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that part of the continent of Asia which is generally known as Asia Minor. He not only confined himself, in preaching the Gospel, to countries within these limits, but he repeatedly visited the churches he had founded there to confirm them in the faith. It is evident that so far as his own purposes were concerned, he contemplated no other sphere of labour, * and it was for this work that he took Timothy with him. But God had another sphere for His servant which he neither sought himself nor anticipated. As the apostle proceeded to extend the work in these Asiatic countries, intimations (we know not of what nature) were given by the Spirit "forbidding" him. While they were at Troas, apparently awaiting further direction, there appeared to Paul by night the vision of the man of Macedonia, beseeching him to come over and help them. “ And straightway,” the historian adds, “we sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding thai God had called us for to preach the Gospel unto them.”

* See Acts, xv. 36-41.

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We, of course, are not in the present day to look for supernatural intimations to direct us in our work for God; yet it is none the less certain that every one who seeks the guidance of the Spirit of Christ, and is sincerely desirous of following God's will and not his own judgment, will always find indications sufficient to direct him. We are assured by our Divine Lord that He will be ever present with His Church in its work even to the end of the world; and this implies that we shall now be as surely guided in that work as the first apostles were ; and though the intimations given by what we call “ the leadings of God's Providence” may be less distinct, and may require more wisdom and more faith to interpret them, they come no less certainly from God. The true rule of consistency and steadfastness in my work for God is given me by Solomon, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths” (Prov. iii. 5, 6).

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CHAPTER XIV.

WORK AND PRAYER.

It has been said by one of old, and, without doubt, the saying contains a very deep and precious truth, Qui laborat orat. And yet the converse of this is truer still ; and in an age of much external activity, it is far more necessary for us to be reminded that Qui orat laborat : that “Prayer is itself work for God.And by prayer I mean here that of which St. Paul speaks (Phil. iv. 6), “In everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God.”

There may, indeed, often be very real prayer in the spirit - what the Psalmist calls being silent upon God—without the understanding forming the desires into any form of speech or even of thought. If the counsel to “pray without ceasing” is to be understood literally, it must be in the sense of the inward spirit of prayer pervading the whole life ; and undoubtedly the description that St. Paul gives us of the Spirit aiding our infirmities when we know not how to pray as we ought, confirms the view of His specially interceding for us in those inner desires and feelings which we ourselves do not and cannot express.

But when it is said, as it is by some writers on the spiritual life, that he prays best who is unconscious that he prays, this certainly is to be wise “above that which is written." The Book of Psalms, which is given by the Holy Ghost as a guide and standard for the soul's communion with God, certainly teaches us that “calling upon God," " pouring out our soul to God,” is the normal condition of prayer, and that by which we ought to draw near to the throne of grace. It is of such prayer that Holy Scripture gives us instances for our guidance and encouragement, and to this the special promises of God's answering prayer are given :

Ask and it shall be given you ;" which is repeated in other words, “ For everyone that asketh

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receiveth ;” as much as to say,

“ Ye have not because ye ask not.” The relation of prayer to

my work for God," which makes it a very part of that work, is twofold : viz., as being the means of obtaining on the one hand for myself grace, wisdom, and strength for the work, and on the other God's blessing on the work itself. But that which applies equally to all prayer, whatever be its immediate object, is that its very life and all its power lie in the assurance that it will be answered ; not indeed in my way, but in God's, which is far better. The reason that my prayers are often so feeble and ineffectual, at times like words scattered to the winds, is, first, that I have not definitely before my mind what my work for God is ; then that I do not believe with all my heart that God will give, in answer to my prayer, all that I need for its fulfilment. The careful consideration of this question, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? is thus of the utmost importance, in order that I may be constant and earnest in prayer, and therefore also

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