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you, gentlemen?" _Every hand was raised in affirmation of this opinion_.
They were fully persuaded of its truth, and _gave a unanimous verdict
accordingly._

Thus the Christian man was rightfully acquitted, and gave thanks to God,
with a new and stronger confidence in the power of prayer. "Call upon me
in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me,"
saith the Lord.


THAT WONDERFUL $25. ANOTHER EVIDENCE OF THE EVER-PRESENT SPIRIT OF GOD.


The following incident is marvelous, as at the time of its occurrence
neither party had ever been known to each other:

In _New Haven, Conn._, lives a little invalid widow, almost helpless,
with no one upon whom to rely for support, and only indebted to friendly
acquaintances for a temporary home. With no money, no acquaintances, she
had nowhere else to turn to but to the Father of all good. She had
prayed often, and often had answers, but this time, though needing
money, still she received none. The answer was long delayed; she was
almost discouraged. "_Was God at last to fail and forget her? No, it
could not be. Let God be true even if I perish, I shall still cling to
Him. I can not give Him up."_

Just at that time a business man in New York, who had been absent on a
long journey for the Summer and had just returned, happened to pick up a
note among many hundred lying on his desk, and noticed that the writer
asked for some trifling favor, saying she was poor, had no means.

Her circumstances were unknown: he knew nothing but her name. He was
eager to _minister to the little ones of the Lord,_ and felt deeply
impressed in prayer that morning, in asking a blessing on his day's
labors, that he might be able to help the need of some of "his children"
who might then be in want. In his business hours the thought came over
him with the depth of emotion, "WHAT CAN I DO? LORD, THY SERVANT IS
READY." Just at that moment he picked up this note of the little
invalid, who asked the trivial favor, saying it would be such a comfort.
_(No money whatever was asked for in this note_.)

Suddenly the thought came to him, "_Perhaps this is my very opportunity.
This may be the Lord's little one in need_." But there was nothing in
the letter to indicate she was a Christian. She solicited no money or
pecuniary help.

Immediately there came to his mind, amid floods of tears, "_Inasmuch as
ye have done it unto the least of these, my children, ye have done it
unto me_." Instantly he understood it as a message from the Lord, and
the intimation of the Holy Spirit. He immediately sat down and wrote a
check for $25, and enclosed it to her, saying, "_I know not your need;
you have not asked me for help, but I send you something which may be
useful. I trust you are a Christian. I shall be happy to learn if it has
done good, and made you happy. Give me no thanks. The Lord's blessing is
enough for me_."

The letter was sent and forgotten, but a strange presentiment came over
the mind of the writer. "_I am afraid I did not direct that letter
right_." He sent a second postal card, asking if a letter had been
received at her home; if not, to go to her post office and inquire.

Now notice the wonderful singularity of incident. Here is a man sending
money, _never asked for, to an unknown person, about whom he knew
nothing; then misdirecting his letter_, and then remembering and
_sending another message to go and find where the first had gone to. But
notice the marvelous result_. The little invalid received the postal
card, but not the letter. She sent to the post office, and sure enough
there was the first letter with its misdirection. She was _just in time_
to save it from being sent to _another woman of the same name living in
another part of the same city_.

She opened her letter, and with tears of thankfulness perused this
wonderful reply, a marvelous witness to the power of an overruling
Spirit, who had directed everything.

"My heart is full, that God should so answer my simple prayer. I first
asked him for $10, then $15, _and then for_ $25. I asked him for $25
several times, and was astonished at my boldness, but the amount was so
fixed in my mind, _I could not ask for anything else_, and then I humbly
trusted it to Him, and from that time I thought, I will not name any
sum; let it be as He knows my need. And how He has honored my simple
faith and trust in these dark days. _Your letter contained exactly the
$25 I prayed for_. I have not had $1.50 to spend this Summer. I have
suffered for everything. But through it all I have felt such perfect
faith in the Lord, that his hand was leading me, even when I could not
see a step before me; and that He should move your heart to help me
seems so wonderful, so good. I am so glad I can thank you now, but ah,
so much "_over there_" where words will express so much more in the
beautiful atmosphere of heaven. Your letter and kind gift was mailed
_the very same day_ that I was praying in great distress and trial. I
knew not but that I should be without even a home. My verse was Psalms
50: 15. O, how I had to pray that day. So day by day I was comforted,
and now to-day the answer has come."

