Photograph above: Bobby Clyde kindly gave permission to photograph his oil painting of Old Killowen by W. J. Mullan.
REVIVAL IN OUR DAY
By, R. A. TORREY, D.D.
All of the great and most far-seeing leaders of the Church to-day seem to be agreed that the great need of the Church is a genuine, wide-spread, deep, thorough-going revival. That is not only the great need of the Church ; it is also the greatest need of business, the greatest need of human society, the greatest need of human government; the greatest need of international relations and the greatest need in foreign missions. It can be safely said that in every department of life to-day - business, social relations, politics, international relations, education and Church - we are facing the most menacing problems and the most important crises that have confronted the human race in centuries, if not in all human history since the incarnation of God in the person of His Son Jesus Christ and the birth of the Church which was the outcome of that incarnation. More than one great leader not only in the Church but in political life has said, It is revival or revolution. What we need is a real and larger coming of the life of God into the Church and, through it, into human society as a whole. We shall either have that or else we shall have universal Bolshevism: Bolshevism in Church and State, and school and home and everywhere, and Bolshevism means chaos and midnight darkness on the earth. It means universal dissolution, desolation and destruction.
Those of us who have studied our Bibles profoundly, and not merely parts of the Bible but the entire Bible, know that the final revival, the revival which will be followed by no reaction but will result in a universal and permanent reign of righteousness on earth as well as in heaven, the revival for which our Lord taught us to pray, when Gods kingdom will come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven; the revival when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea, will only come as the result of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ to this earth to Himself take the reins of government. But just when that blessed and glorious day will come, God has not seen fit to reveal to any of us. He has set the times and seasons of it entirely within His own authority (Acts 1: 7). That matter is entirely in His hands and for that coming of our Lord we should pray (Rev. 22: 20), and should long intensely (2 Pet. 3: 12, R.V.), and should wait. But waiting for His coming does not mean that we should in the meantime, till He comes, sit down and let everything go to the dogs and rather glory in the fact that things are getting worse and worse all the time, and congratulate ourselves on what good folks we are and what a tough crowd the rest of the world is, in business, in Church and State. There is no Bible ground whatever for being sure that the Lord may not tarry and that there may be another revival, or it may be many revivals, before the glad day comes when He returns.
If He should come within the present year and should find us doing our best to bring about the greatly needed revival, He would say to us, Well done, thou good and faithful servant; and He Himself has said, Blessed will that servant be, whom his Lord when He cometh shall find so doing (Matt. 24: 46). On the other hand, if our Lord should come in this year of grace and find us sitting in idle meditation on the glorious truth of His Second Coming, and congratulating ourselves that we are not as the rest of men are, we have His word for it that He would cut us asunder and appoint us our portion with the rest of the hypocrites (Matt. 24: 50-51). So our first prayer should be, Even so, come, Lord Jesus; but as we cannot know just how soon that prayer will be answered, our second prayer should be Lord, send a revival, and begin it in me.
The state or the world also emphasizes the need of a revival. The fewness of real conversions, the utter lack of deep conviction of sin, the rampant unbelief in the world, the gross immorality of modern society, the greed for money that is becoming a mania with both rich and poor, the wild and almost incredible licentiousness of the day - all these things ought to make every intelligent believer cry aloud to God, Wilt thou not revive us again? Therefore we call upon Gods people everywhere, ministers and laymen, in city and in country, of all denominations, to join with us in deepest heart contrition, confession and turning to Almighty God and make the prayer of the prophet of old the cry of the hour, O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years; in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.
* * *
By, D. M. PANTON, B.A.
Joel, the first of the Jewish Prophets, held up the immense beacon-light of the descent of the Holy Ghost and for eight centuries it remained unfulfilled - until Pentecost, but meanwhile revival after revival* swept through Israel. Generations came and went, and prophets greater than Joel arose, and passed; vast religious upheavals and political revolutions, followed by fresh violence and atheism, came and went, in the seething ocean of human history. Exactly so is it now. Nineteen centuries have passed since the First Shower: we await the Second, to be accompanied by the portents with which it was originally identified (Joel 2: 30); nevertheless, revival after revival has swept through the Church of God for nineteen centuries, and such may be repeated at any moment. When the waves of the last agony of a submerging world break, yet once more, and louder than ever, goes forth the call of a vast and infinite compassion.
