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Revival

By Archibald G. Brown

It is not a new-vival, but a re-vival we want. A quicker flow of the life current already existing, on a higher value placed on such old stocks as the Word of God, the preaching of the gospel, and the gatherings at the prayer meetings. Let a revival come, and these old stocks which are so often at a discount, will stand a long way above par. Everything spiritual will be at a premium. I willingly grant that in many revivals there have been faults which have proved causes for shame and sorrow; but they were not the revival, they were the fungi which grew out of some rottenness or other connected with it. They were excrescences which the revival itself would fling off if long enough maintained. Like the leprosy thrown out upon the skin instead of lurking in the system, though impure in themselves, these evils prove the returning health of the entire body. A scab on the skin, but health in the bones, is better for than a clean face and inward rottenness. Judge not a revival by that which the truly revived condemn and deplore. A bride must not be denounced because a stupid fellow with a hob-nailed dirty boot treads on her bridal dress and soils it. Kick him if you like, but pity her, for she feels the injury more than you do. There can be no great movement in the waters of the Church without the sediment being stirred up, and for a time discolouring the whole, and God knows there is sediment enough in all our Churches: but let us remember there would be none the less if it had been left undisturbed. The cloud of dust and withered leaves following in the wake of an express train may half choke you, but they are not the train's making, they only rise as the witness to its speed; beside which, it is only those who are not in the train but critics of its pace who are inconvenienced. The occupants of the carriages leave the dust behind them while they glide along like the wind.

REVIVAL AND REVIVALISM

Let me here say I distinguish between revival and revivalism. The revival is divine, the "ism" is a human addition. The revival is the man himself "in native worth and loveliness," the ism is the gaudy sash, the tin stars and sarcenet ribbons which a foolish love of display puts on him. These things, however, generally belong to a revival's commencement: let it live long enough, and it will put away these childish things. Any way, a decked out man, though he may give birth to a smile of pity, is infinitely better than a corpse in its spotlessly neat winding sheet. The foam on the crest of the green billow does not destroy its might or hinder its rolling, roaring course; it will be flung on the shore in time, and only children will care to play with it. It is worth while to run the risk of the "ism" to enjoy the mighty power of the revival.

Doubtless the revival spirit will introduce many things into our Churches which some may term innovations. This [4] is a gloriously big word to frighten children with, or alarm conservative religionists. Only whisper concerning some contemplated action for God, "It is an innovation," and you create in the hearts of some as great a terror as if you had declared it to be a live ichthyosourus. An innovation? It is to some as full of terror as the announcement would be, if made to a group of old ladies In the Zoological Gardens, that the lion had escaped from his cage, and was coming at full speed in their direction. Up goes every one of their parasols. So act many when the Lion of Judah breaks through the iron cage of dull propriety.

INNOVATIONS

An innovation? Oh, it is a wonderful word to conjure with. It may mean so much, or so little, or nothing; then it sounds, properly accented, so full of terrors, and, above all, numbers don't know what it means and therefore they are sure to warn everybody against it. But, after all, what is an innovation? Is it anything so necessarily bad that a revival likely to introduce it must not be desired? Looked at calmly, it is often found to be a most gentle and inoffensive creature. Its name is the worst thing about it. I have no doubt that were the winter a clerical brother he would consider the spring with its buttercups an innovation on his regime of ice and snow, No doubt the owl and bat have similar feelings towards the sunbeams which will force their way through the darkness. Perhaps they screech an owlish, battish synonym for "What an innovation!" If they do, their discordant notes are soon drowned in the chorus of praise which rises from all the forest dwellers who are children of the light. So with the innovations of a truly God sent revival.

None need fear them. They may at first be counted rather singular, but they will soon be reckoned singular improvements, They will startle, but captivate, like the first field of wild flowers seen after a long winter spent in London streets. There will doubtless be some innovations in the prayer meetings. From being the sole property of some half-dozen most respectable but rather humdrum patriarchs, they will become "Mutuals," in which all members will participate in the profits. Young converts as well as experienced saints will take part in them. Likely enough the prayers will be cut down to half their former length, and twice the number will engage in prayer. "A great innovation," growls one crusty old brother, and he stays away. "A blessed improvement," say a hundred, and they come.

