By S.B. Shaw
THE WIDOW'S PRAYER ANSWERED.
A captain's widow, whom I knew for many years of our chapel, was much concerned for the conversion of her son, who was a sailor. For a long time he had promised to be a comfort and help to his mother; but through the influence of bad companions he became very wicked and dissolute. Many times have I gone to the public house and other places of temptation to allure him home to his mother's house; and in no instance when his mother's name had been mentioned has he refused to come; for on him the charming name of mother seemed to exercise a potent, irresistible spell. I have often taken him up into our Sunday-school room, where he used to be a scholar, and have reasoned and prayed him till the tears ran down his cheeks, and he would promise to get on "a better tack."
On one of these occasions I gave him a pocket Bible, in which he engaged to read one verse a day until the ship returned from Sidney. I mentioned this to his mother, and shall not soon forget her look, as she said: 'Thank God! Thank God! I now have hopes of his conversion." He was gone many months, and but little was heard of him; but mother prayed for him daily at a fixed time. It pleased the Lord to visit her with a painful disease, which terminated in her death, but her faith, joy and peace were marvelous and delightful to witness. I do not remember paying her a single visit in which she did not mention her son, and express her belief that she would meet him in glory.
One evening she remarked: "I am near the grave, I feel my time here is very short; I will leave a message for my boy, which you must deliver to him." Observing her extreme weakness, I prayed with her a few moments, and promised to see her early the next day. Accordingly I called, and saw that she was indeed dying. She desired to be propped up in bed, and to sing a hymn; and, in order to support her in this final effort, her two daughters knelt on the bed, and upheld her as well as they could. She spoke to them of her funeral and her property. When this business had been transacted she said to me: " I know that I am dying, but I have no fear; all is light and beautiful. Christ is here Christ is mine, and I am his." Her voice became stronger and clearer, and she bade us sing. Her daughters could sing but little, their hearts were too full. However, we all did our best in singing her favorite verses.
"Fearless of hell and ghastly death,
I'd break through every foe;
The wings of love and arms of faith,
Would bear me conqueror through."
While we were singing, a loud knocking was heard. A servant having gone for the doctor, I dent to the door, and, my surprise, found the sailor-boy just returned from the I explained to him his mother's condition, and -got remain in the parlor till I broke the news to her returned to her bedside, she said: "Oh I thought it was my dear boy. Oh; how I should to see him once more, and to give him my blessing.'
"Are you able," I inquired, "to hear him, or to him? With a smile, she replied: "I can bear anything, through Christ."
I went for the sailor, and when I brought him into the room we found her praying, with her eyes closed, for her only son. In a few moments she looked around and saw her long absent child. He threw his arms around his mother's neck and tried to speak, but could not. But the mother cried: "Hallelujah! Jesus is faithful and true;" and after one kiss, she added:
"My dear boy, I am dying and going to Jesus. I have prayed every day for you, my dear Frank. What shall I tell Jesus about you? Your father is there," pointing upwards "your sisters are on the way. Oh, what shall I tell my blessed Savior?"
"You can tell Him what you like, mother. I am a Christian, converted to God, mother; and he knows all about
"The mother's heart was full; the good news overcame her strength, and she exclaimed
"Let me go, Lord, I have seen thy salvation! My prayers are all answered! My son is saved, clothed, and in his right mind! Glory! Glory! Glory!"
After sleeping a few minutes she awoke with a beautiful smile on her face, and said: " I see the angels, harps, crowns; bright, golden crowns! Let me go! "and, raising her hand above her head, she exclaimed: "Victory, through faith in His blood!" Then her arm fell, her eyes closed, and her spirit returned to God who gave it. - T.G. Garland.
PRAYERS ANSWERED FOR RAIN.
