Pungent Truths

By William B. Rose


Topics Beginning with "P"

311 -- PARENTS AND CHILDREN: Right Training

     Christian parents should have Christian children. This is what is naturally to be expected. Mohammedan parents never expect that their children will be anything but Mohammedans. Romanists take care that their children are Romanists. Those who are truly pious should spare no pains to train up their children in the paths of piety. God requires this. The happiness of the children requires that they should be trained up in the service of God. Their eternal salvation requires this! Christian parents who oppose their children in their efforts to lead a devoted Christian life are assuming a fearful responsibility. Christ says: "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matt. 18:6). The case is aggravated when the little one turned out of the way is the child of the one who causes it to stumble.

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312 -- PARENTS AND CHILDREN: Overtenderness Cruel

     The overtenderness of some parents for their children is a great cruelty to the children. "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth" (Lam. 3:27). The yoke makes one serviceable. It is a great and permanent injury to any child to be brought up in habits of idleness. A Christian worker said, "When I was young I worked out by the month; and I went to college; and to this day I am in doubt as to which did me the most good, By working out I formed habits of application, and of submission, and my physical constitution became strong and capable of enduring toil and hardship." So because you are on a circuit, and have boys able to work, do not think it necessary to buy or take a farm in order to give them employment. Let them learn a trade, or hire them out to a good brother to work on a farm.

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313 -- PARENTS Should Not Compromise

     If you can not get your children converted to God, you should not let them convert you to the world. It is a sad sight to see a mother, who was uncompromisingly true to God, and plain in her dress, and simple in her habits, when her children were small, become, when they are grown up, conformed to the world in order to please them. She may think that she will retain her hold on them by this means and get them saved; but the probability is that they will drag her with them down to perdition. Parents never gain any real, religious influence over their children by compromising. If you keep on the rock, you will be much more likely to bring them up to you by reaching down a helping hand, than you will be to push them up, by going down yourself to them amid the waves and billows of the world. Besides, the worldly advantages that you would gain for them by such a course are not likely to be realized. Where it looks as if promotion would be so easy, there are competitions, and strifes, and envyings, that you little dream of. The daughter that you would have wed a prosperous business man, may marry a reckless libertine. Where she expects to find a home, she may find a hell. It is better to marry in the Lord than in the world. But if worldly advantages are realized, too much is paid for them, if the soul is lost in order to secure them. They are not worth the price. Then, mother, do not dress up like a worldling to please the children. Do not, as you near eternity, get so short-sighted that you fail to see what tremendous interests are at stake. In the first great battle of life you have been victorious; hold with a steady courage, and be victorious to the end.

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     Make the place where you live more pleasant and attractive for your living in it. We never lived in a parsonage but that we made repairs upon it, and left it in a better condition than we found it. We knew we could stay but two years at the most, but we set out fruit trees for the express purpose of having others enjoy the fruit. We all should be willing to confer benefits upon others, even when they do not know who it is that blesses them. God knows, and he assures us that for the benefits we confer upon others secretly he will reward us openly. If you believe it, then act accordingly. If you let the parsonage property go to decay, the fences fall down, and the garden become full of weeds, because you do not expect to stay upon the circuit more than a year or two, then do not profess holiness; do not profess religion. True holiness makes us considerate of others. It causes us to care for their welfare. "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."

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     Preachers who settle down on a little circuit, and content themselves with preaching twice on the Sabbath, and occasionally making a social visit, can not wonder why they are not supported. They sow sparingly, and it is God's order that they shall reap sparingly. His direction is that "if any will not work, neither shall he eat." The little that they do can hardly be called work. One who works at his trade as they do at their calling, would soon be out of work. Nobody would employ him.

     Brother, get up in the morning, get your chores out of the way, and do a good, honest, ten-hour day's work for God, and see if you will not be supported! If you have not members enough to keep you busy visiting, go and visit sinners. Talk with them, pray with them, and make from three to ten pastoral visits every afternoon. Put in preaching appointments week-day evenings, in the schoolhouses around, and stir up the people to seek God. Be wholly given up to the work of saving souls.

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316 -- PASTORAL SUPPORT and Visiting

     Generally there are two sides to a question. If a preacher has not been supported properly, perhaps he has not done his duty faithfully. The people, if they could be heard, might complain that the preacher had failed to visit the members of his congregation; that he had manifested but little interest in the salvation of souls; that at the best he had merely performed his duties in an official, formal, perfunctory manner. Before we blame others, let us carefully consider whether we are not, in part at least, to blame.

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317 -- PATIENCE, A Useful Grace

     Patience is one of the most useful of the Christian graces. Scarcely an hour in the day passes without there is a call for its exercise. Growth in grace is always marked by growth in patience. We should be so filled with humble love that we can bear provocations without being provoked. We should have patience with our own blunderings, as well as with the mistakes and perversities of others.

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318 -- PATIENCE Will Have Its Reward

     A farmer planted a large pear orchard. The trees grew vigorously but bore no fruit for a number of years. Tired of waiting, the owner cut down the larger portion. The next year those that were left bore so abundantly, and such choice fruit, that he was amply repaid for all his labor. He was then sorry that he had not waited longer.

     Good Christians sometimes forget that "we are saved by hope" (Rom. 8:24). They deprive themselves of much comfort by always looking at the dark side. They anticipate the worst, and their fears sometimes bring upon them the calamities which they dread.

"Be hopeful, cheerful, Faith will bring A living joy to thee, And make thy life a hymn of praise, From doubt and murmurs free; Whilst like the sunbeam thou wilt bless, And bring to others happiness."

     In the thickest darkness we must exhort ourselves as did the Psalmist: "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the help of my countenance, and my God" (Ps. 42:11).

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     Perfect love is a Bible term. It means the same as entire sanctification, or holiness. But we prefer it, for the reason that, if a person professes perfect love, he will more readily see his inconsistency if he manifests any temper contrary to love! Besides, it will more readily be seen to be attainable. One conscious of his ignorance and imperfection shrinks from speaking of himself as holy; but any one can love; and it will be hard for him to give a reason why he may not love God with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself. It is also a comprehensive term. Wesley says, "Perfect love implies: (1) Entire humility. (2) Absolute self-renunciation. (3) Unreserved resignation. (4) Such a union of our will with the Divine as makes the Christian one spirit with God." Reader, do you enjoy perfect love? Do you manifest it in the family? Towards those who oppose you?

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320 -- PERFECT LOVE Essential

     If you intend to get through to Heaven, then you must seek to be made perfect in love. You may be free, fearless, strong, and uncompromising; but unless you get the love that beareth all things, you will fall out with some one, indulge in hard feeling, and backslide. You may keep up your profession for a while, but you will soon get where you will indorse what you once unsparingly condemned. There is no trouble in making a bag stand, if it is filled with wheat, and tied tight; but an empty bag falls down unless it is held up. If you would stand straight for God always, then keep filled with gentle love. Some of the greatest fighters we ever knew, but who were wanting in the "love that never faileth." went over at last to those whom they had all their lifetime been opposing. We shall reach places in our experience where we shall fail unless we have the God-given charity that "beareth all things," and "endureth all things."

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     The greatest uninspired religious book was written in jail. No other book except the Bible has been published in as many languages as has the "Pilgrim's Progress." The crime for which John Bunyan was sent to jail by professed Christians was preaching Christ. They tried to limit his influence, but God made it the occasion of giving him an influence unlimited by time or space. They offered him his liberty if he would promise not to preach. His noble answer was, "I am resolved to stay here till the moss shall grow upon my eyebrows, before I will promise not to declare what God has done for my soul." The tongue was for a season silenced, but the pen was unfettered, and his words of wisdom have gone forth to the ends of the world.

     Let us, then, be fearless for Christ. Persecution may open for us a wider field of usefulness than prosperity could. Let our care be to maintain our integrity, and God will take care of our influence.

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322 -- PERSECUTION, Firmness Under

     Never swerve from fidelity to Christ. You may be persecuted; but be firm and true, and you will either be delivered, or you will win a martyr's crown. Besides, your firmness under persecution may be the means of winning others. Eusebius records the following of James, the brother of John, whom Herod killed with the sword: "Concerning this James, Clemens, in the seventh book of his institutions, relates a memorable history, speaking as he had heard from his predecessors. For he says, 'that he that accused him before the judgment seat, seeing him openly and willingly testify and declare the faith of Christ, was moved thereat, and professed that he also was a Christian. And so,' says he, 'they were both together led away to suffer. And, as they were going, he beseeched James to pardon him; who, after a short deliberation, said, "Peace be to thee," and kissed him; and so they were both beheaded together.'"

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323 -- PERSECUTING CHRIST In His Disciples

     Persecuting the disciples of Christ is persecuting Christ. Saul of Tarsus said, "I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prison both men and women." When Christ appeared to him he did not know him, and inquired who he was. The reply was, "I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest" (Acts 22:8). Yet there is no evidence that Saul ever saw Jesus before this time. Personally, Jesus was beyond the reach of persecution. But persecuting his disciples he counted as persecuting himself. It is still the same. Every indignity offered to a follower of Christ, because he belongs to Christ, is an indignity offered to Christ himself. Remember this, ye who treat with derision and scorn the humble ones who endeavor to follow Christ fully. When he sits upon his throne, judging mankind according to their works, he will say to you, "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, ye did it unto me."

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     Perseverance is quite as necessary as valor to a soldier of the cross. It matters not how valiantly you fight, you will not be crowned if you run away before the war is ended. There was no braver man in our Revolutionary army than Benedict Arnold. But his treason spoiled it all. It is to them "who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality" that God shall render eternal life (Rom. 2:7). Many a revival that is started with great promise fails of glorious results for the want of perseverance in those who are carrying it on. They are too easily discouraged. A little privation and a little hardship overcome them. They do not like the cold. What soldier ever did? But do valiant soldiers mind the cold? They do not like to be out nights. Yet perhaps before they were converted they were often out much later in the service of the devil. Let us hold steady to our work till the crown is won.

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325 -- PERSEVERANCE Will Secure the Reward

     To gain Heaven we must endure to the end. Persevering efforts, and not spasmodic efforts, win the prize. A good plan is a good beginning for a house, but if it goes no farther it will afford no shelter. Becker says: "That mariner has no praise who sinks his ship before he comes to the harbor; that soldier obtains no glory who lays down his arms in the heat of the battle. Some say that the chrysolite, which is of a golden color in the morning, loses its splendor before the evening; such are the glittering shows of the hypocrites. Though fiery meteors fall to the earth, yet fixed stars remain in heaven."

     Trains that run fastest are wrecked the worst if they do not keep the track. "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him; rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving" (Col. 2:6,7).

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326 -- PERSONAL LABOR, Manner of

     If you have a duty to do to the church, do not do it before the world. Some preachers, in sermons about their members, especially at camp-meetings, make the impression that they are all a set of hypocrites. This they call "hewing to the line." It is simply wholesale slander. Such sermons do harm. Preachers who talk in this way need not wonder that they have small congregations. Destroy the confidence of the world in your church, and sinners will say, "Get your members converted, and then preach to us." It takes more grace and courage to go to your members personally, and tell them what you think wrong in their spirit, and conduct, than it does to denounce them publicly; but it will do you and them much more good. Think of these things, and ask God for the wisdom that cometh from above.

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327 -- PERSONAL LIBERTY Plea a Subterfuge

     Where there is shame there is still hope. One who is ashamed of his course of life may forsake that course.

     This makes it look as if there might be hope in the case of the paid advocates of the saloon. They never plead for the saloon. They never speak directly in its favor. They do not mention it. They ignore its existence. The battle for the saloon is called the battle for "self-respect and freedom." The champions of the saloon are called "liberty-loving, law-abiding, absolutely temperance citizens, native and adopted." The advocates of prohibition are called "maniacs," and of them it is said, "When they become a majority it will be time for decent people to emigrate to a more sympathetic despotism -- Russia for example."

     If such language is used from shame by those who have sold themselves to advocate the liquor interest, then there is hope in their case. But we fear it is adopted -- not from shame, but from policy. They know that to meet the real issue would be to court defeat. So they assume to defend that which no prohibitionist has attacked -- "personal liberty."

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328 -- PERSONAL WORK Commended

     Harlan Page was a great soul-saver. He was only a private member of the church, and never felt called to preach, and never attempted to preach. But he was the means of the conversion of thousands, and he raised up many strong churches. He died at the age of forty-three. On his death-bed he said:

     "I look upon personal conversation and prayer with individuals as among my most successful endeavors, and hope I have done some good. But it is not me. It is all of grace in Christ." In his early Christian life he "Resolved, whenever possible, to address my brethren and sisters on the concerns or eternity, and endeavor to stir up both them and myself to diligence and engagedness in the great work of saving souls." Reader, would it not be well for you to form a similar resolution?

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329 -- PIETY a Power

     The piety of a church is the measure of its spiritual power. Its political power is usually in an inverse proportion to its piety. In voting, members prevail; in intercessions with God, faith and holy living prevail. One Abraham outweighs, in God's balance, a dozen Sodoms with all their millionaires. Stephen Olin, a man of great intellect and of deep piety, said :"A band of a hundred, or of fifty, or even of ten, living Christians, strong in mutual affection and confidence, and entire in their devotedness to Christ and to the salvation of souls, would, I am confident, wield an amount of religious influence immeasurably greater than is usually exerted by our largest and most flourishing churches." This was the deliberate opinion of a man competent to judge.

     Why may not every Free Methodist society be such a band? It may be; it should be. Reader, will you do your best to make your society such a band?

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     Paul gives as one of the marks of the last days that professors of religion will be "lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God."

