FACTS STRANGER THAN FICTION
THE WONDERS OF PRAYER:
A RECORD OF WELL AUTHENTICATED AND WONDERFUL ANSWERS TO PRAYER.
AS NARRATED BY:
GEORGE MULLER, W.W. PATTEN, D.D., D.L. MOODY, CHAS. CULLIS, C.H. SPURGEON, S.I. PRIME, D.D., BISHOP SIMPSON, E. KRUMMACHER, NEWMAN HALL, D.D., MARTIN LUTHER, BISHOP T. BOWMAN, JOHN KNOX, CHAS. G. FINNEY, ABRAHAM LINCOLN,
AND HOSTS OF OTHERS.
NEW EDITION. REVISED BY D.W. WHITTLE.
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INTRODUCTION TO FIRST EDITION.
The incidents which are published in this volume, are vouched for upon the strongest proofs of authenticity possible to obtain, and are either of circumstances known amid my own experience, or connected with the lives of my correspondents and their friends. They are the thankful record and tribute to the power of persevering faith.
Nothing has been published concerning which there is the least shadow of doubt. All have been carefully investigated.
Every case has been one of real prayer, and the results that have come, came only in answer to the prayer of faith, and were not possible to obtain without it.
They demonstrate to a wonderful degree, the immediate practical ways of the Lord with his children in this world, that He is far nearer and more intimate with their plans and pursuits than it is possible for them to realize.
Neither have we depended upon the relation of facts of a few, to convince the world of the real power of faith, but have added concurrent testimony of incidents actually known in the experience of such eminent clergymen as Charles Spurgeon, Newman Hall, Martin Luther, W. Huntington, Dr. Waterbury, George Muller, Dr. Cullis, Dr. Patton, Dr. Adams, Dr. Prime, Bishop Simpson, and many others.
Also we have added some incidents known and investigated and found absolutely true, by the editors of the following journals, who add their unquestioning belief in the power of prayer: The Christian, The Evangelist, The Observer, The Congregationalist, The Advance, The Illustrated Christian Weekly, The American Messenger, The Witness. Likewise we have been greatly assisted by some of our Home Missionaries, who, from their daily experiences with the poor and suffering, have been eye-witnesses to remarkable experiences and the wonderful help of the Lord in answering their prayers.
These testimonies here recorded must be accepted as true. They demonstrate that answers to prayer are not occasional, and therefore remarkable that they do occur, but are of constant occurrence.
There may be many minds who, having carried no trial to the Lord, have never been brought into intimate acquaintances of the ways in which the Lord tries the faith of his children, nor led to see and observe his wonderful control over human wills and circumstances. The power of the Lord is learned only by those who in deep trouble have faithfully sought Him and seen his ways of deliverance.
None can ever understand the full power of prayer until they have learned the lesson of trust. It is only when for the first time in the Christian's own life of faith, it realizes the hand of God in his personal dealings with him, how near He is, or how clearly he feels the presence of that tremendous overruling Spirit which
"Turneth the heart whithersoever He will."
The actual existence of our God is therefore proved, not alone from History, nor from the Bible alone, nor from current natural or religious feeling and beliefs, nor from the testimony of old witnesses several thousand years old, but from the actual incidents of present prayer, and the literal answer. Daily faith and trust and prayer have made the Christian deeply acquainted with Him and his ways, and humbly dependent upon his care and love and help, in the events of life. No one ever faithfully trusted the Lord in vain.
Circumstances so clouded that it has been impossible for men to control, have, through believing prayer, been so made to change, that through them has been revealed living evidences of the presence of
The Ever Living God.
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BY D.W. WHITTLE.
To recognize God's existence is to necessitate prayer to Him, by all intelligent creatures, or, a consciously living in sin and under condemnation of conscience, because they do not pray to Him. It would be horrible to admit the existence of a Supreme Being, with power and wisdom to create, and believe that the creatures he thought of consequence and importance enough to bring into existence, are not of enough consequence for him to pay any attention to in the troubles and trials consequent upon that existence.
Surely such a statement is an impeachment of both the wisdom and goodness of God.
It were far more sensible for those who deny the fitness and necessity of prayer to take the ground of the atheist and say plainly "We do not pray, for there is no God to pray to," for to deny prayer, is practical atheism.
