Habakkuk 3:2
O LORD, I have heard the report of You; I stand in awe, O LORD, of Your deeds. Revive them in these years; make them known in these years. In Your wrath, remember mercy!
Sermons
God's Work in the Midst of the YearsLeonard Bacon, D. D.Habakkuk 3:2
God's Work RevivedHugh Allen, M. A.Habakkuk 3:2
Habakkuk's PrayerT. Mortimer, A. M.Habakkuk 3:2
How Can a Church be Brought into a Revival ConditionA. J. Gordon, D. D.Habakkuk 3:2
Lent, a Season of Revival to the SoulHabakkuk 3:2
Lessons of the ReformationJ. B. Remensnyder, D. D.Habakkuk 3:2
Means of Promoting the Revival of ReligionJames Rudge, D. D.Habakkuk 3:2
Nature and Origin of RevivalsE. Bickersteth, A. M.Habakkuk 3:2
On Revivals of ReligionW. Thayer.Habakkuk 3:2
Prayer for RevivalS.D. Hillman Habakkuk 3:2
Religious RevivalsHomilistHabakkuk 3:2
RevivalB. Bailey.Habakkuk 3:2
RevivalA. Stirling.Habakkuk 3:2
Revival in the Midst of the YearsJ. Leckie, D. D.Habakkuk 3:2
Revival of the Lord's WorkJames Glen, A. M.Habakkuk 3:2
Revival of the Lord's WorkJohn Lindsay.Habakkuk 3:2
RevivalismR. H. Haddew, B. A.Habakkuk 3:2
RevivalsHabakkuk 3:2
RevivalsThoughts for Week Evening Services.Habakkuk 3:2
Revivals Commence with the FewA. J. Gordon, D. D.Habakkuk 3:2
Spiritual RevivalJohn F. Haynes, LL. D.Habakkuk 3:2
Spiritual Revival, the Want of the ChurchCharles Haddon Spurgeon Habakkuk 3:2
Stimulants not Required for a RevivalA. J. Gordon, D. D.Habakkuk 3:2
The Law of RevivalsS. D. Burchard, D. D.Habakkuk 3:2
The Limitations of Divine WrathHabakkuk 3:2
The Necessity of a Great Spiritual Change Throughout TheJames Parsons.Habakkuk 3:2
The Revival of God's Work ImploredSketches of Four Hundred SermonsHabakkuk 3:2
The Revival of the Lord's WorkW. Horwood.Habakkuk 3:2
God Devoutly AddressedHomilistHabakkuk 3:1-2
God Devoutly AddressedD. Thomas Habakkuk 3:1, 2
The revival of God's work stands intimately connected with prayer. The Holy Spirit is the Author of all true quickening of the Divine life in the souls of men, and his renewing and sanctifying influences are secured in response to earnest supplication (Ezekiel 36:37; Malachi 3:10; Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1). "It is visionary to expect an unusual success in the human administration of religion unless there were unusual omens. Now, an emphatic spirit of prayer would be such an omen. And if the whole or greater number of the disciples of Christianity were, with an earnest unfailing resolution of each, to combine that Heaven should not withhold one single influence which the very utmost effort of conspiring and persevering supplication would obtain, it would be the sign of a revolution of the world being at hand" (John Foster). Observe -

I. PRAYER FOR REVIVAL INVOLVES AN INTELLIGENT APPREHENSION OF THE STATE OF THE AGE, AND THE CHURCH IN THE AGE, IN WHICH IT IS OFFERED. The language of the prophet in the former part of his prophecy indicates the possession by him of an insight into the character and needs both of the Hebrew nation and Church in his day; and this acquaintance prepared his mind and heart for pleading so earnestly for a revival of God's work Our own age and the state of religion in it claims our thoughtful regard. Reflection upon it will show the imperative need there is for the possession of a higher measure of spirituality, consecration, Christian intelligence and courage, and will impel the utterance of the earnest cry, "O Lord, revive thy work" (ver. 2).

II. PRAYER FOR REVIVAL WILL BE PROMPTED BY ANXIOUS CONCERN IN VIEW OF THE EVIL CONSEQUENCES RESULTING FROM THE PREVAILING DEGENERACY. "O Lord," cried the prophet, "I have heard thy speech, and I was afraid." Jehovah had spoken unto him in vision, unfolding the terrible judgments which should overtake his people in consequence of their apostasy, and this vision of coming Divine chastisement filled him with terror; and with the real concern of a true patriot in view of the disastrous issue to which, through the prevailing iniquity, the national interests were tending, he implored Divine interposition and help ("O Lord, revive," etc.). The Christian patriot in our own land has reason for anxious solicitude as he views the present in its relation to the future. He knows that there is danger lest the temporal prosperity enjoyed in this age should result in the cherishing of pride, in conformity to the world, and in apathy in holy service; and lest the intellectual activity prevailing should lead to the weakening of conviction, the cherishing of doubt, and resulting in complete indifference in relation to spiritual realities. All this occasions him serious concern, which is intensified as he beholds multitudes in whom these dire effects have been already wrought; and in this spirit of solicitude he is led to the throne of grace, and to cry with impassioned earnestness, "O Lord, revive thy work."