Here, then, is a portion of the story of a sweet life who trusted God,
not as a God of the past, nor far off, but ever living, ever present,
ever faithful, and believed Him _able, willing_, and that He _would
help_ her in her daily life. She tried her Lord, to prove if his
promises were indeed true, and she clung to them to the very last. No
one knew her need. No one knew what she was praying for. The stranger
did not know anything of her. She had asked money of no one but the
Lord. Hesitant ever, she dared not name any amount of the Lord, but that
ever present Spirit of God guided her heart, made her _fix the amount_,
and then touched the heart of the stranger and fixed the amount also in
his mind, and then, by his own guidance saved the letter from being
lost, and behold! when opened the _prayer of the one and the gift of the
other was the same_.

What a comfort, what a privilege, then, it is for the true-hearted
Christian thus to feel, "_There is one who careth for us_."


WHY HE FAILED.


A prominent business man failed in the Spring of 1877. He had been for
years a prominent and consistent member of a Christian church. He had
even supported a church once almost entirely. Nothing was known against
his character, _but he failed; he failed in business_. No one knew the
reason why, but there it was, _failure_.

At last, in moments of bitter repentance before God, he unbosomed
himself to his pastor, and said, "_Long ago I promised to give the Lord
one-tenth of all the profits I gained from my business, and while I did
so, I was immensely prosperous and successful; never did any one have
any such splendid success, - but I forgot my promise, stopped giving,
thought that I did not need to spend so much, and I began to invest my
means in real estate. When I stopped giving I stopped getting. Now all
is gone. I lost my all because I did not keep my promise to the Lord_."

This incident is a practical one, telling how utter is the impossibility
of true success, without the aid of the Lord, and how absolutely
necessary it is to our own peace and comfort of mind to religiously
observe one's promises made to God. The Bible only too truly tells of
the end of those who forget Him.

"_But Jeshurun waxed fat, then he forsook God which made him; and when
the Lord saw it, he abhorred them, and said, 'I will hide my face from
them_.'"

"_Ye can not prosper; because ye have forsaken the Lord_, He _hath also
forsaken you." "There shall be desolation; because thou hast forgotten
the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy
strength_."

* * * * * HOW THE LORD


CONTROLS THE WINDS AND THE WAVES


JOHN EASTER'S PRAYER.


In his "Memorials of Methodism in Virginia," Dr. W.W. Bennet relates the
following incidents in the life of John Easter, one of the pioneer
ministers who labored there nearly one hundred years ago: He is
represented as being the most powerful exhortatory preacher of his day.
His faith was transcendent, his appeals irresistible, his prayers like
talking with God face to face. Perhaps no man has ever been more
signally honored of God as an instrument in the conversion of souls. On
one of his circuits eighteen hundred members were added to the church in
a single year.

Many thrilling scenes under his preaching yet linger among the people in
those counties where he principally labored. A most extraordinary
display of his faith was witnessed in Brunswick. At Merritt's meeting-
house a quarterly meeting was in progress, and so vast was the concourse
of people from many miles around, that the services were conducted in a
beautiful grove near the church. In the midst of the exercises, a heavy
cloud arose, and swept rapidly towards the place of worship. From the
skirts of the grove the rain could be seen coming on across the fields.
The people were in consternation; no house could hold one-third of the
multitude, and they were about to scatter in all directions. Easter rose
in the midst of the confusion - "Brethren," cried he at the top of his
voice, "be still while I call upon God to stay the clouds, till His word
can be preached to perishing sinners." Arrested by his voice and manner,
they stood between hope and fear. He kneeled down and offered a fervent
prayer that God would then stay the rain, that the preaching of His word
might go on, and afterwards send refreshing showers. _While he was
praying, the angry cloud, as it swiftly rolled up to them, was seen to
part asunder in the midst, pass on either side of them, and close again
beyond, leaving a space several hundred yards in circumference perfectly
dry. The next morning a copious rain fell again, and the fields that had
been left dry were well watered_."


THE HUSHED TEMPEST.


