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A Voice from the Tomb.
The other day I read of a mother who died, leaving her child alone and very poor. She used to pray earnestly for her boy, and left an impression upon his mind that she cared more for his soul than she cared for anything else in the world. He grew up to be a successful man in business, and became very well off. One day not long ago, after his mother had been dead for twenty years, he thought he would remove her remains and put her into his own lot in the cemetery, and put up a little monument to her memory. As he came to remove them and to lay her away the thought came to him, that while his mother was alive she had prayed for him, and he wondered why her prayers were not answered. That very night that man was saved. After his mother had been buried so long a time, the act of removing her body to another resting place, brought up all the recollections of his childhood, and he became a Christian. O, you mothers!
Only a few years ago in the City of Philadelphia there was a mother that had two sons. They were just going as fast as they could to ruin. They were breaking her heart, and she went into a little prayer-meeting and got up and presented them for prayer. They had been on a drunken spree or had just got started in that way, and she knew that their end would be a drunkard's grave, and she went among these Christians and said, "Won't you just cry to God for my two boys?" The next morning those two boys had made an appointment to meet each other on the corner of Market and Thirteenth streets--though not that they knew anything about our meeting--and while one of them was there at the corner, waiting for his brother to come, he followed the people who were flooding into the depot building, and the spirit of the Lord met him, and he was wounded and found his way to Christ. After his brother came he found the place too crowded to enter, so he too went curiously into another meeting and found Christ, and went home happy; and when he got home he told his mother what the Lord had done for him, and the second son came with the same tidings. I heard one of them get up afterwards to tell his experience in the young converts' meeting, and he had no sooner told the story than the other got up and said: "I am that brother, and there is not a happier home in Philadelphia than we have got."
The Praying Mother.
I remember being in the camp and a man came to me and said, "Mr. Moody, when the Mexican war began I wanted to enlist. My mother, seeing I was resolved, said if I became a Christian I might go. She pleaded and prayed that I might become a Christian, but I wouldn't. I said when the war was over I would become a Christian, but not till then. All her pleading was in vain, and at last, when I was going away, she took out a watch and said: 'My son, your father left this to me when he died. Take it, and I want you to remember that every day at 12 o'clock your mother will be praying for you.' Then she gave me her Bible, and marked out passages, and put a few different references in the fly-leaf. I took the watch and the Bible just because my mother gave them. I never intended to read the Bible. I went off to Mexico, and one day while on a long, weary march, I took out my watch, and it was 12 o'clock. I had been gone four months, but I remembered that my mother at that hour was praying for me. Something prompted me to ask the officer to relieve me for a little while, and I stepped behind a tree away out on those plains of Mexico, and cried to the God of my mother to save me." My friends, God saved him, and he went through the Mexican war, "and now," he said, "I have enlisted again to see if I can do any good for my Master's cause."
The Sinner's Prayer Heard.
There was a man at one of our meetings in New York City who was moved by the Spirit of God. He said, "I am going home, and I am not going to sleep to-night till Christ takes away my sins, if I have to stay up all night and pray. I'll do it." He had a good distance to walk, and as he went along he thought, "Why can't I pray now as I go along, instead of waiting to go home?" But he did not know a prayer. His mother had taught him to pray, but it was so long since he had uttered a prayer that he had forgotten. However, the publican's prayer came to his mind. Everybody can say this prayer. That man in the gallery yonder, that young lady over there: "God be merciful to me a sinner." May God write it on your hearts to-night. If you forget the sermon, don't forget that prayer. It is a very short prayer, and it has brought joy--salvation--to many a soul. Well, this prayer came to the man, and he began, "God be merciful to me a--," but before he got to "sinner" God blessed him.
Black-balled by Man, Saved by Christ.
At the Fulton street prayer-meeting a man came in, and this was his story. He said he had a mother who prayed for him; he was a wild, reckless prodigal. Some time after his mother's death he began to be troubled. He thought he ought to get into new company, and leave his old companions. So he said he would go and join a secret society; he thought he would join the Odd Fellows. They went and made inquiry about him, and they found he was a drunken sailor, so they black-balled him. They would not have him. He then went to the Freemasons; he had nobody to recommend him, so they inquired and found there was no good in his character, and they, too, black-balled him. They didn't want him. One day, some one handed him a little notice in the street about the prayer-meeting, and he went in. He heard that Christ had come to save sinners. He believed Him; he took Him at his word; and, in reporting the matter, he said he "came to Christ without a character, and Christ hadn't black-balled him." My friends, that is Christ's way.
The Praying Cripple.
I once knew a little cripple who lay upon her death-bed. She had given herself to God, and was distressed only because she could not labor for Him actively among the lost. Her clergyman visited her, and hearing her complaint, told her that there from her sick-bed she could offer prayers for those whom she wished to see turning to God. He advised her to write the names down, and then to pray earnestly; and then he went away and thought of the subject no more. Soon a feeling of great religious interest sprang up in the village, and the churches were crowded nightly. The little cripple heard of the progress of the revival, and inquired anxiously for the names of the saved. A few weeks later she died, and among a roll of papers that was found under her little pillow, was one bearing the names of fifty-six persons, every one of whom had in the revival been converted. By each name was a little cross, by which the poor crippled saint had checked off the names of the converts as they had been reported to her.
A Child's Prayer Answered.
I remember a child that lived with her parents in a small village. One day the news came that her father had joined the army (it was at the beginning of our war), and a few days after the landlord came to demand the rent. The mother told him she hadn't got it, and that her husband had gone into the army. He was a hard hearted wretch, and he stormed and said that they must leave the home; he wasn't going to have people who couldn't pay the rent. After he was gone, the mother threw herself into the arm-chair, and began to weep bitterly. Her little girl whom she had taught to pray in faith (but it is more difficult to practice than to preach), came up to her, and said, "What makes you cry, mamma? I will pray to God to give us a little house, and won't He?" What could the mother say? So the little child went into the next room and began to pray. The door was open, and the mother could hear every word. "O God, you have come and taken away father, and mamma has got no money, and the landlord will turn us out because we can't pay, and we will have to sit on the doorstep, and mamma will catch cold. Give us a little home." Then she waited, as if for an answer, and then added, "Won't you, please, God?" She came out of that room quite happy, expecting a house to be given them. The mother felt reproved. I can tell you, however, she has never paid any rent since, for God heard the prayer of that little one, and touched the heart of the cruel landlord. God give us the faith of that little child, that we may likewise expect an answer, "nothing wavering."
The Orphan's Prayer.
A little child whose father and mother had died, was taken into another family. The first night she asked if she could pray, as she used to do. They said "Oh yes." So she knelt down, and prayed as her mother taught her; and when that was ended she added a little prayer of her own: "Oh God, make these people as kind to me as father and mother were." Then she paused and looked up, as if expecting the answer, and added: "Of course He will." How sweetly simple was that little one's faith; she expected God to "do," and, of course, she got her request.
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