A Voice from the Continent
James Smith, 1856
A minister of Christ, a few months ago, paid a visit to some of the churches of the continent of Europe, and visiting one church where there had been a great revival of religion, he asked this question, "Do your members consider it their duty to seek the conversion of sinners around them?" And he received this striking reply: "I do not know whether they think of it as a duty — but they esteem it a privilege to be allowed to do so."
This is just what we need!
Here is the secret of success. How could a minister help succeeding in leading souls to the Savior — if every member of his church felt it to be a privilege to seek the conversion of the sinners around him?
Here is the proof of the presence of the Holy Spirit; for the Holy Spirit must be present with a people who thus feel, and thus act.
This state of things was the effect of much prayer. Prayer in private. Prayer in union with like-minded believers. The prayer of the heart.
It was the evidence of soul-prosperity. Such souls must be healthy. They breathe a pure atmosphere. They feed on Heavenly manna. They walk with God.
It was the result of nearness to God. O, if we could but get near to God! If we did but live near to God — then we would feel as He felt, when He said, "as I live, says the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies!"
This is just what is needed in all our churches. We shall never get on as we wish, we shall never mold the masses, we shall never be full of life, love, and joy — until we feel it to be a privilege, and an inestimable privilege — to endeavor to bring sinners — the sinners immediately around us — to Jesus.
This is just what we should seek for ourselves, and inculcate on others. Souls are perishing!
Hell is filling!
Satan is triumphing!
Time in flying!
We are the salt that is to season others. We are the light that is to enlighten others. Shall the salt be unused until it loses its savor? Shall we put our light under a bushel, or in a dark lantern? Or, shall we let our light shine, and spread our savor abroad? There are souls who, if they do not hear of Jesus from us — will perhaps be never spoken to respecting Him. If we do not seek their salvation, perhaps no one will. O, that the Holy Spirit would so come down upon us, that we may feel as if we could not rest — could not live — but as we seek the salvation of souls! May His Word be as a fire in our bones, that we may be weary with withholding, and unable longer to delay the work. It is our duty — but may we feel it our privilege!
Brethren, there are believers who feel it to be a privilege to bring others to Jesus — why should not you? Why do not you? Ah, why? Is it not distance from God — which makes you cold? Is it not alienation from Jesus — which makes you careless? Careless! Is that word correct? Are you, can you be careless about the eternal happiness or eternal misery of the souls around you? Can it be said of any near you, "They perish forever without any regarding it?"
Where, O where is your love of Christ?
Where, O where, is your zeal for God?
Where, O where is your pity for poor perishing sinners?
What would not a church soon become, if only one half of its members felt it to be their privilege to seek the salvation of all around them? Surely it would soon look "forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun." This, yes this is just what is needed in our churches, that every member should prove, by his daily conduct, that he esteems it a privilege to seek the salvation of sinners around him.