James Caughey was an Irish-born emigrant to the United States who was converted in the times of revival in 1830-31 and soon after ordained to the Methodist ministry. He experienced powerful revivals in Canada but it was his revival labours in Great Britain during the 1840’s, for which he is most well known.
This particular book continues the story of his former book, ‘Methodism in Earnest,’ which is a history of the revival he experienced across Britain where he claims to have seen “20,000 profess faith in Christ and 10,000 profess sanctification.” It chiefly deals with the remarkable revival he was part of in the winter of 1845-6 in Huddersfield, England. Included are several of Mr Caughey’s sermons and notes of his meditations and during the revival in this northern town. There are addresses on holiness, saving faith, entire sanctification, revivals, hypocrites and many more.
As with his other writings he weaves in examples of his sermons and includes a kaleidoscope of his thoughts on revival and other issues of spiritual relevance and value.
We have included 5 of the 26 chapters.
JAMES CAUGHEY is a native of Ireland. He emigrated to America in his youth and was converted about twenty-four years since. Two years after his conversion he was admitted on probation in the Troy Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was ordained a deacon in 1884. His first labors were not distinguished by any uncommon results, and neither himself nor his friends had the remotest idea that his name was destined to become a household word in the church on both sides of the Atlantic.
Mr. Caughey began his ministerial life with a resolute Spirit, determined to cultivate his powers by constant study, and to form his character by a close and familiar walk with God. As the flower expands itself to the sun his earnest mind opened to every good influence, human or divine, he was always looking and listening for means of strength, wisdom, and piety. Nor did he look vainly. He learned much, gained much from many sources; but from no single influence did he reap so large a harvest as from a passage in the writings of Dr. Adam Clarke speaking of this passage, he says:
“From the hour I read the following striking remarks of Dr. Adam Clarke, a few months previous to my ordination, I have never varied a half-breadth from the great truth they advocate, I can only quote from memory, as the page which first presented them to my eye is many thousands of miles from me and I cannot turn to the place in his works where they stand recorded; but they differ little from the following: ‘But all this Spiritual and rational preaching will be of no avail, unless another means, of God’s own choosing, be super-added to give it an effect, the light and influence of the Holy Spirit. That Spirit of life and fire penetrates in a moment, the sinner’s heart, and drags out to the view of his conscience those innumerable crimes which he concealed there under successive layers of deep and thick darkness, when, under that luminous burning agency, he is compelled to cry, “God have mercy upon me a sinner” “Save Lord or I perish!” “Heal my soul for it hath sinned against thee!”
“I shall have eternal cause of thankfulness that the above sentiments ever came under my notice. If my ministry has been rendered a blessing to many, that blessing has been vouchsafed, through the merits of Christ, to a steady recognition of the necessity of the influence of the holy Spirit. On the evening of that never-to-be-forgotten day in which I read the above, I took up my pen in secret, before God, and gave vent to the emotions of my deeply-impressed heart in language something like the following: I see, I feel now, as I’ve never done before, upon this particular subject. From the convictions of this hour I hope, by the grace of God, never to vary. I see, I feel, —
1st. The absolute necessity of the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost to impart point, power, efficacy and success, to a preached Gospel.
2nd. The absolute necessity of praying more frequently, more fervently, more perseveringly and more believingly, for the aid of the Holy Spirit in my ministry.
“3rd. That my labors must be powerless, and comfortless, and valueless, without this aid; a cloud without water, a tree without fruit, dead and rootless; a sound uncertain, unctionless and meaningless; such will be the character of my ministry. It is the Spirit of God alone which imparts significancy and power to the word preached, without which, as one has expressed it, all the threatenings of the Bible will be no more than thunder to the deaf, or lightning to the blind. A seal requires weight, a band upon it, in order to an impression. The soul of the penitent sinner is the wax; Gospel truth is the seal; but, without the Almighty hand of the Holy Ghost, that seal is powerless. A bullet demands its powder, without which it is as harmless as any other body. The careless sinner is the mark; truth is the ball that must pierce him; but it cannot reach, much less penetrate him, separate from this influence from heaven. In apostolic times, they preached the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. I Peter I: 12. In our day we need an energy from no lower source, to overturn the wickedness of the vile and profane, and to counteract the formality and worldliness which are everywhere visible.
4th. I am now fully persuaded, that in proportion as the Spirit of God shall condescend to second my efforts in the Gospel message, I shall be successful, nor need I expect any success beyond. No man has ever been signally useful in winning souls to Christ, without the help of the Spirit with it, the humblest talent may astonish earth and hell, by gathering into the path of life thousands for the skies, while without it, the finest, the most splendid talents, remain comparatively useless.
5th. The entire glory of all my success shall henceforth be given to the Holy Spirit. By this I shall conscientiously abide, as by any other principle of our holy religion. It is written: ‘They that honor me, I will honor.’ To this may be added that righteous, inalienable and unchanging determination of Jehovah: ‘My glory I will not give to another. ’”
From this time Mr. Caughey’s labors were more fruitful; yet not sufficiently so to distinguish him above many of his brethren. But in 1889 he became the subject of a very singular experience, which entirely changed the current of his destiny. We will let him speak for himself on this topic. Writing to a friend, he says:
“You will remember our Conference of 1839 was held in the city of Schenectady, N.Y. That year I was appointed to Whitehall, N.Y. Shortly after, I had my library and study furniture forwarded to my station.
“It was then I began seriously to reflect upon the propriety of choosing a wife, believing that ‘marriage honorable in all men.’ I had travelled a number of years, studied hard, and expended all my time and strength in winning souls to Christ My brethren approved of my intention. But, while indulging in this purpose, for some reasons I could not explain, my heart became very hard. The Lord seemed to depart from me, and that countenance, which so often beamed upon me from above, and had daily, for many years, brightened my soul into rapturous joy, appeared now to be mantled in the thickest gloom. The more I reflected thus, I can see no good reason why I should he singular among my brethren, nor continue to lead this solitary life,’ my heart became harder, and my darkness increased. I was soon involved in a variety of evil reasonings. My will seemed to be in a conflict with some-thing invisible. God, who had honored me with such intimate communion with himself since my conversion, apparently left me to battle it out alone So it appeared to me then; but now I see God himself was contending with me. I was about to step out of the order of his providence; and he was resolved to prevent it, unless I should refuse to understand why he thus resisted me. Had l continued the conflict, I believe he would have let me take my own course; nor would he have cast me off, yet I solemnly feel he would have severely chastised my disobedience.
“My distress and gloom were so great, I could not unpack my library, nor arrange my study. I began to reflect most solemnly upon my unhappy state of mind, and became more concerned to regain my former peace and joy in God, than to obtain any temporal blessing whatever. The world was a blank, a bleak and howling wilderness, to my soul, without the smiles of my Saviour. In fact, that I could not live, but must wither away from the face of the earth, without his comforting and satisfying presence. Like a well-chastised son, I came back to the feet of my Heavenly Father, and with many tears I besought him to reveal his face to my soul; that if my purposes were crossing his, to show me; and whatever was his will, I would at once, by his help, yield my soul unto it. ‘Lord God,’ I said, ‘if my will crosses thy will, then my will must be wrong; for thine cannot but be right.’ Now I cared not what he commanded me to do, or to leave undone; I stood ready to obey I felt assured clear light from God on some point would soon reach my soul; and I was fully prepared for it. But I no more expected such an order as came soon after, than I expected he would command me to fly upward and preach the Gospel in another planet. During three days I cried to God, without any answer. On the third day, in the afternoon, I obtained an audience with the Lord. The place was almost as lonely as Sinai, where Moses saw the burning bush It was under open sky, a considerable distance from the habitations of men; steep reeks and mountains, deep forests, and venomous reptiles, surrounded me. Here, and in a moment, the following passage is as given me to plead ‘And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Loud, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty’ — Exod. 34: 5 - 7. I took hold of this, many of the words were as fire, and as a hammer to break the rocks in pieces before the Lord. The fountains of tears were opened, and the great deep of my heart was broken up. I left the place, however, without receiving any light, but my heart was fully softened and subdued, and I felt assured I had prevailed in some way with God. I was confident light and direction were coming, but of what nature I could not tell.
This was on the 9th of July, 1839. The same evening, about twilight, eternal glory be to God! When reading in a small room adjoining my study, a light, as I conceived from heaven reached me. My soul was singularly calmed and warned by a strange visitation. In a moment I recognized the change, the following in substance, was spoken to my heart. But in a manner, and with a rapidity, I cannot possibly describe. Every ray of divine glory seemed to be a word that the eye of my soul could read, a sentence which my judgement could perceive and under stand: ‘These matters which trouble thee must be left entirely alone. The will of God is, that thou should visit Europe. He shall be with thee there, and give thee many seals to thy ministry. He has provided thee with funds. Make thy arrangements accordingly; and, next Conference, ask liberty from the proper authorities, and it shall be granted three. Visit Canada first; when this is done, sail for England. God shall be with thee there, and thou shalt have no want in all thy journeyings; and thou shalt be brought back in safety again to America.’
“The above is far beneath the dignity and grandeur of the impression. It came in a way which left no room for a doubt. A heavenly calm, a powerful persuasion, and an intense glow of divine love, accompanied the whole. It was like the breaking forth of the noon-day sun at midnight. I fell upon my knees before the Lord, my whole mind consenting to the orders, which I believed had come from heaven. O, the sweetness of that communion I then enjoyed with God. My sky was cloudless. My rest of soul unutterable. The meaning of many past providences was now explained. The possession of a few hundreds of dollars had often made me very uneasy. I doubted the propriety of laying up treasure on earth. The cause of missions stood in need of what I possessed, but still I was restrained. Now I clearly saw that God had provided me with these funds, in order to make me willing to obey the call, and to save me from embarrassment in my travels. I could perceive a special reason why I had pressed for ward in my studies for so many years, and why revival texts and sermons had occupied so much of my time, that God had been thus preparing me for a few campaigns in Europe.
“I arose from my knees under a strong conviction that God had called me to take this tour. Letters were written immediately to Canada, etc. The next day my soul was calm and happy. My books were unpacked, amid every-thing in my study arranged with a glad heart and free. Eleven months were before me, to criticize the impressions on my soul. With delight l commenced my pastoral work, visited from house to house, and had the pleasure of seeing a most powerful revival of religion in my circuit. During this period, not the least wish entered my heart to form any connection engagement whatever that would entangle or hinder me from fulfilling what I conceived to be the high and solemn commission I had received from the Lord. I continued to resign the whole matter to God, entreating him to overrule all to his glory, and to hedge up my way if it were not his will I should leave America.”
In obedience to this impression, Mr. Caughey asked and obtained permission from his Conference, in 1840, to visit Europe. Before setting out, how ever, he visited Canada, where an extraordinary influence attended his preaching, particularly at Quebec and Montreal. Five hundred persons were converted under his labors at these places in a few months.
Thus encouraged, he set out for England by the way of Halifax, he landed in Liverpool on the 20th of July, 1841. Having visited the Wesleyan Conference then in session at Manchester, and being cordially invited by the Rev. Thomas Waugh to visit Ireland, he embarked at Liverpool and sailed to Dublin, not knowing what might befall him there. We will quote his description of his first public service in that city.
“After taking breakfast with a few pious persons, at Mr. Vance’s lodgings in Abbey-street, a young brother conducted me to Henderick-street. The congregation was small. To them, for the first time in Europe, I opened my commission, from John 17: 1, ‘Father the hour is come. ’ The Lord touched the hearts of several, and a gracious influence rested on the whole congregation. At the conclusion of the service I quietly retired through a door under the pulpit and regained the street, little imagining the stir which had been excited among the dear people in the chapel. Some were saying, who is he?’ others, what is his name?’ One little party were inquiring, ‘who sent him here?’ and another were fully of opinion that ‘this stranger should be invited to preach again at night. ’
“In the mean time I and my guide were hastening back again to Abbey-street Chapel, to receive the sacrament. Two brethren, William Fielding and Richard Craig, who have since been very valuable friends to me, were dispatched after us, and when they overtook us they presented the wish of the people. I consented on condition it should be agreeable to the preachers. They soon obtained permission, and that night I preached to a large congregation with a good degree of liberty. An influence from heaven rested upon the leaders; and, after a consultation with their ministers, it was resolved to hold ‘special services’ during the week, ‘to promote a revival of the work of God.’ I agreed to preach four nights, but with the secret determination to leave, the following week. I left the hotel on receiving a pressing invitation from Mr. Fielding to make his house my home. Towards the latter part of the week we found ourselves surrounded with weeping penitents. The glory of the Lord filled the house, and sinners were daily converted to God. We continued these services in this chapel during four weeks, A select meeting was then appointed for the young converts, and one hundred and thirty persons came forward to testify that God, for Christ’s sake, had pardoned all their sins.”
From that Sabbath his path opened clear as light before him, and his success was wonderful almost beyond precedent. He labored in Dublin, Limerick, Cork and Bandon, in Ireland. Then re-crossing the channel, he held meetings in Liverpool, Leeds! Hull, Sheffield, Huddersfield, York, Birmingham, Nottingham, Lincoln, Boston Sunderland, Gateshead, Scarborough, Chester field, Doncaster, Macclesfield, Wakefield, and some other miner towns, till 1847, when he thought it his duty to return to America. During the seven years of his stay in England and Ireland, nearly twenty-two thousand persons professed conversion under his immediate labors, and nearly ten thousand entered into the rest of full salvation.
Since his return, Mr. Caughey has spent his summers in literary labors at his residence in Burlington, Vt. During the winter months he has preached successively in New York, Albany, Providence, Lowell? Fall River, Warren and Cincinnati, in the United States, and in Toronto, Quebec and London, in Canada, In some of these places he has been singularly successful. In all of them his labors have been attended with the unction of the holy One.
Mr. Caughey is a self-educated man. He has been an extensive reader, and his mind is richly stored with the best thoughts of the best English writers. He possesses a remarkably vivid imagination, which, in its ardent flights, sometimes, though not often, soars into the suburbs of fanciful regions. His perceptive faculties are superior, his reasoning power’s good, though not logical in the highest sense. His memory is both retentive and ready hence he has a large treasury of ideas at command. His mind possesses great force; his manner is earnest and persuasive; his gesticulation natural His voice possesses remarkable compass; if not richly musical, it is very pleasant and the more it is heard the more it charms. His discourses bear the mark of originality. It is true they often flash with the intellectual jewels of great writers, but these are faithfully acknowledged; and his sermons, both in thought and structure, are manifestly the offsprings of his own mind.
Such is the man some of whose marvelous movements and personal experiences form the topic of these pages. Nature formed him a man above the mediocrity of men, but she did not endow him with the highest gifts of genius. The church has many ministers of larger powers, more highly cultivated, better read, and of higher intellectual rank, but whose successes in God’s work will not bear comparison with those of Mr. Caughey. Whence, then, has his superior power proceeded? Why has he won such victories in the church of God? We must leave this question unsolved, or attribute his surprising success to the Holy Spirit, who finds his instruments among the herdsmen of Tekoa, or at the feet of Gamaliel, as his sovereign wisdom may decide. To this source Mr. Caughey himself ascribes the glory of his fruitfulness. We do the same, and invite the reader to the pleasant work of tracing the influence of the Holy Spirit as displayed in his private mental exercises and public labors. We are assured that no candid man can peruse the following pages without feeling himself moved to become a holier man, and a more earnest laborer in the vineyard of the Lord.
