COLLEGE towns ought to have a degree of felicity
not found elsewhere. The buildings are imposing, or dignified, or even
beautiful; the Faculties, composed of learned men, with their families,
add their luster, not only to the society of the place, but also to the
citizenship in general; advantages are offered to the young people of
the vicinity in the direction of a higher education that less favored regions
are not able to duplicate; and last, though only to emphasize the importance
of the item, the students themselves, coming from different parts of the
country, bring their money with them to be spent in the locality, and,
better, they bring their young, intelligent life with all that that means.
The college advertises the town many dollars' worth without cost. Who
ever heard of certain little cities except as the seat of an institution
of learning? The college is the means of lifting the place out of the
oblivion into which it must hopelessly have fallen. Most unfortunately,
all these advantages are not always appreciated by some of the citizens
of the region round about a college. There is sometimes much distress and
unhappiness engendered by jealousy, which comes in where there ought to
be friendship and good feeling as well as mutual understanding and helpfulness;
and estrangement and bitterness naturally follow. This is one reason for
the formality and stateliness of certain of the smaller college towns.
Unfortunately this formality finds its way even into
the Churches, and especially into the college Church, if the institution
happens to be denominational-in the ecclesiastical sense. Sometimes the
town members feel that the Faculty and students are trying "to run" affairs;
sometimes the college folk think they have reason for the suspicion that
the other side is holding itself aloof, and so, between the two, the Church
suffers sadly. The minister, unless he has had time, to study the situation
and has learned to diagnose the case correctly, is in great danger of
reaching false conclusions. At first he exerts himself to the utmost,
only to find that he has been unable to arouse much enthusiasm on either
side, and finally, since he is human, he gives up the struggle.
There was something of this difficulty at Darnforth.
The town authorities had a grudge against the boys, and did not hesitate
to take steps that must make them uncomfortable. No doubt they had often
been annoyed in the past; but their measures only created a desire to
retaliate, and affairs were not benefited in the least. There was not a
department of the city that did not have its own particular grievance.
The fire-laddies had their troubles. Several times a huge bonfire on the
campus had been the means of calling forth the department, until at last,
in their chagrin, they had threatened to let the college burn to the ground
if a fire ever did break out there. On one occasion the flame of feeling
was fanned to such intensity that there was a pitched battle between the
department and the students. But we must not anticipate. Of course the
college Church felt the difficulty. Both parties believed it their duty
to attend morning worship; but that seemed to end their sense of responsibility.
As a result, the Sunday evening and the social services suffered, until
the minister seriously contemplated suggesting the discontinuance of the
latter meetings. Altogether the Church was in a sad predicament, and no
one was able to discover a remedy; hence nothing was done, and it was evident
that some sort of a climax was at hand.
THE little company of men
who had been praying in Number Eleven North College did not depart till
it was time for evening worship; then they marched together in a body
to the church, and up the aisle near the front, where they filled a couple
of pews that would have been innocent of corporeal occupants if these
students had not been there. Now, it must be remembered that this was a small
band, and that it was by no means an uncommon thing to see a large number
of students together on the street; but their coming together here was
unexpected, and their sitting in a compact body right up under the pulpit
was unusual; hence a sensation was created among the faithful few in God's
There was an ancient rule in regard to church attendance
still in force at Darnforth, that had long since been thrust into quiescence
elsewhere. Every student was required to attend two church services on
Sunday, unless sickness or necessary absence from town prevented. The
church attendance roll was called for each class on Monday morning at the
first lecture. The Faculty further required that the morning preaching
service must be one of the two, while the other might be any other strictly
religious meeting. Chapel attendance did not count a "service." On the
other hand, the students, many of them, supplied their own individual intepretation,
and when the roll was called it was often sadly amusing to note the frantic
struggles made by some fellows so to arrange matters with their consciences
that they might, without absolute falsehood, report two "services" without
spoiling their plans by actually going to church. For instance, if there
was a student's class-meeting in the old chapel early in the morning,
a large percentage of this kind would be present. If there was a song-service
on the campus late in the afternoon, here they could be seen, diligently
sitting or standing around, "making up a service." It was well known that
the Faculty did not "count" these informal musicals, but that made little
difference to some easy consciences. These sacred concerts were seasons
of worship to many who attended them., and much good was accomplished
through their instrumentality, and it is by no means certain that the
Faculty was right in discounting them. They were so pleasant and attractive
and informal that few of the fellows were willing to miss them on any
account, and thus they were kept out of danger during the long Sunday
afternoon, when Satan was always offering to idle hands certain kinds
of employment that were not considered entirely innocent by Sunday-school
teachers and preachers. The only instruments, besides the fresh, pure,
human voice, were a little organ, carried out on the great stone porch
of old North College, and a cornet or two. This sacred concert was one
of the attractions of the town, though the college students had so little
self-consciousness that they never fully realized it. The citizens would
gather in and around the campus in crowds, and visitors at the homes of
the region must always remain over Sunday to hear the students sing, and
many were the carriages around the "square" that had driven over from
neighboring towns and villages for the sole purpose of listening to the
grand chorus. They always sang "Sunday pieces" too, but it did not count
as a service.
In spite of the interpretations of unscrupulous men,
the rule in regard to church attendance worked wonders for the morning
worship in the college church. The students were there, but the same could
not be said at night; for students and town folk alike were conspicuous
by the empty sittings. The pastor had reason to feel sad as he looked
over the plush-covered pews that so brazenly emphasized the smallness of
his congregation. There were usually a few present at night whose consciences
demanded their presence. There were some who came from love for the faithful
minister, and undoubtedly some because they deemed it a privilege and
a pleasure to be in God's house. In addition, there were always a few students
who found this to be their last opportunity "to make up a service."
Indeed, it was not an unheard of thing to make two points in the same hour.
A student would attend one church and sit on the back seat; then, before
the sermon, he would quietly slip away to another church, where he would
complete his work.
As the small body of students marched into church
and took their places together, a smile was noticed by some, who were
watching, playing about the mouth of the good man in the pulpit; and
many thought that the sermon he preached was his best evening effort,
while others went so far as to say that he improved appreciably from this
memorable night. Christian congregations do not seem to appreciate how
much they have to do with preaching; they do not realize that they are often
responsible for the success or failure of the hour. However it may have
been in this case, it is certain that, before many months, the evening
service became the more popular of the two, and crowds began to take possession
of the hitherto empty pews. It was demonstrated that a crowd will often
draw a crowd, and the Doctor remarked to a friend one night, who had been
congratulating him on his immense audiences: "Ah, a minister needs more
help than that which comes from his study, as important as that is; more
help than that which comes from above, I say it reverently; he needs
help from those who sit in front of him; he needs their sympathy, their
love, and their prayers. A friend of mine was preaching at a camp-meeting.
