A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, November 9, 1856, By Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.
Restore us, oh Lord God of hosts, cause your face to shine; and we shall be saved. (Ps 80:19)
1. This seems to be the only prayer the Psalmist sends up in this Psalm, as being of itself sufficient for the removal of all the ills over which he mourned. Though he sighs over the strife of neighbours and the ridicule of foes; and lamenting the poor condition of the goodly vine, he deplores its broken hedges, and complains about the wild beasts that waste and devour it, yet he does not petition the Most High against these evils in detail; but gathering up all his wishes into this one prayer, he reiterates it over and over—“Restore us, oh Lord God of hosts, cause your face to shine; and we shall be saved.” The reason is obvious. He had traced all the calamities to one source, “Oh Lord God, how long will you be angry—?” And now he seeks refreshing from one fountain. Let your face no longer frown, but let it beam upon us with a smile and all shall then be well. This is a sweet lesson for the church of Christ. “In your troubles, trials and adversities, seek first, chiefly, and above everything else, to have a revival of religion in your own heart, the presence of God in your own heart; having that, you have scarcely anything beside to pray for; whatever else may befall you shall work for your good, and all that seems to impede your course, shall really prove to be a prosperous gale, to waft you to your desired haven: only, take care that you seek God that you yourselves are restored to him, and that he would give you the light of his countenance; so you shall be saved.”
2. This morning’s sermon, then will be especially addressed to my own church, on the absolute necessity of true religion in our midst, and of revival from all apathy and indifference. We may ask from God multitudes of other things, but among them all, let this be our chief prayer: “Lord, revive us; Lord, revive us!” We have uttered it in song; let me stir up your pure minds, by way of remembrance, to utter it in your secret prayers, and make it the daily aspiration of your souls. I feel, beloved, that notwithstanding all opposition, God will help us to be “more than conquerors, through him who loved us,” if we are true to ourselves, and true to him. But though all things should go smoothly, and the sun should always shine upon our heads, we should have no prosperity if our own godliness failed; if we only maintained the form of religion, instead of having the very power of the Holy Spirit revealed in our midst.
3. I shall endeavour to urge upon you this morning, first of all, the benefits of revival, as we shall find some of them suggested in this Psalm; and secondly, the means of revival—“Restore us, oh Lord God of hosts;” then, thirdly I shall exhort you to use these means, that you may acquire these benefits.
4. I. THE BENEFITS OF REVIVAL TO ANY CHURCH IN THE WORLD will be a lasting blessing. I do not mean that false and spurious kind of revival which was so common a few years ago. I do not mean all that excitement attendant upon religion, which has brought men into a kind of spasmodic godliness and translated them from sensible beings, into such as could only rave about a religion they did not understand. I do not think that is a real and true revival. God’s revivals, while they are attended with a great heat and warmth of piety, yet have with them knowledge as well as life, understanding as well as power. The revivals that we may consider to have been genuine, were such as those done by the instrumentality of such men as President Edwards in America, and Whitfield in this country, who preached a free grace gospel in all its fulness. Such revivals I consider to be genuine, and such revivals, I repeat again, would be a benefit to any church under heaven. There is no church, however good it is, which might not be better; and there are many churches sunken so low, that they have abundant need, if they would prevent spiritual death, to cry aloud, “Lord, revive us.”
