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never so insisted. Like other forces which operate in the wide empire of Jehovah, it is special and partial. Its function is assigned, its limit fixed. What is its function, and what its scope and limits, may be learned from nature, reason, and revelation.

Again, all forces are co-active, consistent, and essentially harmonious. One force does not antagonise another. They cannot clash. They are all harmoniously co-operative. Forces may be related and correlated. They may combine and co-act. They may modify each other. But they never confront and antagonise each other. They all move, SO to speak, in the same direction. There is no dynamic war in the universe. There can be no conflict between natural forces in the sense of hostile disorder or destructive antagonism. Legitimate prayer affords no exception to the principle enunciated. It has full and unobstructed operation in its appointed sphere. Outside of its appointed limits, scientifically speaking, it is either inoperative, or is neutralised by incompatible forces. It may, however, operate in conjunction with other forces, as heat co-operates with chemical affinity. It may, in some sense, oppose other forces, as heat opposes cohesion. It may modify other forces, as light modifies the action of vital forces in plants and animals. Yet it harmonises essentially and substantially with all other forces. Prayer does not antagonise gravitation. It cannot overturn the pyramid, nor pluck the moon from its orbit. Prayer does not antagonise cohesion. It cannot dissolve the granite rock, nor reduce the earth to molten chaos. Yet prayer is a force, and never fails to


produce its legitimate result when exerted. This law of prayer, as well as its scope and limit, is distinctly enunciated in the Holy Scriptures. Ask, and ye shall receive." This is the law. It is identical with the law of causation. Cause and effect, force and result, are distinctly set forth. Yet no conflict of force with force, or law with law, is either expressed, intimated, or implied. The contrary rather. Prayer does not call upon God to alter the established order of His administration, but to act conformably to it. Prayer, and the answer to prayer, have been provided for in the constitution of things, and the Divine government of man, and of things that in any way affect man, as fully as has been done for any other force and its effect. Prayer seeks to excite no new inclination, nor to engender any new purpose in the Divine mind. God is not like man, whose judgment may be convinced by arguments, and whose affection and favour may be won by persuasion. Yet men pray expecting that He will do for them, in consequence of their prayers, what He would not have done had they not prayed. And yet this does not imply that He is a changeable Being, nor does it involve any interference with the established order of things. The connection between prayer and its object is strikingly analogous, if not identical, with the connection between means and ends in the economy of nature. God bestows blessings because men ask. He gives the harvest because men labour. Man's need would not procure the blessing. Neither would man's need produce the harvest. Man's desire would not obtain the blessing. Neither would man's desire procure the harvest. Cod does not promise to those who want that they shall have, but to those who

ask. He does not promise bread to those who are hungry, but to those who work. The law is: "Ask not, and ye shall not receive." "Labour not, shall not reap.' and shall receive. Labour, and ye shall

and ye reap."



Labour is a force, so is prayer. Labour is a means to an end, so is prayer. Labour does not require the Almighty to alter His plan in order to reap its reward. Neither does prayer. Labour is a subordinate force which may or may not be exerted without deranging the established order of things. The same is true of prayer. Muscular effort in labour may be feeble, and the Labour result will be small. The same principle holds true as to prayer. may be misdirected through ignorance or other cause, and fail of its expected result. So may prayer. Labour may ignorantly or presumptuously transcend its divinely appointed limits, and undertake what in the nature of things is impossible. Prayer often does the same thing with a similar result. In short, the results of labour, in any given case, bear a direct ratio to the sum of the effective elements of force exerted, and are governed and estimated by the general law of causation. The same general and comprehensive principle applies to prayer, however numerous and various may be the elements which enter into its composition as a force.