* It is well to keep carefully in mind the distinction between a revival and a mission: a mission is a humanly organized effort to reach souls with the Gospel, which can be gloriously God-used; a revival is a mysterious movement of the [Holy] Spirit, blowing through a district or even through an entire country, such as no human power can evoke or limit or prolong.
Revival is a fresh inrush of Divine life and power into a body
threatening to become a corpse. It is
heaven coming to the desperate need of earth; and therefore the fearful
spiritual lapse of a generation may, in the love of God, be a ground of hope
rather than of despair. The revival under Hezekiah (2 Chron. xxix.), as wonderful a movement as ever
swept a land or transformed a generation, arose upon a moral midnight. Pentecost was Gods enormous gift of blessing
THE PRESENCE OF DEITY
The cause of revival is also its explanation. Revival - as was supremely shown at Pentecost - is the arrival at a given spot of a Person of the Godhead. It was vividly so revealed in the Welsh Revival. A sense of the Lords presence, Mr. R. B. Jones writes, was everywhere. It mattered not where one went the consciousness of the reality and nearness of God followed. It was by no means confined to the revival gatherings; it was felt in the homes, on the streets, in the mines and factories, in the schools, yea, and even in the theatres and drinking saloons. The strange result was that wherever people gathered became a place of awe, and places of amusement and carousal were practically emptied. Many were the instances of men entering public-houses, ordering drinks, and then turning on their heels leaving them on the counters untouched. The sense of the Lords presence was such as practically to paralyse the arm that would raise the cup to the lips. Football teams and the like were disbanded; their members finding greater joy in testimony to the Lords grace than in games. The pit-bottoms and galleries became places of praise and prayer, where the miners gathered to worship ere they dispersed to their several stalls. Even the children of the day-schools came under the spell of God.
The consequence is inevitable: the Divine presence rocks souls like an earthquake, and shakes the whole human to its foundations. Whitefield thus describes what he constantly saw:- Their bitter cries and tears were enough to break the hardest heart. Some were struck pale as death, others lying on the ground, others wringing their bands, others crying out almost as if they were in the sharpest agonies of death. They seemed like persons awakened by the last trump, and coming out of their graves to judgment. I myself was so overpowered with a sense of Gods love, that it almost took away my life.
Revival is invariably the Bible coming alive again in human hands. The whole revival under Josiah (2 Chron. xxxiv. 14) centred in a re-discovery of the Book. Previously, says a Welsh minister, the young people were given wholly to reading novels, and the older people confined themselves to the newspapers; but now, thank God, it is all Bible. Bible-reading has become a passion.* They believed this Book, says Mr. M. Holyoak, all those who were converted, from cover to cover. There was no doubting whatever. That was the feature of the Welsh Revival, everybody reading his Bible. In houses where no Bible had been at all, they were buying the Bible and reading it. An Indian missionary wrote:- Three days ago we were in a bazaar where there were certainly not less than 2,000 people gathered together. They seemed never to have heard the Story of Love before. We preached many times while the bazaar lasted, and the people followed us in crowds from place to place, and literally fought for our Christian books, and threw the money at us to obtain them. In an hour our whole stock was exhausted! They followed us so that we had the greatest difficulty in trying to reach as many new ears as we could with the Gospel.
* This is one reason for rejecting the Oxford Group Movement as one of the historical Revivals. It has no passion for the Scriptures. The [Holy] Spirits presence is disclosed by the flash and thrust of His sword. And special truths in the Book leap to light in revivals. The truth the Reformation stressed was justification by faith; Methodism, the new birth; Brethrenism, the Second Advent; the 1860 revivals, the wrath to come. We are not sure what single truth (if any) the revivals of this century have specially emphasized.
