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have, in proportion to their numbers, shared more largely in the blessings of the great revival than our seamen.
"In the Sailor's Home of this city 2257 seamen have been received during the year, and found a safe retreat from the destroyer of souls. Of this number 172 were shipwrecked and destitute men, to whom board and clothing were given in charity. The whole number of boarders in the institution from the first has been 52,353.
“The receipts of the Society, notwithstanding the pecuniary embarrassments of the year, have been greater than in any other year of its history, save one. Their amount was $25,236 20, exceeding those of the last year $2423 85. The whole amount expended in the seaman's cause in this country is about $100,000 per annum.”
WICKLIFFE-THE BIBLE. FULLER, in his Church History of Britain, tells how the bones of Wickliffe were burnt to ashes, and then cast " into the Swift, a neighbouring brook running hard by. Thus this brook,” he continues, " has conveyed his ashes into Avon, Avon into Severn, Severn into the narrow seas, and they into the main ocean ; thus the ashes of Wickliffe are an emblem of his doctrine, which is now dispersed all the world over." This striking remark Wordsworth has finely emblemed:
Once more the Church is seized with sudden fear,
By truth, shall spread throughout the world dispersed.” In allusion to the above extract from Fuller, one remarks: “I will not call it conceit; it is one of the grandest conceptions I have ever met with. One feels the ashes of Wickliffe gliding away out of the reach of the executioners of the impotent rage of the baffled council, into the main ocean, where they become an emblem of the doctrine dispersed all the world over.”
thy Word prevail ;
THE PRAYER-MEETING. In offering some remarks on meetings for prayer, we shall consider, first, the various occasions of meetings for united prayer, of which we find mention in the history of the Church, and secondly, shall point out some of the great benefits which flow from the regular observance of this duty.
I. The various occasions of meetings for united prayer, of which we find mention in the history of the Church. Here we may mention,
1. Such meetings as are held at the parting of Christian friends, or churches and ministers. In this transitory world, life, we know, is at all times so uncertain that, when we part with one another, we know not whether we shall ever meet again. We never, then, can do so in a better spirit, nor in a more appropriate manner, than by engaging in prayer and supplication for one another at the throne of the heavenly grace. A beautiful example of this we find recorded in Acts, 21:5. From this passage, we learn that Paul and his companions, when visiting the churches and preaching the Gospel, had tarried seven days with certain brethren whom he found at ancient Tyre, and who entreated him not to go up to Jerusalem; but, when they could not prevail, the writer adds, “they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city; and we kneeled down and prayed." What an interesting and impressive scene' must this have been ! Before them was the beautiful and rolling sea, and the bark which was soon to carry away from them this venerable and beloved servant of God. Around them was the smooth, sandy beach, with here and there a seaman wondering at the strange sight. Above them was the canopy of heaven, beyond which, though in tears, their faith and hope
VOL. VIII. NO. 8.
enabled them to look, as the home of all the saints. Thus situated, men and women, parents and children, and the venerable Apostlé of the Lord, fell prostrate before the throne of their Father in heaven, and to Him they unbosomed their griefs and their cares, made known their wants, and commended each other that they might be carried in safety through their pilgrimage on earth, till they should all reach the haven of eternal rest, and meet again never to part on the borders of the fountain of life. What emotions must then have filled their hearts! What exalted thoughts must have occupied their attention! How insignificant must the world have then appeared! And how pure and elevated must have been the joy which every heart felt—though tears probably filled each eye—as they thus, at the throne of Divine mercy, bade each farewell! And what Christian friends, when called to part from each other on earth, would not wish thus to take the parting farewell at the throne of the heavenly grace, and amid realizing views of eternity and heaven?
2. Such meetings as are held when the Church is in imminent danger. One of the beautiful and highly instructive figures to which the Church, in the Sacred Scriptures, is compared, is that of the human body. Hence, we are all said not only to be members of Christ, the Divine head, but also to be members one of another; so that when one member suffers, they will all suffer, or feel with it. And when any general calamity befalls it, this feeling, as a matter of course, becomes also general; or, at least, it should be so, through the whole Church. In addition also to the general feeling of sympathy that is thus excited, meetings for prayer also become general, that they may present their common wants, and their common dangers and sufferings, before the throne of their father and their God. A beautiful example of such meetings for prayer is that which is referred to in Acts, 12:5, 12. The wicked and cruel Herod had slain James, the brother of John, with the sword, and had stretched forth his hands to cut off Peter also; and who could see when or where his relentless cruelty might stop ? From him, they knew full well, that they had everything to fear, and no good to expect. But there is one who is infinitely higher than the highest of mortals, and who can restrain the wrath of man, and even make it to promote his praise. To Him, therefore, with united hearts and fervent supplications, they betook themselves, in order that they might make known their common griefs, and wants, and dangers, and implore deliverance. And this example, thus early set in the history of the Christian Church, has been ever since followed by the persecuted disciples of Jesus. So that at no time do we find them exposed to danger, except we find them also abounding in united prayer. And, whether it hath been in the cold and comfortless dens and caves of the earth, or on the wild mountain's top, or when on the billow and exposed to the breezes and the storms of heaven, which were wafting them to some kindlier shore
to which persecution had driven them, yet still their hopes and aspirations were unitedly on high. God was their refuge, their sun, their strength, their shield, and a present help in every time of need. And whilst all these may have witnessed in ten thousand instances, their wrongs and their sufferings, they have as frequently been witnesses of the
fervour and constancy of their prayers. And whilst the Church on earth continues to be exposed to such wrongs and sufferings, we shall also doubtless find her continuing thus perseveringly and unitedly in prayer.
