This book was written to encourage and stimulate ministers and workers in every branch of the Christian Church, and with the hope of stirring them up to pray for a world-wide revival. It was written at a time when many of God's people were greatly exercised about the work of revivals and for a national and universal outpouring of the Holy Spirit. "One special object has been to point out the different ministries by which God in His good pleasure has seen fit on many occasions to make channels of blessing both to the Church and the world. It was not the writer's intention to deal with every topic in connection with this subject, but rather to show how revivals have been promoted. Also to give a record of spiritual awakenings which have taken place in the past history of the Church, and to supply some reminiscences of revivals which the writer has been privileged to take part in during the last thirty odd years in many different parts of the country. And should the following chapters of this work prove instrumental in God's hands in helping to bring about a world-wide revival, or in strengthening the faith of any Christian workers or stirring them up to pray, to God shall be ascribed all the glory." THOMAS PAYNE. (From the original preface)
He was then thirty-two years of age, and his preaching was with great power: according to the testimony of one who heard him, it was as though one of the prophets of old had risen from the dead. A movement among the dry bones commenced at once, but when the noise of the shaking grew loud…”
We have included 4 of the 12 chapters.
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh.”—Acts ii. 17.
“Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.”— Isaiah xxxii. 15.
“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain.”—Zech. x. I.
THE Apostle’s text on the day of Pentecost with reference to the prophecy of Joel was most suitable for the occasion, because it was associated with the promise then being fulfilled before their very eyes. Pentecost was the feast of first fruits of harvest, therefore symbolical of the first instalment of the gift of the Holy Spirit. It was also typical of the first ingathering of a glorious harvest of souls. Hence, as expressed by one writer, “The occurrence of that day exhibits the reality and importance of revivals of religion. In a single day it gave to the Christian Church a weight and influence more than a thousand fold greater than it had previously possessed.”
No doubt the prophecy of Joel, together with what our Lord had said, especially in the latter part of John’s Gospel, made a great impression upon the minds of the Apostles with reference to what would take place in the fulfilment of the promise. But the realisation, and the remarkable display of God’s power on that occasion among saints and sinners, and the ingathering of such a multitude of souls, must have greatly exceeded all their former anticipations. Not-withstanding, we may look forward in faith and hope for such times of refreshing which shall outshine in its glory and extent anything that has taken place in the past history of the Church. And the knowledge that we are in the last days greatly increases our responsibility with regard to prayer and expectation for a further fulfilment of this glorious promise. So much that has taken place, and that is still taking place all round us, tell us plainly that we are in the last days and nearing the end of this dispensation. According to the opinion of a number of spiritually-minded men, and men who have studied the Scriptures closely on this subject, as well as the signs of the time, we are to expect the last days to be associated with an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit upon the Church and the world. The late Dr. Dale said: “I feel sure that there will shortly be such a display of the Saviour’s power in the Church, and through the Church upon the world outside, as has not been seen since Pentecost.”
Referring to what took place on the day of Pentecost, Dr. Fraser says: “It was a typical and significant day which should be expected to repeat itself.” To the same effect another very distinguished writer says: “The completed fulfilment of this glorious prophecy is still in the future, a future that may be very near at hand.” And should not our expectation be raised in consideration of the certainty of the fulfilment of the promise, inasmuch as the inspired Apostle has been careful to add strength to this statement that we do not find in the prophecy of Joel, viz., “It shall come to pass in the last days saith God, that I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh? “. We are therefore encouraged to believe that, excellent and glorious as was the first instalment of this gift, there: must come a time when this prophecy shall have a fuller meaning, to wit, the desolate “wilderness shall be a fruitful field.” We are also reminded both of our duty and promise, “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain, so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain;” and we are to understand the “showers” of rain is a symbol of the administrations or comings of the Holy Spirit; as it is written, “And He shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain upon the earth” (Hos. vi. 3). And God be praised that the showers can be had for the asking today just as real as in the days of Elijah.
The asking has already begun, and the bright clouds are beginning to appear and will soon spread over the heavens. Let us therefore pray that the Lord of the Harvest will brighten our hopes, increase our faith, and raise our expectations heavens high for “floods of blessing.” In calling our attention to this the Rev. W. G. Pascoe says: “In firm reliance upon the never-failing promises of God, we have been asking for rain. Faithful servants of God, like the prophet, cast themselves upon the earth, and have pleaded through long hours for rain. The sign has come. The prayer that has already lifted the clouds out of the ocean of God’s bountiful love can shake them until they drop down all their fatness, and make the wilderness a fruitful held, and a glorious harvest of souls will tell of the fertilising power of God’s abundance of rain.” With reference to the near approach of this the Rev. J. W. Hill says: “The clouds are already skirted with the silver lining of millennial glory; we live in the best dispensation and in the brightest period of the world’s history.” In describing the effects of this bountiful rain in the personal experience of true believers, the late Rev. C. H. Spurgeon remarked: “It is very usual in the life of grace for the soul to receive in after years a second very remarkable visitation of the Holy Spirit which may be compared to the latter rain. The latter rain was sent to plump out the wheat and make it full and mature, ready for the harvest ripening. My craving is that all of you, my beloved, who have been watered by the former rain, may also be refreshed by a more than ordinary latter rain, which shall make you more than ordinary Christians, bringing you beyond the blade period into the full corn in the ear.” The Rev. John Fletcher, speaking of the prophecy of Joel, says: “A capital promise this, of which our Lord gave an earnest on the day of Pentecost, when He sent a glorious shower on His little vineyard, a pledge of the mighty rivers of righteousness which will by and by cover the earth as the waters the sea. “
We are always ready to bring up to date St. Paul’s words to Timothy, viz.: “In the last days perilous times shall come”; nor are we offended should the picture be drawn much darker than is necessary. Why, then, should we be slow of heart to believe, or bring up to date, the words used by St. Peter, viz. : “It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh?” And if through neglect or the dullness of our faith this precious promise has lost some of its brightness, then let us set to work and by our faith and prayers polish it up again, and in the power of the Spirit lift this truth beside the dark picture, and it will be sure to inspire us with fresh hope and courage, and prevent our love from waxing cold in the presence of abounding iniquity. Dr. Cynddylan Jones, referring to what is needed at the present day to make Protestant churches more powerful for good in the world, says:” Another outpouring of the Holy Ghost; we have cisterns enough; pray for the living water; machinery enough; pray for the spirit of the living creatures to enter the wheels; and then it will do more work and make less noise.”