But a warning is needed. As the demons dogged the steps of Christ, so the intense emotionalism of revival provides a very dangerous possible foothold for the evil supernatural. Of the Indian Revival we read:- There has been a great deal of dancing in some of the services, many have fallen into a kind of trance, and some have essayed to prophesy. One missionary wrote (Life of Faith, Mar. 21, 1906):- One rolled on the floor as if in agony, and knocked against me. I dared not touch her, but soon I found her lying on her back insensible, rolling her head, shaken from within in a kind of spasm, hands cold, and feet. You can imagine in what an agony of mind I prayed for Jesus to heal her. It would be such a hindrance to His work. Suddenly He told me it was a possession of the Devil. In a moment, forced from me by an uncontrollable power, were the words in English, In the name of Jesus I command thee to leave her. I never heard such a command. Shortly she became conscious. She said she had seen a blaze of light, and knew no more. The fiendish laugh of another case of possession - our own Indian boy - I shall never forget.*
* So after the Reformation came the Camisards, or French prophets, and the Shakers and (as the name equally implied) Quakers; after Methodism, Joanna Southcote; after Brethrenism, Irvingite prophets, and Mormons (who also had tongues), followed by the whole burst of Spiritualism; after the revivals of 1860, Theosophy; and after the revivals in the dawning century, Pentecostalism. In some of these there have been devout Christians, but the supernatural in all of them has been demonstrably evil.
Revivals fundamental dealings with the heart are very wonderful. A member of the staff of a Welsh Theological College wrote thus:- After a few prayer-meetings there came a sense and confession of defects and sins which made you feel, with a sudden check and awe, that you were looking at the very sources of all that is earnest. Men became like children, in simplicity, in appeals for help, in a divine sincerity, and in prayers, like the publicans, in which they, as it were, beat their breasts, and sought, and sought, and sought with confidence, and with shame, and with a perception of Christ which was like the sight of an illuminating radiance, and the taste of a surpassing sweetness. Of the Indian Revival an eye-witness says:- I have noticed three stages in this revival. First the spirit of repentance, and along with it agonizing prayer; then the Lord opens their mouths, and they confess their sins; then the Spirit of power comes upon them, when there is joy unspeakable. In the Chinese Revival the medical students at one hospital spent the whole night in prayer, and next morning the Spirit acted in great power: for a whole week the students scarcely ate or slept for joy.
Revivals, because they are the visits of God, can therefore
only be occasional. Exactly on the
principle that God cannot constantly appeal to the consciences of the unsaved, or
the over-struck nerve dies, so revivals, if continually repeated, would cease
to revive. Moreover, only God can time
His visits, for He alone knows what sections of His Church at any given moment
He intends to revive, and exactly in what spot are multitudes of His elect not
yet born again. Therefore prayer alone
can never produce revival, while yet revival never comes into being without
prayer. The specific prayer which, emanating
from God, produces revival, appeared vividly in the movement of 1859-6o in
This was the beginning of the
The permanence of the fruits can be seen in the Welsh
Revival. At the close of the first
twelve months, the Welsh Churches reported that 93 per cent. of
the converts were standing. In 1911, or
some five years later, Mr. J. Cradoc Owen wrote:- During the two years immediately following the Welsh
Revival, it will be remembered that the increase in church membership of the
four chief denominations was 87,762. Subtract the total decrease during the
past four years, 27,086, and there still remains an increase of 60,696. The average increase of the four denominations
previous to the Revival was about 3,000 per annum. In six years the total normal increase would
be 18,000. Subtract that number from the
net increase referred to - 60,696 - and you have an increase of 42,696 as the
direct and glorious result of the Welsh Revival. When these facts are remembered, we cannot
own that for whatever reason, the converts in
* * *
THE DAWNING CENTURYS REVIVAL
In the world-wide revivals of 1905-7 the main features were four:- (1) a deep conviction of sin, even where the outward life had been blameless; (2) prolonged fasting and intercession, sometimes for hours and even days; (3) prayer-meetings of new spontaneity and power; and (4) multiplied conversion, accompanied with deep emotion.
- A. T. PIERSON, D.D.
