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and think that we are altogether such as they are, imagine that the sword we received from God was like king Arthur's,

“On one side, Graven in the oldest tongue of all this world, "Take me,' but turn the blade and you shall see, And written in the speech ye speak yourself, *Cast me away,' and urging on us this last word forget that we are counselled by a wiser than old Merlin, “Take thou and strike! the time to cast away

Is yet far off.” Yes! “is yet far off.” Our work is not done.

It is only the grey morning with us. Let us be true to the truth we have and the advantages God has given us, feeling that though single voices chime in with ours that does not absolve us from bearing our united testimony, and we shall yet do better service for Christ our Lord and King.

And could we possibly have a more favourable opportunity for enthusiastic evangelistic effort ? Ought we not to preach the acceptable year of the Lord in the regions beyond ? Is it not our duty to take our share of the work of “sounding abroad the word of the Lord ?” We dwell in an atmosphere charged with bracing currents of thought and influence. Memories of past heroism and sacrifice stimulate us to new consecration. The supreme duty of the hour is the extension of the kingdom of Christ. We must do this. Everything binds us to it.

The work we have done God rewards with more work waiting our hearts and hands. He bids us go on,” and we shrink at our peril. An intense passion for saving souls must fill us with ever fresh eagerness and enthusiasm, and the idea of rest must be banished till our work here is done. "Going on” is at once our goal and our prize. Tennyson singing of “Wages” says, “Glory of warrior, glory of orator, glory of song, Paid with a voice flying by to be lost on an

endless seaGlory of virtue, to fight, to struggle, to right the

wrong Nay, but she aimed not at glory, no lover of

glory she: Give her the glory of going on and still to be. The wages of sin is death: if the wages of virtue

be dust, Would she have heart to endure for the life of

the worm and the fly? She desires no isles of the blest, no quiet seats

of the just, To rest in a golden grove, or to bask in a summer

sky: Give her the wages of going on, and not to die." “Going on,"—this is our strength "

“Going on," "winning souls for Christ,"—this is our attitude in the Centenary year. “Going on," telling the news of the love of God, who gave

His Son Christ Jesus “to be the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world,”—this is our message. “Going on," cheered with the comfortable words addressed to us by our Leader, whose cross we bear, “Lo I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,”—this is our unfailing inspiration.


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BY THE REV. N. HAYCROFT, D.D. THIS modern form of the popular pletely vindicate prayer from the objection to prayer scarcely differs cavils of the irreligious, because of from that employed in the time of their moral inability to appreciate Job, “What profit shall we have if its advantages. There are, however, we pray unto Him ?” A devout certain aspects of the question which man can easily answer it to his own ought to have great force in checking satisfaction ; but it is difficult to the flippancy with which prayer is give such a reply as will convince an treated, even if they fail to carry conobjector. It is impossible to com- viction of prayer’s exceeding value.

First. The disbeliever in prayer and their power of "doing good.” occupies a strangely isolated posi- Prayer has been the atmosphere in tion. Prayer has been the habit of which they lived. They were not to most men, and is generally recog- be beguiled or deterred from the nised as the duty of all men. It has practice. The prison, the rack, the prevailed under every form of reli- stake, did not shake their faith in it. gion, through all nations and ages. Like the dying Stephen they prayed À sense of want and dependence in the hour of martyrdom. has been felt even among heathen, The witness of unbelievers may together with a desire to propitiate be added to the testimony of the dethe gods. Men have everywhere vout, for in times of great calamity believed in the utility of prayer.

thousands of them have prayed. A The objector to it contravenes the sudden catastrophe, or the alarm of practice, and questions the common approaching death, has brought sense of all mankind.

many a stout infidel to his knees. The sacred writers not only teach The mariners who were with Jonah that God commands prayer, and is in the tempest prayed every man to willing to hear it, but they furnish nu- his god! Volney, when in peril from merous instances of successful prayer, an Atlantic gale, instinctively prayed show prayer to have been the uni- to a God whose existence he had versal habit of good men, and urge on denied. There is probably not one all men its obligation and importance. of