III. PRAYER FOR REVIVAL IS EVER DIRECTED TO THE SECURING OF SPIRITUAL RESULTS. "In wrath remember mercy" (ver. 2). The seer knew by revelation that his nation, owing to its sinfulness, should be overtaken by judgment, and should fall into the power of the Chaldeans; and in his prayer he did not ask for the reversal of this. Divine wrath must follow transgression, but he prayed that in the midst of this God would "remember mercy," in other words, that he would so interpose as to sanctify the dark experiences looming in the future, drawing his erring people nearer to himself, so that they might trustfully pass through the painful discipline in store for them, and come out of it at length purified as gold. And so ever true prayer for revival seeks the spiritual renewal of men; it solicits the manifestation of the Divine mercy in delivering the plants of his own planting from the blighting effects of sin, and in causing them to abound in all holy excellence and grace.

IV. PRAYER FOR REVIVAL IS IMPATIENT OF DELAY. It seeks a present blessing. "In the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known" (ver. 2); i.e. without lingering, without postponement, forthwith, in the seer's own time. "How long, O Lord, how long?" "Thy kingdom come;" "It is time for thee to work." - S.D.H.







O Lord, revive Thy work.
I. WHAT IS MEANT BY THE WORK OF THE LORD, AND ITS REVIVAL?

1. It may mean the work of creation. Or the preservation and government of the world. At other times it means the works of Christ; or the work of the ministry.

2. What is meant by a revival of this work?(1) A deeper work of grace in the hearts of those who are the children of God by faith in Jesus Christ.(2) When the number of believers increases. When conviction seizes the hearts of sinners, and causes them to become true penitents; when that conviction ends in true conversion.

II. WHAT IS COMPREHENDED IN THIS PRAYER?

1. That the Lord would pour out of His Spirit upon His people, and accomplish in them His gracious promises.

2. That the Lord would have mercy upon sinners.

3. That the end may be answered for which Jesus Christ came into the world, the Spirit was given, and ordinances instituted.

III. WHAT INDUCES THE SAINTS THUS TO PRAY?

1. The love they have to the children of God.

2. The love they have to sinners.

3. The hatred they have to sin.

4. A desire that all those evils may be removed out of the world which are the consequences of sin.

5. The promises of God.

IV. WHAT MANNER OF PERSON OUGHT HE TO BE WHO THUS PRAYS? In order to ensure a suitable correspondence between his prayer and practice —

1. He himself must abstain from every appearance of evil.

2. The person who prays for a revival must use all the means in his power to do good. By example, reproof, speech in season, etc.

3. He must cultivate a spirit of tender affection for all his Christian friends, that love and unity may reign in the Church.

(B. Bailey.)

This prophecy was probably written during the reign of the good King Josiah, who attempted a serious religious reformation. It proved to be only partial and temporary. It was reluctant and counterfeit on the part of many of the people; as was evinced by their speedy return to idolatrous practices after the untimely death of the distinguished reformer. What was the "burden" the prophet saw? It was intimated to him that the decree of God was unalterable, and that the day of visitation was at hand; and the very people are named who should be the instrument of God's righteous judgments on treacherous Judah. Turn now to the exercise in which the prophet engaged, in the certain anticipation of national calamity. It was the exercise of prayer. In his prayer there were three special petitions. Although the condition of his countrymen was dangerous, and their banishment inevitable, yet so long as a remnant was preserved, their case was not desperate. If he could not see his friends reformed and regenerated in their native country, he would plead for their conversion in a foreign land. "O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years." This is an earnest supplication for the revival of God's work of grace, in the hearts of His people, in the time of outward distress. Do this "in the midst of the years," that is, during the seventy years of captivity. While these melancholy years pass heavily along, let the work of repentance commence; let the tears of godly sorrow flow. The second petition is, "In the midst of the years make known." Make known Thy character, and perfection, and grace, during the years of captivity, to those now estranged from Thee. If they were unmindful of Thee in the time of prosperity; in the day of adversity let them consider. Make Thy faithfulness known as a God still in covenant with them, as still willing to be reconciled to them. The third petition is, "In wrath remember mercy." Wrath is incurred, judgment is threatened, the sword is unsheathed, and vengeance must be inflicted. But see how the man of God perseveres in prayer. If judgment may not be altogether averted, it may be mitigated. We must bear the indignation of the Lord, in submitting to slavery in a foreign land, and in being deprived of the soul-refreshing ordinances of religion. But, gracious Father, "in wrath remember mercy." It were easy to prove that all the petitions in this prayer were literally and remarkably fulfilled. That there was a revival of religion during the captivity, may be proved from the grateful and devout sentiments of the captives in the announcement of their enlargement. "When the Lord turned again the captivity," etc. We find a confirmation also in the character of those who returned from Babylon. God had evidently granted them, in the words of Ezra, "a little reviving"; and their first care on their return to Palestine was to rebuild the temple, which was lying in ruins. And as a decisive proof that the prayer of the prophet had received a gracious answer during the captivity, we find that the Jews were henceforward cured of what may be called their hereditary and besetting sin — the degrading and God-dishonouring sin of idolatry. The second part of the prophet's prayer was not less clearly answered. Was not much made known to Ezekiel, by the spirit of prophecy, during the captivity? Was not much made known to Daniel? Behold then the efficacy and fruit of prayer. The third part of the prayer was as remarkably answered as the other two parts. "In wrath remember mercy" In every circumstance that tended to mitigate the rigour of their bondage, God was fulfilling the prayer of the prophet. Learn —

1. That sin incurs the displeasure of God.

2. That prayer is the only way of averting the judgments of God.

3. That the extension of religious knowledge is the only rational means for effecting a national reformation.

4. That while Jehovah is the Supreme Governor of the universe, religion is His great work in the world.

(James Glen, A. M.)

