back again to earth.
SAVED FROM THE HANDS OF A DESPERADO.
The following circumstance is communicated to us by a United States Surgeon:
"After the close of the Mexican war, and in the year 1849, a train was sent out from San Antonio to establish military posts on the upper Rio Grande, particularly at El Paso. I was surgeon of the quartermaster's department, numbering about four hundred men. While the train was making up, the cholera prevailed in camp, for about six weeks, at first with terrible severity. On the 1st of June it had so far subsided that we took up the line of march. After about four days out from San Antonio, the health of the men became very good, and continued so through the whole route, with the exception of occasional cases of prostration from heat, and slight fevers, the Summer being unusually hot. One evening in July, after coming into camp, I received a call to see a man who had been taken sick on the march. I found him lying under his wagon. The wagon was loaded with bacon, in bulk about two tons. The heat with the pressure had caused it to drip freely. I asked him to come from under the wagon, that I might examine his case and prescribe, for him. This he refused to do; but demanded that I should crawl under the wagon to him, which I, of course, would not consent to do. No persuasion could induce him to change his position in the least. Becoming satisfied that he was not much, if at all sick, I left him. His profanity, threats and imprecations were fearful. Perhaps it would be well to give a short sketch of his life for the three years previous, as I learned it from men who knew him, and had been with him for considerable portion of that period. He went to Mexico, at the beginning of the war, a soldier in the regular army. When his term of service expired, he was discharged, and sought employment in the quartermaster's department, as a teamster. He had the reputation of being a thief, a robber and an assassin. In a few months he was ignominiously discharged from the service, and, at the close of the war, he came to Texas, and sought and obtained employment as teamster in the train then organizing for El Paso. But, to return to my narrative. On the morning after the occurrence at the wagon, a teamster came to me and said, in a hasty and abrupt manner, 'Doctor, Mc will kill you to-day or to-night. He is full of rage, and muttering terrible threats. He was out very early this morning and emptied his six-shooter, and came in and reloaded it and put it in first-rate order.' I said, 'Mc, what's up now?' He replied, 'I will kill that d -- -- d old doctor to-day or to-night;' and he will do it. I have known him make threats before, and have never known him fail to execute them. But I must go; he must not know that I have seen you.' Knowing the man, I realized the danger, and felt that I was powerless, either to resist or avoid it. I retired within my tent and closed it up. I prostrated myself before Him who is able to save. I prayed for deliverance from the hands of the cruel and blood-thirsty man, and that I might not be left in the power of him who was my enemy without cause. I submitted my cause into the hands of Him who doeth all things well, and prayed for entire submission to his will. My anxiety subsided; my fear was removed, and I commenced the duties of the day with usual cheerfulness.
"Soon after this, the camp broke and we were on the march. I fell back with the officers of the rear guard, and the excitement of the morning was soon forgotten. About 10 o'clock, a courier came back in haste, for me to see a man who had been thrown from his mule and crushed under the wheels of his wagon. He did not know who the man was -- he was about half or three-quarters of a mile ahead. The thought then occurred to me, I shall probably have to pass Mc's team. I will ride square up with the courier, and keep him between myself and the train. When we came to the spot I inquired who the man was, for he was so mutilated I could not recognize him. It was Mc. God was there. Awe and terror took hold upon me. I was dumb with amazement.
"Mc had dismounted and walked some fifty rods by the side of his team. Attempting to remount, his mule whirled and pitched, and he was thrown upon his back, and his team with fourteen others instantly stampeded. Both the fore and hind wheels on the near side of his wagon, passed directly over his face, and crushed every bone in his head. It was a fearful sight; not a feature of the human face could be discerned.
"The stampeded teams were flying wildly over the prairie, in spite of every effort of the teamsters to control them.
"I directed the head of the corpse to be inserted in some new, thick sacks, in such a way as to prevent the oozing of blood, and that it be wrapped in his blanket and taken to the next camp for burial. When the stampeded teams came in, it was found that no other person was injured, nor any damage done.
"The philosopher may tell us of the reign of law; of the coincidence of circumstances; of the action of natural causes; but, to the Christian, the fact still remains -- prayer was answered. God heareth his people when they cry unto Him."
THE PRAYER OF A MISSIONARY IN MEXICO ANSWERED. -- SAVED FROM BANDITTI.
"In the Spring of 1872, I was, with my wife and child, in the city of Cadereita, Mexico, where we had been laboring as missionaries, but felt it was our duty to return to the States for a little season, and had been asking God to open up the way for us. At length, about the middle of March, the opportunity appeared to be given, the means being provided; but the country was in a state of revolution (a no uncommon thing there), and, consequently, there were no stages running out of the country, so we had to take conveyance in Mexican carts. Therefore, we engaged two men, with their carts; one in which we might ride and carry a mattress, which should serve as a bed at night, and the other, to carry the baggage and provisions for ourselves and the horses, as our way was mostly through an uncultivated country.
"We knew that General Cortinas, with his troops, was somewhere between us and Texas, as the State we were in was one of those in rebellion. The blood-thirsty character of General Cortinas is well known on the frontier, there being no less than seventeen indictments against him for murder in the State of Texas. He is regarded as having a special hatred against Americans, and the Mexicans, themselves, stand in terror of him.
"Our friends and brethren in Cadereita tried hard to deter us from going, as most likely we would fall into the hands of General Cortinas; in which event, they said, the very utmost we could expect would be to escape with our lives, being left destitute of everything, in a wilderness road; but, as God had seemed to open up the way, providing the means, we determined to go forward, trusting that He also would protect us in the way. Therefore, having completed our arrangements, we started for Matamoras, some three hundred miles distant, on the 19th of March, the wives of the two men accompanying their husbands, making our party six adults and one child; the brethren in Cadereita promising to pray daily for our safety. The third morning, after commending ourselves, as usual, into the care of our covenant-keeping God, we started on our journey. Some two hours later, we espied the troops of General Cortinas, about two miles distant, marching toward us. We again all looked to God for protection, and prayed that, as he shut the mouths of the lions, that they should not hurt his servant Daniel, so He would now restrain the evil passions of men, that they might not hurt nor injure us -- then we went on till we met the advance guard, who commanded us to halt and wait till the General came up. After nearly half an hour, General Cortinas, with his escort, rode up to where we were waiting for him. After the ordinary salutation, he asked: (?de adonde vienen y adonde van?) 'From whence have you come, and where are you going?' -- to which we replied properly; then he asked: 'What is the news from Nueva Leon?' (the State we left) -- to which we replied as faithfully as we could. Then I asked him, 'Is the road safe between us and Matamoras?' He replied: 'Perfectly; you can go on without any fear, and as safely as you would in your own country.' Then, bidding us 'good morning,' he rode on, not even inquiring about or examining any of our baggage.
"When we arrived in Brownsville, Texas, and told of how gentlemanly General Cortinas had treated us, all pronounced it wonderful, and said, 'We could not have believed General Cortinas capable of such kindness to Americans so in his power. It was truly a miracle.' We believed that it was God who restrained the naturally vicious passions of the man, in direct answer to prayer."
AN INFIDEL'S LIFE SPARED A FEW DAYS.