The following circumstance is communicated to _The Christian_ by a
minister of the editor's acquaintance, as a memorial of God's care for
the poor and needy who trust in him:

It was about the year 1853, and near the middle of a Canadian Winter, we
had a succession of snowfalls, followed by high winds and severe cold. I
was getting ready to haul my Winter's stock of wood, for which I had to
go two miles over a road running north and south, entirely unprotected
from the keen cold west winds that prevail the most of the time in that
part of Canada during the Winter months.

The procuring of my Winter's supply of wood was no small task for me,
for I had very little to do with, and was unable to endure much fatigue,
or bear the severe cold. I had, however, succeeded in securing the
services of an excellent hand to chop, and help me load, and had also
engaged a horse of one neighbor, and a horse and sled of another, and
was ready on Monday morning to commence my job. Monday morning the roads
were fair, the day promised well, and my man was off at daybreak to the
woods to, have a load ready for me. There had been quite a fall of snow
during the night; not enough to do any harm if it only lay still, but
should the wind rise, as it had after every snow-fall before, it would
make it dreadful for me. Soon as possible I harnessed my team, and
started. I had not gone a quarter of a mile before it became painfully
evident that a repetition of our previous "blows" was impending. The sky
was dark and stormy, the wind rose rapidly, and in every direction
clouds of the newly fallen snow were beginning to ride on the "wings of
the wind," pouring over the fences, and filling the road full! My heart
sank within me. What could I do? At this rate, by next morning the roads
would be impassable, and it was so cold! Besides, if I failed to go on
now, it would be very difficult to get my borrowed team together again,
and impossible to get my man again; and we could as well live without
bread as without wood in a Canadian Winter.

Every moment the wind increased. In deep distress, I looked upon the
threatening elements, exclaiming over and over, "What shall I do?" I
felt then that there was but one thing that I could do, and that was
just what poor sinking Peter did; and with feelings I imagine something
like his, I looked up to God, and cried out, "O, my God, this is more
than I am able to bear. Lord, help me! The elements are subject to thee;
thou boldest the winds in thy fist. If thou wilt speak the word, there
will be a great calm. O, for Jesus' sake, and for the sake of my little
helpless family, let this snow lie still and give me an opportunity of
accomplishing this necessary labor comfortably!" I do not think it was
above fifteen minutes after I began to call upon the Lord before there
was a visible change. The wind began to subside, the sky grew calm, and
in less than half an hour all was still, and a more pleasant time for
wood-hauling than I had that day, I never saw nor desire to see. Many
others beside me enjoyed the benefit of that "sudden change" of weather,
but to them it was only a "nice spell of weather," a "lucky thing;"
while to me it was full of sweet and encouraging tokens of the
"loving-kindness of the Lord." And now, after so many years, I feel
impelled to give this imperfect narrative, to encourage others in the
day of trouble to call upon the Lord; and also, as a tribute of
gratitude to Him who has "never said to the house of Jacob, seek ye my
face in vain."


PRAYING IN FAIR WEATHER.


The ways in which God saves those whom he wishes to deliver from death,
are sometimes too wonderful for our understanding. A certain ship was
overtaken in a severe and prolonged storm at sea. She had a noble
Christian man for a captain, and as good a sailor as ever trod the
quarter-deck, and he had under him a good and obedient crew. But they
could not save the ship; she was too badly strained, her leaks were too
great for the pumps, she must go to the bottom. The captain committed
them all to the care of the God in whom he put his trust, and made ready
to take to their boats. Just then a sail was descried, and, by signals
of distress, drawn to their relief. All on board were taken off safely
and put on the ship, soon after which they saw their own ship go down.

Now comes the peculiar part. The ship was soon overtaken in a dreadful
storm, was cast on her beam ends, and everything seemed to be lost. The
passengers were praying, and many of the old seamen were calling on God
to save them from the great deep. The captain of the ship had done his
best, but could not right the vessel, and all was given up to go down.
The captain, whose ship was lost, then asked if he might take his crew
and try to right the vessel.

