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“ without ceasing," ascended up from Connemara, led by the brothers D'Arcy with such perseverance, that we are told, “ from 1836 Mr. D'Arcy does not recollect a single week up to the present time, in which the prayer meeting was ever given up.

No wonder that with such precedents we should have continued to attach the highest importance to our January prayer meetings. They have ever been found a rich source of blessing in the conscious strengthening and refreshing of our souls, the promotion of agreement in counsel, of harmony in action, of real love one to another and to cur fellow-subjects, the Romanists of Ireland. Indeed, we may humbly trace all the good that has been done through our feeble instrumentality, whether in Connemara, Dublin, or elsewhere, to the grace of God bestowed in answer to the prayers of many persons, that thanks might be given by many in our behalf.

Much as we have always valued such stated concerts of prayer, the need for them seems to have increased from year to year. And never bas the occasion seemed so urgent, solemn, and critical as in this year 1868, on which, by the mercy of God, we now enter. glance at some of its leading features.

And first of all, what is our position on the prophetical chart ? Whatever differences may have marked the various schemes of interpretation, there has been a striking consent as to the events to be expected about the present period. We see, indeed, a marvellous curtailment of the Roman Pontiff's imperious power over the kingdoms of the old empire. As Cardinal Paul Cullen plaintively admitted on a recent occasion, “the Holy Father” has now little hope from the Catholic nations that have hitherto been most devoted to the Papacy. Italy has revolted and gone ; Catholic Austria has broken the bond ; his most Christian Majesty of France, the eldest son of the Church, is now master of the Roman situation, at once the protector and the terror of the Pope; while Spain, Portugal, and Belgium are a prey to the votaries of the revolution. And though the Pontiff is still sovereign within the patrimony of St. Peter, his temporal power is doomed, and his throne stands upon a mine, which may

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sprung at any moment. Though the Pope may have ceased to reign in Europe, yet England's pride, fulness of bread and idleness, have laid her especially open to Rome's powerful spells, and we seem to have yielded to her seductive dallyings, till, like Sampson in the lap of Delilah, cur strength has de. parted, and we seem hopelessly bound in the hands of the Philistines.

In fact, the silent spread through Christendom of infidel and democratic opinions, which has led to the revolt of the Catholic kingdoms from the Papal yoke, has at the same time tended to favour the

* “ The Story of the Irish Church Missions,” p. 127.

revival of Popery in Protestant countries; and nowhere now does Pius IX. look with such comfort and hope as to the dominions of Queen Victoria and the States of North America.

Let us next look at this crisis with reference to order and government. We have now the principle tacitly admitted and acted on by partisans of whatever party, that questions of religion, like all others, are questions of numbers and Parliamentary majorities; and that Popery, in consideration of its prevalence, has a right to claim from the State protection, support, and social position in proportion to the number of Romanists, and so in Ireland almost to a monopoly of education, and an ascendancy of religious authority. Already in our Irish National Schools, under Romish patronage, the Bible is virtually under a ban, while the inculcation of the worship of the crucifix, of Mary and the saints, is connived at. To crown all, a promising scheme is concocted, with powerful advocates in both Houses of Parliament, to weaken and eventually suppress the Irish branch of our Established Church. True, as she boasts herself, to her ancient and unchangeable traditions of enmity to the saints of God and the testimony of Jesus, Rome will use the secular arm to persecute whenever she can, and to hinder where she cannot. And thus by procuring the employment of her priests as Government chaplains, she has posted her black sentries like a military cordon round her people in our army, our navy, our jails, workhouses, and hospitals, so that no messenger of mercy, if they can prevent, may speak to them that they may be saved. Even the Emperor of the French encouraged the evangelistic efforts of the good men who have been labouring in Paris during the summer, and portions of the pure Word of God were freely given to his soldiers and gladly received, as regiment after regiment was brought up to see the Great Exposition. But our own ministry have already been given to understand by one of the Pope's watchful M.P.'s, that no Protestant employed by Government in the Abyssinian expedition is to be allowed to tamper with the religionof the Abyssinian Catholics or Irish soldiers. By an adroit perversion of words, and confusion of ideas the conversion of a sinner from the error of his ways is now stigmatized, under the name of Proselytism, as a crime, and the wise men of the world are agreed that the poor Romanist has a right to die with a lie in his right hand.