He was having a glorious time, and all were moved. After it was over,
one of his own congregation came to him enthusiastically and thanked him
for the sermon, but added, 'Why don't you preach like that at home?' 'Because
you won't let me,' was the reply. 'I preached that same sermon a few weeks
ago, almost word for word, and you were present; but you did not help
me, and no one thanked me afterward.' "
This minister knew what he was talking about. On this
night he was prayed for more than usual. The body of consecrated young
men, fresh from the presence of God, and with the Holy Spirit resting
upon them, began to lift up the preacher to the very Throne.
At the close of the sermon the pastor said: "Something
impresses me that I ought to hold an 'after-meeting' to-night, and you
are all invited to tarry a few minutes." There are some who seem to feel
that every minute spent in church is waste time, and who always get out
as fast as they can. A few of this class retired, but most of the congregation
remained; some out of curiosity, and two or three students to make up
their second service in this "after-meeting."
When all was quiet the minister continued: "Now we
are approaching the season that ought to be one of awakening. The Church
should bestir herself to better living and to more diligent service. Even
now we should see sinners turning to us, and hear them cry, 'Men and
brethren, what must we do to be saved?' My heart has been saddened, for
the Church has been backward in this great work, and the members have
seemed cold and indifferent; and until now I have seen no encouraging
sign. But to-night hope and confidence have revived in my breast, and
I have invited you to remain that, by our united prayer, by our faith, and
by our mutual encouragement in testimony, we might bring closer the day
of the special coming of our Lord to this Church and community."
Having thus spoken, he called for volunteer prayers.
One brother, after the lapse of seconds, prayed in a drowsy tone of voice,
an indefinite kind of a supplication, for several long minutes, and then
there was a pause. The minister sighed audibly. Surely he had been mistaken;
there was no sign. The congregation was listless, sleepy, dead. The purpose
was about formed in his mind to offer a short prayer and dismiss. But
just at this juncture one of the little company of students impulsively
began the prayer that had been welling up within his soul till it was almost
impossible to contain it longer. Instantly the sleepy atmosphere was surcharged
with spiritual electricity, and there was an awakening, and every person
present seemed intent on listening. This man was talking to a Friend,
a near Friend-not a stranger, as seems to be the case with some when they
talk with God. He was talking from a heart full of love, and not from duty
or rote. He was speaking from a genuine sense of need, not using meaningless
words put together more for the congregation than for God. The prayer
was short, but it was honored at once. After a second's pause, during
which no one seemed ready to respond another one of these students began
pleading with God for the Spirit of conviction. He asked that Christians
and Church members might first feel it, and then that it might come upon
the unsaved. "Thou hast promised, O Lord, that thy Spirit should come
to convict the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment to come;
now fulfill that promise here. Convince of sin and its guilt; of righteousness,
its remedy through Christ; of judgment, its awful result. May the Spirit
come to every heart! May there not be one who shall not know that 'Christ
is knocking at my sad heart,' and who shall not feel the drawings away
from the world and sin!" As he prayed, there was manifest such a tenderness,
such a yearning, that tears came unbidden to many eyes. Before the congregation
lifted their heads they sang the hymn of consecration and expectation:
"My body, soul, and spirit,
My Lord, I give to thee,
A consecrated offering,
Thine evermore to be."
Then the chorus very softly:
"My all is on the altar,
I am waiting for the fire;
Waiting, waiting, waiting,
I am waiting for the fire."
Then they were quietly dismissed. But the majority
of those who had been present, it is safe to say, went home in a different
frame of mind from that in which they had come. The last prayer was already
being answered. Several of the Church members were stricken suddenly with
severe twinges of conscience, and went home endeavoring to make some
good resolutions. The unregenerate students, who had been making their
second service at this after-meeting, found themselves decidedly uncomfortable
and unable to throw off their unpleasant feeling.
This Sunday was not quite finished yet as far as action
was concerned. Professor Moran, one of the younger members of the Faculty,
but one of the strongest, was hunted up; the president of the College
Young Men's Christian Association was also brought in, and the re was a
conference, with the result that it was resolved to hold meetings every
night that week in the old chapel, under the auspices of the Young Men's
Christian Association. A schedule of leaders was prepared and posted that
night on the college bulletin-board, and special announcement was made
next morning in chapel.
IT happened that, on the same
Sunday afternoon, there was a meeting of some of the "Co-eds" at the residence
of Miss Holmes. Miss Bruce was also present. The meeting was not distinctly
religious, and it was not appointed. It was one of the many gatherings
of these girls, most of whom were far away from home. They came together,
naturally, to help and comfort one another-not that they ever brought
long faces with them nor tales of woe. Whatever there was of discomfort
or unpleasantness they kept down in their own hearts where it belonged.
Yet each one knew that the others had "troubles of their own;" hence their
meetings were "blithe and gay." And often the sad-hearted went away brave
and strong. As they were seated in the Holmes's comfortable and elegant
living-room, their conversation gradually but naturally drifted towards
religious topics. All the girls were religious, though not in the same
way nor degree. They also represented several denominations, and had different
views of certain non-essentials; but they were united in their desire
to see the best things religiously come to the college and town.
"I should like to see an old-fashioned revival come
to the college and town," was the emphatically uttered conclusion of
little Miss Gould.
"I suppose I should like to see the same thing in
its result," responded Miss Brighton, "though I am horribly afraid of
revivals as I have seen them and heard of them. There is so much excitement,
and it must be that many are drawn in by purely physical influences,
and not by the Spirit of God, nor as a result of mature deliberation
and genuine resolution. However, there is need of something, and I should
not be sorry to see the revival or anything else that would wake us up
and make us more earnest, both in the college and out."
"Yes, we all want the same thing in the end, and I
think we may as well leave the way with Providence," was Miss Holmes's
characteristic statement. "We all see things from a single stand-point,
and thus we form our conclusions, which must necessarily be one-sided.
God alone sees all around, inside and out, and his ways are the best,
even though at times they do not meet with our approval."
"Why can't we have a little prayer-meeting of our
own, right here and now, and ask God to bless us and give us all more
life and light, and to bring a change in the college and the Churches?
