Sermon 76. Gospel Missions
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, April 27, 1856, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
On behalf of the Baptist Missionary Society.
"And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region."-Acts 13:49.
I SHALL not confine myself to the text. It being an old custom to take texts when we preach, I have taken one, but I shalladdress you, at large, upon a subject which I am sure will occupy your attention, and has done for many days and years past-thesubject of gospel missions. We feel persuaded that all of you are of one mind in this matter, that it is the absolute dutyas well as the eminent privilege of the Church to proclaim the gospel to the world. We do notconceive that God will do his own work without instruments, but that, as he has always employed means in the work of theregeneration of this world, he will still continue to do the same, and that it becomes the Church to do its utmost to spreadthe truth wherever it can reach the ear of man. We have not two opinions on that point. Some churches may have, but we havenot. Our doctrines, although they are supposed to lead to apathy and sloth, have always proved themselves to be eminentlypractical; the fathers of the mission were all zealous lovers of the doctrines of the grace of God; and we believe, thegreat supporters of missionary enterprise, if it is to be successful, must always come from those who hold God's truth firmlyand boldly, and yet have fire and zeal with it, and desire to spread it everywhere. But there is a point on which we havegreat division of opinion, and that is as to the reason why we have had so little success in our missionary labours. Theremay besome who say the success has been proportionate to the agency, and that we could not have been more successful. I am farfrom being of their opinion, and I do not think they themselves would express it on their knees before Almighty God. We havenot been successful to the extent we might have expected, certainly not to an apostolic extent, certainly with nothing likethe success of Paul or Peter, or even of those imminent men who have preceded us in modern times, and who were able to evangelizewhole countries, turning thousands to God. Now, what is the reason of this? Perhaps we may turn our eyes on high, andthink we find that reason in the sovereignty of God, which hath withholden his Spirit, and hath not poured out his grace asaforetime. I shall be prepared to grant all men may say on that point, for I believe in the ordination of everything by AlmightyGod. I believe in a present God in our defeats as well as in our successes; a God as well in the motionless air as in thecareering tempest; a God of ebbs as well as a God of floods. But still we must look at home for the cause. When Zion travails,she brings forth children; when Zion is in earnest, God is in earnest about his work; when Zion is prayerful, God blessesher. We must not, therefore, arbitrarily look for the cause of our failure in the will of God, but we must also see what isthe difference between ourselves and the men of Apostolic times, and what it is that renders our success so trifling incomparison with the tremendous results of Apostolic preaching. I think I shall be able to show one or two reasons whyour holy faith is not so prosperous as it was then. In the first place, we have not Apostolic men; in the second place, they do not set about their work in an Apostolic style; in the third place, we have not Apostolic churches to back them up; and in the fourth place, we have not the Apostolic influence of the Holy Ghost. in the measure which they hadit in ancient times.
I. First, WE HAVE FEW APOSTOLIC MEN IN THESE TIMES. I will not say we have none; here and there we may have one or two, butunhappily their names are never heard; they do not start out before the world, and are not noted as preachers of God's truth.We had a Williams once, a true apostle, who went from island to island, not counting his life dear unto him; but Williamsis called to his reward. We had a Knibb, who toiled for his Master with seraphic earnestness, and was notashamed to call an oppressed slave his brother; but Knibb, too, has entered into his rest. We have one or two still remaining,precious and treasured names; we love them fervently, and our prayers shall ever rise to heaven on their behalf. We alwayssay, in our prayers, "God bless such men as Moffat! God bless those who are earnestly toiling and successfully labouring!"But cast your eyes around, and where can we find many such men? They are all good men; we find no fault with them; they arebetter than we; we, ourselves, shrink into nothingness compared with them; but we must still say of them that they areless than their fathers, they differ from the mighty Apostles in many respects, which we think even they would not be slowto own. I am not speaking of missionaries only, but of ministers too; for I take it we have as much to mourn over in regardto the spread of the gospel in England as in foreign lands, and much to regret the lack of men filled with the Holy Ghostand withfire.
