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tendent of the building came to me and asked me if I had received any money for the payment of the labours—No,' said I, • but I have faith in God.' Scarcely had I uttered these words, when some one was announced at the door. On going to him, I found he had brought me thirty dollars. I returned to the study and asked the superintendent how much money he needed. He replied, thirty dollars.
· There they are,' said I. At another time of great need, I prayed particularly,
Give us this day our daily bread. I dwelt upon the words this duy, •. for we needed immediate aid. While I was yet praying, a friend came to my door and brought me 400 dollars. At one time I was recounting to a christian friend some of our remarkable deliverances from want, by which he was so much affected, that he even wept. While I was speaking, as if to confirm my statements, I received a letter containing a cheque for 500 dollars. At another time I was in need of a large sum, but did not know where to obtain even ten dollars. The steward came; but having no money for him, I asked him to come again after dinner, and in the mean time gave myself to prayer. When he came in the afternoon, all that I could do was to ask him to come again in the evening. In the afternoon I was visited by a friend, with whom I united in prayer to God. As I accompanied my friend to the door, on his departure, I found the steward standing on one side, and on the other a person who put into my hands 150 dollars. On another occasion, the superintendent began to pay the laborers with only 14 dollars, but before he got through, he received enough to complete the payments. One of my orphan children who was about to go on a visit to his friends, came and asked me for two dollars to bear his expences. I told him I should be glad to give them to him, but that I had not more than a half dollar in the world. This he could scarcely believe, as he had never discovered the least signs of poverty at the orphan house. I told him to return to me again after a short time. I thought of going to borrow the money, but being engaged in a piece of business which could not be postponed, and knowing that the Lord could easily send me the sum, if it was his will, I kept my seat. In less than a quarter of an hour, a person came in bringing me 20 dollars. I was now able to give the boy his two dollars, which I did most cheerfully.”
So uniformly did this assistance come, just when it was most needed, and through so long a series of years was it continued, that the old steward, instead of desponding, got into the habit of saying, when any great difficulty occurred, " Now we shall have reason again to admire the manner in which God will come to our aid.”
This institution has become one of the largest and most useful in Europe. It frequently has from 2700 to 3000 pupils, and when I visited it in 1836, it was, in all respects, one of the most delightful schools I saw in the whole progress of my tour. Franke also instituted a bible press to furnish bibles cheap for the poor. This press has issued over two millions of copies of the whole bible, and more than a million of the new Testament. He also established a large apothecary's shop, for furnishing medicines to the poor, which is still in active operation; and a benevolent book-store, which is now the largest in Germany. So much for the faith and the prayers of one man !
If any one can believe that such a long series of answers to prayer can be accounted for on the ground of accidental coincidences, such a man would scarcely be persuaded, though one should rise from the dead.
May every christian expect such answers to prayer, as those which we find in the lives of Stilling and Franke ? - Yes, every christian who lives and feels as Stilling and Franke lived and felt, may expect such answers to prayer as Stilling and Franke had.
God is no respecter of persons, and he regards every individual exactly according to the state of his heart. In every case, whenever the conditions are complied with, the promises are always fulfilled. These conditions are a right state of heart, entire devotedness to God, disinterested love to man, and unwavering confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ. These feelings must not be transient and fitful, but they must constitute the very habit of the mind. Without a full compliance with these conditions, confidence in prayer is presumption, it is not faith. A universalist once said of a very benevolent evangelical neighbour of his, who was greatly prospered in his worldly affairs, —" I do believe the Lord sometimes prospers those who give away money; for there is col. M. the more he gives away the richer he grows; but it would not work with me at all.” The universalist was right; it would not work with him as it did with col. M. And why not? Because he had not col. M.'s single-hearted piety, and entire devotedness to Gud. It is not a state of mind which can be called up for a particular exigency, and continued only while that exigency lasts ; if it is not the habit of the mind it does not exist at all.
But are not the promises absolute to believing prayer? And may we not of a sudden lay claim to the promises, though destitute of a devotional habit? The first dawning of a right state of heart may lay claim to the promises; but we can have no evidence in respect to ourselves that we have a right state of heart, except as the result of habitual devotion. The promises are indeed absolute, but the bible is written for beings who are supposed to have common sense, and who are bound to use that common sense in its interpretation. Our Saviour says, All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.
