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The Life Of Jesus Christ For The Young by John Newton

THE APOSTLES CHOSEN

As soon as he returned victorious from the temptation in the wilderness, Jesus entered on the work of his public ministry. We find him, at once, preaching to the people, healing the sick, and doing many wonderful works. The commencement of his ministry is thus described by St. Matt. iv: 23-25. |And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease among the people. And his fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.| What a blessed beginning of the most blessed of all ministries this was! He came to bless our world. He did bless it, as no one else could have done. And here, we see, how he entered on his work.

And one of the first things he did, after thus beginning his ministry, was to gather his disciples round him. The first two that we find named among his disciples are John and Andrew. They had been disciples of John the Baptist. Their master pointed them to Jesus, and said -- |Behold the Lamb of God.| When they heard this they followed Jesus, and became his disciples. When Andrew met with his brother Simon Peter, he said to him |we have found the Messias -- the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus.| After this we are told that |Jesus findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me.| He was an acquaintance of Andrew and Peter, and lived in the same town with them. He obeyed the call at once and became one of the disciples of Jesus.

Philip had a friend named Nathanael. The next time he met him, he said, |we have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.| But Nazareth was a despised place, and had a bad reputation. Nathanael had a very poor opinion of the place, and he asked -- |Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?| Philip saith unto him -- |Come and see.|

And this is what we should say to persons when we wish them to become Christians. There is so much that is lovely and excellent in Jesus that if people will only |come and see,| if they will only prove for themselves what a glorious Saviour he is, they will find it impossible to help loving and serving him. Nathanael came to Jesus. And when he heard the wonderful words that Jesus spoke to him he was converted at once, and expressed his wonder by saying -- |Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.| We can read all about this in John i: 43-51. Nathanael became a disciple of Jesus, and one of the twelve apostles, and is supposed to be the same one who bears the name of Bartholomew in the different lists of the apostles.

After this we read of Jesus calling Matthew the publican, who was a tax-gatherer. This is what is meant by his |sitting at the receipt of custom.| |Follow me,| were the words spoken to him. He obeyed at once; left all and followed Jesus. St. Luke and St. Mark mention this same call, but they give the name of Levi to the person thus called. This is not strange, for it was common among the Jews for persons to have two names. Sometimes they were called by one of these names and sometimes by the other.

Here we have the account of six persons, who became disciples of Jesus; and of the different ways in which they were led to follow him. No doubt many others were led to become his disciples from simply hearing him preach; and from listening to the gracious words that he spoke.

And very soon after he had gathered together a large company of disciples, he made choice of twelve, out of this number, who were to be his apostles. He wished these men to be with him all the time. They were to hear his teaching, and see his miracles, and so be prepared to take his place, and carry on his work when he should return to heaven.

It was necessary for these men to be chosen. When Washington was appointed to conduct our armies during the Revolution, he chose a number of generals to help him. And it is natural for us to think of Washington and his generals. But just as natural it is to think of -- Jesus and his apostles.

And this is the subject we have now to consider -- The Apostles Chosen.

And in considering this subject there are four things of which to speak.

The first, is the condition and character of the men whom Jesus chose as his apostles.

The second, is the work these men were called to do.

The third, is the help that was given them in doing this work; and

The fourth, is the lesson taught us by this subject. Or, to make the points of the subject as short as possible, we may state them thus:

The men. The work. The help. The lesson.

We begin then with speaking of -- THE MEN -- or the condition and character of those whom Jesus chose to be his apostles or helpers.

Now we might have thought that Jesus would have chosen his apostles, or helpers, from among the angels of heaven. They are so wise, and good, and strong, that we wonder why he did not choose them. But he did not. He chose men to be his apostles. And what kind of men did he choose? If we had been asked this question beforehand, we should have supposed that he would certainly have chosen the wisest and the most learned men, the richest and greatest men that could be found in the world. But it was not so. Instead of this he chose poor men, unlearned men, men that were not famous at all; and who had not been heard of before. Fishermen, and tax-gatherers, and men occupying very humble positions in life, were those whom Jesus chose to be his apostles.