For five weeks we have been having the most wonderful manifestations of the power of the Holy Spirit. For the last two weeks the greatest manifestations have been among the academy and college students. It is almost impossible to attempt to describe them. Night after night it has seemed as if hell was opened before us. Everything, everything has been laid bare before us, from murder down to hatreds, envyings, and spites. And confessed with what horror and agony! After this terrible repentance and confession comes a sense of forgiveness, peace, joy, and then a visitation of power in intercessory prayer. It has been very wonderful to see nearly every one of 350 students led through agony to joy.
- W. M. BAIRD, 1907.
The writer is constrained to declare that he has witnessed more striking manifestations of the transforming power of the Divine Spirit during the past six or seven months than in his whole thirty-one years service in India. - BISHOP ROBINSON, 1906.
When the Spirit came upon the people a young man was the first to be overpowered and to cry out vehemently for a long time because of overwhelming conviction. The morning service, with but a very short address, began at 8 a.m., and continued until after midday. The first call for seekers brought mostly the preachers and workers. After they had prayed for some while two preachers, who had been quarrelling for some time, and who had divided a community, and had to be separated, before the whole congregation joined hands, settled their quarrel, and kissed each other. The altar was cleared and refilled. When the seekers were blessed this was repeated, until the space around was filled for the fourth time. Confessions, reconciliations, and cries for mercy were all over the church. In the afternoon there was a meeting of special power among about 250 girls in the girls school; but some were still resisting. The girls were praying, weeping, shouting, singing. In the city church in the afternoon there was another meeting, of which the special feature was the enduement of power for service on the Hindustani preachers. The general testimony was:- I have such a blessing as I never knew before.
- A Missionary at Jubbalpur, 1906.
The key-note of nearly all the awakenings seems to be a deep conviction of sin, and a subsequent passion for souls. And the origin of each work of grace seems to lie in the strong crying to God of consecrated souls, who have first been cleansed themselves. Suddenly such a sense of sin came over the congregation that not one voice could be heard above the loud weeping and cries of many for mercy. It seemed as though the outward act of bending before God had helped their hearts to bend before Him. In the evening the usual Christian Endeavour meeting was given up for another time of waiting upon God. It was a wonderful time. During one part of the meeting almost everyone was on his knees pleading aloud with the Lord for himself or others. For more than two and a half hours hymns, prayer, and testimony followed each other without interruption, and there was no sense of weariness. The Lord had visited his people and we had proved that what He had promised He was able to perform.
- MISS MARIAN H. FISHER.
We have seen gamblers, atheists, drunkards, and prize-fighters on their knees before the Throne of grace, asking God to forgive them, and regenerate them by the power of His Holy Spirit. Public-houses are almost emptied, gambling-cards have been thrown into the fire; the former zest for theatres, games, and competitive meetings has disappeared; the cursing and swearing which befouled the air we breathed during the last few years, in the streets, in the works, in the trains, and in the homes, are known no more; the family altar has been set up anew in hundreds of hearths; the coal-pits have become meeting-places for prayer, praise, and testimony, as the temples of the Lord; the eternal verities are the one topic of conversation everywhere.
- An Eye-witness of the Welsh Revival, 1905.
By the end of 1905 the Church had been praying one whole year without so much as one solitary break, all other work practically being laid aside. It is impossible to convey any adequate idea of these mighty prayer meetings. There was little or no preaching, it being no uncommon experience for the pastor to go to the pulpit on the Lords Day and find the congregation so caught in the spirit of prayer as to render preaching out of the question. The people poured out their hearts in an agony of importunate prayer. At a meeting for prayer, held one Lords day evening, the Spirit came upon us in wondrous power. There was nothing, humanly speaking, to account for what had happened. Quite suddenly there came upon one and another an overwhelming sense of the reality and awfulness of Gods presence and of eternal things. Life, death, and eternity seemed suddenly laid bare. Prayer and weeping began, and gained in intensity every moment. One was overwhelmed before the sudden bursting of the bounds. Could it be real? Friends sang on their knees, and seemed to pray all oblivious to each other. This went on until midnight. The hours had passed like minutes. What that one meeting alone meant, no pen can describe. Crushed, broken, and penitent, many knelt at the cross and received the Saviours kiss of welcome and forgiveness.