"During the Summer of 1862, I became acquainted with a Mr. A -- -- , who professed infidelity, and who was, I think, as near an atheist as any I ever met. I held several conversations with him on the subject of religion, but could not seem to make any impression on his mind, and, when a point was pressed strongly, he would become angry.
"In the Fall, he was taken ill, and seemed to go into a rapid decline. I, with others, sought kindly and prayerfully to turn his mind to his need of a Saviour, but only met with rebuffs. As I saw that his end was drawing near, one day I pressed the importance of preparing to meet God, when he became angry and said I need not trouble myself any more about his soul, as there was no God, the Bible was a fable, and when we die that is the last of us, and was unwilling that I should pray with him. I left him, feeling very sad.
"Some four weeks after, on New Year's morning, I awoke with the impression that I should go and see Mr. A -- -- , and I could not get rid of that impression; so, about nine o'clock, I went to see him, and, as I approached the house, I saw the two doctors, who had been holding a consultation, leaving. When I rang the bell, his sister-in-law opened the door for me, and exclaimed, 'Oh! I am so glad you have come; John is dying. The doctors say he cannot possibly live above two hours, and probably not one.' When I went up to his room, he sat bolstered up in a chair, and appeared to have fallen into a doze. I sat down, about five feet from him, and when, in about two minutes, he opened his eyes and saw me, he started up, with agony pictured on his face and in the tones of his voice, exclaimed, 'O! Mr. P -- -- , I am not prepared to die; there is a God; the Bible is true! O, pray for me! pray God to spare me a few days, till I shall know I am saved.'
"These words were uttered with the intensest emotion, while his whole physical frame quivered through the intense agony of his soul. I replied in effect, that Jesus was a great Saviour, able and willing to save all who would come unto Him, even at the eleventh hour, as He did the thief on the cross.
"When I was about to pray with him, he again entreated me to pray especially that God would spare him a few days, till he might have the evidences of his salvation. In prayer, I seemed to have great assurance of his salvation, and asked God to give us the evidence of his salvation, by granting him a few days more in this world. Several others joined in praying God to spare him a few days, till he should give evidence of being saved.
"I called again in the evening; he seemed even stronger than in the morning, and his mind was seeking the truth. The next day, as I entered, his face expressed the fact that peace and joy had taken the place of fear and anxiety. He was spared some five days, giving very clear evidence that he had passed from death to life. His case was a great mystery to the doctors. They could not understand how he lived so long; but his friends, who had been praying for him, all believed it was in direct answer to prayer."
REMARKABLE PRESERVATION FROM BRAIN DIFFICULTIES.
"A few weeks ago, a man who had once been a member of my church, but had fallen from his steadfastness through strong drink, fell from a ladder, striking his head on the corner of a stone, which made a dent in the skull of over two and one-half inches in length, and three-fourths of an inch in width, and half an inch in depth. This happened on Friday afternoon. At our prayer-meeting, in the evening, most earnest prayers were offered in his behalf; the brethren prayed that God would restore him his senses and spare him a few days, that he might repent of his back-sliding and be saved.
"The surgeons raised the skull, and his senses were restored; his mind seemed clear. This continued over a week, when it was evident that there was still some pressure on the brain. The surgeons removed the skull, and found three pieces driven down into the brain. They expressed, from the first, no hope of his recovery; but wondered much at the clearness of his mind, which continued for over two weeks. We believed that it was in answer to the prayers of the church that he might have time and opportunity to repent and prepare to meet God, which we trust he did."
LITTLE GEORGE'S PRAYER.
A clergyman writes us these incidents:
"I knew a poor family whose son George, four or five years old, was accustomed to pray. They lived five or six miles from neighbors, and, at times, were quite destitute. One day, as little George observed his mother weeping over their destitution, he said, "Why, mother, don't cry any; we shall not starve; God will send us something to eat, I know He will. I've just been praying, and asked Him to." The little fellow just as much believed God would send them food, as if he had asked a reliable neighbor and obtained his promise to supply their wants. In a day or two after this, some friends living at a distance and knowing they were poor, took them the welcome surprise of a wagon-load of substantial material for food and other comforts. The little boy grew up to be a Christian minister, and, about a year ago, on inquiry, his uncle told me he had been at the head of an institution of learning in the South-west."
A PRAYER FOR A HORSE.
"My horse died, and, after traveling through the snow-drifts to my appointments, till I was lame, half sick, and unfit for service -- as I had not means to purchase a horse, I thought of quitting the work and going to teaching, and laid the matter before God, in prayer; soon after which, some person at a distance, who heard that I had lost my horse, without my saying a word about it, raised the means by which I procured another."
A PRAYER FOR A WIFE.
"When I believed it would be well for me to seek a companion for life, I asked of God direction in making a wise choice, and that, in a matter of so much importance to me and others, I might meet with success or hindrance, as my heavenly Father knew best. He led me to a choice and marriage, which I have not since regretted."
CHURCH TROUBLES QUELLED.
"I might mention a dozen instances in which church troubles were gathering, and trials between members appeared certain, when all my tactics failed, and the wisdom of brethren was of no avail; my last resort was to ask God to send help and deliver from the threatened evil -- and in ways that no one could foresee, complete deliverance came."
A MINISTER'S SUPPLIES FALL SHORT.
"When very much in need of funds to procure supplies for a coming Winter, all expedients failed; then I asked God for assistance, when, unexpectedly, a friend in California sent me a little package of gold dust, which I sold, at once, for [USD]130. This came when it was needed, and it did us good."
A PRAYER FOR A SERVANT.
"Some time after, we failed to find anything like suitable help in the house, which we greatly needed. Before starting out one morning, in secret I prayed to God to direct me as I went on my uncertain business, and prayed as I called at different places, and soon found a colored girl sixteen years old wanting a place, who came and proved to be the best help we ever had, before or since. For seven years and a half she lived in the family, taught two of our children to read; was glad, from choice, to move with us to different places, till she left to be married, fell sick and passed away. A dozen other times when driven in straits, in answer to prayer God has enabled us to procure necessary help, which was difficult to obtain.
"In 1874, while on my way to see my mother in Pennsylvania -- who had just been paralyzed, and died the next week -- I was suddenly paralyzed in my left arm, by which, I have since been helpless and useless. After coming here to live, being in want of a man to lift me in and out of bed, dress me, etc., for which we inquired of people, and prayed to God to send us the needed help. We had not means to hire and pay any person to do such work, even if he could be found. Soon the right one came, in the person of a young German, who was tramping through the country in search of employment and food; was ready and glad to do any work for a living. For pay that satisfied him and us, he staid in the family over a year, working out doors and in; could be trusted to do business with money, and return every cent correctly. After being with us over a year, when we needed him no longer, he obtained a situation in a good family, where he is now living. In many instances, I have prayed to be healed of special sickness, always using what remedies I thought best, yet asking the divine blessing on their use."
"For over three years, I was troubled with frequent raising of blood from my right lung, which physicians failed to cure. Of this I prayed to be relieved; after which, the soreness healed, and for several years it has ceased to trouble me."
