The Counselor

No sinner can be saved apart from the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Only the Holy Spirit can convict the sinner of his sins and convince him of his need of the Savior. In spite of this scriptural truth, many a present-day saint attempts to convince the unconvicted to be converted. As a result, many present-day pews are filled with converts convinced by us rather than convicted by the Spirit.

In John 16:7, Jesus says, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” The “Comforter” Jesus promises in this passage is the Holy Spirit. The Greek word used in this passage for “Comforter” means “Counselor.” In Christ’s day, this word was used of legal assistants who presented, pleaded and proved cases in court.

According to Jesus, it was “expedient” (absolutely necessary) for Him to “go away” so that the “Counselor” would come and the whole world would be put on trial. What is the crime for which the world is being tried? It is the hideous crime of crucifying Christ. Christ was not nailed to the tree by Pontius Pilate, the Jewish Sanhedrin, or the Roman Centurion. Christ was nailed to the tree by the sins of the world, including your sins and mine.

The defendants in the case against this fallen world are all of its inhabitants. The witnesses in the case are Christians; remember, Jesus promised that we would be His witnesses once the Holy Spirit came (Acts 1:8). The judge is Christ, to whom the Father has committed all judgment (John 5:22). And the prosecuting attorney or “Counselor” is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has come to convict this Christ-rejecting world of its crime against God.

Although we can witness for Christ, it is only the Holy Spirit who can prove to men God’s case against them. No matter how good the witnesses are, it is only the closing argument of the Holy Spirit that can convict the accused of their guilt and convince them to throw themselves on the mercy of the court.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus prohibited His disciples from witnessing to His identity prior to Pentecost (Matthew 16:20)? Have you ever wondered why, after having given His disciples the Great Commission, Jesus told them to do nothing, but to go to Jerusalem and wait for the promised Spirit to come (Acts 1:4)? Are these things not explained by the fact that Jesus knew His disciples’ witness would prove to be of no avail without the accompanying closing argument of the Holy Spirit? Until the Spirit came, there was no hope of sinners being convicted.

Neither our witness to the lost nor our prayers for them will prove effectual apart from the Holy Spirit’s conviction of them. Therefore, let us pray for the Spirit to convict the lost for whom we are burdened and to always add to our witness His airtight closing argument. Otherwise, there is no hope of our lost loved ones and friends ever confessing their sins and receiving Christ’s pardon.

True & False Repentance

Just as there is a saving faith and a spurious faith (see Day 15), there is also a true and false repentance. True repentance or “repentance to salvation,” as the Apostle Paul calls it in 2 Corinthians 7:10, is the product of “godly sorrow.” It results in a repentance “not to be repented of.” On the other hand, false repentance, which is produced by “the sorrow of the world,” results in “death.”

Esau is a good example of false repentance. Of him the Bible curiously says, “He found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:17). Although Esau was sorry for his sin to the point of tears, he never found the place of true repentance. How was this possible?

What appears inexplicable is explained by the Bible’s description of Esau as a “profane person…who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright” (Hebrews 12:16). Esau cared nothing about Christ, which is proven by the fact that he swapped his place in the lineage of Christ for a bowl of lentils (beans). Afterward, Esau’s brother, Jacob, tricked their father, Isaac, into giving him Esau’s blessing and accompanying inheritance.

It was the loss of his blessing and inheritance that broke Esau’s heart. Esau wasn’t sorry for his sin because it broke the heart of God or would one day bloody the body of Christ on the cross of Calvary. He was only sorry for the consequences of his sin. He couldn’t have cared less about what his sin would cost Christ; he only cared about what his sin had cost him.

Worldly sorrow leads to false repentance, never to salvation. It is found in the hearts of the profane, those who couldn’t care less that their sin nailed Christ to the tree. All they care about is avoiding or annulling the consequences of their sin. They’re never sorry for the sins they commit, just for the consequences they suffer.