And one reason, no doubt, why Jesus made choice of men of this character to be his apostles was that when their work was done, no one should be able to say that it was the learning, or wisdom, or riches, or power of men by whom that work was accomplished. The apostle Paul teaches us that this is the way in which God generally acts; and that he does it for the very reason just spoken of. He says, |God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought the things that are; that no flesh should glory in his presence.| I. Cor. i: 27-29. The meaning of this passage is that God loves to work by little things. This was the reason why Jesus chose poor, unlearned fishermen to be his apostles. And we see God working in the same way continually.

Look at yonder sun. God made it, and hung it up there in the sky that it might give light to our world. But the light which this sun gives comes to us in tiny little bits, smaller than the point of the finest needle that ever was made. They are so small that hundreds of them can rush right into our eyes, as they are doing all the time, and not hurt them the least. Here we see how God makes use of little things, and does a great work with them.

And then look at yonder ocean. The waves of that ocean are so powerful that they can break in pieces the strongest ships that men have ever built. And yet, when God wishes to keep that mighty ocean in its place, he makes use of little grains of sand for this purpose. Here again we see how God employs little things, and does a great work with them. And we find God working in this way continually. Let us look at one or two illustrations.

|What a Plant Did.| A little plant was given to a sick girl. In trying to take care of it, the family made changes in their way of living, which added greatly to their comfort and happiness. First, they cleaned the window, that more light might come in to the leaves of the plant. Then, when not too cold, they opened the window, that fresh air might help the plant to grow; and this did the family good, as well as the plant. Next the clean window made the rest of the room look so untidy that they washed the floor, and cleaned the walls, and arranged the furniture more neatly. This led the father of the family to mend a broken chair or two, which kept him at home several evenings. After this, he took to staying at home with his family in the evenings, instead of spending his time at the tavern; and the money thus saved went to buy comforts for them all. And then, as their home grew more pleasant, the whole family loved it better than ever before, and they grew healthier and happier with their flowers. What a little thing that plant was, and yet it was God's apostle to that family! It did a great work for them in blessing them and making them happy. And that was work that an angel would have been glad to do.

|Brought In by a Smile.| A London minister said to a friend one day; |Seven persons were received into my church last Sunday, and they were all brought in by a smile.|

|Brought in by a smile! Pray what do you mean?|

|Let me explain. Several months ago, as I passed a certain house on my way to church, I saw, held in the arms of its nurse, a beautiful infant; and as it fixed its bright black eyes on me, I smiled, and the dear child returned the smile. The next Sabbath the babe was again before the window. Again I smiled, and the smile was returned, as before. The third Sabbath, as I passed by the window, I threw the little one a kiss. Instantly its hand was extended and a kiss thrown back to me. And so it came to pass that I learned to watch for the baby on my way to church; and as the weeks went by, I noticed that the nurse and the baby were not alone. Other members of the family pressed to the window to see the gentleman who always had a smile for the dear baby -- the household pet.

|One Sunday morning, as I passed, two children, a boy and a girl, stood at the window beside the baby. That morning the father and mother had said to those children: 'Get ready for church, for we think that the gentleman who always smiles to the baby is a minister. When he passes you may follow him, and see where he preaches.'

|The children were quite willing to follow the suggestion of their parents, and after I had passed, the door opened, and the children stepped upon the pavement, and kept near me, till I entered my church, when they followed me, and seats were given them.

|When they returned home, they sought their parents and eagerly exclaimed: 'He is a minister, and we have found his church, and he preached a beautiful sermon this morning. You must go and hear him next Sunday.'

|It was not difficult to persuade the parents to go, and guided by their children they found their way to the church. They, too, were pleased, and other members of the family were induced to come to the house of God. God blessed what they heard to the good of their souls, and seven members of this family have been led to become Christians, and join the church, and, I repeat what I said before: 'they were all brought in by a smile.'|

What a little thing a smile is! And yet, here we see how God made use of so small a thing as this, to make seven persons Christians, and to save their souls forever! Of the God who can work in this way, it may well be said that he loves to work by little things. It is the way in which he is working continually.

