« PreviousContinue »
18. WW any Christian be absent from the next
The Monthly Concert of prayer for the success of Missions and the salvation of the world. I wonder, indeed, that any Christian is ever voluntarily absent from that prayer meeting; but, from that of Monday next, what Christian, that is a Christian, can of choice absent himself? Why? What particular attraction will there be in the next Concert, that a Christian should attend that, if never another? Do you ask? Can you not imagine? Have you
not heard the news brought by the last ship from eastern and southern Asia ? When came a ship so freighted with tidings! MORRISON IS DEAD. What Christian will not go to the next Concert, if for no other reason, to offer praise to God that Morrison lived, and lived so long, and was enabled to accomplish the magnificent work of translating the word of God into the language read and spoken by one third of human kind?
But that is not all the news the ship brought. It came fraught with heavy tidings. How many tears have already been shed at the recital, tears of grief for the dead, and tears of sympathy for the living the widows-and the mothers, for one, perhaps each, left a mother. LYMAN and Munson, in the flower of their youth, and on the threshhold of their labors have fallen, not the subject of nature's gradual decay, nor by some fell eastern disease, but the victims of
violence, the food of cannibals ! This is something
We have never before had intelligence like this from our missionary fields. We have never had so loud a call in Providence to the Concert. What Christian will not obey it, and go on Monday to weep as well as praise, and to mingle with tears and praises, prayer for those poor brutal men that did the deed, and for them whose hearts it has so deep ly stricken ? And what Christian who properly estimates his privileges, and duly regards his obligations, will not, on that occasion, let fall some drops of sorrow for his past remissness in praying for Missionaries?
I have said to myself since I heard of this outrage, "So much for not attending the Monthly Concertso much for not praying more for Missionaries.". I may be mistaken. The reader will judge. But 30 it has struck me. The church sent out these Missionaries, and many more than half of her reputed chil. dren have never met to pray for them! Whether the same remembered them in the closet and around the fireside I cannot say, but I fear they did not.
There is one most touching part of the melancholy tale. It is related that one of the Missionaries, I hope we shall never know which it was, was killed and eaten first, the other being compelled to be a specta tor of the whole savage ceremony, with the know ledge that he was reserved for a similar fate. How he must have felt! Poor dear brother, I fear we never
prayed for thee as we ought. You could go from country, and home and mother, to seek a spot in sa. vage Sumatra to plant the cross and preach Jesus, while we could not once a month leave our firesides long enough just to go and pray for you, that God would protect you and give you favor in the sight of the heathen. O this neglect of the Monthly Concert is a cruel thing! This forgetfulness to pray for Missionaries, how dwelleth the love of God in the same heart with it? Perhaps this was one of the multitude of thoughts that passed through his mind while he waited to be sacrificed, and while he perceived that God, though with him to support and to save him, was not with him to protect him from the fierceness of man. Perhaps he thought, "O if Christians had been more uniformly and earnestly mindful of us in the closet, the family and the Concert, the hand that holds even the savage heart, might have turned it to pity, and spared us. But his will be done. Bitter as is the cup we drink, it is not so bitter as the
that was drank for us." Let us all go to the coming Concert, and humble ourselves together; and from his humiliation let each pray, “ Deliver me from blood. guiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation."
13. How Came it to Pass ?
That three thousand were converted on the day of Pentecost—how came it to pass ? The truth as it is in Jesus was preached, and the power of God accompanied and made the truth effectual. But had not the meeting for prayer, of which mention is made in Acts, 1:14, a close and influential connection with the glorious results of that day and that dis. course ? Undoubtedly it had. But what was there in that meeting of the hundred and twenty disciples, to exert an influence to the conversion of three thousand individuals? Whence had it that power? I answer, it was a prayer meeting-professedly and mainly a prayer meeting. If it had been a meeting for preaching, it would not have exerted the influence it did, even though prayer had preceded and followed the sermon. It was a prayer meeting a meeting of Christians to express their dependence on God; unitedly to call on him for his blessing; to plead the promise, and to wait for the fulfillment of it. Those are the efficient meetings, in which Chris. tians meet and agree to ask of God. I wonder they do not value them more. To the prayer meeting Christians come, to exercise the high privilege of intercession for others—10 do good and to communicate—to act the
part; whereas, to meetings of another kind, they go for the less beno
volent purpose of receiving good. Yet Christians value no meetings so little as prayer meetings! And, O shame, no prayer meeting do they value so little as that which Christ himself may be said to have established in saying, “ When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven; hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come”-the Monthly Concert. Though it occur but once a month, and though our Savior, in the prayer he has given us, has expressly instructed us to pray socially for the conversion of the world, yet how attended ! I pity the heathen, that so few are disposed to meet to pray for them For the church, I blush that it should be so.
But the influence of that meeting of a hundred and twenty was not owing entirely to its being a prayer meeting. Many meetings for prayer are held, and no such effects follow. There must have been something peculiar about that prayer meeting, to account for its efficacy. There was much by which it was distinguished from ordinary prayer meetings. The mention of some of these peculiarities may be of service. It may provoke imitation in some churches.
1. All the church attended that prayer meeting. “ These all continued,” &c. There were but a hun. dred and twenty disciples, and they were all present. Not a member of the church was absent, unless providentially detained. How different is it now! Now, if so many as a hundred and twenty can be collected in a prayer meeting, yet they represent perhaps a