So in the very constitution of man's being there is the highest reasonableness in prayer. And, if the position of man in his relation to the earth he inhabits is recognized and understood, there is no unreasonableness in a God-fearing man looking to God for help and deliverance under any and all circumstances, in all the vicissitudes of life. The earth was made for man. One has said "there is nothing great in the world but man; and there is nothing great in man but his soul." With this in view, how absurd to talk about "fixed laws" and "unchangeable order," in a way to keep man in his trouble from God. It is all the twaddle of the conceit of man setting himself up to judge and limit his maker. "To whom then will ye liken Me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One." The Creator is greater than his creation; the law giver is supreme over all law. He created the earth that it might be inhabited by man, and He governs the earth in subordination to the interests, the eternal and spiritual welfare of the race of immortal beings that are here being prepared for glory and immortality.
Laws, indeed, are fixed in their operation and results as subserving the highest good in the training and the disciplining of the race, giving them hope in their labor and sure expectation of fruit from their toil. But as set in operation for man's good, so, in an exigency that may make necessary their suspension, to secure his deliverance from peril and bring man back to the recognition of the personal God, as above, law, is it unreasonable to believe that God has power thus to suspend or overrule his own arrangements? A wise father will govern his children by rules as securing their best good. But he will retain in his power the suspending of those rules when special occasions arise, when the object for which they exist can be better secured by their suspension. Shall not the living God have the same right?
So much as to the reflections suggested by the dogmas of natural religion. They sustain in reason our faith in prayer. The basis, however, of our faith rests upon the unchanging and unchangeable revelation of God, and not upon man's philosophy. Jesus taught his disciples to pray, saying, "Our Father which art in Heaven." As Christians, this is our authority for prayer. In the words, "OUR FATHER," our Blessed Lord has given us the substance of all that can be said, as to the privilege of prayer, what to pray for, and how to pray. There can be no loftier exercise of soul ever given to created intelligence than to come into conscious contact with the living God, and be able to say "My Father."
And surely, as my Father, with a loving father's heart, it must be his desire that I should tell him all my needs, all my sorrows, all my desires. And, so his word commands, "Be careful for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." (Phil, iv., 6.) Under this verse there is positively no exception of any request that may not be made known unto God. So there is true faith and right Christian philosophy in the remark, "if a pin was needful to my happiness and I could not find one I would pray to God for it."
The mistake of Christians is in not praying over little things. "The hairs of your head are all numbered." Consult God about everything. Expect His counsel, His guidance, His care, His provision, His deliverance, His blessing, in everything. Does not the expression, "Our daily bread," mean just this? Can there be any true life of faith that does not include this? Whatever will serve to help God's children to a better understanding of the blessed privileges of prayer, and prove to them the reality of God's answering prayer in the cares, trials and troubles of daily life, will approve itself to all thoughtful minds as a blessing to them and an honor to God. It is the purpose of this volume to do this. We are more helped by testimony to facts than by theories and doctrines. When we have illustrations before our eyes of God's care for his children, and His response to their faith, even in the minutest things, we understand the meaning of His promises and the reality of His providences.
The writer had many thoughts in this line suggested to him by an incident, with which he was connected, in the life of George Muller. It was my happiness to cross the Atlantic in the company of this dear brother on the steamship Sardinian, from Quebec to Liverpool, in June, 1880.
I met Mr. Muller in the express office the morning of sailing, about half an hour before the tender was to take the passengers to the ship. He asked of the agent if a deck chair had arrived for him from New York. He was answered, No, and told that it could not possibly come in time for the steamer. I had with me a chair I had just purchased and told Mr. Muller of the place near by, where I had obtained it, and suggested that as but a few moments remained he had better buy one at once. His reply was, "No, my brother, Our Heavenly Father will send the chair from New York. It is one used by Mrs. Muller, as we came over, and left in New York when we landed. I wrote ten days ago to a brother who promised to see it forwarded here last week. He has not been prompt as I would have desired, but I am sure Our Heavenly Father will send the chair. Mrs. Muller is very sick upon the sea, and has particularly desired to have this same chair, and not finding it here yesterday when we arrived, as we expected, we have made special prayer that Our Heavenly Father would be pleased to provide it for us, and we will trust Him to do so." As this dear man of God went peacefully on board the tender, running the risk of Mrs. Muller making the voyage without a chair, when for a couple of dollars she could have been provided for, I confess I feared Mr. Muller was carrying his faith principles too far and not acting wisely.