How eagerly, then, we may try to learn and to practise what has been very sweetly expressed in

THE MITE SONG.

|Only a drop in the bucket,
But every drop will tell,
The bucket would soon be empty,
Without the drops in the well.

|Only a poor little penny,
It was all I had to give;
But as pennies make the dollars,
It may help some cause to live.

|A few little bits of ribbon,
And some toys -- they were not new,
But they made the sick child happy,
And that made me happy, too.

|Only some out-grown garments;
They were all I had to spare;
But they'll help to clothe the needy,
And the poor are everywhere.

|A word now and then of comfort,
That cost me nothing to say;
But the poor old man died happy,
And it helped him on the way.

|God loveth the cheerful giver,
Though the gifts be poor and small;
But what must he think of his children
Who never give at all?|

God loves to work by little means. We see this when we think of the men whom Jesus chose to be his apostles. The first thing about this subject is -- the men.

The second thing to speak of, in connection with this subject, is -- THE WORK -- they had to do.

What this work was we find fully stated in the fourteenth chapter of St. Matthew. In this chapter Jesus told the apostles all about the work they were to do for him, and how they were to do it. In the seventh and eighth verses of this chapter we have distinctly stated just what they were to do. |As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand; Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils.|

On this occasion Jesus sent his apostles to do the work committed to them, not among the Gentiles, but only among the Jews; or as he calls them -- |the lost sheep of the house of Israel,| v.5,6. But, after his resurrection, and just before he went up to heaven, he enlarged their commission. His parting command to them then was -- |Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.| St. Mark xvi: 15.

When Jesus, their Master, went to heaven they were to take up and carry on the great work that he had begun. Those twelve men were to begin the work of changing the religion of the world. They were to overturn the idols that had been worshiped for ages. They were to shut up the temples in which those idols had been worshiped. They were to |turn men from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.| Acts xxvi: 18. They were to go up and down the world, everywhere, telling the wondrous story of Jesus and his love. And in doing this work they were to be the means of saving the souls of all who believed their message, and in the end of winning the world back to Jesus, till, according to God's promise, he has |the heathen for his inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for his possession.| Ps. ii: 8.

This was the grandest and most important work that men were ever called upon to do. The apostles spent their lives in doing this work; and then they left it for others to carry on. The work is not finished yet. And, if we learn to love and serve Jesus, we may help to carry it on. We may be apostles, too, though in a lower sense than that in which the first twelve were apostles. An apostle means -- one sent. But Jesus sends into the vineyard to work for him all who become his loving children. And, in this sense it is true that all who love and serve Jesus are his apostles. He says to each of us -- |Go, work to-day, in my vineyard.| St. Matt, xxi: 28. And in another place he says -- |Let him that heareth, say, Come.| Rev. xxii: 17.

And when we are trying to tell people of Jesus and his love, and to bring them to him, then we are helping to carry on the same great work that Jesus gave his apostles to do. Let us look at some examples of persons who have been apostles for God and helped to do the work of apostles.

|Aunt Lucy.| I heard the other day of a good old woman in the State of Michigan, known as Aunt Lucy. She is eighty-four years old, and lives all alone, supporting herself principally by carpet-weaving. All that she can save from her earnings, after paying for her necessary expenses, she spends in buying Bibles, which she distributes among the children and the poor of the neighborhood. Thirteen large family Bibles, and fifty small ones, have thus been given away -- good, well-bound Bibles.

