Sermon 1151. A Revival Promise
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JANUARY 11, 1874,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon your seed, andMy blessing upon your offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the watercourses. One shall say,I am the Lord's; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord,and surname himself by the name of Israel" Isaiah 44:3-6.
IN the Christian Church at this moment there is a very general desire for a revival of religion. You may go where you mayamong Christian people and you will find that they are mourning over the present state of things and saying, one to the other,"When will a greater blessing come? How can we obtain it? When shall we make some impression upon the masses of the ungodly?When shall our houses of prayer be filled with attentive hearers? When will the Lord's kingdom come and His right arm be madebare in the eyes of all the people?"
I am delighted to hear the inquiry My soul magnifies the Lord as I discern tokens of growing anxiety about the cause and kingdomof Jesus and the perishing sons of men. This is an omen of better times. "As soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth herchildren." Searchings of heart, anguish, groans which cannot be uttered and abounding intercession are the heralds of blessing!They are the sound in the tops of the mulberry trees which calls Believers to bestir themselves in hope of victory! May themovement among the saints continue and deepen till it brings forth a movement among sinners far and wide.
At this time, also, there are manifest the most pleasing signs that God is about to work among His people. A very notablegathering of converts has taken place in the town of Newcastle and the two Brothers whom God honored to be the means of ithave now moved to the city of Edinburgh. There the ministers of all denominations are united in helping them and in earnestlyimploring the Divine blessing of the gracious visitation which has already come upon Edinburgh is such as was probably neverknown before within the memory of man. The whole place seems to be moved from end to end! When we hear of many thousands comingtogether on weekdays, to quite ordinary meetings, and crying, "What must we do to be saved?" there is, we are persuaded, thehand of God in the matter!
Now, there is among earnest Christians a general feeling that what has been done for Edinburgh is greatly needed for Londonand must be done for London if prayer and earnest effort can obtain it. Our prayers must go up incessantly that God will bepleased to send forth His saving health among the people of this great city of four million souls and turn many to righteousness,to the praise of the glory of His Divine Grace. Our growing anxiety for Christ's Glory and our faith in the energy of HisSpirit will be two hopeful signs of a coming blessing. As a Church we have always felt a delight in any work which has tobe done for God of this kind and we have enjoyed, for many years, a continuous visitation of the Holy Spirit.
That which would be a revival anywhere else has been our ordinary condition-for which we are thankful. By the space of these20 years, almost without rise or fall, God has continued to increase our numbers with souls saved by the preaching of HisTruth. Unto Him be all the praise! But now we are anxious to take a part in a yet further advance-we want a greater blessing!What we have had has not decreased, but rather stimulated our appetite. Oh, for more conversions! More hearts for Jesus! WouldGod that the dews of Heaven would fall in sevenfold abundance upon us and our fellow Christians-and the past be put to theblush by the future! That this desire may be fanned to a flame in all our hearts is my earnest prayer.
I have taken this text as one which is full of encouragement, that we may be all moved with hope and excited with expectation.I shall handle it in this way. First, we have before us the great Covenant blessing of the Church. Secondly, we
have the glorious result of that blessing described. And when we have spoken thus, we shall spend the rest of our time inspeaking of the conduct which is consistent with the desire, that this blessing and its results may come to us.
I. In our text we have THE GREAT COVENANT BLESSING OF THE CHURCH. It is the gift of the Holy Spirit. Whatever metaphor isused, this is the meaning of it. He is the refreshing, life-giving, fertilizing water-the living water of which Jesus spoke.The first promise of the text, "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground," is explainedby the second, "I will pour My Spirit upon your seed, and My blessing upon your offspring." While speaking upon this, it iswell for us to remember, first, that this blessing has been already given. We must never underrate the importance of the ascensionof our Lord and the gift of the Spirit which followed.
God forbid that we should think lightly of Pentecost-the Holy Spirit then descended and we have no record that the Spirithas since ascended and departed from the Church. He is the Church's perpetual heritage and abides with us always. I like tosing-
"The Holy Spirit is here,
Where saints in prayer agree, As Jesus 'parting gift He's near Each pleading company. Not far away is He,
To be by prayer brought near, But here in present majesty, As in His courts on high."