Moreover, we believe that our expectations should be raised in the consideration of the past labours of many faithful servants of God, a great host of whom have already entered into their rest. Because of the good seed that had already been sown, our Saviour in the days of His flesh expected a speedy harvest of souls (see John iv. 25). And no doubt but what for the want of such expectation many Christians have lost heart in themselves, and courage in their duty, and hopefulness for a perishing world; and for the same cause the Church on some occasions has missed a glorious harvest. The Rev. C. H. Morrison recently remarked that “The world was never in all its past history so ripe for a spiritual harvest as at the present”; and while it is true that there are many things that might tend to distress us if we were only to dwell upon them, and which is referred to in the following chapter, it is nevertheless true that there is much to encourage us when we look upon the hopeful side of things, and consider what opportunities and privileges we have in contrast to past ages; the many open doors to preach the Gospel, and the readiness to receive the glad tidings: especially is this the case to-day in heathen lands. In consideration of this, Christmas Evans, the noted Welsh preacher in the last century, remarked: “Brethren, this is the time. The mulberry trees are shaking. God is going before His people, to prepare their way to victory. The hand of Divine Providence is opening a great and effectual door for the Gospel. The mountains are levelled, the valleys are exalted, and a highway is cast up in the wilderness for our God. The arts of printing and navigation, the increasing commerce of the world, the rapid march of literature and science, and the correspondence of eminent and leading men in every nation, are so many preparations for the moral conquest of the world. …The Scriptures have been translated into nearly all the languages of the babbling earth. Missionaries have gone into many lands—have met the Indian in his wigwam, the African in his devil’s-bush, and the devotee on his way to Mecca. We can furnish more men for the field and more money to sustain them. But these things cannot change and renovate the human heart. ‘Not by might or by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord.’ This is the regenerating agency; He alone can convince and save the world. His aid is given in answer to prayer; and the Father is more ready to give than we are to ask.” Bearing upon the same point, Dr. R. A. Torrey, in his work, “How to Pray,” says: “There seem to be increasing signs that the Church is awakening to this fact. Here and there God is laying upon individual ministers and churches a burden of prayer that they have never known before. Less dependence is put upon machinery and more dependence upon God. Ministers are crying to God day and night for power; churches and portions of churches are meeting together in the early morning hours, and the late night hours, crying to God for the latter rain. There is every indication of the coming of a widespread revival. There is every reason why, if a revival should come in any country at this time, it should be more widespread in its extent than any revival of history. There is the closest and swiftest communication by travel, by letter, and by cable, between all parts of the world.”
Once more, we think that our expectations should be raised in the consideration of the many gracious revivals that have taken place already during the past history of the Church. Also the fact that every great awakening and plentiful harvest of souls has been the result of the outpouring of the same blessed Spirit, and when sought for by earnest, believing prayer, concerning which we shall have more to say later on. We are, however, fully persuaded that one reason why the Church has not realised a larger fulfilment of the Holy Spirit of Promise is because of so much unbelief and so little real prayer and expectation; and as a rule where there is no expectation there is no realisation, because a lack of expectation always shows a lack of true faith. As rightly expressed by the Rev. W. Cousins: “Without expectation there will be no prevailing power in prayer; thus, because men have ceased to expect the outpouring of God’s spirit, the heavens have become as brass.” And we believe that it is chiefly because of this that many are dull of understanding and slow to believe, or to learn the truth about the ministry and operations of the Holy Spirit, and where this is the case, even though they possess a great knowledge of the letter, they are often most bitter and contentious in their intercourse with Spirit-filled believers, and will not allow themselves to see their need of the Pentecostal gift, or even the possibility of any further fulfilment of this wonderful promise. And as a result they remain very much on the same low level as Old Testament saints. And, indeed, where the gift of the Spirit is reduced and confined to the blessing of regeneration, or confounded with the Spirit’s work in that experience without which we are none of His, together with the idea that it is wrong to pray for the Holy Spirit, all of which was enjoyed among Old Testament saints, then it must be admitted that we are placed in a far worse position than those who lived before Pentecost.
A bright young Christian told us only very recently that he had received a call to the ministry, and with the call came the conviction of his need of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But, prior to this, a book on the work of the Spirit had been put into his hand, in which the author had denied the right of our expecting to receive any such blessing after conversion. Said the young man, “If I thought that there was no such baptism for me to expect since my conversion, I should be tempted to give up in despair; but now that I am convinced that there is, I feel inspired with a new hope.” And, blessed be God! while looking into the face of that very promising young servant of Jesus Christ, we felt as if life was worth living if only to be able to assure him that the gift of the Holy Spirit was as freely at his disposal as is the gift of Jesus; also that this gift could be obtained for the asking.
We have already explained that the two events, birth and baptism, cannot mean the same thing. As a well-known writer has stated, “the birth and the baptism are as distinct in our spiritual experience as in our natural; a person must be born before he can be baptised, so a soul must be born of the Spirit before he can be baptised with the Spirit.” Furthermore, we have noticed that the Scriptures encourage us to pray for, and to expect, two very special blessings to take place in those last days. In the first place we are to expect an universal outpouring of the Holy Spirit; in the second, as a result of such an outpouring, we are to expect the awakening and conversion of a multitude of souls. But where Christians do not recognise the privilege to pray for the Holy Spirit, or the right to expect any such results, they not only refuse to put forth efforts to promote a revival, but often, by their unbelief, they put stumbling-blocks in the way of those that would. There are two classes of Christian that are more or less in danger of doing this. The first are those who occupy themselves chiefly with past dispensations, without appearing to recognise the Pentecostal period, and if they do, they seem to imagine that the grace bestowed on the first occasion completely exhausted the gift. Then there are others who are mostly taken up with future dispensations, or with what is expected to transpire after the closing up of the present age; and because of this thousands of Christians fail to recognise, or rightly to appreciate, the glorious dispensation of the Spirit in which we now live. There is no need that we overlook other dispensations; they all have a certain amount of claim upon our study and attention: yet better by far we had lived and died in the old dispensations than, after having had the privilege of living in the present, we should pass away without an experimental knowledge of the exceeding grace and glory belonging to our own day. The Apostle Paul admitted that Old Testament saints had a glory in their day, but not the glory that excelleth, and which is brought unto us through the revelation of Jesus Christ and by the Ministration of the Spirit. Speaking of those who were unbelieving and disobedient, the Apostle declared that “even unto this day when Moses is read the vail is upon their hearts.” And is it not possible for the veil of prejudice, traditional faith, or, rather, unbelief, to remain upon the hearts of professing Christians when reading the ministration of the Spirit? It has been remarked that it is fearful the amount of evidence that can be resisted by prejudice. But we fear that the veil that has prevented many from coming into the enjoyment of this Spiritual Ministration is, as we have mentioned elsewhere, the strange notions entertained in relation to dispensational truths. And the sad part of it is that those who are thus veiled often hinder others from coming into the light as well as themselves. This may be seen in the following testimony:—
The wife of John Fletcher wrote an account of her life from early childhood, from which the following is an extract: “I was now, I believe, about ten years old, and can recollect many comfortable moments in reading the Word of God. The promises in Isaiah were in a particular manner applied to my soul: and I hardly ever opened the Bible but there was something for me: till one day I heard a person make the remark that ‘many people take promises to themselves which do not belong to them.’ Of some, she observed, they belonged to the Church, others to the Jews, such and such to the Gentiles, etc., and then began to blame the presumption of those who applied them to their own souls! Such a thought never entered my heart before. I knew the words were primarily spoken on particular occasions: but the Lord had led me to believe that His Word was written to every soul so far as they were willing to receive it by faith. But from the above conversation I was unhinged. I knew not what to choose or what to refuse; so that, being cast into reasonings, I lost all my love for reading the Scriptures, and sank into a very cold and lifeless state.” And it is said she did not recover from this shock to her faith for years.