A neighbor, who has watched this good work very closely, says that two-thirds of the persons to whom Aunt Lucy has given Bibles have afterwards become Christians. In doing this work Aunt Lucy was an apostle.

|The Charcoal Carrier.| One Sunday afternoon, in summer, a little girl named Mary, going home from a Sunday-school in the country, sat down to rest under the shade of a tree by the roadside. While sitting there she opened her Bible to read. As she sat reading, a man, well known in that neighborhood as Jacob, the charcoal carrier, came by with his donkey. Jacob used to work in the woods, making charcoal, which he carried away in sacks on his donkey's back, and sold. He was not a Christian man, and was accustomed to work with his donkey as hard on Sunday as on week-days.

When he came by where Mary was sitting, he stopped a moment, and said, in a good-natured way:

|What book is that you are reading, my little maid?|

|It is God's book -- the Bible,| said Mary.

|Let me hear you read a little in it, if you please,| said he, stopping his donkey.

Mary began at the place where the book was open, and read: -- |Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work.|

|There, that's enough,| said Jacob, |and now tell me what it means.|

|It means,| said Mary, |that you mustn't carry charcoal, on Sunday, nor let your donkey carry it.|

|Does it?| said Jacob, musing a little. |I tell you what then, I must think over what you have said.|

And he did think over it. And the result of his thinking was, that instead of going with his donkey to the woods on the next Sunday, he went with his two little girls to the Sunday-school. And the end of it all was that Jacob, the charcoal carrier, became a Christian, and God's blessing rested on him and his family.

Little Mary was doing an apostle's work when she read and explained the Bible to Jacob and was the means of bringing him to Jesus.

|The Use of Fragments.| In the Cathedral at Lincoln, England, there is a window of stained glass which was made by an apprentice out of little pieces of glass that had been thrown aside by his master as useless. It is said to be the most beautiful window in the Cathedral. And if, like this apprentice, we carefully gather up, and improve the little bits of time, of knowledge, and of opportunities that we have, we may do work for God more beautiful than that Cathedral window. We may do work like that which the apostles were sent to do. Here are some sweet lines, written by I know not whom, about that beautiful window, made out of the little pieces of glass:

|Great things are made of fragments small,
Small things are germs of great;
And, of earth's stately temples, all
To fragments owe their weight.

|This window, peer of all the rest,
Of fragments small is wrought;
Of fragments that the artist deemed
Unworthy of his thought.

|And thus may we, of little things,
Kind words and gentle deeds,
Add wealth or beauty to our lives,
Which greater acts exceeds.

|Each victory o'er a sinful thought,
Each action, true and pure,
Is, 'mid our life's engraving, wrought
In tints that shall endure.|

The second thing about the apostles is, the work -- they did.

The third thing, for us to notice about the apostles, is -- THE HELP -- they received.

In one place, we are told that Jesus |gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease.| St. Matt. x: 1. In another place we are told, that for their comfort and encouragement in the great work they had to do, Jesus said to them, |Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.| St. Matt. xxviii: 20. And if they only had Jesus with them, no matter what the work was they had to do, they would be sure of having all the help they might need. The apostle Paul understood this very well, for he said, |I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.| Phil. iv: 13.

And then, as if his own presence with them were not enough, Jesus promised that his apostles should have the help of the Holy Spirit in carrying on their work. Just before leaving them to go to heaven, he said to the disciples -- |Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.| Acts i: 8. And what this power was we see in the case of the apostle Peter; for the first sermon he preached after the Holy Ghost came upon him, on the day of Pentecost, was the means of converting three thousand souls. Acts ii: 41.

