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balance, but a preponderating influence; and might well have been imagined to require, if they did not invoke, the sweet and healing spirit of our common Christianity.
You state, virtually, that, while these "indignation meetings were frequent, you had not known of meetings calculated to allay the rising tumult of angry feelings." It will, therefore, give you pleasure to be informed that in the prayer-meeting whose Secretary now addresses you, the distressing subject was early taken up and carried to God. Prayer for our "rulers," and legislators, and magistrates, has been urged, and often presented. For them the blessing has been besought of that “wisdom" which is so appropriately characterised by the apostle James as “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. And could there have been a happier selection of words for the purpose, or a more just or happier collocation of them ?
In fact, how can Christians expect good rulers without taking the trouble to ask of God the precious bestowment? Their duty is obvious, though so often and grossly neglected. And God, long since, declared to His chosen people, to whom He promised His special blessing, that He would “be inquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them" (Ezek. xxxvi. 37).
The prayer-meeting to which I have alluded, has now been holden every morning of the week for between five and six years. Like your own body, it embraces the union of Baptists, Episcopalians, Methodists, and Congregationalists. Members of more than thirty distinct churches have occasionally been noticed among those who attend on it; and it
is truly a union meeting. Denominational differences are set aside, that prayer may be offered in the spirit of Christian harmony and mutual love, for the Lord's sake.
Oh, that the spirit of grace and supplication may be, at this critical period in our history, poured out on the Church of Christ in all its branches among us ! This is what we need, by the confession of all serious Christians, to enable us to secure for ourselves, and to transmit to our posterity, those inestimable civil and religious blessings, of which you have made so judicious and affecting mention. Many of our ministers have expressed feelings of this kind since the lamented and disgraceful outbreak of lawless human passions has called for redress. And may not the emergency be used, in the wise and holy providence of Almighty God, to endear to Christians the cause and kingdom of their common Lord, for the prosperity of which they habitually pray? May it not be overruled to teach Christians their mutual duties toward each other, and to shew them wherein their great strength lieth? God grant that it may; and that your own effort to recommend and inculcate the development and cherishing of every disposition that may “ make for peace" shall secure
” the approbation of the God of peace,” and avail to establish it among us in righteousness!
In these sentiments, and on behalf of the members of the prayer-meeting to which I have alluded so often, I subscribe myself, most cordially, Yours in the bonds of the Gospel,
SUBJECTS OF PRAYER.
T has been the custom in the Old South
Prayer-meeting to have seasons of prayer for specific objects. At one time, the
Foreign Missionary cause was the subject of prayer for about a week, and the attention of the meeting was directed to this particular point. Important intelligence from the foreign field was communicated, and the meetings were exceedingly interesting
The General Government, with the rulers, have not unfrequently been especially remembered in prayers, and occasionally the wickedness of high places has been the theme of a whole meeting.
The subject of Temperance has sometimes been introduced in a very appropriate manner. istence of more than two thousand liquor-shops in the city of Boston, and the general prevalence of intemperance, has called forth the most earnest petitions from God's people for their abatement. The entire hour of the morning has been devoted to the contemplation of this subject; and the feeling has seemed to exist that, if the liquor-shops could be closed, the way would be prepared for a general work of grace.
The conductors of the secular press have also had a place in the prayers of those who frequent the Old South Chapel. The important position which they
occupied in influencing public sentiment has been commented upon freely, and many prayers have been offered up, that “holiness to the Lord might be written upon the secular papers.'
While four prisoners, mutineers on board a New Bedford whaler, were on trial in Boston for their lives, one morning was devoted to their case, and special prayer was offered up for them. The following note was read : “ A person present, who feels an interest in the young mutineers who are now being tried for their lives, in this city, requests your prayers for them, that they may see the heinousness of their sins, and plead with Christ to have mercy upon their souls."
Harvard College was prayed for, morning after morning, during the revival of 1858; and the cheering intelligence was communicated, from time to time, of conversions among the students in that ancient seat of learning.
Among other subjects and classes of men that have been particularly remembered in prayer, are the City Missionary Society, the Jews, the sailors, the stable-keepers of Boston, &c., &c. We mean to be understood, that entire meetings have been devoted to prayer for these objects.
Rev. Dr. Jenks has had much to say, at different times, upon the necessity of confining the prayers to specific objects; and he, at one time, presented the following list of subjects to be prayed for at different times :
Grace to pray aright; personal salvation; growth in grace; families and friends ; Christ's Church in the world, of all names and every branch ; sinners of mankind-all not truly converted ; efforts to save them, as missionaries abroad and at home; the
stated ministry; theological seminaries and colleges, officers as well as pupils; Sabbath schools, teachers and superintendents as well as scholars ; public schools, the instructors and pupils; the young in general ; parents and guardians ; maternal associations ; Christian associations of young men ; Bible, tract, and other Christian societies; directors of the public press; city missions ; all civil officers ; the rich; the poor; poor children, and whatever institutions exist for them ; prisons, penitentiaries, and hospitals for sick and insane, as also asylums for the aged; fulfilment of Scripture promises in the coming of God's kingdom; also, the Jews, Mohammedans, Romanists, Deists, Mormons, and all errorists ; also the oppressed and ill-governed; the native Indians ; the seamen, and stable-keepers."
At another time, Dr. Jenks exhorted to prayer as follows:
PRAYER.—1. “Lest any permit themselves to ridicule.—'Be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong.'
2. “Lest any neglect to avail themselves of the blessing now so freely offered, and apparently accepted by so many.-For, ‘How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?'
3. “ Lest any satisfy themselves with a false hope, either not realising the sinfulness of sin,' and God's justice in condemning it, or building on some other foundation than that which God has laid—even Christ—to be received by faith in all the characters and relations He bears in the Scriptures.
4. "Lest professing Christians should be remiss in the discharge of the obligations laid on them at this special season—their responsibility being great.