A man who had led a very wicked life, was converted and hopefully saved. Previous to this time, a debt of [USD]18.75 had not given him the slightest thought. After receiving a new heart, he distinctly heard God's command, "Pay what thou owest;" so called on his creditor, and urged him to send to his house and get a bureau, table and looking-glass, which he desired him to sell and pay himself the sum due him; but, not wishing to deprive his debtor of such necessary articles, refused, saying he would wait till he could pay. The 18th of November was set, and, as the day approached, the prospect was no brighter; and when the night of the 17th came around, he spent it in prayer that God would deliver him, and rose from his knees at daybreak, with the full assurance that "He knoweth how to deliver."
On passing down a street the next morning, on his way to business, a man who kept a large store was standing in the door-way, and called to him to stop a minute. Wondering what could be the nature of the call, he retraced his steps, to hear this astonishing news: "For three days I have been impressed with the idea that I must give you [USD]18.75, and for three days have been trying to ascertain why I must give you this amount, for I do not owe any man a penny. I cannot get rid of the thought, and if you value my peace of mind, I beg you take the money!" Seeing, instantly, the hand of God in it, he told the story to the astonished storekeeper, then left to pay his debt with the money so strangely given. His creditor, surprised to see him so promptly on time, questioned him as to the manner of obtaining it, thinking, perhaps, he had made a great sacrifice to do so. On being told just how it was given him, said, "I won't take it; keep it. If God is as near to people as that, I don't want it; it seems as if it had come directly from his Almighty hand." The result was the conversion of both the storekeeper and creditor, to whom the incident came as the undoubted evidence of God's presence among them.
GOD SENT THE BAG OF FLOUR.
In about the year 1830, in Central New York, there was a time of great scarcity of provisions. Grain was very high, and difficult to be obtained at any price; and, of course, families of limited means were very much straitened. In one family, the wife and mother of six children, a Godly woman, worked at her trade (tailoress) to the extent of her ability, and prayed earnestly that God would deliver them from pressing want. Husband and children all knew of their need, and of the fervent prayers of the wife and mother for their supply; but no one knew by what means the supply was to come. Every day, as their scanty means were being consumed, the prospect grew darker. On the farm was a large quantity of pine timber. Four miles from there, in the next town, lived a man who needed some shingles; and, casting about him to see where he should obtain a supply, thought he would go and purchase a pine tree, and himself and man go into the woods and work it up into shingles. As he was about starting, the thought occurred to him, "Perhaps they may be in want of wheat flour -- a bag cannot come amiss in this time of scarcity." So, putting two bushels in a bag, he proceeded to the next town, entered the house, and made known his errand, saying, "I have brought along two bushels of flour towards paying for the tree, thinking you might be in want of it in this time of scarcity, and I knew you live six or seven miles from the mill, and have no horse." "That is in answer to prayer," said the noble woman; and the husband believed it, though not a praying man. When, at night, the oldest son came in, the mother said to him, "God has answered our prayers, and sent a bag of flour." It is believed that, while this was not miraculous, it was as directly the interposition of God, as feeding Elijah by the ravens; and it was in direct answer to prayer for that special blessing."
INCIDENTS FROM THE EXPERIENCE OF A CITY MISSIONARY. -- A PRAYER FOR SUPPER ANSWERED.
An educated, accomplished lady, reduced to the very lowest round of poverty's ladder, whom we shall call Mrs. X -- -- , bears unfailing testimony to God's hearing and answering the prayer of faith. The daughter came up-stairs one day to announce the utter emptiness of the larder. There was not even a piece of dry bread, nor a drawing of tea; not a potato, nor a bean; and "Charles, poor fellow, will come home from his work at six, tired and so hungry; what shall we do, mother?"
"The Lord will send us something, before he comes," said Mrs. X -- -- . So, for three hours more the daughter waited. "Mother, it is five o'clock, and the Lord has not sent us anything." "He will, my dear, before half-past six;" and the widow went in an adjoining room, to ask that her daughter might not feel it vain to call upon God. In fifteen minutes, the door-bell rang violently, and a gentleman, valise in hand, said, "Mrs. X -- -- , I left the room which I hired of you one year ago, in a great hurry, you will remember; and I owed you five dollars. I have not been in the city since, and am rushing out of it again -- jumped off the car just to give you this money. Good-bye."
RELIEF FROM A CREDITOR'S DEMANDS.
"At another time, being sorely pressed by a heartless creditor, and almost beside herself, she concluded to walk out and get free from the insupportable burden, by change of air and scene for two or three hours. Passing the house of a friend, just returned from Europe, she called for a few moments, and was presented with a small and peculiar plant, brought from Wales. All the way home she was asking the Lord to release her from this relentless creditor, and all the way home a man, without her knowledge, was following her. Arrived at her own stoop, he suddenly confronted her, bowed, apologized for the liberty, but said he had not had a sight of that dear old plant since he left home; and if she would sell it to him, he would gladly give her ten dollars for it. As that was half the sum for which she was persecuted, and would probably relieve her from annoyance until she could raise the balance, she accepted the offer."
TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS NEEDED AND GIVEN AT THE LAST MOMENT.
"At the time of her husband's death, there were two hundred dollars due an institute, for board and tuition of their two little boys. His death was the flood-gate opened, which let in a successive torrent of perplexities, losses, dilemmas, delays, law-suits, etc. She had not been able to pay that bill; the principal was importunate, persevering, bitter, and, at last, abusive. She cried to the Lord for a week, day and night, almost without ceasing. Then, a gentleman whom she had taken to her own house and carefully nursed through a dangerous illness, three years before, called to say good-bye. He was on his way to a Bremen steamer, and all other adieus were said, all his baggage on board, except the valise in his hand. Might her boy ride down to the wharf and see him off? Of course she was glad to consent. When her son returned he brought back a letter, which opened, she found to contain two hundred dollars and the words, 'Not that money can ever express my gratitude, but the enclosed may be useful for gas-bills or some other little household matter.'"
HOW THE LORD REPAID A GENEROUS GIFT.
"Some gentlemen, urged to contribute to a most worthy cause, said, 'Go first to Mr. Z. -- whatever he gives, we will.' Mr. Z., upon application, concluded to make his neighbors do something worth while, and, as he was expecting a thousand dollars in a very few days, subscribed the whole of that. Upon the arrival of the vessel which was to pay his subscription, he found the difference in exchange between certain countries, had swelled his thousand dollars to twenty-two hundred."
THE ASTONISHED GIVER.
"A gentleman, not marching in the ranks of 'cheerful givers,' was urged to bestow five dollars toward the 'Fresh Air Fund.' 'He could not; business wretched; poor enough himself,' and all the well known line of excuses. The friend assured him, if the Lord did not more than make it up to him, before the end of the week, he himself would return the money. To those terms he agreed, quite sure he should call on Saturday and get back the [USD]5. But, the very next morning, he ran to the office of his friend to say that an old debt, given up long ago, and for which he would have taken one hundred dollars any moment, was paid him about an hour after the friend left his store. So astonished was he, that he even doubted the check, which was for five thousand dollars, and sent it to the bank to test its genuineness before he would give a receipt for it!"
In a dismal basement, A. found a very interesting American family. The father, in the last stage of consumption; a little girl of ten years, an invalid from infancy. The mother and two daughters, both under fifteen, were out all day at work, trying to keep even such a wretched shelter, and a little coarse food, as daily supplies. The three together could not make over four dollars a week. The only person to wait on the two sick ones during the day, was a little boy four years of age, who, when the missionary entered, was reclining upon the bed. But he started up, put more coal on the fire, and brought a drink of water, first to his sister, then his father; without any bidding, and with the consideration of a grown person.