5. Among the blessings of the revival of Christians, we commence, by noticing the salvation of sinners. When God is pleased to pour out his Spirit upon a church in a larger measure than usual, it is always accompanied by the salvation of souls. And oh, this is a weighty matter, to have souls saved. Some laugh, and think the salvation of the soul is nothing; but I trust, beloved, you know so much of the value of souls that you will always think it to be worth the laying down of your lives, if you might only be the means of the saving of one single soul from death. The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love for perishing sinners, and love for his blessed Master, will be an all absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the stout, brave fireman, who does not care about the scorch or about the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity has set his heart. He must, he will pluck such a one from the burning, at any cost and expense to himself. Oh the zeal of such a man as that Whitfield to whom I have alluded! He says in one of his sermons, “My God, I groan day by day over the salvation of souls. Sometimes,” he says, “I think I could stand on the top of every hackney coach in the streets of London, to preach God’s Word. It is not enough that I can do it night and day, labouring incessantly by writing and by preaching, I wish that I would be multiplied a thousand fold, so that I might have a thousand tongues to preach this gospel of my blessed Redeemer.” Ah, you find too many Christians who do not care about sinners being saved. The minister may preach, but why do they care about any results? As long as he has a respectable congregation, and a quiet people, it is enough. I trust, my friends, we shall never sink to so low a state as to carry on our services without the salvation of souls. I have prayed to my God many times, and I hope to repeat the prayer, that when I have no more souls to save for him, no more of his elect to be gathered home, he may allow me to be taken to himself, so that I may not stand and encumber the ground in his vineyard, useless, seeing there is no more fruit to be brought forth. I know you long for souls to be converted. I have seen your glad eyes when, at the church meetings, night after night, sinners have told us what the Lord has done for them. I have seen your great joy when drunkards, blasphemers, and all kinds of careless people have turned with full purpose of heart to God, and led a new life. Now, see, if these things are to be continued, and above all, if they are to be multiplied, we must have again a revival in our midst. For this we must and will cry, “Oh Lord our God, visit your plantation, and pour out again upon us your mighty Spirit.”
6. Another effect of a revival in a church, is generally the promotion of true love and unanimity in its midst. I will tell you the most quarrelsome churches in England, if you will tell me the most lazy churches. It has actually become a proverb nowadays. People say, when people are sound asleep, “He is as sound asleep as a church;”—as if they really thought the church was the soundest asleep of anything that exists! Alas that there should be so much truth in the proverb. Where a firm, established for business, would have all its eyes open—where a company, that had for its object the accumulation of wealth, would be ever on the watch—churches, for the most part, seem to neglect the means of doing good and fritter away holy opportunities of advancing their Master’s cause; and for this reason, many of us are so divided. There are heart burnings, achings, ranklings of soul, quarrellings among each other. An active church will be a united church; a slumbering church will be sure to be a quarrelsome one. If any minister desires to heal the wounds of a church, and bring the members into unanimity, let him ask God to give them all enough to fill their hands, and when their hands are full of their Master’s work, and their mouths are full of his praise, they will have no time for devouring one another, or filling their mouths with slander and reproach. Oh, if God gives us revival, we shall have perfect unanimity. Blessed be God, we have much of it; but oh for more of it, so that our hearts may be knit together as the heart of one man,—that we, being one army of the Living God, may have no anger or bad will towards each other, but being—as I trust we all are—brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, we may live as becomes our position. Oh that Christ would give us that spirit that loves all, hopes for all, and will bear burdens for all, passing by little things, and differences of judgment and opinion, that so we may be united with a threefold cord that cannot be broken. A revival, I think, is necessary for the unanimity of the church.
7. A revival is also necessary, in order that the mouths of the enemy of the truth may be stopped. Do they not open wide their mouths against us? Have they not spoken hard things against us?—indeed, and not only against us, but against the truth we preach, and against the God we honour. How shall their mouths be stopped? By our replying to them? No; we think it is a disgrace to utter one single word in our own defence. If our conduct is not sufficiently upright to commend itself, we will not utter words in order to commend it. But the way we can shut our adversaries’ mouths is this: by seeking a revival in our midst. What! do they rail against our ministry? If more souls are saved, can they rail against that? Indeed, let them if they wish. Do they speak against the doctrines? Let them; but let our lives be so holy that they must lie against us when they dare to say that our doctrines lead anyone into sin. Let us seek from God that we may be so earnest, so eminently holy, so God-like, and so Christ-like, that to all they say their own consciences may tell them, “You utter a falsehood while you speak against him.” This was the glory of the Puritans: they preached doctrines which laid them open to reproach. I am bold to say I have preached the doctrine of the Puritans; and I am bold to say, moreover, that those parts which have