Sermon 284. One Antidote for Many Ills
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, November 9th, 1859, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
"Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."-Psalm 80:10.
THIS SEEMS TO BE the only prayer the Psalmist puts up in this Psalm, as being of itself sufficient for the removal of allthe ills over which he mourned. Though he sighs over the strife of neighbors and the ridicule of foes; and lamenting the illcondition of the goodly vine, he deplores its broken hedges, and complains of the wild beasts that waste and devour it, yethe does not petition the Most High against these evils in detail; but gathering up all his wishes intothis one prayer, he reiterates it o'er and o'er-"Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shallbe saved." The reason is obvious. He had traced all the calamities to one source, "O Lord God, how long wilt thou be angry-?"And now he seeks refreshing from one fountain. Let thy face no longer frown, but let it beam upon us with a smile and allshall then be well. This is a select lesson for the church of Christ. "In your troubles, trials and adversities, seek first,chiefly, and above everything else, to have a revival of religion in your own breast, the presence of God in your ownheart; having that, you have scarcely anything beside to pray for; whatever else may befal you shall work for your good, andall that seems to impede your course, shall really prove to be a prosperous gale, to waft you to your desired haven: only,take care that you seek of God that you yourselves are turned again unto him, and that he would give you the light of hiscountenance; so shall you be saved."
This morning's sermon, then will be especially addressed to my own church, on the absolute necessity of true religion in ourmidst, and of revival from all apathy and indifference. We may ask of God multitudes of other things, but amongst them all,let this be our chief prayer: "Lord, revive us; Lord, revive us!" We have uttered it in song; let me stir up your pure minds,by way of remembrance, to utter it in your secret prayers, and make it the daily aspiration of yoursouls. I feel, beloved, that notwithstanding all opposition, God will help us to be "more than conquerors, through himthat loved us," if we are true to ourselves, and two to him. But though all things should go smoothly, and the sun shouldalways shine upon our heads, we should have no prosperity if our own godliness failed; if we only maintained the form of religion,instead of having the very power of the Holy Spirit manifested in our midst.
I shall endeavor to urge upon you this morning, first of all, the benefits of revival, as we shall find some of them suggested in this Psalm; and secondly, the means of revival-"Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts;" then, thirdly I shall exhort you to use these means, that you may acquire these benefits.
I. THE BENEFITS OF REVIVAL TO ANY CHURCH IN THE WORLD will be a lasting blessing. I do not mean that false and spurious kindof revival which was so common a few years ago. I do not mean all that excitement attendant upon religion, which has broughtmen into a kind of spasmodic godliness and translated them from sensible beings, into such as could only rave about a religionthey did not understand. I do not think that is a real and true revival. God's revivals, whilst theyare attended with a great heat and warmth of piety, yet have with them knowledge as well as life, understanding as wellas power. The revivals that we may consider to have been genuine, were such as those wrought by the instrumentality of suchmen as President Edwards in America, and Whitfield in this country, who preached a free-grace gospel in all its fullness.Such revivals I consider to be genuine, and such revivals, I repeat again, would be a benefit to any church under heaven.There is nochurch, however good it is, which might not be better; and there are many churches sunken so low, that they have abundantneed, if they would prevent spiritual death, to cry aloud, "Lord, revive us."
Among the blessings of the revival of Christians, we commence, by noticing the salvation of sinners. When God is pleased to pour out his Spirit upon a church in a larger measure than usual, it is always accompanied by thesalvation of souls. And oh, this is a weighty matter, to have souls saved. Some laugh, and think the salvation of the soulis nothing, but I trust, beloved, you know so much of the value of souls that you will ever think it to be worth the layingdown of your lives, if you might but be the means of the saving of one single soul from death. The saving of souls, ifa man has once gained love to perishing sinners, and love to his blessed Master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him.It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the stout, brave fireman,who careth not for the scorch or for the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity hath set hisheart.He must, he will pluck such a one from the burning, at any cost and expense to himself. Oh the zeal of such a man as thatWhitfield to whom I have alluded! He says in one of his sermons, "My God, I groan day-by-day over the salvation of souls.Sometimes," he says, "I think I could stand on the top of every hackney-coach in the streets of London, to preach God's Word.It is not enough that I can do it night and day, laboring incessantly by writing and by preaching, I would that I were multiplieda thousand-fold, that I might have a thousand tongues to preach this gospel of my blessed Redeemer." Ah, you find toomany Christians who do do not care about sinners being saved. The minister may preach, but what heed they the results" Solong as he has a respectable congregation, and a quiet people, it is enough. I trust, my friends, we shall never sink to solow a state as to carry on out services without the salvation of souls. I have prayed my God many a time, and I hope to repeattheprayer, that when I have no more souls to save for him, no more of his elect to be gathered home, he may allow me to betaken to himself, that I may not stand asks cumberground in his vineyard, useless, seeing there is no more fruit to be broughtforth. I know you long for souls to be converted. I have seen your glad eyes when, at the church-meetings; night after night,sinners have told us what the Lord has done for them. I have marked your great joy when drunkards, blasphemers, and all kindsof careless persons have turned with full purpose of heart unto God, and led a new life. Now, mark you, if these thingsare to be continued, and above all, if they are to be multiplied, we must have again a revival in our midst. For this we mustand will cry, "O Lord our God, visit thy plantation, and pour out again upon us thy mighty Spirit."
