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A Revival Sermon

Written by: Spurgeon, C.H.    Posted on: 03/31/2003

Category: Sermons

Source: CCN

                                                        A Revival Sermon                                                       REV. C.H. SPURGEON                                              

              "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of               grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall               melt."Amos 9:13.

          GOD'S PROMISES are not exhausted when they are fulfilled, for when once performed they stand just as           good as they did before, and we may await a second accomplishment of them. Man's promises even at           the best, are like a cistern which holds but a temporary supply; but God's promises are as a fountain,           never emptied, ever overflowing, so that you may draw from hem the whole of that which the apparently contain,           and they shall be still as full as ever. Hence it is that you will frequently find a promise containing both a literal and           spiritual meaning. In the literal meaning it has already been fulfilled to the letter; in the spiritual meaning it shall           also be accomplished, and not a jot or tittle of it shall fail. This is rue of the particular promise which is before us.           Originally, as you are aware, the land of Canaan was very fertile; it was a land that flowed with milk and honey.           Even where no tillage had been exercised upon it the land was so fruitful, that the bees who sucked the sweetness           from the wild flowers produced such masses of honey that the very woods were sometimes flooded with it. It was           "A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey." When,           however, the children of Israel thrust in the ploughshare and began to use the divers arts of agriculture, the land           became exceedingly fat and fertile, yielding so much corn, that they could export through the Phoenicians both           corn, and wine, and oil, even to the pillars of Hercules, so that Palestine became, like Egypt, the granary of the           nations. It is somewhat surprising to find that now the land is barren, that its valleys are parched, and that the           miserable inhabitants gather miserable harvests from the arid soil. Yet the promise still stands true, that one day in           the ver letter Palestine shall be as rich and fruitful as ever it was. There be those who understand the matter, who           assert that if once the rigour of the Turkish rule could be removed, if men were safe from robbers, if the man who           sowed could reap, and keep the corn which his own industry had sown and gathered, the land might yet again           laugh in the midst of the nations, and become the joyous mother of children. There is no reason in the soil for its           barrenness. It is simply the neglect that has been brought on, from the fact, that when a man has been industrious,           his savings are taken from him by the hand of rapine, and the very harvest for which he toiled is often reaped by           another, and his own blood split upon the soil.               But, my dear friends, while this promise will doubtless be carried out, and every word of it shall be verified, so           that the hill-tops of that country shall again bear the vine, and the land shall flow with wine, yet, I take it, this is           more fully a spiritual than a temporal promise; and I think that the beginning of its fulfilment is now to be           discerned, and we shall see the Lord's good hand upon us, so that is ploughman shall overtake the reaper, the           mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all he hills shall melt.               First, I shall this morning endeavour to explain my text as a promise of revival; secondly, I shall take it as a           lesson of doctrine; then as a stimulus for Christian exertion; and I shall conclude with a word of warning to           those whose hearts are not given to Christ.               I. First, I take the text as being A GREAT PROMISE OF SPIRITUAL REVIVAL. And here, in looking           attentively at the text, we shall observe several ver pleasant things.               1. In the first place, we notice a promise of surprising ingathering. According to he metaphor here used, the           harvest is to be so great that, before the reapers can have fully gathered it in, the ploughman shall begin to plough           for the next cropwhile the abundance of fruit shall be so surprising that before the treader of grapes can have           trodden out all the juice of the vine, the time shall come for sowing seed. One season, by reason of the abundant           fertility, shall run into another. Now you all know, beloved, what this means in the church. It prophecies that in           the Church of Christ we shall see the most abundant ingathering of souls. Pharaoh's dream has been enacted again           in the last century. About a hundred years ago, if I may look back in my dream, I might have seen seven ears of           corn upon one stalk, rank and strong; anon, the time of plenty went away, and I have seen, and you have seen, in           your own lifetime, the seven ears of corn thin and withered in the east wind. The seven ears of withered corn have           eaten up and devoured the seven ears of fat corn, and there has been a sore famine in the land. Lo, I see in           Whitfield's time, seven bullocks coming up from the river, fat and well-favoured, and since then we have lived to           see seven lean kine come up from the same river; and lo! the seven lean kine have eaten up the seven fat kine, yet           have they been none the better for all that they have eaten. We read of such marvellous revivals a hundred years           ago, that the music of their news has not ceased to ring in our ears; but we have seen, alas, a season of lethargy,           of soul-poverty among the saints, and of neglect among the ministers of God. The product of the seven years has           been utterly consumed, and the Church has been none the better. Now, I take it, however, we are about to see the           seven fat years again. God is about to send times of surprising fertility to his Church. When a sermon has been           preached in these modern times, if one sinner