been most objected to in my discourses, have frequently been quotations from ancient fathers, or from some of the Puritans. I have often smiled when I have seen them condemned, and said, “There now, sir, you have condemned Charnock, or Bunyan, or How, or Doddridge,” or some other saint of God whom it so happened I quoted at the time. The word condemn was theirs, and therefore it did not so much affect me. They were held up to reproach when they were alive, and how did they answer their critics? By a blameless and holy life. They, like Enoch, walked with God; and let the world say what they wish about them, they only tried to keep their families the most rigidly pious, and themselves the most strictly upright in the world; so that while it was said of their enemies, “They talk of good works,” it was said of the Puritans, that “They did them;” and while the Arminians, for such they were in those days, were living in sin, he who was called Calvinist, and laughed at, was living in righteousness, and the doctrine that was said to be the promoter of sin was found afterwards to be the promoter of holiness. We defy the world to find a holier people than those who have espoused the doctrines of free grace, from the first moment until now. They have been distinguished in every history, even by their enemies, as having been the most devotedly pious, and as having given themselves especially to the reading of God’s Word and the practice of his law; and while they said they were justified by faith alone, through the blood of Christ, none were found, so much as they, seeking to honour God in all the exercises of godliness, being “a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Let us follow their faith, and let us emulate their love. Let us seek a revival here; and so our enemies’ mouths, if not entirely shut, shall be so far stopped that their consciences shall speak against them while they rail against us. We need no eminent reply to silence their calumny; no learned articles brought out in our vindication; no voice lifted up in our favour. I thank my friends for all they do; but I thank them little for the true effect it produces. Let us live straight on; let us work straight on; let us preach straight on, and serve our God better than before, then let hell roar, and earth resound with tumult; the conscious integrity of our own spirit shall preserve us from alarm, and the Most High himself shall protect us from their fury. We need a revival, then, for these three reasons, each of which is great in itself.
8. Yet, above all, we need a revival, if we wish to promote the glory of God. The proper object of a Christian’s life is God’s glory. The church was made on purpose to glorify God; but it is only a revived church that brings glory to his name. Do you think that all the churches honour God? I tell you no; there are some that dishonour him—not because of their erroneous doctrines, nor perhaps because of any defect in their formalities, but because of the lack of life in their religion. There is a meeting for prayer; six people assemble besides the minister. Does that proclaim your homage to God? Does that do honour to Christianity? Go to the homes of these people; see what is their conversation when they are alone; see how they walk before God. Go to their sanctuaries and hear their hymns; there is the beauty of music, but where is the life of the people? Listen to the sermon; it is elaborate, polished, complete, a masterpiece of oratory. But ask yourselves, “Could a soul be saved under it, except by a miracle? Was there anything in it adapted to stir men up to goodness? It pleased their ears; it instructed them in some degree, perhaps, but what was there in it to teach their hearts?” Ah, God knows there are many such preachers. Notwithstanding their learning and their opulence, they do not preach the gospel in its simplicity, and they do not draw near to God our Father. If we wish to honour God by the church, we must have a warm church, a burning church, loving the truths it holds, and carrying them out in the life. Oh that God would give us life from on high, lest we should be like that church of old of whom it was said, “You have a name to live, and are dead.” These are some of the benefits of revivals.
9. II. WHAT ARE THE MEANS OF REVIVAL? They are twofold. One is, “Restore us, oh Lord God of hosts;” and the other is, “Cause your face to shine.” There can be no revival without both of these. Allow me, my dear hearers, to address you one by one, in different classes, in order that I may apply the former of these means to you.
10. “Restore us, oh Lord God of hosts.” Your minister feels that he needs to be restored more thoroughly to the Lord his God. His prayer shall be, God helping him, that he may be more fearless and faithful than ever; that he may never for one moment think what any of you will say with regard to what he utters, but that he may only think what God his Master would say concerning him;—that he may come into the pulpit with this resolve—that he cares no more for your opinion with regard to the truth than if you were all stones, only resolving this much:—come loss or come gain by it, whatever the Lord God says to him, that he must speak; and he desires to ask his Master that he may come here with more prayer himself than before, so that whatever he preaches may be so burned into his own soul that you may all know, even if you do not think it is true yourselves, that at any rate he believes it, and believes it with his inmost soul. And I will ask God that I may so preach to you, that my words may be attended with a mighty and a divine power. I do forswear all pretence to ability in this work. I forswear the least idea that I have anything about me that can save souls, or anything which could draw men by the attractions of my speech. I feel that if you have been profited by my preaching, it must have been the work of God, and God alone, and I pray to him that I may be taught to know more of my own weakness. When my enemies say anything against me, may I believe what they say, but yet exclaim,
Weak though I am, yet through his might,
I all things can perform.