Another effect of a revival in a church, is generally the promotion of true love and unanimity in its midst. I will tell you the most quarrelsome churches in England, if you will tell me the most lazy churches. It has actually becomea proverb now-a-days. People say, when persons are sound asleep, "He is as sound asleep as a church;"-as if they really thoughtthe church was the soundest asleep of anything that exists! Alas that there should be so much truth in theproverb. Where a firm, established for business would have all its eyes open-where a company, that had for its objectthe accumulation of wealth, would be ever on the watch-churches, for the most part, seem to neglect the means of doing goodand fritter away holy opportunities of advancing their Master's cause; and for this reason, many of us are split in sunder.There are heart-burnings, achings, ranklings of soul, quarellings amongst each other. An active church will be a united church;aslumbering church will be sure to be a quarrelsome one. If any minister desires to heal the wounds of a church, and bringthe members into unanimity, let him ask God to give them all enough to fill their hands, and when their hands are full oftheir Master's work, and their mouths are full of his praise, they will have no time for devouring one another, or fillingtheir mouths with slander and reproach. Oh, if God gives us revival, we shall have perfect unanimity. Blessed be God, we havemuchof it; but oh for more of it that our hearts may be knit together as the heart of one man,-that we, being one army ofthe Living God, may none of us have any anger or ill-will towards each other, but being-as I trust we all are-brethren andsisters in Christ Jesus, we may live as becometh such. Oh that Christ would give us that spirit that loveth all, hopeth forall, and will bear burdens for all, passing by little things, and differences of judgment and opinion, that so we may be unitedwith a three-fold cord that cannot be broken. A revival, I think, is necessary for the unanimity of the church.
A revival is also necessary, in order that the mouths of the enemy of the truth may be stopped. Do they not open wide their mouths against us" Have they not spoken hard things against us?-ay, and not only against us,but against the truth we preach, and against the God we honor. How shall their mouths be stopped? By our replying to them?No; foul scorn we think it to utter one single word in our own defense. If our conduct be not sufficiently upright to commenditself, we will not utter words in order to commend it. But the way we can shut our adversaries' mouths is this: by seekinga revival in our midst. What! do they rail against our ministry? If more souls are saved, can they rail against that? Ay,let them if they will. Do they speak against the doctrines? Let them; but let our lives be so holy that they must lie againstus when they dare to say that our doctrines lead any into sin. Let us seek of God that we may be so earnest, so eminentlyholy,so God-like, and so Christ-like, that to all they say their own consciences may tell them, "Thou utterest a falsehoodwhilst thou speakest against him." This was the glory of the Puritans: they preached doctrines which laid them open to reproach.I am bold to say I have preached the doctrine of the Puritans, and I am bold to say, moreover, that those parts which havebeen most objected to in my discourses, have frequently been quotations from ancient fathers, or from some of the Puritans.Ihave often smiled when I have seen them condemned, and said, "There now, sir, thou hast condemned Charnock, or Bunyan,or How, or Doddridge," or some other saint of God whom it so happened I quoted at the time. The word condemn was theirs, andtherefore it did not so much affect me. They were held up to reproach when they were alive, and how did they answer theircalumniators? By a blameless and holy life. They, like Enoch, walked with God; and let the world say what they would of them,theyonly sought to keep their families the most rigidly pious, and themselves the most strictly upright in the world; so thatwhile it was said of their enemies, "They talk of good works," it was said of the Puritans, that "They did them," and whilethe Arminians, for such they were in those days, were living in sin, he who was called Calvinist, and laughed at, was livingin righteousness, and the doctrine that was said to be the promoter of sin was found afterwards to be the promoter of holiness.We defy the world to find a holier people than those who have espoused the doctrines of free-grace, from the first momentuntil now. They have been distinguished in every history, even by their enemies, as hating been the most devotedly pious,and as having given themselves especially to