He is permanently resident in the midst of the Church. But when are have received that Truth of God, we may still go on touse the language which is very frequent among us and pray for the outpouring of the Spirit. If the language is not exactlyaccurate, the meaning is most excellent. So far as any one assembly or person is concerned, we may request the Holy Spiritto be poured forth upon us in His gracious operations. We desire to see the Spirit of God working more mightily in the Church-welong, each one of us, to be more completely subject to His influences and more filled with His power-so that we may be fullof faith and of the Holy Spirit.
We want the Holy Spirit poured upon those who have Him not-upon the dead in sin that they may be quickened, upon the despondingthat they may be consoled-upon the ignorant that they may be illuminated and upon seekers that they may find Him who, alone,is our peace. We, being evil, give good gifts unto our children, and therefore we are persuaded that our heavenly Father willgive the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him. We do but enlarge upon the prayer of the Apostolic benediction when we cry forthe blessing peculiar to the Holy Spirit. It is the Spirit that quickens-neither the letter of the word nor the energy ofour manner can give life! Therefore we feel that when we have prophesied to the dry bones we must also prophesy to the Wind,for unless the Divine Breath shall come, the dry bones will never live.
Notice, Beloved, that this great Covenant blessing of the Spirit is, in our text, the subject of a promise. "I will pour waterupon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon your seed, and My blessing upon youroffspring." We may always be confident of receiving those blessings which are promised by the Lord. The general promise, "Nogood thing will I withhold from them that walk uprightly," is very comforting. Under its broad cover we are encouraged toplead for many favors for which we have no special note of promise-but when we can put our finger upon a plain and specificword, by which a certain good thing is guaranteed to us, our faith rises to full assurance, and we feel confident of receivingan answer to our prayer!
"You have said, 'I will pour My Spirit upon your seed,' therefore, O Lord, fulfill this word unto Your servant, in which Youhave caused him to hope." You have God's word for it-place your finger upon it and on your knees beseech the Lord to do asHe has said. He cannot lie, He will never revoke His Word. Has He said and shall He not do it?-
"As well might He His being quit As break His promise or forget." He has spontaneously made the promise and He will Divinelymake it good. Upon every promise the blood of Jesus Christ has set its seal, making it, "yes and amen" forever. Test Him here,then, and you shall find Him faithfulness itself! A promise of God is the essence of the Truth of God, the soul of certainty,the voice of faithfulness and the substance of blessing. What a right royal promise it is! How lofty and full of assuranceis the language! "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty." It is for God to say, "I will" and, "I will."
We may venture as far as declaring, "I will if I can." But there are no limits to His power. Our wisdom is to say, "I hopeI shall be able to do as I desire." But there are no impossibilities with the Almighty. His Spirit falls upon men as a dewfrom the Lord, waiting not for man, neither tarrying for the sons of men. When the time has come for a shower, God asks notthe potentates of earth to give their consent, but down come the blessed drops! When the season for spring has arrived, theLord does not ask man to help Him to remove the ice from the streams, or the snow from the hills, or the dampness from theair. He asks no human aid in quickening the seeds and awaking the plants, so that the sleeping flowers may open their lovelyeyes and smile on all around. He does it all!
His mystic influences, as Omnipotent as they are secret, come forth, and the work is done. And so, glory be to God, we havea promise, here, which is the word of Omnipotence, and when we plead it we need not be at all dismayed by the question, "Cansuch a thing be?" We know that dry bones can live when the Spirit breathes upon them and we are equally well persuaded thatthe life-giving Spirit can so breathe, for we have a Divine promise that He shall be given to the people. We hear the double"I will, I will," and we are certain that the Lord can and will "pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon thedry ground."
It becomes us also, Brothers and Sisters, to notice that this gift, which is the subject of a promise, is a most necessaryblessing. I have sometimes heard it sneeringly remarked that we know very well we need the Holy Spirit, but there is no needto be everlastingly talking about it. But, Brethren, we need to make frequent acknowledgment of this Truth-it is due to theHoly Spirit, Himself, that we should do so. If we do not honor the Holy Spirit, we cannot expect Him to work with us. He willbe grieved and leave us to find out our helplessness. Moreover, I fear that, however generally the doctrine of the necessityof the Spirit's work may be believed as a matter of theory, it is not acted upon-and what is not believed in practice is,in fact, not believed at all.