The veil of a predisposition in the heart not to believe, or expect to receive, any further fulfilment of the promise has been the great hindrance with others. This has always had the effect of blinding the soul to the claims of higher truths and fuller blessing. We may also gather from the Epistles that it is the special device of Satan to cause this veil of unbelief or partial blindness to remain if possible upon the minds of professing Christians, because if they see not, they ask not, and if they ask not, they receive not, and as a result, they often despise the teaching of those that can see and that do ask and expect. It was the spirit of indifference manifested among professing Christians toward the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in this His dispensation that grieved and stirred the righteous soul of Dr. Owen; but God, who knows how to bring good out of evil and light out of darkness, made it the occasion for this great and learned man of God to write such discourse on the personality and operations of the Holy Spirit, that it gave to the Church at large a new sense of her responsibility as well as her privilege with regard to this important subject.
The Rev. John Fletcher, Dr. Horatius Bonar, and others, in later days, held that the constant limiting of, and disregard of the ministry of, the Holy Spirit is the sin of the Church in these last days, as it was the sin of the Jews in despising the personal ministry of Jesus Christ in the days of His flesh; and as one of our great preachers remarked, “We dread the drift of the present torrent of unbelieving thought; only the Spirit of God can lift up a standard against it.”
And is it not sad to think that notwithstanding the light that has been thrown upon this subject by so many faithful witnesses, still there should be so little concern manifested on the part of such a great majority of those who are the professed followers of Christ? In the consideration of this we cannot but feel that it is the duty of all who know the truth and enjoy the fullness of the Pentecostal baptism to pray earnestly that God may take away the veil and clarify the vision of such, so that they may not only discover their own need, but may also have infinitely broader views of the unspeakable fullness contained in the promise to meet that need. And then we think they will open their mouths wide, and cry out, like the prophet of old, “Drop down ye heavens from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness” (Isa. xlv. 8). Our Lord intended that every longing, thirsty soul in these last days should see that He has provided for such a place of broad rivers and streams; therefore, no more straitness, but living waters all abounding like God’s eternal love, knowing neither measure nor end. The prophet Ezekiel got a sight of this, as may be understood by his vision of living waters. The further he was led out, the deeper he went in, until at last the waters had so risen that it became a river that could not be passed over. The hymn-writer must have had some knowledge of this when he tried to describe it in the following lines:—
“When first in this river I ventured my soul,
The waters of life to my ankles did roll.
A thousand was measured, and still I went in;
It was up to my loins, it was freedom from sin.
Yet I go on to prove it a river,
So wide and so broad I can swim there for ever.”
And, judging from Old Testament Scriptures, and the teaching of our blessed Saviour, we may conclude that the fulfilment of the Holy Spirit of promise to the Church was meant to be like so many mighty Niagaras, exhaustless as eternity, rather than the torrent of a single day.
With a desire to inspire us with hopefulness in our ministry, one writer remarked that mighty prayer, faithful preaching, and confidence in God, would secure a repetition of those wonderful scenes which took place in Apostolic days. There is hope, for God has not forgotten us: the Great Intercessor is in heaven pleading: the Holy Ghost is in the world. The Rev. A. Barnes’ remarks on revivals and Peter’s vindications of the proceedings at Pentecost are very important to all who are interested in this great subject: “From the scene on the day of Pentecost we may learn
(1) that revivals of religion are to be expected as a part of the history of the Christian church. He, Peter, speaks of God’s pouring out of His Spirit, etc., as what was to take place in these last days. His remarks are by no means limited to the day of Pentecost. They are as applicable to future periods as to that time. And we are to expect . . . that the Holy Spirit will be sent down to convert men.
(2) This will also vindicate revivals from all the false charges which have been brought against them. All the objections of irregularity, extravagance, wildfire, enthusiasm, disorder, etc., which have been alleged against revivals in modem times might have been brought with equal propriety against the scene on the day of Pentecost, yet the Apostle shows that that was in accordance with the predictions of the Old Testament saints, and was an undoubted work of the Holy Spirit. If that work could be vindicated, these modern revivals may be. And if they felt deep concern to vindicate it from the charge brought against it, then Christians and Christian ministers now should feel similar solicitude to defend revivals, and not be found among their revilers, their calumniators, or their foes. There will be enemies enough of the work of the Holy Spirit without the aid of professed Christians.” And he further showed that the man who is thus found with the enemies of God is guilty of opposing “the mighty work of the Holy Spirit upon the human heart.”
While Peter yet spake these words the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.’ ‘—Acts X. 44.
IT may be well for us briefly to notice the cause or reason why the Gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on this occasion upon Cornelius and his household. A great majority of Christians hold that the principal reason why the gift was bestowed on this occasion was in order to remove the prejudice that existed in the minds of the Apostles with respect to the right of Gospel privileges being granted to the Gentiles. Prejudice of long standing had been working strongly in many cases, even among some of the foremost followers of Jesus Christ, and such as required more than ordinary means to destroy. But the gift of the Holy Spirit falling upon these Gentiles in the manner it did, together with the circumstances which led up to it, had the effect of not only destroying the prejudice, but through it their small notions of Christianity gave place to infinite expansion. They were able now as never before to grasp the purpose of our Saviour’s mission, as well as the great need for the coming of the Holy Spirit, so that henceforth they were satisfied with nothing less than the world for Christ. And so would it be to-day if in answer to the prayer of faith the Spirit of God would in like manner fall upon us.