the reading of God's Word and the practice of his law; and whilst they said theywere justified by faith alone, through the blood of Christ, none were found, so much as they, seeking to honor God in alltheexercises of godliness, being "a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Their faith let us follow, and their charitylet us emulate. Let us seek a revival here; and so our enemies' mouths, if not entirely shut, shall be so far stopped thattheir consciences shall speak against them whilst they rail against us. We want no eminent reply to silence their calumny;no learned articles brought out in our vindication; no voice lifted up in our favor. I thank my friends for all they do; butI thankthem little for the true effect it produces. Let us live straight on; let us work straight on; let us preach straighton, and serve our God better than heretofore, then let hell roar, and earth resound with tumult, the conscious integrity ofour own spirit shall preserve us from alarm, and the Most High himself shall protect us from their fury. We need a revival,then, for these three reasons, each of which is great in itself.
Yet, above all, we want a revival, if we would promote the glory of God. The proper object of a Christian's life is God's glory. The church was made on purpose to glorify God; but it is only a revivedchurch that brings glory to his name. Think you that all the churches honor God? I tell you nay; there are some that dishonorhim-not because of their erroneous doctrines, nor perhaps because of any defect in their formalities, but because of the wantof life intheir religion. There is a meeting for prayer; six people assemble besides the minister. Does that proclaim your homageto God? Does that do honor to Christianity? Go ye to the homes of these people; see what is their conversation when they arealone; mark how they walk before God. Go to their sanctuaries and hear their hymns, there is the beauty of music, but whereis the life of the people? Listen to the sermon, it is elaborate, polished, complete, a master-piece of oratory. But askyourselves, "Could a soul be saved under it, except by a miracle? Was there anything in it adapted to stir men up to goodness?It pleased their ears; it instructed them in some degree, perhaps, but what was there in it to teach their hearts?" Ah, Godknows there are many such preachers. Notwithstanding their learning and their opulence, they do not preach the gospel in itssimplicity, and they draw not near to God our Father. If we would honor God by the church, we must have a warm church, aburning church, loving the truths it holds, and carrying them out in the life. Oh that God would give us life from onhigh, lest we should be like that church of old of whom it was said, "Thou hast a name try live, and art dead." These aresome of the benefits of revivals.
II. WHAT ARE THE MEANS OF REVIVAL? They are two-fold. One is, "Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts;', and the other is, "Causethy face to shine." There can be no revival without both of these. Allow me, my dear hearers, to address you one by one, indifferent classes, in order that I may apply the former of these means to you.
"Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts." Your minister feels that he needs to be turned more thoroughly to the Lord his God.His prayer shall be, God helping him, that he may be more fearless and faithful than ever; that be may never for one momentthink what any of you will say with regard to what he utters, but that he may only think what God his Master would say concerninghim;-that he may come into the pulpit with this resolve-that he cares no more for your opinionwith regard to the truth than if you were all stones, only resolving this much:-come loss or come gain by it, whatsoeverthe Lord God saith unto him, that he must speak; and he desires to ask his Master that he may come here with more prayer himselfthan heretofore, that whatever he preaches may be so burnt into his own soul that you may all know, even if you do not thinkit true yourselves, that at any rate he believes it, and believes it with his inmost soul. And I will ask of God that Imay so preach to you, that my words may be attended with a mighty and a divine power. I do forswear all pretense to abilityin this work. I forswear the least idea that I have aught about me that can save souls, or anything which could draw men bythe attractions of my speech. I feel that if you have been profited by my preaching, it must have been the work of God, andGod alone, and I pray to him that I may be taught to know more my own weakness. Wherein my enemies say aught against me, mayIbelieve what they say, but yet exclaim,
"Weak though I am, yet through his might,
I all things can perform."