"Take them, and do what you can," was the reply. He called to his men
and told them they must save that ship; he inspired them with
confidence, for they knew he was a true man of God. They executed his
orders with alacrity and care. They cut away the masts, and cleared away
the rigging, and brought all the force they could to right the vessel.
God prospered the efforts - the ship righted; they got the pumps at work,
rigged a sail, and were finally all saved. It seemed as if it was
necessary to put the captain of the first ship and his crew on the
second ship, that they might save it and those on board when the
terrible storm came.

Now it was particularly noticed in connection with this deliverance,
that the captain of the lost vessel did not make any ado in prayer, or
in calling on God, while the storm was raging; and knowing that he was a
Christian man, they asked him the reason of this. He answered them,
_that he did his praying in fair weather; "and then_" said he, _"when
the storm comes, I work_." He did not distrust God then, any more than
in fair weather; but he knew that God requires man to do all he can to
save himself, and praying might lose him his ship, when his own efforts
must save it.


THE RESCUE FROM THE VILLE DU HAVRE, AND THE LOCH EARN.


A remarkable illustration of God's mysterious way is found in connection
with the rescue of some of the passengers of the ill-fated French
steamship, Ville du Havre, which was sunk by a collision with the Loch
Earn, November 22, 1873, on her voyage from New York to France. After
the sinking of the Ville du Havre, with some two hundred of her
passengers, the rest were taken up by the Loch Earn, from which most of
them were afterwards transferred to the Trimountain. Others remained on
board the Loch Earn, where in consequence of its disabled condition they
seemed again in imminent danger of being lost.

On the 11th of December, while Mr. D.L. Moody was conducting a noonday
prayer-meeting in the city of Edinburgh, Rev. Dr. Andrew Thompson read a
letter from a Christian lady, the mother of one of these imperiled
passengers, which contained the following account:

"After the Trimountain left them, and they had examined their ship, many
a heart failed, and they feared they would never see land again. They
could not navigate the vessel, and were left to the mercy of the winds
and waves, or rather to the care of Him who ruleth wind and waves. Vain
was the help of man. The wind drove them out of the course of ships,
northward. You are aware that two ministers were left on board the Loch
Earn. One, Mr. Cook, a truly godly man, did all he could to encourage
their hearts. Every day, at noon, he gathered them together, and
earnestly, by prayer, strove to lead them to the Savior; and this he
continued to do till they reached England. The day before they were
rescued they knew that very shortly the ship must go down. The wind had
changed, bringing them nearer the track of ships, but they had little
hope of being saved. Mr. Cook told them of his own hope, that death to
him would be eternal life, and he urgently entreated them to put their
trust in 'Him who was mighty to save.' At the same time he told them he
had no doubt they would be rescued, that even then a vessel was speeding
to save them, that God had answered their prayers, that next day as
morning dawned they would see her. That night was one of great anxiety.

"As morning dawned every eye was strained to see the promised ship.
There truly she was, and the British Queen bore down upon them. You may
think that with thankful hearts they left the Loch Earn. One thing is
remarkable - _the officer in charge on board the British Queen had a most
unaccountable feeling that there was something for him to do,_ and
_three times during the night he changed the course of the vessel,
bearing northward_. He told the watch to keep a sharp lookout for a
ship, and immediately on sighting the Loch Earn bore down upon her. At
first he thought she had been abandoned, as she lay helpless in the
trough of the sea, but soon they saw her signal of distress. It seems to
me a remarkable instance of faith on the one side and a guiding
Providence on the other. After they were taken on board the pilot-boat
that brought them into Plymouth, at noon, when they for the last time
joined together in prayer, Mr. Cook read to them the account of Paul's
shipwreck, showing the similarity of their experience. _'What made that
captain change his course against his will?' but the ever present Spirit
of God"_.


THE STORM MADE CALM.