has been converted by it, we have rejoiced with a suspicious joy; for           we have thought it something amazing. But, brethren, where we have seen one converted, we may yet see           hundreds; where the Word of God has been powerful to scores, it shall be blessed to thousands; and where           hundreds in past years have seen it, nations shall be converted to Christ. There is no reason why we should not           see all the good that God hath given us multiplied a hundred-fold; for there is sufficient vigour in the seed of the           Lord to produce a far more plentiful crop than any we have yet gathered. God the Holy Ghost is not stinted in his           power. When the sower went forth to sow his seed, some of it fell on good soil, and it brought forth fruit, some           twenty fold, some thirty fold, but it is written, "Some a hundred fold." Now, we have bee sowing this seed, and           thanks be to God, I have seen it bring forth twenty and thirty fold; but I do expect to see it bring forth a hundred           fold. I do rust that our harvest shall be so heavy, that while we are taking in the harvest, it shall be time to sow           again; that prayer meetings shall be succeeded by the enquiry of souls as to what they shall do to be saved, and ere           the enquirers' meeting shall be done, it shall be time again to preach, again to pray; and then, ere that is over, there           shall be again another influx of souls, the baptismal pool shall be again stirred, and hundreds of converted men           shall flock to Christ. Oh! We never can be contented with going on as the churches have been during the last           twenty years. I would not be censorious, but solemnly in my own heart I do not believe that the ministers of our           churches have been free from the blood of men. I would not say a hard word if I did not feel compelled to do it,           but I am constrained to remind our brethren that let God send what revival he may, it will not exonerate them           from he awful guilt that rests upon them of having been idle and dilatory during the last twenty years. Let all be           saved who live now; what about those that have been damned while we have been sleeping? Let God gather in           multitudes of sinners, but who shall answer for the blood of those men who have been swept into eternity while           we have been going on in our canonical fashion, content to go along the path of propriety, and walk around the           path of dull routine, but never weeping for sinners, never agonizing for souls. All the ministers of Christ are not           awake yet; but the most of them are. There has come a glad time of arousing, the trumpet has been set to their           ear, and the people have heard the sound also, and times of refreshing are come from the presence of the Lord our           God; but they have not come before they were needed, for much did we require them; otherwise surely the           Church of Christ would have died away into dead formality, and if her name had been remembered, it would have           been as a shame and a hissing upon the face of the earth.               2. The promise then, seems to me to convey the idea of surprising ingatherings; and I think there is also the           idea of amazing rapidity. Notice how quickly the crops succeed each other. Between the harvest and the           ploughing there is a season even in our country; in the east it is a longer period. But here you find that no sooner           has the reaper ceased his work, or scarce has he ceased it, ere the ploughman follows at his heels. This is a           rapidity that is contrary to the course of nature; still it is quite consistent with grace. Our old Baptist churches in           the country treat young converts with what they call summering and wintering. Any young believer who wants to           join the church in summer, must wait till the winter, and he is put off from time to time, till it is sometimes five or           six years before they admit him; they want to try him, and see whether he is fit to unite with such pious souls as           they are. Indeed among us all there is a tendency to imagine that conversion must be a slow workthat as the           snail creeps slowly on its way, so must grace move very leisurely in the heart of man. We have come to believe           that there is more true divinity in stagnant pools than in lightning flashes. We cannot believe for a moment in a           quick method of travelling to the kingdom of heaven. Every man who goes there must go on crutches and limp all           the way; but as for the swift beasts, as for the chariots whose axles are hot with speed, we do not quite understand           and comprehend that. Now, mark, here is a promise given of a revival, and when that revival shall be fulfilled this           will be one of the signs of itthe marvellous growth in grace of those who are converted. The young convert shall           that ver day come forward to make a profession of his faith; perhaps before a week has passed over his head you           will hear him publicly defending the cause of Christ, and ere many months have gone you shall see him standing           up to tell to others what God has done for his soul. There is no need that the pulse of the Church should for ever           be so slow. The Lord can quicken her heart, so that her pulse shall throb as rapidly as the pulse of time itself; her           floods shall be as the rushing of the Kishon when it swept the hosts of Sisera in its fury. As the fire from heaven           shall the Spirit rush from the skies, and as the sacrifice which instantly blazed to heaven, so shall the Church burn           with holy and glorious ardour. She shall no longer drive heavily with her wheels torn away, but as the chariot of           Jehu, the son of Nimshi, she shall devour the distance in her haste. That seems to me to be one of the promises of           the textthe rapidity of the work of grace, so that the plougher shall overtake the reaper.               