IN this Chapter we shall find Mr. Caughey toiling to overcome the hindrances which a Spiritless church, and a state of hardened indifference to divine things in the community generally, placed in the way of his opening movements in Huddersfield. The peculiarity of this portion of his journal lies in the full exposé its author makes of the workings of his distressed spirit. It lays his heart open to the reader’s eye, and reveals the mental agony of which he was the subject. Perhaps his soliloquies are in some parts, too long continued; but they are so true to the experience of every Christian who knows is what it is to travail for souls, we are sure the spiritual reader will peruse them both with interest and profit.
Huddersfield, December 2, 1844, Monday morning. Preached in Buxton-road Chapel yesterday morning and night. Had some power. The chapel is a hard place to speak in; it is large, but the difficulty is a vast compartment behind the pulpit, for the accommodation of hundreds of Sabbath-school children and teachers. All is vacancy behind the preacher, and if his head be somewhat vacant of ideas, woe be to him. But though his head be full as the rich farmer’s barns of old, it avails him little so long as that void in the rear quite divides his voice, — nothing to react and send forward, so “divided it falls” into feebleness, unless he puts on a strength that will quite exhaust him before he has half finished. Such a construction is a great error; but the preacher is the sufferer.
English Wesleyan chapels, usually, are the easiest edifices in the world to speak in. Their pulpits project out into the congregation. The orchestra and organ (for they are nearly all furnished with organs) are behind the pulpit, with a front sufficiently high to serve as a “sounding board,” not, indeed, over the head of the preacher, but close behind, upon which his voice reacts, and sounds forth with great power, and little effort comparatively. I have found it easier to make three thousand people hear in such chapels than seven or eight hundred in some of our American churches, with pulpit close to brick or stone wall. Buxton-road Chapel is a sad exception, for the reason already given. * (for some remarks on the structure of Churches, see Appendix.) A few souls were saved yesterday.
Tuesday, Dec. 3. — Prayer-meeting last night; a cold, hard time, surely; people cold, — looked as if they had been praying but little in secret, but expecting to light their torch at somebody’s else fire, — perhaps mine; but for some reason or other mine burned so low, there was little for anybody except self, and not enough at that, for I was very uncomfortable. Had the Bridegroom come, there would have been trouble in the camp, I fear. Matt. 25. — “give us of your oil, for our lamps have gone out. Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. “ Nor did there seem to be much disposition for that, either, — with one exception, a poor backslider, whose lamp had long gone out; he got oil from above, and fire to kindle It, and shined among us like a Pharos over a sea of gloom.
There is much green wood in Huddersfield, or I am much mistaken, — not easily kindled into a flame, indisposed to catch Gospel-fire, — as much so as the drenched wood on the memorable altar on Mount Carmel. However, Huddersfield wood is on the altar of our God. But the devil, instead of Elijah, has thrown a dozen barrels of the water of luke-warmness upon it. Hush, my soul! When the fire of the Lord comes down it will burn the wood, and lick up all the water. May it be so, until all the people shall cry, as of old on Carmel, “The Lord, he is the God! The Lord, he is the God!” — I Kings 18. It is thus, my Lord, that thou dost prove the heavenly origin of revivals! Amen!
Wednesday, Dec. 4. — A gloomy time last night. No freedom. The people, too, were some where else. Satan is going to usurp upon me here. His legions are in “the hill country;” — veteran fiends, who curse the throne of God, and scorn these poor sinners, though they know it not; ay, my weak soul, that would snatch them from a gaping hell. In the eyes of devils I am one of “the weak things of this world; “ but my soul knows their scorn; but devils know, and I know, that God often uses such “weak things, ‘ and things which are not, and things which are despised, to bring to naught the things which are, that no flesh, yes, and no devils, may glory in his presence. — I Cor. 1: 27.
We shall see with the psalmist, my eyes are unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. Infernal opposition comes over these Huddersfield hills, — doubt it not my soul! If angels front heaven were my confidences I should fear for the result; for one devil withstood an angel sent on a divine mission twenty-one days, — a great angel, too, — Dan. 10: 6, — his body like the beryl, his face like the lighting, his eyes like lamps of fire, his arms and feet in color like to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude: and yet one devil coped with him in a conflict of twenty-one days, and how much longer nobody can tell, had not Michael, the archangel, rushed down from heaven to his assistance, — poor Daniel praying all the time. If one devil is so strong, what shall we say of the combined force of all those legions, of whom it is said,
“They throng the air, and darken heaven”?
Great as are the angels in power and strength, l would despair if left altogether to their aid. But with him in the Bible my soul cries out, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. “It was not an angel whom Jesus promised to the church, to indemnify her for the loss of his visible presence, and by which to convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment; no, but the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the third person of the Godhead. He might well tell his disciples to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high, promising them a baptism of the Holy Ghost not many days hence; otherwise they would have been helpless as withered leaves before “the Prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience,” and with amazing energy. For this Holy Spirit I wait, no victory over opposing powers without his aid.
Thursday, Dec. 5. — Knocked hard and loud at the door of closed hearts last night; but the trio of voices within — Ignorance, Prejudice and Unbelief — was louder and more influential than my poor voice. My heart groans within me, my Spirit is stirred. Thought best to open all the doors and windows, so to speak, of my soul, for a thorough airing, this morning nor are the breezes of grace denied, diffusing a heavenly sweetness through all within. Walked out for a while. How sweet the reflection that by prayer one reaches out the hand of the soul to God! Nor is it ever refused when offered sincerely in faith and love. Want of success is apt to be the death of joy, or to make it very languid. At such times one is more inclined to groan ever more than to “rejoice evermore” especially when Satan and his fiends, and sinful men, like Sanballat and Tobiath, and the Arabians, who said of Nehemiah and his keepers on the ruined walls of Jerusalem, when they were almost buried in rubbish, what do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burnt? Even that which they build, if a fox go up he shall even break down their stone wall’ — Neh. 4. But if one cannot “rejoice evermore” just now, the spirit may retain a gracious aptitude for it, like a bird on the branch, ready for the first blink of sunshine, to hoist out into a song of joy. Till then, one may watch and ‘‘pray without ceasing,” — ejaculatory prayer, Paul means, I suppose, — broken fragments of desire and prayer, projected upward continually to God, arrows of thought in soul wishes, darting heavenward as arrows from a bow, — the bow of confidence in God, — feathered with faith and hope, and love. May my quiver be fall of them, these days!
Past 1 o’clock, p. m. – Sadness is a dyer; it discolors everything, and drapes the soul in sable. How charmless and dreary all appears under its influence! How it drives the soul back upon itself, and shuts one up within oneself! “Faith without joy is like a ship without sails,” said a Swiss divine. Just so. And what strength to wrestle with the waves has a sail-less ship? — unless a steamer, with the propelling power in her own bosom, her motions and motive power from within, acting against wind, and waves, and tides, from the individuality of her own character. There is little of the steamer about me, these days; rather like the “Sail-ship,” depending too much upon outward” circumstances; a feeling that must be overcome before the changes that are desirable can come.
The air in ones lungs and the blood in one’s veins are two main’ sources of strength. Deprive the most robust of either, weak is not the word — DEATH! And what can a dead man do? Faith is a source of strength, but it should have joy for a companion, — as the blood to the air in the lungs. Paul speaks of “the joy of faith.” — Phil. 1: 25. “The joy of the Lord is your strength,” says Nehemiah. My “life-blood” runs low; joy seems like the life-blood of ones’ religion, so to speak.
Well, if I have not gladness, may my soul be full of goodness! If success be wanting, honesty of purpose need not. A decrease in usefulness may be attended by an increase of holiness. If the Lord intend this, through his grace, he shall not be disappointed. If there be no showers from above, let me have the distillings of the heavenly dew: ‘The dew may fall, though the honey-comb may not drop” as one remarked. “I will be as the dew unto Israel,” saith the Lord by Hosea. What the effect? “He shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon; his branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon; they that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the com, and grow as the vine; the scent there of shall be as the wine of Lebanon.” — Hosea 14. What a cluster of figures are here! All of God’s own selection, pleasant in the outward letter, spiritually sweet in the inward sense. I must preach upon that text. In the mean time be a dew unto my soul, O Lord! Dew is Nature’s ally against drought. It is a God-send; as one may say, in the absence of rain.
There is a temperature at which dew begins to form, called the dew-point; and there must be deep tranquillity in the atmosphere, besides. The soul has her dew-point, also, — that precise state when God becomes as dew unto it. I have often realized it, and shall again, through Divine mercy. This, however, is the time when faith must most predominate. It seems God’s order, — I must believe, and go forward; the old joy- surprises will not be wanting The Lord reigneth, and my heart shall rejoice.
I observed, the other night, that whitish belt which encompasses the sky, — the galaxy, or milky-way, — a puzzle to those not familiar with the revelations of the telescope, which is only the commingling glory of a vast assemblage of stars, in a higher planetary arrangement in other firmaments. I thought of another galaxy, which is like another belt of glory, but drawn across the Scriptures, shining resplendently in Hebrews 11; an assemblage of stars, brilliant characters, eminently attractive in their spheres. They were all signalized in their times for some great quality or other. Noah, for his ship architecture, sacrifices and courage; his ark and his voyage over a shoreless ocean; a mountain-top for a harbor, and monarch of the whole world at last. Abraham, for his wealth, Joseph as a dream — interpreter, and for his political honors. Moses, for his learning. Samson, for his strength. Joshua, for his courage Jephthah, for his fidelity to his vow. Gideon, for his victory, — three hundred against an army which “lay along the valley like grasshoppers for multitude, — and their camels without number, as the said by the sea-side for multitude. “David, for his military achievements, regal honors, statesman-like abilities, and for his poetical and musical celebrity. Samuel, for his integrity. Sarah, a joyful mother of a son and heir when ninety years old. Rahab, for her hospitality to the spies. Besides an untold number of lesser and nameless stars, all distinguished, doubtless, in their times, by some particular traits of character, at which the world might gaze with admiration. But mark! No credit is given to Abraham, Noah, &c. &c. Their faith is the honored gem in their character; all other accomplishments are eclipsed by its brilliance, “By faith” they did so and so. Lord Jesus, increase my faith! Surely much faith is needed at this crisis in my ministry; an overcoming faith; ay, and love, — what Mr. Wesley calls “humble, gentle, patient, Christ — like love. “ But not that diluted, “milk and water, wishy-washy” sort of an affection, — a good-for-nothing against sin, the devil and carnality, without vitality and strength, smiling upon everything feebly as a wintry moonbeam on ice and snow, which neither thaws, nor disputes nor alters the form of anything. But a love that burns or melts, moves, disputes and changes the aspect of affairs; that knows to frown as well as smile, when to oppose and when to yield; a sparkling fountain at the heart’s doer, feel from the living Fountain above, which will find a way or make it. A love burning in the soul, and beaming out on the tearful cheeks, like that ever-to-be-remembered burst of sunshine on the wild dark waters of the Atlantic; in the hour of storm and conflict. O, give me such a love, without which I am but as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal! Separate from which, faith, though mountain-moving, would profit me nothing.
An old writer says, “Faith and love are the two poles upon which all true religion turns,” — ay, and the two poles upon which every true revival turns. They are, besides, two of the mightiest weapons in battling for God and souls. By these Jesus has often enabled me to turn the tide of battle when nothing stared us in the face but disorder and defeat.
Past 4 o’clock. — Have been walking out and pondering over matters. Small congregations all the week. Cannot get the ears of the people, although a fine audience on the Sabbath; their ears are not towards me in the week services. The sabbatical year has come. It has no charms. Spiritual freedom is not desired. They prefer the servitude of sin. And so Satan has bored their ears to his door-posts, by the end of temptation, to serve him forever. — Exodus 21: 6. God being my helper, their ears shall be troubled or torn therefrom.
There were good indications at first, and sixty-one saved. After that came death. The meetings dwindled, — empty pews in abundance. Buxton Road is the place of trial. “Retreat?” — No! When Greece pledged her self to be invincible, she sent Leonidas, with his three hundred Spartans, to Thermopylae. Let me make a Thermopylae of it, though as many devils oppose as Persians against Leonidas, five millions of them. This is “speaking big,” my soul! But, if l be God-sent and God-placed, it is right to be strong in purpose and in hope. If not, woe be to me!
My stand is taken. There is nothing for it but a stand up fight for the rights of Christ The cause is good, whatever becomes of James Caughey. Christ is on our side, and angels are around us. This is my cross. Though it turn into a serpent, I must not run away from it. But more grace is needed to seize the serpent by the tail, like Moses.
It may turn into the rod of God in my hand, and shake the throne of the, infernal Pharaohs. Amen.
There may be honey at the end of the rod, as at the end oft Jonathan’s stick, — I Sam. 14: 27, — which I may eat and not die. The cross is heavy and joyless now, as if made of hard wood, yet it is a pledge of joy and of victory, as of old. I would think with that good man in prison for Jesus, but now with him in glory. I know no man has a velvet cross, but the cross is made of what God will have it.
Yet I dare not say, O that I had liberty to sell the cross! Lest — therewith also, I should sell joy, comfort, sense of love, and the kind visits of the Bridegroom. Amen. If truth falls like seed by the way-side in Huddersfield, I must wait and see. ‘Lord, help me! I am but as a feather in the wind, unless thou dost give me solidity by a weightier baptism of thy love.
This is the fact, — the Sabbath sermons created no Spiritual appetite for more; a bad sign in me or in them. The preacher was in fault, or the souls of the people are out of health. Jesus gives his blessing to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, everybody knows, but who cares? Who believes him? Christ and the world never do agree in their reckoning, — in nothing more than in this matter of Spiritual hunger and thirst. The world little knows, and cares as little, that these restless and often painful appetites are but a means to an end. They are God’s methods of calling us to the Gospel feast. They stand in the same relation to the soul, as their namesakes to the body. Why are such blessed? Because of what they indicate. Life, for instance. A dead man neither hungers nor thirsts. Returning health. — When an Invalid’s appetite returns, physicians and friends have hope of him. Established health. — The Greek of our Saviour’s words for hunger and thirst is, in my old Greek testament, in the present participle thus, “Blessed are they which are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, for they shall be filled,” — not by fits and starts, then as some individuals, or like my last Sabbath congregations, having a voracious appetite for a sermon or two, and pray all the week after. It is a bad sign in a patient; he wants medicine more than food, and medicine he does not like, poor man! But when the appetite is good for one meal, and better for the next, and so on, then is health returning like a tide. It is not medicine he wants then, but good, wholesome food, and plenty of it.