But the drunkard who is destitute of money, would that others should give him rum ; is it therefore his duty, when he has money, to give rum to others? This would be doing precisely as he would be done by, but would it be obeying the Saviour's precept ? Let common sense answer. Jesus says, Give to him that asketh of thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. Is it therefore your duty to give your money to any profligate who may ask you for it? Again I say, let
Our Saviour says, When thou prayest enter into thy closet and shut thy door. But if a man has no closet, or if his closet bas no door, can he not pray? And must he never pray in public ?
In none of the above cases is there any limitation expressed ; but such limitations as common sense demands, are always to be understood; and so are they to be understood in the promises relating to prayer. No promises that are given to prayer will subject God's omniscience to man's short-sightedness, or take the control of the world out of God's hand, and place it in the hands of the poor mortal who prays.
(To be continued.)
common sense answer.
INTREPIDITY OF ENGLISH SE AMEN.
Several times (at Ramsgate) we witnessed those violent gales of wind which are so common on that coast in winter ; one of them I remember particularly. It began at about noon, and towards evening burst in all its force and grandeur. Cannon was heard several times in the night following, in the direction of the Goodwin Sands; and although faintly distinguishable through the roaring of the tempest, still it was at once detected by the practised ears of the sailors in port. I was unable to resist my desire of visiting the pier. There the wind blew with such violence that I was several times rudely thrown by it against the parapet. The sea was indeed tremendous, and swelling to a prodigious height. I found the captain of the harbour at his post, with his speaking trumpet in his hand. (He was an old seaman, who was deaf in consequence of the explosion of a vessel in a celebrated battle.) The port-light shed its brilliant beams just on the group which surrounded him, and particularly on himself as he stood forward on the very edge of the pier.
He appeared quite inattentive to the waves which were breaking at his feet, and covering him with foam : his eyes were fixed upon two fishing-boats, which had been overtaken by the storm, and were trying to get into the harbour, the entrance to which is extremely difficult and dangerous in such a moment, on account of its narrowness and its position. They both advanced directed by his trumpet, whose loud sound almost defied those of the tempest. The first, raised up, just at the critical moment, by an enormous wave, which entirely filled up the entrance, was thrown as if by miracle into the harbour in safety! The second came, the helmsman seemed to hesitate ; a few words were thundered out from the speaking-trumpet, but in vain. She dashed with a violent shock against the massive stones of the side, a few yards beneath us, and the three men who were on board disappeared in the abyss. Two were immediately picked up, but stiff and motionless from the effect of the cold. And yet it was in the midst of this raging of the elements, in a severe frost, that the life-boats left the port, braving the sea, running mountains high, which seemed ready at each moment to swallow them up! They departed, bearing with them the prayers and good wishes of all the spectators. It was towards the Goodwin Sands, where the light had disappeared, that they directed their course; as it was thence that had proceded the sound of the guns of distress. Tell me—is there in this world any thing grander than such intrepidity? A king, in all his pomp and power, surrounded by a cortége dazzling with splendour, opening his assembled Parliament,-a conqueror, marching at the head of his army, preceded by his prisoners, and covered with laurels, praises, and glory, because he has been instrumental to the destruction of some thousands of his fellow-creatures ;--are these comparable ? Are these morally great, like the simple sailors of whom I tell you ?—those who brave peril, fatigue, suffering death itself,—death of the most horrible kind, in order to save men who are utter strangers to them! You will not be surprised to hear me say, that when I had returned home, and was seated comfortably near a good fire, having changed my wet clothes, I could not help feeling that I was little indeed when compared to the brave fellows who were now voluntarily exposing themselves to the frightful tempest that was raging! Where is the egotist who would not have experienced the same feelings ? The next morning we learned that the life-boats had succeeded in reaching the sands, that they had found there the wreck of a vessel which had struck during the storm, and to which were still clinging some miserable wretches half dead with cold and exhaustion :—the greater number had perished. They had picked up at sea two bodies, frozen apparently to death ; but who, after being extended upon the roof of a baker's oven, were restored to sensibility.