3. But a third blessing is very manifest here, and one indeed which is simply given to us. Notice the activity of           labour which is mentioned in the text. God does not promise that there shall be fruitful crops without labor; but           here we find mention made of ploughmen, reapers, treaders of grapes, and sowers of seed; and all these persons           are girt with singular energy. The ploughman does not wait, because saith he, the season has not yet come for me           to plough, be seeing that God is blessing the land, he has his plough ready, and no sooner is one harvest shouted           home than he is ready to plough again. And so with the sower; he has not to prepare his basket and to collect his           seed; but while he hears the shouts of the vintage, he is ready to go out to work.               Now, my brethren, one sign of a true revival, and indeed an essential part of it is the increased activity of           God's labourers. Why, time was when our ministers, thought that preaching twice on Sunday was the hardest           work to which a man could be exposed. Poor souls, they could not think of preaching on a week-day, or if there           was once a lecture, they had bronchitis, were obliged to go to Jerusalem and lay by, for they would soon be dead           if they were to work too hard. I never believed in the hard work of preaching yet. We find ourselves able to           preach ten or twelve times a week, and find that we are the stronger for it,--that in fact, it is the healthiest and           most blessed exercise in the world. But the cry used to be, that our ministers were hardly done by, they were to be           pampered and laid by, done up in velvet, and only to be brought out to do a little work occasionally, and then to           be pitied when that work was done. I do not hear anything of that talk now-a-days. I meet with my brethren in the           ministry who are able to preach day after day, day after day, and are not half so fatigued as the were; and I saw a           brother minister this week who has been having meetings in his church every day, and the people have been so           earnest that they will keep him ver often from six o'clock in the evening to two in the morning. "Oh!" said one of           the members, "our minister will kill himself." "Not he," said I, "that is the kind of work that will kill no man. It is           preaching to a sleepy congregation that kills good ministers, but not preaching to earnest people." So when I saw           him, his eyes were sparkling, and I said to him, "Brother, you do not look like a man who is being killed," "Killed,           my brother," said he, "why I am living twice as much as I did before; I was never so happy, never so hearty,           never so well." Said he, "I sometimes lack my rest, and want my sleep, when my people keep me up so late, but it           will never hurt me; indeed," he said, "I should like to die of such a disease as thatthe disease of being so greatly           blessed." There was a specimen before me of the ploughman who overtook the reaper,--of one who sowed seed,           who was treading on the heels of the men who were gathering in the vintage. And the like activity we have lived to           see in the Church of Christ. Did you ever know so much doing in the Christian world before? There are           grey-headed men around me who have known the Church of Christ sixty years, and I think they can bear me           witness that they never knew such life, such vigour and activity, as there is at present. Everybody seems to have a           mission, and everybody is doing it. There may be a great many sluggards, but they do not come across my path           now. I used to e always kicking at them, and always being kicked for doing so. But now there is nothing to kick           atevery one is at workChurch of England, Independents, Methodists, and Baptiststhere is not a single           squadron that is behindhand; they have all their guns ready, and are standing, shoulder to shoulder, ready to make           a tremendous charge against the common enemy. This leads me to hope, since I see the activity of God's           ploughmen and vine dressers, that there is a great revival coming,--that God will bless us, and that right early.               4. We have not yet, however, exhausted our text. The latter part of it says, "The mountains shall drop sweet           wine." It is not a likely place for wine upon the mountains. There may be freshets and cataracts leaping down their           sides; but who ever saw fountains of red wine streaming from rocks, or gushing out from he hills. Yet here we are           told that, "The mountains shall drop sweet wine;" by which we are to understand that conversions shall take place           in unusual quarters. Brethren, this day is this promise literally fulfilled to us. I have this week seen what I never           saw before. It has been my lot these last six years to preach to crowded congregations, and to see many, many           souls brought to Christ; it has been no unusual thing for us to see the greatest and noblest of the land listening to           the word of God; but this week I have seen, I repeat, what mine eyes have never before beheld, used as I am to           extraordinary things. I have seen the people of Dublin, without exception, from the highest to the lowest, crowd in           to hear the gospel. I have known that my congregation has been constituted in a considerable measure of Roman           Catholics, and I have seen them listening to the Word with as much attention as though they had been Protestants.           I have seen men who never heard the gospel before, military men, whose tastes and habits were not likely to be           those of the Puritanic minister, who have nevertheless sat to listen; nay, they have come againhave made it a           point to find the place where they could hear the besthave submitted to be crowded, that the might press in to           hear the Word, and I have never before seen such intense eagerness of the people to listen to the Gospel. I have           heard, too, cheering news of work going on in the most unlikely quartersmen who could not speak without           larding their conversation richly with oathshave nevertheless come to hear the Word; they have listened, and           have been convinced, and if the impression do not die away, there has been something done for them which they           will not forget even in eternity. But the most pleasing thing I have seen is this, and I must tell it to you. Hervey           once said, "Each floating ship, a floating hell." Of all classes of men, the sailor has been supposed to be the man           