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whenever the preachers of the Gospel proclaim Christ crucified, let them be upborne by the prayers of God's people, pleading with Him that His abundant blessing may rest upon their work.
Let prayer also be made that God would bless the distribution of Scriptures and tracts, which generally accompanies the oral preaching of the Word. Every year hundreds of thousands of portions of Scripture or religious tracts are sold or given away among the heathen and Mahommedan population of India, and very many cheering instances of great blessing upon the simple reading of the Word have come to our ears. In many cases of which we have heard, and no doubt in a larger number of which we have never heard, the single tract or gospel has been the means of producing faith in Jesus as the only Saviour. Let us pray that God would yet more largely honour His Word as thus widely distributed, that thousands of souls may be thus led to Christ, and that the preparatory work which is leading on to the ultimate triumph of the truth may more rapidly progress through the spread of these Gospels and tracts.
Let special prayer be offered for a blessing upon the preaching of the Gospel and the sale of Scriptures and tracts at melas, the vast religious gatherings where so large a number of people congregate from all parts of the country. Hundreds and thousands crowd to these so-called holy places in the hope of obtaining the blessing of mukti, “ deliverance” from the weary burden of sin and unrest which oppresses them; let us pray that the hearts of many such may be opened, to perceive that Christ is the great and the only Deliverer from sin and all evil.
Let us also remember the work that is done in the way of private conversation, the talk of friend with friend in relation to the great subject of religion, the converse of the Christian peasant with his heathen fellow-villager, and pray that all who know Christ may be able to“ give a reason of the hope that is in them,” in such a way as to win others to say, “Surely, God is with you.” And let us pray that when missionaries and others talk with inquirers, they may have wisdom to use right words, words in season, words which, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, shall lead the inquiring soul to decision for the Lord Jesus.
The work of Christian education should also have an interest in our prayers. In the humbler Vernacular Mission Schools, something like the British Schools in England, and in the more advanced Anglo-Vernacular of English Schools and Colleges, thousands of Hindu and Mahommedan boys and girls are receiving an education on Christian principles. The seeds sown have, in very many cases, resulted in conversion to God; still, the great bulk of the scholars leave school without becoming followers of Christ. Let prayer be offered for the professors and teachers in these schools, that all needed grace and wisdom may be given to them for their work; prayer for the scholars, that the truths taught may enter their hearts, that their souls may be prepared so as to become good soil for the good seed, that many more of them may decide for Christ, and that, even where this decision does not take place, the seed which seems to have perished may be kept alive by God's Spirit, and hereafter bring forth much fruit to God's glory.
Work among the women of India, girls' schools, whether for Christian or heathen children, Zenana-visitation, and all the effort of various kinds put forth for the enlightenment of the women of India, should have a prominent place in our prayers. God has in the last few years marvellously opened the door for His word to enter in among the female population of the country, and the openings for work in this department are continually widening. There is an urgent call to the Church of Christ, not only for increased effort in this great work but also for more earnest prayer for God's blessing upon it. The importance of it we can hardly over-estimate ; let the mothers and daughters of India be savingly affected by the Gospel ; and who can estimate the enormous blessing that would result ?
Last, but not least, let us remember those who are engaged in the translation of the Scriptures into the various languages of India. Looking forward to the future, no department of missionary labour seems more important than this. Who can estimate the influence exerted by Tyndall, the translator of the English Testament, an influence which will last as long as the English language is spoken, and which is ever widening as that language spreads ? And who can estimate the value to unborn generations of a faithfully executed version of the Word of God ? Such work needs many gifts and much grace, and prayer should be offered that those engaged in the translation of the Bible, or in the revision of former translations, should be enlightened by the Spirit of all wisdom so as to “find out acceptable words,” the right words to represent the inspired truths of God.
7. One more line of missionary intercession remains to be noticed, prayer for the home operations of missionary societies. Out of the heart are the issues of life, and out of home Christianity are the issues of the foreign work of the church. Christianity abroad will be the reflex of the Christianity at home. Let prayer be offered, therefore, for an increase of right missionary spirit at home; that Christians at home may take a deeper interest in the spread of the Gospel in all lands ; that their contributions may be far better proportioned to the magnitude and glory of the work before them; that their prayers for the coming of God's kingdom may be more earnest and more persevering; that many more men and women may be found saying to the Lord, “ Here am I, send me"—that thus the Church at home may more largely give of its men, its money, and its prayers, for the promotion of the grand work of “ preaching the Gospel to every creature.” Let prayer be also offered for missionary societies, for committees and secretaries, that they may be men of the right stamp; that the needed wisdom, and fervour, and faith, may be given to them for the direction of missionary work; that they may be guided from above in the selection of men to engage in mission-work, in the choice of fields of labour, in the principles of action, in the use of the right agencies, and in the various practical questions which they are continually being called upon to settle. In relation to the spread of Christianity in the world, very few people have greater influence, for good or for evil, than the secretaries of our missionary societies; and yet how seldom is a word of prayer offered for them at our missionary prayer-meetings.
Such are some of the objects for which we may plead with God on behalf of mission work. What a wide field is thus opened before us, and yet, though we have done little more than barely enumerate subjects for prayer, we have not mentioned a tithe of the special topics for intercessory prayer which might be introduced at our prayer-meetings, in place of the vague generalities which we so often meet with.