Will you ask such things for me, so that I may be more and more restored to God, and so that your spiritual health may be promoted.
11. But there are some of you who are workers in the church. Large numbers are actively engaged for Christ. In the Sunday School, in the distribution of tracts, in preaching the Word in the villages, and in some parts of this great city—many of you are striving to serve God. Now what I ask and exhort you to do is this: cry to God—“Restore us, oh God.” You need, my dear working friends, more of the Spirit of God in all your labours. I am afraid we forget him too much, we need to have a greater remembrance of him. Sunday School teachers, cry to God that you may conduct your classes with a sincere desire to promote God’s glory, leaning wholly on his strength. Do not be content with the ordinary routine, gathering your children there, and sending them home again; but cry, “Lord, give us the agony which a teacher ought to feel for his child’s soul.” Ask that you may go to the school with deep feelings, with agonies of love over the children’s hearts, that you may teach them with tearful eyes, groaning before heaven that you may be the means of their salvation and deliverance from death. And you who in other ways serve God, I beseech you do not be content with doing it as you have done. You may have done it well enough to gain some approval from your fellowmen: do it better, as in the sight of the Lord. I do not mean better as to the outward form, but better as to the inward grace that goes with it. Oh! seek from God that your works may be done from pure motives, with more simple faith in Christ, more firm reliance on him, and with greater prayer for your success. “Restore us,” is the cry of all, I hope, who are doing anything for Jesus.
12. Others of you are intercessors; and here I hope I have taken in all who love the Lord in this place. Oh! how much the strength of a church depends upon these intercessors! I had almost said we could do better without the workers than the intercessors: we need in every church, if it is to be successful, intercessors with God—men who know how to plead with him and to prevail. Beloved, I must stir you up again on this point. If you would see great things done in this place, or in any other place, in the salvation of souls, you must intercede more earnestly than you have done. I thank God our prayer meetings are always full; but there are some of you whom I do not see as often as I wish. There are some of you business men who are accustomed to come in for the last half hour, and I have seen you, and called on you to pray. For six months I have not seen some of you at all. There are others whom I know to be as much engaged as you are, who somehow or other manage to be always here. Why is it not so with you? If you do not love prayer, then I wish that you would not come until you do. But I do ask God to bring you into such a state of mind, that your soul may be more thoroughly with the Lord’s church, and you may be more thoroughly devoted to his service. Our prayer meeting is well attended, and is full; but it shall be better attended yet, and we shall have the men among us coming up “to the help of the Lord against the mighty.” We do need more prayer. Your prayers, I am sure, have been more earnest at home than ever they were during the last three weeks; let them be more earnest still. It is by prayer we must lean on God; it is by prayer that God strengthens us. I beseech you, wrestle with God, my dear friends. I know your love for one another, and for his truth. Wrestle with God, in secret and in public, so that he would yet open the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing upon us, such as we shall not have room enough to receive. There must be a turning again to God of the intercessors in prayer.
13. Again: we want a restoring to God of all of you who have been accustomed to hold communion with Jesus, but who have in the least degree broken off that holy and heavenly habit. Beloved, are there not some of you who were accustomed to walk with God each day? Your morning was sanctified with prayer, and your evening was concluded with the voice of praise. You walked with Jesus in your daily business; you were real Enochs; you were Johns; you laid your head on the bosom of your Lord. But ah! have not some of you suspended your communion recently? Let us speak of ourselves personally, instead of addressing you; have not we ourselves held less communion with Jesus? Have not our prayers been fewer to him, and his revelations less bright to us? Have we not been content to live without Emmanuel in our hearts? How long is it with some of us since our morsel was dipped in the honey of fellowship? With some of you it is weeks and months, since you had your love visit from Jesus. Oh! beloved, let me beseech you, cry to God, “Restore us.” It will never do for us to live without communion; we cannot, we must not, we dare not live without constant hourly fellowship with Jesus. I would stir you up in this matter. Seek God so that you may return, and experience the loveliness of Jesus in your eyes, that you may know more and more of your loveliness in his eyes.
