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Revival Means Humiliation

By James Burns


      To the church a revival means humiliation, a bitter knowledge of failure, and an open and humiliating confession of sin on the part of her ministers and people. It is not the easy and glowing thing many think it to be, who imagine that it fills the empty pews, and reinstates the Church in power and authority. IT COMES TO SCORCH BEFORE IT HEALS; it comes to rebuke ministers and people for their unfaithful witness, for their selfish living, for their neglect of the Cross, and to call them to daily reunciation, to an evangelical poverty, and to a deep and daily consecration. This is why a revival has ever been unpopular with large numbers within the Church. Because it says nothing to them of power such as they have learned to love, or of ease, of of success; it accuses them of sin, it tells them that they are dead, it calls them to awake, to renounce the world, and to follow Christ.

      It the church today ready to hear that voice? Is she bowed down before God in prostration of need, in conscious dejection of unworthiness, in passionate self-abasement and desire for that renewal which comes through renunciation? It may well be doubted. It is upon the hearts of the few that the agony falls. Revival are not usually preceded by the awakening of the Church to a sense of need, but by the awakening of devout souls here and there, who feeling the need, begin to entreat God in prayer for a revival. Gradually this deepens and spreads until the sense of need becomes a burden, until the cry, "How long, Oh God! how long! becomes an agony. This is the cry which God cannot deny. It is for that cry that we must intently listen. Is there, then today a disposition to pray for a revival? Are devout men everywhere becoming alarmed, not for the success of the Church, but for the glory of Christ, lest it be lost altogether? Is there a sense of a burden lying upon men's hearts which will not give them rest, but which makes them agonize in prayer? If not, then the night is not far spent, a deeper darkness still awaits us. Of what use would a revival be if we are not prepared for it? It would pass over us without doing its work.

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