Let us ask for a revival, whether it be old-fashioned or new-fashioned;
a revival, a living again. O, let us all pray for it now! I have felt
so much like doing something ever since the good bishop preached for us
on the Day of Prayer. God was near, and it did seem as if something ought
to be done, and that right speedily."
Miss VanDerveer spoke so rapidly and was so much in
earnest that the words fell from her mouth as if each one was pushed
out by its impatient successor, and her face was so earnest and her whole
attitude so eager that it was hard to keep from smiling, even though all
were in sympathy with her.
"I think so too, 'Van,' " said Miss Bruce; "but you
know we were not all brought up alike. I know I could not pray aloud
before all you girls to save my life. Let's all pray silently."
"That's the idea." "All right." "Right away." With
these and similar expressions was the motion carried, and it was immediately
put into effect. It was a beautiful sight, Mr. Holmes said, to see all
those noble, devoted, unassuming girls on their knees pleading with God
for some dear desire. That good gentleman had entered the front door just
in time to see, from the hall, the impressive picture.
After two or three minutes, Miss Gould said, without
any assumption of superiority in her tone or manner: "We are not afraid
of our voices when we are together, in any other thing but prayer. It
is a matter of training simply. Why not begin to train in the other direction?
It will do us no harm, and it may be the means of doing much good. Let
us each say one sentence in turn." And then, putting her suggestion at
once into effect, she said most simply and sweetly: "O Lord, thou seest
us and knowest the desires of our hearts; wilt thou grant them unto us
for Jesus sake? Amen."
After a moment's pause, Miss Holmes continued the
voice of prayer: "Dear Father, make us right, and help our influence
to be only good, and may thy kingdom come here speedily! For Christ's
sake we ask it."
Then, to the astonishment of all, Miss Bruce said
without halting, though with a sweet little tremor in her voice: "May
the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in
thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer!"
"Dear Jesus, we want to be thy true children and we
need thy help; and we desire, above everything else, to see a revival,
especially in the college, and then in the town. Thou knowest all about
it, and how great our need is. We thank thee for the sermon. May its
wonderful influence and power not be lost. We ask it all, in thy own
dear name. Amen." This was Miss VanDerveer's petition.
Miss Brighton said: "O God, we are not very good ourselves,
but we want to be better, and we want to see an improvement in the college.
And so each one, in her own style and without much thought or fear
of the others, made her little petition to Almighty God.
They were up from their knees when Mr. and Mrs. Holmes
entered, and soon the conversation was far away from revivals; but the
influence of the little prayer-meeting was to be permanent in the heart
of every one.
The conversation drifted around to the college boys,
an ever-fruitful topic among them, and one which brought forth many differences
of opinion. They never gossiped about them. The boys were a source of
wonder to them. They studied them carefully; they tried to understand them.
Over and over again they were surprised at some new development or sudden
revelation. They would no sooner have a young man all labeled and pigeon-holed
when they would be compelled to take him out and scratch off the label
or add something to it; and more than once they found it necessary completely
to change their classification. They never did this in the cold-blooded
way that might be inferred from this statement; they were always unconscious
of the true inwardness of their operations.
To-day there was quite a debate on poor Pierson. Some
held that he was conceited and rather weak, while others maintained that
he was a sturdy, manly fellow, with a great deal of assurance. Andrews
was taken from his little box also, and at last put back again. They never
could agree on him. He was labeled, "Undecided: personal magnetism or
the Holy Spirit." There was a sign, however, that the final adjudication
of his case would result in this label: "Endowed by nature with great stores
of personal magnetism, and by choice, from God, with the power of the
Holy Spirit. These two make him great for good. He does need a better
equipment, more concentration in his college work, that he may have a
better foundation for his life's campaign. The duty of the 'Co-eds' is
to help him."
At length some one mentioned Scott. "Poor Mr. Scott!"
said two or three in a breath. Miss VanDerveer: "I was so surprised to
see him on our 'tramp' that day. How in the world did he get there? Of
course no one knows. He did not seem a bit like himself, however. I think
he was disgusted at first because he saw that he was entirely out of his
element; we did all forget him most shamefully. I do not know what would
have become of him if it had not been for your thoughtfulness, Anna dear"-looking
at Miss Holmes with a smile. "But it was like you. I am sorry for the
poor fellow. He is light and frivolous, and, I fear, empty-headed. He
does not seem to want to think. I wonder why he is at college at all.
It is quite remarkable to me that he keeps up as well as he does. He and
that little Flossie down town are two of a kind. It's a notable instance
of 'birds of a feather flock together.' "
"There is no one I feel more sorry for," said Miss
Gould. "If he would only look at something a little seriously once in
a while! There is nothing too sacred for him to jest about. O, it is too
bad to see a good man throwing himself away!"
"For my part," continued Miss Bruce, "I do not see
that he has any depth. I think he is to be pitied because nature has endowed
him with so little. I am more convinced than ever that there is nothing
in him, and I do hope for his sake and all our sakes, but especially
Anna's, that we will not see him again."
"I am so sorry to hear you say that, dear," Miss Holmes
broke in, "for I did want to have him go with us sometimes. He quite touched
my heart on the walk, and I am sure I saw what none of you have had the
chance to see. There is a solid foundation somewhere in him, and not
so far down as some of you might think. What he needs is conversion, and
then a little sympathetic help, and he will make a man that will surprise
the world. To be frank, girls, I have completely changed my opinion of
him, and believe there is pure gold not very far down."
"He shall go with us if you wish it, Anna; but I am
surprised to hear you talk thus, for, privately, I have always thought
that you were a little too hard on him. I explained it to myself on the
ground that you and he were so absolutely different from each other.
There was nothing in common between you. In spite of everything that
has been said, I myself have always claimed 'he was a man for a' that.'
" Of course it was little Miss Gould that thus stood for her friend.
Miss Brighton whispered in stage fashion, "I wonder what lie said to
her that brought her around!"
O YE ministers of little faith!
Because ye do not see immediate results, ye think your efforts are in
vain. God giveth the increase; some seed germinates slowly and some with
speed, but none will fall in vain. "He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing
precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his
sheaves with him." When Bishop Fortner consented to preach on the Day
of Prayer for Colleges, we do not know what thoughts passed through his
mind, but he might well have said, from his human heart: "What is the
use? I will go there and preach a sermon, and that will be the end of it.
They may criticise it favorably or otherwise; but what will it amount
to?" Whether these thoughts came to him or not, May never be known; but
if he had yielded to that kind of temptation and refused to come, God
could not have used him as he did. All the wonderful work that followed
that memorable day could be directly traced back to the bishop's sermon.