On A.'s next visit, a few days after, he found the mother at home, grief-stricken. Her eldest daughter had been taken ill the day previous. He gave her all the money he had, prayed with them, and sent at once a kind, assiduous physician. In a few weeks the daughter died, but not without a good hope in Christ; and was buried at the expense of the few kind friends whom A. had sent to see the family. The dying daughter exhorted her dying father to seek his soul's eternal welfare, and not boast, as heretofore, of his life-long morality. Her conversations led him to see his danger out of Christ, and, in a little while after his daughter's departure, he followed. The mother had not before had a sure Christian hope; but, amidst such influences, her heart was soon opened to admit the truth. Not long after her bereavement she began having a "cottage prayer-meeting" in her room, and united with an evangelical church. She immediately became anxious for the conversion of her two boys, who were away, and urged the missionary to write them. He did so, frequently, and his heaven-directed appeals led one of the boys very soon to Christ. Soon after, he died; the brother returned home with consumption. He took great pleasure in the little prayer-meetings, and in three months cheerfully and exultantly exchanged this world of suffering for the one where father, brother and sister awaited him. Worn out with anxiety, care, hard work and poor health, the mother followed; leaving the invalid girl and youngest boy; who are watched over, not only by their Friend in heaven, but friends on earth. The eldest surviving daughter is an esteemed and consistent member of a church of Christ.
"THE LORD WOKE ME UP IN TIME TO SAVE MY CLOTHES."
In the very top of a four-story building, used only for various manufacturing purposes, lived an old man and daughter. They lived literally by faith in Christ, from day to day; one hour at a time. At his voice, followed Him, whether into darkness or light. Neither took a step but as they held his hand. A lady calling one day, said, "Oh! Jennie, I thought of your large wash hanging on the roof, last night, when the drenching rain came; and I was so sorry to think you would have your hard work all over again!" "Oh! no ma'am. The Lord woke me up out of a sound sleep, just as the first few drops fell! I hastened up and brought them all down nice and dry, and had only got to the foot of the stairs with the last armful, when it poured down. Now that was the Lord, ma'am, for there was not a single noise of any kind to waken me, and I was sound asleep!"
THE LORD TAKES AWAY THE CUSTOM OF A LIQUOR SALOON.
At one time, the landlord rented the ground floor to a liquor seller. The loafers going in and out, especially on Sunday, were a great grief to Jennie and her saintly old father. They concluded to take it to the Lord together, and, said the old man, "He will be sure to attend to it; I have been young, and now am old, and I have never known Him fail me -- He never does." In three weeks after, the dram-seller closed his place for want of patronage.
HELP IN TIME OF NEED.
A poor, humble Christian woman had a claim on some property in a neighboring State. It was in law, and she was summoned to attend court at a certain time. Having scarcely money enough for her daily bread, she was obliged to borrow the means to take her there, and pay some cheap board while awaiting the conclusion of the trial. She was positively assured by the lawyers, that she would receive several hundred dollars. She was detained five weeks, instead of one, as she expected, and then the suit was postponed till Fall. She was in agony of mind; in a strange place -- owing for board and washing, and no money to take her to her home. Having spent a whole night pacing the floor and calling on the Lord to redeem his promises, she felt the fresh air would do her good, and sadly took her way down a side street. She had gone but three blocks when she found a diamond ring. Being accustomed to the ownership of diamonds in her younger days, she knew very nearly its value; took it home, watched the principal papers, and the same evening saw a reward of seventy-five dollars offered for it. We can imagine that joy lent wings to her feet, and thanksgiving filled her whole heart. The sum was sufficient to pay her bills, bring her back and return a portion of the borrowed money.
CAST OUT INTO THE STREET, YET NOT FORSAKEN.
A piteous wail was heard on the street one day, and a poor Scotchman crossed over to see the trouble. A widow and three children sat on their few articles of household furniture. Put in the street, when they could no longer find five dollars for the rent of the kennel in which, for six months, they had not lived, but existed. He had just received five dollars for a piece of work, and was hurrying home with it to his sick wife, crippled mother and two children. He thought of the piece of meat -- a long untasted luxury -- he meant to buy; of the tea his mother so much craved, and hesitated. Could he give these up? But the streaming eyes of the children, and the mute despair on the face of the mother, took down the scale. He ran several blocks and found an empty basement; hired it for four dollars; enlisted the sympathy and help of a colored boy to carry the furniture; put up the stove, bought a bundle of wood, pail of coal, and some provisions with the other dollar; held a little prayer-meeting on the spot, and left with the benedictions of the distressed ones filling his ears. The recital of his adventure obliterated for the time all sense of their own desires, and they thanked God together that their loss had been the widow's gain. The next morning, while taking their frugal meal, a tea dealer, for whom this man had frequently put up shelves, came to say he was short-handed, and if the Scotchman was not very busy, he would give him a regular position in his establishment, at a better salary than he could hope to earn. Meanwhile, hearing his wife was sick, he had brought her a couple pounds prime tea, and it occurred to him that venison steaks were a little out of the ordinary run of meat, and, as he had a quantity at home, he brought a couple. Thus the Lord answered the prayer of the poor, and repaid the generous giver who sacrificed his money for the Lord.
A PERSECUTOR PUNISHED BY THE LORD.
A most devout, hard-working and poorly paid man, was the object of constant persecution by a cross-grained, ugly, infidel neighbor. For three years the thing went on, till the Christian thought he must remove from the place. He could not do it without breaking up his humble home, for which he had worked night and day. He and his wife were in deep distress; told their plans to the Lord; asked Him to direct them to another home, and then went to a newspaper office to advertise their little place for sale. The editor was out, and they preferred to see him -- would return home and call again to-morrow. The next morning the infidel was found dead in his bed, from a stroke of apoplexy.
HOW GOD ANSWERED MY PRAYER FOR [USD]90.
"Suffice it, then, I was in debt. I was owing the large sum (large for a poor home missionary) of [USD]90.00. Expecting soon to be called upon for the payment of it, and not seeing any way to meet it, I went to the Lord with it. Early in life I had made this resolution: that no man whom I was owing should ever ask me for money, and I not pay him; but now, I could see no way out; and if, as I expected, it should be demanded, I was not in a condition to meet it. Such was my condition when, on a certain day, the demand came. I took the letter from the office at noon. What now was to be done? Again I took the case to the Lord, and asked Him to help me pay it, so that my word need not fail, or his cause suffer reproach. I first determined to pay a part; but, as no letter could be sent out that day, I awaited the results of the day following. From the northern mail, which first arrived, I took a letter containing an unexpected draft of [USD]50 to my wife, from parties whom we did not know, and had never seen, nor they us. Within twenty minutes more I was presented with a surprise of [USD]40, from a people where I had preached for the six months past. Here was my [USD]90, and, before the mail went out, I had my letter written and in the mail. Both were as unexpected as if they had come from heaven direct."
FROM WEALTH, TO POVERTY.