- JOSEPH W. KEMP.
* * *
A LAST REVIVAL
When current events are studied in the light of fulfilled prophecy, there can be no doubt about the impending crash which Jesus referred to as the great tribulation. Spiritual insight is required to grasp this truth because an attitude of dark expectancy is revolting to the average person. Human nature is prone toward silly optimism. No matter if it is as revolutionary to modern thinking as Noahs prophetic voice was to the antediluvians, Armageddon will come! But, true to history and prophecy, there will first come a spontaneous outburst of supernatural religion. The coming revival will not last very long, but it will sweep the earth like lightning. And as a result, the world will be evangelized. The prophecy of Matthew 24: 14 will then come to pass. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. This great awakening will overflow the beaten paths of denominationalism and standardized missionary endeavour. It will be spontaneous, cyclonic, dynamic, world-wide! It will not be the result of any humanly devised programme, but an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
- GERALD B. WINROD.
* * *
It is my belief, says Mr. D. E. Hoste, the Director of the China Inland Mission abroad, that just as when Judah was on the downgrade towards deepening apostasy, and final judgment, the Lord from time to time raised up a king who restored the law of the Lord, so now, if only His children stir themselves up to intercede in persevering faith and condition of heart, He is prepared to raise up men and women to do great and deep work of cleansing and uplifting the church. Then, through a cleansed and uplifted church, to work salvation among the nations of the earth, in gathering out from them great multitudes.
Let us pray continually for a revival of sound doctrine, a revival of the authority of the Holy Scriptures, based not on an inherited orthodoxy, but on an experimental knowledge of their power and truth in the lives of believers; and then for a revival of the conviction of sin and of coming Divine wrath and eternal judgment against impenitent men, who refuse to submit themselves to obey the light presented to them, whether in nature, conscience or Scripture.
The Lord looks for intercessors; He is easy to be entreated. Again and again we find in Scripture that when about to smite in judgment He stayed His hand for a time at any rate in response to the intercession of godly man or remnant.
May we be kept from despondency or apathy that virtually says, There is no hope! A solemn responsibility rests upon Gods believing children at the present time, to take hold of Him in interceding prayers and supplications.
* * *
A TRUMPET-CALL TO REVIVAL.
THE CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALS ASSOCIATION
The Sixth Annual Convention of the Worlds Christian Fundamentals
Association, assembled in
First of all, we desire to re-affirm in most unequivocal language our abiding and unshaken faith in great periodical revivals Gods usual method of calling a sinning and sorrowing world to righteousness and peace.
In both the Old and New Testaments we
find again and again the record of mighty spiritual awakenings which came down
from above. In times of idolatry,
distress, confusion, war, and wickedness, the voice of Prophet in the Old
Testament, and Apostle in the New, was always present to summon the people back
to the God of their fathers. In
subsequent history we know that periodical revivals have been Gods plan
through the generations. In the Sixteenth Century there was a great spiritual
awakening led by the Reformers. In the
Seventeenth Century there was another awakening, known as the Puritan
movement. In the Eighteenth Century, in
the days of darkness and Deism, there was another great spiritual awakening,
led by the Wesleys.
In the Nineteenth Century there was a mighty turning to God in the
In each and every one of these revivals the times were characterized by political chaos, corruption in priestcraft, lawlessness on every hand, broken-down home life, worldliness in the church, grossest immorality in society, and the darkness of skepticism.
In the second place, in this day of multiplied voices, each proclaiming a new gospel which is not the true Gospel, we feel the necessity of restating and declaring the character of revival that is needed. It is a revival that comes from above rather than from below; a revival that comes in the name and authority of Him Who cometh from above and Who is above all; a revival that holds forth the Word of light to shine in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation and, as David prayed, according to Thy Word, the whole Bible as supernatural1y inspired, the final and complete revelation of Gods will to man concerning mans redemption; a revival that again, in New Testament fashion, relies absolutely on the Holy Spirit to convict men of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment, to quicken the souls that are dead in trespasses and sins, and to make men new creatures in Christ Jesus; a revival that uses heaven-anointed men rather than human-appointed machines; a revival that proclaims Jesus the Christ as the only name given under heaven whereby we must be saved; a revival that sets forth His atonement on the cross for our sins and His resurrection from the grave for our justification; a revival that calls men to repentance for their sins and confession of Christ, the Lord, as their Saviour; and a revival that will quicken the conscience and cause and compel men to bring forth fruits meet for repentance.
