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Zeal is a contagious, but not a popular, element. Our fathers took their tea piping hot; we take ours iced. Iced Christianity is more popular and tasteful than iced tea.
We can endure in our churches enough warmth to take the chill off, but more than this is offensive. We have added many good elements to our preaching, but these cannot make up for the loss of fervor. The average mind can only be moved to action by a flame. Some men may pull through to heaven on a cold collar, but they are the exception.
Revivals are among the charter rights of the church. They are the evidences of its divinity, the tokens of God’s presence, the witness of his power. The frequency and power of these extraordinary seasons of grace are the tests and preservers of the vital force in the church.
The church which is not visited by these seasons is as sterile in all spiritual products as a desert, and is not and cannot meet the designs of God’s church. Such churches may have all the show and parade of life, but it is only a painted life.
The revival element belongs to the individual, as well as to the church, life. The preacher whose experience is not marked by these inflows of great grace may question with anxious scrutiny whether he is in grace.
Are you born again? This is one of life’s most important questions. Jesus Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Originally "Conditions of Power"
from The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life
Reading Matthew chapters 5, 6, & 7.
If I were asked what the Lord Jesus Christ would say to His Church in America, without any hesitation I would say these words, “Ye are the salt of the earth, but” ...and I believe He would weep... “but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men” (Matt. 5:13).
When I was a boy, I saw a sight I never can forget—a man tied to a cart, and dragged before the people’s eyes through the streets of my native town, his back torn and bleeding from the lash. It was a shameful punishment. For many offences? No; for ONE offence.
Did any of the townsmen offer to divide the lashes with him? No; he who committed the offence bore the penalty alone.
When I was a student at the University, I saw another sight I can never forget—a man brought out to die. His arms were pinioned, his face was pale as death—thousands of eyes were upon him as he came up from the jail in sight. Did any man ask to die in his place? Did any friend come and loose the rope, and say, “Put it round my neck, and I will die in his stead?” No; he underwent the sentence of the law. For many offenses? No; for ONE offense.