Next comes usefulness, — a good appetite and strength for business go together. But the contrary holds good, — a disordered stomach, loss of appetite, debility and unfitness for work, are companions. All this is “easy of Spiritualization. “I really feel as if I could preach from this text. But not till the Huddersfield folks get a better appetite. No use to expatiate on the goodness of viands, when there is nobody to dine. Everything is beautiful in its season. I suppose. Besides, people are not fond of hearing they are really out of health, until they are made to feel it with sorrow and alarm. We shall see, by and by, O my soul!
Jesus says, “For they small be filled;” one reason why he pronounces the blessing upon them, they shall not hunger in vain; “they shall be filled,” with as much as they expected, and with as good as they expected. The world does not usually fill after that fashion! And with an ability to enjoy it, — there the world fails again! And with no charge upon the purse, — this would bankrupt the world to fill without charge. All Christ seems to ask at his table is, that his guests bring a good appetite “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money: come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” — Isaiah. What! “Buy without money and without price?” Yes, those are the terms of the Gospel market, as well as at Christ’s table. It is fact! And yet Huddersfield sinners will not accept, though on the point of Spiritual starvation. But it is thus Christ fills, nevertheless; and thus Satan fills not. Poor sinners pay dear for his filling. His slaves neither get as good as they expected, nor as much, nor capacity to enjoy, — “negative happiness.” or positive misery. An empty heart, a lean soul, secret discontent, warring and dissatisfied passions, prevent the enjoyment of some; a chastising or a disappointing Providence, others; while some, like one of old, have their “loins filled with a loathsome disease; “while” the backslider in heart is filled with his own ways,” as the Bible threatens. Water in the bucket is the same as water in the well; the stream resembles the fountain from whence it proceeds; fire in the grate, the same as that which fills Vesuvius; the filling which the wicked receive upon earth differs more in quantity, perhaps, than in quality, from the filling received by the damned in hell, I must sound these things aloud in the ears of these sinners; may be they will cease to feed at the devil’s tables, — costs have restrained many an epicure. Burns thought of this:
“O, would they stay to calculate
The eternal consequences;
Or your more dreaded hell to state.
Damnation of expenses!”
The cost of the devil’s filling here is pretty heavy, on health, purse and peace; on character, liberty and life. The devil service is expensive. His pay is dearly earned. His pleasures are high in market. “Thou hast done evil as thou couldst,” is the Lord’s retort upon some of the ungodly, — according to thy time, or purse, or station, or opportunity. sinners are called “dogs” in Scripture; perhaps from the fact that so many of them feed on crumbs beneath their master’s table. The great ones of the earth are not the majority in the devil’s family, but they sit around his tables, and they are well furnished; the dogs catch at the sinful numbs which fall through the fingers of those above them, or are turned off with their leavings, — too bad, seeing they are all to share the same hell! Devils grin and angels mourn. poor creatures! They try to be content, and will hardly believe that Jesus has anything better at his tables, or a richer reward for his service. I must try to create discontent and muting in Satan’s family. I shall try. The “dogs” will bark before long, as their namesakes do when they hear or see anything extraordinary. Let them! Satan will miss them from under his tables before long, I verily believe. Amen!
Jesus has no aristocracy in his family; the poorest saint of his is feel at the same table and upon the same dainties as the richest. Of the two, the poor who are rich in faith have the preference to best and highest seats, being heirs peculiar to a kingdom, as St. James hints — James 2: 5. If there be anything like an aristocracy, it is in holiness, but that degree is open to the poor as well as the rich, — more of the poor in it, in fact, than the rich! It is open for all who are ambitious to be like Jesus, — for the lowly and the light-pursed, as well as for the wealthy.
His yoke is easy, and his burden is light “how rich his entertainments are,” and how free! “They shall be filled. “ Blessed promise. How often have I realized its truth! He fills the hungry with good things, free of charge, without impoverishing himself. When Jesus was upon the earth he feel five thousand people at once. No collection to defray expenses. Instead of sending his disciples around to collect pay, he ordered them to gather up the fragments. And such were the profits, I question whether Judas himself complained. They had but five barley loaves and two small fishes to begin with, and these a lad carried probably in a couple of baskets. But when they gathered up the fragments they filled twelve baskets full! — John 6. O, there is enough for all the multitudes of shiners around these hills of Huddersfield!
My solitary soul lingers around the promise, “Blessed are they that do hunger,” &c. But is there not a reverse to this blessing? An implied curse? A terrible malediction? As much as if he had said, “Cursed are they who do not hunger and thirst after righteousness”? Are they not cursed already with a sickly soul, as a loss of appetite is with a sickly body? Are they not cursed with dismal prospects, as he whose appetite is destroyed by disease? The one forebodes the grave; the other, hell. Are they not cursed with fearful retributions? Those who do not hunger and thirst after righteousness will do so after something else. Are these Spiritual appetites of the soul ever inactive? But those who hunger and thirst after something else despise the grace of God; they do so perversely, — that is, contrary to God’s order. Then trouble comes, in the soul or body, business or family. The Lord treats them perversely, contrary to their order. Are they not cursed with a terrific doom on the death-bed? They may wish to have grace then, when, alas they may not have the grace of repentance, — which is often the case, and are quite void of saving faith and right motive; hungering and thirsting after righteousness is a sort of necessary passport for heaven. Not for the love of heaven, or any congeniality with its employments, but because it suits them better than to sink to hell, — as I desired a passport to France once, and sought it earnestly, not because I loved France or its religion, or desired to but because it suited my convenience to visit that country. poor souls! They would feel themselves as much out of their element in heaven, as I did in France. But, then, think of the terrible doom of hell! Dives thirsted in vain for a drop of water to cool his tongue O, how much better had it been for that rich man, in his lifetime, to have said, with the psalmist, “As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God! My soul thirsteth for God, even for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” — Ps. 42: I, 2. This hell-thirst is the alternative, without parable or hyperbole. Huddersfield sinners must hear of these things. There are weapons in this armory. The Holy Spirit alone can set them on, however. My dependence must be in Him, and not in the weapons themselves. Well, I did not think of writing so much. This is enough for one day. It served to relieve my solitary heart. It is easier to write than to fight or reason with the devil and unbelief! I see the fullness there is in Christ for sinful man, — I feel for poor deluded sinners, and am resolved to attempt their rescue from the devil, and to bring them to Christ
Dec. 6th — The loadstone will not draw. An old writer says it failed in his day, because of the depth of rust on the iron! There must be much rust here, or the Gospel would draw more people to it; for I am sure Jesus the heavenly magnet is in my sermons. “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me,” He who knows the power of free agency, and the rust of depravity, will not suspect the veracity or sincerity of my Lord. No, my soul! The Sabbath sermons left no softness for the week; there was a shower, too. But it is with mind as with the fields, I suppose, after a long drought. A shower falls, and runs off quickly, without penetrating the ground, — it is too hard to receive it, and though made a little soft, it is as hard as ever in a few hours. It is not till after a succession of showers, the earth is fit to absorb it. There is sound philosophy in these continuous meetings, whatever some may say to the contrary. But they include a great trial of one’s faith and patience! It is not easy working against the grain of depraved nature. It is easy sailing with the tide; all the easier when wind and tide are favorable. Revival efforts have not this advantage. I know it to my sorrow, and have in many a campaign. What then? The finger of God is the more evident in victory. “It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts,” A steamer asks no favors from wind and tide. The sail-ship is liable to be carried by winds and currents whither the captain and crew would not She is a creature of circumstances. Not so the steamer; the propelling power is within, and bids defiance to outward opposition. Be it so with my breast, O Lord! And so with all my helpers. These words of Haggai, the prophet, thrill one’s soul, — “So my Spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. “ Amen to what my Lord doth say! I can say with the old poet:
“As for me, I’ll ride secure
At thy mercy’s sacred anchor,
And undaunted will endure
Fiercest storms of wrong and rancor;
These black clouds will over blow,
Sunshine shall have his returning,
And my grief — wring heart I know
Into mirth shall change its mourning.”
Friday noon. — Difficulties must be looked in the face. The mill of trade drowns my voice as yet. Each night some new feature of discouragement. Late attendance, vacant countenances, sad tell — tales to a preacher. The needle in the compass points in the direction of the influence that draws it, the heart is with the business it left behind, — the countenance indicates it. Duty done or not done there, is of more consequence than what should be done here. Vacant looks are poor pledges for heart attention; as if those hearts are talking with the world, while the preacher is talking to them: “away from duty while on duty,” as one observes. Ay, that is it, — minds playing with feathers, in the hearing of solid truths.
Satan takes great advantage of these things, as Shimer of David’s troubles. 2 Sam. 16: 9, 10 — Curses and jeers at my ministry. O how mysterious is this diabolical agency, and one’s impression of it. But I have an high Priest, one who can be touched with the feeling of my infirmities. What changes in his own history, “from the grandeur of heaven, to the wants and sorrows of earth”! His ear, once familiar with heaven’s acclamations or songs of adoration,
“That undisturbed song of pure consent,
Aye sing around thy sapphire-colored throne,
To Him who sat thereon!”
On earth he was saluted with the jibes, jeers and reproaches, of those he came to redeem. That name to which every knee in heaven bowed became a term of reproach. That face at which the flame of angelical love was kindled was covered with spittle from blaspheming mouths “Let all the angels of God worship him,” in one place, — “Crucify him! Crucify him! Away with him! Away with him!” in another. Here, sought to be worshipped and adored by wise men and shepherds; and yonder, a little after, sought to be butchered!
“O Lamb of God, was ever pain,
Was ever grief, like thine!”
No contrasts in human history can equal thine! A glorious throne in one part of his dominions, — a black cross, red with his own blood, in another!
“Can we thy houseless nights forget,
The cold dew on thy temples lying, —
The taunts, the spear, the bloody sweat,
The last, long agony of dying?
Thy present gifts, so large and free,
The transports of eternity?”
Personally, what are my little annoyances and humiliations? What honest man desires to be above the par of his real world? He that is nothing, and knows it, can well bear to be nothing. This only is to be thought of, — souls are at stake, Jesus is not glorified in their salvation. If Christ falls in human estimation, I desire to fall with him. Weak as I am, and small, his interests and glory are mine. If Jesus is little thought of, it distresses me more than any personal humiliation. O, but if mortified. Self-love! — did I believe it lay concealed under this guise, how I would hate myself! Lord, search me, and know my real thoughts! If there be any of this in me, cast it out forever and destroy it! But it is sweet to identify ourself with the interests of my Lord I know it to be so. How can a servant feel honoured, if his master be dishonored?
It is well, however, to look unto Jesus, as St. Paul advises. “Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” — Heb. 12: 3, 4. No, my Lord, no! St. Paul was called Mercurius, — the god of eloquence, — in Lystra, and oxen and garlands were brought forward to do him and Barnabas divine honor. A few days after, those same Lystraians applied a shower of hard stones to Paul’s head, instead of garlands, till, prostrate and senseless, be was dragged out of the city as dead; but, recovering in the presence of a few disciples who had gathered around his body, he set off for Derbe the next day. Onward, through honor and dishoner, until he gained the crown of martyrdom.
Mr. Wesley visited this town nearly four-score years ago. In his Journal he says:
“Monday, May 9, 1757. — I rode over the mountains to Huddersfield. A wilder people I never saw in England. The men, women and children, filled the street as we rode along, and appeared just ready to devour us. They were, however, tolerably quiet while I preached; only a few pieces of dirt were thrown, and the bell-man came in the middle of the sermon, but was stopped by a gentleman of the town. I had almost done when he began to ring the bells, so that it did us small disservice. How intolerable thing is the Gospel of Christ to them who are resolved to serve the devil!”
What a change in H. since then! No mobs now. Methodism is honorable now. Many of its families stand high in reputation, respectability and wealth. It is not persecution, but indifference, we have to contend with now. But, really, the hate; is almost as bad. Perhaps, if Satan gets wounded, he may roar again. Amen! But, O my Lord! Do not suffer my ministry to become fruitless, nor my seals to it to fail!
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My sorrow is, want of liberty in preaching; words light as snow-flakes, and as cold; impressive as a “snow-fall;” in yonder mill-pond, — gone, lost instantly. Hard to fix upon text, going from one to another, as a bird from spray to spray. O, for
“The Spirit of for vent days of old,
When words were things that came to pass, and thought
Flashed o’er the future, bidding men behold!”
O, for weightier metal! For lightnings of eternal truth! For louder artillery, with “words like things which fall in thunder,” to wake these dreaming thousands around me! O that my soul were “an electric rod, a lure for lightning feelings”! Rather, O for the power of the Holy Ghost, without which all this would be little better than lightning to the blind or thunder to the deaf! Without whose aid
“To raise the devil were an infant’s task
To that of raising man.”
Lightnings of eternal truth! “As lightning to the deadening sea,” unless accompanied by the Spirit of God from heaven. The poet meant it not for theology when he spoke of “as lief to coax a star from its orbit to perch upon his finger, or the winds to follow him like dogs, or wring the lightnings from the grasp of God,” as do so and so, — ay, as to coax a sinner out of his depraved orbit to follow Christ to Calvary as a penitent, or to wring his soul from the grasp of Satan without the instant and continued aid of the Holy Ghost.
He spoke the sentiment of my weary heart who finally concluded that we may stand and knock at man’s heart till our own ache, but no opening can be made till the Spirit come. It is he alone can fit a key to all the cross-wards of the will within, and, with some sweet efficacy, open it without force or violence. O, I do believe this! Like Peter in chains, my ministry must wait the coming of the angel of the covenant. Like the disciples, rowing in vain among the waves I must toil on till my Master’s voice booms over them: “Be not afraid; it is I.” That voice I have heard when his power was manifest amid the waves of the people in other sanctuaries.
The cross is still heavy and joyless. Were it lighter I might be colder. Those who carry a heavy burden are sure to be warm. Faith would soon reach the freezing point without a cross. If it be hard and heavy, what then? It is the Gospel fashion; velvet linings to the cross has not yet become the Heaven-approved fashion. People like to be in the fashion — would almost rather be out of the world than out of the fashion. An old Christian once said, “Let my Lord weave my piece of time with white and black, with weal and woe; let the rose be neighbor with the them. Sorrow and the saint are not married together, or, suppose it were so, Heaven shall make a divorce. Life is short, therefore crosses cannot be long” They are the very sentiments of my soul, regarding the fashion of the cross my Lord may lay upon my shoulder to bear after him!
The cross is ever a pledge of joy, as on ancient banners it was the pledge of victory. It has been and shall be both to me!
There is a crown as well as a cross. The crown is in perpetuity. The cross is temporary, and vanishes away with life The crown for the head; the cross for the shoulder. The head is not to be crowned till the burden shall have been forever removed from the shoulder. — unlike the coronations of earth, — for with the crown comes the burden and responsibilities of government.
Well, it still does me good to write a little. Have often found relief to my private feelings with the pen — pouring out my soul to God in prayer; next to self, on paper! Electricity comes by friction; courage and energy, by collision with difficulties — in private first, then in public. So have I found it frequently in prayer and meditation, — tongue and pen alone with God, then play the man among men and devils. Amen!
