The Revival of Religion addresses 1840

Extracts from


Addresses by Scottish Evangelical Leaders delivered in Glasgow in 1840

When therefore, men use or hear the term a revival of religion, it ought to be understood

to mean – an unusual manifestation of the power of the grace of God in convincing and converting careless sinners, and in quickening and increasing the faith and pity of believers. Page x

It is the life-giving, light-imparting, quickening, regenerating, and sanctifying energy of the Holy Spirit, converting the hardened sinner, and reclaiming the backsliding or dormant Christian. Page x

Even the most guarded and cautious interpretation of the language of prophecy leads us to expect a still more glorious effusion of the Holy Spirit in “the latter days” pagexi

A revival being the manifestation, to an unusual degree, of power and extent of the converting energy of the Holy Spirit. xiii

For it is scarcely possible to imagine so great a change effected within the soul as that termed in Scripture being “born anew,” “called from death to life,” “from darkness into marvellous light,” without producing in the person by whom it is experienced a thrill of new, strange, and rapturous emotion, or excitement throughout his entire frame, such as no words can adequately describe. Xiii/xiv

… it is the bounden duty of every man to make the most strenuous means placed within his power, and commanded or sanctioned by the Word of God. Xx

… but the mighty working of the Holy Spirit is alone the efficient cause of conversion. This view, rightly understood and constantly felt, would tend to rescue men from the folly and the danger of attaching too much value to the use of means, and even the instrumentality of able, earnest and devoted men, whose efforts we are too prone to over-estimate, sometimes even to idolise, till God, even in mercy, breaks or casts aside the instrument, that he may rescue us from a dangerous delusion, and compel us to feel and own, that all our well-springs are in him… xxi

… to stand watchful and prepared – thus to go forward, ready alike for the vineyard or the wilderness, fearing the Lord and void of all other fear. Xxix

Viewed then with respect to the church, a time of revival is a time of newness of life. Viewed with respect to the world, whether professing or openly careless, it is a time of multiplied conversions. 9

It is not only excitement, but excitement which has to do with the soul and its prospects for eternity. It is not only anxiety, but anxiety awakened by the truth and seeking its resolution in the knowledge of that truth. It is not only a time when many say that they are converted, but when multitudes show that they are converted. 10

Every revival is by means of the truth 10

Meanwhile it is only necessary to say, that the Spirit of God in such a time, as certainly as in the calmest assembly or most secret closet, works by “the truth as it is in Jesus” 10

Or finally, if this coldness has stretched its nightshade over the Church herself, and the things which remain are ready to die in her bosom – if she has become careless of purity of doctrine and relaxed in purity of discipline – if she seek to accommodate her teaching to the ever-shifting spirit of the age, and her practice to a world that knows not her Lord – If  these and such like dismal features mark the state of religion in any place or time, then, beyond all question, at that time and in that place there is a peculiar necessity for all who love the Lord and the souls of men to seek a time of revival. 12

Of Israel – “this land is an opened Bible”…But “a field which the Lord has blessed” with a time of refreshing from his presence is still more gloriously an opened Bible – not of the letter but of the Spirit.

The things which are written there are done here: 16

O it is sweet to see how in such a time the holy of all sects and denominations are invincibly drawn together by the constraining influence of the “love of the Spirit.” 19

The only book of Christian doctrine or of Christian evidences which most men can think of reading is the lives of professed Christians. From these they judge what it is to be a Christian, and what claims Christianity has upon them. 21

Wave recoils on wave, but the tide advances to fill its appointed place. So it may be, that the truth is to advance by “successive impulses,” each growing and accumulating till the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea. To him that looks only to the recoiling wave, there may seem nothing but decline, but to him that looks to the advancing tide amid every decline, there is the promise of future progress – a step in advance taken, and at length every mountain shall be covered, and the mountain of the Lord’s house exalted above the mountains, and all nations shall flow into it. 28