     That these days are upon us many unmistakable evidences plainly show. It is getting to be quite the fashion to build churches with rooms specially fitted up for the purpose of gratifying the love of self-indulgence. Kitchens and dining-rooms, and parlors, are finished and furnished in houses of worship built by a denomination which says it was raised up "to spread scriptural holiness through the land." These are used, not to feed the hungry, but to provide entertainment for the saints and sinners belonging to the congregation. The Holston Methodist says: "Drinking, dancing, card-playing Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians are doing more to bring Christianity into disrepute than the whole cohort of infidels in the land." There is no doubt but that the great hindrance to the spread of the gospel is the want of saving grace in the great mass of professed Christians. We must be careful how we encourage in their delusions those who think they are Christians, when they give good evidence that they are not.

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     The popular churches appear to be going extensively into the amusement business. In the winter season church frolics are provided, sufficiently worldly and sensual to satisfy any decent sinner. In the summer pleasure resorts are fitted up by ocean and lakes, where piety and pleasure can be combined by saint and sinner, according to the taste of each. Even so staid a people as the Free-will Baptists have hitherto been are being drawn into this insatiable maelstrom, in which so many staunch ships of Zion are being wrecked. They have purchased a tract of land on the border of Lake Keuka, in Central New York, for a denominational summer resort.

     Everything indicates that we are in the last days spoken of by the Apostle, when "men shall be lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." Reader, are you connected with such a church? If so, the command of God to you is, "From such turn away" (2 Tim. 3:5).

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     When political excitement runs high, those who would save their souls must watch and pray, or they will be carried away with it. No one can become absorbed in politics and maintain his spirituality. While a child of God should take a proper interest in civil affairs, he can not become engrossed in them without endangering his own salvation. As Christ's kingdom is not of this world, his servants cannot fight political battles with common, carnal weapons. If they say anything on political matters, it should be in a quiet manner and with the utmost candor. A saint must hold to the truth. But in political matters there is so much misstatement and exaggeration that it is often difficult to tell what is truth. Whatever interest we may feel in the election of any one, we must have a deeper interest in making our own calling and election sure.

     One of the best workers we ever knew outside of the ministry utterly backslid through meddling with politics, and died in a backslidden state. He was a man of good ability. His convictions were deep, and he had the courage to stand by them. The utmost that persecution could do, could not induce him to take sides against those who were endeavoring to promote the work of Bible holiness. He defended them with tongue and pen and means. In all their conflicts he stood with them, shoulder to shoulder. It was at a time when the issue of slavery was before the people. He took the side of the oppressed. His zeal and ability made him prominent. He was drawn into politics by degrees, and put in office. He held to his religious convictions, but lost his experience. The last time we saw him, he said he did not enjoy any religion. But, grasping our hand warmly, and with eyes full of tears, he exclaimed, "O Brother Roberts, stand firmly. If the Free Methodists should give out, I do not know what would become of the rest of us." Not long after this he was, by a sudden accident, called to the spirit world.

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333 -- POSITION Not to be Sought

     The efforts often spent in striving for position. if employed in doing present duties well. would be much more likely to secure it.

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334 -- POPULAR CHURCHES: Fatal Error in Teaching

     Calvinism, in its more repulsive features, may have had its day. But the most insidious and dangerous part of it -- the final and unconditional salvation of believers, that is, the elect -- is still in vogue. We doubt if it ever had a greater currency, or more dreadful effect, than at present. Generally, in the popular churches, the preacher takes it for granted that those who belong to the church are all believers, in the New Testament sense. If believers, they are taught that they must not doubt that their eternal salvation is assured. No inquiry is to be instituted as to whether they were ever born of the Spirit. No notice is taken of the fact that they never met the conditions of salvation as laid down by Christ, and that they are still, the same as ever, conformed to the world. If they backslide utterly, they need feel no alarm, as they are sure to be brought back to God; as taught in a hymn generally sung:

"If I forget him and wander away, Kindly he follows wherever I stray; Back to his dear, loving arms do I flee When I remember that Jesus loves me."

     This doctrine is deluding thousands to their eternal undoing it is sending multitudes from the churches down to hell! No, it is dangerous to forget God, and wander from him ever so little. Falling bodies acquire momentum as they fall. Every minute it takes more to stop them. Believers need still to heed the warning that David gave to his truly converted son, "If thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off forever" (1 Chron. 28:9).

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335 -- POWER, A Gift of God

     The Apostle declares that the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. Creeds are words; therefore, a belief in a creed, however, correct, does not, of' itself, constitute a Christian. Professions are words; therefore, professions do not prove that one is in a state of salvation. If we are saved, we have power -- power over our tempers, over our appetites and passions, over all the power of the devil, over sin in all its forms. This is of greater importance than the ability to make fluent prayers and preach fine sermons. Have you this power? It can not be obtained by reading. No amount of learning will produce it. It is the gift of God. It is bestowed in answer to persevering, penitential prayer. "He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city" (Prov. 16:32).

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336 -- POWER of God Exhibited

     When Herod put Peter into prison, the saints had but little hopes of his life. The king had killed James, and seeing that it pleased the people, he aimed to add to his popularity by killing Peter also. He thought he made it impossible for him to escape. He put him in prison. He had each of his hands bound to the hand of a soldier, so that Peter slept with a soldier each side of him. Guards were stationed before the door of the prison, by night and by day. The great iron gate added to the security. Escape seemed impossible.

     But when God undertakes to deliver a man, chains and guards and prisons are of no account. impossibilities vanish, like mist before the sun. The strongest chains are no more than spider's webs. The highest walls are like the smoothest pavement. The guards are no better than so many statues. At the touch of the angel, the chains fell from Peter's hands; the guards slept on undisturbed; the bolted door and massive iron gates opened of their own accord; and the servant of the Lord was led out into the free light of Heaven.

     Nothing can withstand the power of God. He is the Lord Almighty! Blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

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387 -- POWER by Restraint

     Power results largely from restraints. Powder spread thinly on the ground, and set on fire, makes a harmless flash; but confine it in a gun, behind a bullet, aim it right and apply a spark, and it does deadly execution. Cover a hillside a mile wide with water an inch deep, and it only washes off the soil and leaves it barren; confine it in a narrow channel, and bring it in contact with the necessary machinery, and it turns the largest mill. Some people who seem to be honest, and want to do good, are wasting their lives in idle vaporings, because they can not bear restraint. They may belong to a church to the principles of which they are strongly attached; but if a conference of men, as godly as themselves and understanding the Scriptures as well as they do, disagree with them as to the best mode of reaching a result at which they all are aiming, they promptly withdraw and set up for themselves. In trying to influence everybody they influence nobody. After a few flashes that excite momentary attention, they subside and are heard of no more.

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338 -- POWER, Enduement of

     The great want of our preachers is the enduement of power from on high. Oh, that they would consent to see it! But that is one of the lamentable features of a destitution of the Spirit, that those who are without it do not know that they have not all the influence of the Holy Spirit that they need. They are like people who are asleep, but who do not know they are asleep. The direction which Christ gives to this class of preachers is, "Anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." Until this is done, they grope in the dark, ignorant of their own condition and of the condition of those entrusted to their care. They think they are all right, when in reality they are lacking in that which is essential.

     If one is going on a journey he is careful to see that he is supplied with everything necessary for the journey. Why should one then attempt to make the journey of life without having so much of God's blessed Spirit as will make the journey joyous and the end glorious? Especially since every one who will obey God may have the fulness of the Spirit.

     Beloveds, do not go before the people with dry sermons, and preaching prayers, and scolding exhortations. Go to God in earnest prayer, till he send upon you the fullness of the Spirit. Stay at the mercy-seat until endued with power from on high.

     Long openings of meetings, long prayers and long testimonies, and long sermons, are unerring indications of a lack of the Holy Spirit. It does not take long to start an engine when the steam is up; one stroke of a pump in constant use will bring water. So it does not take a long time for one who is filled with the Spirit to get things moving in the congregation. It was a short sermon which Peter preached when the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word. (Acts 10:44). It was a short prayer he made when Jesus stretched out his hand and took him safely across the yielding waters to the ship. Pray more in secret, and you will not need to pray so long in public. A man may pound in the dark without hitting a nail, and when he does bit if he is more likely to spoil it than he is to drive it; but he who works in the light can, with a stroke or two, drive the nail in a sure place. Go to the people from directly communing with God, and then you can speak short and to the point, and with power.

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339 -- POWER To Speak

     To speak with power, we must have power. The schools may teach us words and how to array them in proper order, but we can not use them so as to silence gainsayers and conquer the candid, unless we are filled with the Holy Ghost. Dr. Adam Clarke, a great scholar, says: "He who is taught in spiritual matters by Christ Jesus has a better gift than the tongue of the learned. He who is taught in the school of Christ will speak to the point, and intelligently, too; though his words may not have that polish with which they who prefer sound to sense are often carried away."

     Incoherent, random talk is never inspired by the Spirit of God. Those who speak in the Spirit use plain language, but it is appropriate to the occasion, and with convincing power.

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340 -- -- PRAISE OF MEN Destructive

     If you want the praise of men, and must have it, then abandon all idea of being a Christian. Did not the Master say, "Woe unto you when all men speak well of you?" Who that ever served God with fidelity was the favorite of the generation in which he lived? "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?" (Acts 7:52). Are we better than they? Then do not compromise the truth of God to please men,

"But speak in words of living power; They fall like drops of scalding rain That plashed before the burning shower Swept o'er the cities of the plain. "Then scowling Hate turns deadly pale, Then Passion's half-coiled adders spring, And, smitten through their leprous mail, Strike right and left in hopes to sting."

     If you are true to God and stand to your convictions you will doubtless get stung. But the wound will not be fatal. An application of the balm of Gilead will heal it at once. And in the end you will come off victorious. Scars upon the conqueror are counted glorious, for they show how hardly contested were the battles which he has won. Then be just as plain in your dress and outspoken in your language as God would have you.

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341 -- PRAYER, Manner of

     When people pray as an intellectual and moral exercise they can pray by rule. A man who is used to it can make a speech on any given subject on his knees, or on his feet with his eyes shut, as well as he can standing with his eyes open. But praying in earnest is quite another matter. He who prays in the Spirit must pray as the Spirit leads. Balaam, when he spoke from inspiration, could not say what the king had employed him to say, even though he himself wished to say it. "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 5:26). Then let us have no programs for prayers. The prayer-meeting should be the place where earnest souls hold audience with Deity. Let it not be turned into a place of entertainment. Let it not be made an occasion for exchanging compliments or of paying off old grudges. Let it be the vestibule of Heaven, where we come with boldness "unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

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342 -- PRAYER, Answer to, Recognized

     No earthly interest can compare in value with the salvation of the soul. This life is short: eternity is long. He makes a tremendous mistake who sacrifices his eternal interests for anything or everything which this world can give.

     A mother was greatly distressed for the salvation of her son, who had been raised to the pinnacle of earthly grandeur, as superintendent of finance in France, in the days of its power and splendor. When, after years of prosperity, he was arrested, his pious mother, upon hearing of it, threw herself upon her knees and said: "I thank thee, O God; I have always prayed for his salvation, and here is the way to it!" The mother was both sane and sensible. The son died in prison, but the venerable mother had good reason for hope ii) his death.

     Reader, are you doing all you can for the salvation of your family and your friends? Christ says, "He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad."

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343 -- PRAYER, Ardent, The Lack of the Church

     We must not only believe in God, but we must believe what God says. We must take his declarations, one by one, and place full confidence in each. We can be truly happy only as we are happy in God. The poet Young says:

"A Deity believed, is joy begun; A Deity adored, is joy advanced; A Deity beloved, is joy matured. Each branch of piety delight inspires; Faith builds a bridge from this world to the next, O'er death's dark gulf, and all its horror hides; Praise, the sweet exaltation of our joy, That joy exalts, and makes it sweeter still; Prayer ardent opens Heaven, lets down a stream Of glory on the consecrated hour Of man, in audience with the Deity. Who worships the great God, that instant joins The first in Heaven, and sets his foot on hell."

     The great lack in all the churches of the land is ardent prayer.

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344 -- PRAYER, Want of Fervency In, Accounted for

     Professed Christians do not pray as much and as fervently as they should. The cause of this is, doubtless, in good part, the prevailing materialism of the age. But God has the same control over matter as he has over mind. So we are to go to him with all our wants. Christ, when upon earth, did not confine his good offices to the souls of men. He did much for the bodies of many. The Apostle puts no restrictions when he says, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Phil. 4:6). Your requests may not always be granted. It may not be best for you that they should. But this glorious result will follow -- the peace of God will reign in your heart. God knows what will do us the most good. When we commit all to God's wisdom and mercy it is easier to joyfully submit to his providences.

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345 -- PRAYER Must Not be Neglected

     When work hastens, do not let prayer slacken. The more we have to do, the more clear-headed we should be. False motions exhaust the strength more than do well-directed motions. Badly-aimed blows may hurt the one who gives them. Getting mad at men, or boys, or teams, or tools, hinders work more than family prayers. A team. to do good work, must have time in which to eat. Then, if you would have worldly business go off right, see that your business with God is rightly done. Wherever you pitch your tent, there build an altar. Take time to pray, to read your Bible, and to get blessed. Let this be your first and most important business. "The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it" (Prov. 10:22).

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346 -- PRAYER, Prevailing

     If you would be a man of God you must be a man of prayer. After Jacob had wrestled all night in prayer, the angel said to him: "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (Gen. 32:28). He who would, as a Christian, have power with men, must have power with God. If you prevail with God you will overcome all who oppose. Giants still fall before the little Davids who go forth, strong in the Lord of Hosts. The most effectual fighting we do, is done on our knees. Victories won in our closets are harbingers of victories to be won on the great battlefield of life. "Prayer ardent opens Heaven," not only for ourselves, but also for others. Preaching accomplishes but little unless it is attended with a good deal of praying. It is Divine power we need; and Divine power comes in answer to earnest, obedient, fervent prayer.