Dec. 10th — Some power on Sabbath, and some success. Small congregations. Last night almost an empty house. But the Lord took our part, and saved fifteen souls. Praise the Lord! Still the signs of the times are greatly forbidding. How are people to be awakened, if they come not within hearing of the word? We must have timber to how down or the axe is useless. We want a great revival, but then we must have the people. “Faith cometh by hearing,” says Paul.
My soul is in a waiting position. Divine guidance is much needed. Persecution, rather than indifference, is the cry of my soul — for then the Gospel has fair play. It has nothing to fear from persecution; everything from indifference. The devil knows it, although, if wounded, like another dog, he will howl. He seldom barks till his kingdom begins to be shaken. The Gospel is in its glory when Satan is in his fury. It has always been so; that is, when its preachers have been true to it, and unflinching. It is by collision with the devil, and sin, and error, and opposition, that Gospel weapons are sharpened. Flints will kindle fires, if hard struck. O for a conflagration by the strokes of persecution, hard or soft, light or heavy — from men or devils! Amen!
Afternoon. — There is a noble few in Huddersfield, who are truly alive to God; — choice families — the Mallinsons, Webbs, Butterworths, Dysons, Booths, Brookes, Shaws, and others with whom I have not yet become familiar, — the cream of Methodism. The leaders are men of God, burning for the conflict, but, like myself and the pastors, Revs Messrs. Greeves, Ryan and Brice, feel the discouraging aspect of things. What are officers without soldiers? And what are both without an enemy? The devil, like the Russian general in Napoleon’s disastrous campaign, refuses fight and retreats, who knows where? And would starve us to death midst the snows of indifference. with such officers and men as we have here, could we bring the enemy into the field, victory would not long be doubtful. But we are jaded and weary in looking for his whereabouts.
Thursday afternoon. — A cold heart and vacant look; — how chilling when general in a congregation — A death symptom to a physician — so to a preacher — would freeze or frighten eloquence out of its proprieties, poor thing, were it ‘‘on hand” these times.
Green wood will burn, if one has enough of dry wood to mix with it. Dry wood soon burns itself out unless mixed with green wood. Dead coals will soon blaze amid live ones; but the live ones grow din unless there are dead ones to kindle upon. There is much of this apparent in revival effort. And “there is the rub” here in Huddersfield. When here last May we had dry wood and wet wood live coals and dead ones, in abundance; enough to set all the latter in a blaze, with a few good blasts. That was the time for Huddersfield; the power of God was present in every meeting. But I had to leave for Sheffield. The Pentecost of my ministry occurred in Sheffield, where, in about four months, three thousand three hundred and fifty-two souls were JUSTIFIED, and eleven hundred and forty-eight souls were sanctified! What was gain for that town was loss to this. No matter; it is all Immanuel’s land, — his cause there as here. True, but it makes it harder here now. I engaged to come back here on my return to England from the continent. That gave Satan time to get ready. He sprinkled the dry wood with vain trust in an arm of flesh, and made the green wood greener still; threw cold water on the live coals, and removed the dead ones to a safe distance, and so had all in readiness after his fashion. Ah! Who can believe such things, but those who have had the trial in soul-saving effort! — a work Satan can never be indifferent to, while he owns a single soul upon earth.
However, the fire may be only smoldering. I went into a blacksmiths shop, the other day. What splashes of dark, dirty water he dashed on the fire! — enough, I thought, to put it out. But when the bellows got a going, a few blasts, and it blazed out again with increased flame and intensity of heat. The smith expected this, whether he knew the philosophy of it or not. It may be so with the Lord’s forge — the church. An excellent man remarked, some years ago, that a great deal of spiritual good comes to the Christian by the malice of his enemies; that the raging and rallying enemies of God’s people serve as scullions to scour the Lord’s vessels of honor; as shepherd’s dogs to hunt Christ’s sheep into order and to greener pastures — Ps 27: 11. A scullion is a kitchen menial — a scourer of pots and kettles and other dirty work. So he thought the wicked serve as scullion for the benefit of the church. The devil loves dirty work himself! Perhaps the Lord allows him to act the smith, to dash dirty water on the church’s fires, which makes them burn with more intensity after a few blasts of the Gospel. Satan is a poor philosopher, after all. His malice, I think, and precipitation, often get the better of his wisdom. God only is infinitely wise. all beneath him are finite, — that is, limited or bounded in their capabilities. Satan, of all the fallen, stands at the top of the finite, — an angel once, perhaps an archangel, — one of the greatest intellects in the hierarchy of heaven, — yet a finite being, therefore circumscribed; and, since his fall, partaking largely of a finite’s infirmities.
He is called, in Scripture, “That old serpent.” — Rev. 12: 9. The wisdom of the serpent is spoken of also; but it is finite and changeable and often degenerates into cunning; and cunning folks are not always wise, especially when out of temper. A revival conflict teaches one much of the character of the devil; more, perhaps, than any other department of the work of God. It is on the battlefield opposing generals study each other’s talents. He is often the best general who best understands the tactics of the enemy. Lord, help me! I am but a child. I shalt know more about this matter hereafter. O for a larger increase of that faith, and hope, and love, of which Satan is an eternal bankrupt, and with which he has no power successfully to cope! Amen!
Thursday, four o’clock, p.m. — Difficulties are to be met and overcome. The end does not appear in the beginning, but to God only. There is often a vast disproportion between a first and single effort and the magnitude of intended results. A nicety of comparison is apt to produce depression to a nicety. It is a weakness to overlook these facts, and to set that down as a useless cipher which is necessary to the main sum. For a cipher, though it be nothing by itself, yet makes ten with a unit to the left of it, and by its aid half a dozen such ciphers will make a million. Let Jesus place himself beside my ciphers, and I shall soon be a million strong. Paul was but a cipher in Rome, till Jesus stood by him. “The Lord stood with me,” he tells us, when all forsook him; and he was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. — 2 Tim. 4: 16, 17.
Courage is needed, and industry, and perseverance The pyramids and the railways had small beginnings; and so had the grotto of Porsilippo. But the pyramids were built; the railways stretch over the land like ribbons, and the grotto of Porsilippo gave a glimpse of sky through a mountain, and a highway for travelers to the Elysian Fields. It may be so with this revival effort! This view of things encourages me.
There is a way of salvation among these hills. I love to believe the Bible: “Salvation is of the Lord. “ It is written, also, “The Lord is at hand,” to help. But my soul is humbled; it seems as if I am ploughing upon a rock, or hewing adamants with straws; and if anything in my preaching has sounded to me like sharp metal, O, what shall I say? It has been like cutting flints with razors. I say little about these things in public; it would not be good policy. A cheerful front and a deeply humbled heart; — neither is it hypocrisy; for the Lord makes me bold as a lion before the people, and strong; but in private, with Himself timid and weak.
But have I not been making matters worse than they are? Rocks have been thrown down by the Lord, and broken and melted by the hammer and fire of his word. God, who has said, “I will make a worm thresh a mountain, and beat the hills to chaff” has made my straws thresh rocks, and shiver them, and my razors to cut flints; and the fragments, by divine miracle, have been converted into sparkling diamonds, — such as one day may grace the royal diadem of my Lord Jesus Christ
Behold, my soul! That goodly cluster of new converts, — the seals to thy ministry. They share, indeed, somewhat in the gloomy aspect of things; but they are happy — new creatures clad in divine armor, panting for battle and for victory. Do they read despondency in my pale face? What are their thoughts? That they are as nothing in the estimation of their Spiritual father? O, this must not be! The success already vouchsafed would cheer most ministers in ordinary times. Why should this large-heartedness in calculation produce week-heartedness in operati
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Yes, my Lord! I see my difficulties! Like the man in a storm, who saw nothing but sea and heaven, and cried out, “If yonder heaven does not save me, this sea will down me!” The hand that reached Peter, and the voice, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” are near me also.
* * * * * *
Ay! Jacob hid gods and the earrings under the oak which was by Shechem. — Gen. 35: 4. There are oaks of Shechem and oaks of Bashan here, and other gods than our God concealed under them. They must be over-thrown from their rootings: unmanageable oaks and hard knots. I must examine my wedges; soft ones are good for nothing here. Sermons fit for one place may be unfit for another.
The Lord has said, ‘The Amorite was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath” — Amos: 9. Yes! The work is Thine, O Lord my God but thou dost work by instruments. Am I fit? Am I acceptable? The prophet felt deeply when he cried, “howl, ye oaks of Bashan.” — Zech. 11: 2. The oaks reply to the winds among the branches, and roar to the power of the tornado that brings them to the ground. A tornado is wanting, or thunderbolts of truth. The Lord may not be wanting in sending them.
* * * * * *
Remember the emblem on the seal, O my soul! A hand with a pickaxe, digging through a rock, with this motto: “Either I will find a way or make it.”
* * * * * *
God’s word is compared to arrows, in the Bible; hard hearts call for hard-pointed arrows, — ay, and a bow with a back of steel! The Lord has promised to strengthen the arm of his messengers; an indication that the bow they are to bend is not a limber one.
* * * * * *
There is great deal said in the Scriptures about the heart; such as blindness of heart, hardness of heart, brokeness of heart; an evil heart of unbelief, a stony heart; a proud heart, a slow heart, and a heart of flesh; a double heart, a froward heart, a clean heart, a pure heart, a liberal heart, an understanding heart, a good and honest heart, without heart, etc. etc. What a Proteus-like thing is the heart! It takes so many shapes and states as to remind one of the devil himself. The heart of man travels to and fro in the Bible, as Satan over the earth. The evidences of its evil presence and evil doings meet one almost on every page of the Bible; it is mentioned, in one form and connection or another, one thousand times! The Bible, like history, is a record of the human heart, and proves that, like its father the devil, it has been wicked throughout all its generations. Every effort for a revival of religion is but an illustration of the great truth. The evil heart meets one like an infernal presence; and proves that if the devil were dead and buried, it is a devil sufficient of itself to try all the faith, and patience, and strength, of the militant host of God.
Alas, this is a gloomy theme! Some writer says, the heart is the worst part of man before his conversion, and the best afterwards. I believe that, too; and, wicked as it is, Christ greatly desires to have it, as we see in various Scriptures. No wonder, if he died for man, and desires to save him. — The heart is the helm; whatever hand grasps the helm steers the ship. It is a mint, and is to the currency of the thoughts, desires and actions, what a national mint is to the currency of the nation. If the mint be base, so will be the currency which proceeds from it. Must lay clown the pen. Ah! Who can properly estimate the difficulties which he in the way of a successful ministry?
Six o’clock, p.m. — Returned from a solitary walk. The sky is seen to greater advantage from the bottom of some lone, deep pit, than when one stands above ground. It is something so with one in the depths of humiliations, — when earth fails, and all our plans are futile, and help is expected from heaven only. But night is the time to see the stars, — ay, and the promises, too. Thinking, also, that every true Christian is an anointed one. — I John 2: 20, 27. How important to receive such an “unction,” and the “anointing” which abideth! But my heart is weak, my feeble knees need to be confirmed, and the sinking hands to be strengthened. — Isa. 35: 3.
I am entertained at the house of Joseph Webb, Esq. What a comfort to have such a sweet and pheasant home! Poor Jonah, outside the walls of Nineveh, had but a fragile gourd to shelter his head; but a worm killed it at the root, and it withered away. Then the vehement east wind had beat upon the head of the forlorn prophet, till he lost his temper, perhaps his soul, — for we hear nothing more of him after that angry fit. What; am I, O Lord my God, to have such a home as this, with such a lovely family? It is mercy, all. “He tempers the winds to the shorn lamb;” “stayeth the rough wind in the day of the east wind. “ — Isa. 27: 3. Both the human and divine proveth are fulfilled for me in this retired sweet spot,
“Where fireside comforts sit
In wildest weather!”
Past eleven o’clock. — My soul is low, heart heavy, great vacancy within; little of God; could enter into deep agony. Matters are worse and worse. The audience smaller than ever tonight, and very heartless. The chapel cheerless as a sepulchre, and badly lighted withal, and full of sullen Spiritual death. Felt as if I had no heart to preach, and did not. I prayed and dismissed the people, telling them I feared I had missed my way in coming to Huddersfield at all; that to leave at once might be the best way to redeem my error. O my soul, where art thou? What ails thee? Why art thou cast down within me? Has thy Lord, for the first time, failed thee? Whether this act be weakness, or folly, or wisdom, or of the Lord, it was entirely unpremeditated, — but from an impulse, right or wrong. God knoweth. Behold, here I am, O Lord, to repent, or to trust and wait upon thee in the cloud, Things sometimes mend at the worst; break of day is near the darkest hour; man’s extremity is often God’s opportunity. Be strong, then, my soul,
“ — as the rock of the ocean that stems
A thousand wild waves on the shore.”
THE following Chapter, like the preceding exhibits the movements of Mr. Caughey’s mind, but under more encouraging circumstances. The pious leader will find many useful hints in the quaintly-expressed meditations of our journalist.
Dec. 11. — Good news from our spiritual troops! Last night’s adventure quite awakened them out of their deceitful dream. Their human confidences — Jer. 2: 37, — their trust in an arm of flesh, have died the death! My refusing to preach, though in the pulpit, came like a thunder-clap! Such a thing as not thought of, was unheard of. They had fully expected a great revival, and was this to be the end of it? It was quite over ruled for good; for though there was the appearance of grief, or impatience, or self-will, or wounded pride and vanity, or precipitation, and some were stumbled and offended, yet the really spiritual part took it to heart, were alarmed, fled to their closets, betook them to prayer! Some prayed part of the night, I understand; others, most of the night, and a few, all night! Praise our God! This will do! The crisis is past!
As to self, last night I went to my knees, also, with sighs and groans. But, taking up my pocket Bible, my eye rested on the old promise given me of the Lord, on first catching a glimpse of England’s shores, as we neared the coast from America. This was it — Isa. 38: 16 - 20. O, I remember that moment! Standing on the deck of the steamer, Bible in hand, as England rose out of the waves, I opened it upon that passage, which was sweetly applied to my heart. I felt assured the Lord would be with me in that strange land. It has often been a comfort to me since, when in any trouble. Last night it sweetly soothed me. I closed the book, and believed. It was oil upon the troubled waves within. But soon sorrow and sighing came over me again, like a sea. I laid down,
“ — while sorrow sighed itself to sleep,
And man, o’er laboured with his being’s strife,
Shrinks to that sweet forgetfulness of life.”
I arose this morning refreshed, but to groan and sigh and pray.
And now, what shall I say? Is the hand of God in all this? Is the affair between Christ and us? Have the people been trusting in an arm of flesh? And has the arm of flesh been trusting in the people? Jer. 17: 5 They relying upon my past successes, and hoping for popularity, which came not, and I trusting in their wonted zeal and ability. Then it was right we should be mutually disappointed and humbled together. Farmers some times speak of “catching the tail of a shower,” — have we, just caught the tail of that curse? “Thus saith the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his arm and whose heart departeth from the Lord!” Jer. 17. 5. Let us humble our selves before the Lord, lest the curse come round again as a deprecated shower does sometimes, giving “the head and front” of its offending, instead of the tail. If I have been trusting in self, or pulpit preparation, it is well I should know it, confess and repent before the Lord. He will humble us all, till we learn to trust in himself alone. “Salvation is of the Lord,” therefore the glory should be all his own. Trust verified in man is apt to bring glory to man, or largely divides the glory due to God alone. This he will not bear; but will either punish for it afterwards, or crush in the beginning, as we would a young viper in the shell, that we may learn not to think of men or of self above that which is written.