Within two blocks of the Pacific Mission, in Chicago, is one of our large depots, the Rock Island and Lake Shore. Here is a good field for labor. One night, when inviting one and another to the mission, a. lady answered: "We are or our way to Oberlin." "The place," I asked, "where Charles Finney lived?" "Yes." "And did you know him?" "Yes," she answered; "and my husband, who is here, was a member of his church." Soon he joined us, much crippled and out of health; at first but little inclined to talk. I told him how precious the memory of Mr. Finney was, and asked if he could tell us any personal reminiscences of him. Soon the fire began to burn in his heart, and his lips began to speak. He said:
"We had been long without rain. All vegetation was drying up; everything looked parched. In the prayer preceding the sermon, on Sabbath, Mr. Finney began to pour out his full heart to God for rain. He laid the whole case before Him. 'Lord, the cattle in the fields are lowing for water; there will be no food for them for winter, unless thou sendest rain. The harvest will fail - no food for man-unless Thou sendest rain. The little squirrels in the woods are panting for rain. On and on the petitions rose, faith rising as he prayed, until he felt they had entered into the ear of the Lord of Sabaoth, and, that 'as a prince, he had power with God, and prevailed.' His closing words were: "Lord; we want rain, and we want it now!" The service proceeded, the text was chosen, and for about half an hour Mr. Finney preached, when the rain began to dash against the windows. He stopped, and gave out the hymn:
"When all thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view,
I'm lost in wonder, love, and praise"
"The whole congregation rose to their feet, and don't think, in that assembly of three thousand people was one dry eye. I never can tell it," said the stranger:" but it melts me right up." Yea, we were all melted, while "heaven came souls to greet, and glory crowned the Mercy seat."
"God, who lived in Elijah's time,
Is just the same today."
"Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are and he prayed earnestly "when the sins of the people were hurrying them on to destruction" that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for the space of three years. And again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain." Are not all these scriptures given to encourage and strengthen the faith of God's people in all ages? Yea, verily! Two sisters had left the Taylorville, Ill., campground on their way to visit a sick woman. The earth had become as dust; all nature was parched and drying up under the hot beams of the sun. It was Saturday; and looking forward to the Sabbath, bringing its multitudes from all the surrounding country, they thought of the suffering and discomfort there would be. The elder of the two asked: "Is not God the same today as in the days of Elijah?" The dry bed of a spring seemed a good place for prayer, and there they knelt together. Soon their united faith took hold, and the assurance was given that their prayers were heard, and their petitions should be granted.
Rev. L. B. Kent, of Jacksonville, the leader of the meeting, proposed at the close of the afternoon service, that a meeting should be held for prayer for rain. "And shall I hide what the Lord has already promised?" was the query whispered by the Spirit. "No;" and rising to her feet, one of the sisters told how the Lord had promised the rain.
Night came. The moon, in her glorious brightness, shone forth, and there was no indication in the heavens of rain. Hour after hour passed, while every now and then, as faith 2 held on for the promised blessing, the assuring words of Jesus would come: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you three o'clock came, and the rain began to fall, and the hallelujahs and praises to God went up from many a waiting heart. It fell copiously until seven o'clock when clouds dispersed, and the people gathered and the work of God moved on blessedly. -- Sarah A. Cooke
THE WIDOW'S SHOES.
A poor woman-a widow with an invalid son-a member of the church, could not attend church, or the neighborhood prayer-meetings, for the want of shoes. She asked the Lord for the shoes. That very day, the village school-master called in to see her son. Meanwhile, he noticed that the boy's mother had very poor shoes. He said nothing, but felt impressed, and inwardly resolved to purchase the poor woman a pair of shoes forthwith. He accordingly hired a horse, rode two miles on horseback to a shoe-store, bought the shoes, and requested them sent to the widow's cottage without delay. They proved a perfect fit; and that very night the overjoyed woman hurried to the prayer-meeting, to announce that in answer to prayer the Lord had sent her the shoes.
The young school-master, who, I suspect, was informant himself, now a venerable, white-haired man, heard the poor woman's testimony; and his pillow that night was wet with tears of gratitude and joy, because God had used him thus to bless the poor widow, and to answer her prayers. -- Answers to Prayer.
