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they appeared in Gethsemane to comfort him after his bitter agony there. We remember how they visited his tomb on the morning of his resurrection, and said to the women, “ He is not here, he is risen as he said." We remember with what exultation they welcomed him to his reward, when they passed through the azure gates of heaven shouting, “Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may come in."
T'he Lord of Hosts, He is the King of Glöry." And still they watch the progress of his Mediatorial interposition, and investigate the prin. ciples of his rule, and mark the working out of his grand designs. “Which things the angels desire to look into "--bending in the attitude of absorbed at. tention-stooping down to gaze into the depths of the mystery of redemption and to penetrate to its very heart. They bring their lofty powers to bear upon the theme. They inquire, and investigate, and reason; and as they do, grander views of God fill their capacious intellects, fresh springs of rapture are opened within them, new founts of love, and joy, and praise are unsealed, and with ever-increasing gladness and homage they draw near to the throne of God and the Lamb, the grand gathering-place of the armies of heaven, the high altar of its gorgeous sanctuary, and sing, “ Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”
These, my brethren, are the facts and considerations which the Apostle places before us in the text as illustrative of the sublime importance of the great themes of the Gospel. And surely these considerations ought to be sufficient to produce in our minds an overwhelming conviction of that importance. Prophets foretold the leading facts of Christianity, and amidst the gloom by which they were surrounded they “searched and enquired diligently into the significance of their predictions and eagerly desired to know the mind of the Spirit. Apostles were sent forth to proclaim the great and blessed tidings of salvation " by the “grace ” of God-of“ glory” following “the sufferings of Christ.”. God bore testimony to their word by the presence and power of the Holy Ghost. Angels contemplate these truths with in. tense eagerness and delight. In what way, my brethren, could the vast importance of the Gospel be more clearly demonstrated ? I know not how it can be more clearly demonstrated. The noblest of the sons of earth bare testified of it. The “ innumerable company of angels" testify of it. God himself has borne witness to it. And yet, my brethren, how different has it been with some of us! These great topics have been preached to you for years. The free and unlimited Grace” of God has been declared to you. “Salvation" in all its fulness has been offered to you “ without money and without price.”. The argument of the cross has been brought to bear upon you, and you have been pointed to its wondrous sacrifice. " The glory that should follow" has been unfolded to your view, and yet, are there not some amongst you, who have turned away from all these as if they were an idle tale ? Are there not some amongst you who care more for business and pleasure, and the most trifling topics of the day, than you care for these? The subject which prophets eagerly enquired after, which Apostles preached, and for which they became martyrs, which angels study, and which God sent down his Spirit to confirm are of no interest to you! So far as you are concerned, God has spoken in vain, prophets have testified in vain, Apostles have preached in vain, Christ has suffered and died in vain. Is it any wonder that you should be still unsaved ? How long shall this be so, my brethren? Will you continue in your inattention and indifference and neglect, or will you rouse yourselves, at once, this day, this hour, and cease to slight the grace of God, and the sufferings of His Son ? " If the word spoken by angels were steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward ; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation ?" “ See that you refuse not him that speaketh ; for if they escaped not, who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.”
THE GREAT REVIVAL.
REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
"The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the carth shall see the salvation of our God.”—Isaiah lii, 10. When the heroes of old prepared for the fight they put on their armour; but when God prepares for battle he makes bare his arm. Man has to look two ways —to his own defence, as well as to the offence of his enemy; God hath but one direction in which to cast his eye—the overthrow of his foeman; and he disregards all measures of defence, and scorns all armour. He makes bare his arm in the sight of all the people. When men would do their work in earnest, too, they sometimes strip themselves, like that warrior of old, who, when he went to battle with the Turks, would never fight them except with the bare arm. “Such things as they,” said he, “I need not fear; they have more reason to fear my bare arm than I their scimitar.” Men feel that they are prepared for a work when they have cast away their cumbrous garments. And so the prophet represents the Lord as laying aside for awhile the garments of his dignity, and making bare his arm, that he may do his work in earnest, and accomplish his purpose for the establishment of his church.