In the first place, we have not men with Apostolic zeal. Converted in a most singular way, by a direct interposition from heaven, Paul, from that time forward became an earnestman. He had always been earnest, in his sin and in his persecutions; but after he heard that voice from heaven, "Saul, Saul,why persecutest thou me?" and had received the mighty office of an apostle, and had been sent forth a chosen vessel to theGentiles, you can scarce conceive the deep,the awful earnestness which he manifested. Whether he did eat, or drink, or whatsoever he did, he did all for the gloryof his God; he never wasted an hour; he was employing his time either in ministering with his own hands unto his necessities,or else lifting those hands in the Synagogue, on Mars-hill, or anywhere where he could command the attention of the multitude.His zeal was so earnest, and so burning, that he could not (as we unfortunately do) restrain himself within a little sphere;but he preached the Word everywhere. It was not enough for him to have it handed down that he was the Apostle of Pisidia,but he must go also to Pamphylia; it was not enough that he should be the great preacher of Pamphylia and Pisidia, but hemust go also to Attalia; and when he had preached throughout all Asia, he must needs take ship to Greece, and preach therealso. I believe not once only did Paul hear in his dream the men of Macedonia saying, "Come over and help us," but every dayandhour he heard the cry in his ears from multitudes of souls, "Paul, Paul, come over and help us." He could not restrainhimself from preaching. "Woe is unto me" he said "if I preach not the gospel. God forbid that I should glory save in the crossof Christ." Oh! if you could have seen Paul preach, you would not have gone away as you do from some of us, with half a conviction,that we do not mean what we say. His eyes preached a sermon without his lips, and his lips preached it, not in a cold andfrigid manner, but every word fell with an overwhelming power upon the hearts of his hearers. He preached with power,because he was in downright earnest. You had a conviction, when you saw him, that he was a man who felt he had a work to doand must do it, and could not contain himself unless he did do it. He was the kind of preacher whom you would expect to seewalk down the pulpit stairs straight into his coffin, and then stand before his God, ready for his last account. Where arethe menlike that man? I confess I cannot claim that privilege, and I seldom hear a solitary sermon which comes up to the markin earnest, deep, passionate longing for the souls of men.
We have no eyes now like the eyes of the Saviour, which could weep over Jerusalem; we have few voices like that earnest impassionedvoice which seemed perpetually to cry, "Come unto me, and I will give you rest." "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often wouldI have gathered thee as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but ye would not." If ministers of the gospel were morehearty in their work of preaching; if, instead of giving lectures and devoting a large part oftheir time to literary and political pursuits, they would preach the Word of God, and preach it as if they were pleadingfor their own lives, ah! then, my brethren, we might expect great success; but we cannot expect it while we go about our workin a half-hearted way, and have not that zeal, that earnestness, that deep purpose which characterized those men of old.
Then, again, I take it we have not men in our days who can preach like Paul-as to their faith. What did Paul do? He went to Philippi; did he know a soul there? Not one. He had his Master's truth, and he believed inthe power of it. He was unattended and devoid of pomp, or show, or parade; he did not go to a pulpit with a soft cushion init to address a respectable congregation, but he walked through the streets and began to preach to the people. He went toCorinth, to Athens, alone, single-handed, to tell the people the gospel of the blessed God. Why? Because he had faithin the gospel and believed it would save souls, and hurl down idols from their thrones. He had no doubt about the power ofthe gospel; but now-a-days, my brethren, we have not faith in the gospel we preach. How many there are who preach gospel,which they are afraid will not save souls; and, therefore, they add little bits of their own to it in order, as they think,to win mento Christ! We have known men who believed Calvinistic doctrines, but who preached Calvinism in the morning and Arminianismin the evening, because they were afraid God's gospel would not convert sinners, so they would manufacture one of their own.I hold that a man who does not believe his gospel to be able to save men's souls, does not believe it all. If God's truthwill not save men's souls, man's lies cannot; if God's truth will not turn men to repentance, I am sure there is nothing inthisworld that can. When we believe the gospel to be powerful, then we shall see it is powerful. If I walk into this pulpit,and say, "I know what I preach is true," the world says I am an egotist. "The young man is dogmatical." Ay, and the youngman means to be; he glories in it, he keeps it to himself as one of his peculiar titles, for he does most firmly believe whathe preaches. God forbid that I should ever come tottering up the pulpit stairs to teach anything I was not quite sure of,something which I hoped might save sinners, but of which I was not exactly certain. When I have faith in my doctrines,those doctrines will prevail, for confidence