I. WHAT, IN A CHRISTIAN SENSE, IS A REVIVAL OF RELIGION? It cannot better be described than by a representation of its origin and effect in the case of individuals and Christian communities. When is there a revival of religion in individuals? Suppose such as need this revival to consist of two classes. One made up of such as have a "form of godliness." They have a general faith in Christianity, and educational relations with it, and they do not openly violate any of its moral rules. Still, these persons may be examples of a sort of negative religion only. They may be spiritually inanimate and drowsy. If these men are the subjects of a genuine religious revival, their lukewarmness is abandoned. Then there is in them a consistency of character. The other class is formed of the notoriously abandoned and corrupt. In these, there is a general abdication of restraint, both moral and religious. When these are the subjects of a revival, their moral taste is changed. Their hatred of sin is excited. Their respect for Divine ordinances is enkindled. Survey the operation of a revival of religion on Christian communities. Since the first age of the Gospel, Churches and societies have been found in the lukewarm condition of the Church in Laodicea. A more awful state of a Christian community is supposable, a state not merely of lukewarmness, but of positive corruption and wickedness. If a revival of religion take place, there will be an united, vigorous, persevering effort, on the part of the members, to display in all its excellence and worth the Christian character. Nor is this revival manifest in things exclusively religious. It will appear in their worldly and social state; in their habits of industry and sobriety, etc. Give the reasons why the class of Christians, denominated liberal, have not thought favourably of, nor promoted revivals.

1. The means used to bring them about do not appear to be in accordance with the spirit and instructions of Scripture.(1) These means are heated and impassioned addresses to the feelings and passions, tending to produce an unnatural excitement of the imagination, and of the whole man, which interrupts cool reflection, and a sober and edifying attendance on religious duties. What an entire contrast do these means exhibit to those adopted by the Saviour and His apostles!(2) The persons who are held up to the world as having experienced a revival of religion, too often display fruits which are equally at variance with the test of character established by Him who spake as never man spake. Review the lessons of Jesus, enforcing secret devotion, guarding His disciples against ostentation and vain boasting, inculcating upon them humility. We cannot persuade ourselves to believe that a suspension of Christian charity is evangelical proof of advancement in religion.(3) The reason which has equally operated with others, is a knowledge of the unhappy consequences which have followed. Review the state of our Churches and towns. Where such revivals have been brought about, there will be seen a multiplication of religious societies; Christians engaged in bitter contentions and controversies; members of families alienated from each other.

II. WHAT ARE THE MEANS BY WHICH A TRULY CHRISTIAN REVIVAL OF RELIGION MAY BE BROUGHT ABOUT?

1. Every member of society, however ignoble and obscure, may have an agency in this great work.

2. Those more elevated either by wealth, rank, education, etc., have a still greater degree of responsibleness. See in this matter the importance of family religion, and the value of attendance on the duties of the Sabbath, habitual piety, and the solemn act of prayer.

(W. Thayer.)

The writer of this book mourned over the spiritual degeneracy of his times, and was apprehensive of the entire removal of the privileges which were so much despised. The "years" mentioned were years of spiritual declension and backsliding, and prevailing wickedness, and consequently years of God's righteous displeasure; and therefore he says, "O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years."

1. In what does this work consist? By the "work of the Lord" we are to understand the redemption and recovery of this ruined world. This is the work which the Holy Spirit, through the medium of His enlightening, renewing, and sanctifying influence on the human heart, is ever active in promoting. Surely it is a work of the greatest interest and importance. This work may be said to be making progress in the world, when a general interest is felt in matters of religion.

2. What is the object of the prayer in regard to the work of the Lord? In the moral government of God, there exists an inseparable connection between the offering of prayer and the obtaining of spiritual blessings. In answer to prayer we find that in Scripture God has often promised the richest manifestations of His grace. But nowhere has He warranted us to suppose that without prayer these blessings can be obtained. The object of the prophet in this prayer was that God would grant a revival to the Jewish Church. And we have no reason to doubt that in answer to prayer, God will yet arise, and plead HIS own cause in the world, and revive His own work. Whatever be the relationship in which we stand to those around us, we have, as Christians, a message given us to all, and that is the message of God the Father's love, and of God the Son's death, and of God the Spirit's sanctifying grace, a message so plain that none can mistake it, so imperative that none with impunity can neglect it, and so pressing that none can delay it.

(John Lindsay.)

