Then said he to me, Prophesy to the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus said the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds…
What in its grand sum total was the moral condition of the world till Christ lived and died and rose again, and ascending up on high from thence gave gifts unto men? Contemplate that world, not as clothed in that false glamour and deceitful glory with which art and poetry invested it, but as it must have presented itself to eyes purer than to behold iniquity, contemplate it, I say, exactly on that Pentecostal day, which we may justly call the birthday of the Church; — only one small people upon the whole earth preserving the knowledge, the faith, the worship of the true God; and they only using this knowledge to sin more guiltily, because against clearer light and knowledge, than the other nations of the world; their hands still red with the blood of Him whom they should have welcomed as their King and their God; — the rest of the world "wholly given to idolatry"; and with idolatry to what strange and hideous forms of evil! Contemplate for an instant the gladiatorial shows of Rome, men killing one another to make sport for lookers. on; by tens and by hundreds "butchered to make a Roman holiday." Contemplate, but with hasty and averted eye, the strange lusts of Greece, men glorying in their shame, and boasting of wickednesses which one would have thought no darkness would have seemed to them dark enough to hide. Then, when all things were thus at the worst, the Son of God was manifested in the flesh, lived a life of perfect obedience, made on His Cross a perfect offering for all the sins, past, present, and to come, of all mankind; rose again, went up on high, and, being exalted at the right hand of God, shed abroad His gifts upon men, even the rebellious. And when they that were ambassadors of His grace, at His bidding began to prophesy, immediately there was a great shaking among the dry bones in the valley of death, everywhere a mighty agitation; life once more was in conflict with and overcoming death! and as the breath of God passed first over the Jewish Church, and then over the Gentile world, and breathed upon those slain, multitudes came up out of their graves, the graves which sin had dug for them, — three thousand souls, we know, on the day of Pentecost, were the first-fruits of a far mightier harvest, — and all stood upon their feet, an exceeding great army of living men, made now by that quickening breath of the Holy Ghost alive unto God. And ever as these messengers of Christ, and such as in succession took up the message from their lips, the same effects followed; the Holy Ghost was given; and multitudes, alienated hitherto from the life of God, dead in their sins, lived to holiness and to God. Sad it is to think that there should have been ever pause or remission in such a blessed work of reanimation as this. But that such pause or remission has been we cannot deny. Death reigns not now everywhere, as once; but yet, oh! how much death, how much that has refused and is still refusing to live. Not to speak of those whom the false religions of the world, Hindu and Buddhist and Mohammedan, have slain, nor yet of the votaries and victims of a thousand meaner superstitions and idolatries, is not Christendom itself a spectacle at this day which well might make angels weep? For surely the slain in it are many — those whom superstition has slain, and those whom infidelity has slain — the slain by intemperance, covetousness, uncleanness, pride, and a thousand other weapons of the enemy; — who could number up their multitudes? Pray, ye who have any feeling sense of what the Church of the living God ought to be, terrible in its serried ranks as an army with banners, and what it is, resembling as it does only too nearly a valley of dry bones — pray, as did the prophet of old, "Come from the four winds," etc. And as prayer is a mockery, unless work is added to it, add in one shape or another your work to your prayers.
Parallel VersesKJV: Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.