God will not part with his glory; he has said, “My glory will not I give to another. “he gives us life and health, and food, raiment and knowledge, wealth, distinction and influence, if need be, and friends, and pardon, his Spirit, and holiness, and happiness, and success in his work, — yea, himself, and will share his heaven with us; but he will not give us his GLORY! It is right, my Lord, it is right! Amen to what my Lord doth say! Amen to what he has done and does!
He ever calls upon us to cease from man, and to trust only in himself for victory. To this reduction of all human confidences God has evidently brought us all at this crisis. If we sink from Him, also, as it sometimes happens, abandoning all hope for a revival now, and ceasing all effort, then the chastisement has not been sanctified. In this case Satan’s evil will has its way; the advantage is on his side, and further humblings are to be expected.
Let me examine myself, try my own self, know my motives. Is there any energy in my soul? Surely I have not backslidden. These tours, even to recruit health, are dangerous, I am aware. The soul is apt to lose its fine edge, — its secret power with God may be weakened by travelling about in strange countries, and among a people of a strange language; it may become soft and effeminate, unwilling to endure hardness, and to become a fool for Christ, unbelief may tinge the Spirit, and many other enervating thoughts. What sayest thou, my soul? Judge thy self, that thou be not judged; condemn thyself, if need be, that thou mayest not be condemned. Let me say, with an ancient Christian and preacher, “Go up, my soul, into the tribunal of conscience, — there set thyself before thyself, hide not thyself behind thyself, lest God bring thee forth before thyself.” Is there life within? A dead fish, if cast into a stream, will go with the stream; but a living fish will stem it. What is wanting? O, I want more of God, and more faith and love.
Cecil says, faith is the master-spring of a minister; be sees hell before him, and thousands of souls shut up there in everlasting agonies, he beholds Jesus Christ standing forth to save men from rushing into this bottomless abyss; he feels himself sent to proclaim his ability and love, he wants no fourth idea; every fourth idea is contemptible, — every fourth idea is a grand impertinence. I beg pardon, Mr. Cecil, but another idea rushes upon me with irresistible force, — I want more love, fire sent down from heaven into my soul, — a signal baptism of the Holy Ghost, to enable me to believe and feel the full force of those three great ideas to which earth and heaven might well assent with acclamations! Feigned zeal is false zeal, as painted fire is no fire; it warms nobody, burns nobody. It is easy to be what one really is, and safe and pleasant too. One is natural then; the contrary is but acting, feigning a character, — which, by the grace of God, I never will. Amen.
Let me get a fresh glimpse of God, of Jesus, of heaven, of hell; so certain, so near, as to say, with a minister now in Paradise “Yonder glory! Yonder flames!” pointing directly thitherward, as if he saw them plainly with his eyes. O, I must, — yes, I must preach with just such a vivid faith; must imitate my blessed Lord and Master himself, who, as Mr. Harris says, entered into the busy mart of the world, where nothing was heard but the monotonous him of the traders, and, lifting up his voice like the trump of God, he sought to break the spell which infatuated them, while he exclaimed, “What is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or, what will a man give in exchange for his soul? — Who brought the sinners of his day to the threshold of the infinite, and showed it flushed in one part with living glories, and in another burning with fiercest flames of wrath; while he assured them that in one or other of these states they would shortly be fixed forever. Ay! This is the soil of preaching that is wanting in this nineteenth century. God help me I must imitate my Lord, then and I must have clearer views of The cross, too; a higher estimate of the value of the soul, more vivid views of it peril, a burning, consuming ardor for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. These principles are linked together like chain-shot, which sweep everything before them. O, thou eternal Spirit, change the chambers of my soul with them! Think of these things, O my soul! As in the days of martyrdom, so now,
“Mighty are the soul’s commandments,
To support, restrain, or raise”
Friday afternoon. Dec. 11th — My soul engages itself with God. “But I gave myself to prayer,’’ says the Psalmist, or, as an old writer renders it, “But I prayer.” As if he had said, “I and prayer are one; my whole being has resolved itself into prayer; my heart, my hopes and desires, my reason and conscience, my eyes, my tongue, my hips, my knees, my all I am prayer all over!” O, there is much need of this in my case, now!
Sinners are hard; one spoke truly, that they appear as if they had been on the anvil of hell, and Satan himself had beaten them into adamant. However, they are not harder than some American sinners I have encountered. I must not forget I have battled harder and longer in America, with less success. But we have set our hearts upon a great revival; have been urging our faith, and screwing it up to a high figure; believing that if we set our mark for small things, we shall act accordingly, and it will be unto us according to our low mark. There is much in this. Yet Satan has taken some advantage, just here. Well, let him, — the promise stands sure, — there is a faith that will remove mountains, as well as wither the fruitless fig-tree. — Matt 21: 18 – 22.
Satan was more strongly entrenched in Huddersfield than we expected. Now for a siege, if need be! We must have victory. If our weapons were carnal, we might despair. They are of other metal. There are “towers of pride and walls of confidence,” which may not be taken by storm, but they may yield to a regular siege, — to sapping and mining, and other means of attack. We must be ready for every advantage. Jesus, our great Captain, will direct, Let us cut off, if possible, satanic supplies from the besieged. When Satan fails to relieve, they cannot long hold out. Look out for flags of truce, or offers to capitulate upon honourable terms. The carnal mind glories, if it may but evacuate under arms. This shall not be, God being our helper. No! The arms of rebellion must be grounded at the feet of Jesus; submit to terms, not dictate them. This is our “war instruction;” It shall sound and reverberate like a thunder. Then look out for the flag of defiance; but renew hostilities. The contest must be thorough and determined; no parleying with the enemy. “I am doing a great work, and cannot come down; why should the work cease, while I come down to you?” said Nehemiah. So let us say. When reduced to extremities, they will surrender at discretion.
These Yorkshire men are sturdy sinners. Like Job’s Leviathan, their “heart is as firm as a stone;” they “laugh at the shaking of a spear.” — Job 41: 24 - 29. I have met many such, in my time. Trans-Atlantic sinners are not a whit behind them. Human nature is the same, the world over. As Cowper says:
“Man is the genuine offspring of revolt
Stubborn and sturdy, a wild ass’s colt.”
There was truth in that remark, “Their eyes are not like the fish-pools of Heshbon, full of water; but like the mountains of Gilboa, which have neither rain nor dew upon them.”
Ay as well try to thaw oil out of flint as tears from some eyes; or, as soon melt an ice-bound river by breathing upon it, till the Holy Spirit comes, and then,
“As the great sun, when he his influence
Sheds on the frost-bound waters, the glad stream
Flows to the ray, and warbles as it flows.’’
Be it even so; eyes void of tears, as flints of oil. There was a rod once in mortal hand which melted the granite rock, and turned it into a fountain.
“The rock into a fountain flowed.”
That rod I look not for, but the word of the Lord I have; the power is what I need, — the same power that attended the touch of the rod of Moses. The word then will make hitherto dry eyes like fountains of waters. The sooner, perhaps, my own cheeks are wet in crying with the Psalmist, “Rivers of water run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy law,” the sooner it may be so with others. The weeping-time is coming, I trust. The wells are filled with earth. Like Isaac’s servants, we must dig hard to have the wells opened in spite of all the Philistines of earth and hell! — Gen. 26. 15 - 19.
Let me not say, with the poet, “Not to triumph is worse than not to win.” Nay, that is selfish. But, triumph or no triumph, let me win souls — Prov. 11: 30. “He that winneth souls in wise; “wisdom does not always, attend a triumph. It is worse not to win than not to triumph; although success in soul-winning has often with me been the prelude to sore temptation. ‘‘Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the saver of his knowledge by us in every place,” said Paul. But he immediately added, speaking of the contrasted effects of their preaching. “To the one we are the saver of death unto death, and to the other of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?’’ Who is he that has not only courage to incur, but ability to cope with, troubles which are sure to follow, from devils and men. He, and he only, it may be presumed, who is called of God, as was Aaron, otherwise he would be utterly cast down and destroyed.
‘It is well thus privately to count the cost. My eyes look to where the Psalmist did, — to the hills, to the heavenly hills, from whence cometh my help, from thence came my former vigor, in the bygone days of my sanctuary strength.
A poet speaks of the eagle careering in his own course of joy relying firmly on his own mountain rigor, breasting the storm, defying the red bolts; his eye on the sun, his wing on the wind, swerving not a hair, but bearing onward, right on. Ay, that is it! I would be an eagle, to thus mount up high at God’s command, or, to dwell and abide on the ROCK, on the crag of the rock, and the strong place; to beheld the prey afar off; where the slain of the Lord are, there to be. — Job 39: 27, 30.
The eagle was an emblem of victory upon ancient banners, and is upon the modern. I would be one of Isaiah’s eagles, that wait on the Lord; that renew their strength, mount up on wings, that run without weariness, and walk up and down conflict’s field without faintness. — Isaiah 40: 31.
Well, this “noting down” my feelings does me good; it enables me to say, with David, “Blessed be the Lout my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight;” ay, and the tongue, by and by, as the tongue of a ready writer David says, the tongue of the wicked is their sword, and that they take good care to whet it. Why may not the tongue of a God-sent preacher be the sword of the Lord? “bathed in heaven,’’ as Isaiah says. It “reacheth unto the soul,” echoes Jeremiah. Why, then, may not such an one whet his tongue also? The pen is a good hone after the word of God and prayer. Isaiah speaks of the tongue of fire devouring the stubble. St. James says, “The tongue is a fire, — setteth on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire of hell ‘ Why, then, may not the tongue of a preacher be a fire also? The devil kindles many a bad fire with the human tongue “ sets on fire the course of nature” in the tongue-owner, and in others. Why may not God kindle his fires by the tongue, also, and set the devil’s kingdom in a blaze? Strange, if Satan can “set the tongue on fire of hell,” and Christ cannot set it on fire of heaven! How often have I felt the fire of God begin to burn in my soul, when my pen set a going! The pen has converted many a tongue into flame, — set a country on fire, and revolutionized nations.
And now for the conflict in right good earnest, — the Law, Calvary, Repentance, Faith, Regeneration, the Witness of the Spirit, Holiness, Perfect Love, the Resurrection, Judgment, Heaven, Hell, in lightning and thundering truth. O, my soul! What themes are these; if thou wert more fully baptized with the Holy Ghost! Come on, then, as thou art! Christ shall endue thee with power from on high, when thou art in dreadful conflict.
“Set thyself about it, as the sea
About the earth, lashing it day and night;
And leave the stamp of thine own soul in it,
As thorough as the fossil flower in clay.
The theme shall start and struggle in thy breast,
Like the Spirit in its tomb at rising,
Bending the stones, and crying RESURRECTION!”
PERPLEXED, tried and tempest-tossed, by the apparent impossibility of achieving great success in Huddersfield, Mr. Caughey addressed himself to the task of stimulating his brethren and fellow-laborers to renewed endeavor, how he did this the following curious discourse will best explain. Unique and quaint as it is, we can readily conceive of its effects when delivered with the wonderful unction so peculiar to Mr. Caughey in his best moments. It doubtless fell upon their ears like the thrilling war-cry of some old warrior on the field of battle.
Hearken to my text! 2 Cor. 16: 13 — “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
Men, brethren and fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters. Grace be unto you, and peace from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! You have heard the word of command from the Holy Ghost — “watch ye, &c. It is in a high degree military, as you may perceive; more of this by and by. I want to speak to you of our circumstances, prospects and duties, in the present crisis, on the rough edge of this war for God and souls.
Our late trials have done us all good, have driven us to our knees, to God, in mighty Prayer. My own faith is brighter. My heart is warmer and more tender towards God and you, and extremely humble withal; the reasons you know very well. If I acted with too much precipitation, or with the appearance of impatience, in refusing to preach on that bleak and dismal night to us all, forgive and forget. I was sorely tried, and pressed out of measure. There was a cause. Let that pass. Perhaps I ought to have preached, — perhaps not. The results might not have been so good. It may have been of the Lord. We shall know more in a few days. Some of you slept but little or none, but you got what was better, — more of God. You are better prepared now to fight the good fight of faith. Your sympathies are awakened for perishing sinners. Your hearts yearn for them as never before, and burn for the glory of Christ in their conversion, Praise the Lord! If I caused you sorrow and tears, his love has turned all into joy. Therefore you have suffered damage by me in nothing. Larger incomes of grace are at hand, when you thoroughly use what you have. When Christ sees of the travail of his soul and is satisfied, as Isaiah speaks, then you shall share in his satisfaction, and that will be exceedingly sweet.
My faith brightened in the night of trial, as a star in darkest night. The stars you noticed the other night were all the brighter for the blackness that lay upon the ground below. It was so with my faith, and I am persuaded with yours also.
The darkness that night was like that supernatural darkness which once fell upon Egypt, — such as might be felt. — Ex. 10: 21. We all felt it, — I more, perhaps, for it was intended, by the “prince of darkness,’’ to drive me from the field, — as if my work was done in Huddersfield. But faith grew brighter, as things grew blacker till stars were not brighter, Melancthon than tells us that trouble and perplexity drove him to prayer and prayer drove away trouble and perplexity. It was so with us. The Jews used to say the world would not stand without standing prayer; no, nor a REVIVAL neither. Let this prayerful agony for souls continue, by day and by night. What goes up in vapors comes down in showers. If much ascends, much descends, at one time or another. What goes up in prayer comes down in showers of blessings. If little ascends, little descends. The contrary will hold good the world over, — ay, and here in Huddersfield! “Hallelujah” Yes shout it to your hearts’ content.
It is said that battle proves the sword, and need the friend. Late events have certainly tested you as the unflinching friends of Jesus, and of this hoped for revival of his work. And now our swords are about to be tried, of what metal they are made.
Battles are not fought, nor fields won, without hard fighting. It is so in every great conflict for souls. Truth and error, light and darkness, — the aims of God Almighty and his enemy. — must now come in collision on thy “brief round.” O Huddersfield. This is God’s order. The standard of our Immanuel must higher wave, with rallying hosts of more determined spirits around it! Ay, and opposition hosts as well, — visible and invisible. Hear St. Paul “For we wrestle not with flesh and blood,” — with men like ourselves, — “but against principalities,” — one rank of devils, ruling spirits. — “against powers,” — another rank of them, ruled and authorized to rule by the higher rank, — “against the rulers of the darkness of this world,’’ — still another rank, whose power is over spiritual darkness — “against spiritual wickedness in high places,’’ — or, as the margin has it, ‘wicked spirits in high places,’’ — in commanding, advantageous places, having chosen their ground, may be, and taken their positrons here, before we were born, — “wicked Spirits,” — more vicious than others, foul, crooked, unruly, baneful and accursed in the highest degree; the schoolmasters, or drill officers, of the whole tribe of sinners, who are emphatically wicked. — Eph. 6: 12.