Now, leaving the figure, which is a very great one, I would remind you that its meaning is fully carried out, whenever God is pleased to send a great revival of religion. My hcart is glad within me this day, for I am the bearer of good tidings. My soul has been made exceedingly full of happiness, by the tidings of a great revival of religion throughout the United States. Some hundred years, or more, ago, it pleased the Lord to send one of the most marvellous religious awakenings that was ever known; the whole of the United States seemed shaken from end to end with enthusiasm for hearing the Word of God; and now, after the lapse of a century, the like has occurred again. The monetary pressure has at length departed; but it has left behind it the wreck of many mighty fortunes. Many men, who were once princes, have now become beggars, and in America, more than in England, men have learned the instability of all human things. The minds of men, thus weaned from the earth by terrible and unexpected panic, seem prepared to receive tidings from a better land, and to turn their exertions in a heavenly direction. You will be told by any one who is conversant with the present state of America, that wherever you go there are the most remarkable signs that religion is progressing with majestic strides. The great revival, as it is now called, has become the common market talk of merchants; it is the theme of every newspaper; even the secular press remark it, for it has become so astonishing that all ranks and classes of men seem to have been affected by it. Apparently without any cause whatever, fear has taken hold of the hearts of men; a thrill seems to be shot through every breast at once; and it is affirmed by men of good repute, that there are, at this time, towns in New England where you could not, even if you searched, find one solitary unconverted person. Somarvellous—I had almost said, so miraculous-has been the sudden and instantaneous spread of religion throughout the great empire, that it is scarcely possible for us to believe the half of it, even though it should be told us. Now, as you are aware, I have at all times been peculiarly jealous and suspicious of revivals. Whenever I see a man who is called a revivalist, I always set him down for a cipher. I would scorn the taking of such a title as that to myself. If God pleases to make use of a man for the promoting of a revival, well and good; but for any man to assuine the title and office of a revi. valist, and go about the country, believing that wherever he goes he is the vessel of mercy appointed to convey a revival of religion, is, I think, an assumption far too arrogant for any man who has the slightest degree of modesty. And again, there are a large number of revivals, which occur every now and then in our towns, and sometimes in our city, which I believe to be spurious and worthless. I have heard of the people crowding in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening, to hear some noted revivalist, and under his preaching some have screamed, have shrieked, have fallen down on the floor, have rolled themselves in convulsions, and afterwards, when he has set a form for penitents, employing one or two decoy ducks to run out from the rest and make a confession of sin, hundreds have come forward, impressed by that one sermon, and declared that they were, there and then, turned from the error of their ways; and it was only last week I saw a record of a certain place, in our own country, giving an account, that on such a day, under the preaching of the Rev. Mr. So-and-so, seventeen persons were thoroughly sanctified, twenty-eight were convinced of sin, and twenty-nine received the blessing of justification. Then comes the next day, so many more; the following day, so many more; and afterwards they are all cast up together, making a grand total of some hundreds, who have been blessed during three services, under the ministry of Mr. So-and-so. All that I call farce! There may be something very good in it; but the outside looks to me to be so rotten, that I should scarcely trust myself to think that the good within comes to any very great amount. When people go to work to calculate so exactly by arithmetic, it always strikes me they have mistaken what they are at. We may easily say that so many were added to the church on : certain occasion, but to take a separate census of the convinced, the justified, and the sanctified, is absurd. You will, therefore, be surprised at finding me speaking of revival; but you will, perhaps, not be quite so surprised when I endeavour to explain what I mean by an earnest and intense desire, which I feel in my heart, that God would be pleased to send throughout this country a revival like that which has just commenced in America, and which, ve trust, will long continue there.
I should endeavour to mark, in the first place, the cause of every revival of true religion ; secondly, the consequences of such revival; then, thirdly, I shall give a caution or two, that we make not mistakes in this matter, and conceive that to be God's work which is only man's; and then I shall conclude by making an exhortation to all my brethren in the faith of Christ, to labour and pray for a revival of religion in the midst of our churches,
1. First, then, THE CAUSE OF A TRUE REVIVAL. The mere worldly man does not understand a revival: he cannot make it out. Why is it, that a sudden fit of god. liness, as he would call it, a kind of sacred epidemic, should seize upon a mass of people all at once? What can be the cause of it? It frequently occurs in the absence of all great evangelists; it cannot be traced to any particular means. There have been no special agencies used in order to bring it about-no machinery supplied, no societies established; and yet it has come, just like a heavenly hurricane, sweeping everything before it. It has rushed across the land, and of it men bare said, “ The wind bloweth where it listeth; we hear the sound thereof, but we cannot tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth.” What is then, the cause? Our answer is, If a revival be true and real, it is caused by the Holy Spirit, and by him alone. When Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost, and preached that memorable sermon by which three thousand persons were converted, can we attribute the remarkable success of his ministry to anything else but the ministry of the Holy Spirit? I read the notes of Peter's discourse; it was certainly very simple; it was a plain narration of facts; it was certainly very bold, very cutting, and pointed, and personal, for he did not blush to tell them that they had put to death the Lord of life and glory, and were guilty of his blood; but on the mere surface of the thing, I should be apt to say that I had read many a sermon far more likely to be effective than Peter's; and I believe there have been many preachers who have lived, whose sermons when read would have been far more notable and far more regarded, at least by the critic, than the sermon of Peter. It seems to have been exceedingly simple and suitable, and extremely earnest, but none of these things are so erninently remarkable as to be the cause of such extraordinary success.