A lady of superior culture and refinement, fell from opulence to extreme poverty, within four years. No less ready when at the bottom of fortune's ladder, than at the top, to do good as she had opportunity, she paid another poor woman's way to a neighboring State, where employment awaited her, and did it literally with her last dollar-and a-half! Supposing herself the possessor of a ten cent note, over and above the twelve shillings, she went with her somewhat feeble protege over Jersey city ferry, and saw her safely in the cars. Starting back, she was dismayed to find no ten cents in her pocket-book, and, all too late, remembered having paid it for a quart of milk that morning; the sole breakfast of herself and daughter. Night was approaching -- what to do she did not know. She had a plain, worn, old gold ring on her finger; she took it off, offered it to the ferry-master, who would not take it, though she told him she found her money gone and would redeem it next day. She went back in the ladies' room and told it to the Lord, beseeching his assistance. Just then, a girl passing, jostled against her and knocked down her parasol. She picked it up, happened to turn it upside down, and out rolled a five-cent nickel! The Lord, then, hears prayer for even five cents to provide for the comfort and need of those whom He loves.
A PRAYER FOR FIFTY DOLLARS.
A clergyman writes The Christian as follows:
"The Winter of 1872 I spent in missionary work, carrying the glad tidings of the kingdom of God into new fields in the 'regions beyond.' With my devoted wife, I labored ardently for the salvation of men 'from the wrath to come.' We were full of comfort to be thus engaged, though without pledge from man for support, or promised salary for preaching.
"In spite of our rigid economy, I had contracted some debts for the necessaries of life. I have since learned to go without what the Lord does not provide means to pay for at once. I needed the money to pay the debts, and felt impressed to pray for fifty dollars. I said to my wife: 'I am going to pray for fifty dollars.' 'Well,' said she, 'I will join you;' and we bowed before God and told Him our needs, and unitedly asked Him for fifty dollars; so that we might not bring ourselves or the truth we preached, into reproach, by being unable to pay debts. We were agreed in asking, and thus claiming the promise: 'If two of you shall agree as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.' (Matt, xviii.19). We had the assurance that money would come; but from whence we did not know, nor care, for we knew the 'silver and gold' are the Lord's, as well as the 'cattle upon a thousand hills,' and he could easily cause some one to give or send us the money.
"We felt full of peace; for we knew it was for God's glory to answer that prayer. No one outside of the family knew we were praying for money. We did not go around among our friends and tell them we were praying for fifty dollars, in hopes that they would take it upon themselves to answer the prayer. We told none but the God whom we serve.
"Some little time passed, and no money came, but we did not lose our faith or assurance. One morning, at family prayer, I was led out to pray that we might see the Lord's working in our behalf that day, and I rose from my knees with perfect confidence that our hearts would be made to rejoice in God that day. When I came in to my dinner I asked my wife if any one had brought our mail from the post-office. She said, 'Yes, there are some papers on your table.' 'What!' said I, with surprise, 'no letters?' I saw a peculiar expression on her countenance, and I asked no more questions, but sat down to the dinner table and turned over my plate, and there saw a letter she had put beneath it; and as soon as I saw the hand-writing I felt, there is money in this, though, of all sources, this was from the one least expected. I opened the letter, and there was a draft for fifty dollars, 'a gift to aid in preaching the Gospel.' If I ever recognized the hand of God in anything, I did in this; and if there was ever a time of devout thanksgiving to God, and a humbling of self before Him in my house, it was that day. Since then, it has been easier to trust in Him than before. He has said, 'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.' He has also said, through his apostles, 'Be careful for nothing; but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.'"
CONCURRENT TESTIMONY OF THE VALUE OF PRAYER.
A request was published by the Illustrated Christian Weekly, asking that all who could report positive facts as direct results of prayer, and thus, tend to show that "God does answer prayer," should communicate them. Very many were communicated, regarding all trials and troubles of the heart, and daily temporal or spiritual life. No one can question they are authentic to the highest degree; they should silence the skeptic, and convince the worldly of the presence of the mysterious power and wonderful Spirit of God, which tempers the hearts and lives of men and controls them as He wills.
A WORLDLY MAN SURRENDERS.
A clergyman says, "I was very anxious for the building of a mission chapel to accommodate a flourishing mission-school that had been organized under my pastorate. Knowing that a certain physician of the city was possessed of abundant means and had a praying Christian mother, though he had long since given up going to church, I resolved to call upon him. Before starting from my study I knelt down and asked God to prosper me in my appeal. Upon going out of my parsonage the physician was in the act of passing in his carriage. I hailed him, explained to him my desire, and the result was not only a contribution of money as large as the largest, but a gift of a lot for the chapel worth several hundred dollars."
A SERVANT'S PRAYER FOR A GOOD HOME.
"I was brought up religiously as a servant in a family in Connecticut, and from twelve years of age until twenty-three, knew no other home. The old couple died, and I lived with their children, but they were so different that I became very unhappy and hardly knew what to do or which way to turn. I had no relatives and knew nothing of any world save the little one in which I had all my life moved, and I was terribly afraid to try any other. I could only offer my constant prayer for help, and it was answered so much beyond my highest hope, and so kind were God's dealings with me that I was taken, almost without an effort of my own, into a warm, loving heart, and such a happy home, and all so easily and smoothly that to me it seems like a miracle; and never can I forget while I live, nor cease to believe that truly 'He is the hearer and answerer of prayer.'"
"BEFORE THEY CALL I WILL ANSWER." -- A PASTOR PRAYS FOR DECISION AS TO GOOD CHOICES.
"The writer was once in great trouble to know what was duty. Urged by ministers and laymen in high standing to undertake a work not exactly in the line of the ministry, he hesitated. God's displeasure was feared, lest in doing what was desired 'sin might lie at his door.' To refuse the wish of good and wise men might be resisting God's call. In this trial of conscience he sought in fasting and special prayer the guidance of his Heavenly Father. While so doing the above promise came very distinctly to his mind. He brought it to God as his own promise, and pleaded, if it could be graciously done, that He would literally fulfill it to the suppliant. In the very act of thus pleading, he heard a rap on the door. Opening it, there stood his mother-in-law. She said, 'Two gentlemen are in the parlor waiting for you.' I went down, and the interview revealed the exact fulfillment both of the promise and the prophecy. The Lord answered my prayer two days before I called on Him. One of the two came from New York to my home in a Western city to inquire about the very thing which was troubling me. He was to me an entire stranger, never having heard of him until I saw him. Having consulted his friend, the Rev. M.W. Jacobus, D.D., they together came to call on me about the matter at the very moment I was pleading with God that He would mercifully, 'while yet speaking, hear me.' Now could Tyndall and his followers desire a more literal, a more exact fulfillment of this prophecy and promise as proof of its inspiration, and of prayer as God's ordinance than that prayer for such fulfillment of these words actually before the prayer was made, and while the petitioner was 'yet speaking?'"
It will be noticed that the best judgment of good men advise one course, but trust in God for superior wisdom brought the case to answer in a totally different manner, by means of an unknown person, a total stranger, who neither knew him nor his desire. The circumstance should convince the world.
A FAMILY PRAY FOR A GOOD SERVANT.
