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himself, and yet how often thou hast spurned his Word and refused his merey, and turned a deaf ear to every invitation, and hast gone thy way to rebel against a God of love, and violate the commands of him that loved thee.
And now, how shall I conclude? My first exhortation shall be to Christian people. My dear friends, I beseech you do not in any way give yourselves up to any system of faith apart from the Word of God. The Bible, and the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants: I am the successor of the great and venerated Dr. Gill, whose theology is almost universally received among the stronger Calvinistic churches; but although I venerate his memory, and believe his teachings, yet he is not my Rabbi. What you find in God's Word is for you to believe and to receive. Never be frightened at a doctrine; and above all, never be frightened at a name. Some one said to me the other day, that he thought the truth lay somewhere between the two extremes. He meant right, but I think he was wrong. I do not think the truth lies between the two extremes, but in them both. I believe the higher a man goes the better, when he is preaching the matter of salvation. The reason why a man is saved is grace, grace, grace; and you may go as high as you like there. But when you come to the question as to why men are damned, then the Arminian is far more right than the Antinonian, I care not for any denoinination or party, I am as high as Huntingdon upon the matter of salvation, but question me about damnation, and you will get a very different answer. By the grace of God I ask no man's applause, I preach the Bible as I find it. Where we get wrong is where the Calvinist begins to meddle with the question of damnation, and interferes with the justice of God; or when the Arminian denies the doctrine of grace.
My second exhortation is-Sinners, I beseech every one of you who are unconverted and ungodly, this morning to put away every form and fashion of excuse that the devil would have you make concerning your being unconverted. Remember, that all the teaching in the world can never excuse you for being enemies to God by wicked works. When we beseech you to be reconciled to him, it is because we know you will never be in your proper place until you are reconciled. God has made you; can it be right that you should disobey him? God feeds you every day: can it be right that you should still live in disobedience to him? Remember, when the heavens shall be on a blaze, when Christ shall come to judge the earth in righteousness and his people with equity, there will not be one excuse that you can make which will be valid at the last great day. If you should attempt to say, “Lord, I have never heard the word;" his answer would be, “Thou didst hear it; thou heardest it plainly." "But Lord, I had an evil will.” “Out of thine own mouth will I condenin thee; thou hadst that evil will, and I condemn thee for it. This is the condemination, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light, because their deeds are evil.” “But Lord,” some will say, “ I was not predestinated.” “What hadst thou to do with that? Thou didst do according to thine own will when thou didst rebel. Thou wouldest not come unto me, and now I destroy thee for ever. Thou hast þroken my law-on thine own head be the guilt." If a sinner could say at the great day, “Lord, I could not be saved anyhow;" his torment in hell would be initigated by that thought: but this shall be the very edge of the sword, and the very burning of the fire--"Ye knew your duty and ye did it not: ye trampled on everything that was holy; ye neglected the Saviour, and how shall ye escape if ye neglect so great salvation ?"
Now, with regard to myself; you may some of you go away and say, that I was Antinomian in the first part of the sermon and Arminian at the end. I care not. I beg of you to search the Bible for yourselves. To the law and to the testimony; if I speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in me. I am willing to come to that test. Have nothing to do with me where I have nothing to do with Christ. Where I separate from the truth, cast my words away. But if what I say be God's teaching, I charge you, by him that sent me, give these things your thoughts, and turn unto the Lord with all your hearts.
THE COMING REVIVAL:
NEW COURT CHAPEL, CAREY STREET,
LINCOLN'S INN FIELDS,
ON SUNDAY, MAY 3018, 1858,
REV. W. H. DRAPER,
MINISTER OF THE CHAPEL.
JAMES PAUL, CHAPTER HOUSE COURT, ST PAUL'S.
THE COMING REVIVAL.
PSALM lxxxv. 6.
“ Wilt thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee :"
God has made the happiness and usefulness of things to depend on healthy action. It is only whilst the sap continues its upward movement that the tree, from stem to crown, becomes gemmed with leaves and flowers. What a stoppage of circulation can do is seen in its desiccated and denuded foliage. It is the healthy flow of the purple fluid in our frames which contributes strength to muscle, sensitiveness to nerve, clearness to thought, and vivacity to life. The fearful results which follow a stoppage in trade are familiar to us all in the careworn features, mental despondency, and physical privations of the community; and we all know that a revival of trade spreads far more real joy through a nation than news of the most splendid victory.
More intimate, if possible, is the connexion between the healthy flow of vital piety throughout the Church, and its happiness and usefulness. Let that spiritual power permeate it, and it stands forth in its native strength and beauty, “clear as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an army with banners.” Denude it of that inner power, and the Church becomes as useless to the world, as it is injurious to itself and displeasing to God.