is the winner of the palm. He who hath courage enough to grasp the standard,and hold it up, will be sure enough to find followers. He who says, "I know," and asserts it boldly in his Master's name,without disputing, will not be long before he will find men who will listen to what he says, and who will say, "This man speakswithauthority, and not as the Scribes and Pharisees." That is one reason why we do not succeed: we have not faith in the gospel.We send educated men to India in order to confound the learned Brahmins. Nonsense! Let the Brahmins say what they like, havewe any business to dispute with them? "Oh, but they are so intellectual and so clever." What have we to do with that? We arenot to seek to be clever in order to meet them. Leave the men of the world to combat their metaphysical errors; we havemerely to say, "This is truth: he that believeth it shall be saved, and he that denieth it shall be damned." We have noright to come down from the high ground of divine authoritative testimony; and until we maintain that ground, and come outas we ought to do, girded with the belt of divinity-preaching not what may be true, but asserting that which God has most certainly revealed-we shall not see success. We want a deeper faith in ourgospel; we want to be quite sure of what wepreach. Brethren, I take it we have not the faith of our fathers. I feel myself a poor drivelling thing in point of faith.Why, methought sometimes I could believe anything; but now a little difficulty comes before me, I am timid, and I fear. Itis when I preach with unbelief in my heart that I preach unsuccessfully; but when I preach with faith and can say, "I knowmy God has said, that in the self-same hour he will give me what I shall preach, and careless of man's esteem, I preach whatIbelieve to be true," then it is that God owns faith and crowns it with his own crown.
Again: we have not enough self-denial, and that is one reason why we do not prosper. Far be it from me to say aught against the self-denial of those worthy brethrenwho have left their country to cross the stormy deep and preach the Word. We hold them to be men who are to be had in honour;but still I ask, where is the self-denial of the Apostles now-a-days? I think one of the greatest disgraces that ever wascast upon the church in these days was that last missionto Ireland. Men went over to Ireland, but like men who have valour's better part, brave bold men, they came back again,which is about all we can say of the matter. Why do they not go there again? Why, they say the Irish "hooted" at them. Now,don't you think you see Paul taking a microscope out of his pocket, and looking at the little man who should say to him, "Ishall not go there to preach because the Irish hooted me?" "What!" he says, "is this a preacher?-what a small edition of aminister he must be, to be sure!" "Oh! but they threw stones at us; you have no idea how badly they treated us!" Justtell that to the Apostle Paul. I am sure you would be ashamed to do so. "Oh! but in some places the police interfered, andsaid that we should only create a riot." What would Paul have said to that? The police interfering! I did not know that we had any right to care about governments. Our business is to preach the Word, and if we must be putin the stocks there let uslie; there would come no hurt of it at last. "Oh! but they might have killed some of us." That is just it. Where is thatzeal which counted not its life dear so that it might win Christ? I believe that the killing of a few of our ministers wouldhave prospered Christianity. However we might mourn over it, and none more than myself, I say the murder of a dozen of themwould have been no greater ground for grief than the slaughter of our men by hundreds in a successful fight for hearths andhomes. I would count my own blood most profitably shed in so holy a struggle. How did the gospel prosper aforetime? Werethere not some who laid down their lives for it; and did not others walk to victory over their slain bodies; and must it notbe so now? If we are to start back because we are afraid of being killed, heaven knows when the gospel is to spread over theworld-we do not. What have other missionaries done? Have they not braved death in its direst forms, and preached the Wordamidcountless dangers? My brethren, we say again, we find no fault, for we, ourselves, might err in the same manner; but weare sure we are therein not like Paul. He went to a place where they stoned him with stones, and dragged him out as dead.Did he say, "Now for the future I will not go where they will ill-treat me?" No, for he says, "Of the Jews five times receivedI forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, thrice I suffered shipwreck." I am sure we have not the self-denialofthe Apostles. We are mere carpet-knights and Hyde-park-warriors. When I go to my own house and think how comfortable andhappy I am, I say to myself, "How little I do for my Master! I am ashamed that I cannot deny myself for his truth, and goeverywhere preaching his Word." I look with pity upon people who say "Do not preach so often; you will kill yourself." O myGod! what would Paul have said to such a thing as that? "Take care of your constitution; you are rash; you are enthusiastic."When Icompare myself with one of those men of old, I say, "Oh that men should be found calling themselves Christians, who seekto stop our work of faith and labour of love, for the sake of a little consideration about the 'constitution,' which getsall the stronger for the preaching of God's Word."