What, then, was the reason? And we reply, once more, the same word which the Holy Spirit blesses to the conversion of one, he might, if he pleased, bless to the conversion of a thousand: and I am persuaded that the meanest preacher in Christendom might come into this pulpit this morning, and preach the most simple sermon, in the most uneducated style, and the Holy Spirit, if so he willed it, might bless that sermon to the conversion of every man, woman, and child, within this place: for his arm is not shortened, his power is not straitened, and as long as he is Omnipotent, it is ours to believe that he can do whatsoever seemeth him good. Do not imagine, when you hear of a sermon being made useful, that it was the sermon itself that did the work. Conceive not, because a certain preacher may have been greatly blessed for the conversion of souls, that there is anything in the preacher, God forbid that any preacher should arrogate such a thing to himself. Any other preacher, blessed in the same manner, would be as useful, and any other sermon, provided it be truthful and earnest, might be as much blessed as that particular sermon which has become notable by reason of the multitudes who by it have been brought to Christ. The Spirit of God, when he pleaseth, blows upon the sons of men. He finds a people hard and careless; he casts a desire into their minds—he sows it broadcast in their spiritsma thought towards the house of the Lord, and straightway, they know not why, they flock in multitudes to hear the Word preached. He casts the seed, the same seed, into the preacher's mind, and he knows not how, but he feels more earnest than he did before. When he goes to his pulpit, he goes to it as to a solemn sacrifice, and there he preaches, believing that great things will be the effect of his ministry. The time of prayer cometh round; Christians are found meeting together in large numbers; they cannot tell what it is that influences them, but they feel they must go up to the house of the Lord to pray. There are earnest prayers lifted up; there are earnest sermons preached, and there are earnest hearers. Then God the Almighty One is pleased to soften bard hearts, and subdue the stout-hearted, and bring them to know the truth, The only real cause is, his Spirit working in the minds of men.
But while this is the only actual cause, yet there are instrumental causes; and the main instrumental cause of a great revival must be the bold, faithful, fearless preaching of the truth as it is in Jesus. Why, brethren, we want every now and then to have a reformation. One reformation will never serve the church; she needs continually to be wound up, and set a-going afresh; for her works run down, and she does not act as she used to do. The bold, bald doctrines that Luther brought out, began to be a little modified, until layer after layer was deposited upon them, and at last the old rocky truth was covered up, and there grew upon the superficial subsoil an abundance of green and flowery errors, that looked fair and beautiful, but were in no way whaterer related to the truth, except as they were the products of its decay. Then there came bold men who brought the truth out again, and said, “Clear away this rubbish; let the blast light upon these deceitful beauties; we want them not; bring out the old truth once more!” And it came out. But the tendency of the church perpetually is, to be covering up its own naked simplicity, forgetting that the truth is never so beautiful as when it stands in its own unadorned, God-given glory. And now, at this time, we want to have the old truths restored to their places. The subtleties and the refinements of the preacher must be laid aside. We must give up the grand distinctions of the school-men, and all the lettered technicalities of men who have studied theology as a system, but have not felt the power of it in their hearts; and when the good old truth is once more preached by men whose lips are touched as with a live coal. from off the altar, this shall be the instrument, in the hand of the Spirit, for bringing about a great and thorough revival of religion in the land.
