"Continuing instant in prayer." (Rom. 12:12.) To continue steadfastly in prayer is of vital importance. Prayer is necessary to the continuance of our spiritual life. We cannot continue alive to God without prayer any more than we can continue to live without breathing. We should have stated seasons of prayer, and should be continually in the spirit of prayer. There is so much for which to pray, that we cannot afford to be slack in this Christian duty. We are dependent upon our heavenly Father for everything we need, and it is our privilege to come to Him like little children, and to ask Him to supply our wants. Are we sorrowful? we can go to him for comfort. Are we tempted? we can pray for grace to overcome. Are we in danger? we can cry to Him for help and deliverance. Are we in distress? we can seek relief at his hands. Are we poor, broken-hearted, despised or persecuted? He can supply our necessities, heal our wounded spirits, and clothe us with blessing and salvation. Does the answer to our prayer seem to linger; let us not be discouraged and give up, but persevere till the desires of our hearts be fulfilled, so far as they are according to the will of God. Let us continue steadfastly in prayer both for ourselves and for others, and for all things which pertain to the coming of the kingdom of God, when his will shall be done in earth as it is done in heaven. "Distributing to the necessity of saints." (Rom. 12:13.) As a rule, God's saints are poor. But some are better supplied than others. Those who have more than they need should share with their brethren in necessity. By so doing they benefit themselves more than those whom they supply. Moreover they know not how soon matters may be reversed, so that they may need the benefactions of those whom they had relieved. By this interchange of benefits we show that we are members one of another. In ministering to our brethren in Christ we minister to Christ himself. What saint would not regard it an inestimable privilege to minister to the blessed Master? It is blessed to receive, but it is more blessed to give. By distributing to the necessity of saints, brotherly love is demonstrated and nurtured and increased. The giver and the receiver are drawn more closely together. It also calls forth thanksgiving and glory to God from the recipients, and checks the spirit of selfishness in the donors. [The greatest necessities to the saints are spiritual ones;—THE TRUTH therefore is the greatest gift to such; her price is above rubies. Hence while doing them good in any way we can let us not forget their greatest necessity and our grandest opportunity of ministering to it.—EDITOR Z.W.T.]
"Given to hospitality." (Rom. 12:13.) Hospitality is the "reception and entertainment of strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality." It is the opposite of narrow-heartedness and selfishness. Abraham showed hospitality when he entertained the three angels with the best he had. Lydia showed hospitality, when, after her baptism, she besought Paul and his companions, saying, "If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there," and constrained them. Publius showed hospitality to Paul and his shipwrecked companions, when he received them and lodged them three days courteously. The Apostle Paul says, [R917 : page 8] "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." And the Apostle Peter exhorts the brethren to "use hospitality one to another without grudging." We lose nothing by the practice of hospitality. There are a thousand ways in which the Lord can repay us for our generosity. But above all, He enriches us with his grace. Our hearts are made better; our souls are ennobled. "Bless them that persecute you; bless and curse not." (Rom. 12:14.) It requires grace to bless those who persecute us, but grace shall be given if we seek it. The Spirit of Christ teaches us to return good for evil. Nothing will so break down those who ill-treat us as to manifest a Christian spirit towards them. Moreover, by so acting we adorn the doctrine of Christ which we profess. God is thereby pleased, and the religion of Christ is commended to the world. We should bless others as we hope to be blessed of God. To curse our fellow-mortals does not become us, even though they may have sorely wronged us. God has called us that we should inherit blessing, though we had done worse to Him than our enemies could do to us. Amiable is that Christ-like spirit which returns blessing for cursing. Valiant is the Christian soldier who can face the enemy with weapons of peace. Victor indeed is he who so rules his own spirit as not only to bear reproach, but so as to bless the reproacher.—Dawn of Morning.