This explains why the falsely repentant never truly turn from sin. Like Lot’s wife, they always look back to their own destruction (Genesis 19:29). There is no turning from sin because there is no transformation of character. The sinner always returns to his sin, just as the dog does to his own vomit and the washed pig to wallowing in the mire, because it is the sinner’s nature to do so (2 Peter 2:22). No wonder Jesus warned us to “remember Lot’s wife,” as well as taught us that no one putting their “hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 17:32; 9:62).

It is only those who have been divinely given “godly sorrow” who can offer to God the acceptable sacrifice of “a broken and contrite heart” (Psalm 51:17); that is, a heart broken and crushed over its sin against God. It is only those who have been divinely given “godly sorrow” who possess a repentance “not to be repented of”; that is, a miraculous transformation of character resulting in sin losing its luster and becoming appalling. It is only those who have been divinely given “godly sorrow” who will persevere unto the end and be saved (Matthew 24:13); that is, set their hands to the plow and never look back, proving themselves truly repentant and fit for the kingdom of God.

Sample Prayer:

I pray O God that the lost for whom I am burdened to pray will be given godly sorrow, which will enable them to offer to you the acceptable sacrifice—a heart broken over its trespasses and sins. May they each find the place of true repentance where the sinful nature is transformed into the divine nature and profane sinners are made fit for the kingdom of God by being transformed into persevering saints. Amen.

The Granting of Repentance

God’s message to a fallen world has never changed. It has always been the same. It is the message of repentance. It was the message of the Old Testament prophets (Ezekiel 18:30). It was the message of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-2). It was the message of Jesus (Matthew 4:17). It was the message of Christ’s disciples (Mark 6:7-12). And it is the message Christ’s has commissioned His church to proclaim to the world today (Luke 24:46-47). Man’s need is and always has been to repent—to turn from his sin with a broken heart and to turn to the Savior with all of his heart.

That repentance is necessary for salvation is a scriptural certainty. For instance, the Apostle Peter boldly proclaimed to his fellow-countrymen in Acts 3:19, “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” No one can “be converted” and have their “sins…blotted out” apart from repentance. This is an indisputable biblical doctrine. The question, however, is how can a sinful heart sorrow over sin to the point of perennial penitence (2 Corinthians 7:10).

The answer to this all-important question is found in the biblical teaching that true repentance is divinely granted. It is not the product of human resolve, but divinely bestowed in the miracle of regeneration. Let’s listen to a couple of confirming testimonies to this scriptural tenet by two past heroes of the faith.

First, let’s listen to the voice of Oswald Chambers. In his Christian classic, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes, “The entrance into the Kingdom is through the panging pains of repentance.” Chambers then goes on to add that it is only “the Holy Spirit who produces these agonies.”

Like Chambers, Charles Spurgeon, “the prince of preachers,” also understood that repentance was divinely granted, never humanly induced. Spurgeon wrote: “Genuine, spiritual mourning for sin is the work of the Spirit of God. Repentance is too choice a flower to grow in nature’s garden. Pearls grow naturally in oysters, but penitence never shows itself in sinners except divine grace works it in them. If thou hast one particle of real hatred of sin, God must have given it thee, for human nature’s thorns never produced a single fig.”

Far more important than the testimony of these two great saints is the testimony of Scripture itself. In Acts 5:31, the Apostle Peter explains how Christ was “exalted…to be a Prince and a Savior” so that He could “give repentance to Israel” (Acts 5:31). Later, thanks to the vision Peter received at Simon’s house in Joppa and his subsequent visit to Cornelius’ house in Caesarea, the church in Jerusalem was forced to conclude that God had also “granted repentance unto life” to “the Gentiles” (Acts 11:18). Notice, in both cases, whether to the Jew or to the Gentile, repentance is represented in Scripture as a gift from God.

In 2 Timothy 2:25-26, the Apostle Paul taught the young minister Timothy that those who oppose the gospel have no hope of ever “acknowledging the truth” and escaping “out of the snare of the devil” unless God “gives them repentance.” Again, repentance is shown to be something given to us by God. All of this leads to the inescapable conclusion that the sinner’s only hope of ever confessing Christ and being delivered from sin’s captivity is a divinely conferred repentance.