But I hear some one whispering, "You ought to make a little allowance." My dear friend, I make all allowance. I am not findingfault with those brethren; they are a good sort of people; we are "all honorable men;" but I will only say, that in comparisonwith Paul, we are less than nothing, and vanity; little insignificant Lilliputian creatures, who can hardly be seen in comparisonwith those gigantic men of old.
Ones of my hearers may perhaps hint that this is not the sole cause, and he observes, "I think you ought to make excuse, forministers now cannot work miracles." Well, I have considered that too, and certainly it is a drawback, but, I take it, nota very great one; for if it had been, God would not have allowed it to exist. He gave that gift to the Church in its infancy,but now it needs it no longer. We mistake in attributing too much to miracles. What was one of them?Wherever the Apostles went they could speak the language of the people. Well, in the time it would have taken Paul towalk from here to Hindostan, we could learn Hindostani, and we can go over in a very little time by the means of travellingthat are now provided: so that is no great gain there. Then, again, in order to make the gospel known amongst the people,it was necessary that miracles should be worked, so that every one might talk about it; but now there is a printing pressto aid us.What I say to-day, within six months will be read across the Alleghanies; and so with other ministers, what they say andwhat they do can soon be printed off and distributed everywhere; so they have facilities for making themselves known whichare not much behind the power of miracles. Again, we have a great advantage over the Apostles. Wherever they went they werepersecuted, and sometimes put to death; but now, although occasionally we hear of the massacre of a missionary, the occurrenceisrare enough. The slaughter of an Englishman anywhere would provoke a fleet of men-of-war to visit the offence with chastisement.The world respects an Englishman wherever he goes; he has the stamp of the great Caesar upon him; he is the true cosmopolite-thecitizen of the world. That could not be said of the poor despised Jews. There might be some respect paid to Paul, for he wasa Roman citizen, but there would be none paid to the rest. We cannot be put to death now without a noise beingmade. The murder of two or three ministers in Ireland would provoke a tumult through the country; the government wouldhave to interpose, the orderly of the land would be up in arms, and then we might preach with an armed constabulary aroundus, and so go through the land, provoking the priests, startling antichrist, and driving superstition to its dens for ever.
II. In the second place, WE DO NOT GO ABOUT OUR WORK IN AN APOSTOLIC STYLE. How is that? Why, in the first place, there isa general complaint that there is not enough preaching by ministers and missionaries. They sit down interpreting, establishing schools, and doing this, that, and theother. We have nothing to find fault with in this; but that is not the labour to which they should devote themselves; theiroffice is preaching, and if they preached more, theymight hope for more success. The missionary Chamberlain preached once at a certain place, and years afterwards discipleswere found there from that one sermon. Williams preached wherever he went, and God blessed him; Moffat preached wherever hewent, and his labours were owned. Now we have our churches, our printing-presses, about which a great deal of money is spent.This is doing good, but it is not doing the good. We are not using the means which God has ordained, and we cannottherefore expect to prosper. Some say there is too much preaching now-a-days, in England. Well, it is the tendency ofthe times to decry preaching, but it is "the foolishness of preaching" which is to change the world. It is not for men tosay, "If you preached less, you might study more." Study is required well enough if you have a settled church; but the Apostlesneeded no study, I apprehend, but they stood up and delivered out the simple cardinal truths of religion, not taking one text,butgoing through the whole catalogue of truth. So I think, in itinerant evangelical labours, we are not bound to dwell onone subject, for then we need to study, but we shall find it profitable to deal out the whole truth wherever we go. Thus weshould always find words to hand, and truths ever ready to teach the people.