And the same God who gave the apostles all the help they needed, has promised to do the same for you, and me, and for all who try to work for him. There are many promises of this kind in the Bible to which I might refer. But I will only mention one. This is so sweet and precious that it deserves to be written in letters of gold. There is no passage in the Bible that has given me so much comfort and encouragement in trying to work for God as this I refer here to Is. xli: 10. |Fear thou not; for I am with thee; be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea -- I WILL HELP THEE.| This promise was not given for prophets and apostles only, but for all God's people to the end of time. You and I, if we are trying to serve God, may take it as ours. God meant it for us. And when we get this promised help from God, we can do any work he has for us to do, and be happy in doing it.

|For Thine is the Power.| |I can't do it -- it's quite impossible. I've tried five times, and can't get it right| -- and Ben Hartley pushed his book and slate away in despair. Ben was a good scholar. He was at the head of his class, and was very anxious to stay there. But the sums he had now to do were very hard. He could not do them, and was afraid of losing his place in the class. Most of the boys had some one at home to help them; but Ben had no one. His father was dead, and his mother, though a good Christian woman, had not been to school much when a girl, and she could not help Ben.

Mrs. Hartley felt sorry for her son's perplexity, and quietly said, |Then, Ben, you don't believe in the Lord's prayer?|

|The Lord's prayer, mother! Why, there's nothing there to help a fellow do his sums.|

|O, yes; there is. There is help for every trouble in life in the Lord's prayer, if we only know how to use it. I was trying a long time before I found out what the last part of this prayer really means. I'm no minister, or scholar, Ben, but I'll try and show you. You know that in this prayer we ask God for our daily bread; we ask him to keep us from evil; and to forgive us our sins; and then we say: 'for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.' It's God's power that we rely on -- not our own; and it often helps me, Ben, when I have something hard to do. I say, 'For thine is the power -- this is my duty, heavenly Father; but I can't do it myself; give me thy power to help me,' and he does it, Ben, he does it.|

Ben sat silent. It seemed almost too familiar a prayer. And yet he remembered when he had to stay home from school because he had no clothes fit to go in, how he prayed to God about it, and the minister's wife brought him a suit the very next day. |But a boy's sums, mother! it seems like such a little thing to ask God about.|

|Those sums are not a little thing to you, Ben. Your success at school depends on your knowing how to do them. That, is as much to you, as many a greater thing to some one else. Now I care a great deal about that, because I love you. And I know your Father in heaven loves you more than I do. I would gladly help you, if I could; but he can help you. His 'is the power;' ask him to help you.|

After doing an errand for his mother, Ben picked up his book and slate and went up to his little room. Kneeling down by the bed he repeated the Lord's prayer. When he came to -- |thine is the kingdom,| he stopped a moment, and then said, with all his heart -- |'And thine is the power,' heavenly Father. I want power to know how to do these sums. There's no one else to help me. Lord, please give me power, for Jesus' sake, Amen.|

Ben waited a moment, and then, still on his knees, he took his slate and tried again. Do you ask me if he succeeded? Remember what Saint James says, |If any man lack wisdom let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not: and it shall be given him.| Jas. i: 5. That is God's promise, and heaven and earth must pass away before one of his promises shall fail. Ben had prayed to God to help him, and God answered his prayer. He tried once more to work out those sums. After thinking over them a little while, he saw the mistake he had made in neglecting one of the rules for working the sums. He corrected this mistake, and then he found they all worked out beautifully. The next day he was head of the class; for he was the only boy who could say that he had done the sum himself, without getting any one at home to help him.

|And yet I was helped, mother,| said Ben, |for I am sure my Father in heaven helped me.| But that was not what the teacher meant. After this, Ben never forgot the last part of the Lord's prayer. When he needed help he knew where the power was that could help him.

Here was where the apostles got the help they needed in doing the hard work they had to do. And how much help we might get in doing our work if we only make a right use of this |power which belongeth unto God;| and which he is always ready to use in helping us.

The help they received, is the third thing to remember when we think about the apostles and their work.

The last thing to bear in mind when we think of Jesus choosing his twelve apostles, is -- THE LESSON -- it teaches us.

