WITH FEARLESS FAITH.
The Alpine climber who is trying to reach a summit can "on the upward path" scarcely see his goal except at certain fortunate moments. What he does see is the stony path that must be trodden, the rocks and precipices to be avoided, the unending slope that gets ever steeper; he feels the growing weakness, the solitude and the burden; and yet the inspiration of the climber is the sight of the goal! Because of it all the hardships of the journey count for naught. The evangelization of the Moslem world is a task so great, so difficult and so discouraging at times that only the upward look can reassure the climbers. The evangelization of that world is not a phrase to be bandied about easily; it is a deep life-purpose, a work of faith, a labour of love, a patience of hope-long deferred but undying.
The present world conflict, both in its fundamental causes in the progress of events, and in its final issues, deeply concerns those who are labouring and praying for Moslems. There is, therefore, a special need and a special call for prayer.
We need first of all to pray for ourselves and for
the churches of Christendom, lest our faith fail and our fears triumph-lest we confound loyalty to a flag with loyalty to Christ, and so confuse issues and the results of the war in the Near East. We need to ask first of all that every one of us may be delivered from fear, from timidity. This has been one of the chief hindrances in the evangelization of Moslem lands. Mr. H. G. Wells, in his story The Research Magnificent, says that the struggle with fear is the very beginning of the soul's history. "Fear," he writes, "is the foremost and most persistent of the shepherding powers that keep us in the safe fold, that drive us back to the beaten tracks and comfort and futility. The beginning of all aristocracy is the subjugation of fear. . . The modern world thinks too much as though painlessness and freedom from danger were ultimate ends. It is fear-haunted, it is troubled by the thought of pain and death, which it has never met except as well-guarded children meet these things, in exaggerated and untestable forms, in the menagerie or in nightmares. And so it thinks the discovery of anaesthetics the crowning triumph of civilization, and cosiness and innocent amusement-those ideals of the nursery-the whole purpose of mankind." This, however, was written before the war, and its Pentecost of heroism. Do we still need the message ?
Fear on the part of a Christian is a denial of God. What kind of a God have we if He is not able to save us from those fears that cripple our lives and
thwart our purposes, or make us diffident to under-take the enterprise of faith?
We must intercede for those lands where the door of access to Moslems was open before the war, and where it has not been closed in any way. Among these we may mention India, China, Malaysia and Egypt, together embracing more than one half of the entire Moslem world. The effect of the war in these lands has not been felt directly and on economic lines, but intellectually and spiritually hearts have been stirred and awakened. Never has there been so great a demand for the Word of God nor has Christian literature been more widely circulated. The very fact that Moslems have proved loyal to the British Government should make us loyal to our King in declaring to them the message of His peace and pardon and eternal happiness through His love.
There is an urgent need, also, for intercession that lands and hearts hitherto closed may be widely opened after the war. No one can be blind to the fact that the events which have transpired in Turkey, Palestine and Arabia must have a deep significance for the future of the Kingdom. If the blood of the martyrs is still the seed of the Church, what a glorious harvest we may expect on the holy fields of Armenia and northern Persia where so many were massacred. In the new kingdom of Hedjaz, in the highway from Assyria to Egypt, in the new civilization that has come to Mesopotamia, we can already see something of the
fulfilment of the glorious prophecy in the 72nd Psalm and the 60th chapter of Isaiah. To read these chapters in the light of the present war is to strengthen our faith and to deepen our purpose.
Such fields as Arabia, Palestine, Asia Minor, Syria, and Persia, which were terribly under-manned before the war broke out, will make a new appeal of supreme urgency when the period of reconstruction begins. We will then face needs that are appalling in their extent and deep beyond measure in their pathos. Where the Armenian martyr Church has shed its blood, is now holy ground; and because of the sacrifice there will be unprecedented opportunities for the practical manifestation of the love of Christ to Moslems in social and spiritual service. In addition to all this there are the unoccupied provinces of the Near East and of Central Asia - a challenge for the venture of faith.
For the unoccupied fields we need men of the highest type, real pioneers, such as Charles G. Gordon once described in a letter to his sister written from Khartum, "Where will you find an apostle? I will explain what I mean by that term. He must be a man who has died entirely to the world; who has no ties of any sort, who longs for death when it may please God to take him; who can bear the intense dullness of these countries; who seeks for few letters; and who can bear the thought of dying deserted. Now there are few, very, very few men who can accept this post. But no half-measure will do... A man must give up everything, under-
stand everything, everything, to do anything for Christ here. No half nor three-quarter measures will do. And yet, what a field!
"PRAY YE THEREFORE THE LORD OF THE HARVEST, THAT HE WOULD SEND FORTH LABOURERS INTO HIS HARVEST."
Almighty God, our Heavenly Father, who hast made of one blood all nations, and hast promised that many shall come from the East and sit down with Abraham in thy Kingdom We pray for thy two hundred million prodigal children in Moslem lands who are still afar off, that they may be brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Look upon them in pity, because they are ignorant of thy truth.
Take away pride of intellect and blindness of heart, and reveal to them the surpassing beauty and power of thy Son Jesus Christ. Convince them of their sin in rejecting the atonement of the only Saviour. Give moral courage to those who love thee, that they may boldly confess thy name.
Hasten the day of perfect freedom in Turkey, Arabia, Persia, and Afghanistan. Make thy people willing in this new day of opportunity in China, India, and Egypt. Send forth reapers where the harvest is ripe, and faithful plowmen to break furrows in lands still neglected. May the pagan tribes of Africa and Malaysia not fall a prey to Islam, but be won for Christ. Bless the ministry of healing in every hospital, and the ministry of love at every mission station. May all Moslem children in mission schools be led to Christ and accept him as their personal Saviour.
Strengthen converts, restore backsliders, and give all those who labour among Mohammedans the tenderness of Christ. So that bruised reeds may become pillars of his church and smoking flaxwicks burning and shining lights. Make bare thine arm, O God, and show thy power. All our expectation is from thee.
Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son in the Mohammedan world, and fulfil through him the prayer of Abraham thy friend, "Oh, that Ishmael might live before thee." For Jesus' sake. Amen.
VARIOUS RENDERINGS OF 2 COR. ix. 8.
"God is able to make all grace abound unto you; that ye, having always all sufficiency in everything, may abound unto every good work." - R.V.
God is able to make every grace overflow in you, so that in everything and at all times, possessing complete content, you may prosper in every benevolent work."-Farrar Feneon.
And God is able to give you an overflowing measure of all good gifts, that all your wants of every kind may be supplied at all times, and you may give of your abundance to every work."-Conybeare and Howson.
"And God is able to bestow every blessing on you in abundance, so that richly enjoying all sufficiency, at all times, you may have ample means for all good works."- Weymouth.
"God is able to bless you with ample means, so that you may always have quite enough for any emergency of your own, and ample besides for any kind act to others."- Moffat.
"God has power to cause every kind of favour to superabound unto you, in order that in everything, at every time, having every sort of sufficiency of your own, ye may be superabounding unto every good work. "- Rotherham.
God has power to shower all kinds of blessings upon you, so that having, under all circumstances, and on all occasions, all that you can need, you may be able to shower all kinds of benefits upon others."- Twentieth Century New Testament.
"ASK, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE."
"SEEK, AND YE SHALL FIND."
"KNOCK, AND IT SHALL BE OPENED."
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