O ye ministers of little faith, fear not to go forth in the name of the
It would not be in the province of this history to
describe minutely these college meetings that were held nightly. At first
the attendance was small, but it steadily increased till the old chapel-hall
was well filled. The fellows went, and did not know why they were attracted.
They went, and, in many instances, determined that they would not go again;
but the next night would find them in their place.
There was a new spirit in the college. The students
noted it, and some of them tried to joke about it. The Faculty perceived
it; for it appeared in the class-room. Even the people of the city saw
that "something was wrong up at college," as they put it; "the boys are
so gloomy, and there is a dearth of mischief."
One might describe the spirit, in general, as one
of gloom. Men tried in vain to fight against it. Scott, for instance,
was much under its influence, and did his utmost to free himself from
it. But so completely had he come under its control that he lost for the
time some of his most pronounced characteristics. He could not help laughing,
though it was a poor apology for his ordinary ringing laugh, as he met
himself in the glass one morning while finishing his toilet before going
to breakfast; he looked so gloomy and hopeless. The "cap and bells" had
fallen from him too completely, he thought, or, rather, too suddenly. One
night, by main force of will, he tore himself from the meeting at chapel-hall,
and started down the street to see the fair, fluffy-haired Flossie, the
daughter of the ice-cream man; but he was so full of perversity, and so
unlike himself, that the young lady became highly insulted, and hence felt
it her bounden duty to quarrel with him, which she straightway proceeded
to do, in such a fin de siècle manner that it proved her
to be past-mistress in the art. Scott did not lose his temper, nor did
he retaliate, which was remarkable, and, in itself, quite mollified the
young spitfire; but in a gloomy, dreamy way he went back to college, and
mechanically into the meeting.
Even the Sunrise Club had been affected this spirit
of gloom, though they fought it with great determination. Their regular
plan was to have a meet on the night of the 22d of February, and to celebrate
Washington's Birthday in their own peculiar manner. But they suddenly
determined to hold it on the Thursday night of this week of the special
meetings, and thus defy, and at the same time dismiss, the depression that
was so general. Members of the club had gone to the meetings night after
night, though their associates had tried to discourage it. Roxy Randall
attended a few of the meetings; but he had hardened himself years before,
and had done it so successfully that the present condition affected him
but little, except that he was angry-angry at the meetings, angry with
the fellows of the club, who were proving themselves soft-hearted and
weak. "Yes, there must be a meet that week, or the club would be ruined
for fun; this gloomy spirit must be exorcised."
McQuirk was a young freshman of bright, pleasing appearance.
His surroundings at home had been far different from those in which he
now found himself. He was, after all, only a child, and had never fought
a moral battle without the help of his parents. Somehow the Sunrise Club
had gotten hold of him, and had been training him so successfully that
already, in the few months of his absence from home, he could be selected
as a young man of bad morals. He was an illustration of a great fact.
God gives the baby-face, but there is one thing he can not, at the start,
and will not ever put in, and that is character. Character must be made
by years of toil, with God's help undoubtedly, and nothing can keep it
from looking out of the face. Sometimes the baby-face is carried far into
young manhood or womanhood. It is like a clean white page, waiting for
the writing that shall be placed thereon. Home and home influences help
to keep away the evil; but too often, alas! they shut out the positive
personal good also. Then strong, adverse influences suddenly come, and
the change that is wrought is often startling. Poor McQuirk illustrated
this side of this great truth. His bright, open face soon partook of a
look of hardness and coarseness. But there were many instances on the other
side to offset this. Greaves came to college with one of the baby, sweet
faces, lacking character touch. In a few months, when he returned to his
home for a vacation, his face had taken on already a look of manliness,
of determination, of character, that transformed it almost beyond the recognition
of some; it had put on the "new man" visibly. A miracle of transformation
bad been wrought. In the one case the very protecting arms of the family
had somehow unfitted the victim for battle; in the other case, sweet influences
from home seemed to abide with the boy, and there was an invisible wall
about him and a high tower, unseen by the naked eye. There ought to be
some way by means of which the home might protect the boys, and yet at
the same time teach them to be men, so that they will not fall from the
first cold breath of the world. McQuirk had suddenly come to a halt; he
was under the "spell." His associates of the club noticed the condition,
and determined that "this foolishness must be taken out of him."
Preston was another member of the ill-favored
organization. He was the son of a minister, and had thus far, by his
life, made a strong argument for the truthfulness of the old adage so
often quoted in regard to ministers' children. Preston, in spite of his
early training, deliberately chose the evil because he preferred it.
He wore a sinister expression on his face all the time, and he had the faculty
of making a great many enemies, and the additional one of making them
afraid of him and almost powerless to do him injury. He did his own things,
and kept his own counsels, and there were few who understood him. It was
a matter of surprise to find him at the meetings every night. He always
went away alone. Could it be that the "Unwelcome Guest" was finding a
way to Preston's heart? If he were thus captured, there seemed little
hope for others. "On Preston's account the Thursday night meet of the
club must be held," was the verdict that went forth.
Walter Retlaw had gone to the first meeting out of
curiosity; there were such peculiar influences, in the atmosphere seemingly,
though little was said or done to produce them; such forebodings, such
a heaviness, such a spiritual sultriness, almost suggestive of that felt
in summer previous to an electrical storm, that, true to his constitutional
weakness, he never returned to another meeting; it was too uncomfortable.
By a peculiar coincidence
the second german of the season was to be given at the armory that same
Thursday night. The local chapter of the Phi Nu Theta Fraternity was very
exclusive, and its members, with few exceptions, were all society men.
Social standing, indeed, seemed to be the sole condition of eligibility
to membership. Most of these men were, therefore, interested in the affair
at the armory. Wilding, of course, was one of the leaders; but he proved
to be no exception to the general rule, for he was far from being himself.
Some of the members of his fraternity sneered at the meetings at college,
and professed to be very much concerned about their friend. "It is a good
thing," they said, "that the german is coming off this week. It may break
the spell, and help to bring him back to his senses."
There was a marked change in many of the students.
It was now discovered that certain of them were Church members, and that
they had been active Christian workers at home. At college, they had simply
remained quiet; in fact, had taken pains to conceal their spiritual identity.
They had been succeeding, and had been leading a kind of a nondescript
life. Some of these had been overshadowed by that awful presence that
was troubling the community, and they were rendered miserable thereby.