There are many lessons we might learn from this subject; but there is one so much more important than all the rest that we may very well let them go, and think only of this one. When St. Luke tells us about Jesus choosing the twelve apostles, he mentions one very important thing, of which St. Matthew, in his account of it says nothing at all. And it is this thing from which we draw our lesson. In the twelfth verse of the sixth chapter of his gospel, St. Luke says -- |And it came to pass in those days, that he (Jesus) went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.| And after this, the first thing he did, in the morning, was to call his disciples to him, and out of them to choose the twelve, who were to be his apostles. And the lesson we learn from this part of the subject is:

|The Lesson of Prayer.| Jesus spent the whole night in prayer to God, before he chose his apostles. How strange this seems to us! And yet it is easy enough to see at least two reasons why he did this. One was because he loved to pray. We know how pleasant it is for us to meet, and talk with a person whom we love very much. But prayer is -- talking with God -- telling him what we want, and asking his help. But Jesus loved his Father in heaven, with a love deeper and stronger than we can understand. This must have made it the most delightful of all things for him to be engaged in prayer, or in talking with his Father in heaven. And, if we really love Jesus, prayer will not be a hard duty to us, but a sweet privilege. We shall love to pray, because, in prayer we are talking to that blessed Saviour, |whom, not having seen, we love.| And this was one reason why Jesus spent the whole night in prayer, before choosing his twelve apostles.

But there was another reason why Jesus spent so much time in prayer before performing this important work, and that was to set us an example. It was to teach us the very lesson of which we are now speaking -- the lesson of prayer. Remember how much power and wisdom Jesus had in himself; and what mighty things he was able to do. And yet, if He felt that it was right to pray before engaging in any important work, how much more necessary it is for us to do so!

Let us learn this lesson well. Let it be the rule and habit of our lives to connect prayer with everything we do. This will make us happy in our own souls, and useful to those about us.

How full the Bible is of the wonders that have been wrought by prayer! Just think for a moment of some of them.

Abraham prays, and Lot is delivered from the fiery flood that overwhelmed Sodom and Gomorrah. Gen. xix: 29. Jacob prays, and he wrestles with the angel, and obtains the blessing; his brother Esau's mind is wonderfully turned away from the wrath he had cherished for twenty years. Moses prays and Amalek is discomfited. Joshua prays and Achan is discovered. Hannah prays and Samuel is born. David prays and Ahithophel hangs himself. Elijah prays and a famine of three years comes upon Israel. He prays again, and the rain descends, and the famine ends. Elisha prays, and Jordan is divided. He prays again, and the dead child's soul is brought back from the invisible world. Isaiah and Hezekiah pray, and a hundred and eighty-five thousand Assyrian soldiers are slain in one night by the unseen sword of the angel. These are Bible illustrations of the help God gives to his people in answer to prayer. And the Bible rule for prayer, as given by our Saviour, is, |that men ought always to pray,| Luke xviii: 1. St. Paul's way of stating it is -- |Praying always, with all prayer,| Ephes. vi: 18. In another place he says -- |Pray without ceasing,| I. Thess. v: 17. And even the heathen teach the same rule about prayer. Among the rules of Nineveh, an inscription on a tablet has been found, which, on being translated, proved to contain directions about prayer. It may be entitled:

|An Assyrian Call to Prayer.| These are the words of the call:

|Pray thou! pray thou!
Before the couch, pray!
Before the throne, pray!
Before the canopy, pray!
Before the building of the lofty head, pray!
Before the rising of the dawn, pray!
Before the fire, pray!
By the tablets and papyri, pray!
By the side of the river, pray!
By the side of a ship, or riding in a ship, or leaving the ship, pray! At the rising of the sun, or the setting of the sun, pray! On coming out of the city, on entering the city, pray! On coming out of the great gate, on entering the great gate, pray! On coming out of the house, pray! on entering the house, pray! In the place of judgment, pray!
In the temple, pray!|

This is like the Bible rule of -- |praying always.|

|Praying for a Dinner.| |Grandma, aren't we going to church this morning?| asked a little girl.

|My child, we have had no breakfast, and have no dinner to eat when we come back,| said her grandma.

|But the Lord Jesus can give it to us if we ask him,| said the little girl. |Let's ask him.| So they kneeled down, and asked that God, |who feedeth the young ravens when they cry,| to remember them, and help them.