"About three years since my family comfort was very much disturbed by failure to obtain a good housemaid. And, having been accustomed to wait upon God for right direction in my temporal as well as spiritual affairs, in simple faith I asked Him to direct me on reaching New York City to where I would find a girl of good character that would appreciate a Christian home. My steps were led to a boarding-house on Greenwich street, and on inquiring for a German or Swede girl I was told they had a nice Swede just landed. I talked to her through an interpreter and was satisfied from what she said, as well as from her countenance, that she was the one I was searching for. She came to my home and proved, in two years' service, almost faultless. In conversation one day, a short time after she came to our home, she said she had had several places offered her that morning before I came, but she did not like them; but as soon as she saw me, felt that she could go with me -- she was a Christian, member of the Lutheran church and wanted a Christian home. Her desire was granted and my prayer was answered."
A RECOVERY FROM A DEATH-BED.
"Some forty years ago, in a rural parish in New England, a young man lay apparently on his death-bed with a putrid fever. His aunt, in whose family he was staying, was a woman who had long lived in habitual intercourse with the unseen world through prayer. One afternoon, when it seemed to those around him that the sick one must die, she went away alone to speak with God. With intense earnestness she pleaded for the young man's life. And, being deeply interested in the portion of our country then beginning to be settled, she asked also that he might become a home missionary at the West. There were various circumstances which made this latter request, as well as the other, seem very unlikely to be fulfilled. And yet it was. The young man recovered, pursued a collegiate and theological course, and still lives and labors as a most devoted and useful Christian pioneer. More than once he has been a member of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, and his name is familiar to many."
A POOR STUDENT PRAYS FOR MONEY.
"I was a poor student in a Manual Labor Institute at the West. The month of February was our regular Winter vacation. We were privileged to keep our rooms and have board at one dollar a week. But I had absolutely no money. I was six hundred miles from my friends, and they were unable to furnish me with funds. I had no books for the new term, though these were a necessity if I went on with my class, and there was no work about the Institution, nor that I know of in the neighborhood at that season. My case seemed an exceedingly bad one; and I had no idea from where any help could come. So I went to my room in the third story, locked my door and carried my case to the Lord. It was a long, earnest, tearful cry for help from Him who alone seemed able to give it. My prayer was answered. When I had been there I do not know how long, I heard footsteps in the empty hall, and in a moment a knock at my door. I wiped my eyes, and put myself into presentable shape as soon as I could, and opened the door. A lad stood there who said: 'A man wants to see you at the front door.' Down the stairs I went, wondering who could want me and what he could want me for. In the front yard was a man on a restless horse, who at once said: 'We want you to teach our school for a month. The boys have driven out the female teacher. We want you to take them in hand, and we'll give you fifteen dollars and your board.' I said, 'All right, I'll be down there to-morrow morning.' And then I went back to my room to thank God for hearing my prayer."
"I CAN'T STOP TO PRAY."
"A deacon living in a Berkshire town was requested to give his prayers in behalf of a poor man with a large family who had broken his leg. 'I can't stop now to pray,' said the deacon (who was picking and barreling his early apples for the city market), 'but you can go down into the cellar and get some corned beef, salt pork, potatoes, and butter -- that's the best I can do.'"
REMARKABLE HEALING OF A CHILD.
A clergyman writes that during the ministration of his labors at Battle Greek, Mich., there were several remarkable manifestations of divine power -- especially in the case of a little girl, the daughter of a Mr. Smith, a child of about six years.
"In September last, she was taken very sick with spinal fever. She became much reduced, extremely nervous and helpless, excepting to move her hands. Physicians gave up the case as a hopeless one, deciding that should she live, her condition would be that of helplessness, a burden to herself and to her parents.
"But our gracious God had better things in store for that afflicted family. It was on a Sabbath afternoon, at the very hour when the crowded congregation in our house of worship were in prayer for the influences of the divine Spirit, that a holy, solemn influence came into the dwelling of Brother Smith, as if an angel had come to touch the child with healing power. The mother could not leave the bedside of her suffering child to attend the meeting, and she says that a sudden change came over her feelings, and it appeared to her that an angel had come into the house, and had shed a holy influence in every part of it. It was at that moment that the hitherto helpless child drew herself up in a sitting posture, and next rose upon her feet. She rapidly recovered to her usual habits of taking food and sleeping, and now takes the exercise of the most robust children of her age."
GOD PAID THE RENT. -- ANSWER TO PRAYER.
A poor Christian family were in distress. The husband, during a long and painful sickness, had borne his trials for months with cheerful Christian resignation; "but, on this day," said a City Missionary, "I found them, for the first time, in tears. The cause I soon learned was the want of means to pay the rent of their little home, which would come due on the following Monday, and must be paid then, or they would have to leave and go they knew not where. The amount needed, fifteen dollars, and the amount in hand but fifty cents; the future all dark, and no hope of recovery from sickness, and no hope of being able to meet their expenses -- it might be of a long sickness and want -- what could I do for them? If theirs had been the only case of like wants that day, I no doubt could have gone to a few friends and have collected the amount. But that would not do them the good I felt they needed. But I felt sure of a better way to get it, and lead them to trust in the Lord, and glorify God and not man.
"On the wall, at the foot of the sick man's bed, I had hung, but a short time previous, one of those precious silent comforters, a scroll of Scripture texts, printed in large type, and a different prayer for every day in the month. On the page before us for that day, after calling their attention to it, I read the following words: 'And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive.' Matt.21:22. 'Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them. Matt.18:9; remarking, 'Are not those precious promises? Your fears, dear brother and sister, are that you will not be able to pay the rent on Monday, and may be turned out into the street, unless you get the means to pay the rent; are they not?' 'That is so,' said they. 'There are two ways: one, to try to get some one to lend you the amount until you can pay, if the landlord will not wait; another, to go and beg for it.' I have learned a better way, and wish I could lead you to do the same. Do as David did. Have you ever gone to the Lord as directed above, and found in Him, as David did, a very present help in time of trouble? Would not your faith and confidence in God's word and in his kind, overruling providence be more strengthened, if, in going to Him now and making known your present troubles and wants, He should in a way, without your making known your wants to any other person, on Monday enable you to pay all?' The answer was, 'We should.'
"After prayer and encouragement to do so, I left them, with the promise to call the following Tuesday. Doing so, I was met at the door by the wife with a countenance full of joy. 'Oh, brother, we could not wait until you came, to tell you the wonderful answer to our prayer. On Monday, the very day that we had to pay the rent, one gentleman came and handed my husband five dollars, and early in the morning Mrs. F -- -- called and handed me ten dollars, making in all just fifteen dollars, the amount we needed; was it not wonderful? Oh, how good the Lord is!' The same week another called and gave them an order for fifty dollars more, so that they were able to pay up all their debts, and the sudden joy soon led to a speedy restoration to health, and the husband is now one of the most active Christian workers and teachers in a mission school, and the wife and daughter are also trying to do all they can to lead others to trust in Jesus."
HE FORGETTETH NOT THE CRY OF THE HUMBLE.
A City home missionary has told us of the case of a poor colored family, the husband nearly one hundred years old, totally incapacitated for work, and confined to his room by sickness nearly twelve years.