The relation of force to force, and of other qualities, substances and agents, are, as to particular facts but imperfectly understood, even by the most learned scientists. That there are relations beyond the ken of mere physical science, who can doubt? That there are forces in operation outside of and above the empire of the material, both reason and revelation clearly teach. What relation those forces sustain to the material, how, to what extent, and according to what law they affect the material, and in turn are affected by it, involve inquiries of the gravest and most difficult character for both the scientist and the theologian. What the function and scope of prayer in this ultra-material domain; what the nature and extent of its connection with the material; and what the means and the law of its influence over the material, are inquiries of the highest moment to which the analogies of empirical science, the comprehensive conditioning of principles of reason, and the divine light of revelation may, by possibility, be able by friendly coThe relation of mind to matter, operation to furnish a satisfactory answer.

of the spiritual to the material, and the harmonious consolidation of their respective forces to each other, are all suggestive of grave and momentous inquiry. Harmony is preserved among the natural forces by the yielding of the weaker to the stronger, when they come in conflict. Chemical forces control in general the forces of inorganic matter; vital plant forces control chemical forces; and the forces of animal vitality control the forces of vegetable life. Are not mental, moral, spiritual forces of a still higher grade? Is not prayer, then, as a force super-material? If so, may it not be safely inferred that in the gradation of the dynamics of nature it holds the highest rank, and that it controls all other inferior forces with which it may incidentally come in conflict within the legitimate scope and limits of its operation?

LIFE.-Lt not the stream of your life always be a murmuring stream.

The Two Seers.

It is startling at times to see how men under almost identical circumstances set the law of probabilities at defiance, and reach exactly opposite results. Away back in the primitive ages lived an Arabian seer, "the greatest of all the men of the East." He was a man of extraordinary wealth, and of the highest rank in society. His property had increased upon his hands without making him proud; he came to honour without becoming arrogant; he loved and was reverenced by his children without forgetting the friendless and the poor. He was by no means a perfect man, but his words have come down to us through the centuries like the echo of God's thoughts, and the world to-day is devoutly deciphering their meaning.

Some three or four hundred years later there lived a Midianite seer, similarly gifted and equally remarkable, a leader of his people, a genius, a soldier, a poet, a prophet of the Most High. In rank, knowledge, intellect, grandeur of demeanour, he towers above his fellows like a mountain peak above the inferior hills.

These two men, Job and Balaam, alike and yet sadly unlike, seem to stand up grandly through the ages, speaking to each other and mankind, across the deserts of their far eastern homes, out of the deep silence of the Gentile world. They had many points in common. Both were Gentiles, connecting their names strangely with the history of Redemption, but stand ing outside of the chosen people. Both were prophets, holding the same religious faith. Like Noah and Abraham, Job believed in the one personal God, Balaam did the same. Job stood alone among his people lifted to a higher plane. Balaam also among his. Both were men of strong passions and deep convictions. Job had a mind supremely gifted, blessed with high inspirations, faith in immortality, and a vision of the coming Christ. Balaam was his peer.

But here the likeness stops, and the contrast begins. Hitherto they have stood together, but they reach the crises of their lives and each takes his own course, and 66 goes to his own place." Both are sorely tried, the one with suffering, the other with bribes. The result reveals the under-current in the life of each. When the calamity fell on Job, see how the man grew! After the first stunning effect was over, see how his heart, desolate and baffled, flying hither and thither amid the shifting sands of disappointment, rested at last on the Rock of Ages. See how his reason, chastened, invigorated through affliction, gazed into the dim future, lifted itself to the Infinite, and, outrunning the ages, grappled with the problems of eternity. See how his soul, crushed to the very dust, became aware of its own capacity, and, cut off from the perishable, claimed kindred with the "Ancient of Days!" That was the crisis of life and there was the compensation of adversity, a godlike manhood.

The test hour of Balaam gives an opposite result, vacillation, cowardice, crime; exercising his noble mission, but against his will; on the way to wrong, yet longing to do right; afraid to go forward, unable to go baɔk'

conscience in the one hand, bribes in the other; hungering inwardly for money and reputation, struggling outwardly for the favour of God, and defeated in both! Thus the lives of the two seers, starting from the same point of privilege, diverge till they stand in different realms.

