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kept the powers of vegetation in a state of inaction ? Spring confers no new power of growth on the soil, as link after link of the ice chain of winter melts away under the radiance of a genial sun.
Our eyes are gladdened, not by new forms of life and beauty, but by the restoration of the powers of life to their wonted play. Not startling us by strange sights of vegetable existence, but filling us with joy by the presence of the familiar flowers and verdure of the past. It is just so with a revival. It will bring no phenomena of a new creation, but restore to us the earnest piety and fraternal kindness which the early Church and every believer, at his conversion, experienced,-spiritual ardour, love to Christ, love to each other, love to all men. Oh, what days of grace when these things shall be brought within the general experience of our Churches! When our affection to the Saviour shall shape itself in self-denying obedience; when our liberality to His cause shall lose its proverbial stintedness; when the Bible shall have regained its power of charming us, and our sectarian prejudices shall have melted away by one mighty God-given, Christ-like, overpowering display of Christian love.
3. A genuine revival will augment the number of Christian converts. Though it begin in the Church, it will not end there. Like the Nile, whose course of a thousand miles contributes fertility as well as beauty to the country it traverses, the world's spiritual condition has been made dependent on that of the Church : and as that noble river, when fed by the melted snows and gushing springs of the mountains, rises in its bed, fringes its margin with verdure, and overspreads its banks with what to a parched soil is a water of life, even so a revived Church becomes a blessing to the world. We have never heard of a revival during which there were not “added to the Church such as should be saved;” and when it has been general, the numbers of the converted have been counted by tens, if not hundreds, of thousands. And shall we who profess to believe that the salvation of one soul is beyond all imaginable value—shall we, who believe that the salvation of that one soul awakens rapture in heaven—that it makes the Redeemer's diadem sparkle with a fresh gem,-shall we undervalue the revival we so much need, so pregnant with good to the world, and which, I believe, we have reason to expect ?
Beloved, let us give ourselves to the consideration of this subject, which demands, at the present time, the most earnest thought and effort on the part of Christian men. Nothing less than a wicked indifference can shut out the conviction that we need a revival. The
only question that can possibly agitate our minds is, respecting the possibility of securing it, and that is settled for ever in the Bible, which reveals its Author as a prayer-hearing and prayer-answering Godwhich assures us of His continual interest in the welfare of His Church, and which proclaims His immutable purpose respecting her universal triumph in the future. Look at the world, lying in the arms of the wicked one-look at the unconverted families of Christian professors look at the limited success of Christian institutions, and let that urge you to Christian duty. By the worth of immortal souls—by the fearful destiny of the lost, and the glorious future of the saved-by the condition of the world—by the state of the Church-and, above all, by the glory of the Saviour,—I beseech you to put away every evil thing, and so to pray as to "give Him no rest till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.”
BY THE REV, JOHN CAIRD,
"All things are your's; whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your's."-1 Corinthians iii. 21, 32.
Passing from the general view of the subject, I shall now endeavour to illustrate the assertion, "all things are yours," by adverting to one or two of the special blessings here enumerated, as constituting parts of the Christian's universal inheritance. I shall take as specimens these three, -". The World," "Life," " Death,"
1. In what sense, to take the first of these, may the Christian understand the announcement " the World is yours ?” Not, obviously, in the literal sense of the words. This earth is not the exclusive property of the good. Christians are not, of necessity, lords of its soil or possessors of its wealth. It was not their Master, but another, who, displaying "all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,” said, "All these will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me." As often as otherwise the rich in faith are poor in this world's possessions. Many a one, " of whom the world was not worthy,” never owned a hand's-breadth of its soil, till he possessed that which to the veriest wretch is not denieda grave. Of the purest, noblest, best of the sons of men, it is written, that often “he had not where to lay his head;" and even that last resting-place to which his marred and bleeding form was borne, the hand of charity bestowed. No! not literally can it be said to Christ's followers on earth, “The world is yours.”