Time, like eternity, is full of God, and of the glory of His power. God's ceaseless work in nature is maintained unchanging "in the midst of the years." But there is a work of God to which everything in nature is subordinate. It is His work of grace; His work of redemption and recovery in this lost world; His work of establishing His own kingdom in the hearts of men. In the mind of the prophet, this work of God was identified with the welfare of that chosen nation, that peculiar people, which God had placed in covenant relation with Himself. What lessons may we gather from the prophet's words? In the first and second chapters of his prophecy, the prophet sees God's judgments coming upon Israel, then upon Israel's oppressors. We see what years those were of which the prophet speaks in the text. They were years of declension and prevailing wickedness, and years of God's displeasure. The prophet's first and foremost thought is that of the paramount importance of God's spiritual and saving work. Then he knows — the spirit of faith assures him — that God's great work will live, and will outlive every catastrophe. He not only prays that God will make His work to live, but that He will make it known. Learn —

1. The prayer for the revival, or the keeping alive of God's work, is the spontaneous utterance of a heart touched by God's Spirit.

2. God's work is often going on in the world when it is not seen or made known, when even His own people are not permitted to discern its progress.

3. Sometimes it is necessary for God to carry on His work by dispensations of wrath.

4. Blessed are the years in which God makes known His work as a work of power and mercy.

(Leonard Bacon, D. D.)

The utterance of God made the prophet afraid. The period of chastening must be fulfilled. But one thought fills the prophet's mind: during this period of suffering the work of God might be revived. God in His wrath remembers mercy most when He does not stay His chastening, but deepens penitence, stirs up prayer, creates heart-searching and earnest endeavours after a new life.

I. THE FIRST PART OF THE PRAYER IS THAT GOD WOULD REVIVE HIS WORK. We believe in a God who works, now and always, both in the natural and in the spiritual. God not merely wills, He works. Work occupies a foremost place in the Divine arrangement. God's works on matter illustrate and explain His working on mind. There is one feature common to both the natural and the spiritual sphere, the requirement of human co-operation. God waits on man's working. On account of the sin and sloth and heedlessness of man, God's work declines, and God seems to withdraw. It is here that a place for revival is found. And explanation of it includes both the Divine sphere and the human. God's working in nature goes on in cycles. So does man's working all through. Uniformity of action would not be adapted to man. The fluctuation which covers the regions of politics, literature, science, and art, extends also to religion. Religious earnestness is under the same law. An enthusiasm is awakened at times for the supreme object of religion which it is not in human nature to sustain. The departure of such a period may be either the deepening and broadening of the channels of life, or it may be a period of stagnation. This is true of the individual, as well as of society at large. Revival is a fervour or intensity resolved on the highest aims, a deeper sense of the meaning of life, a determination to subordinate all to God. The fact that such times in a community are often characterised by excitement, and by a kind of contagion in which religion seems to be less a matter of individual conviction than a diffused influence is, again, only in accordance with the laws of human nature. Why should the spread of religious conviction not be aided by the contagion of feeling? May not genuine and deep feeling be aroused in this way? Why may not the surging of a vague enthusiasm through the hearts of men work great things in religion as in other matters? If religion is a genuinely human thing; if it is in the true sense the most human of all, must it not partake of the usual characteristics of human feeling? What a force there is in the expression of the text, Make Thy work to live: put life into Thy work. How often the work seems to have everything but life. Life comes, and all is changed. God's working is the hope of the natural world, and equally of the spiritual. We wait for God. And our waiting utters itself. It is an eager, earnest feeling that pours itself out in supplication. It is in this way that our energy most fully unites itself with the Divine.

II. THE PRAYER IS ALSO THAT GOD WOULD "MAKE KNOWN." That is, reveal Himself and Divine truth. The prayer is, that God would not only work but reveal; that God would show men the reality. Clouds lie between them and the spiritual and eternal. It is well that these two things are joined together, reviving of God's work, and making known.

III. What weight is given to the prayer by the addition, "in the midst of the years"? There is an argument, or plea, in the thought, that many years are gone beyond recall, and that so many years fewer are to come. The irrevocable past, as it rises before us, brings bitter regrets. How different those years might have been! The words seem suggestive of the confusion and dark. ness of time. And the fleetingness and evanescence of the years rise before us in contrast to the immutable and eternal of the Divine life.

(J. Leckie, D. D.)

world: —

I. AS TO THE STATE OF THE PROFESSING CHURCH OF CHRIST.

1. Note the ignorance of the Church.

2. The divisions of the Church.

3. The worldly conformity of the Church.

4. The want of activity in the Church.

5. The deadness of prayer in the Church.

II. AS TO THE STATE OF THE UNCONVERTED AND UNGODLY WORLD.

1. In relation to civil governments, and to publicly recognised social institutions and authorities. Refer to despotism, corruption, war, etc.

2. In direct relation to religion. Nominal Christians. Note the positive crimes by which the country is stained; Sabbath-breaking, profane-swearing, fraud, drinking, etc.

III. CERTAIN SYSTEMS WHICH MUST BY. SWEPT AWAY. Such as popery, Judaism, infidelity, Mohammedanism, heathenism. Surely we may well pray, "O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years."

(James Parsons.).