But some will say, this says nothing to the agitation, the alarm, and even bodily convulsions which sometimes accompany a revival. Why, the wonder is that these should occur so seldom: When we think of eternity – of all its interests bursting on the astonished soul – bursting on it all unprovided, the wonder, I say, is that any assembly can at any time hear and think of these things without agitation. To complain that such agitation leads to tears and outcries is to complain that we are human beings. 29

As Edwards long ago remarked, God is often pleased in this work not only to employ instruments not as likely as others in the sight of men, but to leave them also to discover much of their natural weakness in the midst of their spiritual grace. 30

They have received this gift and grace from God; but it is out of the question for them to think, and as much for us to expect, that they shall have every other gift and grace. It is for them meekly to exercise, and for us gratefully to receive the gifts they have, giving thanks to Him who gives to all severally as he wills. 30

In vain do we expect a revival of religion in our day and in our land, unless the Lord shall be pleased to appear in his glory, and make himself known to his own people for their refreshment, and to sinners for their conversion. The beginning of a revival is never seen till the voice from the temple goes forth, “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” 51

But not less necessary is it that the object so manifested be known and loved, otherwise there can be no communion. 51

(Gospel to sinners)… all are as free to embrace it as they are to receive a letter that is addressed to them. 54

Let men have ordination handed down to them in an unbroken chain from the apostles; let them have all the learning which schools and colleges can give, and all the skill in ecclesiastical law which church courts require; let them be ever so accomplished in all the arts of pulpit oratory, if they do not faithfully preach Christ crucified they are not to be received. 67

He is all-sufficient to save from the lowest depths of guilt and corruption and wretchedness. No sin is so heinous but his blood may expiate it; no guilt so aggravated but his righteousness may cover it; no depravity so strong but his grace may subdue it. 69

The work of the Holy Spirit in the Revival of Religion:

  1. The Spirit is now specially present on earth, and with him we have now specially to do.
  2. All things pertaining to life and godliness are committed to the Spirit, and what he alone possesses, he alone can disclose.
  3. The Holy Spirit is intrusted with the finished redemption, not for the purpose of concealing it from us, but that he may make it known, and persuade and enable us to embrace it.
  4. Whenever the Spirit so works in the minds of many there is a revival of religion, and nothing else is a revival. 72

God himself must reveal himself to his own creature; man may be useful as an instrument, but I must have intercourse with God, and from himself must learn his own mind. 76

If we loved we should easily know, if we knew we could not but love. 78

By the Spirit we know – not what is said, not what is done, nor even what is merely promised, but what is given, freely given. We know what is given, and we receive what we know. 79

In a time of much prayer on the part of others, have you not often recognised the special presence of the Spirit with yourself? 79

Not merely that separate prayers of separate persons are heard for themselves, but that there are outpourings of supplication which bring the Spirit himself near to the land, revealing the Lamb of God. 79

The work again is too sudden; – yes for men, but not for God the Holy Ghost. The briefest  time is ample for him, quite ample. What weak man could not do in an eternity, the Eternal and Almighty Spirit can do in an instant. The work of redemption is finished; the Spirit who applies it is present; and it need not take long for the present Spirit to reveal the completed work. 80

Some men indeed say they will acknowledge a work of the Spirit when they see its fruits; when? In a month – in a year – in a lifetime? But there is no better time for beholding the work of the Spirit than when his power is first put forth, for there is something peculiarly glorious in the first creation of the soul unto righteousness. 81

Believe in the “power of the Holy Ghost,” believe in the “love of the Spirit.” Believe in the presence of the Holy Ghost; in his special, personal, immediate, quickening presence. 82

Pray for the Spirit for yourselves, that he may fill the temple of your hearts; pray for the Spirit for others; pray for saints; pray for sinners; pray for your families; pray for your parishes; pray for your city; pray for your land; pray for the distant heathen; pray for wandering Israel; that the Spirit may be given to all, till “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord fill the earth as the waters cover the sea.” 83

You have strong argument to pray that “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord may fill the earth” for the glory of the Lord is filling the earth already. 84

This leads me to observe, that sovereignty in respect of sinners of the human race is chiefly displayed in the exercise of His mercy and grace. 90