NEW SINGING OF THE NEW SONG

The singing, too, will very probably be innovated. It will be more frequent, more lively, and more general; in fact, it will be reformed from a musical performance into melodious worship. The innovation, too, will find their way into the church meetings; for instead of an hour and a half being spent in warm debate whether the chapel keeper shall have two or three brooms in the course of the year, the whole time will be given up to hearing the testimony of saved ones coming before the church for fellowship, until at last it is decided that the chapel keeper can get all the brooms the deacons consider needful without a direct vote of the church. [5]

It leaves him, if not to look after, yet to sweep under the tables, whilst it gives itself to prayer. Oh! what blessed things church meetings are in a revival, when hour after hour the beautiful variety of the Spirit's work in converting men is illustrated in scores of different instances; but, on the other hand, what meeting can be more devoid of interest, or more devoutly dreaded that the church meeting, which is held for no other earthly reason (there are no heavenly ones) than that it happens to be the first or second Tuesday in the month? There being no spiritual business before the meeting, all the little brethren vent their big crochets, and plans, and the pastor goes home, sick at heart, dizzy in brain, with all his energies for sermon preparation numbed. Oh, for more revival innovations! Call them what you like, only let us have their realities.

A FURNACE SEVEN TIMES HEATED

Is there any reason, brethren, why the joyous experience I have tried to picture should not be ours? It seems to me (I may be mistaken, but I think I am not) that but little is required to bring it about. Already there are found in different parts of the metropolis scattered patches of fire. It needs but a strong breeze to carry the sparks on its wings, and drop them on the intervening spaces, and isolated fires shall merge into a general conflagration. Long has a furnace seven times heated blazed away in this noble sanctuary. In the south-east our brother Wigner finds his supply of baptising dresses unequal to the demand, and has to call to his brother in the east to help.

In the west our brother Lewis of Boyswater, tells of a new and most gracious work which has recently broken out among the young, and in the east there was only on Saturday evening last a united prayer meeting, of nearly 3,000 persons, in our Tabernacle, prior to a very general exchange of pulpits, which took place on Sunday, when every ministering brother devoted both morning and evening sermons to pleading with the unsaved. Cannot these fires be linked together? Cannot there be on one Lord's Day be an universal exchange of pulpits aming Baptist ministers throughout the whole of London - a magnificent general campaign for Christ heralded by three or four monster prayer meetings? Surely God is now, if ever, saying, "Prove Me now."

WINDOWS OF HEAVEN UNLATCHED

The windows of heaven are already unlatched, one united push of prayer and they shall rattle back in their sashes, and no place alone or all united shall be able to hold the blessing. The Father, with a smile of sweet encouragement, says, "Try it." The Son, our blessed Jesus, telling us of His fulness and reminding us of His promises, says, "Try it." The Holy Ghost, with all His love of revealing Christ, and by all His saving power, says, "Try it." The Church, by her languishing and sorrow, sighs, "Try it;"' and a guilty, miserable, perishing world shrieks with despairing voice, "Try it;" while a busy, restless, ever working superstition challenges, "Try it." Shall we turn a deaf ear to this sixfold appeal, or, moved by the cries and roused to holy daring by the challenge, shall we hurl ourselves into the breach, and carry heaven itself by storm?

Not only is there much land to be possessed, but we are well able to go up and take it. Shall we strike tents and be off, and in the name of our God proclaim a crusade? Surely "Yes," for the Captain calls, the silver trumpets blow, the breeze expands the drooping folds of our ancient banner, and vaunting Goliath is only waiting for the sling and the stone to measure his length on the ground. Then "up," Christians, "up," for God demands it of you. "Up," Christians, "up," for Christ pioneers the march. "Up," Christians, "up," and the Holy Ghost in the pillar of cloud is lifting Himself from the tabernacle, and moving on with majestic speed. Now, if ever, is the time to catch the words which leaped from Moses' lips when the ark of God moved onwards, and shout them till the notion echoes - "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate Thee flee before Thee." [14]






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Heaven Sent Revival