But added to this, there must be the earnest prayers of the church. All in vain the most indefatigable ministry, unless the church waters the seed sown, with her abundant tears. Every revival has been commenced and attended by a large amount of prayer. In the city of New York at the present moment, there is not, I believe, one single hour of the day, wherein Christians are not gathered together for prayer. One church opens its doors from five o'clock till six, for prayer ; another church opens from six to seven, and summons its praying men to offer the sacrifice of supplication. Six o'clock is past, and men are gone to their labour. Another class find it then convenient—such as those, perhaps, who go to business at eight or nine--and from seven to eight there is another prayer meeting. Froin eight to nine there is another, in another part of the city, and what is most
marvellous, at high noon, from twelve to one, in the midst of the city of New York, there is held a prayer meeting in a large room, which is crammed to the doors every day, with hundreds standing outside. This prayer meeting is made up of merchants of the city, who can spare a quarter of an hour to go in and say a word of prayer, and then leave again; and then a fresh company come in to fill up the ranks, so that it is supposed that many hundreds assemble in that one place for prayer during the appointed hour. This is the explanation of the revival. If this were done in London-if we for once would out vie old Rome, who kept her monks in her sanctuaries, always at prayer, both by night and by day,- if we together could keep up one golden chain of prayer, link after link of holy brotherhood being joined together in supplication, then might we expect an abundant outpouring of the Divine Spirit from the Lord our God. The Holy Spirit, as the actual agent-the Word preached, and the prayers of the people, as the instruments, and we have thus explained the cause of a true revival of religion.
II. But now what are THE CONSEQUENCES OF A REVIVAL OF RELIGION ? Why, the consequences are everything that our hearts could desire for the church's good. When the revival of religion comes into a nation, the minister begins to be warmed. It is said that in America the most sleepy preachers have begun to wake up; they have warmed themselves at the general fire, and men who could not preach without notes, and could not preach with them to any purpose at all, have found it in their hearts to speak right out, and speak with all their might to the people. When there comes a revival, the minister all of a sudden finds that the usual forms and conventionalities of the pulpit are not exactly suitable to the times. He breaks through one hedge; then he finds himself in an awkward position, and he has to break through another. He finds himself perhaps on a Sunday morning, though a Doctor of Divinity, actually telling an anecdote-lowering the dignity of the pulpit by actually using
a simile or metaphor-sometimes perhaps accidentally making his people smile, and what is also a great sin in these solid theologians, now and then dropping a tear. He does not exactly know how it is, but the people catch up his words. " I must have something good for them,” he says. He just burns that old lot of sermons; or he puts them under the bed, and gets some new ones, or gets none at all, but just gets his text, and begins to cry, “Men and brethren, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." The old deacons say, " What is the matter with our minister?” The old ladies, who have heard him for many years, and slept in the front of the gallery so regularly, begin to rouse, and say, "I wonder what has happened to him; how can it be? Why, he preaches like a man on fire. The tear runs over at his eye; his soul is full of love for souls." They cannot make it out; they have often said he was dull and dreary and drowsy. How is it all this is changed? Why, it is the revival. The revival has touched the minister; the sun, shining so brightly, has melted some of the snow on the mountain-top, and it is running down in fertilizing streams, to bless the valleys; and the people down below are refreshed by the ministrations of the man of God who has awakened himself up from his sleep, and finds himself, like another Elijah, made strong for forty days of labour. Well, then, directly after that the revival begins to touch the people at large. The congregation was once numbered by the empty seats, rather than by the full ones. But on a sudden—the minister does not understand it-he finds the people coming to hear him. He never was popular, never hoped to be. All at once he wakes up and finds himself famous, so far as a large congregation can make him so. There are the people, and how they listen! They are all awake, all in earnest; they lean their heads forward, they put their hands to their ears. His voice is feeble; they try to help him; they are doing anything so that they may hear the Word of Life. And then the members of the church open their eyes and see the chapel full, and they say, “How has this come about? We ought to pray." A prayer-meeting is summoned. There had been five or six in the vestry: now there are five or six hundred, and they turn into the chapel. And oh! how they pray! That old stager, who used to pray for twenty minutes, finds it now convenient to confine himself to five; and that good old man, who always used to repeat the same form of prayer when he stood up, and talked about the horse that rushed into the battle, and the oil from vessel to vessel, and all that, leaves all these things at home, and just prays, “O Lord, save sinners, for Jesus Christ's sake.” And there are sobs and groans heard in the prayer meetings. It is evident that not one, but all, are praying; the whole mass seems moved to supplication. How is this again? Why, it is just the effect of the