What is Revival Rev J Macpherson

WHAT IS REVIVAL?     From:  DUNCAN MATHESON – The Scottish Evangelist

by REV. J. MACPHERSON 1871  Pages 333-336

Duncan Matheson was pre-eminently a revival preacher. In the revival of religion he rejoiced. To extend the work and blessings of revival he laboured with all his might. This was his mission; and no man was ever better fitted for his peculiar calling than he was for stirring drowsy saints, and awakening a slumbering world. Some may be disposed to ask, What is revival? Since the devil has his counterfeits of everything gracious and divine, it may be well to answer the question.

• Listen to the Psalmist. “Wilt Thou not revive us again, that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (Psalm lxxxv. 6.)

Fresh life from God issuing in new joy in the Lord—that is revival.

• Hear the voice of the church in the Song of love: “My Beloved spake and said unto me, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.” (Song ii. 10-12.)

Springtime of the church, summer of the new creation, buddings of grace, songs of holy joy, and the glad voice of the welcome Saviour calling his beloved into closer fellowship and sweeter foretastes of the better paradise—that is revival.

•  Hearken to the prophet: “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped; then shall the lame leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.” (Isa. xxxv. 5, 6.)

The plagues of man’s heart and the woes of man’s life marvellously healed by grace and truth—that is revival.

Let us come to the New Testament.

• Listen to the words of Jesus “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matt. xi. 12.) Earnest and vehement desire, bold and strenuous effort, self-sacrificing and soldier-like decision, resolute and victorious perseverance in seeking the Lord and securing salvation, like warriors mounting the breach and capturing the citadel—that is true revival.

• Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you: for John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterwards, that ye might believe him.’ (Matt. xxi. 31, 32.)

Sinners of the worst class fleeing from the wrath to come, and finding in Christ mercy to pardon and grace to help in the time of need, while self-righteous professors and rationalistic moralists look on with anger and contempt, and perish at the very gate of salvation—that is the usual course of heaven-sent revival.

The prodigal son, returning home with penitential tears, his father running forth to meet him and clasping him in his arms, the kiss of forgiveness, the servants summoned to minister to him, the best robe, the ring, the shoes, the fatted calf; the feast, the music, and the dance, and the churlish elder brother coming to add his phial of vinegar to the entertainment—the whole story presents a perfect picture of a true revival scene.

• Listen to the evangelist: “As Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom: and He saith unto him, ‘Follow me’ and he arose and followed Him.” (Matt. ix. 9.)

Jesus speaks to a man of the world in the midst of business; by a word He casts the charm of an all-conquering love around Him, and the worldling straightway becomes a heavenly-minded pilgrim —that is revival.

• “The woman saith unto Him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am He……The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith unto the men, ‘Come, see a man which told me all things that ever I did; is not this the Christ?’ Then they went out of the city and came unto Him.” (John 1V. 25-30.)

Jesus meets a sinful woman at a well, accidentally as men say, but really in virtue of a pre-arrangement as ancient as the counsels of eternity, then and there convinces her of sin, reveals to her his glory as Redeemer, and by a mysterious touch of saving grace sends her away to awaken the whole city by her simple testimony—that is genuine revival.

• “And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, ‘Make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house.’ And he made haste, and came down, and received Him joyfully.” (Luke xix. i–i8.)

Christ converts a notorious sinner among the branches of a sycamore tree, and the converted sinner immediately opens his heart, his house, and his purse to the Lord, to the disciples, and the poor; and in the name of righteousness offers restitution fourfold for any wrong done his neighbour —That is genuine revival.

• “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, ‘Men and brethren, what shall we do?’ ……Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.” (Acts ii. 37-41.)

A pardoned sinner preaching the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and multitudes are converted on the spot—that is revival.

“For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” (i Thess. i. 5.)

Not mere knowledge in the head, but experience in the heart; not a gospel in the creed merely, but in the character; not a profession only, but a possession also; not a mere glimmer of hope struggling through clouds of doubt and fear, but a present salvation, a great felt reality of joy in the Holy Ghost and much assurance—that is characteristic of all genuine revival.

Revival is the springing up of the life of God in the soul of man. It means sleepers awaking, wanderers returning, saints becoming more holy, and sinners becoming saints. It means peace to the troubled conscience, songs instead of sobs, and thrills of holy joy instead of stings of remorse. Were the revival of religion, pure and undefiled, to fill the world, it would break the neck of sin, stay the ravages of war, empty prisons, turn labour into a joy, dry up rivers of tears, reduce the misery of mankind to a shadow, and transform earth into a paradise. It is “glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, good-will toward men.”

Of such a revival Duncan Matheson was the unwearied advocate and successful promoter. He preached not revivalism, but Christ the life. He preached the doctrines that contain the germs of all true revival—the doctrines of the cross. These doctrines he proclaimed in the way in which they are usually most effective; he preached as one who believed what he preached, with a holy enthusiasm of faith and love. He preached in prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit, and his preaching therefore was “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” In that sense he was a wise and true revival preacher.

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