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the dialect of his native country, it was with some difficulty a Christian friend could be obtained to converse with him on spiritual subjects.
Considering that this poor man had passed nearly all his life in a remote mountain-settlement, having had no apparent means of instruction, neither speaking nor understanding English, the astonishment of the individual who visited him may well be supposed to have been great, when he discovered in this poor fellow-creature a faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and one who was anxiously looking for his coming. The following particulars, however, will explain the mystery.
By some means, of which no clear account could be obtained, intelligence had been brought to the remote district in which he lived, that a missionary was in the habit of preaching or expounding the Scriptures every Sunday morning. Who this missionary was, or where he preached, he was quite unable to say ; but there is no ground for believing that any such had ever at the time held public service within eighteen miles of the spot. However this might be, it appears that amongst those who frequented his ministry, was a negro from a plantation adjoining the one on which the poor old African resided. This neighbour was in the practice, when he returned late at night from attending the preaching, of recounting to him as well as to other interested listeners, whatever he could recollect of the truths he had himself but just learned from the minister of God. Thus, in a manner at once simple and wonderful, was the seed of eternal life sown in the heart of this aged man, and the dew of God's blessing descending upon it; it quickly sprang up, flourished, and brought forth fruit.
The end of the poor invalid was peace. When his kind visitor inquired, shortly before his departure, whether the night was not long and dreary to him in his afflicted circumstances, his answer was, “ No: I am quite happy; as I lie on my bed, I think of Jesus my Saviour.”
The Christian minister, whose instructions (although conveyed through a most imperfect channel) were so richly blessed to the poor old African, could not possibly have known what God was silently accomplishing by his agency. He may have been one who was often dispirited at the small success attending his ministerial labours; but the Lord often works by us when we think it not. So it was clearly proved in this instance. Let us then sow in hope. According to
our imperfect and feeble means of benefiting others, let us gladly avail ourselves of those means. And though we may only be able to give a confused account of what we have heard, like the negro's friend, yet that may and will be useful, if a blessing be sought upon it. Whoever would do good to others, in this our day, should remember the words: 76 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." 6 In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good," Eccles. xi. 6.
THE HOLY LAND.
Lovely land of Palestine !
In God's own brightness thou dost shine.
Zion, jay of earth, doth stand,
Cluster round the Holy Land !
Linked with hopes most dear, most high,
Thither turns our longing eye.
Doth our covenant-God declare;
Picture forth His faithful care,
City of our Saviour-God!
Thy paths His holy feet have trod.
For thee in waking dreams we sigh!
To see thy beauty ere we die.
David's God is ever near,
His "eye and heart” are with us here,
Our Immanuel's life of love,
PRAYER. PRAYER is the very breath of a Christian. It is the first and the last act of the day. A Christian breaks not his fast in the morning till he has prayed, neither does he give sleep to his eyes, nor slumber to his eyelids, at night, till he has bowed his knee and lifted up his heart in prayer. Prayer is the act of asking God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. “Lord, teach us to pray,” Luke xi. 1.
Encourage the spirit of prayer, for it is a spirit that honours God and lays guilty man in the dust, that humbles the sinner and exalts the Saviour. It is a meek spirit, a peaceful spirit, a loving spirit, a confiding spirit, and a purifying spirit. It seeks all that is good and holy and heavenly, and desires nothing that is contrary to the will and glory of God. 6. When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret ; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly,” Matt. vi. 6.
Practise the duty of prayer. When God commands, man is bound to obey, though it be at his own cost; how much the more willingly, then, when the command is for his own benefit! Well may we “serve the Lord with gladness." We cannot serve him without serving ourselves. What kindness, what goodness, what mercy, and what grace in our heavenly Father, to make our duty a privilege, and our obedience a source of enjoyment! The more we pray, the more are our hearts at liberty ; the more we ask, the greater the good we obtain ; and the oftener we bend our knees, the firmer are we established in every good word and work. “ Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them,” Ezek. xxxvi. 37.
Knock at the gate of prayer, whether your hand trembles from the consciousness of your own unworthiness, or feels strong from your confidence of God's goodness. Knock, whether you are rich or poor, arrayed in goodly raiment, or clothed in rags; knock! and if you are in trouble knock loudly. If your back be overburdened, and your heart overwhelmed ; if affliction hath taken hold of you, and care runs upon you like a giant; if the evils that encompass you be many, and if your iniquities outnumber the hairs of your head, knock the more urgently. God is “ merciful and gracious," and " a very present help in trouble.” “ Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you,” Luke xi. 9.
Seek the comfort of prayer. Oh, the relief and comfort of taking a heavy load to the throne of grace and leaving it there! of pouring out our troubles and making known our requests to One who is more ready to hear than we are to pray! and of holding communion with the Almighty Maker of heaven and earth, with the certainty that he is long suffering and full of compassion; yea, that his mercy is everlasting, and that his truth endureth for ever! “ Is any among you afflicted? let him pray,” Jas. v. 13. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” Heb. iv. 15, 16.
Secure the peace of prayer. There is no peace like the peace of God, it passes all understanding, and prayer is the high road to obtain it. He who at a word gave repose to the troubled ocean, is ever ready to impart peace to the agitated hearts of those who seek his aid and rely on his mercy. Whatever be the storms that surround us, how delightful to know that all is well; to be able to commit ourselves
into the hands of a faithful Creator, and to say, “This God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even unto death : ” this is to enjoy peace. The peace of prayer is worth more than rubies. Be not satisfied till you obtain it.
'Treasure up the promises to prayer. Hard would it be to number up the good things promised to the prayerful follower of the Redeemer, but yet harder to name what good things are not promised, inasmuch as the words of holy writ are; 66 All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive,” Matt. xxi. 22. What encouragement is here! Who would not pray? What! If we ask God in faith to deliver us from all evil and to give us all good, to guide us by his counsel and bring us to glory; will he do these things for us? He will; neither is there any good thing that he will “ withhold from those that walk uprightly.” Be assured that “ The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him; he will hear their cry, and will save them,” Psa. cxlv. 18, 19.
Enjoy the delight of prayer, for if you have never known that delight, then are you indeed a stranger to a joy of no common kind. Without doubt prayer is a humbling thing, a serious and a solemn thing, yet there are seasons wherein it is a cheerful thing, a pleasant and a delightful thing; for then a sense of forgiveness so animates the spirit, and a consciousness of God's love and mercy so rejoices the heart, that prayer bursts into a song of praise. “ I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being," Psa. civ. 33.
Remember the power of prayer. Under its hallowed and sustaining influence heavy burdens grow light, crooked ways become straight, rough places are made plain, and gloom is changed to gladness. The power of prayer renders the feeble strong, and the timorous stout-hearted,
Exulting bids the saint expire,
Of flaming fagot and the molten fire ! What will not the prayer of faith perform! Love it, value it, practise it, and it will nourish you in holy things, and make you strong in the way of salvation.
The prayer of faith, with potent spell,