Will you not revive us again: that your people may rejoice in you?
I. A REVIVAL IS GREATLY NEEDED. Compare our lives with those of , Brainerd, Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, M'Cheyne, Baxter, Whitefield. Think of their love for souls, their zealous labours, their self-denials, their communion with God. Why, beside such men our piety is scarcely discoverable even by the aid of a microscope.
II. IT CAN COME FROM GOD ONLY. The land in India is parched and dried up for want of rain; where are the reviving showers to come from? Can a council of her wise men by consulting each other obtain it? No; from above it must come. We too, are dry and parched, and all our talk and schemes and Church organization will do nothing, unless the showers fall upon us from above. In tills matter we are absolutely dependent upon God. I have heard of men and Churches trying to "get up" revivals. Got-up revivals end in spiritual dearth, or, worse still, spiritual death. They must be brought down to be of any service.
III. CAN WE OBTAIN REVIVAL? IF SO, HOW?
1. I believe we can, because —
(1) Of the promises God has made in this respect (Malachi 3:10; Isaiah 44:3; Zechariah 12:10).
(2) All who have ever earnestly and truly sought one have obtained it. Think of the times of Baxter, of Bunyan, of Burns, of Flavel, of Finney, of Wesley, of Whitefield, of M'Cheyne. In our isle, and lands beyond the seas, God has poured out His Spirit. Lord, Thou hast revived others; wilt Thou not revive us? Thou hast revived us in days past; wilt Thou not revive us again?
(3) Revivals are a part of God's method of accomplishing His purposes, and without them the world can. not be converted.
2. How are we to obtain it?
(1) There must be a determination on the part of each member of the Church to have a better state of things. A revival must be desired before God will give it.
(2) There must be on the part of each one of us sorrow of heart for our coldness and backslidings, full confession of sin to God, the giving up of every known sin, and the earnest petition, "Cleanse thou me from secret faults."(3) There must be also on behalf of sinners soul travail (Isaiah 66:8). In this there is deep philosophy: 'tis the mother who has felt the birth-pangs that loves and cares for the child as no other can. And 'tie those who have wrestled with God for the conversion of men, who know how to care for them when converted.
IV. WHAT WILL BE THE RESULTS OF A REVIVAL WHEN OBTAINED?
1. It generally affects the minister, first and most. His lips are touched with the live coal from off the altar; he is clad with zeal as with a cloak. He has an unction from the Holy One resting upon him.
2. The deacons and all the members feel a kind of spell come over them. They don't neglect family prayer now. They don't forget to read their Bible now. All is changed, and things are as they should be.
3. Sinners who have listened for years, now, upon confession of their faith, wish to be baptized.
4. Then shall all the members of our Church be glad and rejoice in the Lord.
(W. W. Williams.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?