I am very suspicious of a man who tires of a Truth of God so vitally important and dares to call it a platitude. We shallnot hesitate to repeat the doctrine again and again-and we feel persuaded that God's people will not tire of it. Without theSpirit of God we can do nothing! We are as ships without wind, or chariots without steeds, without the Holy Spirit. We arelike branches without sap, we are withered without the Holy Spirit! We are like coals without fire. We are as useless as anoffering without the sacrificial flame, without the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit we are unaccepted. I desire bothto feel and to confess this fact whenever I attempt to preach. I do not wish to get away from it, or to conceal it, nor canI, for I am often made to feel it to the deep humbling of my spirit.
I pray that you who teach in the Sunday school, you who visit the poor, you who work in any way for God may acknowledge yourimpotence for good and look for power from on high. To our hands the Holy Spirit is the force, to our eyes He is the light.We are but the stones and He the sling, we are the arrows and He the bow. Confess your weakness and you will be fit to bestrengthened. Acknowledge your emptiness and it will be a preparation for receiving Divine fullness. For, observe, the promiseof the living water is to "him that is thirsty," or, as it may be better rendered, and the figure would be more clear, "Iwill pour water upon it (the land) that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground."
The blessing is to come where it is needed-upon the desert, the parched places which are as the Valley of Death till the raincomes. If you think yourself to be as the well-watered plain of Sodom, God will pour no food upon you. It is upon the thirstyland, upon the heart which laments its barrenness and confesses its own unworthiness, that the Spirit of God shall come! Ido pray that as a Church we may never imbibe the idea that we have a lock on God's blessing, or a monopoly on His benediction,so that He is sure to grant His approval to any one particular ministry, or any form of Church government.
The Lord might leave us, and will, unless we lie low before Him and acknowledge our nothingness. Remember His Word which Hespoke to His erring people when they boasted of their pedigree and called themselves His temple-"Go you, now, unto My placewhich was in Shiloh, where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of My people Israel." Hemay leave His garden to be overgrown with briers, and His vineyard to be marred with stones. God is not tied to any one placeor people-He can remove the candlestick and set it up in another chamber-let the seven churches of Asia Minor serve as a warningto us in this thing. O blessed Spirit of the living God, we do confess the barrenness of our soil and the drought of our land,and we beseech You never to withdraw Your dew, or cause Your rain to depart from us! What greater curse could You inflictthan to let us alone? Oh, come upon us, we beseech You, and let the Divine promise be fulfilled!
It should be very comfortable to us to reflect that, while we need the Spirit of God, His working is most effectual to supplyall our needs when He does come upon us. In the east, you can generally tell where there is a stream or a river by the lineof emerald which marks it. If you stood on a hill, you could see certain lines of green, made up of grass, reeds, rushes andoccasional trees which have sprung up along the watercourses. Nothing is required to make the land fertile but to water it.We are told by travelers that they have seen plains looking completely barren, apparently covered with dry dust and powder-yeta heavy shower has fallen, and in a space of time which seems incredible in our colder climate-the most lovely flowers andthe most refreshing verdure have clothed the plains till the wilderness and the solitary places have been glad-and the deserthas rejoiced and blossomed as the rose! Yes, it has blossomed exceedingly-and an excellency as of Carmel and Sharon has beenupon it.
Even thus, let the Spirit of God come upon any Church, and He is all that it needs to make it living and fruitful! Churchmachinery, apart from the Spirit of God, lacks the motive power. The motive power coming, your machinery will do its work.Of course, if it is imperfect machinery, the Holy Spirit will not make it do all the work which better organizations havedone. Still, even the most imperfect shall accomplish so much as to astonish all who behold it! What a blessing it is whenthe Church does really receive the Spirit of God abundantly! Her minister may be slow in utterance- like Moses, the leaderof the people may be a man of stammering speech-or, like Paul, his personal appearance may be mean and his speech contemptible.But this matters not when the Spirit of God is upon the man and in the people! The Church may be very small, the members maybe very poor, and many of them illiterate, too, but as the barley cake of the soldier's dream smote the royal pavilion ofMidian, so that it lay along, so the Lord, by the hands of the most feeble, shall do His greatest deeds and get to Himselfrenown! Where the Spirit of God is, there is the majesty of Omnipotence!