Sample Prayer:

I pray O God that you might grant repentance to the lost for whom I am burdened. Without your bestowal of this gracious gift through the miracle of regeneration, my lost loved ones and friends will never acknowledge the truth, escape from the snare of the devil, be converted, and have their sins blotted out. Therefore, I appeal to your mercy to be so gracious as to give to them so extraordinary a gift. Amen.

The Unpardonable Sin

Many believe that the patience of God is inexhaustible. There is no deadline with God. God will patiently stand by and wait until the sinner gets good and ready to be saved. Yet, the Bible teaches that the patience of God is exhaustible and that the spiritual procrastinator runs the risk of crossing God’s deadline.

In Genesis 6:3, God warns us, “My spirit shall not always strive with man.” In the first chapter of the book of Romans, we read these words three times: “God gave them up” (1:24, 26, 28). Men can become reprobate. When they do, “God gives them over to [their] reprobate mind.” Afterward, the Spirit of God ceases to strive with them and their eternal fate is sealed. They’ve passed the point of no return with God and forfeited their immortal soul.

In Matthew chapter 12, some Pharisees absurdly attribute Jesus’ power over the demonic to “Beelzebub the prince of devils.” In response to such hardheartedness, Jesus issues this solemn warning: “Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

The Holy Spirit is God’s last call to lost humanity. If the sinner hardens his heart to the Spirit’s invitation to come to Christ there remains no further hope of salvation. The sinner has committed the unforgivable.

Each time the sinner says “No” to the Spirit makes it easier for him to say “No” the next time. With each turning up of his nose to the Spirit’s invitation the sinner’s heart becomes harder, until finally becoming calloused. Once his heart is calloused, impervious to the Spirit’s conviction, the Spirit ceases to strive with the sinner and the unpardonable sin is committed. God’s deadline is crossed and all hope of salvation is lost.

Someone has insightfully quipped that the devil’s greatest “wile” is “wait awhile” (Ephesians 6:11). The devil will never attempt a Faustian deal with your lost family and friends. Instead, he will simply seek to persuade them to procrastinate. Once he convinces them that there is plenty of time to make their peace with God and that there is no urgency in the Spirit’s call, your lost family and friends are well on their way to a calloused heart.

Sample Prayer:

Dear Lord, I praise you for your long-suffering. I thank you for sending the Holy Spirit to call lost humanity to Christ. I pray that your Spirit will not cease to strive with the lost souls for whom I am burdened. May the urgent need of their immediate response to the Spirit’s invitation be pressed upon their hearts as you draw them to Christ. And may none of them commit the unpardonable sin by hardening their hearts and becoming calloused to the conviction of your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Today is the Day of Salvation

Contrary to popular opinion, we cannot be saved anytime we choose. In John 6:15, the multitude decided to force Jesus to be their king. Jesus, however, withdrew Himself from them. The moral of this story is that you can’t force Jesus to do anything. You can no more force Him to be your Savior than the multitude could to be their king.

Many people think they have their personal salvation all planned out. They’re going to strew their life with wild oats and afterward, around age ninety-nine, right before the sheet is pulled up over their head, they’re going to whistle for Christ to come and save them. This plot will supposedly enable these sly sinners to slip off their deathbeds right into heaven, despite having lived lives of debauchery.

The fatal flaw in this presumptuous plan is the fact that Christ doesn’t come to us whenever we say, but that we can only come to Him whenever He says. We can only come to Christ by faith and be saved when we are hearing His voice. This is why the Bible repeatedly warns us not to harden our hearts on the day we hear God’s voice (Psalm 95:7-8; Hebrews 3:7-8, 15).

In warning us not to harden our hearts when the Spirit calls, both the Psalmist and the author of Hebrews refer to “the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” These references are to Israel’s provoking of God’s wrath in the wilderness by refusing to do what God said. The author of Hebrews appears to be particularly referring to Israel’s provoking of God at Kadesh-Barnea. It was at Kadesh-Barnea that Israel disbelieved and disobeyed the voice of God by refusing to enter and take possession of the Promised Land. As a result, that whole generation of unbelievers died wandering around aimlessly in the wilderness.

Following God’s condemnation of them for hardening their hearts, Israel had a change of mind. Against the advice of Moses, they “presumed” they could, upon their own initiative, still enter and conquer Canaan. Their ill-advised venture had disastrous consequences, they were “smitten” by the “Amalekites” and the “Canaanites” (Numbers 14:39-45). Israel learned the hard way that the voice of God can only be obeyed on the day it is heard.

Our only opportunity to be saved comes when God personally calls us to His Son (John 6:44, 65). This is why the Scripture teaches that “the day of salvation” and “the accepted time” for us to be saved is whenever we hear God’s voice (2 Corinthians 6:2). If we harden our hearts to the voice of God, we have no guarantee of ever hearing His voice again. Therefore, if we harden our hearts to God’s voice today, coming to Christ by faith may be an impossibility tomorrow.

Sample Prayer:

O gracious God who calls us to salvation, I pray that you will draw to your Son, the Savior of the world, the lost for whom I am burdened. I also pray that on the day they hear your voice they will not harden their hearts, provoking you to anger, but will come to Christ by faith and be saved by your grace at the accepted time. Amen.

The Gift of Faith

Many believe that faith is something we can work up in ourselves anytime we want to. It is a mere matter of gritting our teeth, clinching our fists, and determining to believe. Therefore, it is commonly taught within today’s contemporary church that anybody can be saved at any time they take a notion to believe. However, the teaching of the Bible flies in the face of this common teaching found within today’s contemporary church.

According to the Bible, faith is a gift that must be given to us by God. For instance, in Ephesians 2:8-9, the Apostle Paul writes these familiar words, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Notice, Paul says that the faith we exercise to be saved by God’s grace is “not of ourselves: it is a gift of God.” Saving faith, contrary to popular opinion, is not something we can work up within ourselves whenever we take a notion to. Instead, it is a “gift of God”; it is something God must give us!

Where does faith come from? The Bible tells us it comes “by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Many mistakenly misinterpret this to mean that faith comes from reading the Bible or from hearing it taught or preached. Yet, the Greek word Paul uses in this verse for “word” means the “spoken word,” not the “written word.” Faith never happens until the written Word is quickened off the sacred page and spoken directly and personally to a human heart by the Holy Spirit of God.

Faith doesn’t come from reading the Bible or from hearing it preached or taught. I’ve known atheists who have read the Bible through several times. Furthermore, many an unbeliever has been perched on a church pew for years under the preaching of the gospel. Though they are “ever learning,” they are “never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:6-7).

While we are completely capable of conjuring up a spurious faith that never leads to salvation (see examples: Luke 8:13; John 2:23-25; Acts 8:9-24; 1 Corinthians 15:2), saving faith must be given to us by God. It only comes when God quickens the written word off of the sacred page and makes it come alive in our hearts. Once the Holy Spirit transforms the written word into the spoken word by speaking it to us directly and personally, faith is born in our hearts. It is then—and only then—that we can be saved by God’s grace through faith in His Son.

Sample Prayer:

I praise you Lord Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. I ask you to give the gift of saving faith to those lost souls for whom I am burdened. Lord, speak your Word personally to them through the person of the Holy Spirit so that faith will be born in their hearts, enabling them to believe and be saved by your amazing grace. Amen.

The Rich Young Ruler

The tenth chapter of the Gospel of Mark contains the incredible story of our Lord’s encounter with a rich young ruler. What makes this story so incredible is not so much the way this young man came to Christ, but the way he went away. He actually met all the criteria we claim one must meet to be saved. He came to Christ: ➀ earnestly ➁ publicly ➂ humbly ➃ praying ➄ confessing, and ➅ believing. In addition, he was already a moral and religious man, which is proven by his unattested claim to have “observed” Christ’s quoted “commandments” since his childhood. Still, despite it all, he went away lost.

Whereas we would have patted him on the back, welcomed him into the kingdom of God, and assured him of his salvation, Christ stood silently by while this young man walked away. The scene was so shocking to Christ’s disciples that they exclaimed, “Who then can be saved?” If this moral and religious man, who not only did everything that is humanly possible to be saved, but also had everything going for him that the world has to offer—he was young, rich, and powerful—could not be saved, then, who can? In response to His disciples exclamation, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

Salvation is an impossibility apart from God. Regardless of whom we are or what we do, we cannot save ourselves. Only God can work the miracle of salvation on the sinner’s behalf. Until this truth sinks deep into our hearts we will never understand the desperate plight of the lost nor their desperate need of our prayers.

The only thing between your lost family and friends and a Christless eternity is an instant of time. There is no possibility of their salvation apart from a miracle of God. Without God’s performance of the humanly impossible on their behalf they are hopelessly and eternally lost.

The above should drive us to our knees to cry out to heaven for those lost souls for whom God has burdened us. The eternities of lost souls hang in the balance, but a sovereign God has chosen to tip the scales in their favor through our prayers. The prayers we offer for lost souls under God-given burdens will be used by God to alter eternal destinies. What more incentive do we need to spend our lives praying for the lost?

Sample Prayer:

You are the Lord, and apart from you there is no Savior. I thank you that all things are possible with you, even man’s salvation. For this greatest of all your miracles, the miracle of salvation, I shall forever praise your holy name.

I now drop to my knees under the weight of the burden you have given me for the lost. I pray that you will work the miracle of salvation on their behalf. Please, have mercy on their souls, for apart from your performance of the humanly impossible on their behalf they shall forever remain hopelessly and helplessly lost. Amen.

It Takes a Miracle

One of the greatest heresies infiltrating the contemporary church is that of “decisional regeneration”; that is, the false teaching that salvation is a mere human decision. The miracle of salvation has been reduced today to the mere nodding of one’s head to the propositional truths of a gospel presentation and the simple repeating of the “sinner’s prayer” after some well-meaning evangelical. All who are willing to nod their head and repeat the prayer are assured by us, not by God, that they are a shoo-in for heaven and should never doubt their salvation.

According to the Apostle Paul, “the gospel of Christ…is the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). Furthermore, “the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power” (1 Corinthians 4:20). This explains why Paul refused to use “excellency of speech” or “enticing words of man’s wisdom” in his preaching of the gospel (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). Instead, he preached “in fear” and “trembling” a simple message of “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” In the end, Paul wanted to be assured that all converts came to Christ under the power of God, not under the power of human persuasion. In other words, Paul wanted them to believe in Christ because they had been convicted by the Spirit, not convinced by his sermon.

Salvation is a miracle of God; indeed, it is the greatest of all God’s miracles. Until we fully realize this truth we will never fully appreciate our own salvation nor the urgent need of sinners for our prayers. Since only a miracle working God can perform the miracle of salvation on the sinner’s behalf, the sinner stands in desperate need of our prayers. While the sinner may pray the sinner’s prayer and we may share the gospel with sinners, only God can save a soul, for He alone is “the Lord; and apart from Him there is no Savior” (Isaiah 43:11).

Thanks to the heresy of decisional regeneration, contemporary Christians appear more concerned with persuading the sinner to pray the “sinner’s prayer” than with praying for the sinner’s salvation. We are more concerned with making better sales-pitches to the sinner than with making better supplication to God on the sinner’s behalf. Perhaps, this goes a long way in explaining the impotence of modern-day evangelism and the scarcity of our spiritual harvest.

IT TOOK A MIRACLE (John W. Peterson)

My Father is omnipotent

And that you can’t deny;

A God of might and miracles;

‘Tis written in the sky.

 

It took a miracle to put the stars in place;

It took a miracle to hang the world in space.

But when He saved my soul,

Cleansed and made me whole,

It took a miracle of love and grace!

God’s Secret Service

Part of the angelic assignment appears to be protecting God’s elect until the day of their salvation. For instance, in Hebrews 1:14, we are told that angels are “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation.” Notice the future tense employed in this verse—“who shall be heirs of salvation.” Angels apparently safeguard God’s elect prior to their conversion so as to assure their survival until the day of their salvation.