Then they went to church. They found it very much crowded. An old gentleman took the little girl upon his knee. He was pleased with her quiet behaviour. On parting with her at the close of the service, he slipped a half crown into her hand. |See, Grandma,| she said, as soon as they were out of church, |Jesus has sent us our dinner.|

But when we ask God to help us, we must always try to help ourselves.

|Working as well as Praying.| Two little girls went to the same school; one of them, named Mary, always said her lessons well, the other, named Jane, always failed. One day Jane said, |Mary, how does it happen that you always say your lessons so well?| Mary said she prayed over her lessons, and that was the secret of her success.

Jane concluded to try praying. But the next day she failed worse than ever. In tears, she reproached Mary for deceiving her. |But, did you study hard, as well as pray over your lesson?| asked Mary.

|No; I thought if I only prayed, that was all I had to do,| replied Jane. |Not at all. God only helps those who try to help themselves. You must study hard as well as pray, if you wish to get your lessons well,| was Mary's wise answer. The next day Jane studied, as well as prayed, and she had her lesson perfectly.

The greatest work we can ever do, is to bring a soul to Jesus, or to convert a sinner from the error of his way. Here is an illustration of the way in which this may be done by prayer and effort combined:

|The Coachman and His Prayer.| |I was riding once, on the top of a stage-coach,| said a Christian gentleman, |when the driver by my side began to swear in a dreadful manner. I lifted up my heart for God's blessing on what I said; and presently, in a quiet way, I asked him this question: 'Driver, do you ever pray?' He seemed displeased at first; but after awhile he replied, 'I sometimes go to church on Sunday; and then I suppose I pray, don't I?' 'I am afraid you never pray at all; for no man can swear as you do, and yet be in the habit of praying to God.'

|As we rode along he seemed thoughtful. 'Coachman, I wish you would pray now,' I said. '|Why, what a time to pray, Sir, when a man is driving a coach!|' 'Yet, my friend, God will hear you,' '|What shall I pray?|' he asked, in a low voice. 'Pray these words: '|O Lord, grant me thy Holy Spirit, for Christ's sake. Amen.|' He hesitated, but in a moment he repeated them; and then, at my request, he said them over a second, and a third time. The end of the journey was reached, and I left him.

|Some months passed away, and we met once more. 'Ah, Sir,' said he, with a smile, 'the prayer you taught me on that coach-box was answered. I saw myself a lost, and ruined sinner; but now, I humbly hope, that through the blood which cleanseth from all sin, and by the power of the Holy Spirit, I am a converted man.'|

And so, when we think of the twelve apostles, appointed by Jesus to preach his gospel, these are the four things for us to remember in connection with them, viz.: -- the men whom he chose; the work they had to do; the help given them in doing that work; and the lesson we are taught by this subject -- the lesson of prayer.

Whatever we have to do, let us do it with all our hearts, and do it as for God, and then we shall be his apostles -- his sent ones. Let me put the application of this subject in the form of some earnest, practical lines that I lately met with. The lines only speak of boys, but they apply just as well to girls. They are headed:

DRIVE THE NAIL.

|Drive the nail aright, boys,
Hit it on the head,
Strike with all your might, boys,
While the iron's red.

|Lessons you've to learn, boys,
Study with a will;
They who reach the top, boys,
First must climb the hill.

|Standing at the foot, boys,
Gazing at the sky,
How can you get up, boys,
If you never try?

|Though you stumble oft, boys,
Never be downcast;
Try and try again, boys,
You'll succeed at last.

|Ever persevere, boys,
Tho' your task be hard;
Toil and happy cheer, boys,
Bring their own reward.

|Never give it up, boys,
Always say you'll try;
Joy will fill your cup, boys,
Flowing by and by.|

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