There was Jackson, one of the best of fellows; but he never went to church
when he could conveniently get out of it, and he was as fond of "cutting"
chapel as any one could be. His influence, while not vicious in any way,
had all been away from holy things. Apparently be was a sleepy kind of
a man, and gave those who did not know him very intimately the impression
that he was dull or even stupid. But there was that twinkle in his eye
that his best friends perfectly understood; and often when he was giving
the most certain impression of his stupidity to one of the uninitiated,
he was laughing inwardly, a silent, invisible, but none the less gleesome
laugh. The professors knew him well enough, and never took him at his face
value. He was probably the best story-teller in the institution. He could
tell his story with a straight face and without the twitching of a muscle,
while his auditors would be convulsed with laughter. Every one at college
knew that Jackson was not profane nor evil-tongued, and that he did not
belong to the lower element; but few, if any, ever suspected him of being
a Christian in the experimental sense, else why should he not discover
it to his fellows? But so it was; he had even been a Sunday-school superintendent
at home. He was over thirty years of age and a member of the senior class,
and thus had his whole college life been wasted! Now, no one felt the
burden of conviction more than did he. It weighed upon him so heavily
that he could scarcely sleep at night. The Spirit gained the victory in
the end; but it was not without a terrible conflict, which resulted in
a change in all his life's plans. He felt the call to preach, and at last
yielded. His life became one of great usefulness.
Many other instances of the power of the Spirit upon
the students might be given, but these few will suffice to exhibit the
prevalent misery and gloom. There may have been some who did not feel,
in their heart of hearts, that something dreadful was impending; there
may have been some who were entirely untouched by any uneasiness; but
they were few. It could be recognized on the faces and in the tones of
voice and in the actions and general bearing of the students; some unwelcome
visitor had come, and his presence was thus evinced.
THERE was no loud talking
on the campus. That was unusual.
The voice is an indicator, often, of the subjective
states, and yet it may be cultivated, whether we are conscious of it
or not. It is a musical instrument that may be in tune as far as the
note is concerned, but at the same time the quality of the note may not
be the best. A harsh, nasal voice, for instance, may sing in tune, but
we do not want it to hush us to slumbers. Unfortunately teachers take
hold of the voice and train it when the owner is not conscious of it or
able to object. It may be a nurse, or a household servant, or a nervous
relative, with an unpleasant voice; the little innocent is an apt pupil,
and it grows up with an unpleasant voice, simply because it is a mimic.
We say: "What a shame! A beautiful child, but its voice is a deformity.
What freaks nature plays!" Freaks, indeed! Sometimes the family is blessed
with a grandmother. The dear old soul is a little
hard of hearing, and the habit is formed in the family of raising the
voice for her sake, and thus the voice of the little one is spoiled. Unfortunately,
the college campus is not the best place in the world for a sensitive
ear. There are heated argument, and loud calls, and guttural laughs, and
usually a great deal of confusion.
But in the face of all these circumstances it is possible,
even at college and on the campus, to train the voice aright.
Scott and Grandison were seated on a bench that encircled
one of the great trees of the campus, where they were having a conversation
on just this subject. Said the latter: "Do you notice how quiet it is?
The fellows are all here, and many of them are talking, but their voices
are low. You might almost think that some one was sick or dead. I have
noticed it ever since last Sunday. These meetings, for some reason, are
having a tremendous effect on the fellows."
"Yes," replied Scott, "I have noticed it. If the meetings
do nothing more than quiet the fellows down while on the campus, they will have been
a unique success. I sometimes wonder how the citizens living near the college
stand the racket. I understand they miss us dreadfully at vacation, and
are nearly driven crazy when we return."
"Did you ever think on the subject of voice cultivation?
I do not mean the singing voice, but the ordinary every-day speaking one.
When one once discovers a defect, it is the easiest thing in the world
to get rid of it. The main thing is to put one's will on one's voice.
Of course there are other things that get into it and help it. Suffering
has much to do with modulating it; so has sympathy and love; but, above
everything else, true refinement will soon or late put its impress on
the voice. I said true refinement; not the modern polish or veneer that
they put on the outside to cover up defects; the unrefined self will show
itself by means of the voice through all the artificial polish they can
put on, just as a knot on a rough pine board will show through the varnish
"Why, Grandison, you ought to lecture on the voice
throughout the country. I believe you could do an immense amount of good,
to say nothing of the money you might put in your pocket. But just what
do you mean by putting one's will on one's voice?"
"I wish some one with authority would lecture the
American people on this great topic, and teach them that it is not the
climate that is at fault, but bad training. They are nervous and busy,
and the tones of their voice are influenced by these facts, and the poor
little innocent children start to form their voice with that kind of an
example ringing in their ears. Ugh! Is it any wonder that we have harsh
voices? As to the will, I mean that the first thing a man has to do is
to want to do better, and to make up his mind that he will. The voice
may be changed by the will alone, if practicing is under the category of
the will; and you will readily agree that it requires much volition to
train for anything that is worth while."
"Yes, you have made that very plain; but how about
the suffering and the sympathy and the love getting into the voice?"
"Nothing easier to answer. If a man will permit, his
loves and his sympathies may become potent masters in the training of
his voice. You have heard the celebrated Dr. Young speak, have you not?
You know that remarkable voice of his, famed not only for sweetness and
winsomeness, but for power and richness and strength. A friend of mine
recently questioned him in regard to his voice, asking him if he were not
particularly grateful to God for his magnificent endowment. 'Well,' he
replied, 'I suppose I ought to be, for he gave me my children, and he endowed
me with a tender heart.' 'What in the world have your children to do with
it?' 'Everything, up to a certain point. When I was a young man my voice
was so harsh and disagreeable that I was constantly ashamed of it; people
would turn around on the street when I passed to see who could be making
such horrible noises. When my children came, I noticed that they would
shrink when I spoke; a fact so distressing to me that, whenever I came
in their presence, I softened and modulated my voice the very best I could.
It was a constant effort. My present power is the result of years of that
kind of practice. Whatever there is in my voice to-day of beauty or of
power, I owe it directly to the love I bore my children, and, secondly,
to an indomitable will.' "
"That reminds me of a story Kenneth told the other
day. His father entered a grocery where be was accustomed to deal, and
was approached by a new clerk, apparently fresh from the country: tall,
coarse, rawboned, awkward in every motion, and with a voice like a steam
sawmill. Just at that moment the telephone-bell rang, and the young man
was wanted at the 'phone. His first words were 'Hello, hello, hello!' several
times repeated in his great harsh voice; but instantly his tones changed,
and he began to speak in a soft, gentle, almost sweet voice. The change
was so marked that Mr. Kenneth could not refrain from an exclamation of
astonishment, which was heard by an old clerk, who laughingly remarked: 'O,
Sam's terribly in love, and that's the way he always speaks to his sweetheart;
he's talking to her now over the wire.' "
"Good! God bless the sweetheart and the power of love,
say I! There is hope for that fellow and his voice with such a teacher.