Job and Balaam, the one out of a life-long habit of obedience to God arose from his trials a wiser, humbler, holier man; the other, fell out of a life of habitual selfishness into a grave of eternal dishonour! Each in the midst of his crisis saw visions and uttered prophecies that have thrilled the world. Both beheld the coming of the Messiah. But the one saw that Christ as his only hope, the vindicator of right and the healer of his soul. I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth, whom I shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. The other saw Him as clearly, but with sullen thought and dim foreboding. I shall see Him, but not now; I shall behold Him, but not nigh. The contrast explains itself. It is not what surrounds, but what is in the man, that moulds the results. Either of these types is possible in every life. Each can make his vision of the Son of God like that of Balaam or like that of Job. Hence the peril and the glory of living. But the contrast is no accident. Each present view of Christ is the result of something in the past. Speak the truth with the lips but live a lie, have a subordinate desire for God, and a ruling passion for the gifts of Balak, and you may write Balaam on your foreheads without waiting for the crisis. Don't shun, however, the test. Great manhood and mean manhood both come to light through God's crucial fires, but are not created by them. before the fires.

The men exist


Evangelisation in France.

By the establishment of an Inner Mission our French brethren are trying to call forth the latent energies of the Churches, and to impress on every Christian man and woman the importance of personal efforts for the promotion of the Kingdom of Christ. As might have been expected, this has proved no easy task. It is too much the practice in France to leave the inauguration of new movements to the government. Independent and individual action is the exception, not the rule. Or, if an idea is taken up and a society formed, and rules and statutes laid down, it often happens that when the moment for work has come, the courage and zeal of the promoters have well-nigh vanished. In connection with religious operations there is the additional difficulty arising from the fear of awakening the suspicion and ill-will of the authorities, who are always averse to what they call Protestant propaganda. Again, all who know anything of Christian life among our neighbours across the Channel must have observed that along with much that is very simple and very real, there seems to be a sort of fear lest the days of persecution should return, and that therefore caution must be exercised as to the public profession and exercise of religion. Under such circumstances, it can hardly be deemed strange that the Inner Mission

has not met with any great amount of success. But we are glad to find tha the leaders of the movement are not discouraged, and that by the meetings for consecration which they have organised in every part of the country, and by the evangelistic tours which they have set on foot, they are doing their utmost to revive the Churches and to rouse them to action.

In some localities a good work is in progress. Churches that were apathetic have been stimulated, and many a pastor has been led to look after the lost, or, at least, the scattered sheep. We could mention places where a revived life is very manifest, but we want to say a few words about a district where extensive operations have been carried on, and with very happy results, since the conclusion of the war.

All our readers who have travelled in Switzerland are aware that the French frontier runs in one direction almost up to the gates of Geneva, and then passing nearly parallel with the lake, at length trends across the Jura mountains. This portion of France lying on the Swiss side of the Juras is often called the Pays de Gex, and forms a part of the Département de l'Ain. Protestantism obtained a firm footing in this district and in the neighbouring province of La Bresse, but was fairly extirpated by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and the other ferocious measures adopted by the pious (!) monarch Louis XIV. Towards the close of the last century little Protestant colonies came to be formed here and there, and in 1795 worship was reestablished at Ferney, a town only five miles distant from Geneva, and for nearly twenty years (1759 to 1777) the residence of Voltaire. A place where the memory of the arch-sceptic was still fresh could hardly have been a favourable one for the growth of spiritual religion. In the neighbouring city of Calvin, too, with the exception of a little company of Moravians, there was scarcely a person who had any notion of true religion. Certainly, so far as the history of that period is known, there was not a pulpit in the city or canton in which the Gospel was preached. We fear, therefore, that the Protestantism that was established in Ferney was of a very formal type, and that this continued to be its character almost up to 1860, when the present pastor, M. Pasquet, settled there. We well remember going to Gex, in 1855, in company with the excellent agent of the British and Foreign Bible Society in Berlin, to visit a lady then resident there. Talking about the state of religion in the district, we learnt to our surprise and sorrow that though there were several Protestant families in the town, worship was only celebrated once a month by the pastor from Ferney, and that such was the deplorable character of the teaching, that our good friend, the widow of a minister who in his day had rendered good service to the cause of Christ, felt it to be worse than useless to attend the services. It may be said, therefore, that up to 1860, the whole region was in spiritual darkness. The advent of M. Pasquet soon wrought a change. Asiles were established for the purpose of gathering together the poor and orphan Protestant children throughout the Pays de Gex, and rescuing them from the teachings of Rome. These asiles contain about fifty children of both sexes, and have already sent out many young people furnished with the elements of a good Christian education, and fitted to earn their living.

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