least likely to be reached by the gospel. In crossing over from Holyhead to Dublin and backtwo excessively           rough passages-I spent the most pleasant hours that I ever spent. The first vessel that I entered, I found my hands           ver heartily shaken by the sailors. I thought, "What can these sailors know of me?" and they were calling me           "brother." Of course, I felt that I was their brother too; but I did not know how they came to talk to me in that           way. It was not generally the way for sailors to call ministers, brother. There was the most officious attention           given, and when I made the enquiry "What makes you so kind?" "Why," said one, "because I love your Master,           the Lord Jesus." I enquired, and found that out of the whole crew there were but three unconverted men; that           though the most of them had been before without God, and without Christ, yet by a sudden visitation of the Spirit           of God they had all been converted. I talked to many of these men, and more spiritual, heavenly-minded men I           never yet saw. They have a prayer-meeting every morning before the boat starts, and another prayer-meeting after           she comes to port; and on Sundays, when they lay-to off Kingstown or Holyhead, a minister comes on board and           preaches the gospel; the cabins are crowded; service is held on deck when it can be; and said an eyewitness to me,           "The minister preaches very earnestly, but I should like you to hear the men pray; I never heard such praying           before," said he, "they pray with such power, as only a sailor can pray." My heart was lifted up with joy, to think           of a ship being made a floating Churcha very Bethel for God. When I came back by another ship I did not           expect to see the like; but it was precisely the same. The same work had been going on. I walked among hem and           talked to them. They all knew me. One man took out of his pocket an old leather covered book in Welch"Do           you know the likeness of that man in front?" said he, "Yes," I said, "I think I do: do you read these sermons?"           "Yes, sir," replied he, "we have had your sermons on board this ship, and I read hem aloud as often as I can. If           we have a fine passage coming over, I get a few around me, and read hem a sermon." Another man old me a story           of a gentleman who stood laughing when a hymn was being sung; and one of the men proposed that they should           pray for him. They did, and that man was suddenly smitten down, and began on the quay to cry for mercy, and           plead with God for pardon. "Ah! Sir," said the sailors, "we have the best proof that there is a God here, for we           have seen this crew marvellously brought to a knowledge of the ruth; and here we are, joyful and happy men,           serving the Lord."               Now, what shall we say of this, but that the mountains drop sweet wine? The men who were loudest with           their oaths, are now loudest with their songs; those who were the most darling children of Satan, have become the           most earnest advocates of the truth: for mark you, once get sailors converted, and there is no end to the good they           can do. Of all men who can preach well, sailors are the best. The sailor has seen the wonders of God in the deep;           the hardy British Tar has got a heart that is not made of such cold stuff as many of the hearts of landsmen; and           when that heart is once touched, it gives great big beats; it sends great pulses of energy right through his whole           frame; and with his zeal and energy what may he not do, God helping him and blessing him?               5. This seems to be in the textthat a time of revival shall be followed by very extraordinary conversion. But,           albeit that in the time of revival, grace is put in extraordinary places, and singular individuals are converted, yet           these are not a bit behind the usual converts; for if you notice the text does not say, "the mountains shall drop           wine" merely, but they "shall drop sweet wine." It does not say that the hill shall send forth little streams; but all           the hills shall melt. When sinners, profligate and debauched persons, are converted to God, we say, "Well, it is a           wonderful thing, but I do not suppose they will be very first class Christians." The most wonderful thing is, that           these are the best Christians alive; that the wine which God brings from the hills is sweet wine; that when the hills           do melt they all melt. The most extraordinary ministers of any time, have been most extratordinary sinners before           conversion. We might never have had a John Bunyan, if it had not have been for the profanity of Elstow Green;           we might never have heard of a John Newton, if it had not have been for his wickedness on shipboard. I mean he           would not have known the depths of Satan, nor the trying experience, nor even the power of divine grace, if he           had not been suffered wildly to stray, and then wondrously to be brought back. These great sinners are not a whit           behind the Church. Always in revival you will find his to be the case, that the converts are not inferior to the best           of the converts of ordinary seasonsthat the Romanist, and the men who have never heard the gospel, when they           are converted, are as true in their faith, as hearty in their love, as accurate in their knowledge, and as zealous in           their efforts, as the est of persons who have ever been brought to Christ. "The mountains shall drop sweet wine,           and all the hills shall melt."               II. I must now go on to the other point very brieflyWHAT IS THE DOCTRINAL LESSON WHICH IS           TAUGHT IN OUR TEXT: AND WHAT IS TAUGHT TO US BY A REVIVAL? I think it is just this,--that God           is absolute monarch of the hearts of men. God does not say here if men are willing; but he gives an absolute           promise of a blessing. As much as to say, "I have the key of men's hearts; I can induce the ploughman to overtake           the reaper; I am master of the soilhowever hard and rocky it may be I can break it, and I can make it fruitful."           When God promises to bless his Church and to save sinners, h

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