It is a sad thing to contemplate, that stoppage and stagnation are facts of periodical occurrence on earth. Year after year the flow of vegetable life is arrested by the decline of seasons; and nature, so lovely and happy when the spring sun smiled on her, becomes unsightly and bare when touched by the winter's chill.
The law of death in our bodies is as certain as the law which gave them life. The first heartbeat is prophetic of the last. Nor does commerce escape this universal law. Ever and anon communities overstep, with a fatal regularity, the limits of national solvency; and the Church, although so Divine in its origin, so apparently removed from any affinity with other things, does not escape the law which lays an arrest on the movements of healthy life. So perverse is man, even under the best of influences, that the Church always has had occasion at times to offer up the prayer of the
Psalmist, “Wilt thou not revive us again ?” Whether it be true or not, as a modern philosopher has said,—that this periodical arrest of the movements of life is peculiar only to the planets, and that whatever may be the organisation existing in the centres of planetary systems, the suns, that there life in all its forms, unvisited by a change of seasons, keeps running on in perpetual and regular activity,—one thing we know, as Christians, that this law of arrested life knows no existence in heaven. There flowers are amaranthine, human frames are incorruptible, the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in its archives, is incapable of decay. On earth alone we see the flower fade in our embrace, the bodies of our beloved ones droop and die; and on earth alone is it that this prayer is relevant to the occasional condition of the Church.
But does the Church need a revival at the present time? If so, is there any hope of her enjoying it ? and what peculiar value is there attaching to a genuine revival which should encourage us to pray for it? Such are the three suggestions of our text : “ Revive us again"--we need it;“Wilt thou not revive us again"—there is hope as well as earnestness in the prayer; “that thy people may rejoice in thee"-the value of a revival is great, leading us to rejoice in God.
I. OUR NEED OF A REVIVAL.
1. The general absence of religious earnestness. When one was asked his opinion respecting the religious movement effected through the instrumentality of Wesley and Whitfield, he replied that it was “Christianity in earnest.” To my mind the reply was more expressive of the prevalent coldness on religious matters, with which that earnestness contrasted, than descriptive of what the movement really was. Christianity in earnest ! did not the reply virtually admit that there might be Christianity without earnestness ? and is it not one of the most prevalent mistakes of the times, that all Christians are not bound to be earnest ? that as each man has some particular view on political matters, yet all men are not obliged enthusiastically to support their peculiar opinions, even so men may be Christians without being necessarily over-earnest in the matter? This is a radical and pernicious mistake; Christianity is more than an opinion; for if it be true that ardency of feeling and force of character depend on the momentousness of what a man believes, then not only is it true that the most intense form of earnestness is only possible to him who believes in the personal and paramount importance of spiritual religion; but a man's Christianity may be measured by the practical earnestness he evinces in connexion therewith, so that instead of saying of that or any similar movement it is “ Christianity in earnest," the proper reply would be, It is Christianity as it is, or should be. Earnestness—nay, even enthusiasm, taking that word in its good meaning is the normal state of Christianity. Were not the early Christians earnest ? so enthusiastic in their religion as to be regarded by those who had never experienced what they felt as “beside" themselves—made mad by what they had learned ? Is not every converted soul in earnest so long as the flame of his first love remains unquenched ? Yes, brethren, for although it be true that earnestness in itself is of little worth, nay, may be as pregnant with evil as with good, so natural, so necessary is it to true Christianity, that in proportion to its absence among Christian men do they need reviving again. Do we need any proof of the want of individual earnestness in these times? Does not that proof meet us everywhere? Where shall we go to find the successors of those men who “sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men as every man had need; and continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favour with all the people ?" We look not for the particular form their earnestness took—(that religious display of communistic principles was but a providential development of Christian earnestness to meet the special exigencies of the infant Church), but for the same earnest spirit, and, alas ! are met by an apathy and coldness which would be deplored if found in connexion with a professedly human system. Our religion has become a matter of ceremony rather than conviction, of habit rather than feeling. We have traditional faith, unfeeling orthodoxy, unpractical profession--a form of godliness; but anything like the earnestness of primitive Christianity does not, to any appreciable extent, appear to exist. Truly we need to pray,
“ Wilt thou not revive us again ?” 2. Another evidence of our need of a revival is a want of faith in the distinctive doctrines of the Gospel. Systems are distinguished from each other by those real or assumed truths in the possession of which they differ. The Gospel differs from all other systems by its proclamation of doctrines peculiar to itself-truths which are not so much parts of the system as the system itself-doctrines so vital, so essential, that if they are ignored the system itself is destroyed. What these doctrines are I need not state; they are those which stand in the foreground of apostolic teaching, on the pedestal of apostolic argument, doctrines so handled in the Scriptures that those who wrote them, clearly