At a Sunday morning meeting at Repository Hall, January 25, 1874, a
Christian brother, in illustration of the power and faithfulness of God,
and his willingness to hear and answer prayer, related these facts in
his own experience. An account of them was subsequently published in the
_Christian_:

"In 1839 I was a sailor on board the brig Pandora, Captain G - - , bound
from Savannah to Boston, with a cargo of cotton. When off the coast of
Virginia, some twenty-five miles distant from Chesapeake Bay, we
encountered a heavy gale. Saturday evening, December 21st, the wind blew
gently from the south. On sounding, we found ourselves in thirty fathoms
of water. At midnight the wind veered to the eastward, gradually
increasing until four o'clock Sunday morning, by which time the brig was
under close-reefed topsails and foresail. The wind still increasing,
every stitch of canvas was taken in, and now the vessel lay helpless and
unmanageable in the trough of the sea, not minding her helm at all,
while the wind blew a perfect hurricane. The vessel being very light,
loaded with cotton, made much leeway, and though we had worn ship four
times during the preceding night, hoping, if possible, to weather some
shoals which the captain judged were near, and to make Chesapeake Bay,
where we might have a clear beach before us in case the vessel should
strand, yet at eight o'clock Sunday morning we were in but seventeen
fathoms of water.

"The gale now increased with fearful violence, waves rising like
mountains, and rain and sleet pouring from the dismal clouds. At ten,
A.M., being then in fifteen fathoms of water, and drifting rapidly
towards the shore, the captain summoned all hands into the cabin to
consult about throwing our deck-load overboard, in order to leave us a
better chance to secure ourselves to the rigging, and thus save our
lives when the vessel should strike, which he judged would be in about
half an hour. Not a gleam of hope appeared, and here our distress was
increased by observing that the captain seemed under the influence of
liquor, to which he had probably resorted in order to stifle his fears
of approaching death.

"The order was given, and we went to work to throw the cotton over,
while the captain, frightened and despairing, went into the cabin to
drown his fears in drink. Seeing the state of things, and believing that
shipwreck was imminent, I found two of my shipmates who were Christians,
and who had prayed daily with me in the forecastle, and I asked them if
they had any faith in God now, that he would hear our prayers and
deliver us? They both said they had; and I told them to pray, then, that
the Lord might rebuke the winds and calm the waves.

"With an unspeakable mingling of fear and hope we applied ourselves to
the task of casting the cotton into the sea, at the same time lifting up
earnest and united prayers to God for deliverance from the threatened
destruction, occasionally gliding in close contact with each other, and
speaking words of hope in each other's ears, and feeling, as we toiled,
a blessed confidence that our prayers were not in vain.

"It did not seem more than five minutes from the time we commenced to
throw the cotton overboard, for we had scarcely tumbled twenty bales
into the sea, when we heard a shout from the quarter deck:

"'Avast heaving cotton overboard! _The wind is coming out from our lee!_
Avast there!'

"It was the captain's voice, bidding us stay our hands; we obeyed, and
looking up we saw him clinging to the rigging, apparently so drunk that
he could hardly stand, _while away over our lee-bow we could see blue
sky and fair weather_, and _it seemed that in less than ten minutes from
the time the hurricane was at its height, the wind had chopped around in
shore, and was gently wafting us away from danger, and out into deep
water again_.

"There were glad souls on board the Pandora that day, as she swung
around in obedience to the helm, and we laid her course again for our
destined port. And some who before had mocked at prayers and blasphemed
the God we loved, admitted then that God had answered prayer, and that
he had delivered us from death.

"And I love to repeat the story to the praise of the Lord, who yet lives
to hear, and bless, and save his trusting children."


NO FEAR OF THUNDER.


Some years ago a camp-meeting was held in Southern Indiana. It rained
nearly all the time of the meeting. Father Haven, a man mighty in
prayer, rose to preach. Just as he announced his text it thundered, and
the congregation seemed to be restless and alarmed. The old hero
instantly said, "Let us engage a moment in prayer." He prayed that God
would allow the storm to pass by and not disturb them.

After having plead for a few moments he said, "Friends, keep your seats;
it will not rain one drop here to-day." He commenced to preach, and it
thundered again. He repeated his assurance, and thus it continued until
the storm-cloud was almost over the encampment. It divided north and
south, and passed about a quarter of a mile on either side of them,
reunited again and passed on, and not one solitary drop of rain fell on
that encampment.


THE PRAYER OF THE PILGRIMS FOR RAIN ANSWERED.


It is well known that many of the good men who were driven from England
to America by persecution in the seventeenth century, had to endure


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Online LibraryVariousThe Wonders of Prayer A Record of Well Authenticated and Wonderful Answers to Prayer → online text (page 26 of 28)