A THUNDER STORM. A light breeze had heen blowing directly from aft during the first part of the night, which gradually died away, and before midnight it was dead calm, and a heavy black cloud had shrouded the whole sky. When our watch came on deck at twelve o'clock, it was as black as Erebus ; the studding-sails were all taken in, and the royals furled; not a breath was stirring; the sails hung heavy and motionless from the yards; and the perfect stillness, and the darkness which was almost palpable, were truly appalling. Not a word was spoken, but every one stood as though waiting for something to happen. În a few minutes the mate came forward, and in a low tone, which was almost a whisper, told us to haul down the jib. The fore and mizen top-gallant sails were taken in, in the same silent manner; and we lay motionless upon the water, with an uneasy expectation, which, from the long suspense, became actually painful. We could hear the captain walking the deck, but it was too dark to see anything more than one's hand before the face. Soon the mate came forward again, and gave an order, in a low tone, to clew up the main top-gallant sail; and so infectious was the awe and silence, that the clewlines and buntlines were hauled up without any of the customary singing out at the ropes. An English lad and myself went up to furl it; and we had just got the bunt up, when the mate called out to us, something, we did not hear what,—but supposing it to be an order to bear-a-hand, we hurried, and made all fast, and came down, feeling our way among the rigging. When we got down we found all hands looking aloft, and there, directly over where we had been standing, upon the main top-gallant-mast-head, was a ball of light, which the sailors name a corposant (corpus sancti,) and which the mate had called out to us to look at. They were all watching it carefully, for sailors have a notion that if the corposant rises in the rigging, it is a sign of fair weather, but if it comes lower down, there will be a storm. Unfortunately, as an omen,
it came down, and showed itself on the top-gallant yard-arm. We were off the yard in good season, for it is held a fatal sign to have the pale light of the corposant thrown upon one's face. As it was, the English lad did not feel comfortable at having had it so near him, and directly over his head. In a few minutes it disappeared, and showed itself again on the fore top-gallant yard ; and after playing about for some time, disappeared again ; when the man on the forecastle pointed to it on the flying-jib-boom-end. But our attention was drawn from watching this, by the falling of some drops of rain, and by a perceptible increase of the darkness, which seemed suddenly to add a new shade of blackness to the night. In a few minutes, low, grumbling thunder was heard, and some random flashes of lightning came from the south-west. Every sail was taken in but the top-sails; still
, no squall appeared to be coming. A few puffs lifted the top-sails, but they fell again to the mast, and all was still as ever. A moment more, and a terrific flash and peal broke simultaneously upon us, and a cloud appeared to open directly over our heads and let down the water in one body, like a falling ocean. We stood motionless, and almost stupified; yet nothing had been struck. Peal after peal rattled over our heads, with a sound which seemed actually to stop the breath in the body, and the “ speedy gleams” kept the whole ocean in a glare of light. The violent fall of rain lasted but a few minutes, and was succeeded by occasional drops and showers; but the lightning continued incessant for several hours, breaking the midnight darkness with irregular and blinding flashes. During all which time there was not a breath stirring, and we lay motionless, like a mark to be shot at, probably the only object on the surface of the ocean for miles and miles. We stood hour after hour, until our watch was out, and we were relieved at four o'clock. During all this time, hardly a word was spoken; no bells were struck, and the wheel was silently relieved. The rain fell at intervals in heavy showers, and we stood drenched through and blinded by the flashes, which broke the Egyptian darkness with a brightness which seemed almost malignant; while the thunder rolled in peals, the concussion of which appeared to shake the very ocean. A ship is not often injured by lightning, for the electricity is separated by the great number of points she presents, and the quantity of iron which she has scattered in various parts. The electric fluid ran over our anchors, top-sail sheets and ties; yet no harm was done to us. We went below at four o'clock, leaving things in the same state. It is not easy to sleep, when the very next flash may tear the ship in two, or set her on fire; or where the death-like calm may be broken by the blast of a hurricane, taking the masts out of the ship. But a man is no sailor if he cannot sleep when he turns-in, and turn out when he's called. And when, at seven bells, the customary—“ all the larboard watch, ahoy!” brought us on deck, it was a fine, clear, sunny morning, the ship going leisurely along, with a good breeze, and all sail set!
THOUGHTS FOR THE TIMES, From a Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans, by the Rev. T. Chalmers, D.D.
Amid the reelings of this eventful period, doubt not that the aspect of the times has borne upon it a hard and a lowering expression towards many a family; and that, standing on the eve of a fearful descent into the abyss of poverty, great has been the distress and great has been the disquietude ; and that while the present and the visible dependence was fast melting away, and every successive arrival had for months together told to the ear of the mercantile world a still more dismal futurity that was coming-many have been the hearts among you that were failing for fear, and to the eye of nature was it against all hope, that you ever