That story illustrates exactly what I meant."
"Yes, that is plain enough now; but there is one thing
that I don't quite see, and that is, how suffering makes any difference.
You see, I am pumping you dry on your specialty. Do you mean that a man
must suffer in order that his voice may be perfected?"
"No, not exactly, Scott; but I do mean that when a
man has suffered, and been patient and true and faithful, that a certain
quality will get into his voice, of richness and tenderness, that can
not come from any other source. I know several speakers who owe their
power of tender pleading, I am sure, to the school of sorrow through which
they have passed. Suffering is a terrible thing, but if, a man will be
a good pupil in God's school of sorrow, what a man be may become when he
"Grandison, you ought to be a preacher, instead of
throwing away your knowledge and gifts on medicine. I am not sure that
I ever heard you try to sing, but I will say that I do not know a more
winsome voice in college than yours-in ordinary conversation, I mean.
It is soft but rich; low but strong; and it constantly follows in flexibility
and modulation the dictates of the thought it so beautifully expresses.
But there goes the bell." And with that Scott ran off, much to the regret
of Grandison, who had started the conversation with but one purpose, that
it might lead up to the meetings and their results, and at last to the
personal question in regard to Scott's own condition spiritually.
Grandison was sad. He felt that he had let an opportunity
slip away from him. But he was mistaken, as men often are when they endeavor
to do good, and think that they have failed. Scott was a man easily influenced.
An impression was made upon him that day, far-reaching in its results.
It was of more value to him than a course in elocution or voice-culture.
He was so impressionable that, almost unconsciously, he bent his will
to his voice. In after years, when he would hear remarks concerning his
persuasive power, he would mentally bless Grandison.
And yet, through all the conversation just reported,
Scott had consciously been playing a part. He perfectly understood the
end towards which his friend was aiming, and it was his secret delight
to keep putting off the solemn question that he knew was not far away.
That he was successful, however, did not seem to add to his joy.
SCOTT escaped the question
that Grandison had in his heart, but he could not escape his spirit. Eyes
and ears and purposes were open in those days, and many a fellow had
a word whispered in his ear at an unexpected time and place, and more
than one word thus dropped was blessed by God.
As the class came out from the last lecture for the
morning, Scott started for his boarding-house with his head down, and
with little thought of any one beyond himself. He was lost in meditation.
Miss Holmes was back of him on her way to her father's residence. They
had often thus gone in the same direction, without apparently noticing
each other. But since the day of the famous railroad "walk" they had been
more familiar, and once or twice had made their journey side by side.
Miss Holmes was especially interested in helping the young man get entirely
and forever out from under his "cap and bells." To-day there was another
purpose for conversation. Increasing her speed, she came up with him.
"I never thought it would have such an effect upon
"Why, Miss Holmes, you startled me a little. I was
far away. How do you do? and what do you mean?"
"I never thought that throwing off your passion for
merriment would have such a remarkable effect upon you. You are as solemn
and sober as the proverbial judge, and thus you have appeared for several
days. Perhaps you have made a mistake in throwing away your 'bells.'
May I help you find them?"
"I am not sure that I have thrown them away, Miss
Holmes. I wish I were certain. But, to tell you the truth, I do not know
what is the matter with me. I am not like myself. I am not myself. But
I am not the only one thus affected. Have you noticed how all the fellows
are under a cloud? Can't you see it on the campus and in the class-room
and everywhere? What is the matter? Some say it is the meetings, but they
are the tamest I ever did see; there is absolutely no excitement. They
lack all the interest that I have been accustomed to in such meetings at
home. In fact, they have seemed almost cold sometimes. And yet this spirit
is connected with the meetings in some way, I will admit; for I can not
keep away from them, as hard as I may try."
"I think you are correct, Mr. Scott. This solemnity
does come from the meetings, and I believe that it is the power of the
Holy Spirit, and not the excitement created by man, that we have all
seen. And that is just the reason I took the liberty to break in upon
your meditations. As we were walking in the same direction, I presumed
that you would not be angry with me if I, one of your companions and
classmates, asked you a simple question, Will you let the Holy Spirit
have his way with you, if he comes to you?"
"Now, Miss Holmes, you are taking an unfair advantage
of me. I worked for fifteen minutes at least this morning to ward off
some such question as that from Grandison. I could see it in his eye. But
he got started on the training of the voice, and I kept him going till
the bell rang, and then I ran away. And, by the way, I did learn a lot
from him, things I never dreamed of before, but that are true as the gospel.
But, after all my struggle this morning, you come up back of me and take
me at a disadvantage. I was not ready for you." There was a pitiful attempt
at fun; but it was dropped immediately, as he continued: "No, of course,
I am not angry. I rather take it as a compliment that you should be interested
at all. But, to tell you the truth, my 'feelings' are not what they often
have been in similar meetings at home. I have often felt that I must begin
the Christian life at once or be lost, and yet I have let the opportunity
pass. I have been all of a tremble and excited beyond measure, but there
is nothing like that now. I am simply gloomy and blue. I wish the old
feeling would come back; I would believe that there was some hope for
me. Yes, I will promise you that if that feeling returns I will let the
Holy Spirit have his way with me. But I fear I have disgusted him, and
that he has gone from me forever. It is a result of my mistaken life!"
"You must not talk that way. You may have made mistakes;
we all have; but you have a future of great usefulness, I am sure. But
I thank you for what you have just said, and I shall pray for you. Good-bye."
"Good-bye, Miss Holmes, and let me thank you for your
As the young woman walked up the steps of her home the young man hurried
away, using his handkerchief upon his nose most vigorously. Scott was
so emotional by nature that it was often difficult for him to control his
tears. If he kept them back from his eyes they were sure to find another
channel for escape.
"What a noble man he would make, with the love of
God and the power of the Holy Spirit in his heart!" mused the lady.
"What a noble, unselfish girl she is! A fellow can
talk with her sensibly; he can admire her, but without any foolish thoughts
coming into his mind. I wish there were more girls like her. I believe
she is interested in every man in college, but there is not one of them
good enough for her. It will be some great and good man who will one day
come and claim her for his own, if there is one great enough and good
enough," mused the man.
