And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every slave…
The first thing that strikes us about it is that this last great prayer meeting will be attended by a vaster assemblage of human beings than it is even possible for us to conceive. Every grade of society has its representative there — men and women, young and old, the child and the hoary-headed, the lofty and the mean. They have come from every land. In a strange unity of woe the attendants at this last great prayer meeting are to be gathered together into one common centre. Again, this last great prayer meeting is to be, in the fullest and widest sense of the word, a united prayer meeting. There is a unity of sin, as well as a unity of holiness, and the attendants at this last strange audience are all thus bound together. Not that it is a real unity. There seems to be very little of anything like a corporate feeling in this last great gathering. Every man is engaged with his own thoughts, offering his own prayer, yet are they all brought together to one point, and all induced to address a certain particular class of objects, and to offer a certain particular kind of prayer by one vast, common, overwhelming necessity, which spreads its fearful influence over them all. It is a united prayer meeting; and as I contemplate that vast gathering, I find all earthly distinctions have vanished. Social distinctions have passed away. The prince kneels beside the peasant. Again, I observe that all ecclesiastical distinctions have vanished. Yet, again, I notice that in this prayer meeting every man is thoroughly in earnest. I wish I could say as much of the prayer meetings held here on earth in our day. Yet, again, I observe that these men who pray so well and so earnestly are precisely the people who were least given to that pursuit while on earth: the people we very seldom see at prayer meetings here. Yet, again, it is a meeting at which every man prays with a very definite purpose. If I were asked, What is the particular fault of our modern prayer meetings? I should say — Indefiniteness. Yet, again, I notice in this prayer meeting a peculiarity that we do not frequently observe in our gatherings for prayer. I find that every man prays for himself. Now I do not think we ought to confine our prayers to ourselves, but we should pray to a far better purpose if we sometimes prayed out of our own hearts, and asked for the things we ourselves need. People seem rather to aim at employing vague expressions than making their wants known in a spirit of believing supplication to God. And now we come to consider the strangest feature of all. While there are ten thousand times ten thousand voices, it may be, lifted up in supplication, yet we are astonished at observing that of all these prayers that go ringing around a startled world there is not so much as one single petition that is offered to Almighty God — not one. When these praying men were down here on earth they were always flying away from God; they did not want to have anything to do with Him; they could get on very well without Him; they were worshippers of nature; they were believers in second causes — not that they were all such by profession, but they were so practically. These men have made earth their God: they have bowed down before the spirit of this world: they have enthroned that subtle intelligence of evil who has usurped the sovereignty of this fallen world within their hearts. They have practically made him the lord of their will, and submitted their nature to his control; and now, when the last terrible moment comes, and these men are gathered together for their last great prayer meeting, not one of them prays to God. Why? Because the Nemesis of their own sin has come upon them. What is it? Before they would not pray to God, and now they dare not. Where is the answer to come from? These prayers are not addressed to God: they do not reach the place where His honour dwelleth: they dare not hope that they will penetrate into His ears and reach His heart. No: their own consciences forbid such an expectation. Such will be the last prayer meeting. And now I want to ask a question, Are any of you ambitious to bear a part in it?
(W. H. M. H. Aitken, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;