1. Does the man of sincere goodness observe vice prevalent, and spreading its unhappy influence through all ranks and degrees of the community? This is a powerful inducement to desire and to work for its reformation.

2. The decay of religion is not more owing to open wickedness than to inconsiderate negligence. A good man, who has the happiness of the species at heart, will offer up his most fervent petitions to the Father of Lights, that He would be pleased to spread abroad in the breasts of the people a spirit of prayer and reformation.

(James Rudge, D. D.)

1. The prayer of the text rises to heaven in the time of affliction.

2. The prayer of the prophet is founded upon need.

3. Observe whose work it is that is implored to be revived — it is the work of God. And He alone can accomplish it.

4. Consider the use of certain means for the spread and establishment of the Divine work. He has commanded us to call upon His name, to trust in Him, to seek Him, to repent of our misdoings, to do battle against evil wherever found, and to assemble ourselves together for Divine worship.

(W. Horwood.)

I. THE STATE CALLING FOR A REVIVAL. A revival is a return to life and vigour from a state of languor and decay. The Church of Christ needs revival. It is not in a lively state as to deep and practical godliness. There are comparatively few flourishing Churches. There is much disunion. There is a low standard of devotedness to Christ. This state of things calls for a revival in the Church generally. As individuals is our condition satisfactory? Is there not a state of worldliness, lukewarmness, and formality? The apostle speaks of many in his day as having "the form of godliness, but denying the power thereof." This surely is a state calling for a revival.

II. THE NATURE OF THE REVIVAL OF GOD'S WORK. What is God's work in the heart of man? It is very different from man's work. It is marked by a new birth. It is marked by Christian graces. It is marked by walking in all good works. It is the work of grace in the heart of man. What is the revival of this work?

1. An increase of zeal on the part of God's people.

2. An awakening among careless sinners.

III. THE ONLY SOURCE FROM WHICH IT CAN FLOW. "O Lord, revive Thy work." The Holy Spirit is the great source of the revival of the work of grace in the heart of man. If you desire revivals, the means must be diligently used — reading God's Word, prayer in secret, social prayer, public worship, self-examination; but if you stop at the means you deceive yourselves; this is the proper posture for the Christian, "My soul, wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him."

IV. THE TIME IN WHICH IT SHOULD BE SOUGHT. "In the midst of the years." Before the day of sickness comes. Before the day of old age comes. Before the judgments of God come on the world. Before the Saviour appears Before the final sentence is pronounced. Seek a revival, while the day of grace continues; while God's ministers invite you. While opportunity is afforded. Then —

1. Search into the state of your own hearts.

2. Seek revival from God by prayer in private. Devote yourselves afresh unto God.

(E. Bickersteth, A. M.)

I. THE WORK ITSELF. The salvation of the sinner is the peculiar work of Jehovah. It implies the exercise of infinite mercy. It requires Divine care.

II. WHY MAY IT VERY PROPERLY BE CALLED GOD'S WORK? Because it glorifies God.

III. WHEN MAY GOD BE SAID TO REVIVE HIS PEOPLE? When His people are preserved alive. When His people grow in grace. When His people axe led to surmount trouble, affliction, and sorrow. When the backslider is restored.

(Hugh Allen, M. A.)

The Christian life has its ebb and flow, like the currents of the ocean, and no one need hope to preserve the same uniform frames and feelings at every step of his earthly probation. If we are ever enabled to do right, it is because tim good Lord has helped us. There is a revival which we all need; such a revival as shall lead us to forsake our sins, and crucify our corrupt affections and lusts; such a revival as shall render us more devout and devoted to God's service. I mean nothing akin to the unwholesome modern system of revivals. The Church has a revival system of her own, which has been practised with most abundant success from the earliest days of Christianity until now. Her revival season begins with the four weeks of Advent, when she calls men to repentance and amendment, that they may make themselves ready to welcome the Saviour afresh on the return of His birthday. Another revival season is the forty days of Lent; when the motive appealed to is the love of God, manifested in the gift of His only Son. Throughout the whole sacred season, His life, His teaching, His miracles are kept constantly before us, deepened in its penetrating power by lastings and prayer. (John N. Norton.)

I. THE CHIEF NEED OF THE WORLD TO-DAY IS A GENERAL REVIVAL OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. The preconceptions of most of us are not favourable to revivals. Theories, however, cannot stand for a moment against stubborn facts. There is one fact which renders a revival necessary for a vast number of people. All scientists recognise that retrogression is as much a fact of nature as is evolution or progress. History is full of illustrations of the decay of races and the decline of nations. Only one remedy is open to us, when the decay concerns our religious life. It is a revival — the regaining, by a supreme moral effort, of the spiritual heights which have been lost.

II. REVIVALS ARE NORMAL. We are inclined to think that with the world and the Church in an ideal state, a movement closely corresponding to revivals would still take place. Life moves in periods or cycles.

III. BOTH THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH AND THE BIBLE CONFIRM THIS VIEW OF CHRISTIAN PROGRESS. The Church has always made her great conquests under revival influences. Revival of religion was inaugurated by the Wesleys and Whitefield. was a great religious revival. The began as a revival of religion. The Christian Church was born in a revival which swept three thousand souls into the kingdom on the day of Pentecost.

