A Remarkable Prayer Concerning A Remarkable Text.
A clergyman, accustomed to preach regularly in his journey through
Fleming Circuit, Kentucky, was preparing on one Saturday for the labors
of the next day. He was then staying at the residence of a family named
Bowers, from which he was to journey the next day five miles to preach
at 11 A.M., at a church called Mt. Olivet. On this Saturday, as he
relates the incident, as soon and as privately as practicable, I pored
r the Bible in quest of a suitable subject for the next day at Mount
Olivet, and strange to tell! not one passage in the whole Book, that
afternoon and night, could I fix upon, as, in my estimation, suitable
for the next day. There was one passage, (two or three clauses of which
I had by some means got fixed in my memory), that early that afternoon
appeared in my mind as though each word was written in CAPITAL LETTERS.
I turned to the whole passage as soon as I could find it; Heb. 6: 4-6;
and read, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened,"
etc., etc. I had previously studied that whole subject, as recorded in
the original, and as disposed of by learned Commentators of different
creeds. I had settled in my own mind the import of the passage. But it
seemed unsuitable for me, not then three years old in the ministry, to
attempt the settlement of a theological question, about which the best
and most learned of modern days had differed. I therefore tried to
dismiss it from my mind, and to find some passage more suitable for the
coming morrow. But my constant effort proved unsuccessful; and the said
passage in Hebrews often recurred to my mind. Thus passed my time till I
had to go to bed, resolving to attempt an early settlement of the
growing difficulty next morning. But the morning studies produced no
change in the unsettled state of the question, what shall I preach from
to-day? Thus matters remained until I reached Mount Olivet, and had to
begin service without a text. But I concluded if a suitable text did not
occur while singing, praying and reading some Scripture lesson, rather
than have no text, I would take Heb. 6: 4-6. And, cornered in this
dilemma, so I did, and used it as well as I could.
I then passed around the circuit as usual, and the fourth Saturday
thereafter, I arrived again at Brother Bowers', preached, met the class,
etc. Then, when all the class had left the room except their own family,
Brother and Sister Bowers said to me, each manifesting intense feeling
and interest, "Have you heard of the _strange_ thing that happened when
you were here four weeks ago?" Said I, "No! what was it?" They said,
"Did you see a man sitting in the house while you was preaching to-day?"
describing his dress, looks, etc. I answered, "Yes." Said they, "Did you
see a woman sitting over there," describing her? I said, "Yea." Said
they, "They are husband and wife--their name is--(I have long since
forgotten the name)--they are good members of the Presbyterian church,
their children are members of our class, as you have called their names
every time you have examined us. The man and his wife were here and
heard you four weeks ago--they know our rules, and when those not of our
church were dismissed, they left their children with us, as usual, and
their parents started home. And, as they themselves tell us and others,
as they went along, said the woman to her husband, 'Does not Mr. Akers
preach to-morrow at Mount Olivet?' And he answered, 'I believe he does.'
Said she, '_Well, if I thought he would take a certain text I would like
very much to go and hear him._' Said her husband, '_What text_?' And she
repeated the whole passage in _Hebrews_ 6:4-6. Said her husband, 'Well,
I reckon he will take some subject that will be interesting, and if you
say so we will not go to our own church to-morrow, we will go to Mount
Olivet.' She answered, '_Agreed,_ and I do pray the Lord that he may
take that text.' And she says, she continued to pray all that evening
and next morning, until sitting in the church at Mount Olivet, she heard
_you read out the said text, when she knew the Lord had answered her
prayer_, and she could scarcely help from loud crying of thanks to God."
I then told Brother and Sister Bowers my troubles about that text, as
above stated. The Lord answers prayer.