Welch Wesleyan Methodist Minister
Welch Wesleyan Methodist Minister
Every accessory, every instrument of usefulness, the church has now in such a degree and of such excellence as was never known in any other age; and we want but a supreme and glorious baptism of fire to exhibit to the world such a spectacle as would raise ten thousand hallelujahs to the glory of our King.
Human nature is said by many to be good; if so, where have social evils come from? For human nature is the only moral nature in that corrupting thing called "society." Every example set before the child of to-day is the fruit of human nature. It has been planted on every possible field — among the snows that never melt; in temperate regions, and under the line; in crowded cities, in lonely forests; in ancient seats of civilization, in new colonies; and in all these fields it has, without once failing, brought forth a crop of sins and troubles.
In the primitive church were not prayers simple, unpremeditated, united; prayers of the well-taught apostle; prayers of the accomplished scholar; prayers of the rough but fervent peasant; prayers of the new and zealous convert; prayers which importuned and wrestled with an instant and irrepressible urgency; — were they not an essential part of that religion, which holy fire had kindled; and which daily supplications alone could fan?
No enumeration of the fruits of the Spirit will be found which excludes peace and joy, much less love; and from these graces, if, indeed, not from the last alone, spring the various fruits which unitedly constitute righteousness.
No glory of the Eternal One is higher than this, " MIGHTY-TO SAVE;" no name of God is more adorable than that of "SAVIOR;" noplace among the servants of God can be so glorious as that of an instrument of salvation.
On the day of Pentecost Christianity faced the world, a new religion, without a history, without a priesthood, without a college, without a people, and without a patron. She had only her two sacraments and her tongue of fire. The latter was her sole instrument of aggression.
Presumption has many forms; and it is worth considering, whether a great and good Being would most disapprove the presumption which expected too much from His goodness, or the presumption which dared positively to disbelieve His promise.
Religion has never, in any period, sustained itself except by the instrumentality of the tongue of fire. Only where some men, more or less imbued with this primitive power, have spoken the words of the Lord, not with " the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth," have sinners been converted, and saints prompted to a saintlier life.
Return, O Power of the Pentecost, return to Thy people! Shed down Thy flame on many heads! To us, as to our fathers and to those of the old time before them, give fullness of grace! Without Thee we can do nothing; but filled with the Holy Ghost, the excellency of the power will be of Thee, O God! and not of us.
The regeneration of a sinner is an evidence of power in the highest sphere — moral nature; with the highest prerogative — to change nature; and operating to the highest result — not to create originally, which is great; but to create anew, which is greater.
There is not a beast of the field but may trust his nature and follow it; certain that it will lead him to the best of which he is capable. But as for us, our only invincible enemy is our nature.
Thousands of pulpit orators have swayed their audiences as a wind sways standing corn; but in the result, those who were most affected differed nothing from their former selves. An effect of eloquence is sufficient to account for a vast amount of feeling at the moment; but to trace to this a moral power, by which a man, for his life-long, overcomes his besetting sins, and adorns his name with Christian virtues, is to make sport of human nature.
A religion without the Holy Ghost, though it had all the ordinances and all the doctrines of the New Testament, would certainly not be Christianity.
Come, then, with what voice Thou wilt come, Thou power- clad Messenger of my Redeemer! Come with thunder on Thy tongue, or with a sweet " harp of ten strings; " come to us simple as a little child, or wise as a scribe instructed of God; but, O! let us only feel that fire in Thy message which lies not in sentences nor in tones, but in a heart itself inflamed from above, and pouring fire into our hearts.
Each sinner transformed into a saint is a new token of a redeeming power among men. That token declares to observers, not that there is a King in heaven, not that there is a "Father of Lights," but that there is a Savior. And this is the testimony that the world especially needs.
The regeneration of a sinner is an evidence of power in the highest sphere - moral nature; with the highest prerogative - to change nature; and operating to the highest result - not to create originally, which is great; but to create anew, which is greater.