Brother E. B. Williams, of Warren, Ill., writes us of instantaneous recovery of a woman in answer to prayer as follows
"In the year 1830, in the town of Shelby, Orleans county N.Y., a woman of middle age lay very sick for a time under the doctor's care without any benefit and pronounced by all as incurable As I was praying one morning in church, without thinking of the case, there came a voice to me from some source which was as distinct as a man could speak, saying: 'Go, and pray with and for that woman.' I went to her home the next week, and tried to make her comfortable. She was apparently in a dreamy state. I left the house without prayer, and thought no more of it, until a day or two after, when father and I went to the same place on business. She saw me and beckoned me to come to her, and I did so. She whispered to me, asking why I did not pray for her the other day, and added: "Something told me thee came to pray for me,' (she was a Quaker.) I told her I was sent to do so, but diffidence and timidity prevented at that time. I felt no call to pray then but a day or two after, while I was alone and going by the place, without thought on the subject, the words came to me again, as plain as man could speak them: 'Go, and pray for that woman' I went in, and called the family together and while we engaged in prayer, an invisible power was felt by all in the house, and that woman was healed at once, and was well."
THE LORD'S WAY OF SENDING HELP
A few years ago we were led out to pray for means to make a payment on our home, in Grand Rapids, Mich. The amount was one hundred dollars, and it was due in two weeks. We had no way of getting the money; and, realizing the promises of God to be reliable, we laid the matter before the Lord in prayer.
At the time, we were holding meetings in the southern part of Michigan. When the answer to prayer came, we wrote home to wife, telling her that we had the evidence beyond every possibility of a doubt, that the Lord would send the money in time.
In a few days we received a letter from a brother in Texas, whom we had only met but once, saying that he was impressed to send us fifty dollars; which was enclosed in the letter. In a short time twenty-five dollars were received from a friend in our own State. The balance came in smaller sums.
At the time the obligation was due, the money was on hand, and we praised God for his special help in a time of need. -- Editor.
REDFIELD IN A HARD PLACE.
John W. Redfield was a remarkable revivalist among the Methodists and Free Methodists. He died not many years ago. From his memoir, prepared by J. G. Terrill, we take the following:
"The Sabbath came, and I went to church. A goodly number had come, probably from curiosity, to see the new preacher. I had resolved to deliver my own soul regardless of persons or conditions, by declaring the whole counsel of God. But I saw no favorable indications. After a few efforts during the week following to bring about a change, and finding it all in vain, I went to sinners and exhorted them to flee from the wrath to come. The response from them was: "'Go, look after your ungodly members." Sabbath came again, and I delivered my message in view of the judgment; When I was leaving the church, I met the principal member of the official board, who accosted me thus: 'We don't like your preaching here at all, nor the chapters you lead from the pulpit. Hell is not very popular here.'
"I inquired: 'Will you tell me, brother, what I have preached that is not Bible truth?"
"Well," said he, "I believe it is true."
"'Do you want me to preach lies?" I asked.
"I went home, weeping along the street. I now saw I was going to accomplish anything, I must do it with might. So, Monday morning, I went to the grove, and before, the Lord in prayer. It seemed as though the power I experienced of darkness were all about me. The sensations were as if by the hardest effort I was overcoming great obstacles and rising higher and higher, until my head struck against a rock, and I sank back overcome. I arose and sought another place to plead with God, and there experienced the same. Thus I continued day after day through the week. I would go to the house once in a while and get something to eat, and then return to the struggle. Sometimes my agony was such that it seemed to me I could rend the heavens with my cries for the salvation of sinners. It seemed to me that if I could hold on until the victory came, I should see them saved. When Saturday night came my very brain seemed sore, and the jar of my step gave me pain. I felt a kind of bewilderment coming on, but I had received no answer. I had resolved, in the name of God, to see a break and salvation come to the church, on the next Sabbath, or an end put to its standing as a stench in the nostrils of the Almighty and the world.