Everything goes before a flood; and we believe there is great reason why we should unite in earnest, believing, prayer for such a revival at the present time. Prejudice is not dead yet. The Rev. J. Foster has rightly said: “Prejudice is one of the greatest enemies to human welfare; of all the train of mental ills with which we are afflicted it is one of the most difficult to be eradicated. Prejudice has given protracted vitality to countless social abuses.” He further states that the strongest prejudices are religious. “What is given to us by tradition from our forefathers, familiarised to our earliest associations, we can hardly bring ourselves to question or examine. And we often hold as enemies those who differ from us even in minor points.
As we generally feel more earnestly about religion, to our prejudice here we may trace all those religious feuds and bitter persecutions which have disgraced the page of history. In the context we have a memorable instance of relinquishment of the strongest possible prejudice, so strong even in a good and noble man that direct divine interposition was necessary for its removal.” And God be praised that the same divine power is equal to the occasion at the present day.
What chance would there be for the party spirit, pride, envy, prejudice, and petty jealousies to exist if the flood-gates of the Pentecostal blessing were once more let loose upon us, or if only the right-away was given for this fullness to flow in amongst us? But great as was the benefit which Peter and the rest derived by what had transpired in the household of Cornelius, we must admit that the outpouring of the Spirit on this occasion was not because it was absolutely necessary to abolish the enmity or distinction which had existed so long between Jew and Gentile: that this had attested their admission into the Gospel privileges we do not doubt; but the difference by way of enmity, distinction of race, or respect of persons, was settled by our Saviour’s death on the cross of Calvary, as expressed by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, chapter two, as follows, from verse 13:
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
“For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
“Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
“And that He might reconcile both unto God in one. body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”
As one eminent writer remarked, “To turn the most stubborn prejudice into the most anxious sympathies is the crowning miracle of Jesus Christ.” And we would have thought that the prophecy of Joel, and the many sayings of Jesus, as well as the prophets, pointing out the same truth, would have entered into the mind of Peter, and, together with his own baptism of the Spirit, have burned all party spirit out of his soul. But no; the prejudice of long standing had taken such a strong grip of Peter that he must need have a vision, and witness for himself a definite outpouring of the Spirit upon the Gentiles, before he can be brought to believe or to realise that God is no respecter of persons.
However, while Peter, like many even in our own day, was very slow to get rid of his prejudice, we do not think that he was so slow to discover that next to the fulfilment of prophecy the chief cause why the gift of the Holy Spirit was bestowed on this or any other occasion was because the way had been prepared, the fallow ground had been broken up, and the seed of the living word of God was being received into their hearts. It is astonishing on reading the account of Cornelius to find what preparation had taken place up to the time of Peter’s visit to Caesarea. This, too, we believe, was the great secret which preceded and underlay the results at Pentecost. There had been great preparation going on for some considerable time, both on the part of the Apostles and the unsaved multitudes; much that they had heard, as well as what they had seen taking place before their astonished eyes, must have greatly prepared the way for the outpouring of the Spirit. This Apostolic preparation is wonderfully foreshadowed in the second chapter of Joel, from verse 12, leading up to the promise of the Spirit given in verse 28 :—
“Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
“And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.
“Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat-offering and a drink-offering unto the Lord your God?
“Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly:
“Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.
“Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare Thy people, 0 Lord, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?” . . .
“And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh.”
The same truth holds good with reference to what took place in the city of Samaria. They had been visited on one or two occasions by our Lord himself, and then again by the evangelist Philip, before they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit by the laying-on of the Apostle’s hands. So, likewise, in every case, more or less, where the Spirit of God has been poured out, whether Jerusalem, Caesarea, or any other place, it was not on account of one class being Jews and the other Gentiles, but rather because the conditions had been complied with. After a time of heart-searching and heart-cleansing and soul-filling with the Holy Spirit, the early Christians were able to put in the ploughshare of repentance and turn up the sin-sodden soil of sinners’ hearts, and thereby prepare the way for an outpouring of the Spirit of grace and of supplication. The early Christians were full of the word, full of Christ, full of faith, and full of the Holy Ghost, and thus they were able to turn multitudes from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God.
The success or non-success of the Church in any age is not a question of divine ability or liberality. The resources of the Holy Spirit are infinite, so that He is able at any moment to overwhelm the Church with spiritual power and influences, as well as to flood the world with conviction. The promise in Malachi iii. 10 may become a glorious reality in these last days, if only we comply with the conditions laid down and prove the Lord herewith. Then we shall soon find that the windows of heaven are already open, and that overflowing blessing yet awaits every fully-consecrated soul, and thereby we shall not only have enough for ourselves, but something to pass on for the benefit of other thirsty souls around us.
The age in which we live greatly needs such a mighty Holy Ghost revival. We are in the twentieth century, and nearly nineteen centuries have passed away since our Lord gave the command to make disciples of all nations; yet the greater part of the globe is in heathen darkness, and the Church, with all her machinery does but little more than hold her own, nothing like keeping pace with the increase of immortal souls. At the present day there are some hundreds of millions more in heathen darkness and sin than there were one or two hundred years ago. Beside this, is the sad fact constantly brought before our notice relating to Sabbath desecration, which has increased so very rapidly these last few years, and which has done much towards swelling the ranks of the non-church-goers. And add to this the growing spirit of indifference and disobedience so manifest among the children of the present generation.
Consider also the downgrade tendency with regard to fundamental truths of the Gospel. General Booth gave as his opinion that the chef dangers which confront the present century are a “religion without the Holy Ghost; Christianity without Christ; forgiveness without repentance; salvation without regeneration; politics without God; and heaven without hell.” On the other hand is there not great cause to lament over many in our different churches, who, although they hold the form of sound doctrine, are nevertheless in a Laodicean state, neither cold nor hot; having a form of Godliness, but denying the power thereof? “I am not afraid,” said one, “so much that my children will go into open vice, or that they should become drunkards, thieves, etc., as I am afraid they will get into that formal state which speaks about religion, profess it, amuse them-selves with something connected with it, and yet remain destitute of it.” Yes, this is a delusion that binds many a soul; but a revival shows at once the great gulf there is between a form of religion and the inner life. It shows the depths of sin in a man’s heart—fountains of a great deep lying like waters in the heart of the earth, that none but God can touch, and discovers diseases that nothing but the blood of Christ can heal.
