(Formerly Minister at Walton-on-Thames)
GOD HEARS AND ANSWERS PRAYER
The following narrative was related by Mr. John Warburton, of Southill, at Rehoboth Chapel, Stotfold, on December 24th, 1876.
The lad spoken of was known to Mr. Warburton, and I believe that he had the relation from his own lips. He was one of a family in good circumstances, and was brought up to attend the Church of England. When about fourteen years of age the Lord was pleased, by His Holy Spirit, to make him sensible of the need of something more than he could obtain from the world and all his youthful amusements, and he found not what he wanted where he attended with his parents. Many were his sighsÂ— and, doubtless, his tears, tooÂ—but it was his hap to hear of a few people who met at a cottage or house in the evening of the day for prayer and praise, and also to read and listen to God’s holy word. But he was not satisfied with hearing about them; he wanted to meet with them, and he did meet with them. Then he felt for the first time since the Lord touched his heart that in the petitions of those followers of Jesus Christ there was that which found an echo in his heart, and produced a bond of union with them to which before he was a stranger. He continued to attend their meetings until he felt some establishment in the things and truth of God. His father hearing of it, thought it was very much beneath him to allow his son to meet with such “poor and deluded people” as they were, and he determined at once to put a stop to it altogether.
He summoned his son into his presence, and sternly said as follows:Â—
“I hear you are in the habit of attending such and such a place with such and such a people. Is it true?” “Yes, father, it is true.” The father then said, “I shall not have my name disgraced by your attending such places. You must promise me you will never go there again, or I will take you to London and bind you apprentice to-morrow.” “I can make no such promise, father.” “Now my son take your candle and go to bed directly, and give me your answer tomorrow morning.” With a heavy heart the candle was taken, the stairs were ascended, the bedroom reached, and with a burdened heart the throne of grace was approached. Was it in vain? No. Was there not an old promise to pleadÂ—”Call upon me
in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee.” While on his knees, pouring out his sorrows, he had an answer in these sweet words, “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” “Oh,” he said, “how willing I was to go anywhere with Him, to travel anywhere; and then I lay down in peace.” When he met his father in the morning, the words were, “Have you made up your mind?” “My mind is made up, father.” “What is it?” “Father, I am willing to obey you in all lawful things, but in your request I cannot obey you.” “What, you refuse to obey me!” “In this I dare do no other!” “Pack up your things immediately;” and they were packed up, and father and son made their way to London. In accordance with the threat, the son, fourteen years of age, was bound apprentice, and the Lord soon gave him favour in the eyes of his master. The youth found his way to Zoar chapel, found out there was a prayer meeting once a week, and also preaching once a week. In accordance with his indentures, he was not to absent himself from his master’s service, without leave, day or night, so, with some trepidation, he asked his master whether he might attend the service on Thursday evenings. His master said, “Yes,” and asked if there were no other services on the week evenings. He said “Yes, but he did not wish to ask too much; there was a service on the Monday evening.” His master said, “You may always go both evenings; stand for nothing; if anyone says anything to you, refer them to me; let nothing on my part hinder you.” And so he had a plain path for his feet. In process of time his father called to see how he was getting on, and whether he was weaned from his old prayer meeting practises. His master said to the father, “Have you any more sons like this one? If you have, send them to me, for the one I have is the best and most trustworthy lad I ever had.” He finished his apprenticeship, and became an honourable member of society. His father’s appointed time to die drew near. He sent for his son, who was soon by his bed-side Taking the hands of his son into his own hands, he said, “My son, I am about to die. I have left everything in your hands; I know you will do right. I leave you to do right for your mother, your sisters, and brothers. That which is right, honest, and just, I feel sure you will do. My son, you are an honourable man;” and so he died. (This is a remarkable case, and shows, first, the over-ruling providence of God; second, the value of godly fear in the heart of the young; and third, that God hears and answers prayer.)