I, here, call your attention to the fact that the promise in our text is liberal and unstinted. "I will pour water upon thethirsty land, and floods upon the dry ground." The Lord does not need to stint His gifts. When He gives a blessing He givesit like a king. His treasury will not be exhausted by giving, or replenished by withholding. I have seen in Italy the fieldswatered by the processes of irrigation-there are trenches made to run along the garden and smaller gutters to carry the lesserstreams to each bed-so that each plant gets its share of water. But the gardener has to be very careful, for he has but littlewater in his tank, and only an allotted share of the public reservoir.
No plant must have too much. No plot of ground may be drenched. How different is this from the methods of the Lord! He poursthe water. He deluges the land! "The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water; in the habitationof dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes." Oh that He would pull up the sluices, now, and let a torrentof Divine Grace rush through this Tabernacle! Oh that at this moment He would open the windows of Heaven and send us a floodof Grace, like the deluge of vengeance in Noah's day, till the tops of our loftiest expectations should be covered! He isable to do exceeding abundantly above what we ask, or even think. He gives liberally, and upbraids not!
Our abounding sin and death need abounding life and power! In such a city as this the largest blessing will be none too great.Let us open our mouths wide, that He may fill them. The Lord is illimitable in His wealth of Grace and boundless in His goodnessand power. Let us take the promise as it stands, and plead it at the Throne of God, "Have You not said, 'I will pour waterupon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground'? Lord, do it, to the praise of the glory of Your Grace." One otherremark and I leave this point. This Covenant blessing is, in our text, peculiarly promised to a certain class of persons whoare especially dear to us. "I will pour My Spirit upon your seed, and My blessing upon your offspring."
Parents, lay hold greedily upon these points of the promise! I am afraid we do not think enough of the promise which the Lordhas made to our children. Grace does not run in the blood-we have never fallen into the gross error of birthright membership,or the supposition that the child of godly parents has a right to Christian ordinances! We know that religion is a personalmatter and is not of blood nor of birth. We know, also, that all children are heirs of wrath till the Grace of God regeneratesthem. But still, there is some meaning in that gracious saying, "The promise is unto you and your children, even to as manyas the Lord your God shall call."
Paul was assuredly not wrong, but sweetly right, when he said to the jailer, in answer to his question, "What must I do tobe saved?" "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved, and your house." Lay hold of those words, Christian parents,and do not be content to get half the promise. Pray to God to fulfill it all. Go to Him this very day,
you mothers and fathers, and implore Him to have pity upon your offspring. Cry unto Him, and say, "You have said, 'I willpour My Spirit on your seed, and My blessing upon your offspring.' Do it, Lord, for Jesus Christ's sake."
II. We are now to consider THE GLORIOUS RESULT OF THIS COVENANT BLESSING. The certain result of the outpouring of the Spiritis the springing up of spiritual life. Wherever the water comes in Palestine, as I said before, the grass will be sure tofollow and vegetation becomes at once lively. Wherever the Spirit of God comes, there will be life in the Church and lifein the ministry, life in prayer, life in effort, life in holiness, life in brotherly love. The next effect will be seen inthe calling out of numerous converts by the Holy Spirit. "They shall spring up as among the grass, and as willows by the watercourses."
Who can count the blades of grass? They are a fine symbol of the greatness of number and might as justly be used for thatpurpose as the sands of the seashore. Where the Spirit of the Lord comes, converts are not few as the cedars of Lebanon, butthey flourish like the grass of the earth! They fly as a cloud and as doves to their dovecots. Can we be satisfied with havingin a year a dozen or so added to the Church? Yet do I meet with some of my Brothers-and far be it from me to judge them-whosay they have had a happy year and are very comfortable though they have had only three or four persons added to the Church.Surely, however small the congregation, that must be a very unsatisfactory reward for a year's ministry!
My Brothers and Sisters, where, in this day, do we see results attending the Gospel which should satisfy us? Hundreds maybe added to the Church in a year, as has been our common blessing, but what are hundreds? If 400 were brought into our fellowshiplast year, what is that out of four million? What are these saved ones among so many? The headway made by the Church is nextto nothing! It hardly keeps pace with the growth of the population. We need more of the Spirit of God-and if we had it-I haveno doubt, whatever, the converts would at once be counted by thousands and tens of thousands! And there is no reason whateverwhy the Church of God, which is now in a pitiful minority, should not become in many a district a triumphant majority-andthe influences of the Divine Grace of God be felt far and near!