"Sunday morning came, and with eyes sore from weeping, and my brain tender from the continual struggle of the week, I walked softly and carefully to the church, and into the pulpit. In opening the service, I said to the membership. "This day ends my labors in this place. You do not want me here, and I do not want to stay, for I am heartily tired of pouring water on to rocks. But if God will help me, I will either see a break today, or see this ungodly apology for Methodism annihilated. I have asked no man's money; I go at my own expense; but I shall go straight for God." Nothing seemed to move in the morning. In the evening I went into the pulpit again, and announced that I should redeem my pledge. Of course, this aroused their hate to a high pitch. As God helped, I pointed out the track of an acceptable disciple, and the only one that could possibly pass the gates of Paradise. At the close of the sermon, I asked those, and only those who meant it and would take this track and where needed go to their neighbors and confess to them, and pray with them, and who would seek for the blessing of holiness until they knew they had it, to rise. I didn't believe I could get them to come forward. Two only arose, and they were of the most lowly. 'Well,' said I, 'there seem to be but three of us, counting myself as one, and God besides; but I think we will try and have a prayer meeting. Those two and myself were all that would kneel, I in the altar and they at their seats, about half-way down the church. I opened with a short prayer, and began to rise in spirit until I struck that rock again. I then asked some one else to pray, but no one responded; and I tried again with the same experience and result, and the third time, and the fourth, and fifth until the sixth time, in immediate succession. I now felt that this is the last time, and that if I did not get the victory, God would say to me: 'Let them alone.' The case was a desperate one, and I knew the world and the devil were against me, and the church members who would not kneel; but I said in my prayer: 'O God, I'll go as far as I can." Again in spirit I began to rise, and soon I struck that rock again, and it seemed to shiver to atoms. Instantly the house was filled with the Divine glory. The two who were kneeling with me fell, and their shouts and screams were so loud that they alarmed the village. The people came running in to see what was the matter, and as they crowded up the aisles and saw the two prostrate under the power of God, tears each other down their faces; and the poor tempted members began one after another to confess their hostility and ask for pardon, and promised to take the track pointed out to them. I stayed one more week, and forty-five sinners were converted. The preacher, who had abandoned the work returned and revival went on in power for some time. -- Ten or fifteen years afterward, I heard from that society, and it still was well.'
PRAYER ANSWERED FOR ONE HUNDRED MISSIONARIES AND MONEY TO SUPPORT THEM
Major O. M. Brown, President of the Ohio Christian Alliance, of Cleveland, O.H, furnishes us the following:
In the spring of 1890, Rev. A. B. Simpson, President of the International Christian Alliance, was burdened in prayer for the heathen, who were perishing without the knowledge of the true God. And as he prayed, he began to inquire: "Lord, what can I do about it?" Then he began to ask the Lord to give him that year, one hundred missionaries for the foreign work, and money enough to pay their transit, and support them one year on the field; which would be about one hundred thousand dollars.
At the New York State Convention of the Alliance, held at Round Lake, in July of that same year, Mr. Simpson gave a very stirring address on the subject, and the people pledged $1,800 in a few minutes. At the Ohio Convention, at Beulah Park, near Cleveland, a few days later, $2,200 was pledged. And at the Old Orchard Convention, in Maine, in the month of August, $35,000 was pledged. Afterward, the pledges kept coming in, until there was upwards of $100,000 pledged. Before the year was out, the one hundred missionaries were many of them, in the field, or on the way thither. A few of them had not yet departed, but were ready to sail.
The work nearly doubled during the year 1892. These missionaries are scattered over large portions of the heathen world-in India, China, Japan, Africa, Palestine, South America, and the Islands of the Sea. None of this great force of Christian workers receive any stated salary for their service; and no member of the Mission Board receives any remuneration for his service. God will honor those who ask large things of Him.