Third, It is our conviction that the revival that is needed is one that will magnify the local church as Christs one institution, which is the pillar and ground of the truth, and that gives the called and anointed ministry of God its rightful place and leadership as ambassadors of Christ, who stand between the living and the dead.
Fourth, The necessity for a revival
is self-evident. Men of all classes,
creeds, sects, and races fully realize there must come a great spiritual
awakening or civilization is utterly broken down. As stated by an editor of one of the leading
Fifth, There are many happy results of a heaven-sent revival. First of all, the lost are saved. This was the one mission of Christ the Lord to the earth, Who said, For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. We believe and declare most emphatically that if men are made over inside they will change their environment on the outside; that if men are born from above, regenerated within by the Holy Spirit, the old things of dishonesty, impurity and wickedness are passed away and all things are made new.
Sixth, A revival is needed also to quicken and strengthen the faith of the ministry. We believe that God has ordained that the world shall be saved by the foolishness of preaching, that it is his plan to call, separate, anoint, and send forth ministers to a lost world.
Seventh, Who is there among us whose heart does not break and bleed over the flood-tide of worldliness that is sweeping through our churches? Iniquity abounds, and only the blindest can deny that we are in perilous times when men are lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.
Eighth, A revival is the only hope of saving the youth of the land to faith in a personal God and in His Holy Word. It is with the deepest sorrow that we are compelled to admit that too often we find skepticism dethroning sincere and personal faith in the things of Christ, heaven, and immortality. On every hand parents have been made to weep bitter tears over the fearful departure from the true faith by their sons and daughters who have been swept into the maelstrom of modern infidelity.
Ninth, All loyal citizens, as well as all true Christians, regardless of racial, political, or religious differences, are alarmed at the rapid increase of divorce. A noted authority on sociology in one of our leading American universities said recently, At the present rate of increase of divorce the next generation will witness the disappearance almost entirely of the sanctity of marriage. Of all institutions none is more sacred than the home, and it is the first of all institutions, for He has declared in His Holy Word, Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh.
Tenth, That we are in a time of lawlessness and increase in crime none can deny. Confidence in authority and law has been undermined. The public conscience needs to be quickened. Men in high as well as low estate are guilty of the most shocking acts of dishonesty, graft, and crime. The whole nation, regardless of political parties, has been compelled to bow its head in shame and humiliation over these startling revelations. The only effective cure for dishonesty, for graft, for crime, for lawlessness, is not any particular theory of government, not any particular school of thought or philosophy, but history shows the only effective cure has come from above by the operation of the Holy Spirit on the consciences of men. In times of great spiritual awakening God, in fulfilment of His purpose and according to the multitude of His tender mercies, sends the times of refreshment from the presence of the Lord.
Eleventh, On the question of preventing war, parliaments,
congresses, cabinets, chancelleries the world around are still meeting,
debating, and burdened statesmen of all schools and classes are searching by
what manner of means they may avert another and more terrible war than that
just past. If
Twelfth, There is nothing new that we can add to the Scriptural requirements for a revival. In the old days the Word of God said, If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
THEREFORE: We call upon Gods people everywhere, ministers, and laymen, in city and in country, of all denominations to join with us in deepest heart contrition, confession, and turning to Almighty God, and make the prayer of the prophet of old the cry of the hour: 0 Lord, revive Thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.
* * *
A REVIVAL IN BEING.
By Rev. G. A. F. KNIGHT, M.A., F.R.S.E.
It is strange how comparatively few English people seem to be aware of the extraordinary spiritual movement which is sweeping over Czecho-Slovakia, that compact, energetic, and progressive republic formed since the revolution of 1918 by the union of Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, and Silesia. It is a reformation in many ways comparable to that of the 16th century, though in the meantime it is confined to the Czech branch of the great Slav family. I have just returned from a tour of inspection of those parts of the country where the movement is most pronounced, and I regard the situation as so amazing that it ought to be better known than it is.
