Essential to eminent usefulness
(John Angell James)
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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 . . .