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347 -- PRAYER, Simple-hearted, Prevails

     Prayers, whether public or private, should be made to God, and should not be addressed to the ears of men. When we prevail with God in our prayers, men are moved. Jacob had power with God, and Esau was unmanned. Successful praying removed the necessity of fighting.

     Win the battle on your knees, and you need not fear your foes. Do not make prayers when you pray. Rhetoric and eloquence are of no account whatever before the mercy seat David says, "God heard my cry." Figures of speech were of no account, but the simplest expression of heartfelt want brought immediate relief. In simple language, but in strong faith, make your requests known unto God.

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348 -- PRAYER, Christless, Unavailing

     An old man felt that he must die soon and was not ready to die. He had led what is called a moral life, but he saw that this was not sufficient. For many years he had been an "accepted Mason," but this did not assure him of his acceptance with God. He became truly concerned for the salvation of his soul. He began to pray. He seemed to pray with great earnestness, but peace did not come to his soul. His wife, a devoted Christian, noticed that he never mentioned Christ in his prayers. He always prayed to "Our Father." She explained to him the meaning of the words. "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it." He caught the idea. He came to God through Christ, and found pardon and peace, and died in holy triumph.

     "Up to that time," said his wife, "I could see no harm in Masonry. I now see that it is a soul-destroying a well-baited trap of the devil to catch souls."

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349 -- PRAYER, Time Must be Secured for

     It is well to look at the reason which the apostles gave in calling for assistants. It was not that they had too much to do and wanted to make it easier. It was not to escape the odium that one must almost necessarily incur in deciding upon conflicting interests. No selfish consideration prompted them to call for help. They were inspired simply by love of souls. They wished to devote themselves wholly to spiritual work without any hindrance. "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word." Adam Clarke says: "Even apostles could not live without prayer; they had no independent graces; what they had could not be retained without an increase: and for this increase they must make prayer and supplication, depending continually on their God. A minister who does not pray much, studies in vain."

     The great want of the church in these days is praying preachers. The apostles placed praying first. It was not public nor occasional. CONTINUALLY. Preachers who follow this example succeed in their work.

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350 -- PRAYER, Importance of Continuing in

     Much praying in secret opens the way for short prayers in public. It does not take him long to get to God who is accustomed to go to God. A pump that is in constant use does not need to be primed. A few strokes bring water. If a preacher goes into the pulpit backslidden, he had better, before he attempts to preach, pray till he is reclaimed. But he should have done this in the closet. If we talked with God more we should need to talk with men less, to persuade them to right action.

     Bramwell wrote: "Pray! Pray! and continue in it; plead in it, weep in it, groan in it." Christ says that "men ought always to pray, and not to faint." Pour out your complaints freely to God, and you will have fewer complaints to make to your fellow men. More knee work will leave you less bead work. The more prayer, the less perplexity there will be. When seas open and afford a passage, a bridge is not needed. Prayer not only supplies wants, but it lessens wants. He who has God has all.

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351 -- PRAYER and Prudence

     No amount of praying. and no assurance. however clear, that our prayer is answered, can supersede the necessity of our doing our part to bring about the desired result. If a farmer wants a crop of corn, praying will not take the place of plowing. Paul, when in the hands of his enemies, had a visit from the Lord, who said to him, "Be of good cheer, Paul, for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome" (Acts 23:11). But when he learned that the Jews had formed a conspiracy to kill him, he took the same prudent means for the preservation of his life that a wise, courageous man naturally would, who had no assurance of divine protection.

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352 -- PRAYER-MEETING, Primitive

     Intense prayer was made for Peter by the church. There was a large prayer-meeting held for him at the home of the mother of John Mark. It was kept up till late in the night. They appear to have prayed with more fervor than faith. For when a young girl of their company, who had heard a knocking at the gate, and gone out to see what it meant, came in and told them that their prayers were answered and Peter stood at the gate, they could not believe her. They said she was crazy. When she insisted upon it that she was right, and that she had seen and heard the apostle, and left him standing at the gate, they said, "It is his angel."

     How faithfully we imitate the primitive church in our doubts, if we do not in our fervency! We pray, and when, in an unexpected manner, we receive the thing for which we pray, we think it must be something else. In all sincerity we ask the Lord to sanctify us wholly. A great blessing falls upon us, but we conclude it is only an appearance, and not a reality And so the blessing is lost.

     Again, we pray for bodily health, or for help in business, and we receive that for which we prayed. We can not doubt the reality, and so we begin to doubt that it came in answer to prayer. We are unworthy of having our prayers answered, and so we conclude that the event would have been the same if we had not prayed. Thus God is dishonored, faith paralyzed, spirituality dwarfed, and worldliness encouraged.

     Beloveds, when you receive the things for which you pray, believe that they come in answer to prayer, and give glory to God. Have faith in God.

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353 -- PREACH Gospel Truth

     Some professed preachers of the gospel have evidently mistaken their calling. They manifest the instinct of detectives rather than that of men of God. Their scent for wrong-doing is supernaturally strong. They will associate familiarly with others, that they may, like the disguised detective, make out a case against them. Some prowl around back yards, and scan clothes-lines with a critical eye, to see if they can not find something that will convict the family of pride. They take delight in showing that those who, to others, give good evidence of leading a self-denying, Christian life, are, notwithstanding, in the way of death. When they preach, it is to accuse; when they write, it is to condemn. If any object to their methods, they say it is because they will not stand the truth. Beloveds, remember that there are many truths which are not gospel truths. Much that is, in police courts, proved to be true, is not fit for the pulpit. Give the people the clean, clear-cut truths of the gospel, and generally they will receive them. You can not state them too strongly for those who are honest. But hungry souls, longing to be fed, very properly object to being served to a dish of scandal. Those who are thirsting for the water of life turn in disgust from the mixture taken from the sewer, even though it is offered to them by a minister of the gospel. Be on the lookout for the good; the bad will manifest itself as soon and as fast, and you will be able to correct it.

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354 -- PREACH the Gospel Constantly

     God has called Free Methodist preachers to preach the gospel. Let us be true to our call. Let no zeal for reforms, however needed, lead us to neglect in the least that work of the Spirit in the human heart which lies at the bottom of all reforms.

     If you fail to get a congregation in the church, go, as soon as warm weather comes, to some suitable place out of doors. But wherever you go, be sure to carry "good tidings of great joy to all people."

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355 -- PREACHING, Definite

     When you preach, have something to say. Do not keep your hearers wandering around in a wilderness of words, without bringing them out into the light. Get at something. If you have nothing to say, stop. Do not rattle away, trying to pump water from a dry well. Better melt snow, if there is any at hand. If you are backslidden, either in heart or life, confess it, and get back to God. Let your dry, stereotyped prayer go, and break down before God and cry to him in earnest, and you will get a new start. So will your meetings. Others will catch your earnest spirit, and you will soon see manifestations of saving power. A live preacher will attract attention anywhere, especially among those who are spiritually dead. But a people must be very full of life among whom a dead preacher can not have a dead meeting.

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356 -- PREACHING, Definite Purpose in

     A preacher should appeal to conscience, but he should never strive to take the place of conscience. He should not attempt to go into all the details of private life. His sermons should not be made up of "glittering generalities" on the one hand, nor should they, on the other, go into every minute particular. The apostles did not. They laid down general principles, ministered the Spirit, and left their hearers to apply the truths they heard to their daily lives.

     While some preachers may err in going too minutely into particulars, the more common error is to be too indefinite. The statements of truth which they make are vague and unsupported; the conscience is not awakened; and what instruction is given makes but little impression. This arises largely from the want of a definite purpose to be accomplished by the sermon. What do I wish to persuade the hearers to do? is a question the preacher should ask himself. He should then adopt means which have a tendency to produce the desired results. Random shots are quite as liable to do harm as good. A great din and rattle does not necessarily win the battle. There must be good ammunition and correctness of aim, if the labor would not be lost.

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357 -- PREACHING: Fresh Truth Required

     No matter how good old hay may be, sheep will leave it for green pasture, however poor. The hay may be more nutritious, but they will turn from it to nibble the green grass.

     Christ's sheep act very much in the same way. They will go away from an able, dry sermon, to hear young boys and girls, who have recently tasted the joys of salvation, tell what the Lord has done for their souls. Such preferences may seem like perverseness, but there is no help for them. We preachers will have to submit. Our only way to keep the attention of the people is to have something good and fresh for them. We must ourselves go on into green pastures, and they will readily follow us there. A preacher who steadily grows in spirituality will not grow wearisome. A dry soul can but be dry in expression. He who can hardly endure himself, because of his spiritual deadness, ought not to wonder that the saints do not care to hear him preach. FEED MY SHEEP.

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     One of the best sermons we ever heard was preached by a man who was hopelessly backslidden from God. He had prepared the sermon when he enjoyed religion, and had preached it until it was familiar. He had enough conviction to give him feeling, and the congregation appeared, for the time being, to be carried away by him. He afterwards went to State's prison for crimes he was then committing.

     Fletcher says of the preaching hypocrite: "He may have some feelings, but they are over with his sermon or prayer; some warmth for the church, as Jehu, because it is his party. But the Christian minister hath more zeal in his bosom than on his tongue. Elijah-like, the 'word of the Lord is as a fire in his bones.' His soul 'mourns in secret places' for the sins he reproves openly. He can put probatum est (it is proved) to what he preaches; and his zeal hath a very large measure of gospel love; it saves others while it consumes himself."

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359 -- PREACHING Must he in the Holy Ghost

     Men may learn to preach the truth. The study of theology will enable them to do that. But there is one thing that no school can teach. And this is the essential to success in all preaching. This is to preach in the Holy Ghost. A preacher may get warmed up with his subject; he may have strong social qualities, and be able to touch the sympathies of others. This may draw his hearers to himself; but it will not draw them to the cross. It may make them his partisans; but it will not make them saints. To get souls saved you must have the baptism of the Holy Ghost. This will set your words on fire. Those who hear you will be pricked to the heart. One and another will cry out, "What must I do to be saved?"

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360 -- PREACHERS: Evidences of Their Call

     To be an agent in the hands of God of saving souls from the power of sin, and of lifting them up to a life divine, is the noblest work in which a human being can engage. God calls men personally to this service. "And no man taketh this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron" (Heb. 5:4). But how may a man know that he is called of God to the work of the ministry?

     1. He will, in his soul, hear the Spirit's call. There will be an abiding impression on his heart that this is to be his work.

     2. The spiritual ones among God's people will feel that he has a work to do for God, and will encourage him in it.

     3. However unlettered he may be, God will bestow upon him such gracious gifts that his language, though it may lack accuracy and polish, will have weight and power. "New when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13). Every uneducated man called of God to preach, makes a similar impression.

     In a large town, a county-seat, a gentleman said to us, "More of the professional men, lawyers and doctors, go out to hear your preacher than go to hear all the other preachers in town."

     "Why is it? He is an uneducated man, lately from the farm."

     "I have been out to hear him, time after time, on purpose to be able to answer that question. I have come to the conclusion that it is because he preaches from inspiration."

     4. Saints will be edified and sinners converted under his preaching. He may stir up fierce opposition, but he will do good; he will build up, and not tear down.

     It is no evidence that a man is called of God to preach, because he can stir up a bad spirit in bad men and formal professors. Sinners can do that. If Christ is with a man, he can not only stir devils, but he can cast them out.

     "He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit" (John 15:5).

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361 -- PREACHERS: Gifts and Graces

     If a man does not possess the natural and gracious gifts which, properly cultivated and used, will make him a successful minister, then it is evident that God does not call him to the work of the ministry. Dr. Adam Clarke says: "When under the influence of the grace of Christ, everything is turned to a man's advantage. The man whom he calls to his work he will take care to endue with every necessary qualification. And is it too much to say that God never did call a man to preach the gospel whom he did not qualify in such a manner that both the workman and the work should appear to be of God?" But the man called of God to preach is not always and in himself a sufficient judge. Many think they are called of God, when they give no satisfactory evidence of it to others, especially to the spiritual. Others are hardly willing to admit that the call of God is upon them, when the saints generally feel that God speaks through them, and has called them to his work. This was the case with John Knox, Whitefield, Dr. Redfield, and many others.

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362 -- PREACHERS Called of God Are Often Slow and Diffident

     Some very able and courageous ministers have been very slow to enter upon the work of the ministry. It was all the church could do to get them at it.

     John Knox resisted the most earnest solicitations to preach. At last the minister and the church gave him a public call. The minister, after preaching a powerful sermon showing the authority of a church to license ministers, turned to Knox and said: "Brother, in the name of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, and in the name of all that presently call you by my mouth, I charge you that you refuse not this holy vocation, but as you tender the glory of God, the increase of Christ's kingdom, the edification of your brethren, that you take upon you the public office and charge of preaching. even as you look to avoid God's heavy displeasure, and desire that he shall multiply his graces unto you." Then, addressing the congregation, he said: "Was not this your charge unto me? and do ye not approve this vocation?" They all answered: "It was, and we approve it."

     Knox was unable to speak, but, bursting into tears, he retired from the congregation.

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363 -- PREACHERS: Neglect of Calling Perilous

     A man that God calls to preach should preach. He may do other things, but he should not allow anything to interfere with his preaching. If he does, he is likely to get at cross-purposes with God's providences. He may chase after the world, but his chariot wheels will drive heavily. He may count on one of two things: he will either lose his soul, or he will lose the property which he acquired by neglecting his God-given work -- perhaps both. A man can not habitually neglect the work which Christ calls him to do without falling into condemnation. But there is no condemnation to one who is in Christ Jesus. He may be in the church, but if he is not in Christ he is a candidate for perdition. No forms of religion, no reputation among men, no amount of property, can save one who is living in willful disobedience to the commands of Christ. A buried talent is a misused talent. He that gathereth not with Christ scattereth abroad. It is folly for such an useless one to dream of Heaven. Christ pronounces his doom: "Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

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364 -- PREACHERS, Recommending

     Our quarterly conferences should exercise great care in recommending preachers to join the traveling connection. Their recommendation is not a matter of form. It carries great weight with it. It should be well-nigh conclusive. For the quarterly conference is supposed to know intimately every person whom it recommends. Then they are acting for themselves, as well as for others. The person recommended is liable to be sent back to the circuit as its preacher.