Observe that the text tells us that the converts called out by the Spirit of God are vigorous and lively. "They shall springas the grass." Now the grass in the east springs up without any sowing, cultivating, or any other attention. It comes up ofitself from the fruitful soil. There is the water-and there is the grass! So where the Spirit of God is with a Church thereare sure to be conversions, it cannot be otherwise. True, we are bound to use all agencies that are fit and right for thepromotion of the good end. But where the Spirit of God is we shall often be astonished to find the life has extended far beyondthe usual result of agencies! The willows, also, are mentioned, to indicate great vitality. How rapidly the willow grows!
There is a proverb in Cambridgeshire that a willow will buy a horse, where an oak won't buy a saddle, because the willow growsso quickly and yields such frequent boughs to the cutter. You may cut it this year, and in a short time you may remove itspliant boughs again, for they will come anew. So truly saved ones will bear discouragement and trial but still spring up.If you cut every bough from the willow tree it will be green again next spring-and if you even cut it down to the root itdoes not matter-at the scent of water it will bud! Do you not remember when you were children taking little twigs of willowto make hoops around your little garden? You thought them dead and used them as a little fence. But in a short time, to yourastonishment, they were all sprouting out with green! The willow is full of life.
Now, where the Spirit of God is, the newly converted are full of life. You may check them, but they will not be repressed.You orthodox people, who happen to have surly tempers, may go round with your pocketknives and snip at their boughs cruelly,and say, "We do not need these young people. We do not need revivals," but they will grow in spite of you! Blessed be God,you elder Brothers and Sisters cannot turn the penitent prodigals out of doors! Should you even be so unkind to the newlygrown willows as to cut them right down, they will spring up again, for if they are plants of the Lord's own right hand planting,and of the Spirit's watering, they will outlive the worst of usage! They will grow as the grass and as willows by the watercourses.
We may expect, then, if the Spirit of God shall work among us, that there will be an abundance of converts, and those of themost vigorous kind. These conversions will come from all quarters. The text says, one shall say, and another shall call, andanother shall subscribe. Here is one who is the son of a deacon-we expected him to give his heart to Jesus. Here is another-heis not the child of a religious professor, but comes from an ungodly family. Ah, here is another, he
had grown up and come to ripe years, having followed after folly and confirmed himself in sin-yet he comes forward, for theGrace of God has called him! One comes from the wealthy, another comes from the poor, a third comes from nobody knows where-butthey will and must come-for God knows His own and will call them!
They shall come from all trades and occupations, from all churches and denominations! From these little boys below me, I hope,and from you gray-headed people over yonder-one here, another there! We shall be wonderstruck as we hear from all corners,and parts, and places, "I am the Lord's." And again, "I am called by the name of Jacob." And again, "I am surnamed this dayby the name of Israel." The vessel of Divine Grace does not run in a groove, but breaks out where it seems least likely todo so! At one time it creates a revival at Samaria. At another time it saves a widow at Joppa, or the eunuch on the road toGaza. Lord, call whomever You will, but do call many, for Jesus' sake!
One memorable thing about the conversions worked by the Holy Spirit is this-that these converted people shall be led to acknowledgetheir faith. They shall not, like Nicodemus, come to Jesus by night. They shall not hope to go to Heaven creeping all theway behind the hedge, but they shall avow their allegiance. "One shall say, I am the Lord's; and another shall call himselfby the name of Jacob, and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel."The God of Israel shall be their God and the people of Israel shall be their people. I love to see both these things in youngconverts. Some appear to dedicate themselves to God, but they feel themselves such superior beings that they do not join withany Church. Rather they hold themselves in the isolation which practically means, "Stand by, I am holier than you."