The state of the world and the great need of a remedy is described in a remarkable manner by the late Archdeacon Farrar. “Look at the universal worldliness around us; look at the passionate Mammon-worship, at the reckless competition, at the desecration of Sundays in the mere voluptuous wantonness of pleasure. Look at the dangerous increase of the guilty madness of betting and gambling in every school, office, street, among rich and poor. Look at the rapid degradation of our journalism by the paltry flunkeyism of gossip and the evil malice of slander. Look at the bad and false spirit of our so-called religious newspapers. 0 God, give us saints. 0 God, pour out the Spirit of Thy might, were it but in the hearts of one or two, to slay these dragons and not fear their poisonous breath. 0 Christ, send us but two or three heroes for this new Thermopylae. 0 Holy Ghost, fill but one or two hearts with Thy rushing, mighty wind, and mitre one or two brows with the Pentecostal flame. Priests we have in plenty, and churchmen, but oh, send us men filled with the Holy Ghost”
One distinguished writer remarked: “Whatever our power is now, the coming of the Holy Spirit will magnify and illuminate, so that your individuality will be carried up to its highest expression and significance. And more than that, there will be a development of latent faculties, slumbering powers, the existence of which have never been suspected by your dearest friends. Look for surprises in the Church when the Holy Spirit falls upon it. Dumb men will speak, timid men will put on the lion, and those who had hidden themselves away in obscurity of conscious feebleness will come out and offer themselves at the Lord’s altar to help in the Lord’s service. The resources of the Church will be multiplied in proportion as the Church enjoys the presence and power of the Holy Ghost. The Church knows nothing as yet about the possibilities of divine revelation. No new Bible will be written, but new readers will come. We have learning, and ability, and industry enough; what we want is the baptism of the Holy Ghost; and as rightly expressed by Dr. Cuyler, when speaking of the blessed effects of this baptism: ‘Every grace is quickened, love springs up, and tender sympathy for others; intense solicitude for those who are without God and without hope. Parents will begin to yearn for their unconverted children, and teachers for their unconverted scholars. Hard work will become easy, purses will open at the touch of charity, tongues are unloosed in prayer and testimony for Christ, weakness is clothed with supernatural strength.’”
“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”—Acts vi. 4.
“Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: For as yet He had fallen upon none of them—Acts viii. 15, 16.
WHILE it is true that the Holy Ghost operates upon all nature, He nevertheless has different channels as well as different instruments by which to communicate His power and presence for the accomplishment of His glorious purpose in the awakening of sinners and in the renewal of man’s nature. And one object we have in the present chapter is to call attention to one or two special channels of spiritual communication, viz., the ministry of the word and intercession. Both these ministries in some respects are so interwoven that though there is a distinction they cannot well be separated. It has been well said that prayer and preaching are the right and left side of a living ministry. The Apostles’ resolve was “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
While on the one hand the early Christians went everywhere preaching the word, that word was always preceded and accompanied by the ministry of prayer and intercession. But it is important that we should ever remind ourselves that the ministration of the Holy Spirit is very closely associated with the ministry of the word. For this reason there is often a great lack of the Spirit’s presence, and power in the service where there is a lack of the word in preaching. Not that spiritual power depends upon the quantity of Scriptural quotations.
The great thing is to get our message from God, whether that be the love of God, the gift of God, the atonement for sin, the righteousness of Christ, justification, regeneration, or any other subject; having got our message and God’s thoughts about it, the next important thing is to preach it with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, or as advised by one with regard to this point, “Having selected a subject from the Bible, read all there is about it in the Word of God, get to know everything that is said about it by the Holy Ghost, and thus secure a thorough knowledge of it, for holy men of old declared the mind of the Spirit and not their own (2 Peter i. 21). Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal the inspired word to you, and give you a mind to understand it, a memory to retain it, a heart to love it, and a tongue of fire to proclaim it.”
But more often it is in the utterance of one or two passages of Scripture, or in a short sentence or so, that the power from on high is more especially communicated, and that the chief work is accomplished; as in the case of a sceptic who went to scoff at a well-known Spirit-filled preacher. The very announcement of the text, “Prepare to meet thy God,” was the means of his conversion on the very spot. And as also in a report given of a divinely-anointed clergyman, name of Daniel Rowlands, of Llangeitho, Wales while reading the words, in his own Church service, “By Thine agony and bloody sweat: by Thy cross and passion: by Thy precious death and burial: by Thy glorious resurrection and ascension: and by the coming of the Holy Ghost, good Lord deliver us.” Whereupon the Holy Spirit came upon the congregation in such a manner that the service was almost stopped, and the people, overwhelmed with the spirit of conviction, broke forth into a passion of feeling.
After the same manner, when Jonathan Edwards took for his text the words, “Your feet shall slide in due time,” the Spirit of God came upon the congregation in such a powerful manner that the unconverted felt as though their feet were already sliding down to hell, and in terror cried out, “What shall we do?” and a gracious revival followed. Indeed, instances of a similar kind are too numerous to mention. But, after this manner, His Spiritual presence may be manifested during any part of a religious service. And while we are aware that the Holy Spirit will always honour His own word, we may be sure that He will more fully manifest His presence wherever and whenever wholly relied upon, especially in the utterance of some truth suitable for the occasion. This appeared to have been the case on the day of Pentecost, when Peter declared: “That God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” It follows when they heard this they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the Apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Likewise, in Acts x. 44, it is stated that “while Peter yet spake these words” —viz., words in reference to faith in Jesus Christ for the remission of sins—” the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word.”
In a similar manner the same results at different times have accompanied the preaching of the Gospel through the history of the Church. Moreover, when circumstances made it impossible for the Apostles to preach, God wrought wonders in answer to their prayers, and while admitting that their preaching in the power and demonstration of the Spirit was perfectly irresistible, nothing could stand before their prayers. Bolts and bars, stocks and prisons, had to give way. When their faith got a firm grip of God’s promises there was no such thing as impossibilities to them. Open whatever part we may in the Book of Acts, we drop upon some great Spiritual event. No sooner was the Holy Spirit breathed upon the Apostles than they began to preach and to pray under a new inspiration. Under this new power they prayed and preached multitudes under conviction, and thus they prepared the way for fresh outpouring of the Spirit of grace and of supplication. The same Spiritual power is at our disposal. The Book of Acts, which introduces us to such wonderful events, is unfinished, for the purpose no doubt that the Church in these last days might add other events to the list, even greater perhaps in some respects, because of the possibility of greater and more extensive outpourings of the Holy Spirit.