     Generally it is a trial to one who is recommended to an annual conference not to be admitted. In such a case he often feels that justice has not been done him. Those who know him well, among whom perhaps he has lived for years, have voted for him; and now, when strangers reject him, he is apt to conclude that he has not been fairly represented or dealt by. Sometimes those who are recommended make preparations to join conference which involve pecuniary sacrifices. Then, if they are not received, they feel that they have been wronged. If they do not backslide over it, their religions enjoyment is disturbed and their capacity for usefulness lessened. Therefore, while quarterly conferences should encourage all suitable persons, they should be very careful and not recommend any but those who are, in all respects, suitable to enter the traveling connection.

     In particular, they should see to it that every person recommended is:

     1. Possessed of the necessary spiritual qualifications. He is to do spiritual work. He should therefore be a spiritual man. First of all, he must be a man of approved piety. Unless he knows from experience the way of salvation, he can not lead others in that way. No man of doubtful piety should ever be put forward in the church of Jesus Christ. Preachers of the gospel should be converted and sanctified before they begin to preach. No matter what other qualifications one may possess, if he does not live the religion which he professes, he should not be recommended by a quarterly conference.

     2. He should possess the necessary gifts for the work. He should have correct ideas of the simpler truths of the gospel. A man can not teach what he does not know. He should have the gift of utterance. He is to declare to the people the words of eternal life. He should therefore be able to express himself clearly and forcibly. Proper use may strengthen faculties, but it can not create them.

     3. That he be successful in the work. Neither the New Testament, nor our Discipline, contemplates the thrusting out into the responsible work of a minister, raw and inexperienced men. Our Savior called men from their fishnets to carry his gospel to the world; but he gave them a practical training of three years' duration before they entered fully upon their work. Even after this he told them, before they finally went out upon their mission, "But tarry in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high."

     St. Paul, speaking of those about to enter upon the higher duties of the ministry, wrote, "And let such also first be proved."

     Our Discipline, in giving directions for the "Examination of those who think they are moved by the Holy Ghost to preach," asks, "Have they fruit? Are any truly convinced of sin and converted to God by their preaching?"

     Then do not recommend any to be received by an annual conference until they have demonstrated, by their zeal for the salvation of souls, and by their success in winning them to Christ, that God has called them to go before men as his ambassadors. The utmost pains should be taken by our people to secure for themselves a capable and efficient ministry. And the proper place to guard this point is at the gate by which men are admitted to the ministry, and not at that through which they are sent to their respective circuits. Of the former the people are the proper custodians; they should leave the latter to those to whose fidelity it is entrusted. Men had better labor as local preachers, or under a chairman, until they have satisfied themselves and the church that God calls them to devote themselves exclusively to the work of the ministry.

     Some minor things should also have an influence in deciding whether one should be recommended for the traveling connection.

     Has he suitable health? The calling is a laborious one. It makes large draughts upon one's physical and nervous energies. Has he a family? If so, will they be a help to him, or will their influence go far towards neutralizing his labors? The Primitive Methodists of England admit none but single men to their conference; and they are required to travel four years before they marry.

     Is he in debt? Our preachers are given at best but a moderate support, and none should be recommended who have debts hanging over them, which they are unable to pay. The preacher who asks admission to a conference should also have a horse and saddle, or buggy, and a moderate supply of books.

     If more of our men would enter the ministry better prepared, they would stay in it longer. It is a great hindrance to the work of God for men to drop out of the ministry just when they are prepared to become most effective.

     We hope every member of our quarterly conferences will carefully consider these things, and act intelligently and conscientiously in the matter of recommending preachers.

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365 -- PREACHERS, Recommending, Continued

     Again we call the attention of our quarterly conferences to this subject. The question of granting licenses to preach, and of recommending preachers to the traveling connection, is one of the most important questions that comes before a quarterly conference. It is an act that should be done with great care, and candor, and conscientiousness. Prejudice and partisan feeling and personal sympathy should be carefully guarded against, and not be allowed to have any influence in deciding who shall be licensed to preach, and who shall be recommended to go into the regular work of the ministry. The fear of God, and an ardent love for his cause should control the judgment in these matters. The cause of God may suffer serious loss by keeping those out of the ministry whom he has called to this work. It may suffer greatly by introducing improper persons into the ministry, or by pushing forward prematurely those who are really called to preach. As a rule, it is better for the man and better for the work, that he enter upon it later and continue in it longer, than that he go at it early and quit it early. We need all the sense we can command, and all the heavenly wisdom we can obtain, to be able to put forward the right men at the right time.

     In addition to what we have already said, we wish to add the following: See that every one you recommend is not only truly converted, and really called of God to preach, but that he is a Free Methodist in principle and in practices. Many a person is called of God to preach who is not called to preach among us. A duck may be as useful a fowl as a hen, but it requires a different yard. A preacher, to develop fully and do all the good of which he is capable, must be connected with the people to whom he properly belongs.

     Before we take the first step towards introducing one into our ministry, we should be satisfied that he is, in his inward convictions, a Free Methodist. If one can be just as much at home in another denomination as with us, then he had better go there on the start, for he probably will after we have had the trial and our trouble of training him. There are so many difficulties in the work of the faithful minister of the gospel, that one who is not fully satisfied that he is in his proper place will be quite likely to want to change his relations whenever there is a favorable opportunity. Our people, as a rule, have deep religious convictions. They are aiming, not so much to build up a denomination, as to spread abroad a knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus. A preacher who does not share these convictions with them, is likely to prove unacceptable everywhere he is sent, and that without any apparent reason. He may keep his doubts to himself, but he is not likely to succeed among us, whatever may be his ability, unless his intellect, his affections, his conscience and his will are in the work. After weakening, if not destroying, several societies, he will probably seek more congenial relations. We should then see that one has intelligent and clear convictions of gospel truth, as we hold it, before we send him out to preach among us.

     If there is any reasonable doubt in the case of any one, it is generally better to let him travel under the chairman until these doubts are removed. If he feels that he should, he can then drop out with less injury to the work and less discredit to himself; than he could from the traveling connection.

     Therefore, let no one be recommended by our quarterly conferences unless there is a strong and reasonable probability that he will make an acceptable and useful preacher among us.

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366 -- PREACHERS, Licensing

     Not every one who can talk and pray fluently is called to preach. All who feel called to preach are not called to preach among us. God has given us as a people our special work to do, and we should stick to it. To do this, it is of the utmost importance that all our preachers, evangelists, and public teachers be of one heart and one mind in the things of God. When a person comes up for license, the chairman should institute a careful examination as to doctrines. No matter what may be the gifts of any one, he should not be licensed to preach, or hold meetings among us, unless he is sound in the faith. If he is not in full accord with us, he should go somewhere else. Our people are properly very particular as to what they hear. They can stand a good deal of false syntax, but they can not stand false doctrines. They are exceedingly exacting in this respect. However crooked the sentences may be, they want the doctrines straight. Let all who have to do with granting licenses be careful not to license any one who will bring any other gospel than that which you have had from the beginning. It may afflict to refuse; but to grant the license will only make trouble. It will afflict more to take it away, as you will be obliged to, than it would to refuse at the start. Be kind, but firm.

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367 -- PREACHERS Should be Consecrated to Work

     Some seem to think they can not be entirely consecrated to God unless they can spend all their time in attending meetings. This is a great mistake. God may call some to spend all of their time in holding meetings; but comparatively few are thus called. Even Paul, incessant as he was in his labors in the gospel, yet found time to work at his trade, to support himself and those that were with him. Because God calls a man to preach, that is no reason why he should never work with his hands. As a rule, it will help him to preach, to work with his hands several hours a day. It will give him greater bodily and mental vigor. On ore of the most important, able and liberal appointments we ever had, we got another horse and put with ours, and drew up our wood for the year. We sawed and split it in the winter. In the summer we made, with our own hands, a good garden which contributed materially to our support. Yet we held, we presume. on an average a meeting a day, throughout the year. We had appointments week-day evenings at the schoolhouses round about. God gave us powerful revivals. We did not break down under it, but grew in grace, and in bodily strength. Spirituality and industry go well together. Only keep your mind stayed on God. your eye single, your affections set on things above, and working with your hands will not hurt your enjoyment. You can get blessed holding the plow or swinging the ax, if you will.

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368 -- PREACHER'S Heart Must be in Work

     If you are laboring for souls, you must put your heart into the work, or it will amount to but little. Many a preacher does his duty in a general way; you can not find out anything that he leaves undone, but it all appears to amount to but little. The most that can be said is, that the church does not run down; but it makes no sensible progress in bringing the world to Christ. There are few conversions, and they are of a very weak character. The trouble is, the preacher's heart is not in the work. All under his influence soon come to partake of his indifference. There may be pride in keeping up the show of external prosperity in the church, but spirituality dies out. Preacher and people drift away quietly to perdition. Everywhere there is need of heart work. Put your heart in your sermons. in your prayers, in your exhortations, in your singing, and above all in your pastoral visiting, and you will soon see a marked change in the religious condition of the society. Even under the Mosaic dispensation, with all its forms, it was heart service upon which God laid the stress. "I command you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul." It is greatly to be feared that the warning words of Christ will apply to many in our day. "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me" (Matt. 15:5). No matter how gorgeous and imposing may be the service of such people, God says, "In vain do they worship me."

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369 -- PREACHERS Should Have Deep Convictions

     See to it that every one who is admitted to an annual conference is a Free Methodist, in his deep, abiding convictions. We are called to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints," and if one is just as well satisfied with the faith of popular churches, he can not possibly do our work. He will do us more harm than good. The Free Methodist church is not a primary school for apprentices to practice in till they learn how to preach, then go to some popular church that can pay a higher salary. We want men composed of the stuff that martyrs are made of -- men so devoted to the principles of the New Testament that they are not only willing to endure privations and labors for them, but to lay down their lives in their support. These are the men we want for preachers. Such men are still to be found; and God can raise up others. Some of them may be uneducated, but no matter for that; a man called of God to preach, and who follows him fully, will develop with astonishing rapidity. You will be astonished to see how soon, with proper application, he will be able to till acceptably any pulpit from which they want the truth preached. Let all our preachers be Free Methodist preachers.

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370 -- PREACHERS: Men of One Business

     A preacher, to succeed. must have his heart in his work. If he is taken up with farming, or book-selling, or literary labors, or with anything else, no matter what may be his ability, he will fail as a preacher. What he is doing may not be at all inconsistent with the work of a minister of the gospel, but it engrosses his attention, it spoils him for soul-saving. Newton, when asked how he made such great discoveries. replied: "By always thinking about them." The preacher who puts his mind on the great matters of salvation can not but make what will be, to him at least, new discoveries in the things of God. He will be able to do things not provided for in the standard formulas. He will grow in knowledge, as well as in grace, and will not be either barren or unfruitful.

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371 -- PREACHERS Are Watchmen

     God pronounces the severest denunciations against unfaithful ministers. "His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they can not bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter" (Isa. 56:10, 11). By "dumb dogs" is meant preachers who do not warn their people of dangers that threaten them. They are "blind watchmen" and can not see that there is any harm in persons who profess godliness "adorning themselves with gold and pearls and costly array," although God has expressly forbidden it. They are "ignorant watchmen" who say, "I know nothing about Masonry," and so fail to show their people that there is as great inconsistency in a man's belonging to the church and the lodge at the same time, as there would be in his professing to be at once a Christian and a Mohammedan. To every one of his ministers God says, "Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth and give them warning from me" (Ezek. 3:17).

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372 -- PREACHERS Should be Good Generals

     Preachers should be good generals. No general does all the fighting. He plans for his men and leads them on to successfully execute his plans. So a preacher should not attempt to do all the work. Nor should he leave his people without the opportunity of doing anything in meetings and then scold them because they do not work. In most societies there are persons having the ability, if properly developed and directed, to hold interesting and profitable meetings. Mission ground should be occupied and such persons set to work. The way should be opened for them to take a part in the regular meetings. The preacher should be quick to see what each of his members can do to help on the cause of God, and set them at it and keep them at it.

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373 -- PREACHERS Must Feel for the Lost

     One who had a wide observation among farmers, and some experience in farming, said, "There is no fertilizer for a farm) like brains, and you need to keep the brains on the farm." The preacher who puts his whole soul into his work can hardly fail of success. Nothing flavors a sermon like a deep interest for the souls of the hearers. Plain speech seldom gives offense, when it springs from love, and is uttered in an affectionate manner. Preachers more generally fail from lack of feeling than from lack of learning. "He that goeth forth, and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."

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374 -- PREACHERS of Righteousness

     Noah was a preacher of righteousness. The great need of the day is preachers of the same kind. It should be insisted upon in every pulpit in the land, that no correctness of creed can compensate for the lack of uprightness in the daily life. Nothing can be plainer than the following: "Little children, let no man deceive you : he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil" (1 John 3:8, 9).

     Ponder well these weighty words. They express in plain terms the tenor of the whole of the teaching of the New Testament. Not a single passage can be found which promises Heaven to the religions. It is "to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, [that God shall render] eternal life" (Rom. 2:7). Your religion, then, must be so thoroughly experimental that It is intensely practical. Christ says, not church-members, but the RIGHTEOUS, shall go away into life eternal.

