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Christian Prayers

Christian Prayers

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY THOMAS GUTHRIE, D. D.,

They continued steadfastly .... in prayers." — Acts ii. 42.
BY THOMAS GUTHRIE, D. D.,

They continued steadfastly .... in prayers." — Acts ii. 42.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 31, 2014
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CHRISTIA PRAYERSBY THOMAS GUTHRIE, D. D., They continued steadfastly .... in prayers." — Acts ii. 42. The water is purest at its fountain among the moun- tains, where it gushes cold from the rock, or bubbles up at the mossy spring ; the nearer to the source the clearer is the stream. By every mile it rolls, it grows in volume ; till the streamlet which a child could leap, fed by many tributaries, has swollen into a broad river, on whose bosom, as it nears the sea, fishermen shoot their nets, and the ships of nations ride. But what the water has acquired in depth and breadth, it has lost in purity j growing the muddier, the further it goes. How like to what happens in Churches ; — which as they become larger, usually become more loose in doctrine and more lax in discipline. With an increase of numbers, they often present such an in- crease of corruptions, that to find the purest days of many a sect, we must turn our steps backward to the period of its rise. In some respects this is true even of the Christian Church. When young in years and small in numbers, and poor in point of wealth, what love, unity, purity, and peace, dwelt within her walls ! Since then how have these walls been shaken by the violence, and filled (201) 208 THE CHRISTIA S PRAYERS.
 
with the din of controversies ! Here one sect carrying on fierce war against another ; and there intestine wars  — two parties contending within the same body, and more like wolves than sheep, worrying, " biting, and devouring " one another. Suppose an inhabitant of another sphere to alight on this one! He sees the Church of Christ rent into jealous, envious, angry, hostile factions ; and finds them, instead of presenting one bold front to the common enemy, burying their swords in each other's bosoms. How difficult it were for him to believe that they were subjects of one King ; had a common faith, a common cross, a common Bible, a common hope, a common heaven ; and that the choicest title of their Sovereign was not the god of war, but the Prince of Peace. Once the heathens said, See how these Christians love one another ! They say it no more. And we cannot contrast what the Church is now, and has been for bygone ages, with the purity and peace of her early days, without being ready to cry, How are the mighty fallen ; the weapons of war how are they perished ! — How is the gold be- come dim, how is the most fine told changed ! What a picture of Christian unity, love, self-denial, mutual affection, devotedness to each other's welfare, and to the great interests of Messiah's kingdom, is offered to our admiration in the verses that follow the text — in that community of goods which sanguine poli' ticians have often dreamed of, but Christians only have ever attained to ! In those days the Church of Christ was like one large, loving family, to whose common treasury each member brought his wealth and wages.
 
THE CHRISTIAAS PRAYERS. 209 obody was immensely rich. ; and none were miserably poor. Riches and rags, splendour and squalidness, did not stand in incongruous conjunction ; and worship, as I have seen them, under the same roof, or sit side by side at the same communion-table. As all the rivers of the earth pour their waters into one sea, and all the roots of a tree convey their nourishment to one stem, and all the veins of the body empty themselves into one heart, from which the tide of blood, borne along the bounding arteries, is sent forth again to be dis- tributed to every member according to its needs — so was it in primitive times with the wealth of those who constituted the Church, the body of Christ. What states have been in name, it was in fact — a common- wealth ; and the only one the world ever saw. The people lived for Christ ; regarding their possessions as his, not their own. They judged that as a man who buys land, buys all belonging to it — the trees that grow on its surface, and the minerals that lie in its bowels — so, when Christ bought them with his blood, with them he bought all that was theirs. They felt that if Christ gave his life for the poorest saints, they could not do less than share their " means and sub- stance " with them ; and so, as we are told — They who believed were together, and had all things in. common, and sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. There was no command laid on them to do so ; nor does any command lie on us to imitate their example in this matter. Such a practice would now be as un- desirable, as it is impracticable. Still, though their 210

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