Will you ask such things for me, that I may be more and more turned to God, and that so your spiritual health may be promoted.
But there are some of you who are workers in the church. Large numbers are actively engaged for Christ. In the Sabbath-school,in the distribution of tracts, in preaching the Word in the villages, and in some parts of this great city-many of you arestriving to serve God. Now what I ask and exhort you to is this: cry unto God-"Turn us again, O God." You want, my dear workingfriends, more of the Spirit of God in all your labors. I am afraid we forget him too much, wewant to have a greater remembrance of him. Sunday-school teachers, cry unto God that you may attend your classes witha sincere desire to promote God's glory, leaning wholly on his strength. Do not be content with the ordinary routine, gatheringyour children there, and sending them home again but cry, "Lord, give us the agony which a teacher ought to feel for his child'ssoul." Ask that you may go to the school with deep feelings, with throes of love over the children's hearts, that you mayteach them with tearful eyes, groaning before heaven that you may be the means of their salvation and deliverance fromdeath. And you who in other ways serve God, I beseech you do not be content with doing it as you have done. You may have doneit well enough to gain some approval of your fellows: do it better, as in the sight of the Lord. I do not mean better as tothe outward form, but better as to the inward grace that goeth with it. Oh! seek from God that your works may be done frompuremotives, with more simple faith in Christ, more firm reliance on him, and with greater prayer for your success. "Turnus again," is the cry of all, I hope, who are doing anything for Jesus.
Others of you are intercessors; and here I hope I have taken in all who love the Lord in this place. Oh! how much the strengthof a church depends upon these intercessors! I kind almost said we could do bettor without the workers than the intercessors:We want in every church, if it is to be successful, intercessors with God-men who know how to plead with him and to prevail.Beloved, I must stir you up again on this point. If you would see great things done in thisplace, or in any other place, in the salvation of souls, you must intercede more earnestly than you have done. I thankGod our prayer-meetings are always full; but there are some of you whom I do not see so often as I would desire. There aresome of you business-men who are accustomed to come in for the last half-hour, and I have seen you, and called on you to prey.For six months I have not seen some of you at all. There are others whom I know to be as much engaged as you are, who somehoworother manage to be always here. Why is it not so with you? If you do not love prayer, then I wish you not to come untilyou do. But I do ask of God to bring you into such a state of mind, that your soul may be more thoroughly with the Lord'schurch, and you may be more thoroughly devoted to his service. Our prayer-meeting is well attended, and is full, but it shallbe better attended yet, and we shall have the men among us coming up "to the help of the Lord against the mighty." We do wantmoreprayer. Your prayers, I am sure, have been more earnest at home than ever they were, during the last three weeks; letthem be more earnest still. It is by prayer we must lean on God; it is by prayer that God strengthens us. I beseech you, wrestlewith God, my dear friends. I know your love to one another, and to his truth. Wrestle with God, in secret and in public, thathe would yet open the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing upon us, such as we shall not have room enough to receive.There must be a turning again to God of the intercessors in prayer.
Again: we want a turning again to God of all of you who have been accustomed to hold communion with Jesus, but who have inthe least degree broken off that holy and heavenly habit. Beloved, are there not some of you who were accustomed to wallswith God each day? Your morn was sanctified with prayer, and your eventide was closed in with the voice of praise. You walkedwith Jesus in your daily business; you were real Enochs, you were Johns, you did lay your head on thebosom of your Lord. But ah! have not some of you known suspended communion of late? Let us speak of ourselves personally,instead of addressing you; have not we ourselves held less communion with Jesus? Have not our prayers been fewer to him, andhis revelations less bright to us? Have we not been content to live without Emmanuel in our hearts? How long is it with someof us singe our morsel was dipped in the honey of fellowship? With some of you it is weeks and months, singe you had yourlovevisit from Jesus. Oh! beloved, let me beseech you, cry unto God, "Turn us again." It will never do for us to live withoutcommunion; we cannot, we must not, we dare not live without constant hourly fellowship with Jesus. I would stir you up inthis matter. Seek of God that you may return, and experience the loveliness of Jesus in your eyes, that you may know moreand more of your loveliness in his eyes.