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375 -- PREACHERS Must be Faithful to God

     The Prophet says: "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully" (Jer. 48:10). In the Revised Version it is "negligently." Though this is spoken of executing temporal judgments upon those whom God lied condemned to death, yet it has application to those who are called upon to declare the judgments of God. They are to do it faithfully. The truth which they proclaim is not theirs, but God's. They have no right

"To smooth down the stubborn text to ears polite, And snugly keep damnation out of sight."

     Preachers of the gospel are ambassadors for Christ. It is treason to Christ for such men to make alliances with his enemies. Nor have they the right to dictate terms of peace. These Christ has laid down. He never varies from them in the slightest to accommodate the mightiest sinner that ever sued for pardon. He demands of all an unconditional surrender. He accepts nothing but entire submission to his will.

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376 -- PREACHERS Should be Humble

     Spiritual pride is one of the dangers that beset us in every stage of our religious experience. The better and greater our experience is, the greater is our danger from this source. The Apostle says, "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth" (1 Cor. 8:1). Therefore it is of the greatest importance that our charity keep pace with our knowledge. Unless it does, we are in danger of becoming proud and self-willed. Many preachers lose their power of doing good just at the time when they might do most good. if they would keep filled with humble love. But they know so much, and so insist upon having their own way, that God leaves them, and their brethren leave them, and they become useless. or worse than useless, at that period ill their lives when they might, by keeping humble, be most useful. "A man's pride shall bring him low; but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit" (Prov. 29:23).

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377 -- PREACHERS Must be Active

     He who attempts little accomplishes little. A preacher who settles down with his family and simply fills his appointments, and preaches over and over his old sermons, and makes only social visits, can but fail in his work. He does not win souls. He does not expect to; he does not try to. He is like a blind horse on a treadmill.

     But he who settles down to his work, and expects to succeed in it, does succeed. He proposes to do something, and he wisely adapts his means to the end to be attained. His work is not in vain in the Lord.

     John Eliot, one of the first missionaries to the American Indians, wrote: "Prayer and pains, through faith in Christ Jesus, will accomplish anything." The faith that does not produce prayer and pains is downright presumption. If you have faith for a revival, then go to work to promote a revival. In the waters of salvation the fishing season lasts the year round.

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378 -- PREACHERS: Reverence in the Pulpit

     Profanity is out of place everywhere, especially in the pulpit. Preachers should, of all men, never take the name of God in vain. They should not utter it needlessly. It should always be spoken with reverence. "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do." To frequently and needlessly use the name of Deity is certainly a vain repetition. It is dreadful for a preacher to talk so as to call forth such a comment as an artless child made when she came out of church: "Ma, what made that man swear so?"

     We have been shocked by language which we have heard from the pulpit. We once told a preacher that his sermon sounded like blasphemy. He defended himself, refused to reform, soon lost his influence, and dropped out of sight. Language bordering on profanity does not render a sermon vigorous. Expressions proper in themselves, such as "Praise God," should not be made in a common-place, unfeeling manner. Let us see to it that, in preaching and praying, we have the Holy Spirit. If we do, we shall have a spirit of reverence. Our words and our manner will not shock the most delicate sensibilities.

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379 -- PREACHERS Labor Under a Disadvantage

     Our preachers labor under one great disadvantage. There is no denying it; and worse still, there does not appear to be any way of avoiding it. Everywhere they are, to use a common phrase, undersold. Salvation is offered on easier terms than they dare propose. People get convicted under their preaching and then are attracted to a popular church, by some professional singer sent for as a decoy, and these are offered salvation on about their own terms. The Freemason need not give up the lodge, the proud need not give up their jewelry, confession of wrongs to others and restitution is not insisted on; all they must do is "only to believe," and they are pronounced converted. The revival meeting is adjourned over for the church festival, and there is a blending of fun and faith that brings about great results. A large number of converts are reported; the account of a great revival is sent abroad. Yet of the converts it would be hard to find one who has forsaken all in order to become a disciple of Christ.

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380 -- PREACHERS Do Not Always Have Equal Liberty

     A man who preaches from inspiration will not have the same help at all times. Much depends on watching and prayer, but still the "wind bloweth where it listeth," and the peculiar influence of the Spirit that we may desire is not always at our command. The most careful and prayerful may have a barren season. But they should not condemn themselves on that account.

     Bishop Hamline was a man of God, who enjoyed and preached holiness. He wrote as follows of a sermon he preached at Trumansburgh, New York, August 12, 1847:

     "Preached this morning to a full house, of all mixtures, on 'perfect love.' Good attention, but no signs of feeling, The people of these parts think; but if they feel, they do it inwardly and 'as it were in secret.' It is a time of declension, however."

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381 -- PREACHERS, Self Indulgent

     A preacher should be a man of clean hands and pure heart. His body should be clean, his conversation should be pure. Without moral purity a preacher will be lost just as truly as if he were engaged in another business. His popularity as a minister, his success as a revivalist, can not save him. As good peaches as I ever ate, I picked from a tree that had been broken down for weeks. One side of the trunk held together, and allowed enough sap to circulate to mature the crop under the burden of which the tree broke down. But it never bore again. So, a preacher, after he has fallen into sin, may go on under the momentum he gathered when he was right with God and see souls converted. But he must not take this as an indorsement of God upon his soul. It is simply a divine indorsement of the truth, and not of the one who utters it. One going away from church may direct others to it. Paul was a self-denying, devoted preacher. Yet, after years of heroic devotion to his work, he writes, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Cor. 9:27). He does not say, "lest I should cripple my influence," or, "lest others should stumble over me," but "lest I myself should be a castaway." Paul evidently believed that a truly converted, sanctified, laborious, and successful minister might, at last, be lost through self-indulgence. Reader, how is it with you? Are you pure ill heart, and in life? Are you cleansed from secret sins?

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382 -- PREACHERS Should Not Forsake Calling

     A preacher may have mistaken his calling. If he has, the quicker he leaves the pulpit the better for himself and for the cause of God. But if he is truly called of God to preach, and God has set his seal to his ministry, he runs a fearful risk when he quits preaching for some more lucrative employment. He is quite likely to make shipwreck, both for this world and for the world to come. It will be well if he does not drag his family with him down to ruin. Preachers who get into debt through neglect of their duties, and through a spirit of indolence and self-indulgence, and quit preaching for a time to get out of debt, generally become involved more deeply. The only path of safety is the path of duty. "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper; and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."

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383 -- PREACHERS, Faithful, Rewarded

     The greatest rewards in the life to come are promised to faithful ministers. "They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars for ever and ever" (Dan. 12:3). There is to be a great difference in their favor over ordinary saints who get through to glory. And this difference is to last to all eternity. But mark! It is not merely the preacher that is to be thus rewarded. It is not merely the active or the successful preacher, as success is commonly estimated. In fact, it may be other than a preacher. It is the one, be he preacher or layman, who turns many to righteousness. This is the essential thing. Thorough work is demanded. No notice whatever will be taken of the multitudes who rise up for prayers. and who join the church without any marked change in their character or conduct. They must be turned to the love and practice of the right -- to temperance, chastity, honesty and veracity, industry and humility. They must be so made over that they will always be found on the side of the right. They must have all the active virtues included in that comprehensive word righteousness. Precious few of the many who are called converts does God count. But rewards will be distributed according to his reckoning.

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384 -- PREACHERS Should Go Early to Their Circuits

     If a preacher has a visit to make before entering upon his duties on a new circuit, he had better make it before than after conference. Sometimes a preacher's usefulness for a whole year is lessened by his failure to get to his circuit in season. The people come out to hear him, and are disappointed, until their interest in him dies away. Others enter upon fields of labor that he might have occupied. He meets a discouraged people, when he might have met people full of courage, if he had met them in season. He is too late with his protracted meetings, too late in getting around among his members, and alas. they are too late in their support. He began behind, and never catches up. He goes to conference a discouraged preacher, and the people very naturally want a change. If you had a gold mine to work. you would feel that you could not get at it too soon. If you had wheat to sow, you would want to get it in the ground in season. If your soul is on fire for the salvation of the souls committed to your care, you will want to commence your ministry among them as soon as possible.

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385 -- PREACHER'S Reception to New Circuit

     Preachers are human beings; they, and their families, have the feelings and the wants of human beings. If, when they come to your circuits, you give them a cordial reception, it will go a good ways toward making them think that they are in the right place, and it will help give them the courage and the faith they need to make them useful. So, when the new preacher comes, take pains to look after his wants. Do not leave it for somebody else. Invite him to your house and make him feel at home. See to getting his things moved; and make no charge for drawing his goods to, or from, the depot. Furnish the parsonage with something for the family to begin living with, and do not let them feel at the outset that they have come upon a "starvation circuit." If the weather is unpleasant or pleasant, get out to hear him preach; look up to get blessed, and if you hear anything that touches you. bring out a good, hearty Amen. It will help the preacher amazingly. In short, give your preacher a cordial Christian reception. It will bring out the good that is in him.

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386 -- PREACHERS' Wants to be Known

     Appearances can not always be depended upon. We were told in Minnesota of a well-to-do brother who felt impressed to see how the preacher was getting along for provisions. So he decided to take dinner with him. The preacher's family had nothing whatever to eat. But just before dinner time a neighbor sent in a loaf of bread. Sonic one else sent them a piece of fresh meat; another a little butter. The children found a nest full of eggs. So the preacher's wife prepared an excellent dinner, and set on the table all there was in the house to eat. The brother enjoyed the dinner and went away and reported the wants of the preacher were abundantly supplied; that they lived better than he did.

     Hasty conclusions are often wrong conclusions. Patient investigation would often show that things are entirely different from what they appear to be on the surface. Job, in repelling the false accusations of his friends, gave as one manifestation of his integrity, "The cause which I knew not I searched out." More of Job's uprightness would make us less hasty in our decisions.

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387 -- PREACHERS, Care of Worn-out

     Where people have true religion they will take care of their preachers, not only while they are effective, but when they become disabled. No humane man ever turns out to starve an old horse that has served him faithfully. C. B. Edgar, of Brooklyn, N. Y., says in a late number of' the Christian Evangelist, the organ of those who call themselves "Christians": "In our church the superannuated pastor may literally starve, if he is too proud to beg through the church papers for pennies. I never heard of one of our churches pensioning its worn-out pastor. Sometimes a poor, old preacher moves around among the churches, suffering exposure and discomfort, leaving a kind of tribute by preaching an old sermon, or threatening to do so, which is often more effective of his main purpose. Is it surprising that the last days of some of our old preachers are full of bitterness? When I think of all the heartless, selfish, ungrateful treatment that I have seen and known of churches toward ministers I am persuaded that there is to be an awful reckoning above. If it is true that corporations have no souls, I am sometimes led to believe neither have some churches."

     Such churches, whatever they may style themselves, are not Christian churches. Such people need to be converted.

     Reader, are you doing your duty by your pastor?

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388 -- PREACHERS, Be Good to Your

     Be good to your preachers. It will help them to be good preachers. A man full of courage does not seem to be the same man as he is when he is full of discouragement in contests of physical strength, much stress is laid upon the condition of the contestants. So the success of a society depends largely upon the condition of the preacher. If you are doing your share to keep him in good condition, you are doing more than you know to promote the cause of God. Help him temporally. See that he and his family do not want. Help him spiritually. Pray for him, but do not pray at him. Give him a word of encouragement now and then. It will help him greatly.

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389 -- PREACHERS Must be in Sympathy With Us

     Not every one who is called to preach is called to be a Free Methodist preacher. God has raised us up to do a work that no other denomination is doing. We are a peculiar people. If we ever cease to be such, we should cease to be. No denomination has a right to existence unless it is essentially different from the others.

     No person, whatever his gifts and graces, should be put in the way of becoming a member among us, unless he is thoroughly and conscientiously in sympathy with us. Richard Baxter says: "No man is fit to be a minister of Christ who is not of a public spirit as to the church; does not delight in her beauty, nor long for her felicity. As the good of the commonwealth must be the end of the magistrate, so must the felicity of the church be the end of her pastors. They must rejoice in her welfare, and be willing to spend and be spent for her sake."

     He who comes among us to preach because he thinks it is more easy to get into the ministry with us than with some older denomination, should receive no encouragement. We should not set a man to teach what he does not believe.

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390 -- PREACHERS To be Esteemed for Work's Sake

     We should always bear in mind that the Scriptures base the claims of preachers to consideration, not upon their position, but upon their character and conduct. Bad qualities are only made the more conspicuous by putting them into the pulpit. A preacher who lacks industry is no better than a lazy clerk or hired man. "And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." Here is nothing about names or titles, or succession; the stress is laid upon their conduct. Labor among you. They did not settle down and take it easy; they worked, and spent as many hours in a day in their sacred calling as wage-workers do in their secular calling. They visited -- not where they could get good cheer -- but where their help was needed. They dealt faithfully with souls, warning and admonishing those who are out of the way. People like to have their preachers industrious. They even like to have them admonish others; but there are but few who can bear to have the preacher admonish them. Hence the Apostle beseeches us to "esteem very highly in love for their work's sake" those who admonish us personally. Brother, will you yield to the Apostle's entreaty in this particular?

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391 -- PREACHERS, Faithful, Not Likely to be Popular

     Paul said to his hearers: "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). But what trouble did it bring upon him! He began preaching in Damascus right away after he was converted. He "confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ." When men can not reply to the truth, and will not yield to it, they can get mad. "And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him." This was but a foretaste of the treatment that assailed him everywhere. He was expelled from Antioch; he fled from Iconium; he was stoned at Lystra; he was beaten with many stripes at Philippi, put into jail. and his feet made fast in the stocks; and so on until he finally died the martyr's death. Yet Paul was one of the most prudent of men. But he never became popular. Any one who makes up his mind to deal faithfully with souls, as Paul did, must lay aside all thoughts of popularity. He will meet opposition and persecution, to the full extent that the law will allow. But he will be so upheld by infinite power that he can say, "None of these things move me." It is true that "we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."