Not many words had passed between them, but the result
was cumulative. Miss Holmes was almost an ideal creature to him, hardly
flesh and blood. Any word she might say to him would have its weight;
but, as was so often the case with her, she had uttered just the right
word at the proper time, and she knew when she had said enough.
Scott could not help thinking how perfect was the
voice of this unselfish woman. "I might not have thought so much about
it if it had not been for that conversation with Grandison. I wonder
if she sings. I never heard her,"-a free translation of his thoughts as
he wended his way back to the campus.
AT the meeting on Wednesday
night it was announced that Professor Moran would speak the following
night on "The Sin against the Holy Ghost." This announcement almost took
the breath away from some.
These nightly meetings had been in the hands of the
college Young Men's Christian Association, and some pretty cold material
had been in the lead; not one of the men of prayer who had been responsible
for their inception had been placed in the front. But the little band
kept on praying for conviction, and God continued answering their prayers
and sending more conviction among the students, and he made use of the
material that he had.
On Thursday night the old chapel-hall was full. Some
had been attracted from the town, but not many. Professor Moran was in
his place, and was evidently tremendously moved; but that meant with him
unwonted calmness. His voice was low but rich; he spoke slowly, so that
every one heard; and he spoke impressively, as if he believed every word
he uttered; and every one who heard him was brought under his power. Many
of the fellows hated him, or professed that they did, because he was
so strict in his classes in mathematics; but when he was speaking on
religious themes in public, no one could fail to come under the influence
of his spirit and voice and manner. His prayers were beautiful reveries.
When it was his turn to lead chapel exercises, friends would often gather
from the town just to hear him pray.
It was more the way he said it this night than what
he said. But a brief outline of his remarks can be given.
THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST.
"I. There is an unpardonable
sin. Christ distinctly referred to it. The apostles in their Epistles
more than merely suggested it. David spoke of the great transgression.
"II. It is not perfectly nor fully defined. It is
left somewhat under a cloud. Yet a just distinction is made: 'All kinds
of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven you, but the blasphemy against
the Holy Ghost.'
"III. Men have undoubtedly committed this sin in the
past; men perhaps are committing it now.
"IV. It seems to be a sin of presumption. In the nineteenth
Psalm we read: 'Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let
them not have dominion over me; then shall I be uptight; and I shall be
innocent from the great transgression!' The Epistle to the Hebrews speaks
as if there were no hope for he man who crucifies unto himself the Son
of God afresh; that it, commits the sin of willful apostasy. From these
and similar passages it seems to follow that the sin is one of presuming
upon the Holy Spirit. I know his office, his agency, his power; I know
his presence, his pleading, his purity; I know his will, his law, his
hatred of sin; yet in the face of all this enlightenment, I do what I
know to be evil willfully, presuming that, when I am tired of it or about
to die, I can come to him, and all will be well. That is the presumptuous
sin. It may be committed by one in the Church or out. It is very dangerous
to drive the Spirit away when we are conscious of his pleading. He is here!
Grieve him not!
"Apostasy is different from simple backsliding; the
latter is through weakness or error in judgment, or from carelessness.
The Bible is full of healing for the backslider. The former is a settled
determination, planned beforehand, to go back into the world for a season,
and thus to despite the Holy Spirit. A woman who had an enemy to avenge
herself of, once said to her religion, 'Stay thou there till I avenge
myself of my adversary!' But when she returned she could not find it again.
A man in a certain city, a member of a Christian Church, noted for his
piety, was urged to enter local politics. From that moment he began slipping
away from holy things, until at last he was away from the Church entirely.
When he was asked the reason, he replied: 'My family demand at least three
thousand dollars a year for the kind of support that they desire, and
there is no way for me to obtain it except in the line of local politics,
and, of course, here that means corruption.' He had deliberately, with
malice prepense, turned from Christ to mammon. That man stood in an awful
"V. Perhaps no one knows when he has committed this
sin. Men have affirmed that they had committed it, and evidently believed
it. Men have feared that they had committed it, and were in agony. But
this is a good sign; the Spirit is not far off. When he does desert,
it is probably a saddened going, and the heart is left cold and dead
and unconscious of its loss.
"VI. We are all in danger of committing it. We run
terrible risks. Let us not risk longer May the Holy Spirit come now! May
he make us uncomfortable; may he make us unhappy; may he make us miserable;
may we be unable to sleep to-night, till we accept him! May we yield
You should have seen the professor as he stood there
in quiet dignity; you should have heard the deep pathos of his voice;
you should have noted, the yearning of his attitude! He was like an Old
Testament prophet, clothed upon with the tenderness of the Son of God as
he stood yearning over the wicked city: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often
would I have gathered thy children together as a hen doth gather her brood
beneath her wings, but ye would not." As he invoked misery and unhappiness
upon the impenitent sinner-the spirit of conviction-there were audible
groans from all over the room.
It was a scene of awful conviction. Men fell upon
their faces and cried out; they wept; they forgot themselves, their friends,
and the-so-called proprieties of society.
"Just one word and you are dismissed. Let those who want the prayers
of true Christians, arise! That will do. You are dismissed." Some fifteen
or twenty had arisen.
That scene in the old chapel-hall will never be forgotten
by those who were privileged to be present. It is indelibly burnt into
their memory. It was a feeble earthly suggestion of the day of judgment.
It was undoubtedly the day of judgment on earth to some.
THE little praying band had
been augmented from day to day until by this, Thursday night, they had
become quite a force. As the crowd in the chapel began to separate, little
knots of these men went with those who had risen for prayers, either to
their own rooms, or to the rooms of sympathetic Christians near by, in order
that they might pray with them and also help them.
The Sunrise Club waited for McQuirk and Preston and
one or two others in vain. These delinquent members had entirely forgotten
for the time that there was such an organization, and especially that
there was an engagement for the night. Those who did meet according to
plan were either too angry or too much under conviction themselves to tarry
till the rising of the sun, and most of them went home fairly sober long
Miss Biddle's escort did not appear. She did not go
to the german that night, and she cried herself to sleep; for, though
she was haughty in bearing and manner, she had a tender heart; and though
she would not have published it for the world, that heart had gone out
already in a very tender way to Wilding. To-night, therefore, her tears
were bitter; for he had promised to take her, and he had failed to come.
