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connection with these two young mission stations. When six families, as in the cases supposed, sustain a living prayer-meeting, they cannot fail to sustain an efficient Sabbath school. The other failing in the one, will as certainly fail in the other. With quarterly or monthly supply, one will grow up and ripen into a self-sustaining congregation; the other will die, and all missionary expenditure in money and labor be lost. Here, let our Mission Boards know, lies the secret of the dwindling, failing, and dying of so many mission stations, and the absorption and waste of so much expenditure. Here lies the secret of so much of that mournful falling off of our youth to the world, and of our members to other communions, or into apostasy.
Let it not be said, there is no help for these things. There is help for them; but not in the prevailing and popular regimen of the times. There is help in God. There is help, through grace, in the divine institutions. If two weak sailor boys could, by the live prayer-meeting, in a few short months, increase their number seven-fold, what might six families of the right spirit effect in almost any new and rapidly populating locality? How soon might the whole face of our Home Mission field be changed, if all our emigrants were trained to the prayermeeting, as were those two sailor boys! If all our people were trained in the principles of the church and the Bible, and believed and loved them, every group of settlers, in our broad Home Mission fields in the rapidly populating new countries, would be like our sailor boy and like our first six families a success and acquisition to our Home Mission cause. If our people, settling up our Home Mission fields, were right on this in their faith, their training, and practice, it would be worth more to the cause than all our present expenditure, in both men and money. Oh, when will the church learn to be wise!
CONCERTED PRAYER_AND PRAYER-MEETINGS AMONG THE
Prayer-meeting interest awakened in India-Origin of the Week of
Prayer-Missionaries ask for Concerted Prayer at Home-Universal Concerted Prayer among the Churches—Bombay-Poona—Letter of a Ship Captain--General Principles.
Concerted prayer, and prayer-meetings among the missionaries. SOME time after the opening of the Fulton Street daily
prayer-meeting, a more than usual religious interest was felt among the missionaries in almost every foreign field. In Sealkote, in Lodiana, Bombay, and, indeed, in almost every Mission Station in India, the subject of revival, and the call for more earnest united prayer, became a more prominent concern, awakening general attention. This soon drew out correspondence among the missionaries themselves, and with the churches at home, on the subject of the absorbing interest of the times. While the awakening of the churches to the revived prayer-meetings was pervading the entire evangelical church, in all her branches, at home, the missionaries abroad prepared and sent their call to the whole church for concerted prayer, upon a scale of comprehension, for its grandeur of conception, its sim plicity, its scriptural character, its practicability and promise of rich and permanent fruits, perhaps never conceived and carried into effect in any previous age. The move was most heartily seconded, and most promptly carried out in letter and spirit. Everywhere throughout all Christendom the hearty response was sent up. Now, since the second week of January, 1860, the Week of Prayer has become almost as familiar, to the live Christian, as the weekly Sabbath.
That suggestion for a week of universal concerted prayer was the fruit of revival, and prayer
meetings previously giving character to the spirit of the religious times in this country. The wonderful gatherings of daily concerts, as in New York, in Philadelphia, the Fulton Street and Sansom Street gatherings, and as in all the cities and towns in all parts of the country, were then of world-wide fame. The long-to-be-remembered Xenia Convention had been held. In every corner of the land the prayer-meeting was an every day matter of greeting. The result of that suggestion—the establishment of that annual concert-may form the electric chain which shall yet convey, in some future time, the life-currents of the past down into the church in a more glorious revival. It may yet be the instrument, and may furnish the occasion, of calling to remembrance “the year of the right hand of the Most High.” Nothing so powerfully moved the returned captives, when standing before their new house, as the remembrance of the glory of their former house. And what now gives deeper emotional feelings, to many fathers in the church, than the remembrance of the happy revival times, the happy convention times, the happy prayer-meeting times, the happy union times of that year of grace, 1858 ?
Thrilling chapters could be written--and some have been-giving a narrative of requests sent by missionaries to prayer-meetings at home for special and concerted prayers in behalf of objects of great interest to the mission cause--as for the conversion of sons of missionaries sent home for education with earnest solicitude for preparation for mission work in a foreign field. Many such cases of
great interest have occurred; that of Dr. Newton, of Lodiana, who had sent his son home, is one deserving a perpetual record. Our space forbids to enter it here in full. That son was for a time, after being sent to this country, unpromising and reckless, indeed, almost a confirmed infidel. The intelligence of his downward course, which nearly crushed a fond and praying mother, and saddened the heart of an eminently godly father, who had dedicated him to God for the work of the ministry in a foreign field. Long had fond anticipations been cherished by the father of living to see with him, side by side in the work of the mission, a dear son to cheer in a foreign land, and close the eyes of a dying father, and then take up the mantle and carry on the Lord's work after he should be taken home to rest. Notwithstanding the thickness of that dark cloud that for a time hung over the hopes of the anxious parents in a foreign field, and of friends at home, that father realized his hopes. Earnest solicitations by letter had been sent home to the prayer
meetings for united prayer on his behalf. At the same time the parents set apart a week for fasting and prayer, during which they together earnestly pressed the same object at a throne of grace. Each day they wept, and prayed, and fasted before God in behalf of their reckless son. About the same time at home, in the daily prayer-meetings, many prayers were turned to the same object. The whole course and current of the life of this reckless youth was turned in a new direction. He consecrated himself, soul and body, to God and to the cause of missions. After due preparation he set sail for India, where, joining his venerated father, he labored side by side with him, and where he is still, since the death of his father, spared to do battle with the powers of darkness.
A letter from Bombay, written by a missionary there,
bearing date June, 1859, directed to the Fulton Street Prayer-meeting, soliciting the prayers of the meeting in behalf of the writer and the mission, was read in the meeting and produced a deep sensation. The reception of the letter and the result in the prayer-meeting was in due time made known at Bombay. Another letter was soon on its way home bearing intelligence of the state of revivals and of prayer-meetings, not only at Bombay, but many other mission stations. The following are some extracts taken from that letter:
“ Just about the time that the letter above mentioned reached its destination, and the attention of the Fulton Street Union Prayer-meeting was specially directed toward Bombay, two daily Union Prayer-meetings were established here, one at seven o'clock in the morning, in the Church of Scotland's Missionary Institution, in the native town ; the other at one o'clock in the Scotch Church in the fort, and designated the Business Men's Mid-day Union Prayer-meeting--all government officers, and those of our merchants, professional men, etc., being in the fort. It has been my great privilege to take part in the establishment of these meetings, and it has been my precious privilege to bear a humble part in the maintenance of them to the present time. Shortly after the commencement of these two meetings, another was established by the native Christians in their own language. We have now, therefore, three daily Union Prayer-meetings in Bombay. I can bear testimony that such praying as is heard in these Union meetings, has never been heard before in this city during the fourteen years of my connection with it. God's people have been taught by the Spirit how to pray, and strengthened by the Spirit to continue instant in
prayer. This spirit of prayer is the earnest of blessings which it is transporting to anticipate. In addition to the daily