Although very often in straitened circumstances, the Lord has never left them to want for any good they needed, having, in a truly wonderful manner supplied their wants, in answer to prayer. The wife, having for a long time been kept from the enjoyment of church privileges by close confinement, she had been sorely tempted to doubt her acceptance in Christ, and was in great darkness for days; but one day, in reading the following words, found in the fifteenth chapter of John, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you," she was led to go to God in prayer, and to ask, if not wrong in his sight, to grant her a request, that she might know that her prayer was answered, and that she was abiding in Him. The request was that, as they were in trouble for the rent coming due the next day, and still in need of three dollars, that the Lord would send them a friend in a stranger, some one that they had never seen before, and that he would put it into the heart of that stranger to give them three dollars, and then they would not be tempted to believe, as they had sometimes before, that it would have been sent by a friend even if they had not prayed.
"But," said she, "I knows if a stranger comes, none but the Lord could send, then I would know the Lord heard my prayer, and I was truly the Lord's. So I watch for the answer for you knows, brother, when we prays, the Lord says we must believe we shall receive what we ask of Him, and then He will give it. So I watch and listen for the knock at the door, and do you believe me, brother, about three o'clock in the afternoon, I hears a knock and opens the door, and a strange lady was there, one I never saw before, and asked me if Mrs. H -- -- lived here; and said she had been looking for us before, but could not find us; 'when, to-day I felt I must try again, and I am so glad I have found you. I heard of you through a friend who has known you a long time.' She spoke many kind words, and when she took my hand to say good-by, she left a little roll of notes, and when she is gone I count it, and it was just three dollars. I is been so happy ever since. I loves to tell how good the Lord has been to us; every time I does so I feels so happy."
INCIDENTS IN THE LIFE OF AN INVALID. -- HOW GOD CARES AND COMFORTS IN SMALL THINGS.
The following incidents are from the life of an invalid, personally known to the editor of this book, and can be depended upon as authentic in every particular. They illustrate most beautifully the blessed way in which the Savior's everlasting arms are around, strengthening, and His presence comforting His weak and helpless ones, in all their little as well as great trials of life. The ways in which he sent relief, and the many hundred promises which he has given; will encourage other Christian hearts to trust the same Omnipotent, ever Helping Friend.
GIVING HER LAST MONEY TO THE LORD.
"'The first money the Lord gives me I will send to you,' were the last words I said to my old father, as I stood waiting for the train to bear me to distant friends. So the weeks passed on, but I remembered my promise and waited patiently for the Lord to enable me to fulfill that promise. I had two dollars, but thought I must not give it away until more came. But this feeling did not last long; something seemed to tell me the Lord would not send me any until that was gone. One day I received a letter from a friend containing this sentence: 'I have not had three cents in five weeks.' My whole nature responded in a moment. I put part of my money into a letter for him, the rest into a letter for my father. Now I felt clear. Then I told the Lord all about it. A week passed, and [USD]5 came to me from my mother to pay my return fare. A few days longer, and another [USD]5 came from a lady friend, so I was provided for. I needed a certain article of clothing, and one night made all arrangements to get it next day. Morning came, and I went to the Bible for my orders for the day; my eyes rested on these words: 'Be content with what ye have.' This seemed so strange, because the Lord knew I needed the dress; I was obliged to stay out of society on this account. 'But the Lord knows best,' I thought, and gave up all idea of getting it. Nor did it trouble me further. I gave it all into his hands, feeling He knew best. And afterwards it was made clear to my own heart I had not trusted in vain. 'Commit all thy ways unto the Lord, for He careth for thee.'"
MONEY WANTED TO PAY RAILROAD FARE.
"Once, on a visit, I left the company below, and went up stairs for an hour's quiet and prayer. I was to return the coming week and I had only just enough to pay my fare. For several days I had been anxious how I was to get some money. This afternoon I had to pray very earnestly, because the need was great. An hour passed; I felt weary and unrefreshed, when a voice clear and near said unto me: 'Trust in the Lord and do good, and verily thou shalt be fed.' It was not a human voice, for no one was near me, but I started and looked around, almost expecting to see an angel visitant. I saw nothing, but the sun shone brighter outside, and the room seemed brighter than before. And why should it not? The Lord had been there with words of cheer and comfort for his little child. I arose and went below, where I found other company had called, and I was introduced to the lady and her husband, whom I had met five years before. A pleasant chat and they left, after giving me an invitation to visit them. At the door, as I learned from my friend who attended them, Mrs. N -- -- said: 'I should like to give Miss B -- -- something,' and handed my friend a five dollar bill for me. I was more than surprised. I cannot tell you the emotions of my heart. While I was yet asking, even, the messenger had brought my answer. I could yet hear the soft sound of the voice up-stairs, and the soothing influence of the unseen presence still lingered round me. How quickly our needs flow on the wings of prayer into the very presence of our Friend and Master."
PRAYER SAVES THE LIFE OF A LITTLE CHILD.
"A year ago this Summer, my sister's little baby, only five months old, was taken very ill with that distressing complaint which often proves so fatal, and takes so many sweet little ones out of loving hearts and homes. I loved baby Ernest, but never so well as when he lay so sick he could not know it. We all loved him, and everything was done that could be thought of to ease the little sufferer all those long, close, hot days. Day after day, for four long weeks, we tenderly cared for him. Sometimes his mother would watch his every breath, fearing each would be the last. One Sunday he lay just where we put him, so quiet and still, with the sweet baby face so white and calm, we thought we should lose him soon, the little hands and feet were so cold. All through his illness, I kept asking the Lord to let his parents keep the tender bud he had sent them. We could not let him die, and to-day I prayed very earnestly all the time -- even when we could not warm the little body at all -- we could not let him go. Well, Ernnie passed over the fearful day and became a happy, well boy. He was saved. No physician saved him. Our tender care did not save him. Prayer saved our Ernnie. Precious baby! He is such a jolly, happy boy now, filling every heart and the whole house with his sunshine. How I love the little fellow. When I am here at his home, he always comes to Auntie for love and tenderness. When I am resting on the lounge, he comes every few moments to kiss me, giving and receiving real heart-love. We know God only lends these little treasures to their human friends. But oh, they bring so much love with them, it is hard to give them up."
THE LOST THIMBLE.
"One day I lost my silver thimble, a gift from my mother when I was a young girl. I prized it very highly. I looked everywhere, long and faithfully. The tears would come, at the best, it had been so long a constant companion. I gave up the search after a while, thinking some one had taken it, or a child had lost it -- any way, it was gone. Feeling sad over it, I sat down to console myself, and the thought came -- pray about it; so I did, and while I knelt there something whispered, 'Look on the bed,' so plainly that I arose and went into my sister's sleeping-room where I had turned the spread aside, and there nestled, in a fold of the quilt, my thimble. I involuntarily said, 'Thank God!' out of the depths of my glad heart. I had lain down a moment on this bed with baby Ernest, early in the morning, and the thimble had fallen out of my pocket."
A PRAYER FOR [USD]25.