There could be but one interpretation; for there was no excuse, there
could be none, except paralysis, or unconsciousness, or death. In any other
event he could have sent a message. To forget her would be the worst blow
of all. Better deliberately to cut her than weakly to explain afterward
that he had forgotten! There could be no excuse! Hence her heart was sad,
and it was not the only sad one in that set that night. Some danced, but
without joy or exhilaration. Nothing went right, and all seemed glad when
it became late enough to give excuse for a home-going much earlier than
was customary. The spirit of gloom was in the town, and had reached the
smart set; and there were some heart-searchings there.
A glimpse into Moon's room will be worth while. At
home Moon had been a member of the Church and an active Christian. But
he was one of the men who had gradually yielded to college temptations
till, before he was fully aware of it, he was far out into the world. He
had continued his Christian duties, as is often the case, but in a cold
and formal manner. He now feared that he had committed the great transgression.
As he knelt on the floor in his own room by a chair, he fell into an agony
of supplication. His fist was clenched and his arm uplifted while he cried
aloud for mercy; so loud, indeed, that his anguished voice could be heard
far out on the campus. Those who witnessed the scene will not be likely
to forget it.
Scott had been conducted to a room convenient to the
old chapel, and there, true to his own nature, when in deep emotion, he
wept bitterly, the tears streaming down his cheeks, while he pleaded for
Yes, surely an unwelcome visitor had come to these
But with what joy the angels must have been looking
down; for more than one sinner was repenting! Aye, and with what sorrow;
for some, just as deeply convicted as these, hardened their hearts and
THE world is full of coincidences;
they happen every day. Some can be explained on natural grounds; some
look higher for their solution. Two coincidences, worthy of note, took
place at this time.
Though Scott's parents were ignorant of the ways of
the world and of book knowledge, they were devout people, and were versed
in the things of the Spirit. Their ambition had been centered in Manly
E., their youngest son. They wanted him to do well in a worldly sense;
they wanted him to get along; they desired him to amount, to something,
to take a prominent place among men; but that was not the height of their
ambition. They wished him to be good and noble and true, and, above everything
else, to be a follower of the Lord Jesus they loved and followed so simply.
Hence he was the constant theme of their prayers. But they did not feel
quite satisfied. There was nothing they could actually put their finger
on, and yet, when the boy came home, they did not feel as happy as they
thought they would. There was always a sense of disappointment. He was
ever kind and thoughtful and even loving in his attentions; but they
missed something, and they missed it more and more; for he had been away
from home nearly three years now, having spent two years in the preparatory
school. The truth was, they were perplexed. College was having a bad effect
upon him, and what to do they did not know. But as goodness was to be
desired more than simple worldly wisdom, they had determined to take him
away from the college influences that were making him so flippant in holy
This decision had been reached on the Day of Prayer
for Colleges. All the week they had become more and more oppressed and
burdened. Just one week later they met together in their bedchamber to
take their boy to a Throne of Grace. Both of them were strangely moved,
and prayed till their only thoughts were of God and their dear boy and
his great need. Thus they continued till far into the night.
At length the old father rose to his feet almost exhausted,
but with face illuminated with radiant joy, exclaiming, "Mother, I've
got it, I've got it!"
"Got what, father? Nothing serious, I can see by your
looks. Got what?"
"Got the answer, got the assurance. It's all right;
Manly is saved; he's saved, mother. I tell you he is saved! Glory to
God in the highest!"
And with that he rushed towards her, and threw his
arms about her neck. She caught the feeling with the contact, and there
they stood alone in the presence of God, weeping for joy. Joy on account
of what? Had a message arrived? a letter? a telegram? Conveying the news
that made them rejoice? Aye, a telegraphic dispatch had come, a wireless
message, by way of the Throne of God; a message of joy and peace.
MOON'S father was a minister
of the gospel in another State. On the night that was fraught with great
interest to many at Darnforth, he was holding his weekly prayer-meeting,
which in that part of the State was a Thursday-night institution, after
an ancient custom. About half way through the service, which had been
rather dull and sleepy-as prayer-meetings sometimes are when there is nothing
special to arouse the people, weary from their day of hard work-he arose
with a look of intensity and earnestness on his face that made every one
in the house sit up, as much as to say, "It is now time to wake up!" Several
rubbed their eyes, and said to themselves, "Something's a-coming now."
"Brethren, I feel strangely moved. I am concerned
about my boy. You know him. You know that he was a Christian. But college
and its influences have gradually drawn him away until at last he has
acknowledged to me in a letter that he has lost that which once he possessed,
and now is adrift. He does not know exactly how it happened. It was not
in my mind when I came here, but it has thrust itself terribly upon me
since coming. For the last few moments the words have been ringing in
my ear: 'Frank must be saved! Frank must be saved!' For the sake of the
love you bear me, and for the sake of that precious soul, will you not
join me in prayer for this dear boy?"
Then he called upon one after another of the praying
men, and one or two of the old mothers of the congregation, and at last
he lifted up his own soul in an exalted prayer for the boy of his love;
not forgetting other boys and the girls who were away from the protecting
influences of home, and especially for all those who were open to the
terrible temptations of college life.
After his prayer he stood tip, and requested the company
to join him in singing, "Praise God, from whom all blessings flow." While
they were singing the beautiful doxology, there came over the good minister
a sense of calmness and peace. He dismissed the congregation, and they
departed under great emotion.
Little passed between Mr. Moon and his wife on their
way home, but both were thinking. At last he said: "Do you know I believe
it is all right with our Frank? It seemed to me while I was praying at
the church to-night that for the first time I could take hold of that
passage, Mark xi, 24: 'Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray, believe
that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.' It seemed to me that I could
feel myself believing and taking hold, and it has been growing stronger
ever since. I expect to hear that our boy is saved, and that he was saved
The mother was a little incredulous at first, and
she endeavored to present arguments that would weaken the father; but
soon she yielded, and acknowledged that there had come over her likewise
a feeling of joy that she could account for in no other way.
"And more, I believe the boy will be called to preach,
and that he will be a choice vessel for the Master's use."
"May God grant it!" fervently echoed the mother.
There was not much sleep for their eyelids that night.
Their joy was too full to permit it.
Call it telepathy or what you will, there is a way
from heart to heart, by way of the Throne of God. He who sits upon the
throne of the universe loves his children well, and hears their cry; and
often, knowing what their prayer is going to be in the future, he sets
his providences in motion that bring the answer to the prayer at the
time it is offered. Prayer is the long arm that takes hold on God. Thus
had God been preparing during the whole week, at Danforth college, to
answer these and other prayers.
The next weeks at college are important ones.