I hold that in the perfect freeness and sovereignty of the Divine mercy is found the very best refuge for the sinner. For if the mercy of God were not sovereign, or He not sovereign in the exercise of it, the sinner who most needs mercy might most despair of it. It is the glory of God that he can be merciful, even to the very greatest sinner, as well as the least. There is this comfort hidden in the declaration, I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. Enough that God wills it. It does not go by the rule or principle of human merit at all; and therefore if God has promised, as we are sure he has, that the chief of sinners who believeth on his Son, shall be saved, the chief of sinners needs not despair; yea, may certainly believe that God will forgive him, for he has said he will, and his will is ever exercised in harmony with his faithfulness; and we are not claiming for Jehovah, under the plea of vindicating his sovereignty, a power of dispensing with his promises. 90

The faithfulness of Jehovah, or his adherence to his word of promise, is introduced as explaining his wondrous interpositions in behalf of Israel; but his free love is the cause or spring to which even the promise itself must be traced up; for the there is no promise of God, which mercy was not as much concerned in the making as truth in the fulfilling. “He loved you because he loved you,” is the short sum of the matter. 96

We are to beware of deducing sweeping conclusions from scanty premises. God may bless the fidelity of an Episcopalian, without setting his seal to Episcopacy. 102

The secret purposes of God, we may rest assured, will ever be found to be in harmony with his revealed purposes; and the word, the very oath of God makes it certain that he that cometh shall not be cast out; he that believeth on the Son of God shall be saved. 106,7

Let us not for a moment suppose that election denotes God’s sovereign choice of one or another among those who seek his face to the passing by of the rest. 107

“the truth as it is in Jesus” 115 – a recurring phrase. 121

Salvation is described, not as a shower of soft and genial influences, which we may suffer gently to alight upon us, but as a business to be most energetically prosecuted, taxing and straining to its utmost intensity the nervous and active principle within. Thus the word of God, rightly understood, summons us to a mighty enterprise, and puts us in a high position for conducting it.

And this is the explanation of the fact, that when scriptural principles do obtain possession of any man’s soul, they bring the man out in a new character of promptitude and decision. Weak and irresolute before – weak and irresolute still in all other matters – he is clear-sighted and quick-sighted in all that concerns the new plan and purpose of his life – he shakes himself free of all the hesitations and embarrassments which usually impede or entangle him – he moves forward as one sure of his way – he acts as one conscious of power – he speaks as one having authority. Take him while under the influence of his natural temperament, and you may find him yielding and unstable, wilful and wayward by turns, the creature of every impulse, swayed by every wind. But take him again when he has apprehended the truth of God’s blessed word, or rather when that truth has apprehended him, and he is no giddy child, but a man, with a man’s purpose of heart and a man’s resolute determination of will. 117,118

He is no longer the slave of circumstances and of the thousand scruple and falterings, misgivings and fears, which make men halt and stagger at every step. His eye is single – his will clear and strong.

Yes, there is in this blessed book, if you did but lay hold of its solemn realities, or suffer them to lay hold of you – if you would but know your election of the grace of God, and your high calling in Christ Jesus the Lord, there is enough to transform a whole congregation of listless worshippers, receiving some impressions, but retaining none, into a noble host, each man in which shall in every movement not merely have the soldier’s instinctive bravery, but the clearness of perception and the intelligent energy of purpose which fit the soldier to command.

Then prophesy still upon the bones, thou son of man, dry and dead as they are, and say to them, Hear the word of the Lord, and let none marvel or be scandalised, if there should be a noise and a shaking, and a breath as of the mighty winds, when the bones start to life – an exceeding great army, each one now resolute to work out his own salvation, and having power and energy to will and to do of God’s good pleasure. 118

Preaching the word of God

  1. We must deal with it as addressing itself to the reason – the understanding of he hearer…
  2. Again: in preaching the word we deal with men’s consciences.
  3. We address men who must be made to will, to make a moral choice, a vigorous determination.
  4. We speak to men who have hearts. We must needs therefore speak tenderly, affectionately, pathetically.    123