TESTIMONY OF A SAVED INFIDEL
He had been given up by some as a hopeless case. One man, however, prayed for him until he prevailed, and the infidel was saved.
A revival was in progress, and in the midst of a melting meet mg he arose and to the surprise of many, "with face shining as did the face of Moses when he saw God," he gave the following striking and suggestive testimony:
"I stand," said Mr. R----, "to tell you the story of my conversion." His lips trembled slightly as he spoke, and his bosom heaved with suppressed emotion. "I am as a brand plucked out of the burning. The change in me is an astonishment to myself; and all brought about by the grace of God, and that unanswerable argument. It was a cold morning in January, and I had just begun my labor at the anvil in my shop, when I looked out and saw Mr. B---- approaching. He dismounted quickly and entered. As he drew near I saw he was agitated. His look was full of earnestness; his eyes were dimmed with tears; he took me by the hand; his breast heaved with emotion, and with indescribable tenderness he said: 'Mr. R----, I am greatly concerned for your salvation-greatly concerned for your salvation,' and he burst into tears. He stood with my hand grasped in his; he struggled to regain self-possession; he often essayed to speak, but not a word could he utter; and finding that he could say no more, he turned, went out of the shop, got on his horse, and rode slowly away.
"'Greatly concerned for my salvation,' said I, audibly, and I stood and forgot to bring my hammer down. There I stood with it upraised - 'greatly concerned for my salvation.' Here is a new argument for the truth of religion, which I have never heard before, and which I know not how to answer. Had the aged man reasoned with me I could have confounded him; but here is no threadbare argument for the truth of religion. Religion must be truth or this man would not feel as he does 'Greatly concerned for my salvation, it rung through my ears like a thunderclap in a clear sky Greatly concerned I ought, for my own salvation, said I "What shall I do?
"I went to my house. My poor pious wife, whom I had always ridiculed for her religion, exclaimed: 'Why, Mr. R---- what is the matter with you?' 'Matter enough,' said I, filled with agony and overwhelmed with a sense of sin. 'Old Mr. B---- has rode two miles this cold morning to tell me he was greatly concerned for my salvation. What shall I do? What shall I do?'
"'I do not know what you can do, said my astonished wife; I do not know what better you can do than to get on your horse, and go and see him. He can give you better counsel than I, and tell you what you must do to be saved.'
"I mounted my horse, and pursued after him. I found him alone in that same little room where he had spent the night in prayer for my poor soul, where he had shed many tears over such a reprobate as I, and had besought God to have mercy upon me.
"I am come,' said I to him, 'to tell you that I am greatly concerned for my own salvation'
"'Praised be God,' said the aged man. 'It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners,' even the chief: and he began at that same scripture, and preached to me Jesus. On that same floor we knelt, and together we prayed-and we did not -separate that day till God spoke peace to my soul.
"I have often been requested to look at the evidence of the truth of religion, but blessed be God, I have evidence for its truth here," laying his hand upon his heart, "which nothing can gainsay or resist. I have often been led to look at this, and that argument for the truth of Christianity; but I could overturn and, as I thought, completely demolish and annihilate them all. But I stand here tonight, thankful to acknowledge that God sent an argument to my conscience and heart, which could not the answered or resisted, when a weeping Christian came to tell me how greatly concerned he was for my salvation. God taught him that argument when he spent the night before him in prayer for my soul! Now I can truly say, I am a happy man. My peace flows like a river. My consistent, uncomplaining wife, who so long bore with my impiety and unbelief, now rejoices with me, that, by the grace of God, I am what I am --- that whereas I was blind, now I see. And here permit me to say if you would wish to reach the heart of such a poor sinner as I, you must get your qualifications where he did, in your closet and on your knees; So it shall be with me. I will endeavor to reach the hearts of my infidel friends through the closet and by prayer.
He sat down overcome with emotion, amid the tears and the suppressed sobs of the assembly. All were touched; for all knew what he once was, all saw what he had now become. --Tract.