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392 -- PREACHERS, Half-heartedness Destroys Usefulness of

     Half-heartedness in his work will destroy the usefulness of any preacher. He may be popular with the world; but he will have little power to promote the salvation of souls. At a time when he is, in most respects, capable of doing most good, he does the least. His lack of spirituality, of whole-heartedness in the cause of God, more than overbalances the knowledge which he has gained from books and from experience. The church suffers, the circuit suffers, his family suffers. A dry-rot within is invisibly eating up his strength, and in some emergency his Christian character utterly goes to pieces. The catastrophe comes on at once: the preparation for it had been going on for some time.

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393 -- PREACHERS, Like, Like People

     Paul, in writing to the saints, speaks of the work done among them by their ministers, and says, whose faith follow.

     The people are quite inclined to obey this apostolic direction. They look upon their preacher as their leader, and they are apt to follow where he leads. If he goes to the lodge, some of them will go with him. If he is fond of worldly pleasures, he will take them to festivals and frolics. If his faith is weak, and he gives way to discouragements, they will be discouraged. But if he is truly a man of God, full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, he will be apt to have a live church, rejoicing in hope.

     When a preacher is complaining of his people, they generally will be found complaining of him.

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394 -- PREACHERS in Conflict with Members

     Some preachers appear to have a strong inclination to come in conflict with old, reliable, substantial members. We had hard work at one time to keep a young and inexperienced preacher from taking steps to turn out of the church the best member there was in it. She was one of the most godly women we ever knew, with more than ordinary good sense and prudence. She had been the means of forming the society and building the church. Yet the preacher took a dislike to her, and seemed determined to get her out of the society.

     If a conference finds that it has such men belonging to it, the stationing committee should not make them preachers in charge, until they are thoroughly cured. They should not be allowed to go on destroying societies. Better hurt the feelings of the preacher than allow him seriously to hurt the work.

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395 -- PREACHERS' Indiscretion

     Christ derives many of his best illustrations from farming operations. A farm furnishes a good deal of excellent training for religious teachers. Moses, brought up in the court of Pharaoh, afterwards had his forty years' training on a farm, before he was fitted to become the leader and law-giver of God's people. A month's work splitting rails might do some young preachers more good than a theological seminary could do for them in the same time. I am not certain that Abraham Lincoln could have carried this nation triumphantly through the great crisis which endangered its existence, if he had not learned to split rails when a boy. He found out that, though, to split a log, it is necessary to get the big end of the wedge in, yet the best way to do it is to put the thin edge in first. This is something that it takes some preachers so long to learn. It seems as if they would never learn it. They will persist, in spite of repeated failures, in trying to get the big end of the wedge in first. They make it a matter of conscience to do it. They think it is compromising not to attack at once whatever they may see wrong in another, although the person assailed may see no wrong in it, in comparison with others of which he knows ho is guilty. Instead of drawing souls to

     Christ, they stir up their prejudices and arouse their animosities. Brethren, do not spoil your mauls by trying to drive in the big end of the wedge first.

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396 -- PREACHERS, Lazy

     "If there is anything especially repulsive to me," said a godly layman, whose life and means are consecrated to the cause of Christ, "it is a lazy preacher."

     We agree with him. A man called of God to snatch souls from eternal burnings, taking it easy, lying around, feeling no concern, doing as little as he can for the salvation of others! Why, he must be wanting in common humanity. A man whom Christ has called to labor in his vineyard, and whom he has promised to reward eternally according as his work shall be, hardly working at his calling one day in seven, and then going at it in such a lifeless manner that he might just as well not work at all! How can such a man believe one word that Christ says? If he believed Christ, would he not be moved by the fear of meeting such a doom as this "And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matt. 25:30)?

     President Edwards was right when he said, "Slothfulness in the cause of God is as damning as open rebellion." One can as surely go from the pulpit to hell as from a saloon to hell. No place or position which one occupies can save him. One evidence of salvation is filling our place to the glory of God.

     The brother referred to said, "Do not send a lazy preacher on our circuit." So say the people generally. A lazy preacher is not acceptable anywhere. No matter how correct his life, or how great his ability to preach, the people do not want him. There is no place for him on earth, there is no place for him in Heaven, and if he goes to hell, the devil will go at him first thing, to stir him up.

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397 -- PREACHERS, Declension of Spiritual Life in

     It is always expected that the master of the trade will do better work than the apprentice. To this rule perhaps the ministry furnishes the most notable exceptions. We inquire about preachers who, in the prime of life, are so dry and powerless that no circuit wants them, and we are told that when boys in the ministry they carried everything before them. They had revivals wherever they went. Men who fight demonstrations used to fall under the power of God. What is the matter? They know more than they did. They preach more systematic sermons. But this is not the cause of their present inefficiency. The trouble is they have backslidden in heart from God. They have lost their first love. And the worst of it is, they will not consent to see it.

     Beloved, have you lost power with God? Then ask yourself the question, "Is there not a cause?" Search it out and remove it.

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398 -- PREACHERS, Backslidden

     One mark of a backslider is a loss of power. "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." It is equally true that you will lose this power if the Spirit leaves you. A preacher is all given to the Lord, and, as a consequence, is filled with the Spirit, and is successful in his work. He is spoken well of and cared well for. He becomes, by degrees, spiritually proud, conceited and worldly. He goes to another field. The people see him in the light of his present experience. The impression they get is, that he is formal, and selfish. He thinks they fail to appreciate him -- that they are bigoted, and prejudiced -- and that he can do them no good. It looks to him like a waste of time to stay on such an unpromising field. It never occurs to him that the real difficulty is with himself. In reality he is backslidden from God, and does not know it. He preaches plain, but it is in bitterness, and not in love. He does not love the people, and they feel it. They go to hear him a few times, and then leave him alone. The remedy is not to get back on the old field, but to get back the old experience. "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."

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399 -- PREACHERS Should. Not Talk Too Much

     If preachers would pray longer in their closets, and shorter in public; if they would spend more time in studying their Bibles, and less tune in talking from them, they would meet with more success. Skim-milk takes up more room than cream, but it does not make so much butter. Long talks fill up the time, but they do not bring about the desired results. Never talk to kill time. If you have nothing to say, then say nothing. The Spirit is quite as likely to work amid profound silence, as in a talk full of profound emptiness. So minister the Spirit that those who hear will have something to say, either in the way of confession or of testimony. Then give them time to take the part they should in the meeting, and if they do their duty yon will have a good meeting. But many a well-meaning preacher talks his meetings to death.

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400 -- PREACHERS Warned Against Jealousy

     Moses showed that he was called of God by his willingness that God's work should be carried on through any instrumentality, even though others got the credit. When complaint was made that Eldad and Medad prophesied in the camp, and he was asked to forbid them, his noble reply was, "Would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" If the Lord uses a local preacher, or exhorter, or private member in an unusual degree, the preacher in charge should not get jealous over it, but encourage them and open the way for them to do all the good possible. If he tries to put them down for fear they will eclipse him, he will certainly put himself down in the sight of God and men. People have a keen discrimination in such matters. "He that exalteth himself shall be abased." People seem to delight In putting down one who evidently alms simply at his own elevation. He who shows jealousy of those whom God blesses, grieves the Spirit and kills himself.

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401 -- PREACHERS, Unconverted

     It is a great misfortune for a people to have an unconverted, or backslidden, preacher. Either one can do great harm. The more talented, highly educated, refined and amiable they are, the more dangerous do they become; the greater is their power to deceive. A preacher who was never converted may be very popular with the worldly, but he is liable not to know the work of the Spirit. To him a genuine work of the Spirit appears to be fanaticism. He can not understand it. He is troubled over it; so he gives it an opprobrious name, and endeavors to put it down. He may be zealous for reforms, and eloquent in the advocacy of good morals, but he is as ignorant of the new birth as was the ruler of the Jews who came to Jesus by night. Said John B. Stainton, a man of God, to the bishop, of his pastor (one of these preachers), "He has not even stumbled on an evangelical topic during the year."

     It is a very common thing in Europe for unconverted men to be educated for the ministry, just as they are educated to practice law or medicine. The custom is rapidly growing on us here. Talent and wit are in greater demand for the pulpit than godliness. Congregations will pay much more liberally to be entertained than they will to have the way to Heaven pointed out to them.

     Such a man as Wesley was, before his conversion, would be regarded as a prodigy of piety in our days. He writes: "It is now two years and almost four months since I left my native country, in order to teach the Georgian Indians the nature of Christianity; but what have I learned myself in the meantime? Why (what I least of all suspected), that I who went to America to convert others, was never myself converted to God. (I am not sure of this). 'I am not mad,' though I thus speak; but 'I speak the words of truth and soberness'; If haply some of those who still dream may awake, and see that, as I am, so are they.

     "Are they read in philosophy? So was I. In ancient, or modern tongues? So was I also. Are they versed in the science of divinity? I, too, have studied it many years. Can they talk fluently upon spiritual things? The very same could I do. Are they plenteous in alms? Behold, I gave all my goods to feed the poor. Do they give of their labor, as well as of their substance? I have labored more abundantly than they all. Are they willing to suffer for their brethren? I have thrown up my friends, reputation, ease, country; I have put my life in my hand wandering into strange lands. I have given my body to be devoured by the deep, parched up with heat consumed by toil and weariness, or whatsoever God should please to bring upon me. But does all this (be it more or less, it matters not) make me acceptable to God? Does all I ever did, or can know, say, give, do, or suffer, justify me in his sight? Yea, or the constant use of all the means of grace (which nevertheless is meet, right, and our bounden duty)? Or, that I knew nothing of myself; that I am, as touching outward, moral righteousness, blameless? Or (to come closer yet) the having a rational conviction of all the truths of Christianity? Does all this give me a claim to the holy, heavenly, divine character of a Christian? By no means. I am a child of wrath, an heir of hell. I have no hope but that, if I seek, I shall find Christ, and 'be found in him, not having my own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith' (Phil. 3:9).

     "If it be said that I have faith (for many such things have I heard, from many miserable comforters), I answer, so have the devils -- a sort of faith; but still they are strangers to the covenant of promise. So the apostles had even at Cana in Galilee, when Jesus first 'manifested forth his glory'; even then they, in a sort, 'believed on him'; but they had not then 'the faith that overcometh the world.' The faith I want is (the faith of a son) 'a sure trust and confidence in God, that through the merits of Christ my sins are forgiven and I reconciled to the favor of God.' I want that faith which enables every one that hath it to cry out, 'I live not, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.' I want that faith which none can have without knowing that he hath it (though many imagine they have it, who have it not); for whosoever hath it is 'freed from sin'; the whole 'body of sin is destroyed'; he is freed from fear, 'having peace with God through Christ, and rejoicing in hope of the glory of God.' And he is freed from doubt, 'having the love of God shed abroad in his heart, through the Holy Ghost' which is given unto him; which 'Spirit itself beareth witness with his spirit that he is a child of God.'"

     Reader, are you truly converted to God? You may be a preacher, you may talk about "accepting Christ," and all that, without your ever having been born of the Spirit. Are you a new creature? Are old things passed away; and all things become new? (2 Cor. 5:17).

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402 -- PREACHERS Will Succeed, if Diligent

     At one of our recent conferences a delegate, a man of God, and so a man of his word, said to the preachers: "Brethren, you go to your circuits, stay the year out, and attend to your work as a minister, as I attend to mine as a farmer, and then if you fail to get a living I will make up the deficiency." He is able to make his promise good, and no doubt will do it, if there is any necessity for it. But will it be necessary? There is not the slightest probability of it. The brother is perfectly safe. The conference is in a rich farming country. The barns are filled with plenty. The people are generous and warm-hearted. They are believers in Christianity; though many of them are not Christians. Let a preacher go among them, filled with faith and with the Holy Ghost, and work as many hours of the day, and watch as many hours of the night, for their spiritual welfare, as the successful farmer does in caring for his crops and his stock, and the people will not let him starve. Those for whom he feels and manifests an interest, will soon manifest an interest in him. His wants will be supplied. In caring for others he will be cared for; in watering others he will himself be watered.

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403 -- PREACHERS, Successful and Unsuccessful

     A preacher sent to a run-down circuit, to which the preachers did not wish to go, came up to conference with the best report of any of them. There had been during the year a large accession of members; and no one had received a better support than he. What made the difference? The preacher. Preachers make a great difference in circuits.

     A preacher full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, working with diligence and discretion, will be likely to bring up any circuit. A preacher full of high notions of himself, lazy, indiscreet, self-willed and self-indulgent, will cause any circuit to run down on his hands. It can not well be otherwise. If such a man will not get thoroughly saved, and correct his faults, the best thing he can do is to resign his charge, and go to work and take care of himself and family. A man called of God to preach, and who labors as he directs, can hardly fail of meeting with success. Hearts will be opened to receive him and his message.

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404 -- PREACHERS, Are You Successful?

If you are a preacher, are you a revival preacher? Are any souls saved through your labors? If not, why not? What are you preaching for? Did God call you to preach, or did you take it upon yourself to preach, as a genteel way of making a living? If the latter, you had better vacate the pulpit quickly. If Christ puts you in the ministry, he promises you success -- large success. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit" (John 15:8). But God is not glorified in your pounding away on the fruit others have gathered, till you destroy what little vitality is in them. Strike out on your own responsibility. Break up new ground. "Sow in tears," and you "shall reap in joy" (Ps. 126:5). This is God's declaration; it can not fall. Be in earnest in the matter, and you shall have a reward that will cause rejoicings in Heaven.