And once more, beloved, "Turn us again" must be the prayer of all you, not only in your religious labors, but in your dailylives. Oh! how I do groan over each one of you, especially those of you who are my children in Christ, whom God has grantedme to be the means of bringing from nature's darkness into marvellous light; that your lives may be on honor to your profession.Oh! my dear hearers, may none among you who make a profession, be found liars to God and man. Thereare many who have been baptized, who have been baptized into the waters of deception: there are some who put the sacramentalwine between their lips, who are a dishonor and a disgrace to the church in which they assemble. Some who sing praises withus here can go and sing the songs of Satan elsewhere. Ay, are there not some among you, whom I cannot detect, whom the deaconscannot, nor your fellow-members either, but whose consciences tell you, you are not fit to be members of a church? You havecrept into our number, you have deceived us, and there you are, like a cancer in our midst. God forgive you and changeyour hearts; God turn you to himself! And oh my brethren one and all of us, though we hope we have the root of the matterin us, yet how much room there is for improvement and amendment! How are your families conducted? Is there as much of thattrue and earnest prayerfulness for your children as we could desire? How is your business conducted? Are you above the tricksof trade?Do you know how to stand aloof from the common customs of other men, and say, "If all do wrong it is no reason why I should-Imust, I will do right?" Do you know how to talk? Have you caught the brogue of heaven? Can you eschew all foolishness, allfilthy conversation, and seek to bear the image of Jesus Christ in the world? I do not ask you whether you use the "thee"and "thou," and the outward formalities of ostentatious humility, but I ask you whether you know how to regulate your speechby the Word of God. I trust, in some degree, that you all do but not an we could desire. Cry out, then, ye Christians,"Turn us again, O God!" If others sin, I beseech you, do not you sin, remember how God is dishonored by it. What! will youbring shame on Christ, and on the doctrines we profess? There is enough said against them without our giving cause of offense;lies enough are made up, without our giving any effuse that men should truthfully speak ill of us. Oh! if I thought it wouldavail, methinks I would go down upon my knees, my brethren and sisters in Christ Jesus, to beg of you, as for my verylife, that you would live close to Jesus. I do pray the Holy Spirit that he may so rest on you in every place, that your conversationmay be "such as becometh the gospel of Christ;" and that in every act, great or small, and in every word of every sort, theremay be the influence from on nigh, moulding you to the right, keeping you to the right, and in everything bidding you tobecome more and more patterns of godliness, and reflections of the image of Jesus Christ.
Dear friends, to be personal with each other again, are we where we want to be just now many of us? Can we put our hands toour hearts, and say, "O Lord, I am, in spiritual things just where I desire to be?" No, I don't think there is one of us thatcould say that. Are we now what we should desire to be if we were to die in our pews? Come now, have we so lived during thepast week, that we could wish this week to be a specimen-week of our whole lives? I fear not. Brethren,how are your evidences?-are they bright for heaven? How is your heart?,-is it wholly set on Jesus? How is your faith?-dothit dwell on God alone? Is your soul sick, or is it healthy? Are you sending forth blossoms and bearing fruit, or do you feeldry and barren? Remember, blessed is the man who is planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season.But how about yourselves? Are not some of you so cold and languid in prayer, that prayer is a burden to you? Howabout your trials? Do they not break your heart more, almost, than ever they did? That is because you have forgotten howto cast your burden on the Lord. How about your daily life? Have you not cause to grieve over it, as not being all you coulddesire it? Ah! beloved, do not reckon it a light matter to be going backwards, do not consider it a small thing to be lesszealous than you used to be. Ah! it is a sad thing to begin to decline. But how many of you have done so! Let our prayer benow,-
"Lord, revive us, Lord, revive us,
All our help must come from thee."
Do, I beseech you, I entreat you, in the name of God our Father, and Jesus Christ our brother, search into your own hearts;examine yourselves, and put up this prayer, "Lord, wherein I am right, keep me so, against all opposition, and conflict; butwherein I am wrong, Lord make me right, for Jesus' sake." We must have this turning again unto God, if we would have a revivalin our breast. Every unholy liver, every cold heart, every one who is not entirely devoted to God,keeps us back from having a revival. When once we have all our souls fully turned unto the Lord, then I say but not tillthen, he will give us to see the travail of the Redeemer's soul, and "God, even our own God shall bless us, and all the endsof the world shall fear him."