Dr. M. Simpson says: “We have exemplified in the early Church the power of the Gospel to triumph over all circumstances. It commenced in the age of universal corruption. Outside of Judaea idolatry reigned supreme; licentiousness prevailed; murder and suicides were frequent; the power and wealth of the State were in a few hands; the mass of the people were without means, learning, protection, and a large part was held in slavery. Yet in the midst of all these vices, without a single Bible in the hands of the people, without a Sabbath, and without church edifices, the Gospel made wonderful conquests. Nor were these triumphs secured by any external aid; the disciples received no assistance from the governments or established institutions. The literature, the schools, the influence of society, were against them. Yet the power of God made them conquerors. If the Gospel had such power then, why not now?”
The journals of George Fox and others of the early Friends have furnished us with some remarkable events resulting from their prayers and preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit. On some occasions, when they met in prayer concerning some matter of special importance with reference to the cause of Jesus Christ, churches and buildings were shaken just as really as in Apostolic days. Often such overwhelming conviction accompanied their preaching that their hearers were seized with great trembling and quaking on account of their sins.
After the same manner the fallow ground was broken up and the soil prepared for fresh outpourings of the Holy Spirit, under the preaching of Whitefield, and Wesley, and many others of the early Methodists, as was the case under the preaching of Bishop Ashbury, Abbott, the Tennents, President Edwards, Dr. Finney, James Caughey; and besides these God raised up such men as Richard Weaver, Henry Moorhouse, Mr. Moody, and other Spirit-filled men that prepared the way for blessing, and were instrumental in bringing thousands of sinners to the feet of the Saviour. And Charles Richardson, well known as “the Lincolnshire Thrasher,” after a special anointing of the Holy Spirit, became mighty through God in pulling down the strongholds of sin and Satan.
Some of the greatest revivals the world has ever known had their origin in prayer. This was the case in the great American revival of 1857 and ‘58, the greatest perhaps that has taken place since the days of the Apostles. It is stated that no less than 300,000 souls, during that revival, decided for Christ. But from almost the very commencement of that wonderful awakening a number of the churches turned their preaching services into prayer meetings. President Finney, speaking in reference to this, said: “There was a general confidence in the prevalence of prayer, that people seemed to prefer prayer to preaching. The general impression seemed to be: “We have had instruction until we are hardened; it is time to pray.’ Answers to prayer were constant and striking. The windows of heaven were opened, and the Spirit of God poured out like a flood.” We are all more or less acquainted with the fact that it first originated with one praying believer in the Fulton Street Prayer Meeting in New York, but it will take all eternity to tell the full results of such a widespread revival.
The ministry of prayer was the principal means used of God in bringing about the great Irish revival of 1859. We are told that it originated in a schoolhouse where four young men were in the habit of meeting for prayer. But the chief instrument used of God in promoting that revival was a man who was lightly esteemed by the Church, and not accepted as a preacher. Yet he was a man who, like Moses and Elijah, knew the worth of prayer, and with others like himself felt persuaded to believe that what God had wrought in America He could accomplish in Ireland, and in answer to their prayers very soon a mighty flood of revival swept over the thirsty land.
The great awakening that took place under the preaching of the Rev. John Livingstone, in Shots, Scotland, was the result of a whole night spent in prayer by the Christians that God would anoint His servant with power to preach the Gospel and for the pouring out of His Spirit upon the unsaved. And, it came to pass that when Mr. Livingstone came to fulfil his appointment such a number of people had come together to hear the word that there was no room for them in the kirk, so that the service had to be conducted in the graveyard. He took for his text Ezekiel xxxvi. 25, 26, 27: “Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” And while preaching from these words the Spirit of God came upon the congregation, in a very powerful manner, and over 500 souls decided for Christ, beside other cases that were brought to light afterward. The writer had the privilege of visiting the above kirk and reading the account on the same spot where the sermon was preached.
Christmas Evans, the Welsh preacher, tells us in his diary of one occasion when, after spending three hours in a wood waiting upon God in prayer, broken with sorrow, “There stole over me a sweet sense of His forgiving love. As the sun was westering I went back to the road, found my horse, mounted it, and went to my appointment. On the following day I preached with such power to a vast concourse of people gathered on the hillside, that a revival broke out that day and spread through the whole Principality.”
John Elias, the great Welsh preacher, after much prayer and supplication, with great brokenness of heart, more especially because of the inhabitants of a very godless district, who for years had been in the habit of holding a fair on a certain Sabbath day, in the strength of the Lord prepared for the occasion, and was able to preach with such power and unction that a mighty revival took place, and from then there was never known to be another fair held on the Sabbath. Speaking of another occasion, the Rev. Paxton Hood says: “In the whole neighbourhood the state of religion was very low, and distressingly discouraging to pious minds, and it had been so for many years. Elias felt that his visit must be an occasion with him. It may be almost said of that day, ‘He prayed, and the heavens gave rain.’ He went. He took as his text, ‘Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered.’ It was an astonishing time. While the preacher drove along with tremendous power, multitudes of the people fell to the ground. Calm stood the man, his words rushing from him like flames of fire. There were added to the churches of that immediate neighbourhood in consequence of the impetus of that sermon 2,500 souls.”
Mr. Moody tells of an old deacon in a city in Michigan who was connected with a church that had had no conversions for sixteen years. He came to his deathbed, and felt that he could not die in peace. He sent for the minister, but he had been accustomed to the darkness too long to be easily awakened. Failing with all the male members of the church, he sent for the ladies, and pleaded with them to pray for a revival. They prayed and fasted before God. In a little while the whole church was moved. “I received a despatch from the minister. On my arrival he took me into a room filled with these ladies praying that the Lord would reveal His power. I felt as soon as I entered that God was there. The next night the power came, and in forty-eight hours there was scarcely a young man or young woman that was not converted to God or anxious to be saved.”
The ministry of prayer was the one special feature in connection with the great Spiritual awakening that took place during the missions conducted by the late Rev. Robert Aitken (Father of the Church Missions). Some years ago the writer had the privilege of attending a mission conducted by this dear servant of God in Cardiff, Wales. One of the things which greatly impressed many who attended that mission, and which some of us have not been able to forget, was the stress that he laid upon the power of united prayer. Much blessing was realised during this mission, although Cardiff was not moved to any very great extent.
