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the living, loving Christ. The more direct and simple the style, and the more rich and real the spiritual experience of the preacher, the more the people welcome the message. They crave the note of certainty.
Nor is this all. The world cannot live on negations and pessimisms for ever. We have had our period of criticism, analysis, and sweeping demolitions. Science has had her say, and revised her dicta more than once. Biblical criticism has, in some instances, almost reached the reductio ad absurdum stage. The fashionable mental mood has been, and perhaps still is, agnosticism. We even hear a shout of triumph from the side of those unaccountable people who desire to see religion discredited. But the shout is itself an indication in favour of the recrudescence of faith. History can furnish many parallels for it. But always in the history of Christendom, at the very moment when revealed religion has been declared to be dead and buried, God's prophets have arisen and bidden the dry bones live. History will repeat itself once more. Human nature can never long rest in a pessimism. Whensoever the spiritual faculty has, for any lengthened period, been repressed or obscured, it has always reasserted itself even to extravagance. Is it not the case at this very moment? The hearing obtained by Dowieism, Christian Science, and such-like, is an evidence of this, and a tacit rebuke against our feeble ways of setting forth the unsearchable riches of Christ.
But, above all, we may hope much from the prayer circles that are springing up in all directions throughout the land, with the avowed object of waiting upon God for a revival of His work. Such prayer cannot fail, for God cannot deny Himself. Christ is more than ever the great necessity, and the one central hope for poor humanity.
There is some speculation as to the form which such revival may take when it comes. Some people say it will be mainly ethical, and less emotional than most previous religious movements have been. Others believe it will take the form of a quickened interest in social justice, a great awakening on the part of the Churches in favour of the poor, the unprivileged, and the oppressed. No doubt there is truth in all these suppositions, but, if we refer to history once more, we learn the lesson that all Christian revivals have begun in the reawakening of devotion to Christ, the Saviour and Lord. We may call this emotion, if we please, but it has taken precedence of all ethical enthusiasms and social readjustments; in fact, made them possible. Such was the revival of Francis, of Luther, of Wesley, of Moody.
It may be questioned whether ethical endeavour, apart from faith, has ever succeeded at all. The character it has formed, and is forming in our midst today, tends to be self-conscious and introspective; whereas morality at its highest loses sight of itself as its own object, and becomes devotion to a Divine ideal. A quickened spiritual life in the Churches, a recovered enthusiasm, a new sense of the presence of Christ as Deliverer and Lord, would set free grand social enthusiasms, and supply an ethical dynamic compared with which all others are feeble indeed.
For this we need the power of the Holy Spirit of God. We need not to pray for a second Pentecost. The Spirit once given is here for ever. We need consecrated men and women. Let us pray, and trust, and expect. If we have not faith enough, let us ask for it; if we are not sufficiently in earnest, let us humble ourselves, and entreat the Lord to give us to our Master. Surely He will hear.