As Paul

1. plainly, clearly, intelligently

2. faithfully, as commending themselves to everyone’s consciences

3. powerfully and authoritatively, as having a right to command the will

4. affectionately, persuasively. 124

Slow and doubtful progress of the truth…painful questionings and doubts, in the midst of which it is a relief to call to mind that it may not be altogether on the system of forces now in operation that success is ultimately to depend, but that there may be a new era and a new energy. 126

The word and the Spirit of God are at all times within your reach…

It is when you are using the word and stirring up the gift of the Spirit that is within you, that you are most certain to be in the way of a blessed renewal and revival, when any event in providence, or any act of the sovereignty of God causes a freer course of that same word – a more abundant outpouring of that same Spirit. 131

Continue ye then in the things you have learned, and have been assured of, and have known  from childhood, even in the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus – not as if you should be satisfied with the present amount of influence which they exercise either over you or your children, or should cease to look and pray and wait for times of refreshing when a new impulse may be given, but in the humble conviction that so doing you are in the way of grace and in the path of duty now, and that you are in the best position to turn to account  – by the help of him by whose inspiration all Scripture is given, and by whose sovereign will all events are ordered and all spiritual blessings dispensed – whatever more extraordinary means of revival He may be pleased to send. Amen. 131

It is the invariable constitution of the kingdom of heaven that blessings of great magnitude are not imparted except to prayers of the deepest urgency. 134

But it is to those who, by their unconquerable ardour and inflexible perseverance, compel him to turn aside, that he gives the sweetest glimpses of his reconciled countenance. 135

We see then the paramount of inflexible continuance in prayer, since without it we shall fail of realizing mercies of vast dimensions, either for ourselves or for others. 136

No prayer ever ascends to the glorious fountain of mercy without some favour being wafted to us in return, just as no vapours ever ascend from the sea without afterward coming down in refreshing humidity on the soil: The vapours may ascend unseen, but they will return in softening and visible showers: Vapours may continue to ascend for days and weeks without any rain descending to fertilize the ground; in due time, however, they will be condensed in the aerial regions, the atmosphere will become loaded with dark clouds, the treasures of heaven will be poured down, and every particle that has been attracted upwards by the sun will rush down in exuberant showers to irrigate and fructify the parched earth. 137

Never do we honour God so much as when our faith towers to such a heroic pitch of trust in him as prompts a boldness which will not be satisfied with any thing short of the boon that is implored, for we believe there is so much love in the yearnings of his paternal bosom that he will not continue to repel our requests. 139

There are prayers in which there are no words, and words in which there are no prayers. 140

The Spirit is more frequently spoken of as giving assistance in prayer than in the discharge of any other duty; and one reason why prayer, in its intensest form, proves so acceptable to God is, that it indicates much of the fire of the Spirit as being present in the soul. 140

In the year 1744, a number of ministers in Scotland…..judged it proper that all who were concerned for the welfare of Zion should unite in extraordinary prayer that God would appear in his glory, and grant an abundant effusion of the Holy Spirit on all the churches and on the whole earth… 149

Surely then we are called upon to unite in the concert of prayer proposed to be observed on Sabbath mornings… from eight to nine…150

There is reason to think that God…leads ministers to state the truth in a manner that is remarkably suitable to individual cases among their hearers with which they be entirely unacquainted. 153

It is true that our earnest aspirations for the spread of religion, and the introduction of the latter-day glory may be answered in a way very different from what we may anticipate…

…But let us be comforted by remembering that God often answers our petitions by permitting events which put an end to our outward ease, and yet promote his glory. 156

And though God may answer our prayers for the progress of his cause by changes and revolutions that will sweep away many of our temporal conveniences and possessions, let us rejoice that he will glorify himself by any dispensations however inimical to our personal quiet. 157

For God has given us some gleams of the latter-day glory in the revivals with which he has recently ennobled our land; but before a general effusion will be granted, he expects that more general and ardent petitions will be preferred. The great Head of the church has come into the midst of us and he expects to be invited to remain. 158

