Page images

out; he got oil from above, and fire to kindle it, and shined among us like a Pharos over a sea of gloom.

There is much green wood in Huddersfield, or I am much mistaken, not easily kindled into a flame, indisposed to catch Gospel-fire, as much so as the drenched wood on the memorable altar on Mount Carmel. However, Huddersfield wood is on the altar of our God. But the devil, instead of Elijah, has thrown a dozen barrels of the water of lukewarmness upon it. Hush, my soul! when the fire of the Lord comes down it will burn the wood, and lick up all the water. May it be so, until all the people shall cry, as of old on Carmel, "The Lord, he is the God! The Lord, he is the God!"-1 Kings 18. It is thus, my Lord, that thou dost prove the heavenly origin of revivals! Amen!

[ocr errors]

Wednesday, Dec. 4.—A gloomy time last night. No freedom. The people, too, were somewhere else. Satan is going to usurp upon me here. His legions are in "the hill country," veteran fiends, who curse the throne of God, and scorn these poor sinners, though they know it not; ay, my weak soul, that would snatch them from a gaping hell. In the eyes of devils I am one of "the weak things of this world; " but my soul knows their scorn; but devils know, and I know, that God often uses such "weak things," and things which are not, and things which are despised, to bring to naught the things which are, that no flesh, yes, and no devils, may glory in his presence.— 1 Cor. 1: 27.

We shall see. With the psalmist, my eyes are unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. Infernal opposition comes over these Huddersfield hills,--doubt it not, my soul! If angels from heaven were my confidences I should fear for the result; for one devil withstood an angel sent on

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

a divine mission twenty-one days,-a great angel, toc,Dan. 10: 6,- his body like the beryl, his face like the lightning, his eyes like lamps of fire, his arms and feet in color like to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude: and yet one devil coped with him in a conflict of twenty-one days, and how much longer ncbody can tell, had not Michael, the archangel, rushed down from heaven to his assistance,-poor Daniel praying all the time. If one devil is so strong, what shall we say of the combined force of all those legions, of whom it is said,

[ocr errors][merged small]

Great as are the angels in power and strength, I would despair if left altogether to their aid. But with him in the Bible my soul cries out, "Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth." It was not an angel which Jesus promised to the church, to indemnify her for the loss of his visible presence, and by which to convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment; no, but the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the third person of the Godhead. He might well tell his disciples to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high, promising them a baptism of the Holy Ghost. not many days hence; otherwise they would have been helpless as withered leaves before "the Prince of the power of the air, the Spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," and with amazing energy. For this Holy Spirit I wait; no victory over opposing powers without his aid.

Thursday, Dec. 5.- Knocked hard and loud at the door of closed hearts last night; but the trio of voices withinIgnorance, Prejudice and Unbelief was louder and more influential than my poor voice. My heart groans within

[ocr errors]

me; my spirit is stirred. Thought best to open all the doors and windows, so to speak, of my soul, for a thorough airing, this morning; nor are the breezes of grace denied, diffusing a heavenly sweetness through all within. Walked out for a while. How sweet the reflection that by prayer one reaches out the hand of the soul to God! nor is it ever refused when offered sincerely in faith and love. Want of success is apt to be the death of joy, or to make it very languid. At such times one is more inclined to groan evermore than to "rejoice evermore; " especially when Satan and his fiends, and sinful men, like Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, who said of Nehemiah and his keepers on the ruined walls of Jerusalem, when they were almost buried in rubbish, "What do these feeble Jews? will they fortify themselves? will they sacrifice? will they make an end in a day? will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burnt? Even that which they build, if a fox go up he shall even break down their stone wall."- Neh. 4. But if one cannot "rejoice evermore just now, the spirit may retain a gracious aptitude for it, like a bird on the branch, ready, on the first blink of sunshine, to burst out into a song of joy. Till then, one may watch and "pray without ceasing," — ejaculatory prayer, Paul means, I suppose,- broken fragments of desire and prayer, projected upward continually to God; arrows of thought in soul-wishes, darting heavenward as arrows from a bow, the bow of confidence in God,-feathered with faith, and hope, and love. May my quiver be full of them, these days


Past 1 o'clock, P. M.- Sadness is a dyer; it discolors everything, and drapes the soul in sable. How charmless and dreary all appears under its influence! How it drives the soul back upon itself, and shuts one up within one's


self! "Faith without joy is like a ship without sails," said
And what strength to wrestle
a Swiss divine. Just so.
unless a steamer,
with the waves has a sailless ship?
with the propelling power in her own bosom, her motions
and motive power from within, acting against wind, and
waves, and tides, from the individuality of her own charac-
ter. There is little of the steamer about me, these days;
rather like the "sail-ship," depending too much upon out-
a feeling that must be overcome
ward circumstances,-
before the changes that are desirable can come.

The air in one's lungs and the blood in one's veins are two main sources of strength. Deprive the most robust of either, weak as infancy is not the word - DEATH! And what can a dead man do? Faith is a source of strength, but it should have joy for a companion,-as the blood to the air in the lungs. Paul speaks of "the joy of faith.”— Phil. 1: 25. "The joy of the Lord is your strength," says Nehemiah. My "life-blood" runs low; joy seems like the life-blood of one's religion, so to speak.

Well, if I have not gladness, may my soul be full of goodness! If success be wanting, honesty of purpose need not. A decrease in usefulness may be attended by an increase of holiness. If the Lord intend this, through his grace, he shall not be disappointed. If there be no showers from above, let me have the distillings of the heavenly dew. "The dew may fall, though the honey-comb may not "I will be as the dew unto drop," as one remarked. Israel," saith the Lord by Hosea. What the effect? "He shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon; his branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon; they that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine; the scent thereof shall be as the wine of 3

Lebanon.". Hosea 14. What a cluster of figures are here! all of God's own selection, pleasant in the outward letter, spiritually sweet in the inward sense. I must preach upon that text. In the mean time be a dew unto my soul, O Lord! Dew is Nature's ally against drought. It is a God-send, as one may say, in the absence of rain.

There is a temperature at which dew begins to form, called the dew-point; and there must be deep tranquillity · in the atmosphere, besides. The soul has her dew-point, also, that precise state when God becomes as dew unto it. I have often realized it, and shall again, through Divine mercy. This, however, is the time when faith must most predominate. It seems God's order,-I must believe, and go forward; the old joy-surprises will not be wanting. The Lord reigneth, and my heart shall rejoice.

[ocr errors]

I observed, the other night, that whitish belt which encompasses the sky,- the galaxy, or milky-way,-a puzzle to those not familiar with the revelations of the telescope, which is only the commingling glory of a vast assemblage of stars, in a higher planetary arrangement, in other firmaments. I thought of another galaxy, which is like another belt of glory, but drawn across the Scriptures, shining resplendently in Hebrews 11; an assemblage of stars, brilliant characters, eminently attractive in their spheres. They were all signalized in their times for some great quality or other. Noah, for his ship architecture, sacrifices and courage; his ark and his voyage over a shoreless ocean; a mountain-top for a harbor, and monarch of the whole world. at last. Abraham, for his wealth. Joseph, as a dream-interpreter, and for his political honors. Moses, for his learning. Samson, for his strength. Joshua, for his courage. Jephthah, for his fidelity to his vow. Gideon, for his victory, three hundred against an army which "lay along

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »