LI. Influence.

LUKE xi. 1. “Lord, teach us to pray, as
John also taught his disciples.”

WE have here a simple illustration of the silent involuntary
influence of our Lord.
One of His disciples had observed Him praying, and
struck with the grandeur and sweetness of the act, he asks
to be taught how to pray.
Without a commandment, but by the power of His
example. He influenced His disciple.
I. It is a real influence, that of example.
All in whom Christ lives in supreme affection can and
must live Him out, giving out the very motive which He
gives to them, and which spreads forth to others.
Doing the will of Christ is not always best done by the
restless desire and pursuit of definite exertion, but often
better by the existence and sight of the calm and satis-
faction of a soul filled to overflowing with the life of
God. He who is most a child of God in faith, hope, and
love, is most of a king for God over himself and over
others, wielding irresistible power, and gaining widest
triumphs.
II. Example of its influence.
You see it in Christ in this incident. Teach me to
pray, said the disciple; but he had more than half learned
the lesson when he looked on Christ praying. The evan-
gelists never pause to extol the life of the Master. To tell
the life was best to praise it. On the way to the cross,
Jesus does not recommend patience—He is patience. On
the cross He does not speak of love—He is love as never
was before. You find the same in lesser degree in His
servants of all ages—in Moses, Elijah, John, Paul. The
life had the most influence for good.
III. A few words by way of application of this truth.
1. To those who need encouragement. Some feel
much the uselessness of their lives—no money, little
knowledge or eloquence. But you are not useless if
you are true to what is pure and gentle and brave—true
to Christ.
Influence is not the less powerful because it is the more
silent. The grandest powers in nature are silent. Never
let it be forgotten that only those who fill their hearts
with the grace and work of Christ shall all unconsciously
overflow upon the hearts of others.
2. This truth speaks to those who need warning.
Remember that no one lives to himself. The influence
of selfish aims, unregulated tempers, illiberal gifts, goes
forth where you little think, and does evil you would dread
to acknowledge. What a minister for evil the very pres-
ence of an unrenewed man is wherever he goes!
But if you come to Jesus, though with souls most feeble
and most sinful, you may become through Him most
magnetic and mighty for the highest issues and the widest,
influence.
William Graham, D.D.