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405 -- PREACHERS' Education

     If God calls you to preach, do not neglect the call because you are not educated. You can, if you will, obtain all the education you need to make you an able and successful minister of the gospel. If the Lord would have you go to school, he can open the way. If the time has passed for you to go to school, and he calls upon you to begin to preach as you are, he can give you the necessary training in the work. We believe in schools; but after all the schools can do, a man must learn to preach, very much as he learns to swim -- by jumping in and going at it. He may make awkward motions at first, but patient study and practice will give him skill.

     Dr. Ormiston, one of the most able and learned preachers of New York, says, "A thorough acquaintance with the Scriptures, an experimental knowledge of the power of the gospel, and a ready command of the English language, will enable a man to become an able minister and a successful preacher of the gospel." This is the deliberate opinion of one who is well acquainted with all the advantages which a liberal education can bestow. But all these qualifications he speaks of, one who possesses the necessary gifts and graces may acquire without going to school.

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406 -- PREACHERS Must Study

     No matter what may be the talent, and learning, and piety of a preacher, he will cease to be useful if he ceases to study. Wesley preached incessantly; but he was a hard student.. Adam Clarke, while preaching more sermons in a year than the most active of our preachers, became one of the first scholars of his day.

     Dr. Stephen Olin says: "It may be laid down as a first principle, that he can not long continue a useful, nor even a popular, preacher, who has ceased to be a student. He must himself gradually lose all relish for the dry, irksome work of memory and repetition, to which he dooms himself. However habit or temperament may enable him to preach with apparent warmth and vivacity, his announcements of truth do in fact no longer bear the sanction and indorsement of his own deep, living convictions: for neither reason, nor conscience, nor faith is much concerned in the reproduction. If this sort of work is distasteful to the preacher, it soon becomes loathsome to the hearer, with whom all such exhibitions pass for mere routine or declamation. A clerical brother lately said to me, 'I know several preachers in the conference who have not studied in ten or twenty years.' Such ministers are only less guilty than those who have not prayed in ten or twenty years, for it is quite as practicable to be a good preacher of the gospel without praying as without studying."

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407 -- PREACHERS: Hard Study Necessary

     No matter how successful a preacher may be in his first efforts, he will not continue to be a successful preacher unless he devotes several hours a day to hard study. The lake that sends forth a stream of water, must receive water. or it will run dry. Dr. Olin says: "The church has never more reason to be ashamed than of ministers who no longer try to preach well -- who only go to their study to read newspapers and periodicals, and have nothing fresher and better for their pulpit than the dry, cold fragments of oft-tasted feasts, or the yet more refuse and unwholesome viands which the troublous agitations of the moment are able to galvanize into some of the lower forms of life. It is wonderful that the least spark of piety should not deter men from bringing such cheap offerings before God." There is no doubt but that some preachers backslide in heart because they neglect to study. They lose their interest in preaching, engage in secular pursuits, and soon quit preaching altogether. "Give attendance to reading" (1 Tim. 4:13) is the direction which the Apostle gave to a young minister who had a very large circuit and whose hands were full of work.

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408 -- PREACHERS: The Object of Their Study

     Preachers should study; but it should be that they may be more successful in winning souls. If they aim at securing a reputation for learning, the knowledge which they thus gain will be likely to do them more hurt than good. Nothing that a preacher can acquire from books will compensate for a loss of spirituality. But study should increase one's spiritual power; and it will, if one studies from a right motive, and in a right manner; and if he make a right use of what he learns. In its natural tendency, "Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth." So the more we learn, the more we need of the charity which "vaunteth not itself, and is not puffed up." A display of ignorance, if attended with genuine humility, is not as offensive as an ostentatious display of learning.

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409 -- PREACHERS, Young, Should Pursue a Course of Study

     Young preachers should do the work of evangelists; but they should not be in haste to become evangelists. They need what many of them dislike close application. Without this they will run for only a short season. They will get tired of hearing themselves say the same things over and over, and they will quit preaching and go at something else. Young preachers need to pursue a course of study. This will teach them order and system and give them thoughts. They need to preach statedly to the same congregations. This will render it necessary for them to study their sermons, and acquire a variety of topics, and varied forms of expressions. They should write sermons. not for the purpose of reading them to their congregations, but for the purpose of acquiring the power to express themselves correctly and to arrange their thoughts systematically. A desultory style of preaching may be tolerated in the fervor and enthusiasm of youth; but when these wear away, the people soon get tired of it. The perpetual light which always shone in the tabernacle of old. emblematic of the Holy Ghost. was fed by "pure olive oil beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always" (Ex. 27:20).

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410 -- PREACHERS, Young, Should Read

     It was in the apostolic age, when the fire which fell from Heaven on the day of the Pentecost was burning in its pristine splendor, that Paul wrote to a young preacher, "Give attendance to reading" (1 Tim. 4:13). If this was necessary then, when the Spirit was so poured out upon God's people that miracles were wrought among then', how much more is it necessary now, when almost the smallest degree of the outpouring of the Spirit is characterized as fanaticism and wild-fire? If it was necessary for Timothy, who "from a child had known the holy Scriptures," how much more' is it necessary for those who passed their childhood in ignorance of the Scriptures, and in increasing familiarity with sin? Then, beloveds, "give attendance to reading." Make no apologies. You have not as hard a circuit as Timothy had. He was among 'the people that the Apostle referred to when he said, "If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus" (1 Cor. 15:32). Books were much scarcer and more costly then than now. It took a small fortune then to buy a Bible. Few had one. You have the Bible to study, and you can readily procure other good books to read, if you desire to. A few good books, carefully read, understood, and remembered, will do you more good than many will, read in a cursory manner. A man who likes to fish may not like to dig, but he will not neglect to dig the necessary bait. If you love souls, you will not be averse to reading those books that will help you in winning souls.

     Every preacher is a teacher. But we can not teach what we do not know. To lead others in the way of life we must ourselves be in the way of life. To instruct others we must ourselves receive instruction. "For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts" (Mal. 2:7). Then live where you can get communications direct from Heaven. Follow the Spirit and he will lead you into all truth. But it will often be through study, and by searching out the revelations which God has made to others. If you would grow, you must love the truth. You must go to hear men preach who have the ability and the courage to preach the truth. "And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding" (Jer. 3:15).

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411 -- PREACHERS: Study and Labor Not in Conflict

     Whoever is called of God to preach is called of God to study. Nor, if he works with God, will his studies interfere with his preaching. Adam Clarke was one of the greatest scholars of his day, and his immense fund of learning was acquired while in the active work of the ministry. He preached incessantly. We doubt if there is one among us who preaches as many sermons in a year as he did while pursuing those studies, and gaining the knowledge which made him famous for his learning among the learned men of the world. Nor did his zeal die out with advancing years. When he was over seventy years old, he wrote to the president of the conference:

     "If no place is open for me here, I shall rather travel in the keen blasts, over the mountains, hills and bogs of Derry and Antrim, than set myself down as a supernumerary in any place in Immanuel's land, even in its whole length and breadth; at least for the present year."

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412 -- PREACHERS: Pulpit Preparation

     Preaching without notes does not imply preaching without preparation. A flowing well must be supported by a greater fountain than one from which the water is obtained by pumping. A preacher who does not write his sermons should study more than one who does. He has more time. He should thoroughly understand his subject. He should feel like Elihu, "I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me" (Job 32:18). Lyman Beecher, the greatest of the Beechers, said to a class of licentiates, "Young gentlemen, don't stand before a looking-glass and make gestures. Pump yourselves brimful of your subject, till you can't hold another drop, then knock out the bung, and let nature caper."

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413 -- PREACHERS Should Divide Their Subject

     Paul, in writing to a young minister, tells him to show himself "a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." We must not present the truth in a mass. A loaf of bread is a unit. It is all good -- all to be eaten. But it is not presented to these around the table whole. It is cut into slices. So a sermon should have its divisions, clear and distinct. The people can appropriate it to better advantage. If you stick to your text, divide it naturally. If yon preach on some subject, divide the subject. Make clear statements. If yen do not know how to make a proper division of your text or subject, study the eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth chapters of Brother Hogue's book on Homiletics; and practice upon them until you learn how.

     Then divide your discourse into sentences. Avoid all long parenthetical or explanatory phrases. Use a good many short sentences. Let each sentence be simple and distinct.

     Divide your sentences into words. Do not let the words run into each other. Divide your words into syllables. Speak each letter in a word distinctly. Do not compel the hearer to guess at your meaning. Make yourselves understood.

     If God calls you to preach, you can, with proper pains, make a preacher.

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414 -- PREACHERS, Health Rules for

     Preachers ought to preserve good health. One part of the commission of those whom Christ sends out reads: "Heal the sick" (Matt. 10:8). "And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick" (Luke 9:2, and 10:9). To do this they must themselves keep well.

     Wesley asked: "What reason can be assigned why so many of our preachers contract nervous disorders?

     "Answer: The chief reason, on Dr. Cadogan's principles, is either indolence or intemperance. (1) Indolence. Several of them use too little exercise, far less than when they wrought at their trade. And this will naturally pave the way for many, especially nervous disorders. (2) Intemperance, though not in the vulgar sense. They take more food than they did when they labored more; and let any man of reflection judge how long this will consist with health. Or they use more sleep than when they labored more, and this alone will destroy the firmness of the nerves. If then our preachers would avoid nervous disorders let them (1) take as little meat, drink and sleep as nature will bear; and (2) use full as much exercise daily as they did before they were preachers."

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     When God made man he said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." So, when a woman marries, she should make it her business to help her husband. This is the work she assumes. It is her divinely appointed mission. He needs her help. A wife can help her husband rise in the world, or she can drag him down. Many men of high standing in civil affairs owe their advancement largely to the judiciously exercised influence of their wives.

     Especially does the usefulness of a married preacher depend largely upon the co-operation of his wife. If she is selfish, and insists upon his being at home and helping her, constantly complaining of her hardships, she will make him unpopular everywhere he goes. She should cheerfully consent to his being absent from home as many hours a day, fulfilling the work of the ministry, as he would have to be if working at a trade. A woman planning to get from the people all she can for her husband's services, and to deprive them of as large a portion of his services as she can, will neutralize his influence, and in the end probably drive him from the ministry. Or she may embarrass him by her extravagance, spending the money they get in railroad fare or in needless delicacies.

     On the contrary, the wife of a preacher is "a help meet" indeed when she assists her husband in his work, encourages him to visit among his people, to keep up appointments in the country around, and goes with him when she can, and takes an active interest in the salvation of the people. Such a woman will bless her husband, and the people will bless her.

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416 -- PRESUMPTUOUS Persons

     "Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities" (2 Pet. 2:10). People of this class generally make the highest professions. But those who must have their own way at any cost, who will destroy a good society rather than not have their own notions prevail, are mistaken in thinking that they have such strong faith. One who relies on God is not self-asserting, over-positive, and quarrelsome. He does his duty in a quiet spirit, and in a proper manner, and leaves the result with God. But those who force things through against the convictions of a majority, many of whom, at least, are of deeper piety and better judgment than themselves, are what the Apostle here calls "self-willed" and "presumptuous." Instead of there being a Heaven of purity and peace in waiting for such persons, the Apostle declares that for them "the mist of darkness is reserved for ever."

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417 -- PRIDE

     No matter how much your preacher may encourage pride by precept and example. you indulge in it at the peril of your soul. Unless you humble yourself, it will be impossible for you to approach God. "The proud he beholdeth afar off." Prayers made up of pompous phrases, or pretty elegancies of expression, 'nay excite the admiration of those "having itching ears," but they do not reach the ears of the Eternal. Baxter says, "A proud man makes himself his God, and sets up himself as his idol: how, then, can his affections be set on God? How can he possibly have his heart in heaven? Invention and memory may possibly furnish his tongue with humble and heavenly expressions, but in his spirit there is no more Heaven than there is humility. I speak the more of it because it is the most dangerous sin in morality, and most promotes the great sin of infidelity."

     Reader, watch against pride as thou wouldst keep out of hell.

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418 -- PRIDE, A Damning Sin

     A proud look is mentioned first among the six things which God hates; it heads the list of the seven that are an abomination unto him (Prov. 6:16, 17). Among those who in the last days shall have the form of godliness, but who will deny its power, are the proud (2 Tim. 3:2). Pride is a damning sin. "For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low" (Isa. 2:12).

     Yet of all the sins to which we are subject, this dangerous one is the most difficult to detect in ourselves. We see it readily in others. The proud never think they are proud. Pride often lurks under the guise of morality and religion. It kneels in the pew, and talks of humility in the pulpit. As Gurnall says, "It can take sanctuary in the holiest actions, and hide itself under the skirts of virtue itself. It is impossible to starve this sin; and there is nothing almost but it can live on; nothing so base that a proud heart will not be lifted up with, and nothing so sacred but it will profane, even dare to drink in the bowls of the sanctuary; nay, rather than starve, it will feed upon the carcasses of other sins." A church that encourages pride in its members does them incalculable harm.

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419 -- PRIDE Shown in Disputing

     Pride does not always show itself in the apparel. Where there is pride in the dress there is pride in the heart. But there may be pride in the heart when the dress is perfectly plain. Paul says of a certain teacher, "He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness" (1 Tim. 6:4, 5). So one fond of disputing has reason to fear that he is actuated by pride. There may be times when it is one's duty to "contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints," but he must be certain that it is for the faith, and that his part of the contention is carried on in a right spirit. But when we see one given to "strifes of words," we must let him alone. Let him fight his own battles. 'From such withdraw thyself."