my readers who has not occasionThese writers, if not inspired as ally prayed, or at some period thought Christians believe, were at least it right to pray; he has found it the most extraordinary writers and difficult to disbelieve in prayer. thinkers which the world has pro- If these facts are true it follows duced, immeasurably above others that the unbeliever in prayer conin their ethics and theology. Jesus travenes the universal instinct, conChrist, who was, at least, the purest siders himself superior to the wisest spirit, and the noblest teacher of the and holiest of the race, modestly rerace, was pre-eminently a man of gards all men as wrong except himprayer. Though He needed it least self; believes the world for sixty He practised it most, and insisted on centuries to have been in grave error, it beyond all other teachers. The and the noblest and best of men to devout men who lived in different have been, through all ages, the viccircumstances and times, Enoch, tims of a puerile superstition which Noah, Abraham, Job, David, Daniel, it has remained for him, a babe of Paul, believed in prayer, and testified yesterday, to explode. to its value. Among the advocates Secondly. It is objected that of prayer are found men of high in- prayer is presumptuous. Pointing tellect and genius, men of taste, cul- to the magnitude of the divine emture, and philosophy, whom no man pire, and the insignificance of the has suspected of fanaticism; our human unit, the unbeliever alleges Miltons, Newtons, Bacons, Lockes, that it were presumptuous to supnames which occupy the foremost pose that prayer can receive any rank in literature and science. They attention ; that Deity acts by unisaw nothing absurd or unphilosophi- versal laws whereby the interest of cal in prayer, but deemed it a part of the unit is bound up with the welthe highest philosophy. Those who fare of the universe ; that the cries have been earnest in prayer are and prayers of that unit can have unanimous as to its results in their no more effect on the proceedings of experience. They associate it with the Infinite One than the mote floattheir peace of mind, their blessed- ing in the sunbeam; and that the

! ness, their growth in divine virtue, attempt of the unit to reach the

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Divine ear is as vain and foolish as recognizes that dependence on God the attempt to pluck the stars. The which is a fact which no philosophy answer of scripture need not be cited, can disprove. For a conscious agent nor would the unbeliever acknow- devoutly to confess that dependence, ledge its force.

But if scripture and humbly to bow to the divine had been silent, the presumptuous- arrangements and to seek the divine ness of prayer could not be sustained. guidance, is only becoming and reaAs the objector admits the creation sonable. Thus far it were presumpof all things, the vast and the minute, tuous not to pray. Living as man the distant and the near, angels and lives on the divine bounty, exposed men, the constellations of heaven to chances and dangers which are and the “small dust of the balance,” within the scope of the divine governhe must explain how it can derogate ment, and surrounded with the from the divine dignity to govern beauty and magnificence of nature, and preserve what it was not beneath to have our hearts uplifted in trust that dignity to create. The insect, and adoration to the infinite benethe worm, the blade of grass, are factor, must be an attitude seemly objects of creative skill which trans- and right for every creature. If it cend the powers of men and angels, be reasonable for a child to be thankand fill both with wonder. He ful to its parent, it is reasonable for a “feeds the ravens,” and does not man to acknowledge God. To forget forget the sparrow, still less man, Him, to be unthankful to Him, not because they are all “His handy- to confess our dependence on Him, work.” Nor can we conceive it pos- were presumption indeed; it were to sible to attend to the whole without claim independence of His authority, regard to the parts. The super- and to throw back His benefits into vision of a machine includes all the His face. For myriads of dependent details of its construction ; the men to cry to "the God in whose government of an empire embraces hand their breath is and whose are every province, and extends to every all their ways," "Give us this day subject. It is the character of great our daily bread,” is as beautiful in minds to be as mindful of details as itself, and must be as acceptable to of generalities. In the government God as the homage of the seraphim of God the sparrow is as much pro- before His throne. vided for as the eagle, the fall of a Thirdly. Prayer is not a needless leaf as the rolling of an orb. The or superfluous act. The objection is difficulty which this would occasion that the sentiments and action of the to a creature mind applies not to Supreme continue the same whether Him who "fainteth not, neither is prayer be offered or neglected ; that weary,” and of whose “understand

as prayer cannot impart information ing?" there is no searching." Our to God, for He is omniscient; cannotions of effort and labour do not, not stimulate His compassion, for any more than our ideas of magni- His goodness is infinite; and cantude and duration, apply to the not modify His purpose, for He Supreme. To deny, then, that He “changeth not,” it is at best a usetaketh notice of every object, how- less exercise, and belief in its efficacy ever insignificant, is to deny Bis in- is a superstition. It is admitted that

a finite intelligence and power. All

prayer cannot act in any of the the laws and processes of nature, methods suggested. No believer in and all forms of existence, are de- prayer expects it so to act. But velopments and offshoots of the one

prayer may nevertheless serve valumighty and intelligent life whose able objects connected with ourselves. origin is God. In such circumstances God may have appointed it as a conwherein is prayer presumptuous ? It necting link between His creatures



man re

and Himself, and it may serve im- cause it interferes with the laws and portant purposes of which there is

purposes of God. If it be replied no trace in the teachings of nature. that human labour enters into God's As there are mysteries in nature arrangements

condition of which science cannot solve, there healthful life, the response is that may be facts with regard to prayer the book of God, which relates to of 'which philosophy cannot judge the soul as much as nature to the because beyond its range, facts which body, makes prayer equally a conmay amply vindicate its appointment. dition of healthful spiritual life; A man may not ignore such facts be- and there is no more interference cause they are beyond his experience, with the divine purpose and probecause he is not able to explain ceedings in the one case than in the them, or because there is no indica- other. Unless, then, a tion of them in physics. A man linquishes the Bible he must not may be proficient in physical science, abandon prayer, merely because and be profoundly ignorant of the physical science has not registered it universe of mind.

