Essential to eminent usefulness

(John Angell James)

A revived church is the best hope of a lost world.

A revived ministry the best hope of a dormant church.

Under 'a great show of outward profession', there is a lamentable
deficiency of vital godliness in our churches. Much of the prevailing
benevolence and activity of the church, are a mere substitute for
spiritual religion--rather than the expression of vital godliness.

In our churches, it is easy to perceive . . .
how much more welcome is the
'humorous'--than the serious;
how much more anxious the audience is to be 'entertained'
    --than to be edified;
how much greater homage is paid to the 'talent' of the preacher
    --than to his piety!

In fact, our public meetings sometimes assume rather the
character of 'religious amusements'--than pious worship!

It ought never to be forgotten that a church meeting, if rightly
understood, is a company of people brought together to carry
out the design for which the Son of God expired upon the cross!
Surely the frame of our minds, and the tone of the sermons,
and the spirit and tendency of the whole worship service, ought
to be in strict harmony with such a purpose. Yet many of our
church meetings have rather lowered, than elevated the tone
of our piety, and thus enfeebled our real strength for carrying
on this great work.

Eminent piety is
essential to eminent usefulness!

It is eminent piety alone, which will enable us to take a clear
and impressive view of the object to be sought, and supply
the energies necessary for obtaining it.

It is eminent piety alone, which will purify our motives, and produce
that spirit of profound humility, self-denial, dependence, and entire
consecration--which are necessary to qualify us for the work.

It is eminent piety alone, which will keep up the spirit of faith and
prayer, to which the divine promises are made. We must become . . .
  more devout,
  more prayerful,
  more holy,
  more heavenly,
  more spiritual.