I was kept at the express office ten minutes after Mr. Muller left. Just as I started to hurry to the wharf a team drove up the street, and on top of a load just arrived from New York, was Mr. Muller's chair! It was sent at once to the tender and placed in my hands to take to Mr. Muller (the Lord having a lesson for me) just as the boat was leaving the dock. I found Mr. and Mrs. Muller in a retired spot on one side of the tender and handed him the chair. He took it with the happy, pleased expression of a child who has just received a kindness deeply appreciated, and reverently removing his hat and folding his hands over it, he thanked his Heavenly Father for sending the chair. "In everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God." "Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you."
So the word of God teaches us as His children (inviting us to pray, commanding us to pray, and teaching us how to pray), that there is a divine reality in prayer. Experience abundantly corroborates the teaching.
Every truly converted man knows from this experience that God answers prayer. He has verified the promise. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jer. xxxiii., 8.) His life is a life of prayer, and grows more and more to be a life of almost unconscious dependence upon God, as he becomes fixed in the habit of prayer. This, and it is the purpose of God, is the result secured by prayer. With this in view, it will not be so much what we expect to get by praying, as a consciousness of coming into closer relations to God, the giver of all, in our prayers, that will give us true joy.
Often God's children are driven to the throne of grace by some desperate need of help and definite supply of an absolute want, and, as they cry to God and plead their case with tears before him, he so manifests his presence to them and so fills them with a consciousness of his love and power, that the burden is gone and without the want being supplied that drove them to God, they rejoice in God himself and care not for the deprivation. This was Paul's experience when he went thus to God about the thorn, and came away without the specific relief he had prayed for, but with such a blessing as a result of his drawing near to God, that he little cared whether the thorn remained or not—or, rather, rejoiced that it was not removed; that it might be used to keep him near to God, whose love so filled his soul.
A widow once told the writer of the turning point in her Christian life, when God's love was so shed abroad in her heart that she had been enabled to go on through all her trials rejoicingly conscious of God's presence, and casting all her burdens upon Him. She was driven to seek God by great need. Her husband's death left her destitute, with little children to provide for, and few friends from whom to look for continuous aid. Winter drew on, and, one day, her little boy came in shivering with cold and asked if he could not have a fur cap, as his straw hat was very cold and none of the boys at school wore straw hats. She was without a cent in the world. She gave a hopeful answer to the boy and sent him out to play, and then went to her bedroom and knelt and wept in utter desolation of heart before God, praying most earnestly that God would give her a token that He was her God and was caring for her by sending her a cap for her boy. While she prayed the peace of God filled her soul. She was made to feel the presence of her Saviour in such a way that all doubts as to his love for her and his fulfillment of all his promises to care for her vanished away, and she went out of her room, rejoicing in the Lord and singing his praise. She had no burden about the cap, and was quite content for God to send it or not as it pleased Him; and, in the afternoon, when a neighbor called, occupied with the Lord and his wonderful love, the thought of the cap had gone from her mind. When the neighbor rose to depart, she said, "You know my little boy died last fall. Just before he died I bought him a fur cap: he only wore it two or three times. After his death I put away all his things and thought I could never part with any of them. But, this morning, as I went to the drawer to look them over, I felt that I should give you this cap for your little boy. Will you take it of me?" As she took the cap and told her neighbor of the morning trial, prayer and blessing, two souls were filled with the sense of the reality of prayer and the love of God for his children. "My little boy," said the widow, "wore that cap for three winters. And often, when sorely tried by my circumstances, has God lifted the burden from my heart, by my just looking at it, and remembering the blessing that came with it."
Experiences like this God gives to all his children, not for the purpose of leading them to look to Him for supplying their physical necessities, as an end, but to make Himself known to them, and to secure their confidence and love, for "this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." (Jno. xvii, 8.)
The use of prayer is to bring us into communion with God, for the growth of the spiritual life, that is ours by faith in Christ Jesus. To leave it upon any lower plane than this, is to rob it of its highest functions and to paralyze it of lasting power for good in any direction. The promises of God are conditioned upon our being in this state of heart toward God. "If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." (Jno. xv., 7.) Abiding in Christ, our will will be His will, as to desiring that which will most advance the divine life and promote confidence in God, and all our desires for material blessings will be subordinated to this motive. Right here must come in a line of truth that will lead us from the spirit of dictation in our prayers to God in all matters pertaining to our worldly concerns. We cannot tell what is for our highest spiritual good. The saving of our property or the taking it away. The recovery from sickness or the continuance of it; the restoration of the health of our loved one, or his departing to be with Christ; the removing the thorn or the permitting it to remain. "In everything" it is indeed our blessed privilege to let our requests be make known unto God, but, praise his name, he has not passed over to us the awful responsibility of the assurance that in everything the requests we make known will be granted. He has reserved the decision, where we should rejoice to leave it, to his infinite wisdom and his infinite love.