Behold the infernal army, “countless, invisible”! The wings and a centre; and “the wicked Spirits,” the corps de; reserve, — a select body of infernal troops, most like the devil, their master, and “red with the blood of souls,” drawn up for battle in the rear; reserved there for time of need, to support the lines as occasion may require; they are troops for an emergency. Satan depends upon them, as Napoleon Bonaparte did upon his Imperial Guard.
All these infernal legions are united under One head, called, in Scripture, Satan, or the devil, — for he has various names, — our great enemy and the adversary of our God, whose power Paul deprecated “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices, — an advantage something over and above his present advantage, a vantage-ground taken by our ignorance or inadvertence, — that is, our inattention or heedlessness, — and then usurp upon us and over us. He is as full of “devices” as he is of malice, subtle means to accomplish his ends, policies and stratagems The allusion is military. It is a mark of an able general to select the best and most advantageous positions, in case of a battle, Apollyon is up to this. Napoleon, almost his namesake, never had tactics superior. He is, besides, full of malice, envy, sagacity, and cruelty, and fury. The scorns mankind, and hates God and his monarchy. He is called in Scripture That Wicked One, The Old Serpent, and Apollyon, — which signifies the destroyer. He is also called a Lion, an Accuser, a Tormenter, a Tempter, Satan, the Devil, a Murderer, Lucifer, — perhaps you may remember others of his titles yourselves. But these are sufficient for one devil, I think. They are all significant, however, as I could show you, did time allow definitions. He is, in fact, the great centre of all the wickedness in the universe, and the rallying-point of all rebellion against God in earth and hell. This Goliath of hell is in the field against us. He has slain his thousands and his tens of thousands, his millions and his hundreds of millions It may be there are few families now present who have not had some of their ancestors, near or distant, slain and carried by him into hell. He has an eye of burning hatred upon every member of every family present; nor has he over yet, in our opinion, lost hope of basing some souls out of every family circle present. You is will never in heaven impute it to his lack of will if he fail in the perdition of any one or every one of your families. It is with him and his troops we have been lately skirmishing, — feebly enough, God knows.
I him said nothing of the multitudes of your fellow-citizens who are also in arms against God, and therefore cannot be friends to us. They are marshaled, and inspirited, and commanded, by infernal powers. Strange to say, they know it not. But they shall, and before long, if our God comes down in his power. But opposition first, and then they will get their eyes opened. When out artillery begins to thunder about their ears, and the sparks of celestial fire to fall upon their consciences, and the two-edged sword of truth to lay open wounds within, then look out. Opposition will begin in good earnest!
I say not these things to discourage you, but to apprise you of the enemies you have to encounter, in order to victory. Contrary to the mode of some generals, I have given the enemy credit due. Prepare for them! St. Paul says it is through much tribulation we are to enter the kingdom of heaven. Expect tribulation of some sort or other, before we gain this victory, — that is, if it is going to be an extraordinary one. If ordinary, then, probably, ordinary trials. My soul has been crying to God for a great work. I am willing to face, through divine help, whatever blasts of opposition may assail us in consequence. Are you willing? Every soul-saving minister is a witness of the truth of diabolical agency. He is made to feel, with an aching heart, as many times as there are hairs upon his head, the power of the enemy.
Let him who doubts, or estimates lightly such a power, enter the field for the conquest of soils. Let him give battle against sin and Satan, in downright earnest, night and day. Let him measure his success by the number of sinners driven to their knees with cries for mercy, — and converts to Christ O, I will say it, he shall be made to acknowledge in sorrowful defeat, or in agonizing conflict and victory, that he has encountered a power the strength of which he never had properly estimated. A power
“From thrones of glory driven,
By flaming vengeance hurled”
To hurl vengeance back again, is their element. Their malice and revenge are inextinguishable. To baffle effort, to defeat the victory, to intercept divine power, to neutralize truth, to harden sinners, they never tire, never give over, till they are driven from the field.
There are points of time in every revival when their power is unmistakable. When their shadow is thrown across the Christian host; when the gloom of their presence falls like a pall on hopes of victory. It is, as I remarked before, a darkness that may be felt, like that which covered Egypt.
But, ye followers of the Crucified, listen! There is another great captain in the field, — Jesus, whom St. Paul calls “The Captain of our salvation.” If all is right in our little army, he is in the midst of us with his angels. It stands to reason; it is not against Scripture. It accords with the promise, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst.” ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Where the Lord of the universe is, there, undoubtedly, will be a concourse of angels. Where Christ is, angels are. He is never alone, never unattended, and where interests are pending such as we have here, never unprepared to take the part of those who are battling, for his glory with pure intention. Let none of you doubt this. Besides, is it not written, ‘‘Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” — Heb. 1: 14. Not are heirs, but “shall be,’ — to assist in making them heirs. But where are they more needed than on such a Spiritual battlefield? — to minister to the wounded, the weary, the dejected, the disheartened, the faltering, the fallen. To heal, to awaken, to inspirer, to strengthen, to cheer to glory and to victory.
The servant of Elisha cried, ‘‘Alas! My master! What shall we do? For he saw, by morning light, that the host of the Syrians, with horses and chariots, had quite encompassed the city, and there was no way of escape. “Fear not,” said the prophet, ‘‘for they that be with us are more than they that be with them;” and prayed, “Lord, I pray thee open his eyes, that he may see!” Elisha saw what the servant saw not. So it is said, “The Lord opened the eyes of the young man: and he saw, and behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” — 2 Kings 6. If the enemy had a host, so had Elisha. Had they horses and chariots, Elisha had them also, — but “horses and chariots of FIRE!” So it is now; so it shall be in this battle of Huddersfield. I had a vision of this on Shelburn Point, in Lake Champlain, before l left America for Europe. The Lord’s host met me there, — in spiritual vision, with my eyes open. How inexpressible! — how inexplainable! But it encouraged me then, for it regarded my visit to the British islands, and success there. That scene cheered me then, — it cheers me now! If it was an illusion — some hallucination — it did me no injury, but inspired emotions sublime, humiliation profound, zeal ardent, courage, faith, determination!
There was nothing in it contrary to that declaration of the Bible, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.” — Ps. 34: 7. Thronging angels are round about us; their breasts burning with loyalty to Jesus, their hearts rejoicing in the evolutions of his wisdom in bringing about this crisis; their weapons burnished for the fight!
I looked up among the clouds, the other day, and noticed two layers of clouds moving in contrary directions, one underneath the other, owing to contrary currents of air aloft. It reminded me of what I had been thinking of, — contrary influences heavenly and infernal, which we have been realizing of late. A few hours after, and all the clouds were moving in one direction, — one of the air-currents having ceased. Let us look up and expect the prevalence of divine influences, to the exclusion of the diabolical.
Angels are with us. The lightnings are not swifter than they, to do the will of our Jesus. They are also great in strength. “Forty centuries look down on you from the top of yonder pyramids,” said Napoleon to his troops, on the eve of “the battle of the pyramids.” how many centuries of souls are looking down from the heights of heaven upon us this moment! Napoleon hinted to his soldiers they were about to add another leaf to the four thousand years of history which belonged to those pyramids and surrounding plains. We are about to add another leaf to the Spiritual history of Huddersfield. God grant it may be a bright one, such as may be read in heaven with joy by those there before us, and by our selves in glory afterwards. Brethren, there is no vagrancy of fancy in all this! Hearken. Luke 15: 7 - “There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth.” Hearken again. Luke 15. 10 — likewise I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. “Why did our Lord make two such remarkable declarations almost in the same breath, but to assure and encourage us regarding heavenly sympathy, at least — ay, and assistance by inference? Epiphanius, of old, said of the prophet Elijah, that, “he sucked fire out of his mother’s breasts.” The Lord help me I but I would suck revival fire out of these two texts!
In all this, O Christ, let us look unto thee! To trust in man, men or means, or in self, or in anything short of thyself, is to learn upon a bruised reed, to seek light from darkness, warmth from cold, support from bruised reeds, victory from weapons of straw. Victory is of the Lord!
O Jesus all that I have, or am, and all I shall be, now, hereafter and forever, I consecrate eternally to thee, and to thy glory!
“To do or not to do, to have
Or not to have, I leave with thee
To be or not to be, I leave:
Thy only will be done in me!
All my requests are lost in one, —
Father! Thy only will be done!
“ Welcome alike the crown, The cross!
Trouble I cannot ask, nor peace,
Nor toil, nor rest, nor gain, nor loss,
Nor joy, nor grief, nor pain, nor ease,
Nor life, nor death, but, every groan,
Father! Thy only will be done!”
Now, my soul, rouse thee! Gird on thy armor! It is on, my Lord — it is on! — buckled tight upon my soul, and to remain till the victory. Now, is it unsafe to say:
Rouse thee, heart!
Bow or my life, thou art full of springs,
My quiver yet has many purposes?‘‘
Unsafe? No, it is safe! My trust is wholly in the Lord. Self is conquered, the battle has been fought, the victory won, there! Self and unbelief have been made “to bite the dust” before the Lord! O, how unwilling a preacher is, sometimes, to become a fool! — I Cor. 3: 18. A fool for Christ; that he may become wise in winning souls for Christ; unwilling ever, till he gain this victory over himself. Now, I am willing to be as a madman in the eyes of the world, of the great and the wise; at least, to preach so as they will call me such, or a hypocrite, or knave, or schismatic, or any other name, old or new, coming as if “glowing from the lips of eldest hell;” all is well to me if souls are only saved, and Jesus glorified. Sin is the only evil I fear; God the only being I dread. Ye followers of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, hear me! I have counted the cost. Have you? I know you have, by your looks. Amen!
The effects will be seen. Truth honored. Yes, but he who sets truth on against error will be an offender; like his Lord and Master, a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. — Is. 3: 14; Rom. 9: 33. Nor will the patrons of the offender and his helpers escape. You will all be called a parcel of fools, if not something worse. Will you bear it unflinchingly, till they know themselves to be fools? Till they become wise by cries for mercy, or shouts of praise to Him who is mighty to save?
I said to my heart, ‘‘Rouse three, my heart!“ Now, then, rouse ye, ye soldiers of Christ! To arms — to arms! The powers of hell surround; legions of wily fiends oppose; devils and men combine. The fallen souls of backsliders, and ‘‘the general wicked,’’ are under their control. Paul declares that the devil works in them, the children of disobedience — Eph. 2: 2. If devils oppose us, so will they, for the devil is in them. The herd of swine capered tremendously when devils got into them — Matt. 7: 32.
Be ready for all alarms, — false ones and real ones; for all reports, evil and good. Be surprised at nothing that may come, make nothing of all diversions — that is a military word, you know, signifying the tactics of a general in drawing away the attention of an enemy from the point where he intends to make the principal attack. The devil is full of these. He counts us all his enemies who are true to Jesus. If he mean to weaken or attack us upon any point of our lines, he will feign an attack upon some-thing else, — such as the noise in the meetings, or the hearty “Amens,” and “Glory,” and “Hallelujahs,” during the sermons, — which, when they come in the right place and time, from four or five hundred believers at once, are effective as a shock or discharge of artillery against the fortifications of an enemy; like the thunder-shout of Gideon and his three hundred, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon. “ I have seen many a Midanitist host routed by such a shout. The devil has been so busy of late years, that he has silenced this artillery in most parts of Methodism. A minister may preach as energetically as he pleases now, there is no response; the happiest and holiest believer dare not so much as chirp a note of “so be it!” May it never be thus in Huddersfield! The devil will leave no means untried to effect it. I could give you a whole list of diabolical diversions, to call the church off from her grand design, the conversion of sinners and overthrow of Satan’s kingdom; but time will not permit.
Be, ready for action — in the temple or street; in your counting-rooms, drawing-rooms, parlors, kitchens, shops, high-ways, by ways and hedges; everywhere, ready to speak, — that is, fight for God and souls!
See to your armor! — Your infernal foes are armed. ‘‘Stand firm; for in their looks defiance lours,” as Gabriel speaks in Milton “See to your armor! Your visible opponents are armed, not with civil power, — thank God for that! — nor with carnal weapons to wound your persons. But they are armed with prejudice, ignorance, error and enmity, and unbelief; with pride, profanity, sinful lusts and evil tongues; their eyes, and hands, and feel, are evil; the devil uses them as automatons without entirely outraging their free agency; he leaves them enough of that to render them accountable and damnable, — a harsh word, but terribly fitting and awfully true!
See to your armor, then, that it is on, and tightly on, and kept on; like Nehemiah and his builders on the walls of Jerusalem, “none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing! ’ as he tells us, Neh. 4: 23, — wearing them night and day, and building with one hand, while they held a weapon in the other, — always ready for battle, though builders, confounding their wondering foes. Thus keep on your Spiritual armor, working or fighting; at your tables, with the blessing craved; around your family altars, with your Bibles and your prayers; in secret, on your knees in mighty prayer and supplication; about your daily business, be clothed in the full panoply of God, ready for every good word or work to reprove, invite, comfort or alarm, as occasion may require.
Keep your armor on, then! Keep it bright by use, and free from rust. But see to it that you have on the whole armor of God, — not a part of it, but the whole panoply of God. Hear St. Paul, “Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in the evil day; and having done all to stand, stand therefore; having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breast-plate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith, whereby ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the Gospel; that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” — Eph. 6. What an expressive passage is this! Here you have the whole armor, the title of each part, its use, and how to use it.
St. Paul, like a true general to his troops, “on the rough edge of battle,” while it yet trembles to begin,
‘when the work of life and death
Hangs on the passing of a breath,”
reverberates his watchword along the Christian ranks, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” Thus twice in the same Chapter, and as if in the same breath, he commands on “the whole armor of God,” as if tremblingly alive to the importance of it.
Satan dreads this armor. An old writer says, “It dazzles the devil’s eyes, and daunts his courage, and drives him from the field. “Not so fast, my old friend!” Satan is not so easily daunted or dazzled as all this comes to. He will examine it and try its metal, to see whether it is all on, and whether it be genuine. He is an old veteran. He and his troops have been too long in the field to be outwitted by a son of Adam. Though a deceiver, he is not willing to be deceived, not fond of being the laughing-stock of hell. Your armor must be genuine. However, a sham armor will neither dazzle nor daunt Apollyon. He will soon try its metal till it ring again! “The whole armor of God.” That is it. If only part be on, what cares he for the remainder?
For instance Paul says, ‘‘Take the helmet of salvation,’’ in another place, “and for an helmet the hope of salvation.“ Now, you may have your head defended by such a helmet, but if your feet are not shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace,” — peace with God, with your neighbor’s, with your brethren in Christ, with your own family, with conscience, — what cares the devil for you or your helmet? He will cleave it through and through, and your soul with it!