IV. HOW MAY WE PROMOTE A REVIVAL?

1. By earnest prayer.

2. By determined, personal effort. (J. W. Bashford.)

1. The Reformation was providential. It was the handwriting of God visible to men.

2. It was a reformation of the Church. It was a conten tion raised within, about, and by the Church.

3. It was a reformation of doctrine. It began on a point of doctrine. Its weapons were argument and learning.

4. It was a reformation of public worship. Here, most especially, it came in touch with the people.

5. It was a reformation of personal piety. If it had not led to this, all else would have been of little moment. But this it did. Upon us it devolves not to be heedless of the lessons of the Reformation, but to profit by them, and transmit them to others.

(J. B. Remensnyder, D. D.)

Homilist.
I. GENUINE RELIGION IS THE WORK OF GOD IN THE SOUL. "Thy work." What is genuine religion? Not theology, not ceremony, but simply this, supreme love to God. The production of this in the soul is the work of God. He produces it, it is true, by means; nevertheless, no one else can or does produce it but Himself.

II. THIS WORK OF GOD IN THE SOUL IS LIABLE TO DECAY. There are many things in and outside of man that tend to impair, weaken, and destroy this supreme love. Carnal impulses, impure associations, social influences, engrossing worldly cares, these are all detrimental. They are to it like a blighting atmosphere to vegetation.

III. THIS DECAY SHOULD BE OVERCOME BY A REVIVAL. "Revive Thy work." Revive this supreme love — quicken, energise it, give it more force and influence in the soul! This is the true revival.

(Homilist.)

Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.
I. SOME PARTICULARS RESPECTING THIS WORK.

1. The work itself; or what is meant by the work here spoken of? It is certainly the work of Divine grace in the souls of mankind.

2. Why it may be called God's work. Because no one but God can effect it.

3. When God may be said to revive it. God revives His work when souls are raised from the death of sin to the life of righteousness; and when they grow in grace.

II. HOW WE MAY AND SHOULD CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS ITS REVIVAL.

1. We should labour for it.

2. We should live for it.

3. We should pray for it.

III. WHY WE SHOULD THUS INTEREST OURSELVES IN ITS REVIVAL.

1. We are excited to this by piety.

2. We are urged to this by philanthropy, or love to mankind.

3. We are obligated to this by prudence.

4. We are animated to this by a well-supported hope. Applications —(1) The state of God's work among us should excite correspondent affections in us.(2) We should consider and deplore our deficiencies.(3) We should improve our convictions by renewed application to God; for pardoning mercy, and gracious help.

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

Following closely upon Jeremiah, Habakkuk was face to face with the woes which were hastening for the dissolution of the kingdom of Judah. He, more than any other of the prophets, represents the perplexities, not of the nation, but of the individual soul, the peculiar trial which tormented so many exalted spirits of his day. He saw with grief the increasing contrast of sin and prosperity, innocence and suffering — this was his burden. It is essentially personal: he takes it all upon himself. Our text is always a good, a wise, a necessary prayer. The work of the Lord is never so forward that we need not pray, for its further advance. But what is to be said about the movement known as Revivalism"? It begins with, and proceeds upon the assumption that man can only be reconciled to God in one particular way. It recognises but one type of religion, and that the most delusive one. It repudiates the idea that God is ever pleased with a dutiful, earnest, moral life. It regards as positively dangerous a mere intellectual grasp of the Christian faith. Revivalism tells you that, unless at a certain time, and at a certain place, and under conditions that you can recall and define, you have undergone an emotional process which has changed the whole drift of your life, and given you an assurance of nearness to God hitherto unfelt, you are not a Christian at all. Revivalism confronts you like a spiritual footpad, and holds to your head the pistol of modern pharisaism: "Are you a Christian? Is your soul saved? Have you found the Lord?" The answer involves an awful alternative. You must either surrender the liberty wherewith Christ hath made you free to the monstrous claims of this pretentious crusade, or consent to be branded as an outcast from the flock of the Good Shepherd. This barrier of separation between converted and unconverted has no sanction to which any follower of Jesus Christ is called upon to submit. We must not, however, cease to pray, "O Lord, revive Thy work." Revive it, O Lord, in politics, in public life, in commerce, in trade, in toil of every kind, so that in all places and at all times men shall realise Thy presence.

(R. H. Haddew, B. A.)

Are revivals of religion under law, or the result of any previously operating and well-defined cause? By the revival of religion we mean a quickened state of religious activity and prayer, resulting in the conversion of sinners, the increased efficiency of the Church, and all the effect of the Divine Spirit in conjunction with the appointed means of grace. Our position is, that it is a rule of God's economy to bestow His grace or Spirit upon the employment of means, just in proportion as those means are adapted to the result. Observe that the results are predicated, not of the means as a power in themselves, but of the Spirit's conformity to this law of operation.

1. In favour of our position our first argument is from analogy. There is such a law of adaptation in all the world of nature — an established and reliable connection between means and end, and results correspond with the nature — the perfection or imperfection of the antecedent cause. This law is observable in all the world of industry, science, and art. It is fair to infer that the same law is observed in the spiritual world, and that the results — the quickened graces, the conversions, the ingatherings to the Church — will be in proportion to the wise, diligent, and prayerful use of the means of grace.