Let me here in one word remind you that a revival is not a different thing from religion but a greater degree of the same thing. Consequently it is to be produced, not by the application of other means but by more faithful and energetic application of the same means. 164 (so for me being a minister of religion – by faithful and energetic application of the same means I may be used as a minister of revival)

However private your station or limited your talents, there is some one or more who will be influenced by your example. Ye cannot preventthat example from operating; there is no neutral ground; it will affect your neighbours for good or for evil. Let not the weakest lamb of Christ’s flock despair of helping in this way to promote the revival of religion. This is a weapon which may be used by those who are unable to wield any other. 181

Consider your high calling, brethren, whatever your rank in the world or your station in the church; think of the honour conferred upon believers: they are not only instruments, they are fellow-workers with God, in the accomplishment of his eternal decrees. 182

Let the disciples of Christ weigh well the station which they occupy among the creatures of God; his thoughts towards a sinful world are , and ever have been, thoughts of love; his offers of mercy are freely made to all; he waiteth to be gracious to every repentant sinner: many and various are the means he has set in operation to induce them to come; and among others, you, ye followers of the Lamb, by whatsoever name ye may be called, have been placed in the midst of them to hold forth a practical exhibition of the beauty of holiness – to show them in your lives, how good a thing it is to draw near to God – to exemplify the pure morality of the gospel, that men may be enticed to submit to its power, – to live soberly, and righteously, and godly in the world; that men, seeing your good works, may glorify your Father which is in heaven. 182

Hitherto then the course may be said to have been doctrinal and speculative – now it becomes essentially practical. The question is asked: Is there anything to encourage Christians to expect and pray and labour for a revival of religion among their fellow-men? 186

His kingdom is not only much more extensive than any which was ever reared; but strictly speaking, it is the most perfect of governments. There is no will save of ONE PERSON, and he is divine; and instead of diminishing human happiness with the enlargement of the kingdom, the wider it extends, the more subjects it includes, the more thoroughly it is obeyed, the purer and more glorious are its felicities; and need we wonder? No: for the King is Righteous, and the empire Salvation, and the people Redeemed. 193

Let none imagine we have been merely contemplating figures of eastern hyperbole, or that any past success of the Christian church explains all that has been promised. Let us remember that the Scriptures are a book of truth and soberness; and that our narrow hopes and still narrower experience form no safe measure of their revelations, or of God’s gracious intentions. 201

And let us consider that all the success in primitive times, and at the era of the Reformation, and at the present day, extensive and most worthy of thankfulness as it is, is not once to be named with the magnitude and duration of the promise and the prophecy. 201

But the Scriptures seem to leave no room to doubt, that, while there is to be a gradual progress – the result of the Divine blessing on suitable means faithfully and perseveringly applied – there is also to be the occasional outbreakings of sudden and singular revivals, which shall embrace a large body of people – it may be tribes and nations – at the same moment. This is a most cheering doctrine, and relieves the mind from the feeling of weariness and hopelessness which slow and protracted labour is apt to inspire. (!) 203

The reaping is rapid, and completed in a moment…

This intimates that there is nothing in the outward aspect of the enemy to warrant the idea of immediate doom, but the reverse…

It is only His (the Holy Spirit’s) power which can quickly and at once overthrow adverse influences so deeply rooted. It is accordant with His procedure, as the Spirit of Revival, to effect grand and unlooked-for changes… 205

The water of baptism is a sign of the necessity of the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. 207

O the blessed operation of the Spirit! The prophet concludes by saying, “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation. I the Lord will hasten it in his time.”