Instance again: “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” — Now, you may take up that sword, but if you have not on the girth of truth, — that is, true sincerity of heart and a conscientious belief in the whole Gospel of truth, — if these be absent from the loins of thy soul, Satan will care no more for your sword than a soldier would for a straw weapon on the battle-field. He will smash its power and application out of the hand of your soul, as you would an icicle from your house-eave in winter time.
Again: “Above all, taking the Shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked,” — faith in the Bible, in eternal things, above all, faith in the blood and atoning merits of Christ, which is truly a shield to the soul against the devil’s fiery darts. But mark! You may have such a shield, but if “the BREAST-PLATE of righteousness” be wanting, — outward morality and inward holiness to the Lord, — a holy life and a holy heart, or, at least, a sincere desire for purity and a panting after it, — if these be absent from your breast, what cares the devil for your shield? No more than a soldier would care for a piece of brown paper before an enemy on the field of battle. Satan will riddle it through and through with his fiery darts, and make a blaze of it speedily.
The whole armor of God, then, if you intend to fight his battles, or out of the ranks with you! You will do more harm than good with your deficient armor. A sham armor will make you a positive curse and nuisance in our ranks. The whole armor, then! Arise! Ye soldiers of our God, arise! Examine your armor piece by piece, I conjure you. Let it be the real, genuine metal of heaven, — heaven-wrought, polished and resplendent in the beams of “the Sun of Righteousness.“ Then, and not till then, will it daunt the devil’s courage, dazzle his eyes, and drive him out of the field. Then, and not till then, can you have any glorious share in that victory, which I believe in God is about to be awarded to Immanuel’s arms on this field of conflict.
Such an armor is the admiration of angels themselves, although it does differ so much from their resplendent shields and starry helmets, and spears, with diamond flaming and with gold, and swords, in glistering zodiac hung, fresh from the celestial armory, of which Milton discourses so eloquently, — all of celestial touch immortal. Yet to us our armor is of equal importance, and they know it, and will not despise it. If England should ever again become the ally of another nation in the field, her soldiers may see uncouth armor on the troops they have come to assist. But if those soldiers do good execution on the field of battle, the English soldier will give him honor due, although his own armor is beautiful and perfect as the genius of England could invent. Let us only be ambitious to quit us like men in the presence of angels. Be assured we are encompassed by a great cloud of witnesses, who have come from afar, to take a deep interest in what involves the eternal destiny of the multitudes around us. The angels of God will notice our courage, and the use we make of our armor, more, perhaps, than the armor itself. They have no fancy for a do-nothing soldier of Christ, though his armor were inland with gold and diamonds, and in his hand the true Jerusalem blade.
Lord Nelson, you remember, before the first gun was fired a Trafalgar, signalized his waiting host with these words: “England expects every man to do his duty.“ and what was the effect? Was there a here in all that mighty host the words did not thrill? Ay, the humblest sailor in that agitated fleet felt they made his very heart burn within him. “England expects,” — as if Nelson desired that, in imagination, every soldier should realize twenty-five millions of his countrymen were now present as spectators of the fight. Breathed there a heart among all that armed throng, along the decks of that heaving fleet; those words thrilled not, fired not, nerved not, to deeds of noble daring, throughout that conflict, which convulsed sea and air, ocean and sky?
You all realize the application. Heaven expects! Yes, expects every man to do his duty, — and woman, too. The eyes of angels and of disembodied Spirits are upon us, — “a great cloud of witnesses.“ — Heb. 12: I. Let us behave ourselves accordingly.
We must conquer; victory through the blood of the Lamb. The honor of Christ, his Gospel, of revivals, demand it. Let us not think of defeat, but of victory over hell, in the salvation of multitudes.
An eminent divine in Switzerland was asked this question, “What was the grand secret of the invincibility of the Roman legions’” he replied, it is found in that one foundation principle in Roman empire, ‘‘Never to treat with an enemy except as conquerors. “The Romans persuaded themselves at their origin that they could found an eternal city. This conviction was the principle of their disastrous greatness. It was perpetuated from generation to generation, and conquered the world. What an unheard of policy! Never treat with an enemy except as conquerors! Brethren, it would require no great acuteness in argument to prove this also a foundation principle in Methodistic empire! To it, under God, Methodism owes her greatness, — disastrous indeed to Satanic power. Alas I if we as a church abandon this primitive principle, it will be disastrous to Methodism.
It is a fact. It was one of our first principles as a people. But let us not make the idea sectarian. It is wrong to make a local idea of it, as the Jews and their expected. Messiah, It belongs to Christianity, and not to Methodism in particular. It is one of the foundation principles in the kingdom of Jesus Christ, expressed, indeed, in other words, thus, “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God” — James 4: 4. Now,
Observe, 1st. To treat with the world is to connive at its vices by forming friendships or alliances with it.
Observe, 2nd. We cannot do so without being at “enmity with God’’
Observe, 3rd. No “enemy of God” is a subject of Christ’s kingdom.
Observe, 4th. We are necessitated to treat with the world only as conquerors; otherwise we must be at enmity with it, — other wise at enmity with God Middle ground there is none. We must oppose the world, or oppose God!
Observe, 5th. If we cannot be conquerors we must enter into no treaty with the world, involving principle, on pain of eternal outlawry against ourselves.
Observe, 6th According as ‘this principle is maintained, the kingdom of Christ prevails anywhere and everywhere
Observe, 7th, On this principle I draw the line of demarcation between you and the world. I demand, in the name of Christ, that every soul of you dissolve your worldly friendships from this hour. Is this harsh? Is it unwise? Is it impolitic? Impute it not to me, but to that primitive principle I have quoted. Nor is that the only text to prove it. Hearken to God himself; “Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” — 2 Cor. 6: 17, 18. I call upon you, then, to obey God, or else leave our ranks. O, I conjure you, do not, by your friendships for a world at enmity with God, constitute yourself an ‘Achan’ in the camp. If you do, we may possibly suffer for your sake. But be assured God will require the injury at your hand. Your punishment will be terrible.
Now, my brethren, we understand each other. “Quit you like men’” by quitting the world, — that is, by departing from all its evil maxims and Spirit, — renouncing it forever. “Quit you like men! “ That is, behave yourselves manfully, as becometh the soldiers of Christ O, that a noble ambition to signalize yourselves in this holy war, in this great and decisive battle, may fill your hearts! And the Spirit of burning, — an inextinguishable ardor for the glory of Jesus, and an unquenchable love to poor, perishing sinners, — may it also inspire you!
To arms, then, ye soldiers of the cross! “Be strong” in the power of his might. ‘watch ye’’ for opportunities to injure Satan’s power. “Watch ye!” Look out lest he take you by surprise, — lest he steal a march upon you, and so get fire advantage “Stand fast in the faith,” in the true doctrines of the Gospel, in the great principles involved in this war against Satan in his works, and in the primitive principle of Christ’s kingdom, — Never to treat with the world except as conquerors! “Stand fast!” be FIRM to sustain, to endure, to bear, to resist “Stand fast!” Keep in your RANKS, without yielding, or receding, or getting into disorder! “Stand fast I” in unity of mind and purpose. “Stand fast!” in the faith, with good courage, believing that our Lord Jesus is leading us to victory. “Quit you like me!” in full accordance with your principles; “like MEN! “ in strength, in vigor, in bravery, honorably, courageously, unflinchingly, and with magnanimity and judgment!
“We’re soldiers fighting for our King,
Let trembling cowards fly!
We’ll stand unshaken, firm and fixed,
For Christ to live and die!
‘‘Let devils rage, let hell assail,
We’ll fight our passage through
Let foes unite, let friends desert,
We’ll seize the crown our due.
“A Saviour! Let creation sing’
A Saviour! Let all heaven ring
’Tis almost done, ’tis almost o’er!
We’re joining those who are gone before,
We soon shall meet to part no more.”
My fellow-soldiers! What do you propose? What are your intentions? Anything short of throwing your whole selves into this conflict, — independent of wind, weather or circumstances, — to conquer or to die? I need not ask you; I see it in your eyes, your looks, your motions, your uplifted hands! Yes, Hallelujah again and in your shouts, your acclamations for Christ, for truth, for souls, for victory! There is the shout of king in our camp “The Lord of hosts is with us! The God of Jacob is our refuge! Selah!“ Mark that! Yes, let it be inscribed on the banner’s of our faith in letters of flame. “The Lord of hosts is with us! The God of Jacob is our refuge! Selah” Amen! Hallelujah! Now is the battle of Huddersfield to be fought and won!
O for the spirit of that Swiss warrior of which I was reading to-day, in poet’s song, — “Victory or death!” Ay, that was his watchword! It fires my soul now. Let anything fire us now, if it lead to Christ and victory, to Gospel arms and to Gospel power.
The Austrian phalanx stood upon usurped soil, — a living wall, a human wood, a forest of armed men, every man a tree, with a Spirit within ready to strike death to every soul of yonder patriotic band, who stand up for their right on native soil against the Austrian invaders.
There is a solemn pause, the mark of life and death hanging upon time passing of a word from lips of Austrian commander. The fire of conflict burns, the battle trembles to begin. The words “Forward! Charge!” Have not been given.
O, poor Switzerland, this is thy hour of trial! God help thee, or thou art undone! Thy children, a hovering band of peasantry, love thee, Switzerland, even to the death, but falter to strike the first blow for liberty! Behold them, armed, indeed for the fight, to fight for fatherland, for fathers, mothers, sisters, wives, little ones, for their homes and sanctity of their household hearts: but against is well-fed, armed and highly-disciplined troops; besides, at fearful odds in numbers, but against the hated Austrian yoke and tyranny. They, poor souls, have beaten their plough-shares into swords, and their pruning-hooks into spears, and have come out to learn war on the bloody field They are there at Freedom’s call, as Freedom’s sons. Their hands grasp the sword as firmly as their hearts a trust in the God of their fathers. They cannot, must not fly, — cannot, must not fall. What is to be done? — the or fight, fight or die. O Switzerland! Gather thy departed Spirits around thy hills and mountain peaks, like yonder mist wreaths, to cheer their sons in battle strife, — in this their final struggle for their rights, and lives, and liberties! What are they to do? Must they assail yonder waiting host, “all horrent with projected spears”? Where is the point of assault? Strength is every where, and weapons bristling at all points. A gap must be wade in yonder blazing hedge of lances Who is to make it? Has Switzerland, like Rome, a Marcus Curtius, who will plunge into the gulf of destruction, and perish to save his country? Yes, there stands one amid that patriotic band who will do it! Victory, phœnix-like, is preparing to arise out of the ashes of that heroic one, mid battle’s blaze! Where is he? Yonder he is, out in bold relief ruminating, his face all thought, his heart all prayer, his affections now with loved ones at home, next in a blaze of love for his oppressed country, — hatred and death to tyrants in his compressed lips and flashing eyes. Angels protect that poor Swiss, that fearless mountaineer! See! As a bounding hart, as the chamois leaps along Alpine crags, he rushes headlong against yon hedge of spears, with the cry upon his lips, “Make way for liberty” Ten spears are dashed aside by his impetuosity, the eleventh pierces his heart, — he falls in the breach his valor has opened! His comrades enter it like a thunderbolt, re-echoing his cry, ‘‘Make way for liberty!” Panic seizes the Austrians “Make way for liberty!” — it has the power of an earthquake, as if the voice of God is in it. The Austrians are mown down as they fly in all directions, and Switzerland is free!
All this for love of country, home, and friends, and liberty. What then, may we not expect from the love of Jesus, heaven, souls, victory? “Make way for liberty” from sin and Satanic tyranny! Jesus, our great Captain, was the first to enter the breach, where he fell in death, but rose again, conqueror of hell, death and sin, and lives to the no more. “His own arm brought salvation’ he is with us new, as with his people in ages past. Millions now in glory once cried upon the earth, in revival conflict, with Jesus at their head, “Make way for liberty” and won it. It is our turn now. “Make way for liberty!” Yes, and the slaves of sin and hell in this town shall soon their liberty receive. Hallelujah! To God and the Lamb hallelujah To the Holy Ghost be hallelujah’ Amen.
Forward, then, to the fight of faith! And, as a good brother said, “Be sure you take with you to the fight that great grant LOVE!” Ay, so be it, — Love unspeakable; this war must be led on by Love.
“Strive with spirit, soul and mind,
For the mighty mastery;
Fling the scabbard far behind,
‘Heaven and Christ’ the watchword be
To God the Father; Son and Holy Ghost, be all the glory! Let us pray.
THE effect of such discourses as the one contained in the proceeding Chapter is visible in the following passages from Mr. C.’s journal, in which various signs of victory over the adversaries of the revival are recorded.
December 14th — Occasional flashes of divine power last night, “laying open the sepulchral recess of iniquity,” as one expresses it, but closing again. “The people had a mind to work.” — Neh. 4. 6. There were twenty-five saved, I learn. A good omen.
The Theban general, who marched with an army of six thousand men against an enemy four times his number was annoyed, setting out. Rollin tells us, by the prognosticators, who had marked this and that ‘bad omen’. But he cut them all short by quoting a verse from Homer to this effect: ‘‘There in but one good omen — to fight for one’s country; Forward men!” He marched on and won the victory, — and a great one, too, over Spartans as determined as devils whose motto was to conquer or die! We have had some sad and bad omens, and not a few to prognosticate upon them. Last night we had good omens, — a general disposition to fight for Jesus with right good will; that is, with the weapons of faith and prayer. ‘‘If they are praying against us, they are fighting against us,” said a monarch of old. So the devil understands it! There was good fighting last night, then, — general prayer all over the house of our God. The leaders were flames of fire. The superintendent, the Rev. John Greeves, and his colleagues, Revs. Ryan and Brice, entered into the work with ardor.
The aspect of the congregation is changed, — so bright, animated, and determined, and increased. I thought of the general who defeated the Lacedononians three hundred and seventy-seven years before Christ. He ordered his army to their knees, — rather upon one knee, — with spear at rest on the ground, supported by the other knee, and covered with a shield, and in their looks defiance. The enemy charged upon them, were daunted by the unusual appearance, were repulsed and defeated! Thus appeared our Spiritual troops last night. Grand sight and inspiring? The servants of the devil came flooding in to see what was the matter, but found something the matter with themselves before they retired, So they have carried out the news, and others will come, and the Lord will make bare his arm. Indifference must die the ‘death’. Public attention once fairly and fully awakened, we shall see that enemy no more here. Huddersfield people never do things by the halves, when fairly aroused, either for Christ or Satan.
Afternoon — A spirit of prayer and power in my soul, with deep humility. It is wise in me to pause and reflect over things lately past The events of that memorable night I refused to preach have been overruled for good. But remember, my soul, that impatience is a dangerous ROCK in a revival; must guard against it ever hereafter. One is as liable to get upon this rock in the calm of popular indifference as in a storm of persecution. A treacherous calm amidst a perilous current is often a greater tax upon the wisdom of a pilot than a tempest. The Greek word for patience is a metaphor alluding to one who stands up invincibly under a burden, — a definition that does little credit to my patience on the night in question. I was rather inclined to cast the burden off my shoulder, and fly from it, as Moses did from the serpent in the wilderness. O, what feathers we are before the wind of temptation! Lord Jesus, do not leave me to myself ever!
