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the centuries came and went, we would feel this. We do feel the burden, don't we? as time goes on, and the promise and the actual facts have such awful contradiction in them. The promise of the Lord's return—and He said He was coming quicklythe promise of the last, long, loud shout of victory; oh, how it has been falsified seemingly, and heart-breakingly postponed! The tide was to rise, He told us ; it was to rise and flood the earth with the knowledge of His glory, "as the waters flood the sea"; and a protracted, persistent, bitter wind off the shore continually is beating back that rising tide. “But I encourage you,” says our Lord, “to hold on without fainting, without sleeping.” Shall not God avenge His own elect that cry unto Him day and night? I tell you He will avenge them speedily.

Now, there are differences here again in the translation, but, after all, the meaning is the same, and it is this: “Do not fasten your thoughts so much on the long time; only keep coming." I know you will be tried with God's seeming silence and off-putting, but I tell you this by way of contrast : keep going, and let this encourage you—speedily." Not soon is the idea, but speedily. Keep at it. On this point, one has shown that God's deliverances are always speedy. For over four hundred years Israel in Egypt was crying, “How long? how long?" And with their hands up in prayer they cried, and they died, generations of them; but at last He came

speedily.” We do not know Him, Speedily at last came the Egyptian deliverance. So with the Babylonish captivity. Whole generations of the captive Jews hung their harps on the willows, and shed floods of bitter tears, and wept, remembering Zion; and died, and left their bones in a foreign land. But speedily in the end God heard their prayer.

God did come, and He avenged them of their adversaries. God understood what old Habakkuk wrote, who, looking at the power of Babylon, seeing how like fishers they flung their nets into the sea, and drew whole nations into captivity like fishes, cried to God, “ O God, Thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity; wherefore then dost Thou sit quiet, and behold how nations are spoiled by this destroyer ?” And the answer came : The vision is for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry; and the just shall live by his faith.” Faith gets the victory even on its knees. Faith is always victorious; and by-and-bye it will turn to actual sight, and the hallelujah shall fill the universe, for the adversary has at last been beaten, and "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.”

“ When Zion's bondage God turned back,

As men that dreamed were weit came so suddenly—“when grief was calm, and hope was dead”.

" Then filled with laughter was our mouth,

Our tongue with melody.” And we said, “Why did we ever doubt it? Why did we ever faint, and forget the teaching that said, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint'?” So, then, keep praying, keep crying, keep urging, keep clamorous, keep importunate; find your strength in your weakness.

What a relief it would have been to that woman if, on the day when she came burdened to get justice, she had looked on the judge on the bench, and her whole soul had

leaped within her, for there she saw a friend of hers who on a bygone day had gone through great personal risk and peril to save her. Would she not have told her tale calmly and confidently to him whom she now found to be a friend, her friend? And when we come to God, let us remember that the Judge is our Husband, our Friend, our God. You are His elect. "Behold Mine elect." From all eternity He set His love upon you. A love that no tongue can tell, and no heart of man or angel can describe or conceive, is the love He bears who sits King and Judge on the throne of the universe. Therefore pray; produce your cause; plead your strong arguments; come before Him. Deliver yourself from fear, and constraint, and chill, and coldness, and, if you have a good cause, keep at it. Shall not God understand a good cause ? Shall not God appreciate a well-put argument? Does not His soul, if I may so put it, ring responsive to every throb and pleading for justice, for mercy, for things so entirely agreeable to and consonant with His own mind, His own heart, His own purpose, for you and all mankind through Christ Jesus since all eternity began? But we almost think that, if our God is not an unjust judge, He is an ordinary just judge. And even there our English procedure will help us. The ordinary just judge who sits up there--I would not like to speak to him, he has on his wig and he is almost-not so much supernatural as preternatural. He is unspeakably grave, and solemn, and wise; and if you dare to do anything which is not according to Cocker, oh, it is almost an unpardonable sin. A friend of mine in Edinburgh went into a law court, and he wanted to speak in connection with a certain case, but he was just so dead frightened with nervousness at having to speak in this

my

"palladium of our British liberties," et cetera, that he let the moment go past, and the case was really over when at last he summoned up his courage, and said, "My lord, is this over?” And “ lord ” rose utterly horrified that he should be spoken to by a creature who was not an advocate, or a W.S., or a Q.C., or some of those satellites of justice. That an ordinary human being should rise and dare to speak to him without any mediatorship! “Usher," he said, “ Usher, put this man out.” The man was a minister, and he has preached in this pulpit. It was not I. Now, I do not say that he might not have done better and wiser, but, when I read it, I thought that it was a grand illustration again of the unlikeness. The Lord is not like that. Even our just judges have a great deal of buckram round about them. There is none of that in Him_none. The legal element needs to be watched, for it carries with it a lot of starch, and buckram, and postures. How wise we are! Now, when you are praying, do not think of these judges of ours, even at their best. Think, if you like, of what they represent—the ideals behind them. The ideals are always right. And then trace all the ideals up to the Being to whom you are praying; and then you are right. He is Judge; but He is always Father, Husband, Brother, Priest, Prophet, Saviour, Friend

Join all the glorious names

Of wisdom, love, and power,
That ever mortals knew,

That ever angels bore.
All are too mean to speak His worth,

Too mean to set my Saviour forth." Now, go in before Him with your case, for yourself, for your Church, for your Christian work, for Christ's cause to earth’s remotest end; and do not faint though you have to come often, and though the time seems long. His ear is not heavy that it cannot hear—'tis an infinite lie ;-His arm is not shortened that it cannot save. May God bless His Word. Amen.

Hendersou a Spalding, Priuters, 3 & 5, Marylebone lune, Loudon, W.

MORE ABOUT PRAYER ANOTHER

"IMPORTUNATE.”

일 Sermon

PREACHED IN REGENT SQUARE CHURCH,
ON SABBATH MORNING, MARCH 15TH, 1891,

BY THE

REV. JOHN MCNEILL.

TEXT—1 Kings xviii. 41 to end. We are conscious—are we not ? as we read this chapter through from the beginning, that Elijah in prayer does not look nearly so dramatic, so tragic, as Elijah in the foregoing part of his work, when

“ Amidst the faithless, faithful only he,” he showed himself to Ahab, he gathered the whole people and idolatrous priesthood together on Mount Carmel, and stood up for God, and truth, and righteousness. No; to the eye of sense, this lonely, crouching, praying figure is not nearly so grand and striking. Yonder he stood, crying aloud : “ How long halt ye between two opinions ?" A man completely lifted above and beyond himself; strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might; crying to God for the fire ; and the fire leaping down, consuming everything; and the great multitude of people surging and swaying like a forest in a storm; and the tempest of acclamation

Vol. III.–No. 19.

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