14. And once more, beloved, “Restore us” must be the prayer of all of you, not only in your religious labours, but in your daily lives. Oh! how I do groan over each one of you, especially those of you who are my children in Christ, whom God has granted me to be the means of bringing from nature’s darkness into marvellous light; that your lives may be an honour to your profession. Oh! my dear hearers, may none among you who make a profession, be found liars to God and man. There are many who have been baptized, who have been baptized into the waters of deception; there are some who put the sacramental wine between their lips, who are a dishonour and a disgrace to the church in which they assemble. Some who sing praises with us here can go and sing the songs of Satan elsewhere. Indeed, are there not some among you, whom I cannot detect, whom the deacons cannot, nor your fellow members either, but whose consciences tell you, you are not fit to be members of a church? You have crept into our number, you have deceived us, and there you are, like a cancer in our midst. God forgive you, and change your hearts; God restore you to himself! And oh my brethren one and all of us, though we hope we have the root of the matter in us, yet how much room there is for improvement and amendment! How are your families conducted? Is there as much of that true and earnest prayerfulness for your children as we could desire? How is your business conducted? Are you above the tricks of trade? Do you know how to stand aloof from the common customs of other men, and say, “If all do wrong it is no reason why I should—I must, I will do right?” Do you know how to talk? Have you caught the brogue of heaven? Can you abstain from all foolishness, all filthy conversation, and seek to bear the image of Jesus Christ in the world? I do not ask you whether you use the “thee” and “thou,” and the outward formalities of ostentatious humility, but I ask you whether you know how to regulate your speech by the Word of God. I trust, in some degree, that you all do, but not all we could desire. Cry out, then, you Christians, “Restore us, oh God!” If others sin, I beseech you, do not sin also; remember how God is dishonoured by it. What! will you bring shame on Christ, and on the doctrines we profess? There is enough said against them without our giving cause for offence; lies enough are made up, without our giving any cause that men should truthfully speak badly of us. Oh! if I thought it would avail, I think I would go down upon my knees, my brethren and sisters in Christ Jesus, to beg of you, as for my very life, that you would live close to Jesus. I do pray the Holy Spirit that he may so rest on you in every place, that your conversation may be “such as becomes the gospel of Christ;” and that in every act, great or small, and in every word of every kind, there may be the influence from on high, moulding you to the right, keeping you to the right, and in everything bidding you to become more and more patterns of godliness, and reflections of the image of Jesus Christ.
15. Dear friends, to be personal with each other again, are we where we want to be just now many of us? Can we put our hands on our hearts, and say, “Oh Lord, I am, in spiritual things just where I desire to be?” No; I do not think there is even one of us who could say that. Are we now what we should desire to be if we were to die in our pews? Come now, have we so lived during the past week, that we could wish this week to be a specimen week of our whole lives? I fear not. Brethren, how are your evidences?—are they bright for heaven? How is your heart?—is it wholly set on Jesus? How is your faith?—does it dwell on God alone? Is your soul sick, or is it healthy? Are you sending forth blossoms and bearing fruit, or do you feel dry and barren? Remember, blessed is the man who is planted by the rivers of water, who brings forth his fruit in his season. But how about yourselves? Are not some of you so cold and languid in prayer, that prayer is a burden to you? How about your trials? Do they not break your heart more, almost, than they ever did? That is because you have forgotten how to cast your burden on the Lord. How about your daily life? Have you not cause to grieve over it, as not being all you could desire it to be? Ah! beloved, do not think it a light matter to be going backwards, do not consider it a small thing to be less zealous than you used to be. Ah! it is a sad thing to begin to decline. But how many of you have done so! Let our prayer be now,—
Lord, revive us, Lord, revive us,
All our help must come from thee.
Do, I beseech you, I entreat you, in the name of God our Father, and Jesus Christ our brother, search into your own hearts; examine yourselves, and send up this prayer, “Lord, when I am right, keep me so, against all opposition, and conflict; but when I am wrong, Lord make me right, for Jesus’ sake.” We must have this restoration to God, if we wish to have a revival in our heart. Every unholy person, every cold heart, everyone who is not entirely devoted to God, keeps us back from having a revival. When once we have all our souls fully restored to the Lord, then I say but not until then, he will allow us to see the travail of the Redeemer’s soul, and “God, even our own God shall bless us, and all the ends of the world shall fear him.”