However, it humbled me well, and those who invited me here. That was well. We were driven to prayer. Our cries reached the throne of God. We won the attention of the skies. It was not social prayer, but single, separate, and alone with God, — like Jacob by the ford of Jabbok, or Moses by the Red Sea, when his heart cried to God, though his voice was silent. It would bear the Welsh preacher’s definition of ejaculatory prayer. He said it is the Christian’s secret hiding-place, his express to heaven in circumstances of difficulty and peril. But he had many comparisons, such as — It is the tuner of his religious feelings, it is his sling and his stone, with which he slays the enemy ere he is aware of it, it is the hiding of his strength, and of every religious performance. It is the rope of his Spiritual belfry; the bell is in one room, the rope in another; he pulls, — those near him hear nothing, but those in the distant room do. Moses laid hold of the rope of ejaculatory prayer, on the banks of the Red Sea, and pulled hard upon it, and though no one heard or knew anything about it in the lower chamber, the bell rang louder and louder in the upper one, till the whole place was moved, and God replied, “Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward”. Ex. 14: 15. Imaginative preachers these Welsh. The church would be nothing the worse for more of them.
Dec. 16, Monday morning. — Clouds of mercy overshadowed us yesterday, but not clouds without water. The Lord gave me searching words in answer to prayer; mighty through God to the pulling down of what never should have been up. Had masses of truth given me from above, with illustrations singularly black and portentous. “A storm a brewing,” said a weather-wise one. It came like hail, — that is, harder than water. Words seemed weapons indeed, and the slain of the Lord not a few. To the Lord alone be all the praise he doeth the works but
“Sorrows remembered heighten present joy.”
Jacob called his darling boy “Benjamin,” — that is, “sort of my right hand, “ but, for all that, be could not forget that his birth bereaved him of his lovely Rachael. Could never forget the name given by his dying mother — Ben-oni; — that is, ‘‘son of my sorrow,” But his father called him Benjamin, “ son of my right hand. Gen. 35 18.
These spiritual children are the son, of our sorrows. But, unlike Rachel, behold we live. Now they are our Benjamins, ‘‘Born of God,’’ and the sons of our right hand. How little some understand St. Paul, where he says “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” — Gal 4: 19. We will not forget they are our Benonis, — all the dearer for that in recollection.
An old divine compares common blessings, that come without prayer, to the corn that grows up to the hand of the husbandman, with all its chaff and husks about it, — some vanity or other about it, to remind him of the blasts of sin; or to acorns, which swine gather as they fall, with-out ever looking up to the tree from whence they fell. But blessings which come as the fruit of prayer are pure manna, which falls upon the Christian, and for which he is sure to look up, and which he will devoutly acknowledge. Praise the Lord, I feel it to be so in this accession of seals to my ministry for some of them, I do know, are my spiritual children in deed and in truth.
I was thinking to-day of Samson. He had a hard tussle with the lion which met him in the wilderness. Afterwards he found a honeycomb in the sun-dried carcass. The honey, I have no doubt, was all the sweeter from the recollection of that perilous exploit. It is so with this honeycomb we have found amid the carcass of our conflicts. How evident the change in the spiritual atmosphere! ‘‘The creeping pestilence” of indifference and luke-warmness has been driven away, — “the breath of God has chased it,” — may it never return! The leaders are all alive; they have been thrown upon their own resources, which are laid up with God, and found them quite available in time of need. What a shower of salvation last night! “In vain we have not wept and strove.” An old writer says, “Prayer finds God free, and leaves him bound.’’ Bold sentiment! Bound to fulfil his promises. The Lord is pleased with such bonds. The prayer of faith puts them on. It finds God free from obligation, and leaves him bound to fulfil his promise in the best possible time and manner. A fine writer, referring to Mark 11: 24, — “Therefore I say unto you, what things so-ever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall receive them,” — remarks that this is really binding himself, resigning voluntarily the sceptre into the hand of faith, even at the tremendous risk of seeing us blot from our creed the doctrine of his absolute liberty, — irrevocably binding himself to the askings of faith, without the possibility of a refusal or failure. He throws up the high prerogative, and brings himself under obligation. He added another fine thought, — that to calculate on miraculous interposition in the ordinary affairs of life savors of presumption and romance, but that in the sphere of Christian hope Jesus has made the extravagance of romance impossible, by promising to exceed hope; he has given wing to our expectation, which disdains all limit. He gives us immediate access to the treasury of divine benevolence. In this world we can not only ward off and suspend around us every evil, but we can draw around us every good; as though we possessed an omnipotent charm, we can create around us an atmosphere of peace and joy. He grants us introduction to the armory of God, and to all his resources of strength; so that, like the angel who has the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand, we can fetter the operations and restrain the power of the Prince of Darkness; or we can enter the field of conflict; and overpower him; rendering us, while moving in the line of duty, invincible and in irresistible! This is certainly strong language. He referred to more promises than the one already quoted, to bear him out, — such as, “Ask and ye shall receive.” “If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.” I have hardly done justice to his sentiments, having quoted from notes in part; but the path of them is there. We have realized in some degree their truthfulness, and shall more fully before many days.
Dec. 17. — A powerful prayer-meeting last night; ten or twelve saved. The earth and the sea supply the atmosphere with exhalations and clouds, and these prepare and bring the rain. It often happens, however, that considerable time elapses before that descends in showers which went up in vapors. But the shower comes at last, true to some great laws with which we are imperfectly acquainted. Such is the phenomena attendant upon prayer. But how quick the returns in this instance! It is true they have been praying since last May for this; still, I do believe “the effectual prayer of faith” occurred close upon this time.
Dec. 18th. — Easy preaching now. The sword has a new edge, — more apt to penetrate; more strength in my soul’s arm to set it on and lay it around me fearlessly. It seems as if approaching to what one speaks of, “The sword of the Spirit seemed newly-edged with power, and bathed in the likeness of heaven, flashing convictions on the consciences of sinners, and piercing to the recesses of the soul!”
Dec. 19th. — Another piercing time last night. The battle-sword was sharp, reaching unto the soul. A great outcry among the wounded. It is of little account to persuade sinners to think as we do, or even with the Bible. But to make than feel and repent, pray and believe, as it directs, is a work of power; it requires Omnipotence. Many saved. Praise our Almighty Jesus! Have profited by those fine hints of Mr. Harris, of London, regarding the condition of man when Christ came, and the method of salvation “The rights of justice and the condition of sinful man were essentially hostile; they had diverged to an infinite remoteness, and stood frowning at each other as from opposite sides of the universe. He laid hold on the nature of man, and, planting his cross midway, created a point of attraction which reached and drew them across the separating gulf back to itself, as to a common centre. Justice moved from it’s high and awful position on Sinai; and, with all the armies of holiness, brightening and still brightening with complacency as it approached, bowed with reverence at the cross, and said, ‘Is is enough.’ The sinner, detached by the same magnetic power from the strong confederacy of sin, approaches, relents and changes as he draws near, till he falls prostrate before the cross, a new creature in Christ Jesus. By giving his heart to sinners and for them, holiness finds that it has nothing to ask, nothing to do, only to raise the sinner from the dust, and to become the guardian of his new life: the sinner finds that nothing is left him to desire, except that he may never wander from the sight of that cross which has made him the ward of infinite holiness, and is preparing him for heaven. Here God erects his throne, and man adores; to each the cross is ineffably precious, for it is only in its immediate presence that sin can be vanquished, and yet the sinner saved!” What a body of divinity is in the above! My soul exclaims with Paul, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ “How gloriously illustrated last night! Rank behind rank of broken-hearted penitents detached from the confederacy of sin by the magnetic power of that cross; lines of benches behind benches filled from end to end, and all the place vocal with their cries for mercy! — but drawing nearer and nearer to the cross, one and another, and another, and so on, are changed into new creatures in Christ, This will do. Hallelujah! More of this, my Lord! Satan is having the worst of it now. The town begins to be moved.
Dec. 20th. — A hard time last night; the greatest pains brought the least success. Have had free, heavenly seasons in preaching with little preparation; an easy carelessness followed by an amazing elasticity and power; a sort of slap-dash, off-hand talk has had in it somewhere ‘‘a chosen shaft,” which somehow reached the mark, and did its work in the conscience, and on the field. Perhaps there is peril here. The Lord may not be willing to trust me here; might become too EASY and careless, trifling and prayerless, before preaching, and presume upon divine help. Satan may lie in ambush hereabouts, tempting to a careless spirit, to superficial preparation, to offer unbeaten oil in the sanctuary, which was a crime under the law of Moses. That which costs nothing is apt to go for nothing. Have often been tempted thus, and punished for yielding; driven back again to my knees, to my face on the floor, in humiliations, groans, cries and tears; the Lord telling me plainly, as if I heard his voice, that he would never make an exception a general rule — that a free, happy, elastic time in preaching, with little previous preparation of head and heart was an EXCEPTION; but close thought and close union with himself; with earnest cries for help from above, was his STANDING RULE for a good and successful time in the pulpit. After such a lesson, I have returned to the pulpit with a tightly-bent bow, and the arrows of the Lord flew thick as hail and straight to the mark, as if barbed and feathered by an angel’s hand! Now to my knees.
Past two o’clock. — Prayer and action! Blessed words. Christian honeycombs! O, what sweetness there is in them’ “Then most existence with herself is satisfied.” A great fact this. God has wonder fully woven our duty, his glory and our happiness, together; may the web of my experience be this, till renter upon duty in worlds above! Amen.
That was a noble sentiment of that dying saint, “I repent of all my life but that spent in communion with God and in doing good.” That, also, was a fine remark of another, who had stood high in the world, that the best state of mind a man can attain is, to be at leisure to do good!” ay, if he will but employ that leisure in doing good. These gentlemen tasted largely of this honeycomb. I would go on eating of it, as Samson did his, and give of it to others, as Samson to his father and mother, and then like him go down among Philistine sinners, and slay heaps upon heaps, with sermons, crooked, may be, as the jaw-bone of the ass. With it he slew a thousand men; in it God gave him a miraculous well of pure water to quench his thirst after battle, just as he refreshes my soul in prayer and action! Samson called the place En-hakkore, that is, the well of him that called, or cried — Judges 15. Many such wells does the Lord cleave for my thirsty soul in the heat of action. Hallelujah!
A larger number of souls saved last night, I understand. The work advances with such impetuosity that a poor sermon, if it does no good, has no power to retard. Praise Jesus for that! The people light their torches from above. The angel of the Lord has no lack of coals on the holy altar to scatter among the people, if my poor words do seem like coals fallen out of the grate till cold and dead. — Rev. 3: 5.
Past five o’clock. — There is a great thaw upon the hearts of the people. Spring has come indeed, with “the singing of birds”. He caused the wind to blow, and the waters flowed. He sent forth his commandment, and his word runs very swiftly. He sent out his word and melted them, and the hills flowed down at his presence. He prepared the rain for the earth, and made the grass grow upon the mountains — Ps. 147.
I was thinking, to-day, that when winter is disputing the chance of spring death is in the aspect of everything. There is nothing around to give sign of a change of season, But how deceitful are such appearances! Break a twig, how rife it is with sap! Scrape away the earth, behold the germs and buds of life! The sap is ascending dead-looking trees vigorously, and circulates noiselessly and unseen over all the branches; by and by the infant green is appearing everywhere with buds and blossoms. It is just so previous to a revival, frequently. So it has been and so it is in Huddersfield.
There is a great bowing among the people, with groaning which sometimes cannot be uttered, but now and then loud enough, with entire concentration, “irreclaimable burnt-offerings to Christ,” as Fenelon expresses it. The wise men of the East bowed before the infant Christ. It was wise in them to bow the knee, and wise to offer gold, frankincense, and myrrh. It is wise in this people to bow the knee, but wiser still to present an offering more valuable than gold, and frankincense, and myrrh!
Say, shall we yield him in costly devotion,
Odors of Eden and offerings divine?
Gems of the mountain, and pearls of the ocean,
Myrrh from the forest, and gold from the mine?
“Vainly we offer each ample oblation,
Vainly with gifts would his favor secure,
Richer by far is the heart’s adoration,
Dearer to God are the prayers of the poor. ”
Sinners are laying down their weapons in considerable numbers daily. There appears to be an extensive disposition to surrender. Thinking, when out around of the old stories I used to read of battles, and sieges, and surrenders of besieged castles — how vigorously they resisted, how obstinately they held out, but in extremity, to save themselves from the horrors of famine they surrendered upon terms or at discretion — — Acts 9: 6 — thus it comes to pass in these days.
Saturday morning. Dec. 21 — Preached last night on sanctification — Acts 20 18 “Sanctified by faith that is in me.” Dwelt on the substitutes for faith employed by some to obtain sanctification, — such as abandonment of sin, prayer, entire consecration, deep conviction, and substituting the blessing itself for the faith that brings it. Showed their inefficiency. Guarded my sentiments by insisting upon the necessity of these things previous to sanctification; that God never cleanses a heart where sin is indulged; faith in the world’s rotundity would as soon purify the soul, as faith in Christ’s veracity, when sin is held on to, — where prayer is restrained, consecration refused, and conviction unfelt. Yet, these may all be practiced, but, if faith be wanting, so will purity. They are to the soul what Moses was to the Israelites, — a guide to the verge of the promised land. Faith is the Joshua to conduct the soul through Jordan over into the Canaan of perfect Love. Believe that ye do receive it, — Mark 11: 24 was pressed home. Many saw their error and embraced the Gospel plan, and were saved.
Chapter 1.A Brief Sketch of Mr. Caughey’s Life.
Chapter 2. A Week of Agonising Conflicts.
Chapter 3. Beamings of Hope.
Chapter 4. A Characteristic Discourse.
Chapter 5. The Beginning of Victory.
Chapter 6. Persecution – Continued Triumph.
Chapter 7. Rods for Critics and Hypercritics.
Chapter 8. Rebellion Against the Spirit – A Sermon.
Chapter 9. Progress of the Revival.
Chapter 10. Whispers to Offended Hearers.
Chapter 11. Onward Movement of the Revival.
Chapter 12. The ‘Besetting Sin’ Described.
Chapter 13. The ‘Besetting Sin’ Detected and Slain.
Chapter 14. The New Convert Exhorted to Holiness.
Chapter 15. A Desire for Purity Coexists with Justification.
Chapter 16. Help to a Belief in Entire Sanctification.
Chapter 17. Helps to Perceive the Propriety of Expecting Full Salvation in This Life.
Chapter 18. Is Sanctification Gradual or Instantaneous?
Chapter 19. Personal Experiences – The Revival.
Chapter 20. Plain Dealing With Obstinate Sinners – A Sermon.
Chapter 21. Warning to Sinners – A Sermon.
Chapter 22. Alarming Cries – A Sermon.
Chapter 23. God’s Adversaries Addressed.
Chapter 24. More Pencillings of the Revival.
Chapter 25. Notes of the Huddersfield Revival, Continued.
Chapter 26. Extracts From the Journal
Appendix Mr. Caughey’s Views of Church Architecture.