The work is not to be long and weary; it is to be speedy, and yet effectual. Work hastily executed is generally imperfect – but here it is to be strong and abiding. 212

By a comparison of antiquarian documents, inaccessible to the general reader, I have recently ascertained that in seven short years, from the calling of the first General Assembly in 1560 to 1567, and these years of remarkable civil dissension and war, not less than eight hundred and seventy four moral and religious agents were raised up for the spiritual instruction of her parishes – Ministers, Exhorters, and Scripture Readers. Not a few of them may have been very humble, but here we have a labourer for almost every parish in seven years: and what is remarkable, they penetrated to the inhospitable shores of Argyle, of Orkney and Shetland. What can explain this remarkable fact but an unusual outpouring of the Holy Spirit? 222,223

…We may safely say that the grand proximate cause why revivals are brief and few is because there is so little faith and expectation and prayer for them on the part of the people of God. Christians are contented with cold, vague, and general views of the coming of Christ’s kingdom. They do not really expect revivals. They are willing to go on, as they have been doing, without any greater progress or more visible success. This is dishonouring to God and injurious to his cause. 228

Let us be expecting revivals, and large ones; let us be looking out for the streaks of dawn upon the horizon, and anticipating the coming day. 231

Promises are not intended to supersede prayer or labour, but to give cheerfulness and support under the discharge of their duties. 232

(Bala 1791) The charity schools here are wonderfully blessed: children, that were before like jewels buried in rubbish, now appear with divine lustre and transcendent beauty; little children from six to twelve years old are affected, astonished, and overpowered; their young minds day and night are filled with nothing but soul concerns. 304

Fruit of revival 319-327:

  1. profound sorrow and shame in the view of former estrangement from God.
  2. hearty renunciation of sin, and dedication to God.
  3. a high and loving esteem of communion with God, and all divine ordinances and means of grace.

…The delight of the living soul is in the God of the ordinances. It esteems them only as a means of enjoying Him. It loves the sanctuary, to behold His beauty, – the communion table, as a place of meeting with Him, – the Sabbath for the Lord of the Sabbath, – the messengers, for their message – their work’s sake. 323

  1. A spirit of charity and mutual forbearance, of tenderness and brotherly love.

Revived churches, in place of biting and devouring one another, will marvel at their former discords, weep over them, and strive together only for the faith of the gospel. I believe, brethren, that in one day the outpouring of the Spirit would extinguish the fire of a hundred controversies. 325

       5. zeal for the conversion of others, and especially of relatives and domestics.

Every living Christian will, in some sense or other, be a missionary; he will have the spirit of one; in various ways suitable to his station he will act as one. Every revived church will be a missionary church. In living churches, the glory of Christ and the salvation of men will be deemed the business of every man. 327

      6. a tender concern to adorn the gospel by an upright and conscientious discharge of ordinary duties.

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, thou hearest the sound, but canst not tell whence it cometh or whither it goeth: so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nevertheless, human sagacity, industry and activity, are much exercised and applied in making use f the winds in various branches of human enterprise, both in the land and on the water. And although we cannot command the shower or the genial vegetative heat, the husbandman and gardener know well, how with skill and activity to prepare the soil and to cast the seed. 332

The first remark I would venture to make is; – that “holiness to the Lord” should be inscribed upon all and ever one engaged in such a work. 333

This leads to another remark, that prayer, unceasing and earnest is that wherin the great strength of a revival of religion lieth. 334

“Social meetings for prayer” – They have not been so much for encrease of knowledge and of experience of the Christian life, as for promoting lively personal religion, and to bring those to the point who have been, it may be, going about it and about it without ever declaring on the Lord’s side. Fellowship meetings, properly so called, of Christian friends, for growth in grace and deeper insight into divine things, useful as they are, yet are not those which have among us been referred to; but those into which mere enquirers  have been admitted, yea, which they have been solicited to attend. 335

Weekly public prayer meetings…

The concert of united and continued and persevering prayer for the abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit….  336

When we come down to more recent awakenings in our church: to that of Moulin 1800; Skye 1814; Arran 1813; Lewis 1834; and in Kilsyth at this present time; it is true in each case that “the Lord hearkened and heard those who feared his name,” and who were “speaking often one to another” of the things of salvation, and who were, with united believing supplications, addressing the throne of grace, and were looking up and expecting an answer. 336,7

Again, while prayer as we have seen is the spirit of a revival of religion, the substance of a revival – the pillar and ground of all is the sound, zealous, pointed preaching of Christ…341