In the next place I conceive that a great mistake has been made in not affirming the divinity of our mission, and standing fast by the truth, as being a revelation not to be proved by men, but to be believed; always holding out this,"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned." I am often grieved when I readof our missionaries holding disputes with the Brahmins, and it is sometimes said that the missionary has beatenthe Brahmin because he kept his temper, and so the gospel had gained great honour by the dispute. I take it that the gospelwas lowered by the controversy. I think the missionary should say, "I am come to tell you something which the One God of heavenand earth hath said, and I tell you before I announce it, that if you believe it you shall be saved, and if not, you shallbe damned. I am come to tell you that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, became flesh, to die for poor unworthy man, that throughhis mediation, and death, and suffering, the people of God might be delivered. Now, if you will listen to me you shallhear the word of God: if you do not, I shake the dust of my feet against you, and go somewhere else." Look at the historyof every imposture; it shows us that the claim of authority insures a degree of progress. How did Mahommed come to have sostrong a religion in his time? He was all alone, and he went into the market-place and said, "I have received a revelationfromheaven." It was a lie, but he persuaded men to believe it. People looked at his face; they saw that he looked upon themearnestly as believing what he said, and some five or six of them joined him. Did he prove what he said? Not he. "You must," he said, "believe what I say, or there is no Paradise for you." There is power in thatkind of thing, and wherever he went his statement was believed, not on the ground of reasoning, but on his authority, whichhe declared to be from Allah; and ina century after he first proclaimed his imposture, a thousand sabres had flashed from a thousand sheaths, and his wordhad been proclaimed through Africa, Turkey, Asia, and even in Spain. The man claimed authority-he claimed divinity; thereforehe had power. Take again the increase of Mormonism. What has been its strength? Simply this-the assertion of power from heaven.That claim is made, and the people believe it, and now they have missionaries in almost every country of the habitableglobe, and the book of Mormon is translated into many languages. Though there never could be a delusion more transparent,or a counterfeit less skilful, and more lying upon the very surface, yet this simple pretension to power has been the meansof carrying power with it. Now, my brethren, we have power; we are God's ministers; we preach God's truth; the great Judge of heaven and earth has told us the truth, and what have we to do to dispute with worms of the dust?Whyshould we tremble and fear them? Let us stand out and say, "We are the servants of the living God; we tell unto you whatGod has told us, and we warn you, if you reject our testimony, it shall be better for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgmentthan for you." If the people cast that away we have done our work. We have nothing to do with making men believe; ours isto testify of Christ everywhere, to preach and to proclaim the gospel to all men.
But there is one passage in the Bible which seems to militate against what I have said, if the common translation be true-thepassage which says that Paul "disputed in the school of one Tyrannus." But this is better rendered in English, he "dialoguedin the school of one Tyrannous." Albert Barnes says, that "disputed is not a happy translation," for there is no such ideaconveyed by the word. Jesus, when he preached, "dialogued." When the man came and said to him,"Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" he "dialogued" with him. When another said unto him, "Speak, Lord,unto my brother, that he divide with me the inheritance," Christ did not dispute with him, but he "dialogued." His usual stylewas to address the people, and but rarely to dispute with men. We might give up all the books that have been written in defenceof Christianity if we would but preach Christ, if, instead of defending the outposts, we were to say, "God will take careofthem," and were at once to make a sortie on the enemy; then by God's Holy Spirit we should carry everything before us.O, Church of God! believe thyself invincible, and thou art invincible; but stay to tremble, and fear, and thou art undone.Lift up thy head and say, "I am God's daughter; I am Christ's bride." Do not stop to prove it, but affirm it; march throughthe land, and kings and princes shall bow down before thee, because thou hast taken thine ancient prowess and assumed thineancientglory.
I have one more remark to make here with regard to the style in which we go to work. I fear that we have not enough of thedivine method of itinerancy. Paul was a great itinerant: he preached in one place, and there were twelve converted there; he made a church at once; hedid not stop till he had five hundred; but when he had twelve, he went off to another place. A holy woman takes him in; shehas a son and daughter; they are saved and baptized-there is anotherchurch. Then he goes on; wherever he goes the people believe and are baptized, wherever he meets a family who believe,he or his companion baptizes all the house, and goes about his way still forming churches and appointing elders over them.We, now-a-days, go and settle in a place, make a station of it, and work around it by little and little, and think that isthe way to succeed. No, no! ravage a continent; attempt great things and great things shall be done. But they say if you justpassover a place it will be forgotten like the summer shower, which moistens all, but satisfies none. Yes, but you do notknow how many of God's elect may be there; you have no business to stop in one place; go straight on; God's elect are everywhere.I protest if I could not itinerate this country of England, I could not bear to preach. If I preached here always, many of you would become gospel hardened. I love to go ranging here, there, and everywhere. My highest ambition is this,that I may be found going through the entire land, as well as holding my head quarters in one position. I do hold thatitinerancy is God's great plan. There should be fixed ministers and pastors, but those who are like apostles should itineratefar more than they do.