The other means of revival is a precious one-"cause thy face to shine." Ah! beloved, we might ask of God, that we might allbe devoted, all his servants, all prayerful, and all what we want to be; but it would never come without this second prayerbeing answered; and even if it did come without this, where would be the blessing? It is the causing of his face to shineon his church that makes a church flourish. Do you suppose that, if to our number there were added athousand of the most wealthy and wise of the land, we should really prosper any the more without the light of God's countenance?Ah! no, beloved, give us our God, and we could do without them, but they would be a curse to us without him. Do you imaginethat the increase of our numbers is a blessing, unless we have an increase of grace? No, it is not. It is the crowding ofa boat until it sinks, without putting in any more provision, for the food of those who are in it. The more we have innumbers, the more we need have of grace. It is just this we want every-day: "Cause thy face to shine." Oh! there havebeen times in this house of prayer, when God's face has shone upon us. I can remember seasons, when every one of us wept,from the minister down almost to the child; there have been times, when we have reckoned the converts under one sermon byscores. Where is the blessedness we once spoke of? Where is the joy we once had in this house? Brethren, it is not all gone;there aremany still brought to know the Lord; but oh! I want to see those times again, when first the refreshing showers came downfrom heaven. Have you never heard that under one of Whitfield's sermons there have been as many as two thousand saved? Hewas a great man; but God can use the little, as well as the great to produce the same effect; and why should there not besouls saved here, beyond all our dreams? Ay, why not? We answer, there is no reason why not, if God does but cause his faceto shine.Give us the shining of God's face; man's face may be covered with frowns, and his heart may be black with malice, butif the Lord our God doth shine, it is enough
"If he makes bare his arm,
Who can his cause withstand
When he his people's cause defends
Who, who can stay his hand?"
It is his good hand with us we want. I do think there is an opportunity for the display of God's hand at this particular era,such as has not been for many years before, certainly, if he doeth anything, the crown must be put on his head, and on hishead alone. We are a feeble people: what shall we do? But if he doeth anything, he shall have the crown and the diadem entirelyto himself. Oh that he would do it! Oh that he would honor himself! Oh that he would turn unto usthat we might turn unto him, and that his face may shine! Children of God, I need not enlarge on the meaning of this.You know what the shining of God's face means; you know it means a clear light of knowledge, a warming light of comfort, aliving light poured into the darkness of your soul, an honorable light, which shall make you appear like Moses, when he camefrom the mountain-so bright, that men will scarce dare to look upon you. "Cause thy face to shine;" Shall we not make thisourprayer, dearly beloved? Have I one of my brethren in the faith, who will not this day go home to cry out aloud unto hisGod, "Cause thy face to shine?" A black cloud has swept over us, all we want is that the sun should come, and it shall sweepthat cloud away. There have been direful things; but what of them, if God, our God, shall appear? Let this be our cry, "Causethy face to shine." Beloved, let us give no rest unto our God, until he hears this our prayer, "Turn us again, O Lord Godofhosts, cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved."
III. Come, now, let me stir you all up, all of you who love the Saviour, to seek after this revival. Some of you, perhaps,are now resolving in your hearts that you will at once, when you reach your homes, prostrate yourselves before your God, andcry out to him that he would bless his church; and oh! do so I beseech you. It is common with us under a sermon to resolve,though after the sermon we are slow to perform. You have often said, when you left the house of God, "Iwill carry out that injunction of my pastor, and will be much in prayer." You thought to do it so soon as you arrivedat home, but you did not, and so there was an untimely end of the matter-it accomplished not what was designed. But this time,I beseech you, while you resolve be resolute. Instead of saying within yourselves, "Now I will devote myself more to God,and seek to honor him more," anticipate the resolution by the result. Ye can do more in the strength of God than ye can thinkorpropose to yourselves in the utmost might of man. Resolves may pacify the conscience very frequently for a while, withoutreally benefitting it. You say you will do it, conscience therefore does not reproach you with a disobedience to the command,but ye do it not after all, and so the effect has passed away. Let any holy and pious resolution you now form be this instantturned into prayer. Instead of saying, "I will do it, put up the prayer, Lord enable me to do it; Lord, grant me grace todoit." One prayer is worth ten thousand resolutions. Pray to God that you, as a soldier of the cross, may never disgracethe banner under which you fight. Ask of him that you may not be like the children of Ephraim, who turned back in the dayof battle, but that you may stand fast in all weathers, even as good old Jacob, when "in the day the drought consumed himand the frost by night,"-so may you serve that God who has galled you with so high a galling. Perhaps others of you thinkthere is noneed of a revival, that your own hearts are quite good enough; I hope but few of you think so. But if thou dost thinkso my hearer, I warn thee. Thou fanciest thou art right, and therein thou dost prove that thou art wrong. He who says withinhimself, "I am rich and increased with goods," let him know that he is "poor and naked and miserable." He who says he needsno revival knoweth not what he says. Beloved, you shall find that those who are noted as best among God's people need to writethemselves the word; and those who fancy all goes well in their hearts ofttimes little know that an under-current of evilis really bearing them away as with a tide where they would not wish to go, whilst they fancy they are going on to peace andprosperity.