The people must be plied from day to day with plain, faithful, scriptural preaching to them, and not merely before them. 341

Of another I have heard, that lately he preached about revivals, but now he proclaims the doctrine of salvation more than before in a way calculated by the blessing of God, really to produce a revival.  342

Pastoral visitation 343

Bible classes 345

Every scriptural means must be used, and such schools of the prophets as well-conducted Sabbath classes should be earnestly encouraged. 346

The appointment of days of fasting – and of thanksgiving 346

(Reference to the issue of “the intrusion of a minister in opposition to the seriously felt and solemnly expressed conviction of the people that they could not be spiritually edified by his ministrations.” Which resulted in the Disruption two years later) 353

There is much need therefore to be at all due pains, both in preaching publicly, and in teaching privately from house to house, and, at the same time, affectionately and attractively, the doctrines and the duties of Christianity, and the close connection between them; so that the word of Christ may dwell in the converts richly, and that they may learn to do all, in word and in deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ; giving thanks through him; and teaching and admonishing themselves and others; “building up their most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, keeping themselves in the love of God, and looking for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” 355

There is certainly this evil to be anxiously guarded against, a depending on new excitements, instead of hearing what the Spirit is daily saying to the churches.

The regular exercises of worship and ordinary means of grace may be compared to regular channels and conduits through which the waters are conveyed, which keep them from overspreading and demolishing the surface exposed to them; and these being kept always open, and in repair, the unusually copious descending of vapour in the abundant showers, or even the flood, has conductors prepared, and in a state of readiness to receive it. 358

…Grace is a plant of a tender kind, and so is a revival of a tender and delicate nature… Thus instead of quenching the Spirit, we must earnestly invite his stay; we must hate and renounce those sins which cause this “holy Dove to mourn, and which would drive him from our breast.” 359

It is not by mere “bustling activity,” nor by wisely laid and strenuously prosecuted schemes of either church reform or enlargement; it is not by good planning, nor good writing and reasoning, nor by large donations, nor by earnestness of zeal – no, not by all these combined that the blessing is to be secured. All these are good and needful; but they require to be all consecrated by prayer – drawing down the unction of the Holy Ghost. While therefore we plan and labour and plant; let us also water; for “God – the hearer of prayer – giveth the increase,” “as for God, his work is perfect.” With Him is the residue of the Spirit. He promises to send, not only the soft dew unto Israel, but “water upon the thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.” 360

The first teachers of Christianity had no devices but those of plain truth, and strong faith, and humble boldness, and fervent love; and the giving of themselves to prayer and the preaching of the word. 361

.. the people themselves, used chiefly for the purpose of working machines, and supplanted in a thousand departments of labour by the introduction of machines, have come in a sense to be viewed as a part of one great system of machinery, having no other connection with those in whose employment they serve than that of conducting some particular branch of the complicated but regular scheme of operations. And is only this be suitably performed by them, and the stipulated sum paid for it by the masters, it is the whole that in general is thought of or expected on either part – no other link for the most part exists between them – no feeling as of a great moral stewardship, on the one hand, to be exercised for the best interests of the employed, and of conscientious and dutiful regard, on the other to be maintained toward the authority and interest of the employer. 367

The thing to be regretted and complained of is, not the change itself of which we speak, but the derangement which it has been allowed to bring into the relations of social life, and the corruption it has thereby been the occasion of spreading through the community. 367

It is one thing to know the grounds, and another thing to rest on them with realizing confidence, and draw from them life and energy. Yet to do this is an important, and for the most part an essential step toward the end in question. 377

We fear, however, there are few comparatively, who have any realizing faith or even any settled convictions upon the subject. They are too much satisfied with things as they are, or too disposed to make too much of the difficulties standing in the way of reformation. Ah! Did they but know it, no difficulty stands so much in the way as their own unbelief, and were that supplanted by a clear and living faith, those things which now seem as mountains would soon flow down and melt like wax before the fire. 378