among its discoveries. Prayer is Believers in Scripture know that older than science. Science cannot God has made prayer His law of pronounce upon its character and blessing, has commanded and invited ims. It lies beyond the range of it. If prayer be required by God it telescope and microscope, it submits is our duty to obey. If no other not to the analysis of the chemist, utility were apparent it would be or the calculus of the mathematician, valuable as a test of obedience. But it occupies a region which unassisted if God has enjoined prayer it must reason must ever fail to penetrate. occupy some important place in His While human philosophy cannot administration, although the philoso- discover God it of course denies the pher may fail to discover it. Perhaps utility of prayer. if that philosopher became a devout Fourthly. The advantages of believer in Christ he would discover

prayer are a question of fact to be that place; he would at least have determined by experience. To asthe moral fitness to judge of it which certain the truth respecting it we as yet, unhappily, he possesses not. should pursue the course adopted in Multitudes of Christian philosophers analogous cases, viz., consult those have discovered the usefulness and who have tested prayer, and candidly necessity of prayer, although they sift their evidence. The men who have not reduced it to the precision have not tested prayer for themselves of a science, or expressed it in mathe- are not judges in this case, and matical formulæ. As a benefactor their philosophical objections are may

know a man's distress and de- powerless against established facts. sire to relieve it and yet expect him If we would know the truth of any to solicit his bounty, as a parent

branch of science we consult those may, for a child's good, require ex- who have most earnestly prosecuted pressions of dependence and grati- it; and if we would ascertain the tude, and as a sovereign may demand truth of an occurrence we examine that his clemency be implored before those who witnessed it. True philhe pardon the offender, so there may osophy, therefore, requires us to be reasons which make prayer a bene- hear the testimony of men who have ficent arrangement for us, although been most earnest in prayer, and to it add not to the divine knowledge accept their testimony as that of and change not the divine purpose.

honest witnesses who have no object The grounds which make prayer to serve but the common good. superfluous would, if valid, equally We need not adduce instances of prove labour to be unnecessary, be- answered prayer, it is sufficient to

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say that all good men have prayed hope. Prayer has brought God into and confessed that they have derived the whole sphere of a mundane life, from prayer

the most blessed results. and raised man into moral affinity The uniformity of the habit can with God. The philosopher may only be explained by some uni- not reject the testimony of “men of formity of advantage. Prayer seems prayer” until he has himself become essential to their spiritual life as an humble believer in Christ, and is nutriment to the body, and their thus morally able to investigate the whole conduct bears silent witness subject by the light of his own to the blessedness of the habit. experience. The testimony of those who have If the objector still urges the tested prayer cannot be impugned profitlessness of prayer, it is fair to or weakened by any allegations of enquire “what profit” he has found those who have made no trial of its in neglecting it. Is he happier and worth. We accept the testimony of better for the neglect ? Is his life an experience so wide and uniform nobler, his spirit purer ? Are his as meets us in this instance as

aims more generous, noble, Godlike? decisive of the question with every Will any good come from neglecting true philosopher. Prayer has ever prayer, -any good for this life, any been the great moral elevator of good for eternity ? The lover of

It has made the best, truest, prayer by his own testimony reaps noblest men which the world has inestimable advantages, while the

It has filled them with bless- objector to prayer by his own conedness, preserved them in •divine fession derives no benefit from the purity, raised life with them into a neglect; and he will owe it to the divine service, sustained them under infinite mercy if he does not suffer the direst calamities, and solaced through that neglect an unutterable them in death with an immortal loss.






WHEN visiting a sick man a short

I asked for a Bible to read from, and he told me that when a lad at Sunday school his teacher had given him “a Bible with a clasp.” The words did not strike me until the dusty unused volume was handed to me, and they then acquired a new and painful meaning. I saw that, like so many other people, he had fastened his Bible with a strong clasp indeed.

And as I walked home I could not help musing on the words I had heard-a Bible with a clasp ! How many people have only such an one! You, dear reader, who open that little thick book that lies on your dressing table ere you retire to rest each night, and then again in the morning store your

memory with its gracious promises and gentle precepts; or if you are the head of a family, gather your household together and at least begin the day with its hallowing words, you will not think that I am talking at you, for your copy has no clasp to it of the kind I am referring to; but other peoples' Bibles are too frequently closed and silent for years.

On some Bibles there is the clasp of Indifference, which shuts them to as effectually as if it were a great stone rolled over them which no might could move. I have known persons keep God's word under lock and key as though it were some costly jewel or piece of plate only to be brought out on special occasions. And we know it is indeed a treasure

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