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THE PRAYER WEEK.
journey, and in his labours, and make him the means of leading many souls to Jesus.
And, dear young friends, if you do this, the Lord will hear and he will also bless you in your own souls ; and if with earnest hearts you serve him, he will make you blessings yourselves in more ways than you can name. We have undertaken a great and solemn work. All are invited to help it in these two ways. All can assist if they will; and sad it may be for those who have the opportunity and allow it to pass unheeded.
To you, then, the readers of the Juvenile Messengerthe children and youth of our church-We commend this great and good work in the name of Jesus. Labour for his cause ; live to his glory; and at last, when life’s toils are over, he will make you glad with his own welcome, “ Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of thy Lord."
THE PRAYER WEEK. It is over, and what a blessed week it was! Perhaps, reader, you do not know much about it; I hope you do; but lest you should not, we will tell you its short history.
There is a place in India called Lodiana, where some missionaries from America have been labouring for years past : and these good men, hearing of the revival of religion in their native land, so far back as November 1858, held a meeting, and resolved to appoint the second week of this year (1860) “as a time of special prayer, that God would now pour out his Holy Spirit upon all flesh, so that all the ends of the earth might see His salvation.” And they did not merely agree to pray themselves, but they
THE PRAYER WEEK.
resolved “that all God's people of every name and nation, of every continent and island, be cordially and earnestly invited to unite with us in a similar observance of that time ; and that from the receipt of this invitation onward all be requested, in their secret, family, and public devo. tions, habitually to entreat the Lord to pour out upon all His people so much of the spirit of grace and suppli-, cation, as to prepare them for the observance of the time thus designated as may meet with His approval, and secure His blessing.” Such was the resolution of these good men, and what has been the result? Did any comply with the invitation? Yes, the result has been a week of prayer, such as never was known in the world before. The Lord prepared the hearts of men in all lands to respond to the invitation.
During the past year the invitation has been sent to all parts of the world, and published in papers and magazines, so that almost every one know of it beforehand. And the Lord heard the prayers for the prayer week, and inclined the hearts of thousands upon thousands to keep it.
In India, Australia, New Zealand, America, Africa, on the Continent, and at home in England, Scotland, and Ireland, prayer-meetings have been held in almost every town, where thousands have been assembling to call upon the Lord.
In London there were about TWO HUNDRED prayermeetings held every day during that week, and very blessed meetings they were. Some will never forget them. Those we attended were in Freemasons' Hall. In the morning, before eleven (the hour of meeting), the large hall was filled to overflowing, and continued so till
Then again in the evening, from seven till nine o'clock;
it was generally so full that hundreds sometimes
THE PRAYER WEEK.
had to go away without getting in. It was good to be there ;--all looked so solemn and so earnest, as if they came for something. And many did come for something; they came seeking salvation for their souls. Generally after the first hymn was sung and a portion of Scripture read, the chairman rose, holding a number of letters in his hand, which he read one by
What letters were they? They were deeply interesting letters ; some of them, when read, brought tears from many eyes. Some were from broken-hearted parents, asking the prayers of the meeting for their godless sons and daughters; from children, asking prayers for their unconverted parents ; brothers for sisters, and sisters for brothers, friends for friends, &c., &c. ; and oh! it was sweetly solemn, every morning and evening, when the chairman asked the meeting to spend five minutes in silent prayer for these people, to listen to the stillness of the vast assembly-no voice or sound to be heard but the sighs that here and there ascended from sad hearts. How forcibly they reminded one of Montgomery's beautiful verses :
“Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
Unuttered or exprest;
That trembles in the breast.
« Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear;
When none but God is near.
"Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice,
Returning from his ways;
And say, 'Behold, he prays!"'
À PEEP INTO A CHINESE PRISON.
Towards the close of the week, letters were received from some of those for whom prayer had been previously offered, asking the meeting to return thanks to God for having answered the silent prayers by leading their poor souls to the Lord Jesus, and giving them “life through His name.” Who can tell what blessings may yet result from this prayer week, to those who attended them and to those who did not!
Reader, I do not know if you attended any of those blessed meetings; but I know this, you were prayed for at several of them. The “Hearer of prayer” has got these petitions before him now. Come, then, rise up out of that sad state of carelessness and deadness into which you have fallen, and go at once to the Lord Jesus, and bend low at His feet, until, like many sinners who have been there before you, through repentance and faith you
obtain the assurance of his forgiveness, even everlasting life
A PEEP INTO A CHINESE PRISON.
PRISONS are not pleasant places ; they are not meant to be so. They are places of punishment; but they ought not to be made scenes of torture. The Chinese prisons are very horrible dens. There might be written on the doors of all of them, “Farewell to hope, all ye who enter here." An American gentleman gives the following frightful description of a visit he lately paid to one of
I had occasion to visit the prisons of the Nanhai magistrate, and had penetrated, one by one, all the reeking courts and frightful cells, in which some hundreds of wretched beings drag out the torments of their existence.
A PEEP INTO A CHINESE PRISON.
In one room, about the size of a horse's crib, six men each wearing a heavy collar of wood, some four feet square, about the neck (the dreadful cangue), which is never removed until the expiring of their existence, be it for one month or six, were huddled, and gave no signs of life, until I bethought myself of the only alleviation of their sufferings within my power, and, putting a cigar in the mouth of each, helped him to light the unhoped-for solace. Elsewhere, I saw tottering shadows, slowly drag. ging after them large blocks of iron chained to their ancles ; hamstrung pirates, lying, shrivelled and helpless, on the ground; branded rebels seared into livid distortion, and a waiting the executioner's sword ; grown men caged in cells that one would scarcely believe large enough to hold a child, or staunching with pestilential rags the blood still oozing from raw wounds on their backs, arms, legs, and ankles, where the cruel bamboo had fallen. But the saddest sight of all was a withered, blear-eyed woman, tall, but bent with the weight of the seventy years which had silvered her hair, and traced deep furrows in her forehead, who looked up to me as I was about to pass a door by which she was standing, with an air of such hopeless woe that arrested my steps. She said nothing, but slightly raised her hands as in supplication for some mercy. She was the mother of the Celestial King, the
proselyte’ Hungsz-chuen, for whose crimes she has been made to suffer in this frightful prison nine years of incalculable misery. When this poor victim of a perverted justice saw that the foreigner was not there to release her, she turned listlessly away into the unwholesome darkness of her hovel. She is condemned to a life imprisonment, nor has the death of her too-celebrated offspring brought any alleviation to her state.”