But if not literally, yet in this sense may the world be said to belong to the Christian, that he only has a legitimate title to the benefits and blessings he enjoys in it. This earth was not meant to be the home of evil. The make and structure of the world is for good. Nothing in it, save by abuse, has any affinity with sin. Its foundations were not laid of old by Omnipotence, nor its wondrous laws contrived and ordered by Infinite Wisdom, nor its garniture of beauty spread over it by the loving
• The above is a portion of a Sermon extracted from a Volume of Mr. Caird's, recently Published by Messrs, Blackweod and Sons,
hand of God, only that a luxurious home might be provided for selfishness and impurity. God's sun was not created to shine, nor his rain to fall, nor his seasons made in orderly course to return, and all the processes contrived by which nature yields up her annual abundance, only that it might be poured into the lap of folly, and prolong the existence of ingratitude and vice. Even mute and material things, the laws and agencies of nature, have in them something that asserts their Divine origin, and proclaims that wrong is done to them-that they are in an unnatural and distorted condition—when forced into the service of sin. How exquisite, for instance, is that mechanism which we are at this moment employing, by which thought embodied in articulate sounds goes forth upon the viewless air, and by its invisible agency is conveyed from the preacher's lips to the ears, and so to the minds of his auditory! What mechanism contrived by human art can compare with God's mechanism of speech and sound ? And when this wondrous engine is compelled to carry hither and thither words of selfishness, and malice, and unkindness—when it is laden with the swearer's oath, or the slanderer's lie-when it is forced to hurry on, burdened with impurities and
blasphemies—is it employed for its destined end, is it rightfully used, or - not rather fearfully perverted and abused? Or, again, that agency of
light, the mode of whose operation is still, with all its unvarying beauty and simplicity, an unsolved problem to human science-is it employed legitimately, and in accordance with the ends for which it was contrived, when on its tremulous ether, or its luminous waves, it is constrained to carry to and fro angry looks, lascivious glances, reflected sights and scenes of impurity and evil ? It were blasphemy to suppose that the Almighty should send down angels to convey hither and thither messages of impurity, or to lend their potent aid to deeds of crime; yet are not " the winds God's messengers——the flaming fire his ministers," as truly as “the angels that do his commandments, hearkening to the voice of his word ?" And as with these, so with all the other powers and agents which constitute the material system around us; are they not all obviously designed to harmonize with, and subserve, the higher moral order of God's world ? If, therefore, you are living a godless and sinful life, you are out of harmony with the world in which you live. You exist in it by sufferance, not by right,-an intruder on its soil, a misappropriator of its benefits, a usurper and perverter of its laws. Nature and her laws and agencies do not serve you willingly, but as the captive servants of a gracious master, compelled to do the bidding of his enemy, only because “ for a season" they have been “subjected to the bondage of corruption." And so long as you continue in estrangement from God, it is as if his sun were unwilling to shine upon you, and his air to inspire you, and the fruits of his earth to nourish you, and the earth itself to hold you, and as if "the whole creation," weary of a bondage so degrading, were according to the magnificent conception of the apostle, “groaning and travailing in pain."
On the other hand, return to God, let your soul be brought back into living union with the Father of spirits through his dear Son, and thenceforward the world will become yours, because you are God's. In harmony with the Great Centre, you will be in harmony with all things in his universe. Nature will serve him who serves her God; and all her varied powers and agencies will rejoice to obey the behests and minister to the welfare of one who is the loved and loving child of their Great Master and Lord. The earth will be fulfilling its proper function in yielding you bread, and the heavens in shedding their sweet influences on your path. For you the morning will dawn and the evening descend. For you “the winds will blow, earth rest, heavens move, and fountains flow. You will be able to claim a peculiar property in the works of your Father's hand, and the bounties of your Father's providence. You will have served yourself heir to him who is the Universal Proprietor, and become “heir of God, and joint heir with Christ.” And so “the world” and the fulness thereof will become "yours," because "ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's."
2. Another of the blessings comprehended in the roll of the Christian's possessions is “Life.” What, then, let us ask, is the import of the declaration, “Life is yours p" It is obvious that in the simplest view of it, considered as mere existence or duration of being, "life" cannot, any more than the former blessing, be regarded as the peculiar property of the Christian. For though it is true that religion, by reason of the moral habits which it inculcates, is really conducive to health and longevity, and that, in the absence of its restraints, vicious excess often impairs the health and shortens life, yet this is by no means so uniformly its result as to warrant, in the literal import of the words, the assertion of the text. It is not always the holiest men who live the longest. Oftentimes the good die first, whilst they who are as dry summer's dust burn in the socket.” There is something more than mere sentimentality to the saying not seldom heard from sorrowing lips concerning the dead, that they were “too good for this world”—“they grew so holy, so gentle, so good,” is the thought implied—"they breathed so much of the spirit of heaven upon earth, that, long ere to human eye their course was run, the Father called them home.” And perhaps there are few of us who, as life wears on, do not learn to cherish among our deepest and most sacred