A third and still more alarming symptom of the revival of Popery among us, is the extent to which the seeds of all Roman error have been sown and allowed to spring up even in our own Protestant Church. Suffice it to say, that while under the phrase,“ real presence," the Roman doctrine of the Eucharist is diligently taught in thousands of our churches, in some hundreds the Mass is restored in all its completeness; and creature worship, prayers for the dead, the confessional, and monastic

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orders are openly advocated and rapidly spreading, no man forbidding. Whose fault is it that the enemy has so far prevailed against us? Our

Of all nations in the world, Britain has most to answer for ; and of all Britons we Evangelical Churchmen are the most guilty, for our sin is in proportion to our light and our privileges. And what nation, what people, what church ever had such light and opportunity as ourselves ?

Yet, instead of a growing sense of our danger, and the need for humbling ourselves under God's mighty hand, there is reason to fear the reverse is the fact. Ten years ago, under the pressure first of the Crimean war, then of the Indian mutiny, the spirit of prayer and humiliation seemed largely poured out upon us. England acknowledged her sins. Meetings for prayer, both occasional and stated, became general. God heard our cry and helped us. Then came that wonder. ful revival--America, Ireland, England, the Continent, even the heathen countries, all shared in the showers of blessing. But latterly a spirit of slumber seems to have come over us. Through abounding iniquity, the love of many has waxed cold. It is true we have cheering indications that the Spirit, though grieved, has not forsaken us. He seems to say to us, "Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die.” The great meeting at Hillsborough, and the more recent Church Association Conference at Willis's Rooms, show that loyalty to the Lord Jesus has not yet died out from among us. There are yet left a goodly number of "chosen, and called, and faithful,” ready to do battle for and with their Lord and Leader. Only let us not forget that our cause will not be won by numbers, by money, by Parliamentary tact, or legal acuteness; not even by theological learning and orthodoxy, or by all of these combined. God may graciously vouchsafe to own and use them ail; but He will not give his glory to another, and will only accept them when we bumble ourselves before Him in honest confession and hearty prayer, and with one accord cry from every corner of our land

“Give us help from trouble, for vain is the help of man." And we shall not cry in vain.

Through God we shall do valiantly, for He it is that shall tread down our enemies."

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But the better to assure our hearts before Him, let us glance through the roll of the Divine victories recorded for our learning in the Scripture of truth. From the slaughter of the kings by the father of the faithful, with his little band of 300 servants, to the destruction of the beast and false prophet, all teach the same great lessons. “The Lord will judge his people, and repent Himself for his servants," but often it

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will be, “ when He seeth that their power is gone, and there is none shut up or left.”

But why not confine ourselves to the claim on our prayers of the Irish Church Missions ? Because the issues at stake are far wider than this. Our work is only one of the operations of a great campaign ; in the eyes of many, a weak and unimportant one. Yet it is in truth one of the most effectual modes of attack yet devised in the war between the Church of God and the harlot of Babylon, between Christ and his adversaries. The infidel democrats of the continent may do the work of judgment on Rome, the spoiling of her wealth, the suppression of her monasteries; it may be, the massacre, as at the French Revolution, of her ecclesiastics. Other Protestant societies may attend to our defences in Parliament, or seek to purge out the poisonous leaven from our Church and social circles; but to ourselves has been entrusted the most arduous yet most glorious and gracious duty of assaulting the enemy in his own lines, and in the hand-to-band combat of bold, uncompromising, yet loving controversy, with that keen and resistless, yet bloodless, weapon the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. The destruction of our enemies means the salvation of their bodies as well as souls; their capture, their admission to the liberty of the sons of God; and our success secures for Ireland in its true sense-CATHOLIC EMANCIPATION !