They do not think any Church good enough for them, but my private opinion is that they are not good enough for any Church!On the other hand, some will join a Church, but do not seem to have had enough respect to the inward, vital part of religionin giving themselves up to the Lord and, therefore, no Church will find them to be any great gain. There must be the two together-asurrender to God and then a union with the people of God. Consider the first of these points-One shall say, "I am the Lord's."He shall confess that from head to foot, body, soul and spirit-he is not his own, but Christ's. He will feel, "I have beenwashed in His blood. I have been pardoned all my sins and been renewed in heart. And now I am the Lord's, and I desire tolive to His praise. Tell me what I can do, and how I can serve the Lord, for I am His and mean to be His forever." This isdelightful. Oh, to hear hundreds of you saying this! I would give my life to see it!
Another convert is said to subscribe with his hand to the God of Jacob. He gives himself over to God and he does it deliberately-asdeliberately as a person who signs a deed by which he makes over an estate. He writes his name and places his finger on theseal, and calmly says, "This is my act and deed." We do not recommend persons to write out covenants with God and sign them-theyare apt to gender unto bondage-but we do recommend them to make such a covenant in their hearts before the Most High, saying-
"'Tis done, the great transaction's done!
I am my Lord's and He is mine!
He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to obey the voice Divine." The text may have another rendering, for, if you notice, the word "with" in the text isin italics, to show that it was inserted by the translators. It might run thus-"Another shall subscribe his hand unto theLord." This alludes to the custom which still exists, but which was more common in those days, of a servant being marked ortattooed on the hand with his master's name.
So was it with soldiers-frequently, when they were enthusiastic for a leader, they would print his name on some part of theirbody, but very often upon the palms of their hands. There are constant allusions to this in the classics. We know that devoutworshippers dedicated themselves to the god they worshipped and were stamped with a secret mark. Paul alludes to this whenhe says, "Henceforth let no man trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus," as much as to say, "I am Christ's-Ihave had His name branded upon me." When he suffered from being scourged and beaten with rods, he called it bearing the marksof the Lord Jesus, and did as good as say, "Flog away, you will only engrave His name into my flesh, for I am Christ's."
Now it would be a very superstitious and foolish thing for any man to be tattooed with the name of the Lord, or with a cross,for all that such an act meant in those who did it of old, we ought to mean, namely, that we are forever and beyond recall,the property of Jesus. Our ear is bored. We are servants, as long as we live. to our dear Master. They may
sooner kill us than lead us away from Him whose we are, and whom we serve. Who shall separate us from the love of
"High Heaven that heard the solemn vow, That vow renewed shall daily hear, Till in life's latest hour I bow, And bless indeath a bond so dear." There was dedication to God of the fullest kind, but side by side with it went unity with the Church,for the declaration, "I am the Lord's," was parallel with, "calling himself by the name of Jacob." Now the name of Jacob wasthe first, the lower, the common name of God's people-they were the seed of Jacob. "Ah," says the man who is converted, "Ido not care what they call Christian people, they may call me by the same title if they will, and I will not complain. Theymay call us Puritans, Methodists, Ranters, Quakers-or whatever they like-I am one of them."
I have read of a certain nobleman who was also a saint, that when he heard religious persons scoffed at as Puritans, he wasaccustomed at once to declare, "I am a Puritan, too. I glory in being one of them!" They felt that it was of little use tomock at him-he was too stout a soldier and too bold a speaker. It is a grand thing when a man can say in company, "It doesnot matter what you think of religion, I belong to such-and-such Christian people, and I am not ashamed of it. I know theirname is a mockery and their minister is despised, but it does not matter, I am one of them." It is mentioned, also, that onesurnamed himself by the name of Israel. That was the grand name of the Church in those days-Israel, the prevailing prince.
We ought to feel that to be a Christian is to possess a patent of nobility second to none. Duke, earl, knight, esquire-wecovet none of these-call us by the name of Christ and we have honor enough! The name of Caesar is a poor thing compared withthe name of Christ! Better be known as a disciple of Jesus than as an emperor of emperors! Oh, may the Spirit of God be pouredout upon this place, that many of you may be savingly converted, and then say, "I will give myself to the Lord, and will alsocast in my lot with His people. Where they dwell I will dwell. Where they die there would I die. Their people shall be mypeople, since their God has become my God." Pray, dear Brothers and Sisters, that the promise before us may be fulfilled inthis Church, and in all the Churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.