There is a danger to be carefully guarded against in the reading of this book and in the consideration of the precious truth. The incidents it relates bring before the mind, of the unlimited resources and the unquenchable love of God, that are made available to believing prayer. That danger has been suggested by what has been said, that the highest use of prayer is to bring the soul nearer to God, and not the making of it a mere matter of convenience to escape physical ills or supply physical necessities.
"That which is born of the flesh is flesh" and continues flesh until the end. "Have no confidence in the flesh" is always a much needed exhortation. Now, unquestionably, the desires of the natural heart may and do deceive us, and often lead as to believe that our fervent earnest prayer for temporal blessing is led of the Spirit, when the mind of the Spirit is, that we will be made more humble, more Christ-like and more useful by being denied than by being granted. Again, we are in danger of disobeying the plain commands of God's word in allowing prayer ever to take the place of anything in our power to do, and that we are commanded to do as a means to secure needed good. He who has said "pray always," has also said, "Be ambitious to be quiet and to do your own business, and to work with your hands, even as we charged you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and may have need of nothing." (1 Thess., iv., 11, 12; R.V.)
How often the flesh has led men to read (Phil, iv., 19): "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus," in a spirit entirely opposed to this exhortation. They have ceased to labor with their hands, and, without warrant in the providences of God and the judgment of brethren, have turned from doing their own business, expecting the Lord to pay their debts and provide for their necessities. The quotations of Scripture made by our Lord to Satan, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord, thy God," is surely applicable in all such cases. The spirit of a "sound mind" (see 2 Tim. i., 7) will surely recognize this.
So in all things, that which God has given me intelligence and power to do, in avoiding evil or securing good, I am under direct command from him to do, always depending upon His blessing to secure the needed result. A true faith in God will be made manifest by careful obedience to known commands. An intelligent faith can never allow dependence upon means used to take the place of dependence upon the living God, who alone makes them efficacious.
It must result in presumptions faith, if obedience is neglected, and the results only promised to obedience are expected. That God can give blessing, without the use of the ordinary means, on man's part, there is no question. That he has done so is a matter of record. Yet we should remember that there were but two miraculous draughts of fishes, and only twice did our Lord make bread without the use of seed-time, harvest, grinding and baking. The rule of Christ in his earthly ministry was, most certainly, to receive the supply of his physical wants from His Heavenly Father, in the use of means to secure the results offered in the ordinary operation of the laws of God. He went into the corn-field at autumn and visited the olive tree for sustenance as did other men. And the question for his disciples is not what God can do, and not what he has done (that he may be known as God over all creation, blessed for evermore) in the suspension of natural laws, but what has he revealed to us as his will during the time of the present dispensation of the church on this earth, as to his children using means for the avoidance of evil and securing of good, or depending entirely upon miraculous interference in answer to the prayer of faith for all need without reference to use of means.
Does the prayer, "Give us this day our daily bread," mean that we are to do nothing to secure our bread, lest we show no faith in God, and simply wait in idleness for God to repeat the miracle of sending it by a raven? or, does it mean that with thankful hearts to God for the ability he has given us to work, that we go forth diligently fulfilling our task in the use of all appropriate means to secure that which his loving bounty has made possible for us in the fruitful seasons of the earth, and return with devout recognition that He is the Creator, Upholder and Giver of all, bringing our sheaves with us. When seed-time and harvest fail and death is on the land, when corn fails in Egypt and there is no bread, when we have obeyed him and sought to toil with our hands and no man has given unto us, then we will expect his interposition and will have faith that he who has fed us by use of means, will supply us without means, and that He alone is the living God.
It is noticeable that the prophet Elisha, whose prayers God heard in the multiplication of the twenty loaves during the dearth at Gilgal, was made Elijah's successor when following his twelve yoke of oxen at the plough in the field, diligently using means to obtain bread, and undoubtedly communing with God all the while and recognizing the evidences of his love and power in every upturned daisy as he ploughed the sod, and in every seed that he dropped into the fertile earth, and thought it grand to be a fellow worker with God in the husbandry of the earth and not one to be fed in idleness, neglecting the toil appointed to man, and losing the blessing that is promised in the word of God, in the discipline and the knowledge of God in the operations of His laws, that comes in a greater or less degree to all of earth's honest toilers.