Oh! beloved, carry into effect the advice I have just given. I know I have spoken feebly. It is the best I can do just now,I have only stirred you up by way of remembrance. Think not my desires are as feeble as my words; imagine not that my anxietyfor you is or can be represented by my speech. Ask, I beseech you, ask of God, that to every one of you brethren and sisters,the simple exhortation of one who loves you as his own soul, may be blessed. God is my witness,belayed, that for him I seek to live: no other motive have I in this world, God knoweth, but his glory. Therefore do Ibid and exhort you, knowing that you love the same God, and seek to serve the same Christ, do not now, in this hour of peril,give the least cause to the enemy to blaspheme. Oh! in the bowels of Christ, I entreat you for his sake who hung upon thetree and who is now exalted in heaven by his bloody sacrifice offered for your redemption, by the everlasting love of God,wherebyyou are kept. I exhort, I beseech, I entreat you, as your brother in Christ Jesus, and such an one as your pastor, bein nothing I moved by your adversaries. "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, when they shall say all manner of evil against youfalsely, for our Saviour's sake." But do ask that your life and conversation may be an honor to your Lord and Master; in nothinggive occasion for the enemy to malign our sacred cause; in everything may your course be "like the shining light, which shinethmore and more unto the perfect day."
But oh! ye who come here and approve the truth with your judgment but yet have never felt its power in your hearts or itsinfluence in your lives, for you we sigh and groan; for your sake I have stirred up the saints among us to pray. Oh how manyof you there are that have been pricked in your consciences and hearts many a time. Ye have wept, ay, and have so wept thatyou have thought with yourselves "Never souls wept as we have done!" But ye have gone back again. Afterall the solemn warnings ye have heard, and after all the wooings of Calvary, ye have gone back again to your sins. Sinner!thou who heedest little for thyself, just hear how much we think of thee. Little dost thou know how much we groan over thysoul. Man! thou thinkest thy soul nothing, yet morning, noon, and night, we are groaning over that precious immortal thingwhich thou despisest. Thou thinkest it little to lose thy soul, to perish, or mayhap to be damned. Dost thou account us foolsthatwe should cry over thee? Dost thou suppose we are bereft of reason, that we should think thy soul of so much concern,whilst thou hast so little concern for it? Here are God's people, they are crying after thy soul; they are laboring with Godto save thee. Dost thou think so little of it thyself, that thou wouldst fool away thy soul for a paltry pleasure, or wouldstprocrastinate thy soul's welfare beyond the limited domain of hope; Oh! sinner, sinner, if thou lovest thyself, I beseechthee,pause and think that what God's people love must be worth something, that what we labor for, and strive for, must be worthsomething, that what was reckoned worth a ransom so priceless as Jesus paid must have its sterling value in the sight of heaven.Do, I beseech thee, pause? think of the value of thy soul; think how dreadful it will be if it is lost; think of the extentof eternity, think of thine own frailty; bethink thee of thine own sin, and of thy deserving. May God give thee grace toforsake thy wicked ways, turn unto him and live, for he "hath no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but rather thathe should turn unto him and live!" Therefore, saith he, "Turn thee, turn thee, why wilt thou die?"
And now oh Lord God of hosts, hear our ardent appeal to thy throne. "Turn us again." Lighten our path with the guidance ofthine eye, cheer our hearts with the smiles of thy face. O God of armies, let every regiment and rank of thy militant churchbe of perfect heart, undivided in thy service. Let great grace rest upon all thy children. Let great fear come upon all thepeople. Let many reluctant hearts be turned to the Lord. Let there now be times of refreshing from thypresence. To thine own name shall be all the glory, "O thou that are more glorious and excellent then the mountains ofprey!"