In Revelation 7:1-8, we have a good example of this scriptural truth. Here, 144,000 are sealed by angels for their protection at God’s command. As a result, this Jewish remnant, one third of the Jewish people (Zechariah 13:8), will survive end-time tribulation to finally turn to Christ as their Messiah at His Second Coming (Zechariah 12:10-13:6). When they do so, God will “remove the iniquity of [their] land in one day” (Zechariah 3:9). In addition, as the Apostle Paul predicts, “all Israel [the surviving Jewish remnant] shall be saved” (Romans 11:26-27).

Many professed Christians look back on their lives before conversion and are bewildered at their survival of past debauchery. It is amazing to them that they did not contract some sexually transmitted disease, were not killed in an automobile accident while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or did not end up as some crime statistic at the hands of the corrupt company they used to keep. Does all of this not suggest the possibility of angelic intervention in the lives of the saints while they were still sinners?

Angelic intervention in the lives of the saints subsequent to salvation is scripturally substantiated. The Scripture is strewn with such instances of angelic intervention. The Bible even teaches us how God “gives his angels charge over” us so that we will be protected in “their hands” from dashing our “foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:9-12). Still, though it is a lesser known truth, Scripture also substantiates angelic intervention in the lives of the saints prior to their salvation.

When we consider the fact that man fell with the aid of a fallen angel, it is only fitting that he should be aided in his salvation by unfallen angels. This angelic assignment of safeguarding God’s elect until the day of their salvation also helps to explain why there is such rejoicing “in the presence of the angels” every time a sinner is saved (Luke 15:10). What satisfaction this must bring to God’s “secret service,” knowing that each sinner who survives to repent is another angelic mission accomplished!

Sample Prayer:

I praise you O Lord, for you are as superior to the angels as your name is to theirs. I pray that you will send your angels to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation. May the lost for whom I am burdened be sealed and safeguarded by your angels until the day of their salvation. Afterward, give your angels charge over them, lest they dash their foot against a stone. Amen.

Praying for Those in Authority

In 1 Timothy 2:1-4, the Apostle Paul instructs us to pray for “all men,” but especially for those “that are in authority.” Why does Paul single out “kings and all that are in authority”? Is it because God cares more about the powerful than the populace? Absolutely not! Since God is “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), there is no difference in His eyes between potentates and peasants.

The reason the Bible specifically exhorts us to pray for those in authority is because they hold such sway over the quality of life in our society. It is not because they have some special favor with God, but because they have such influence over our way of life.

According to Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” If we will clasp our hands in prayer for those in authority, then, God, who holds their hearts in His hand, will sway them to keep our society “quiet and peaceable.” In such a society, Christians can best practice their faith, publicly worship their Lord, and propagate their land with the gospel. As Paul plainly points out, this is the purpose for praying for those in authority; namely, that our society will be open and free so that all within it will have an opportunity “to come to the knowledge of the truth” and “be saved.”

Where is it easier for sinners to learn of Christ and be saved, in a Muslim land where Christianity is prohibited and Christians are persecuted, in a Communist country where the church is outlawed and the preaching of the gospel criminalized, or in a free society where the church is permitted to practice and proclaim its faith? Obviously, it is in a free society. This explains why it is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” for us to pray that God will sway those in authority to keep our society “quiet and peaceable.”

Contrary to popular opinion, God is not concerned with politics, but with the preaching of the gospel. Although God cares for political leaders, He cares just as much for their constituency. God wants all men, from the White House to your house, to have an opportunity to hear the gospel and be saved. Therefore, it is for the salvation of lost souls, not for the blessing of bureaucrats, that the church is instructed to pray for government officials.

Sample Prayer:

I praise you O God our Savior, for you hold the hearts of kings in your hand. I pray that you will keep our society free, quiet, and peaceable by turning the hearts of all in authority whithersoever you will. Use those in authority to keep the gospel from being silenced in our land so that all men will have an opportunity to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. Amen.