2. The second argument is derived from the facts of Christian experience. The early apostles and Christians were successful, in a very remarkable degree, in producing moral changes, in the conviction and conversion of sinners. Everything objective and visible seemed to forbid success. But they were filled with the Spirit. They went forth to their work with an ardour unparalleled. They preached to save, they were wise to win souls. We can trace the connection between appropriate means and the sublimest results. This principle of wise adjustment of means to ends is universally acknowledged.

3. This law must be acknowledged as true, else there is no ground of confidence in the use of Gospel means.Learn —

1. As Christian workers, to graduate our success. As a general rule it will be in proportion to the aptness, skill, persistency, and prayerfulness of our labours.

2. The responsibility and guilt of those Churches who reap no fruit of their labour. There must be responsibility and guilt somewhere.

(S. D. Burchard, D. D.)

The "work of the Lord" means the salvation of immortal souls, and the extension of our Redeemer's kingdom.

I. THE PROSPERITY OF GOD'S WORK IS THE CHIEF BUSINESS OF GOD'S PEOPLE. The prophet sees into the future, and instead of being overwhelmed by coming calamities, he realises how immeasurably greater is the welfare of the soul than the welfare of the body, and his earnest, heart-prompted entreaty is, "O Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years "

II. THE WORK OF GOD IN THE SOUL MAY SO DECLINE AS TO STAND IN NEED OF REVIVAL. Does our spiritual life still retain all the freshness and charm of its birth? Is it, as it ought to be, more real, more intense, more earnest, more fully developed by the lapse of time?

III. ALTHOUGH THE WORK OF GOD WITHIN US MAY DECLINE, YET THERE IS A POWER THAT CAN REVIVE IT. God can make the dry bones to live, and God can breathe a new life even into the soul that seems to be dead, so deathlike is its sleep. Why does God every year perform the miracles of the spring-time? That we may have perpetually before our eyes illustrations of His reviving power. Then axe you not anxious that a mighty revival of this spiritual life should be experienced in your own souls, and in the souls of those who are dear to you? If you are, pray for it.

(John F. Haynes, LL. D.)

Literally, to revive is to live again. It supposes life possessed, life departed, life restored. Sometimes it means to infuse fresh vigour, increased animation, where life is weak and drooping, though not extinct. When Habakkuk says, "O Lord, revive Thy work," he does not imply that God's work had died out, only that it was in a low and declining state. Mercy he implores — pardoning, restoring, reviving mercy. This is the object we seek when we ask God to revive His work in us and amongst us. A revival of religion supposes it to exist, but to be in a low and declining state. Let every Church be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain. The Divine favour will be restored, and the Church will be revived. Such a Church God will own and bless. What is necessary to a revival?

1. To recognise the fact that a revival is needed. Well satisfied with our present need, we neither desire nor seek anything better.

2. We must know and feel that guilt is incurred by our lukewarmness and worldly-mindedness. Are we in a declining state? Then it is not simply our misfortune, but our sin, for which God will call us to account. We must see, too, the individual and personal character of our responsibility and guilt.

3. If a better state of things is to be brought about, we must sincerely and heartily repent of our sins, confess and forsake them all, and look to Him who has graciously promised, "I will heal their backslidings." The invitations and promises of our God are all based on this principle, "Draw nigh unto God, and He will draw nigh unto you." This humility, this repentance, this brokenness of heart generally precedes a revival of religion in our Churches.

4. There must be faith in God, in Christ, in His Holy Word. Faith in God's character, His perfections, His excellences. Faith in the promises of God.

5. Faith must lead to prayer. Each must pray, all must pray; only ask in faith, nothing doubting. If there be an increase of real prosperity in the Church, there must be an increase of believing prayer. When once Christian Churches and Christian ministers shall thus wrestle with God in prayer, depend upon it, God is on His way, and soon shall they behold the wonderful workings of His power.

(Thoughts for Week Evening Services.)

The symptoms and evidences of spiritual life in possession and active operation, on the part of the Church collectively and of the individual believer, are many, and are such as may be easily recognised.

I. A DEEP SENSE OF THE NEED OF REVIVAL. It is in this as in regard to personal spiritual concerns. There must be felt need before there can be fervent prayer. Let us now consider more particularly what is really needed at the present time, or in what respects revival may be said to be needed.

1. We require a revival of personal religion. The influence and power of personal religion and of well-founded, deeply rooted convictions of the efficacy and power of the Word of God, and of the Gospel of His Son in the hand of the Holy Spirit, cannot be overestimated.

2. We require a revival of family religion. Let there but be a revival of personal holiness vouchsafed throughout the land, and religion in a more open and public form would be sure to follow.

3. We require a revival of national religion.

II. AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOD AS THE AUTHOR OF THIS MUCH NEEDED REVIVAL. The prophet calls it His work. Yes, the revival of the work of grace in the individual soul, of spiritual vitality in the Church, and of real and lively regard for the glory of God and the supreme authority of His law, in the supreme and subordinate legislative assemblies of the nation, is the work of God. Hence God alone can revive it.