III. But I have a third thing to say which will strike home to some of us: that is, that WE HAVE NOT APOSTOLIC CHURCHES. Oh!had you seen an Apostolic church, what a different thing it would appear to one of our churches! as different, I had almostsaid, as light from darkness, as different as the shallow bed of the brook that is dried by summer is from the mighty rollingriver, ever full, ever deep and clear, and ever rushing into the sea. Now, where is ourprayerfulness compared with theirs? I trust that we know something of the power of prayer here, but I do not think we pray like they did."They broke bread from house to house, and did eat their meat with singleness of heart, giving glory to God." There was nota member of the Church, as a rule, who was half-hearted; they gave their souls wholly to God; and when Anaias and Sapphiradivided the price, they were smitten with death for their sin. Oh! if we prayed as deeply and as earnestlyas they did, we should have as much success. Any measure of success we may have had here has been entirely owing underGod to your prayers; and wherever I have gone, I have boasted that I have a praying people. Let other ministers have as prayerfula people; let missionaries have as many prayers from the Church, and, all things being equal, God will bless them, and therewill be greater prosperity than ever.
We have not the Apostolic mode of liberality. In the Apostles' days they gave all their substance. It was not demanded of them then, and it is not now, no one thinks of asking such a thing; still we have run to the other extreme, and many givenothing at all. Men who have thousands and tens of thousands are so eternally considerate for their families, albeit theyare provided for, that they give nothing more than the servant girl who sits next to them.It is a common saying, that members of Christian Churches do not give in proportion to their wealth. We give because itis genteel and respectable. A great many of us give I hope, because we love the cause of God; but many of us say, "There isa poor bricklayer, working hard all the week and only earning just enough to keep his wife and family: he will give a shilling;now, I have so many pounds a week-I am a rich man-what shall I give? why, I will give half-a-crown." Another says, "I willgive ten shillings this morning." Now, if they measured their wealth in comparison with his, they would see that he givesall he has left above his maintenance, while they give comparatively nothing. My brethren, we are not half Christians; thatis the reason why we have not half success. We are Christianised, but I question whether we are thoroughly so. The Spiritof God hath not entered into us to give us that life, and fire, and soul, which they had in these ancient times.
IV. But lastly, as the result of the other things which have gone before, and perhaps partly as the cause of them too, WEHAVE NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THAT MEASURE WHICH ATTENDED THE APOSTLES. I see no reason whatever, why, this morning, if Godwilled it, I should not stand up and preach a sermon which should be the means of converting every soul in the place. I seeno reason why I should not, tomorrow, preach a sermon which should be the means of the salvation of all whoheard it, if God the Spirit were poured out. The word is able to convert, just as extensively as God the Spirit pleasesto apply it; and I can see no reason why, if converts come in by ones and twos now, there should not be a time when hundredsand thousands shall come to God. The same sermon which God blesses to ten if he pleased he could bless to a hundred. I knownot but that in the latter days when Christ shall come and shall begin to take the kingdom to himself, every minister of Godshallbe as successful as Peter on the day of Pentecost. I am sure the Holy Spirit is able to make the word successful, andthe reason why we do not prosper is that we have not the Holy Spirit attending us with might and energy as they had then.My brethren, if we had the Holy Spirit upon our ministry, it would signify very little about our talent. Men might be poorand uneducated; their words might be broken and ungrammatical; there might be no polished periods of Hall, or glorious thundersofChalmers; but if there were the might of the Spirit attending them, the humblest evangelists would be more successfulthan the most pompous of divines, or the most eloquent of preachers. It is extraordinary grace, not talent, that wins the day; extraordinary spiritual power, not extraordinary mental power. Mental power may fill a chapel;but spiritual power fills the Church. Mental power may gather a congregation; spiritual power will save souls. We want spiritualpower. Oh! we know somebefore whom we shrink into nothing as to talent, but who have no spiritual power, and when they speak they have not theHoly Spirit with them; but we know others, simple hearted worthy men who speak their country dialect, and who stand up topreach in their country place, and the Spirit of God clothes every word with power; hearts are broken, souls are saved, andsinners are born again. Spirit of the living God! we want thee. Thou art the life, the soul; thou art the source of thy people'ssuccess; without thee they can do nothing, with thee they can do everything.
