Some Sense From the Nineteenth Century

Today I want to give you an extended quotation from Christ Is All in “Profiles in Reformed Spirituality”.  It is an examination of the piety of Horatius Bonar.  Here quoting from an article entitled “Do You Go to the Prayer Meeting?” in Kelso Tracts Bonar writes,


“Reader, is there a prayer-meeting in your neighbourhood?  If there is, do you attend it?  If you do not, have you good reasons for staying away?  Perhaps there is one just by your door, or at least within a few minutes’ walk of your dwelling.  Do you go to it?  I have known people to walk many miles every week to a prayer-meeting.  The do not grudge the distance.  The way seemed short and pleasant.  No wonder.  They were in earnest about their souls!  And if you neglect or despise such meetings, it is to be feared that you are altogether unconcerned about eternity and the kingdom to come.  If you are thirsty for the water of life, you would be glad of such opportunities of drawing it out of the wells of salvation.

                I ask then again, do you attend the prayer-meeting?  If not, what are your reasons?  If they are good reasons, you need not be ashamed of them either before God or man, and they will serve you before the judgment seat of Christ.  If they are not, the sooner you give them up the better.  Very soon the last sermon will be done, the last Sabbath will close, the last prayer-meeting will be over, the last message of salvation delivered, the last warning sounded, and the last invitation given!  Then, what bitter regret and agonizing remorse!  What will you think of your excuses then?  Oh, you will give the wealth of worlds for another prayer-meeting, another day of hope.  No more making light of such precious opportunities, nor scoffing at those who prized them!  The follies and vanities of earth are all over then; and invisible realities are seen to be all in all.

                Will the memories of your days and scenes of pleasure or sin be soothing to your soul when they have passed away like a vision of the night?  Will the remembered hours of carnal levity, the idle word, the thoughtless jest, the gay smiles of companionship, the halls of gaiety, or the haunts of sin ( all of which you once preferred to the prayer-meeting), will these breathe comfort to your dying soul, or bear you up when giving in your account before the judge of all?   Laughter will then be exchanged for burning tears; nights of harmless merriment for ages of endless woe.  Oh, waste not then the  precious hour – one precious moment!  Thy eternity may hang upon it!  It may soon be too late to think of prayer.  Up, sleeper, up!  Turn, sinner, turn!  They days are but an handbreadth; flee! Oh, flee from the wrath to come.” (Christ Is All, The Piety of Horatius Bonar, Michael A. G. Haykin & Darrin R. Brooker, Reformation Heritage Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2007)

                It takes a Nineteenth Century man to call us back to a secure place of refuge.  The Lord has been laying on my heart a burden for increasing prayerfulness in my life.  This is the way forward in discipleship for God’s people.