16. The other means of revival is a precious one—“Cause your face to shine.” Ah! beloved, we might ask God, that we might all be devoted, all his servants, all prayerful, and all what we want to be; but it would never come without this second prayer being answered; and even if it did come without this, where would be the blessing? It is the causing of his face to shine on his church that makes a church flourish. Do you suppose that, if to our number there were added a thousand of the most wealthy and wise of the land, we should really prosper any the more without the light of God’s countenance? Ah! no, beloved, give us our God, and we could do without them, but they would be a curse to us without him. Do you imagine that the increase of our numbers is a blessing, unless we have an increase of grace? No, it is not. It is the crowding of a boat until it sinks, without putting in any more provision for the food of those who are in it. The more we have in numbers, the more grace we need. It is just this we need every day: “Cause your face to shine.” Oh! there have been times in this house of prayer, when God’s face has shone upon us. I can remember times, when everyone of us wept, from the minister down almost to the child; there have been times, when we have counted the converts under one sermon by scores. Where is the blessedness we once spoke of? Where is the joy we once had in this house? Brethren, it is not all gone; there are many still brought to know the Lord; but oh! I want to see those times again, when first the refreshing showers came down from heaven. Have you never heard that under one of Whitfield’s sermons there have been as many as two thousand saved? He was a great man; but God can use the little, as well as the great to produce the same effect; and why should there not be souls saved here, beyond all our dreams? Indeed, why not? We answer, there is no reason why not, if God only causes his face to shine. Give us the shining of God’s face; man’s face may be covered with frowns, and his heart may be black with malice, but if the Lord our God does shine, it is enough.
If he makes bare his arm,
Who can his cause withstand?
When he his people’s cause defends,
Who, who can stay his hand?
We need his good hand with us. I do think there is an opportunity for the display of God’s hand in this particular era, such as has not been for many years before; certainly, if he does anything, the crown must be put on his head, and on his head alone. We are a feeble people: what shall we do? But if he does anything, he shall have the crown and the diadem entirely to himself. Oh that he would do it! Oh that he would honour himself! Oh that he would turn to us that we might turn to him, and that his face may shine! Children of God, I need not enlarge on the meaning of this. You know what the shining of God’s face means; you know it means a clear light of knowledge, a warming light of comfort, a living light poured into the darkness of your soul, an honourable light, which shall make you appear like Moses, when he came from the mountain—so bright, that men will scarcely dare to look upon you. “Cause your face to shine.” Shall we not make this our prayer, dearly beloved? Have I one of my brethren in the faith, who will not today go home to cry out aloud to his God, “Cause your face to shine?” A black cloud has swept over us, all we need is that the sun should come, and it shall sweep that cloud away. There have been direful things; but what of them, if God, our God, shall appear? Let this be our cry, “Cause your face to shine.” Beloved, let us give no rest to our God, until he hears our prayer, “Restore us, oh Lord God of hosts, cause your face to shine; and we shall be saved.”
17. III. Come, now, let me stir you all up, all of you who love the Saviour, to seek after this revival. Some of you, perhaps, are now resolving in your hearts that you will at once, when you reach your homes, prostrate yourselves before your God, and cry out to him that he would bless his church; and oh! do so I beseech you. It is common with us under a sermon to resolve, though after the sermon we are slow to perform. You have often said, when you left the house of God, “I will carry out that injunction of my pastor, and will be much in prayer.” You thought to do it as soon as you arrived at home, but you did not, and so there was an untimely end of the matter—it did not accomplish what was intended. But this time, I beseech you, while you resolve be resolute. Instead of saying within yourselves, “Now I will devote myself more to God, and seek to honour him more,” anticipate the resolution by the result. You can do more in the strength of God than you can think or propose to yourselves in the utmost might of man. Resolves may pacify the conscience very frequently for a while, without really benefitting it. You say you will do it; conscience therefore does not reproach you with a disobedience to the command; but you do not do it after all, and so the effect has passed away. Let any holy and pious resolution you now form be this instant turned into prayer. Instead of saying, “I will do it, send up the prayer, Lord enable me to do it; Lord, grant me grace to do it.” One prayer is worth ten thousand resolutions. Pray to God that you, as a soldier of the cross, may never disgrace the banner under which you fight. Ask him that you may not be like the children of Ephraim, who turned back in the day of battle, but that you may stand fast in all weathers, even as good old Jacob, when “in the day the drought consumed him and the frost by night,”—so may you serve that God who has called you with so high a calling. Perhaps others of you think there is no need of a revival, that your own hearts are quite good enough; I hope only a few of you think so. But if you do think so my hearer, I warn you—you think you are right, and by it you do prove that you are wrong. He who says within himself, “I am rich and increased with goods,” let him know that he is “poor and naked and miserable.” He who says he needs no revival does not know what he is saying. Beloved, you shall find that those who are noted as best among God’s people need to consider themselves the worst; and those who presume all goes well in their hearts often little know that an undercurrent of evil is really bearing them away as with a tide where they would not wish to go, while they assume they are going on to peace and prosperity.