Thus I have tried to show you what I conceive to be the causes of our partial non-success. And now permit me, with all earnestness,to plead with you on behalf of Christ and Christ's Holy Gospel, that you would stir yourselves up to renewed efforts for thespread of his truth, and to more earnest prayers, that his kingdom may come, and his will be done on earth even as it is inheaven. Ah! my friends, could I show you the tens of thousands of spirits who are now walking inouter darkness; could I take you to the gloomy chamber of hell, and show you myriads upon myriads of heathen souls inutterable torture, not having heard the word, but being justly condemned for their sins; methinks you could ask yourselves,"Did I do anything to save these unhappy myriads? They have been damned, and can I say I am clear of their blood?" Oh! Godof mercy, if these skirts be clear of my fellow creatures' blood, I shall have eternal reason to bless thee in heaven. Oh!Church ofChrist! thou hast great reason to ask thyself whether thou art quite clean in this matter. Ye say too often, ye sons ofGod, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Ye are too much like Cain; ye do not ask yourselves whether God will require your fellow-creaturesblood at your hands. Oh! there is a truth which says, "If the watchman warn them not, they shall perish, but their blood willhe require at the watchman's hands." Ah! there ought to be more of us who are preaching to the heathen, and yet, perhaps,we are indolent and doing little or nothing. There are many of you, yea all of you, who ought to be doing far more thanyou are for evangelical purposes and the spread of Christ's gospel. Oh! put this question to your hearts; shall I be ableto say to the damned spirit if he meets me in hell, "Sinner, I did all I could for thee?" I am afraid some will have to say,"No, I did not; it is true I might have done more; I might have laboured more, even though I might have been unsuccessful,but I didnot do it." AH, my dear friends, I believe there is a great reason for some of us to suspect whether we believe our religionat all. An infidel once met a Christian. "Because," said the other, "for years you have passed me on my way to my house ofbusiness. You believe, do you not, there is a hell, into which men's spirit are cast?" "Yes, I do," said the Christian. "Andyou believe that unless I believe in Christ I must be sent there?" "Yes." "You do not, I am sure, because if you did you mustbe a most inhuman wretch to pass me, day by day, and never tell me about it or warn me of it." I do hold that there aresome Christians who are verily guilty in this matter; God will forgive them, the blood of Christ can even wash that out, butthey are guilty. Did you ever think of the tremendous value of a single soul. My hearers, if there were but one man in Siberiaunsaved, and all the world were saved besides, if God should move our minds, it would be worth while for all the people inEngland to go after that one soul. Did you ever think of the value of a soul? Ah! ye have not heart the howls and yellsof hell; ye have not heard the mighty songs and hosannas of the glorified; ye have no notion of what eternity is, or elseye would know the value of a soul. Ye who have been broken by conviction, humbled by the Spirit, and led to cry for mercythrough the covenant Jesus; ye know something of what a soul's value is, but many of my hearers do not. Could we preach carelessly,could we pray coldly, if we knew what a precious thing it is about which we are concerned? No, surely we should be doublyin earnest that God will please to save sinners. I am sure the present state of affairs cannot go on long; we are doing nextto nothing; Christianity is at a low ebb. People think it will never be much better; that it is clear impossible to do wondersin these days. Are we in a worse condition than the Roman Catholic nations were when one man, a Luther, preached? Then Godcan find a Luther now. We are not in a much worse state than when Whitfield began to preach, and yet God can find hisWhitfields now. It is a delusion to suppose that we cannot succeed as they did. God helping us we will; God helping us byhis Spirit we will see greater things than this, at any rate, we will never let God's Church rest if we do not see it prosper,but we will enter our earnest hearty protest against the coldness and lethargy of the times, and as long as this our tongueshallmove in our mouth, we will protest against the laxity and false doctrine so rampant throughout the Churches, and thenthat happy double reformation-a reformation in doctrine and Spirit, will be brought about together. Then God knoweth but whatwe shall say, "Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows," and ere long the shout of Christ shallbe heard. He, himself, shall descend from heaven; and we shall hear it said and sung, "Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! the LordGod Omnipotent reigneth."