III. Now, lastly, I have to speak upon THE CONDUCT SUITABLE IF WE OBTAIN THIS BLESSING. First, O my Brothers and Sisters inChrist, if we would obtain these floods of blessing we must confess how dry, how thirsty, how wilderness-like we are! Humbleyourselves, therefore, under the hand of God, and He will exalt you in due time. "He has filled the hungry with good things,but the rich He has sent empty away." Oh, for the spirit of humiliation throughout
Next to that let us cultivate prayer. "For this will I be enquired of by the house of Israel to do it for them." If you havea man's check for a thousand pounds, it would be very wicked of you to say, "I cannot get my money, this paper is not paid,"if you have never taken it to the bank. And so, if you have God's promise and have never pleaded it, it is your own faultif you have not obtained the blessing. The very least thing God can ask of us is that we shall ask of Him. "Ask and it shallbe given you: seek and you shall find: knock and it shall be opened unto you." Plead more earnestly in private. Make yourPrayer Meetings more energetic, attend them more often, throw your hearts more fully into them and God's Spirit will be surelygiven.
Next to that, if we want the blessing we must put forth our own personal effort. It would be a most absurd thing for a manto pray for a harvest, and neither plow nor sow! I cannot conceive anything more insulting to the majesty of God than forus to pray and meanwhile, fold our arms! It is not thus that we prove our sincerity. I desire to preach to you as if the conversionof these sinners around us depended wholly upon me, but then I delight to fall back upon the Truth of God that it wholly dependsupon the Lord God! Sunday school teachers, use the means for the conversion of your children! Try and speak personally toevery one of them. If you can find opportunity, pray alone with them, one by one. You will win young hearts for Jesus in thatway.
Try, dear Friends, to get hold of individuals. You who come here continually, look out for individuals in the congregationand endeavor to tell them what you have experienced of the love of Christ. If you cannot speak to them, write letters to them!An earnest letter is as good as a sermon. Do anything, do everything, to bring souls to Jesus! While we are working we shallfind God working with us, for He is never slower than His people. If we are building, He will be the Master Builder, and willbuild through us. For a man to pray that he may have a safe journey and then to go to
bed-and not start from home would be wickedness! And to pray to God to convert sinners and then not to preach or teach themthe Gospel would be a piece of impudent mockery of God. Beloved, see to this. I cannot pause to stir you up about it, forour time is going, but I pray the Holy Spirit to stir you, that everyone here may become a soul-winner.
Once more, I have a word to say to those who are not the people of God. O beloved ones who are not saved, all our concernis about your salvation! We are always preaching and praying about you! How can you obtain saving faith? I would urge youto labor after a clear idea of your real position. O unconverted people, try to know where you are, and what you are. It might,perhaps, awaken you from your present indifference. If you would really and distinctly understand that you are out of Christ,condemned already-an enemy to God by wicked works, with the wrath of God abiding on you and in danger of eternal Hell-it mightstartle you and lead you to desire salvation.
I would think hopefully of you if I knew that you were taking stock and estimating your condition before God. I ask you, whenyou get home, to sit down and write, every one of you, on a piece of paper, "Saved," if you are saved, and "Condemned," ifyou are not a Believer. For that is your condition! I want you to realize whose you are and where you are going. When youhave done so, I pray that a sense of your condition and prospects may be deepened upon your mind! Sinners, do you think enough?Do you consider enough? You are busy about a thousand things, but do you really think about your souls, death, judgment andeternal Hell? Do you think enough about the Savior's love? Do you ponder your sin and the blessed fact that it may be pardoned?
Oh, that you would reflect, consider and turn your whole mind to God! But I am beating around the bush! I have a much moreimportant precept to which to exhort you. Remember, the Gospel command is, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shallbe saved." Every minute that you remain an unbeliever you are adding to your sin! You are increasing your iniquity and confirmingyourself in condemnation. Oh, that you would believe the Divine Testimony concerning Jesus, for that is the object of faith!What you are asked to believe is true. He whom you are commanded to trust in is able to save you-and the promise that youshall be saved if you trust is a sure and certain one!
Do not, therefore, fling away your souls and despise the mercy of God! May it please the Eternal Spirit to lead you, at thisvery moment, to put your trust in Jesus Christ and to be saved! Then you will be one of those who spring as the grass, andas the willows by the watercourses. May God bless you, every one of you, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Isaiah 44. HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"-98, 95 (SONG II), 67.