3. Such meetings as are held in times of public or general calamity. Many are the instances on record in the Sacred Scriptures, in which, in such circumstances, the people of God have betaken themselves to Him in united and fervent prayer. Such as that which occurred in the days of Samuel, 1 Sam. 5: 8, 10, 12, when the nation was threatened with a foreign invasion from the Philistines. A similar instance occurred in the days of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 20:1, &c., when he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judea, when “they gathered themselves together to seek help of the Lord; even out of all the cities of Judah, they came to seek the Lord.” When the nation was visited with pestilence and famine, or any general judgment from God, their great and never-failing resort for deliverance was united humiliation and fervent persevering prayer : Numb. 16:46, 48; Neh. chap. 9. Such was the instance when the Jews is a nation were in imminent danger of being all destroyed through the cruel and wicked device of Haman: Esther, chap. 4. Such was the case of Daniel and his companions, when they were in danger of being destroyed along with all the wise men of Babylon, because they could not interpret the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, and he entreated his companions that they would unitedly desire mercies of the God of heaven, that they might not perish with the rest of the wise men : Dan. 2:17, 18, &c. These may all be called special prayer-meetings, as they are beld for special purposes or objects, and may be discontinued, or given up, when the occasions which called them forth no longer exist. So reasonable and important do they appear in all such circumstances, that Christian nations in general never fail to follow these examples, and thus to acknowledge that God reigns, and that as nations, as well as individuals, we are entirely dependent upon him, and that, when such calamities befall us, none but He can deliver us from them.
4. Such meetings as are held by private Christians, united together for this express object. Such meetings for prayer have, in all past times, existed, even from the beginning of the Church. For, drawn together as believers are by the profession of a common faith, by the necessities of common wants, by exposure to common dangers, by the influence of common and glorious hopes, and by the solemn injunctions of their Lord and Master, so far as their principles are allowed to pervade their heart, and guide their conduct, like those in ancient times, “who feared the Lord, and thought on His name," they wero often led to commune with each other, and unitedly to call upon him. This will naturally be the case especially in times of danger, when the enemy may be coming in like a flood, or the cause of Christ may be in a low condition. In such circumstances, the genuine friends of Christ have often met in little groups in their respective neighbourhoods, to talk of all the way by which the Lord was leading them, and unitedly to pour out their hearts to him in fervent supplication and praise. Or, if religion was eminently prospering among them, the principle of brotherly love has often brought them thus together, that they might encourage each other in their walk of faith and labours of love, by telling each other " what God had done for their souls," and studying together the various doctrines, promises, and ordinances of his word. Such meetings have usually been called
fellowship-meetings," and have often been of great advantage in sustaining the piety, and promoting the usefulness of a church.
5. Such meetings as are held weekly or monthly, or, as at present, daily, in many of our churches. Of this class of united prayer-meetings, some are held on the Lord's day, either in the morning before public worship, or between the morning and afternoon services. Others, we find, are held on some evening of the week, at which there is often an address or short sermon. It is greatly to be regretted that these meetings have generally been but thinly attended, and have been in many cases far from accomplishing the good which they ought and might have attained. What is termed the Monthly Concert is another form in which united prayer-meetings are generally observed throughout our churches. They seem to have come into existence with the modern missionary movements for extending the boundaries of the Christian Church, through missionary exertions, into heathen lands. And, seeing it is declared as the exercise of the Church, concerning Christ and his cause, that “He shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba, prayer also shall be made for him continually, and daily shall be be praised :" Ps. 72, 15. Surely no church that can have such a prayer-meeting should be without it; and every member of it should be ready in truth to say, “For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace; and, for Jerusalem's sake, I will not rest until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth :" Is. 62: 1.
The last form of united prayer-meetings, which may be noticed, is that which has sprung out of the great awakening which is now, with more or less power, spreading over our land. They are being beld daily, and that not merely on the evenings, but during the business hours, in most of the large cities throughout the Union, where even the largest churches, rooms, and halls, capable of holding several thousands of people, are opened and crowded with devout worshippers, many of whom seem to be anxiously inquiring