It is the opinion of many of God's children that as the present dispensation draws to its close, there will be among the spiritually minded and consecrated ones of the church, a reproduction of the gifts of Pentecost for a last testimony to the world before Christ comes in glory. There is much Scripture that might be quoted to sustain this opinion. God grant in His grace and mercy that it may be so. But neither the church or the world have any claim upon God for it. The church has abused grace and the world has despised mercy. All the promises as to miracles wrought for a testimony as to the truth of Christ's resurrection, have been fulfilled. If Christ were to come to-day, the world would be without excuse in having rejected him, and could not plead that signs and wonders had been abundantly wrought in His name in the establishing of His church upon the earth.
The question of our Lord in Luke xviii., 8, "When the son of man cometh shall he find faith on the earth?" suggests to many minds that there may not be vouchsafed during the time immediately preceding his manifestations, any marked interference by God in the way of miracles or signs among his children, but that their faith in Him as the unseen God, and their trust in the truth and verify of His word, will be brought forth to the praise and glory of God and their joy, by their being left to the word alone and the operations of the Holy Ghost by and through the word for their comfort and stability in the faith.
Coupled with this thought let it ever be borne in mind by the believer that the testimony of God's word as to miracles, signs and wonders wrought by Satanic agency in the church, during the last day, is clear and unmistakable, and warnings abound as to our danger from them.
"The Spirit saith expressly that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." 1 Tim. iv., 1.
"But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come." "Evil men and impostors shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." 2 Tim. iii., 1 and 13.
"Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers be transformed as the ministers of righteousness. 2 Cor. xi., 14.
"And then shall that wicked be revealed. Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and lying wonders; and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved." 2 Thess. ii., 8 to 10.
By these passages it is plain that a sign or a wonder does not establish a doctrine or endorse a man as certainly being from God. The doctrine and the man must be judged by the written word of God.
If there is ought in the doctrine that denies that Jesus is the Son of God, that derogates in the slightest degree from the merit of His atonement on the cross for our sins, or that takes the eye off from Him as the risen and coming Lord, the alone object of our faith and hope, or that dishonors in any way God's holy word, taking from or adding to it, then the more signs and wonders and manifestations of mysterious power that there may be connected with it, then the more certainly we may know that it is of Satan and not of God.
And if, in the man who exhibits signs and wonders, there is a spirit contrary to the spirit of Christ, in his seeking honor from man, and using his power to establish a claim to such honor, "speaking of himself as some great one," and not walking in humility as a sinner saved from hell and kept day by day by the power of God through faith in Christ, And if the purpose of his signs be to establish revelations he is receiving in any form apart from the written word, then, though his signs be as marvelous as those of the magicians in Egypt, or Simon Magnus in Samaria, he is, like them, a minister of Satan and not a minister of Jesus Christ.
The age abounds in doctrines and men of this kind. The life of faith lays the soul open to assaults of the Devil by their agency.
"Beloved try the spirits whether they be of God."
Let us not waver in our faith in God's overruling providence, and in the reality of His interposition in answer to prayer for the deliverance and help of his people under any and all circumstances. "In everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let our requests be made known unto God," but let our first request be that we be kept in a sound mind obedient to the word, and let all of our requests close with the utterance, from a sincere heart, of the words, "Thy will be done." If this be the attitude of our hearts our prayers shall be abundantly and graciously answered, and God shall guide us from the wiles of the Evil One for the sake of His dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord, through whose precious blood we have all grace and all blessing. Amen.
LAKE VIEW, July 24th, 1885.
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A MAN CAN RECEIVE NOTHING EXCEPT IT BE GIVEN HIM FROM HEAVEN. JOHN 3: 27.
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"Know, that the Lord, thy God he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him, and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations."
"My Covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips."
"I will not suffer my faithfulness to fail."
"I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it."
"He is faithful that promised."
"I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."
"Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David."
"God is not a man, that he should lie; hath he said and shall he not do it? hath he spoken and shall he not make it good?"
"Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in Heaven; thy faithfulness is unto all generations, thy word is true from the beginning."
"Thy faithfulness is unto all generations."
"The word of our God shall stand forever."
"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth; it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the things whereto I sent it."
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ANSWERS TO PRAYER
A WONDERFUL ANSWER TO PRAYER AND PROOF OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
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 $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 $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 $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 $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 $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.