In February, 1920, after the attainment of freedom from the
crushing despotism of
In addition to this million of the
The most astounding feature in connection with the latter
Church is the sudden up-springing of large Protestant congregations from
nothing to thousands. Thus, in the Merklin Church the Protestant population has suddenly
jumped up from 7 to 610; in Domazlice, from 10 to to 600; in Kauto, from 0 to 700;
in Kdyne, from 10 to 2,700; in Volyne,
from 0 to 200; in Strakonice, from 10 to 600; in Kralovice, from 0 to 600; in Pecky,
from 0 to 1,000; in Dvur Kralove,
from 0 to 1,200; in Pisek, from 5 to 1,200; in Budejovice, from 0 to 1,800; in Pilsen,
from 400 to 8,000; in Prague, from 10,000 to 30,000. All these are eager, joyous, energetic
congregations, full of spiritual life, and keen in spiritual service. There are now about 400 such centres. There has been a tremendous fall in the power
and prestige of the Roman Church, and the official figures of the census are
most startling. The Roman Catholic
I wish I could describe the New Testament spirit of joy that
characterises these congregations which have been formed so recently. Their discovery of Christ fills them with a
gladness that lights up their faces, and makes them sing with all their
heart. I have seen University professors
singing off the same hymn book with old peasant women and joining
whole-heartedly in simple melodies such as Come to
the Saviour, All our Love to Thee, 0 Christ,
and Nearer, my God, to Thee. All class distinctions seem removed, and it
is delightful to observe their mutual love and kindly interest in one
another. In most cases the congregations
have been started as the work of one or two men. In Nepomuk (a
densely bigoted R.C. town, where there are now 350 Protestants) it was a godly
tax collector; in Kardasova Recice,
a shoemaker who has gathered 550 converts; in Volyne,
a miller who has fostered into life a happy-hearted congregation of over 200;
in Sobeslav, a manufacturer who, after being pelted
with mud in pre-war days while holding evangelistic services, has now the joy
of seeing a congregation of over 1,000; in the Letna
district of Prague, two ladies who personally were the means of gathering a
congregation of 300. Wherever I went,
day after day, in city, town, and village, it was most inspiring to witness
crowds ranging from 100 to 1,200 and more, eagerly thronging to hear the
Gospel, drinking in every word, filling the largest halls or theatres or
cinemas or schools (for these are the only places they have to meet in as yet),
and lifting up their voices in a great gladness at their spiritual freedom to
worship God and to believe in His goodness and grace. This is no mere political excitement: it is a
deeply religious movement swaying the hearts of tens of thousands; it is a
fresh discovery of Christ that these multitudes are experiencing, and there is
no spot in
‑ The Christian World.
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REVIVAL IN A CHURCH
What a revival can mean to Christians is seen in the Chinese awakening. All through that wonderful Tuesday evening meeting, says Mr. Graham Lee, Elder Chu sat and looked like a man who has received his death sentence. Suddenly I found him sitting beside me on the platform, and then my heart gave a bound of joy, for I knew he had surrendered and that Gods Spirit was now able to cleanse him. He began in a broken voice, and could hardly articulate, so moved was he. He confessed to adultery, and the misuse of funds, and as he told of it he was in the most fearful agony I have ever seen expressed by any mortal being. He was trembling from head to foot, and I was afraid he would fall, so I put my arm about him to hold him up. In fearful distress of mind he cried out Was there ever such a terrible sinner as I am? And then he beat the pulpit with his hands with all his strength. At last he sank to the floor, and writhed and writhed in agony, crying for forgiveness. He looked as though he would die if he did not get relief. As soon as Mr. Chu broke down, the whole audience broke out in weeping, and they wept and wailed, and it seemed as if they could not stop. It is a striking forecast of that weeping and gnashing of teeth that may yet be coming for believers (Matt. 24: 51). As Mr. Goforth says:- They were in all the agonies of judgment.