However, we well remember the very remarkable awakening which took place shortly afterward during a mission conducted by Mr. Aitken in Newport, Mon. He had but little more than commenced his mission, when it appeared as if the Spirit of God fell suddenly upon the whole town, and moved it from centre to circumference. Sinners on all hands were brought under deep conviction for sin, and inquiring what they might do to be saved, and in a short time a multitude both of men and women of all ages decided for Jesus Christ. Many of us were at a loss to know why it was that such an awakening had taken place in Newport over Cardiff, until the secret was made known that two Christian brothers had long been in the habit of meeting together in prayer for an outpouring of God’s Spirit upon the town. And we must admit that every remarkable outpouring of God’s Spirit has always been granted in answer to faithful prayer. The great revival, even in Ezra’s time, when he and others preached from morning until mid-day to a congregation of 50,000 people before the Water Gate of Jerusalem, was preceded by an extraordinary season of devotion. This we may learn from Ezra’s own account of it.
THE most successful revivals in which it has been our privilege to take part during a number of years were those preceded and accompanied with much of the ministry of prayer, therefore our experience fully confirms what has been stated in the former chapter. Again and again we have known it come to pass, where godly people have been in the habit of meeting in prayer for a time of Spiritual awakening, that a whole town or district has been brought under a divine influence; and as a result sinners on many occasions were so deeply convicted that on speaking to them at their doors, they have besought us to pray with them that they might receive forgiveness of their sins. Thus, in house after house, souls have been brought to a knowledge of the truth while visiting and inviting them to the meetings. Moreover, in some cases, in answer to the prayer of faith, we have known conviction to fall suddenly upon a place; and a revival has commenced straight away without any previous announcement or any former intention to hold a meeting.
Many will ever remember how God wrought in answer to prayer some few years ago in the north of London. During the first part of that mission we turned our preaching and testimony meetings into prayer meetings. After a time of waiting upon God in prayer for a special filling of the Holy Spirit, we commenced to pray earnestly for an outpouring of God’s Spirit upon the unsaved around us. This continued for several nights in succession. The result was that many who attended the meetings were so deeply convicted for sin that it was with difficulty they reached their homes. One man was so deeply wrought upon by the Spirit of conviction that, like De Grelett, who was suddenly arrested by what seemed to him to be like an awful voice, crying, “Eternity! eternity! eternity! “—it reached his very soul. His whole frame shook, and, like Saul, he fell to the ground and called upon the name of the Lord.
In like manner this broken-hearted sinner, who had formerly been a bitter persecutor of God’s people, was arrested so suddenly that he fell helpless on the street, and sought for mercy and asked forgiveness for the wrong he had done. At the same time a barman, deeply convicted of his sinful life, went to his knees and sought for mercy behind the counter, and it was not long before he was soundly converted, and soon obtained a better situation. During one of these meetings, when we felt that the power of the Lord was very present, we requested all those who desired an interest in our prayers that they might give themselves to the Saviour to raise their right hand. One young man did so in mockery, which was soon detected. He was advised not to do so, but refused to take warning, and did so again, but on this occasion his arm remained fixed so that he could not bring it down again. He was greatly alarmed, and the fear of the Lord came upon him and others of the unsaved.
However, after much pleading on his behalf, his arm was released. Some after leaving the meetings unsaved arose from their beds, and in distress of soul walked out of doors and sought mercy in the streets. Others were so alarmed by remarkable dreams and visions in the night that they cried unto the Lord in their distress, and in His mercy He saved them. Many who had been totally indifferent to Spiritual things could scarcely eat, drink, work, or sleep, until they came and sought and found the Saviour. This revival continued in the power of the Spirit until a multitude of all classes had passed from death into life, and a wonderful change came over the whole district.
The writer has often felt more encouraged by the blessings that have come through the ministry of prayer than those coming through any other channel, and we feel fully persuaded that there is no place under heaven, however corrupt and sinful, but it is possible for a change to be brought about in answer to earnest, believing prayer. During a visit to the Wild West the writer was asked to preach in the town of W—, which, humanly speaking, was a veritable hell. The minister assured him of the fact that it was one of the darkest and hardest places in the whole district. Many efforts had been made to bring about a revival, but hitherto all had proved a failure. “ The only encouragement,” said he, “we can give, is the promise that we will unite in prayer for you.” When the Sabbath came we felt the truth of the minister’s remarks, especially when partly through the night service: it was like preaching against a dead wall, the words seemed to fall back again. But in the time of our extremity was God’s opportunity. In absolute reliance upon the Lord, prayer was breathed inwardly for help; nor was the writer disappointed, for suddenly the Holy Spirit’s power fell upon us and soon changed the character of the whole meeting, and several stout-hearted sinners in deep penitence came forward to seek the Saviour. The influence spread rapidly, so that on leaving the district shortly afterward the minister and other Christian workers expressed their deep gratitude to God for what had come to pass, for, said they, “ever since that Sunday night the whole place has been brought under a wave of divine conviction.”
But we desire to call attention to a very important feature associated with the commencement of most true spiritual revivals, and which, perhaps, is not sufficiently recognised; that is, that they generally originate among praying Christians who represent the inner circle of the members of our different churches. The following experience of the writer may help to illustrate this truth. I well recollect when living in London, receiving an invitation to conduct a mission in rather a ritualistic parish in the north of England. Prior to my going, I wrote to the Vicar (who, by the way, had just before been brought into fuller light and spiritual blessing), expressing my wish to meet all the Christians at a stated time on the Saturday evening for spiritual counsel and prayer in preparation for the mission.
On my arrival the Vicar very kindly told me that he had done according to my wish, but was very sorry to have to confess that out of the whole of the membership in connection with his church, he only knew of about three or four at the outside that understood anything about true conversion; therefore, he hoped I would not feel discouraged. After a little refreshment I was taken to the room arranged for the meeting, but found that only half-a-dozen had responded to the invitation. I felt determined that I would not appear as if in any way discouraged, and therefore did my best to try and inspire the rest with a spirit of hopefulness for the mission. After the opening hymn and prayer, I pointed out to them that God’s plan is to commence with the inner circle and then make use of them to reach the outer circles. I reminded them that there was only a small portion of our Saviour’s followers that were assembled in the upper room at Jerusalem, and that none of the 500 who saw Him at one time had put in their appearance; but our Lord did not on that account withhold His blessing from the few, but after preparing and filling them with the Holy Spirit He then made use of them as His instruments to save the multitudes that were outside.