Let us, then, in preparing our hearts to seek the Lord God of our fathers in this marked year, strive to gather from the foregoing considerations

1. The gravity of the crisis. The honour of the Lord Jesus, the salvation of millions, the welfare of the whole earth is involved in it. The impending fall of the mystic Babylon is certain, but whether or not England will so partake of her sins as to receive of her plagues is an open question.

2. The need for deep personal humiliation before God. Israel has taken of the accursed thing. It has been hidden among our stuff. Except it be put away, can the Lord be with us? We have robbed Ireland by not giving her the Gospel as we had opportunity. The lack of sympathy shown in this blessed work, the annually recurring difficulty in securing our diminutive share of England's fabulous wealth, testifies to our selfishness. And the Lord has allowed England herself to taste of the Roman cup.

3. The call for hearty thankfulness. Who are we, that God should have called us to a sbare in such a work ? What blessed fruits He has already permitted us to reap! What seed has been sown for further harvests! Like Jehoshaphat's army, let us praise the beauty of holiness. Let us say, Praise the Lord, for He is good, and his mercy endureth

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4. And, lastly, let us address ourselves to the prayer of faith, in the certainty of being heard. Wrestling, like Jacob; crying to the Lord like Moses at the Red Sea; bowed down like Elijah on Carmel; like Daniel confessing our sins and our country's sins, and pleading the prophecies ; like Esther and her maidens; like the importunate widow, and the little church at Jerusalem for the imprisoned apostle, let us unite with the prayers of all saints that ascend up before God out of the angel's hand, and God will grant us an answer of peace. He will maintain his own cause. He will vouchsafe to use our services, so that the excellency of the power may be of Himself, and not of us, and that no flesh may glory in his presence.

“To Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all

ages. Amen."

THE ANNIVERSARY MEETING FOR PRAYER WILL BE HELD (D.V.) IN THE IRISH CHURCH MISSIONS OFFICE (CLOSE TO THE CHARING CROSS STATION) ON THURSDAY, JAN. 16, AT NOON. ALL FRIENDS (INCLUDING LADIES) ARE INVITED TO ATTEND.

THE COMMITTEE REQUEST THAT SIMILAR MEETINGS MAY CONVENED IN ALL THE AUXILIARIES OF THE SOCIETY.

BE

READERS FOLLOWING IRISH REAPERS INTO

SCOTLAND. This year, as on two former occasions, two of our Readers have gone over to Scotland during the vacation, to work amongst the Irish reapers. Mr. K-, who received the Agents, thus writes :-"I met them in Edinburgh, on their way through to Kelso, and was with them mostly while there. I was much delighted with the readiness with which they entered on their work in the streets, the crowds they gathered, and the interesting discussions which took place. One feature in these assemblages was this, that amid the heat of discussion the great truths of the blessed gospel were never lost sight of. But what interested me most of all while in Edinburgh was a discussion which Mr. C - had with a Roman Catholic, in Dr. Bonar's Mission Room. I nerer listened to a more interesting discussion, or heard the truth more ably defended. The movement, I could see, is gaining decided appreciation with the friends of Jesus in that city.

Our friends were working in this district (Kelso) for a fortnight. It was pleasing to see our own people interested in their accounts of their work, both in Ireland and Scotland. They held meetings in our church on Sabbath evenings, and quite delighted our people with their addresses. They had many opportunities of speaking to their fellow-countrymen, and to the Scotch as well. It seemed to the reapers quite a feast to stand and listen to the Word of God, without any daring make them afraid ; and I trust that the Lord has sent a ray of light into many of their dark souls, which shall grow in brightness, till it issues in the blaze of eternal day. I trust also that not a few of our own countrymen have received benefit from their visit.

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