"God moves in a mysterious way
"I had a present of twenty-five dollars once, which was a direct answer to earnest, pleading prayer. I was entirely out of money for months -- I could not earn a dollar. I had those who might have assisted me, but they did not. I could have borrowed, but I might never be able to return it; I knew not what to do. One evening, thinking it all over, scanning the dark cloud with anxious eyes, I said, 'If the Lord cannot help me, no one else can; I will ask Him.' And so I did, bringing all the previous promises before Him, pleading my unworthiness, but my great need; asking first for ten dollars; then, as I grew more earnest, I asked for twenty-five, feeling almost frightened as the words came from my lips. Sometimes the thought would intrude, 'How can you ask for any given sum -- how do you expect it will come?' so I said, one day, to the Lord, 'Any sum you choose; you know best; I will be content.' Several weeks passed, and a sweet feeling of rest and assurance came, that, whatever came of it, would be all for the best. But, by-and-by, when the anxious pleading feeling was all gone, one morning came a letter from one I had never seen, with [USD]25 -- just what I had asked for. I cannot tell you just how I felt; I only know I held the check long in my hand, scarcely realizing it could be for me."
PRAYING FOR OTHERS.
"My sister's husband wished to raise a certain sum of interest money by a given time, but could see no way; was very much troubled about it; said he knew no one to whom he could apply. I told him to pray for it. He answered, 'God won't hear the prayer of the wicked; suppose you ask him yourself.' I did ask Him, earnestly and faithfully, and it was even given me the idea who my brother could ask to loan it him. I spoke of the man to him -- said I thought he might get it; so he called on him one evening, and the way was made plain for my brother to introduce the subject; and when he came home that night, he brought with him the three hundred dollars."
A VISIT TO FRIENDS.
"I will hold thee by thy right hand, saying unto thee, fear not, I will help thee."
"Once I held in my hand an open letter, containing an invitation to visit friends I had never seen. My heart bounded with pleasure at thought of the journey, and the pleasant visit to follow; but, on second thought, it almost stood still -- where could I get money and proper clothing? Several weeks passed in thought. I could see no way, and so I wrote my friends I could not come at present; but, in my heart, I could not give it up. My parents were visiting in the far West, and I had no one to advise me; so, up in my little room, night after night, I made it a point to tell the Lord about it; and soon it seemed as easy and right as though I were talking to a friend. One day, my brother-in-law said he would pay my expenses to and fro. I thanked him, and took fresh courage, and still kept on praying. Then the same good brother gave me money for a dress; then a friend furnished other articles, and soon, I was en route for the quaint old city by the sea. Every step was accomplished by the simple way of prayer; and, when I slept, late that night, in a cosy room at the Methodist parsonage in N.B., I could look back over the last few weeks, and thank God for the power of prayer. But the best of it all was the lesson I had learned -- one which I shall never forget, while memory holds her magic power -- to carry everything to God in prayer; to trust him in every matter, however small; and this is the whole secret of the power that lies in prayer."
"I found another lady visitor at my friend's and we were to share the same bed. This was a little trial; I had to ask the Lord to give me patience -- and He did. One night, I was very restless and nervous; I could not sleep. I knew I was disturbing my friend -- soon she said, 'Annie, I am going to ask the Lord to come and put you to sleep. Now, lay still, and in five minutes you will be all right'. I did so, also breathing the words, 'Give me sleep, dear Saviour.' The room seemed to be full of a soft, soothing influence, and I fell asleep. Once only in the night I awoke, but soon went asleep. When I awoke in the morning, rested and refreshed, Tillie, who was dressing near me, looked up with her pleasant smile and said, 'Annie, how wonderful it was. You were asleep in less than five minutes. It seemed as though Jesus stood close by your side; I could almost see Him, I felt so clearly His presence. He is here now, Annie; can't you feel Him near? He was very good to you last night.' Yes, indeed, I felt the influence of His presence, and, all day, whenever I entered the room, I felt it, and it seemed as though I must tread softly, it was so like holy ground. This feeling lasted through my stay, and, last Winter, while again visiting the home of my friends, it all came back to me again. This beautiful influence has ever kept with me, and I never close my eyes in sleep until I say, 'Oh, Lord, breathe upon me the sweet spirit of sleep.' However weary, sick or nervous I may be, I feel that the soothing power will come; and, with my hand in His, I rest peacefully, at last."
PRAYING FOR A NEW HAT.
"Whatsoever thing ye ask in My name" --
"For a long while I had been without money, and my need was very great. I wanted a new hat so much; and the question arose in my mind, 'What am I going to do about it?' As I had no human arm to depend on for anything, of course there was only one way for me to do -- ask the Lord for money to get me a hat. With me, to think is to act, and so I told the Lord all about it, asking, if it was His will, to send me, in His own way, money for the article I needed. Day after day passed, and I felt almost discouraged. One day, a letter came from a lady friend I had never seen, enclosing one dollar. I bought my hat -- neither could I have used that dollar for another purpose. Soon after this, my physician ordered something for me. I had no money to get it, but said I would get it soon as I could. Three weeks passed, and no money came. Then I asked the Lord for enough to get my medicine. Another letter came from an old nurse, with a gift of one dollar. I had my medicine. Time after time, I have not had wherewith to send my letters, and, as I have a large correspondence, it often is a real trouble. The only way I have to do is to pray for it, and always, in some way, it comes; not in my way -- not just as soon as I ask for it -- but in His own way, He always provides. I have learned to trust and not be afraid, even though the clouds hang heavy, and I see no ray of light, the promise is there, and for me, 'I will never leave thee, or forsake thee.' I am so entirely dependent on Him for everything that sometimes, in little matters, my faith will, for a brief season, droop. Sometimes I have to plead and plead over again some particular promises; but these times of waiting on Him only strengthen me for future conflicts. 'Wait on the Lord, and he shall renew thy strength,' comes in beautifully on such occasions. No human being to help me; no one but God. Sometimes, when I sit alone, such a flood of feelings come over me, I well nigh sink. Loneliness, homesickness, and the great want in every human heart of sympathy and love, leave me, for a moment, without hope or faith; but, when the heart is weakest, and the need greatest, the loving Saviour is nearest. 'Like as a mother comforteth her child, so does He comfort me;' and then, soothed by his power and love, how the aching heart rests 'by the still waters, and in the green pastures.' There is nothing but prayer for the helpless sinner; nothing else will bring us into loving companionship with the Lord. We may go to Him always, with every trial, need or sorrow. He is ever waiting -- ever ready to hear and answer."
PRAYING FOR A SEWING MACHINE.
"One day a lady friend said to me: 'Would you like some nice sewing, easy to do?' I answered, 'Yes.' 'Have you a sewing machine?' 'I have not, but am praying for one.' 'That is right; so you believe you will have it by praying for it?' I replied: 'If the Lord thinks I need it, He will send it.' I had learned to use my sister's, but I wanted one of my own, to use just when I felt like it. So the thought kept in my heart, 'Why can't I pray for one?' And yet it seemed foolish to go in prayer to God for such a simple thing, but I had not then learned that all things, with Him, meant every wish and want of the human heart. But there was no other way. He must send my machine, or I could have none. I prayed very earnestly. After a few weeks of waiting, one golden winter morning it came -- my beautiful machine -- just what I wanted. This seemed so wonderful to me, that it seemed to bring me into nearer companionship with the Lord, and ever after, whatever I needed, I went directly to Him for. A ministerial friend once asked me what it was I had covered up on the stand. I told him it was my piano, taking the cover aside and showing him at once how my beautiful sewing machine worked. 'What tune do you play oftenest?' he asked. 'Rock of Ages is its favorite one, and I never sew without singing it.'"