And so now if only willing to be out and out for the Lord, to be emptied of self and filled with the Spirit, God would be sure to make use of us, especially as He is “not straitened to save by many or by few,” and we might be certain if we were only willing to let the Lord make a move upon us that we would soon be able by His strength to make a move upon others. I then suggested that we might fill up the rest of the time in prayer, and as there were not many of us there would be an opportunity for each one to offer a short prayer. I, however, impressed upon them, before praying for others, or the outside world, to pray that their own hearts might be fully prepared, sanctified, and made meet for the Master’s use. While speaking these words the presence of the Lord became so manifest that straightway I asked for someone to lead in prayer. But at this they appeared to be greatly confounded; they had not brought their prayer books with them, and what were they to do? No one seemed to be able to lead off except that the Vicar offered a short prayer; but, presently, after having put on a little more pressure, a dear brother (I think the schoolmaster) made a beginning.
He commenced in the following manner, “O Lord, we have a great many people living in our parish that never attend our church; we would like very much for them to come.” In a moment I felt impressed that he knew nothing about salvation himself; so, reaching over large table in the centre of the room, I gently touched him on the shoulder, and said, “Let the parish alone, man, and pray that God may have mercy upon your own soul.” I need hardly say that the Vicar and one or two of the sidesmen looked wonderfully scared! But I was fully convinced that I was doing the right thing; therefore got into closer quarters with him, and after a little straight talk about the plan of salvation, he presently broke down, and with a penitent heart prayed for the Lord to have mercy upon him, a poor, miserable sinner. This was followed by another, and then another, each praying earnestly for the forgiveness of sin, and that they might be made new creatures in Christ Jesus. That same night, out of that half-dozen, three sinners decided for Jesus Christ, and a backslider was restored to the joy of His salvation. After this we were all able to join in prayer for an outpouring of God’s Spirit upon the unsaved around; and, God be praised! in a short time the whole parish was brought under deep conviction for sin, and each day during the month’s mission sinners both old and young wept their way to the Saviour.
My experience during the mission in the above parish gave me a strong impression that one of the best cures for Ritualism or Romanism either is some real Holy Ghost prayer meetings. And surely it is possible that in any church or parish some two or three may be found who know enough of God to be in favour of a cottage prayer meeting. Doors may open this way sooner than many others, and it is possible we may be able to pray Christ into people’s hearts when we cannot so well preach Him in. And where He gets fully enthroned all other things which have hitherto taken His place will soon have to give way and move out.
Only eternity can fully reveal what obstacles to revivals have been removed in answer to faithful prayer. This may be gathered to some extent from the following account. At the very commencement of a mission held in one of our principal towns we were faced with a grave difficulty. Correctly speaking, it was a case very similar to that of Jacob and Esau. When inviting people to the special services their replies were, “We are not going there; that is where the brothers hate one another.” It was soon revealed to us that two of the stewards, who were brothers, had been at enmity between themselves for a long time; their grievances had become so strong that they would not recognise one another as brothers in the flesh, and if by chance they met would go the opposite sides of the street. Prayer was made without ceasing to God by the Church on their behalf. During the first week the younger steward was sufficiently restored to be willing to be reconciled to his brother.
The presence and power of God was very manifest on the following Sunday night, so that everyone thought the elder brother would remain to the after-meeting and become reconciled. Instead of this, to the grief of all present, he deliberately walked out. We could not but think how true are the words of Scripture with regard to such, viz., “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.” However, the Christians prayed the more earnestly that he would be made so deeply conscious of his wrong as to be compelled to return, and to God be the praise, that in less than the space of one half-hour he returned. The moment the younger brother saw him coming up the aisle, he rose to meet him. The impression made by the loving manner in which they greeted each other as they fell upon each other’s neck and wept cannot easily be described. The whole congregation broke down, and nearly every sinner in the building came forward to seek the Saviour, and to God be the glory, the greater part of them are standing firm to this day.
The writer can well remember being asked, some years ago, to conduct a mission in the town of M——. The majority of the male inhabitants were employed at a large iron and steel foundry, but owing to a great drop in the price of iron and steel, the masters, for some considerable time, had to keep the works going more for the benefit of the men than anything else. But as matters got worse they felt at last compelled to reduce the wages. This resulted in a terrible strike, which commenced about the same time as the mission. Of course, as generally is the case, there was a lot of misunderstanding between the men and their masters; and being that some of our chief helpers were associated with the works, we soon felt that we had a strong tide of opposition to contend against, and for a while the great bulk of the people appeared to become totally indifferent to everything of a spiritual nature.
Realising our utter helplessness, a few of us sought out a secret spot where we could get quite alone with God, and through the merits of Jesus Christ, and in reliance upon the Holy Spirit, we soon felt that we had got into the secret place of the Most High; and as day after day we met together and poured out our souls in prayer we began to feel that we were doing business with Heaven; and it was not long before we got the assurance that God had answered our prayers, and could heartily praise God for the victory that would follow. While a great many had hung their harps upon the willows, we were able to shout and sing God’s praises through the streets. I well recollect, among other things, we prayed very definitely that God would help the men to be content with their wages, or by the order of His providence cause the price of iron and steel to go up; and to the surprise of a great many, the latter in a most remarkable manner took place, so that the hands were able to return to their employment without any reduction in their wages. Since that time the mission has continued to flourish, and the works have become one of the most prosperous of the kind in the country.
Introduction. To Second Edition. A Special Call To Prayer For A World-Wide Revival
Chapter 1. A Repetition Of The Pentecostal Grace To Be Expected In The Last Days
Chapter 2. Chief Reason Why The Spirit Was Poured Out Upon Cornelius' Household -- Preparation Needed
Chapter 3. The Ministry Of The Word And Of Intercession
Chapter 4. Times Of Refreshing From The Presence Of The Lord - Acts iii. 19
Chapter 5. Ministry Of Song A Channel Of Blessing
Chapter 6. Ministry Of Testimony A Channel Of Blessing
Chapter 7. Personal Dealing
Chapter 8. Spiritual Atmosphere: How Created And Continued
Chapter 9. The Conversion Of Children, And Responsibility Of Superintendents And Teachers
Chapter 10. Pentecost: How Retained: And Why Revivals Continued
Chapter 11. Apostolic Prayer Meeting And Its Success
Chapter 12. Duty Of Ministers To Furnish Their Hearers With The Knowledge Of A Full Gospel
Conclusion. Some Results Which We May Expect From A Pentecostal Revival