We cannot speak otherwise of the responsibility which cleaves to each individual member of the church of Christ – for it necessarily grows out of their standing and character; and yet the want of a proper feeling of this among even the better part of Christians, and consequently a want of lively and active faith in the possibility of attaining to another state of things, these are what we have most reason of all to deplore as standing in the way of a diffused and living Christianity. It is not that the world is doing so much to withstand it, but the church will do so little to establish and promote it – not that there are such giant forces to contend against, but that there is such a mournful deficiency of those feelings and principles, to which the promise of victory is given; this is what chiefly fills us with concern and makes us tremble for the issue. 380

The faith as it is in Jesus 390

I sometimes think that Christian grace is like the diamond. That gem may be cast into the fire, but it will not consume; it will only glow with the lustre of the ruby; it may be struck at with the sword, but it remains a diamond still. It may however be ground down with its own dust, – and the harsh collision of kindred gems will abrade the polished surface of both, and dim and darken their lustre more effectually than all the appliances which science can suggest; and what are the graces of the Christian but gems taken from the mine of God’s eternal love, scattered in rich profusion by the hand of his Divine Spirit on the hearts of believers – the ornaments of that robe of needlework wherin the Spouse of the Redeemer is clad – that no fire, no sword of persecution can destroy? The world’s violence cannot spoil them of their sparkling; but the rude and jarring controversies of Christian men themselves may so darken their surface, that it can be scarcely known whether they are graces of the Spirit, or the workings of unsanctified passion and unsubdued pride. 390,1

The Spirit of he Lord is a Spirit of peace, of meekness, of love, of gentleness, of patience; it is his to draw our souls near to Jesus, to bring us to his bosom, till our hearts are replenished with the tenderness and affection that throbbed in the spirit of the Redeemer; – it is his to teach us how to love Christ’s image in all his children, enabling us to throw the mantle, not of a spurious, but of a spotless charity over the weakness of our brethren, sweetly uniting all who are in the faith in one holy, happy brotherhood, and repressing the first movements of bitterness or clamour in the soul by the gentle but effective reproof – Peace, be still, for ye are all brethren; therefore “let all bitterness and wrath, anger, clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice, and be ye kind one toward another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” 392

Undoubtedly the present age is pregnant with principles directly subversive of truth and righteousness; the political heavens are in many places veiled and gloomy, and clouds are hurrying over the horizon of the Church that forbode a coming tempest, – the supremacy of God’s word, as the ultimate standard by which all opinions and practices must be tried, is questioned in a thousand ways – and men, boasting of their own prodigious wisdom, attempt to narrow the application of its eternal truths – to subordinate its express dictates to the fiat of fallible man, and to banish it altogether from its place as the guide of faith and of manners. We regard in fact all the dangers with which the vital Christianity of the age is menaced as hinging on the doctrine of the Bible’s supremacy. 402

Re Kilsyth: The old have deserted the standards of the enemy, and the young are enlisted in the service of their Lord. When I think of dear children, what temptations beset them, and how hard it is in their levity of temper to impress their minds with serious and  sacred things, I know not in all the world a sight so touching to the heart, and fit to draw forth tears of gratitude, as the spirit of prayer diffused among these youthful disciples, who form themselves into little groups in godly friendship, and pray with and for each other, for their parents, ministers and elders, with a grace and wisdom worthy of advanced Christians. How sweetly do they inhale the promise, “They that seek me early shall find me.” It seems as if their dear Saviour were on earth, and took them in his arms and blessed them, and said to you, Behold these, “for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” 414

As there is nothing so hard for carnal minds to believe, so nothing in the compass of revealed truth is so largely insisted on, as the immeasurable extent of Heaven’s undeserved love… 421

The connection between the outgoing of love from the heart, and the inflowing of grace upon the heart, is thus marked in the word of inspiration: “The liberal soul shall be made fat; and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” 441

Let those on the Lord’s side take each one his fellow-traveller by the hand and say, “We are journeying unto the place of which the Lord said, I will give it to you: Come thou with us and we will do thee good.” 444

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