Blessed Days Of Refreshing!
By J. V. Watson
A revival consists of a greatly increased interest on the subject of religion on the part of believers, in which they are blessedly conscious of an increase of love to God, faith in His truth, a growth in all the graces of the Spirit, and a deep solicitude for the salvation of sinners.
In this spiritual condition, believers are ready in word and in spirit and by action to exert themselves to bring souls to the cross. The church made up of such believers becomes a quickened mass of spiritual life, and the very atmosphere becomes electrical with spiritual influences.
The social principle is brought into action, and man becomes a missionary to his fellows, neighbor, child or kinsman, under circumstances of very great advantage, the Holy Ghost being present to impart power from on high in proportion to our faith and effort.
Led by the faithful pastor as an army by its general, this squadron of live Christians go forth into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in (Luke 14:23).
How often has our poor heart been enlarged over scenes like these, and how sweet still their memory! When will these days of refreshing again revisit the whole Church--days when saints are thrilled with unearthly joy and transport, and when sinners, willing and weeping, come trembling to the altar with the inquiry on their lips, uttered brokenly through deep sobs, "What must I do to be saved?" "O Lord, revive Thy work!" (Hab. 3:2).
Who Is Ready?
The Holy Ghost is always ready, but man though always needy, is not always ready. Would we have a revival? Then the first thing to be done is not to look to others--not to wait the coming of some famous revivalist--not to look out of ourselves at others, but into our hearts and then up to heaven.
What is our own condition of personal piety and holiness? What is the condition of our spiritual emotions? Are we merely formal in duty and moral in practice and have we come to conclude that pure and undefiled religion before God consists in this?
What are our spiritual tastes? Do we linger as upon the banks of the pure river of the waters of life clear as crystal, over the inspired page? Do we hear the whispers of the Spirit and feel His refreshing presence like the fragrance of the flower in the word of the Lord which endures forever?
Do we love seeking the closet for uninterrupted communion with our heavenly Father that He may reward us openly? Without private prayer, spiritual life loses its vitality and ceases to be a constant and abiding joy to its possessor--a well of water within the heart, springing up into everlasting life.
O, this is the place to begin! What would be the result of the reerection of the forsaken closet and altars in the church? We believe that no religious duty equaling it in importance is so frequently and generally neglected as that of secret prayer. In heavenly vision in the closet, patriarchs, prophets and apostles have always commenced their eventful careers.
"From the closet to the church, from our knees to the pulpit," were the mottoes of the reformers. Every revival minister since their days knows that in the closet is the hiding of his power, the beginning of his strength. The hidden life takes the kingdom of heaven by force. The absence of this life is the basic cause of the absence of revivals and of the prevalence of dearth and spiritual languor. Among professors of Christianity, the sins of omission are greater than those of commission, and the greatest of all sins of omission is the lack of prayer before God.
A revival is the result of a union of effort on the part of spiritually intensified individuals. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20).
Revival must initiate with the individual and work socially; start within and work outwardly; begin in the church and especially with the ministry of the church. It must commence with the grace we have and not wait for grace to commence it. "Whosoever hath, to him shall be given" (Matt. 13:12). The Holy Ghost is always willing and waiting to shed on the church the spirit of revival.
"If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" (Luke 11:13).
If a church be destitute of a revival, whose fault is it? Let every Christian and every Christian pastor start the searching inquiry, "Is it I?" "Lord, is it I?"
From Helps To The Promotion Of Revivals.