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With the heart earnestly uplifted, then, to Him who is the heart-searching and the heart-changing Jehovah, let us ponder, in the statements of our text

I. The SOURCE of national and general renovation— "Until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high ;"

II. The CHANNELS of such renewals of good to the age, the land and the race-" And the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness and righteousness remain in the fruitful field;"

III. The RESULTS of such moral and social renovation "And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance forever."

A Source, supernal and Divine; Channels, of revolutionary change on the earth; and the Results, peaceful and permanent, are presented by the book of God as affording sufficient grounds of consolation and hope for our race in each darker crisis of history.

As travellers climb the long staircases of some church spire to scan the avenues and precincts of some great strange city, and thus learn its shape and chief thoroughfares or, ascend by painful clamberings some steep mountain-top to look off from its jagged pinnacles, and judge the better of the country they are traversing-even so is it by the help of ascending in soul on high, that we can aright calculate either the earth's present condition, or its prospects of coming relief.

When the Temple, in days after those of Isaiah, lay in desecrated ruin, and the walls and homes of Jerusalem

strewed now with their broken wreck, the desolate heap that had been once a beautiful and sacred metropolis, "the joy of the whole earth,” the hopes of the pious Hebrew, for the restoration of his city and people, lay not so much in any outer and secular alliance, in the rank of Mordecai, or the sweet attractiveness of Esther, or the promotion of a Nehemiah, or the wide sway of a Daniel, as it did in the prophecies of heaven's own sending, and in the prayers of saints as pleading those prophecies, and as besieging, whilst thus sustained by the warrants of God's own word, the throne of His heavenly grace. And so, when Christ, after telling his apostles of the world's hatred, and of the wide range of their own work in all the coasts and through all the tribes of that world, would cheer and arm them for the task, he assured them of the presence of this same Spirit, the Comforter, as furnishing the pledge of their ultimate and irresistible triumph. They were to wait at Jerusalem for that Spirit's coming; and this Invisible but Invincible Helper would secure the evangelization of the race. Thus was it true in all times, not only in the day of Pentecost, but in the ages before it, as in the ages since succeeding and long after it, that the sources of earth's hope were not to be dug out of her own mines, or minted and refined out of her own ores. Its health and recovery was possible, only as it should be in origin, supernal and eternal and Divine. From "on high" did it come; and from on high" were they to implore its descent. Zion was to look evermore "to the hills whence"-and whence only-" cometh her help."


That Spirit's outpouring was experienced after all Ahaz's fearful temerity of impiety, in the revival of religion under Hezekiah; and after Manasseh's more guilty relapse, in his conversion and the early piety of Josiah—

yet again, in the days, tasks and achievements of Nehemiah, Ezra, Zerubbabel and Joshua the son of Josedech, as returning from the Captivity to rebuild Jerusalemstill more largely in the work of preparation under John the Baptist and of evangelization by our Lord and His Apostles-then, anew, in quick sequence after His ascension by the glorious scenes of Pentecost. So, in later ages of the Christian Church, the conversion of the Pagan Roman Empire to Christianity, and then of the barbarian hordes who became the invaders of that Empire -then the Reformation under Luther and Calvin and their compeers-the days, then, of the British Puritans and of the Scottish Covenanters then, the era of Methodism and of Modern Missions, and all the revivals of religious feeling and activity in our fathers' days and in our own, make up, my hearers, but instalments of this great effusion of celestial energy,-the Spirit's outpouring here predicted.

Surely, that Creator Spirit, who brooded over the emptiness and disorder of the old Chaos, and evoked the order, variety, light, beauty, and permanence of the Creation, is fully adequate to the work of the Second Creation, as the Repairer of our moral ruin in virtue of Christ's treaty of the Atonement. To Nicodemus Christ preached the necessity of this Spirit's influence for that new birth without which Heaven cannot be entered: as He afterwards bade His Apostles tarry at Jerusalem until endowed with fresh power from on high by this Spirit, animating and equipping them for their great trust of itinerating and evangelizing the world.

And as it is not man's prerogative to wield at his will these the resources of the skies and the energies of the Godhead, it is quite as presumptuous for man to propose, in his terrene might, to check, to lock and to bar these

overflowings of the Grace and Sovereignty of Almighty God. "To bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades" might be much more easily effected by man's five fingers, than that his puny hand should bolt the windows of Heaven, stay the vials of Pentecost, and dictate to the Christ, the Heir and Lord of all earth's history, within what secular and human barriers He shall be permitted to spread His truth and rule and mould the hearts of His people. Xerxes assaying to put fetters on the Hellespont, and Canute chiding the tide for its rising, were men soberly and effectively employed, in comparison with the modern schemers and dreamers who arrogate to curb the Law and Spirit of the Omnipotent and Eternal One, in their free career from "on high," over a world created dependent on its Maker, and over a race consciencebound and death-driven towards the Last Judgment.

However sadly, therefore, at times, some foreboding hearts here may regard the era of turmoil and political conflict, and martial carnage, and financial embarrassment, which now lowers over us and around us as a people, there is found in God's gracious Spirit the SOURCE of all relief needed, competent to every emergency of the world's darkest era, and adequate to realize and to surpass the largest dreams of hope. Are you a parent, whose soul grows heavy at forecasting the possible destinies of your children? Do you inquire, passionately, whether Anarchy or Despotism, or the bitter, unrelenting, internecine strifes of two contending Governments, dividing between them our old territory as a nation, with costly armaments, uncertain boundaries, ruinous imposts, and continuous bickerings, are the appointed lot of your sons and daughters? Do you ask, at times, Is then the perjured and wily usurper to whom France, craftily flattered by him in her love of splendor, bows down the 1*

pliant neck, and who talks of asserting the rights of the Latin race over the world-to become, by the welltimed intervention growing into invasion, the patron and arbiter of our freedom, religious and political? And this, when so many of us the children of the Pilgrims, and when so many others of us, as students of the old Puritan theology, have been wont to read in that very name-the Latin, thus brandished over us, the mysterious six hundred threescore and six of the Apocalypse,—an interpretation put upon it so far back as the days of Irenæus, living in the very century next after that of the giving of the Apocalypse-the Latin, thus made the name of the Beast that fought against God and that would trample in ashes and gore Christ's truth and Church. Shall imperial and Papal despotism, wielding a name of such scriptural ominousness, win or daunt into obsequiousness, the children of the men whose fathers fed the fires of Smithfield with their own flesh as fearless martyrs, endured in one land, the Dragonades of the crowned Bourbon, or, in another land, warred on, dethroned and beheaded the crowned Stuarts; defied in Scotland the Dalziels and the Claverhouses, and in Holland the Alvas, and have come out of this varied ancestral experience with no especial links, binding us either by fear or by love to the Latin name?

Against all these needless or warranted alarms there remains one sure and sufficient source of defence, the Spirit of God, that, unexhausted in its powers, and boundless in its benignity, vaster than our deepest necessities, and richer than our wildest anticipations, is able to shake the nations, and smite with the energy that shattered the old Paganism of imperial Rome all forms of nascent and resurgent Paganism in modern Christendom.

The Holy Ghost can deluge the globe with light, and

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