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420 -- PRIDE, Spiritual

     When one sets himself to be a true Christian and abounds in labors and self-denials, then Satan, failing in every other method, tries to destroy him through spiritual pride. One way in which this is manifested is in the low opinion he forms of the piety of those who do not follow in his lead, or at least give him their indorsement and support. When he is fully under its influence he denounces those who oppose him as backsliders or hypocrites. President Edwards says: "Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others: whereas a humble saint is most jealous of himself; he is so suspicious of nothing in the world as he is of his own heart. Pure Christian humility disposes a person to take notice of everything that is in any respect good in others. and to make the best of it, and to diminish their failings; but to have his eyes chiefly on those things that are bad in himself, and to take much notice of everything that aggravates them."

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     We are passing away. In a little while our places will be filled by others. In rapid succession one generation follows another. Ages ago, in the days of the Prophet Isaiah, the blind Grecian poet, Homer, sang

"Like leaves on the trees the race of man is found, Now green in youth, now withering on the ground; Another race the following spring supplies; They fall successive and successive rise: So generations in their course decay; So flourish these when those are passed away."

     Let us, then, make the most of each day as it passes. It will never return. Let us eagerly embrace every opportunity for getting good and for doing good. Our probation once gone, we shall never have another. Our destiny once settled. It becomes irreversible, Let us consecrate ourselves more fully to God than we have ever done. Let us seek a perfection of all the Christian graces. As we have opportunity let us do good to all with whom we associate.

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422 -- PROFESSORS, Characteristics of Popular

     A loss of the love of the truth is a sure mark of a backslider. A child of God loves the unadulterated Word of God. Nor can error and falsehood be dressed up in language so eloquent, and adorned with flowers of rhetoric so beautiful, as to be acceptable with him. A saint loves the homely truth; he hates the gilded lie. No salary, however great, can induce him to forbear to proclaim the unacceptable truth; no company, however refined, can lead him away from association with those who seek the truth as it is in Jesus. Lovers of shams can not be lovers of Christ. Insincerity can never pass current with God, though it be clothed in sacred garments. The Apostle says of the backsliders of the last days, "And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." This is an accurate description of the popular professor of today. Let an earnest man preach the truth as it is laid down in their standards, and they will persecute him and drive him out. God's ministers are not wanted. Few pulpits open to them. Baptized worldlings found schools of theology to raise up preachers of their own liking. This, too, is predicted. "For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts" (2 Tim. 4:3, R. V.). These teachers, like professional ball-players, go where they can get the largest salary.

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423 -- PROFESSORS, Fruitless

     A large apple tree in our garden bore no fruit of any value from year to year. Its limbs were gnarly. As it was neither useful nor ornamental, I cut it down. It was sound outside, but decayed within. The shell was only about an inch thick, but the bark was well-nigh perfect. I then saw the reason why many professors bear no fruit that the Lord thinks worth gathering. They seem all right on the outside, but are rotten at heart. They do no great wrong -- they are too selfish for that -- but they do no good. Our Lord says that the barren tree shall share the fate of the bad tree. In a world where there is so much to be done, doing nothing is doing wrong. "Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire."

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424 -- PROHIBITION and High License

     One of the most absurd arguments against prohibition is the assumption that it can not be enforced. In general terms it amounts to this: If criminals persist in crime, then that crime must be tolerated. This furnishes as good a reason for tolerating theft, by imposing a "high license" upon thieves, as it does for legalizing the still more abominable business of drunkard-making, by imposing a "high license" upon saloon-keepers. Of course liquor-sellers do not care for prohibition laws, nor for any other laws, only as it is for their interest to. They are bad to the core. The man who, for the sake of trifling gains, will rob his fellow of his manhood, and by making him a drunkard expose him to every evil that can befall a human being, will of course trample prohibitory laws under foot if he is permitted to. But "high license" does not help the matter at all. Unless he is compelled to, he has no more respect for "high license" than for prohibition. If he could not be made to stop his hellish business in any other way, he should be shut up in State's prison for life. There prohibition is enforced.

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425 -- PROHIBITION Needed for All

     It is a great mistake to suppose that prohibition is needed only for weak-minded men. If once an appetite for spirituous liquors is formed, the strongest are liable. to become its victims. Daniel Webster was intellectually the strongest man this country ever produced. But strong drink overcame Daniel Webster. This man of towering intellect, of matchless eloquence, "the expounder of the Constitution," "the godlike Daniel," was sometimes seen in public, helplessly intoxicated. Among the literary giants which England has produced, the name of Samuel Johnson is placed in the front rank. But Samuel Johnson said to Boswell, "I can be abstemious but not temperate."

     We need prohibition for our great men, as well as for those in the common walks of life.

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     We shall receive the promises if we inherit the promises. But our identity must be established. If we claim a promise, when we are not one of the persons to whom the promise was made, our claim will be disallowed. We must also ascertain the true meaning of the promise. The Jews believed the promises relating to the Messiah, but they put a wrong interpretation upon them; and so they did not know him when he came.

     "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come (1 Tim. 4:8). This is true. It is always true. But that which seeks the profits is not godliness. It is very far from it. It is selfishness dressed in a religious garb. To have the life that now is, and to enjoy it, too, one does not need wealth. The greatest happiness that this world can afford may be enjoyed in comparative poverty.

     So two mistakes are made about this promise. (1) It is not made to mere formalists. (2) It does not hold out the riches and honors of this world as the reward of godliness.

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427 -- PROPERTY Consecrated

     If you are truly consecrated to the Lord, then is your property also consecrated to the Lord. In all your expenditures of money you should seek for Divine direction. You should have the approbation of God on the way you make money, and on the way you spend money. Be strictly conscientious in giving to every one his due. You can not come back to rectify mistakes. You can not go to Heaven without being strictly honest. Deal honestly with men while you live; and deal justly with God when you die. If you leave property, leave a portion of it where it can help on the cause of God. Pray over it till you find out what you ought to do, and then do it in season. Make your will while you are well; you do not know how soon you may become helpless, or how suddenly you may die. Make it legally, so that there will be no trouble over it when you are gone, and so that the lawyers will not get the larger portion of your property. REMEMBER GOD IN YOUR WILL.

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428 -- PROPERTY in Old Age

     If you are getting along in years, and God has given you property to support you when you are no longer able to earn a living, then take care of it. Do not run any risk of losing it. If you own a farm, keep it, though it may not be very profitable. Even if you can not work it, you can have a good home in the house, and you can let out land on shares to raise your living. If you sell it for money, persons in whom you have confidence will get your money under plausible pretenses and "without any fault of theirs" will lose it, and leave you in your old age poor and dependent. If you move into the city, somebody will convince you that you can soon double your money in a business venture which he will manage for you, and the first you know the hard earnings of years will be scattered. If God has given you a comfortable home, do not part with it in your declining years, unless you know that it is his will that you should.

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429 -- PROPHESYING in the Spirit

     St. Paul says, "He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and comfort." He speaks under the direct inspiration of the Spirit. Preachers should so speak; and so should all of God's people. The Lord said through Joel, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (Joel 2:28). This began to be fulfilled upon the day of Pentecost. The promise reaches down to the end of time. We should look for its fulfillment in all our congregations. We should give all encouragement to men or women who speak "to edification, and exhortation, and comfort." There are good congregations and a deep interest where this takes place. But from a church the members of which "bite and devour one another," people naturally keep away. Denunciation is not prophesying. To revile those who revile you, does not require the Spirit of Christ. Any sinner can do that. To speak in the Spirit, we must have the Spirit, we must live in the Spirit.

     A society that lives in the Spirit, and prays and prophesies in the Spirit, will have a continuous revival. They may have a weak preacher, or they may have no preacher; but they will prosper in their souls, and the Lord will add to their numbers men and women who are in earnest to get to Heaven. This is what St. Paul says: "But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth" (1 Cor. 14:24, 25). This result is frequently witnessed. People who go to such meetings through curiosity, and perhaps full of prejudice, go away to lead a praying life. They get convicted by the Spirit when they least expect it; and if they are honest with God, and yield to their convictions, they will be saved. We have known such a church to have a revival right along for years. Try and have your church such an one. You may think it is not possible, but "all things are possible to him that believeth." You can do your part towards it, and that may accomplish more than you imagine. But in any event your effort will secure a great blessing for yourself.

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430 -- PROVIDENCE: Christ Cares for Faithful Servants

     It is encouraging to see how Christ provides for one who follows him fully. Dr. J. W. Redfield was a physician of a lucrative practice in New York City. God called him to go out and labor as an evangelist. His success was wonderful. Thousands were converted and sanctified under his labors. He did not heal slightly. He did a thorough work, the fruits of which remain. He made no stipulations for pay, but generally bore his own expenses. As years passed by, and age began to steal upon him, he said, "I do not know but I ought to go to work and lay by something for old age or disability." But he never could find the place to break off from his great work of soul-saving and go to moneymaking. He was struck down with paralysis. Immediately God laid it upon a wealthy farmer, who had been fully saved in his meetings, to take care of him. This brother took him to his home and devoted his time wholly to taking care of him during the two or three years that he lived. If Dr. Redfield had been worth a million dollars he could not have procured the care and attention, for money, that were bestowed upon him through love.

     Here is another brother who has followed Christ fully in the work of the ministry. As a boy he began to labor among us, at the very beginning of the Free Methodist work. He never sought for an appointment, but always went cheerfully to the work assigned him. Wherever he 'vent, he threw his whole soul into the work of soul-saving. Without any effort on his part, the people cheerfully took good care of him and his family. He never bought or built a house for himself. He kept out of debt. When, in answer to the call for help, he went to the frontier, with its small salaries and great hardships, though fine land was plenty, contrary to the example of preachers generally, he took up no "claim." He gave himself wholly to the work of the ministry. But all these years the Lord has wonderfully cared for him. His children have been well educated, and all enjoy salvation, and are filling responsible positions. His brow has scarcely a wrinkle in it, his head not a gray hair on it.      When the disciples went out, without purse or scrip, to proclaim the gospel, on their return the Master asked, "Lacked ye any thing?" They said, "Nothing, Lord." Christ is still the same. His resources are still the same.

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431 -- PROVIDENCE, Act in Harmony With

     We should take no important step without Divine direction. It is promised us and we should insist upon having it. "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Prov. 3:6). Much praying before a matter is decided upon would often save from much suffering which results from a wrong decision which has been made. It is better not to move at all than to go against the providences of God. He has a place for each of us, and a work for each of us to do. Let us seek to find our work and our place, and accept them thankfully, however humble they may be. The weakest member of the body, if it properly fulfills its functions, contributes to the welfare of the whole.

"Honor and shame from no condition rise. Act well thy part: there all the honor lies."

     God has a will concerning us. Let us find out what it is and steadily follow it out. When we are workers with him, our labor is never in vain.

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     The providences of God are always in harmony with his Spirit. When Cornelius, prompted by the Spirit of God, sends for Peter, the Apostle is supernaturally prepared to accept the call. The coat fits the back for which it was made. The door is opened for him who should pass through it.

     Dr. Adam Clarke says: "How exactly does everything in the conduct of providence occur; and how completely is everything adapted to time, place and occasion! All is in weight, measure and number. Those simple occurrences which men snatch at, and press into the service of their own wishes, and call them providential openings, may indeed be links of a providential chain, in reference to some other matter; but unless they be found to speak the same language in all their parts, occurrence corresponding with occurrence, they are not to be construed as indications of the Divine will in reference to the claimants. Many persons, through these misapprehensions miscarrying, have been led to charge God foolishly for the unsuccessful issue of some business in which their passions, not his providence, led them to engage."

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     We are told to be "ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" (1 Pet. 3:15). If we are to be prepared to give a reason for our hope, we certainly ought to be for the teaching we give the public. Unless we have some reputation for wisdom, people will not care much for our opinions. The opinion of even the wisest, if unsupported by experience, or other good reasons, is not reliable. Vituperation and ridicule, and confident assertions, prove nothing, unless it be the badness of the cause which they are employed to support. "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars" (Prov. 9:1). She has something substantial on which to rest. Let us see that we build on the indestructible pillars of wisdom.

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434 -- PULPIT: Enter It Prepared

     Not only prepare your sermons, but select your Scripture lessons and your hymns before you go into the pulpit. Do not keep your congregation waiting while you are looking over the Bible and hymn-book for something. The best professional elocutionists never read a piece before the public till they have read it many times in private, and become so familiar with it that they can read it with effect. We have seen a congregation all melted down in reading the first hymn. The one who read it was filled with the Spirit.

     Sunshine and showers always help that wheat most which was sown on land that was prepared with the greatest care. So the Spirit always helps a preacher most who has conscientiously studied, faithfully visited, earnestly prayed, and carefully walked with God during the week. And the great thing in preaching is to minister the Spirit.

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435 -- PUNISHMENT, Future

     The Bible teaches future punishment just as plainly as it does future rewards. It declares that there is a hell as emphatically as it does that there is a Heaven. If you have any doubt about it, take your concordance and read the passages that speak of these two places of future existence. You will also find that we are warned against going to hell as earnestly as we are persuaded to go to Heaven. The New Testament, especially, abounds in vehement exhortations to flee from the wrath to come. Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount is full of warning. "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell" (Matt. 5:29). You may as well reject the Bible entirely, as to say there is no hell.

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436 -- PURPOSE, Singleness of

     Paul said, "This one thing I do." He was a man of one work. He was a great traveler; but he traveled solely for the purpose of evangelizing the nations. He sometimes worked at his trade, tent-making; but it was for the one purpose of supporting himself and his fellow workers in preaching the gospel. He lay in prison for two years at a time; but such was his reputation for sanctity that people came to him in the prison to hear words by which they might be saved. It would seem that his gospel message reached the family of the emperor; for, writing to the Philippians, he said, "All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household" (Phil. 4:22).

     A man thus devoted to the work of soul-saving. whom no privations can discourage, no persecutions silence, can but meet with marked success.