III. THE NECESSITY OF PRAYER TO PRODUCE THE REVIVAL OF GOD'S WORK. As well as Zerubbabel, the prophet Habakkuk knew that this great work was not to be accomplished by might or by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord; but clearly as he understood this, no less strongly did he feel his obligation to pray for it.

(A. Stirling.)

? — This is a very important question; for the conversions in any Church will generally be in proportion to the average spiritual life of the Church. This is the law. Of course, there are exceptions. Men fish through the ice in midwinter and catch a large supply; and so it is possible for a pastor to dip right through the crust of worldliness and formality, with which the Church is covered, and bring out converts by the score. But a fisher of men that. can do this must be endowed with a powerful personality and an uncommon zeal. But taking it for granted, then, that the first thing is to bring the Church into a revived condition, how shall we proceed? Now, we remember that in physics it is said, that, in thawing a cake of ice, all the heat which you pour in below the melting point becomes latent and disappears, but that having raised the whole temperature up to the melting point, it takes but little heat to keep it thawing. It is exactly so with a Church. There is what may be called the zealothemial point in the spiritual thermometer. When the temperature of the body is below that point, you may pour in sermons and prayers and pleadings, and all will soon be absorbed and lost. But once bring the condition above that point, and a little effort will keep converts coming constantly.

(A. J. Gordon, D. D.)

Use nourishments instead of stimulants in your efforts to bring up the spiritual tone of the Church. By stimulants, we mean frantic appeals, severe denunciations, stinging rebuke. These rouse for the Sabbath on which they are employed, but their effect is exhausted before the week is over, and the application must be repeated next Sunday, and so on, week after week. By nourishment, we mean the Scriptures unfolded, expounded, and steadily applied. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."

(A. J. Gordon, D. D.)

Begin with a part of the Church instead of attempting to move the whole mass together. Those of us who were country boys know how impossible it is to make a fire out of green logs alone; but if we can get some dry sticks kindled around and underneath these green logs, we can make a very hot fire with them. Don't begin your revival by trying to rouse the whole unseasoned mass of Church members, but begin with a few of the most spiritual, and from these work out towards the others. Lyman Beecher said, in answer to the question, How can we promote a revival in the Church? — "First get revived yourself, then get some brother Church member revived, and the work has begun." That is practical wisdom.

(A. J. Gordon, D. D.)

In wrath remember mercy
What the prophet now subjoins is intended to anticipate an objection; for this thought might have occurred to the faithful — "there is no ground for us to hope pardon from God, whom we have so grievously provoked, nor is there any reason for us to rely any more on the covenant which we have so perfidiously violated." The prophet meets this objection, and he flees to the gracious favour of God, however much he perceived that the people would have to suffer the just punishment of their sins, such as they deserved. He then confesses that God was justly angry with His people, and yet that the hope of salvation was not on that account closed up, for the Lord had promised to be propitious. Since God then is not inexorable towards His people, — nay, while He chastises them He ceases not to be a Father, — hence, the prophet connects here the mercy of God with His wrath. The word "wrath" is not to be taken according to its strict sense, when the faithful or the elect are spoken of; for God does not chastise them because He hates them; nay, on the contrary, He thereby manifests the care He has for their salvation. Hence the scourges by which God chastises His children are testimonies of His love. But the Scripture represents the judgment with which God visits His people as wrath, not towards their persons, but towards their sins. Though then God shows love to His chosen, yet He testifies when He punishes their sins that iniquity is hated by Him. When God then comes forth as it were as a judge, and shows that sins displease Him, He is said to be angry with the faithful; and there is also in this a reference to the perceptions of men; for we cannot, when God chastises us, do otherwise than feel the accusations of our own conscience. Hence then is this hatred; for when our conscience condemns us, we must necessarily acknowledge God to be angry with us, that is with respect to us. When therefore we provoke God's wrath by our sins, we feel Him to be angry with us; but yet the prophet connects together things that seem wholly contrary — even that God would "remember mercy in wrath"; that is, that He would show Himself displeased with them in such a way as to afford to the faithful at the same time some taste of His favour and mercy by finding Him to be propitious to them. Whenever, then, the judgment of the flesh would lead us to despair, let us ever set up against it this truth — that God is in such a way angry that He never forgets His mercy — that is, in His dealings with His elect.

( John Calvin.)

Wrath and mercy are here put in juxtaposition the one to the other. The wrath spoken of is the wrath of a holy, omnipotent God, Who can dare to meet that wrath? If we want to know the extent, the fury, the power of that wrath, we have only to look to the Saviour, the very Son of the very eternal God, the Father's co-equal, co-eternal Son, when He stands as the substitute of His people, as the representative of His Church, the sword of God's wrath falls upon Him. This wrath will come upon a guilty and sinful world in the last days. It will come as the messenger of God to purge His Church from its alloy, and its imperfections, and its impurities, and the fire shall burn them up. But in the text there is a word of mercy for God's Church. Say ye to the righteous that it shall be well with him. Whatever judgments may come upon us, nothing can come beyond what we deserve. What then have we to do? To pray for mercy. Nothing can be done without mercy.

(T. Mortimer, A. M.)

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