18. Oh! beloved, carry into effect the advice I have just given. I know I have spoken feebly. It is the best I can do just now, I have only stirred you up by way of remembrance. Do not think my desires are as feeble as my words; do not imagine that my anxiety for you is or can be represented by my speech. Ask, I beseech you, ask God, that to each of you brothers and sisters, the simple exhortation of one who loves you as his own soul, may be blessed. God is my witness, beloved, that for him I seek to live; no other motive have I in this world, God knows, but his glory. Therefore do I bid and exhort you, knowing that you love the same God, and seek to serve the same Christ, do not now, in this hour of peril, give the least cause to the enemy to blaspheme. Oh! by the love of Christ, I entreat you for his sake who hung upon the tree and who is now exalted in heaven by his bloody sacrifice offered for your redemption, by the everlasting love of God, by which you are kept. I exhort, I beseech, I entreat you, as your brother in Christ Jesus, and as your pastor, do not be moved by your adversaries. “Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, when they shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for our Saviour’s sake.” But do ask that your life and conversation may be an honour to your Lord and Master; in nothing give occasion for the enemy to malign our sacred cause; in everything may your course be “like the shining light, which shines more and more unto the perfect day.”
19. But oh! you who come here and approve the truth with your judgment but yet have never felt its power in your hearts or its influence in your lives, for you we sigh and groan; for your sake I have stirred up the saints among us to pray. Oh how many of you are there who have been pricked in your consciences and hearts many a time. You have wept, indeed, and have so wept that you have thought within yourselves, “Never souls wept as we have done!” But you have gone back again. After all the solemn warnings you have heard, and after all the wooings of Calvary, you have gone back again to your sins. Sinner! you who take little heed for yourself, just hear how much we think of you. Little do you know how much we groan over your soul. Man! you think your soul is nothing, yet morning, noon, and night, we are groaning over that precious immortal thing which you despise. You think it is a little matter to lose your soul, to perish, or maybe to be damned. Do you consider us as fools that we should cry over you? Do you suppose we are bereft of reason, that we should think your soul of so much concern, while you have so little concern for it? Here are God’s people; they are crying after your soul; they are labouring with God to save you. Do you think so little of it yourself, that you wish to fool away your soul for a paltry pleasure, or wish to procrastinate your soul’s welfare beyond the limited domain of hope. Oh! sinner, sinner, if you love yourself, I beseech you, pause and think that what God’s people love must be worth something; that what we labour for, and strive for, must be worth something; that what was considered worth a ransom so priceless as Jesus paid must have its sterling value in the sight of heaven. Do, I beseech you, pause? think of the value of your soul; think how dreadful it will be if it is lost; think of the extent of eternity, think of your own frailty; remember your own sin, and what you justly deserve. May God give you grace to forsake your wicked ways, turn to him and live; for he “has no pleasure in the death of him who dies, but rather that he should turn to him and live!” Therefore, he says, “Turn, turn, why will you die?”
20. And now oh Lord God of hosts, hear our ardent appeal to your throne. “Restore us.” Enlighten our path with the guidance of your eye, cheer our hearts with the smiles of your face. Oh God of armies, let every regiment and rank of your militant church be of perfect heart, undivided in your service. Let great grace rest upon all your children. Let great fear come upon all the people. Let many reluctant hearts be turned to the Lord. Let there now be times of refreshing from your presence. To your own name shall be all the glory, “Oh you are more glorious and excellent then the mountains of prey!” (Ps 76:4)