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THE LAST REVIVAL
The last revival that will ever be is not only a pregnant
summary of all revival, but it is also an undying photograph of the conversion
of the individual soul; and quite independently of both these, it is also the
spiritual resurrection of the whole people of
The background, as in all conversion and all revival, is one
of lurid storm. And
it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations
that come against
Now, as the origin of all origins, the veil is drawn aside
from the deepest roots of salvation; and on the very threshold we see its critical
solemnity. All salvation begins from the
side of God. And I will pour upon the
house of David, and upon the inhabitants of
The next stage reveals grace in immediate action. I will pour upon the house of David the spirit of grace and of supplication - that is, a spirit of grace which leads to prayer, that turns a soul to beseech God. Prayer is the first motion of life in a soul, and in the awakened soul it is inevitably a prayer for pardon. These are turned away from all on earth, and see nothing in Heaven, but One:- And they shall look UNTO ME: the whole soul is concentrated on God. Jonathan Edwards tells us that the mere naming of the Holy Spirit in certain districts of the Revival in his day would overwhelm souls with transports of joy, even to unconsciousness. Often, says Whitefield, on the eighteenth century revival, I have seen these meetings overwhelmed with the Divine Presence. A preacher in a still later revival merely exclaimed Behold the Lamb - not the Lion, but the Lamb! - and all his hearers burst into sobs.
But now, in four words, the whole Gospel bursts upon their vision and ours. They shall look unto me WHOM THEY HAVE PIERCED. That upward look is a flash of lightning into the whole nature and work of God. For it is God who is speaking.
Thus saith Jehovah, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and
layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him (ver. 1).
God, He Himself says, was physically pierced* but He could be physically
pierced only as a man: so the
Holy Spirit, through John, having stated the fact that one of the soldiers with a
spear pierced his side, quoting Zechariah, adds another scripture saith, They shall look on
him whom they pierced (John 19:
34, 37).** Jesus Himself says:- They pierced my hands and my
feet (Ps. 22: 16); and thus the soul suddenly recognizes
Whom it pierced in the outrage of
* It is from this passage that the
pre-Christian Synagogue deduced not only a suffering
Messiah, but a Messiah whose sufferings were to be voluntary and atoning
- a wonderful prelude to the vision of the Crucified in the heavens at the end
** That John gives him instead of me exactly fits the fact that in Zechariah God is speaking, but in the Gospel the Apostle is stating an historic fact.
So now the invariable reaction of the Cross upon the soul, all
down the ages, stands forth supremely.
No greater scene of mourning is depicted in the Bible than the sorrow
which will overwhelm
* Somewhere we must weep for our sins: shall we keep back this weeping till we come to that world where tears are never dried up; where, if we weep at all, we must weep for ever? (Bradley).
** We need to be warned of the scepticism of commentators. Ignoring - indeed, doubtless denying - the return of the supernatural, C. H. H. Wright in his Bampton Lectures on Zechariah pronounces any re-discovery of the House of David as monstrous; and, speaking out of his own and our abysmal ignorance, says (p. 404),- The royal line of David has probably been extinct for ages. As a matter of fact, inspiration, in restored prophets (Joel 2: 27) will disclose not only ten lost tribes, but individual families long merged into the common mass. Elijah is to restore all things (Mark 9: 12), and these genealogies may well be amongst them. The Power that created Pentecost can repeat it.
But known guilt, and even agony for confessed guilt, cannot
save: all the tears of all the world could not save a
single soul. So now salvation rises in
its full Gospel orb: as the Lord poured forth the spirit of grace, so He now
pours forth the fountain of purging; not a pool, or a cistern, but a perpetual
flow of cleansing for all humanity. In that day there shall be A FOUNTAIN opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of
And now, 0 Father, mindful of the love
That bought us, once for all, on
And having with us Him that pleads above,
We would present, we do spread forth to Thee
That only Offering perfect in Thine eyes,
The one true, pure, immortal Sacrifice.
Look, Father, look on His anointed Face
And only look on us as found in Him;
Look not on our misusings of Thy grace,
Our prayer so languid, and our faith so dim;
For lo, between our sins and their reward
We set the passion of Thy Son our Lord.