Our thoughts have naturally divided themselves into seven branches. Why should we not divide them among the days of the week? Let each day have its own special subject for intercessory prayer with God for the spread of His Gospel; and thus, day by day, and week by week, and year by year, let the Church of Christ seek the blessing of the Giver of all good upon the great work which He has given us to do, and let us “ Give Him no rest until He establish " the kingdom of His Son in all its glory and blessedness over the whole earth. “O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thce shall all Aesh come.”
A Tour in the North-West.
O UR esteemed missionary, the Rev. J. H. Anderson, of Allahabad, in
the early part of last year, made a somewhat prolonged tour, from the journal of which we are happy to select the following extracts :
“On the 4th February I left home, were three or four servants with long in company with a colporteur, and stout sticks who came forward in rather travelled by rail to Seorajpoor. From a defiant attitude. I found that the thence we procured six coolies to take people about here are accustomed to on our goods and chattels-one of them use these sticks for protection. The carrying my bedstead on his head. occupants of the house soon came At Seorajpoor an elephant was waiting forward, they received us rather unfor the Assistant Magistrate, who graciously, but by degrees their disoffered to take me with him to a place inclination to hear our message gave called Gorhwa, on the way to Pertab. way, and they listened to a good deal poor. At Gorhwa there is an old that the colporteur said, as well as to my Fort, many hundred years old, and a remarks. The young men of the house great many figures of Hindu deities had been to Allababad and had heard The place was a dense jungle till the preaching there, and had bought books. magistrate partially cleared it, and They blamed the colporteur very much tried to find out its history, and whom for forsaking his former religion ; bethe images represented. After break- cause he had done so they accused fasting under a tree, we started and him of having abandoned his father, walked five or six miles in the sun, and having taken another for his till we reached Pertabpoor. On the father. He was well able to vindicate way we talked about religion to the himself from this aspersion. These porters who were carrying our things. people were so violent that I was led I found them intelligent. They under to feel that the life of a new convert stood the unreasonableness of idolatry.
would not be safe among them. We Till a few months before they had then went to another part of the village resided in Allahabad.
and had an attentive audience. · "On the following day it was cloudy " 7th. In the morning I went with and dull, I spoke to two or three of the my companions to Porwa, a village people who belong to the place, who inhabited by Mahommedans as well as came to me out of curiosity, and I read Hindus. They gave us an attentive to them a book called an “Inquiry hearing, but they were nearly all into the True Religion. In the after- ignorant men. In the afternoon, the noon the colporteur and I went out old byragee, whom I visited yester. and found a few people to whom the day, came with two others, one of them Word of Life was spoken.
a young Brahmin, very intelligent, “ HIS RECEPTION.
and one who is convinced of the un
reasonableness of idolatry. After I “We then went to a village, Pur had read to him, Khairat Masih, the dusnah, in Bandah, and entered the colporteur, spoke to the visitors at premises of a small zemindar. There considerable length. Before he left
be intimated his intention of giving up idolatry after a short time. His name is Roghonath Missur.
“At night, the two visitors of last evening came again, and also a pundit. They stayed at their own request to our vorship, and then listened to an exposition of a portion of Scripture, and to some further instruction.
“OPPOSITION. * 9th.—This morning we went to a village called Simore, three miles distant. We went to the house of the principal landowner, and a group of people collected. I addressed them on the fundamental truths of the Gospel, when a pundah, one of a class of Brahmins who in these parts go about to induce people to visit the sacred places, and who bring the water of the Ganges from some place of pilgrimage for sale, began to obstruct me; and when the colporteur tried to speak, he again and again told him to be silent. He had much influence with the people, who, though wealthy, were very igno. rant and very superstitious, and who, being of the soldier caste, were devoted to the worship of Ram, and seemed determined to adhere to his worship. We got a hearing, but the leading men were bent on rendering our work nuga tory. In this they were disappointed, for there followed us a young Brahmin named Madho, a youth about seventeen, who complained of the way in which they had acted, said they could not reply to what we had to say, and, therefore, they had sought by noisy opposition to silence us. He exposed their insincerity, mentioning that while they worshipped the cow, they, for the sake of gain, parted with some of their cattle, and had them taken to the city to be sold to the butchers. He said he wished he could get employment under Government, but he was unable to
read and write. Education is very much neglected in these parts. The people have a prejudice against it. The youth came with me for about two miles. I gave him good advice, and he is likely to visit me shortly, both here and at Allahabad. We were very much wearied with our walk.
“AN IDOL TEMPLE. 11th-Went this morning in a boat to a village, called 'Kuthora, some four miles away, where there are the ruins of a beautiful temple erected for the worship of Mahadeo. The sculpture was as elaborate as any I have ever seen. There were an immense number of figures of Mahadeo and Parboti in bas relief. The attitudes they were made to assume were some of them most indecent. The temple is now a complete ruin. The masses of stone of which it was composed have many of them fallen and lie a confused heap around the central chamber. A group of Brahmins came to us and we spoke to them of the Saviour, and of the vanity of their idol worship. They assented, and smiled at the absurdities of the religion they practise, but they retired seemingly in perfect indifference whether they were doing right or wrong. We heard on our way to the village that last evening a wolf carried off an infant from one of the houses here. In the afternoon, two villagers came to converse with me, and one of them came again in the evening and was present at worship, and we spent an hour in teaching him the way of salvation.
“A SECRET DISCIPLE. “ Rode over to Seorajpore and found that the station-master was almost a Christian. He was brought up in