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MILLENNIAL EXPERIENCE;

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EEV. ALMON UNDERWOOD.

** That ye might be filled with the knowledge of Ills will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding/'— Cor. i. 9.

BOSTON:

HENRY HOYT

No. 9 Cornhill.

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1860, by

HENRY HOTT, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

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Printed by

Bazin & Chandler,

37 Cornhill.

TO MY CHILDREN

Whom I have begotten in Christ Jesus, through the gospel, are these pages specially and affectionately dedicated. With many of you my labors have been short, and it is not likely that you will ever hear my voice again, as it would be impossible to revisit the more than hundred churches to which I have ministered, in seasons of special religious interest. Having many things to say unto you and being taken from you in presence, not in heart, I adopt this mode of addressmg you, thus com- plying with the earnest request of many. As I have witnessed your first victory, I am exceedingly desirous ** that ye should walk worthy of God who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory," and that ye go on from conquest to conquest. I have no greater joy, than that ye stand fast in the liberty of the gospel, and no stronger desire than that Christ be formed in you, the hope of glory. ** For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of re- joicing ? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ? '' My earnest prayer is,

IV TO MY CHILDEEN.

that the experience herein undertaken to be delineated, may be yours, and that through you, the leaven of righteousness may be diffased through the entire church.

The Authok. Newark, N. J], 1860.

PREFACE.

To some, the tide of this book may appear strange, and the inquiry will be made, ** Has the millennium be- gun, that we should write of millennial experience ! '' In reply, we affirm our belief, that we shall have millennial experiences before the full inauguration of this, the world's jubilee. The millennium will not be ushered in at any particular moment ; but individual Christians will be com- ing into this state day after day, and year after year, until the fall development of the latter-day glory, when the knowledge of the glory of God shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

There can be no doubt but many persons have had, and are now enjoying this experience in its fulness. The early disciples certainly enjoyed it after the baptism of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost. Their own words prove this, " But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, as by the spirit of the Lord.'*

VI PEEFACE.

*' For Grodj who commanded the light to shine out of dark- ness, hath shined into our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." They enjoyed then the light which shall chai^acteiize the millennial age. Doubtless, it is the duty and privilege of the entire Chui'ch of Chiist, to possess this experience. As the children of Israel were prevented, by their un- behef, from entering the land of Canaan, which, for a whole generation lay before them in fall view ; so we stand waiting and hesitating with all the blessings of the millen- nium held out to us, as our promised possession, into which we enter by faith alone.

In the present work it seemed, in the first place, desir- able to demonstrate the necessity for the same spiritual guidance and illumination in our day, which shall disthi- guish that glorious period of the church. Much space has been occupied in endeavoring to remove, if possible, the objections of many as to its reahty and attainability. "We have shown that the necessity for this guidance exists in our moral natui'es, as well as in our cncumstances in life.

In the next place, we prove from a variety of considera- tions, that Grod has made abundant provisions to meet this necessity, so that there is no ^-ant to them that walk up- rightly.

PPwEFACE, Vll

The third part occupies a greater space than was at first intended. It was manifestly important, not only to point out the conditions of securing divine manifestations, but also to illustrate and develop the peculiar state of mind which characterizes millennial experience, to show it in its different phases, as active, and at the same time, as quies- cent, as laboring and suffering, in great heaviness and con- tinual sorrow of heart, and yet always triumphing in Christ, anointed with the oil of gladness, and yet the man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. It seems as though the real inquirer after light would be more interested in this part of the book than in any other. And this must be our apology for extending it to its present length.

To many, the subject discussed in the fourth part, pre- sents the gi'eatest difficulties. Some may think that it involves a new revelation, or the revival of the days of inspiration. And is it not tnie that God has been reveal ing himself to souls anew all along their eaiihly pilgrim- age, giving them new evidences of his love and favor, opening new treasures in his word, and manifesting his will more clearly to them? We are aware there is a great indefiniteness iu many minds with respect to the witness of the spirit, how it gives its testimony, and how we are to distkiguish its teachings, and whether any sure reliance can "be placed upon them. Cannot God teach us bo that we

VUl PREFACE.

can Tinderstand him ? There should be no doubt as to the reahty of that to which God testifies. Can He not make a thing certain ?

The difficulty often arises fi'om a want of experience. The truth is, we know God only so fai' as we experience him. The unpenitent sinner cannot imagine how one can know that his sins are forgiven, as God gives no visible or audible evidence of his presence. But when He comes to enjoy the witness of the spuit on this point, his difficulties all vanish. It is as clear as daylight. So it will be found in reference to this after experience. They are verv similar in kind, thouD;h difierino; in deoi'ee.

Whether we have succeeded in making this part of our subject clear to the minds of inquirers after the hidden life, we shall leave it for them to judge. We will add, however, that our instmctions will appear dark to any one unless he enjoys the teachings of the Spirit. No human instruction can supply the place of this Divine unction in the soul. Our words are as Greek, unless interpreted by the Holy Ghost. K our teaching would answer, there would be no need of the Spmt, and our docU'ine would be wholly false. Our object in penning these pages has been to point you to the Great Teacher, and not to divert your attention in any other duection. The Holy Ghost can make this clearer to your mind in five minutes, than

PREFACE. IX

"we conld in five years. Our aim in this part has been as much to guard the honest inquirer against eveiy false way, as to develope the true one ; for there can be no doubt there is danger here, and a mistake might be very disastrous. The traveller to Zion needs to be guarded as well as guided. The last part might be considered un- necessary, as anticipating or framing objections where none might be made. We deem it important, however, to consider some of the more obvious ones which might arise in honest minds who are inquiring for the truth. Some of these might stagger and discourage them from prosecut- ing their inquiries where there was no real difficulty in the way, no more than in the other articles of their creed, and if for such reasons they throw away this precious provision of the gospel, they might for the same, throw aside every other. Other objections may arise, but we have no room to answer them here It has been our object and aim to furnish light to honest inquirers for the way of holiness, and also to those who were walking therein. We desire to con- tribute our mite to multiply this kind of experience, and thus help usher in the latter-day glory. We send it forth as the harbinger of a good time coming, as a finger- point towards that day when the sun shall no more go down, nor the moon withdraw its light.

THE QUESTION.

Does tlie gospel encourage us to expect Divine guidance in the minutest affairs of life, from moment to moment, or does it furnish us with general rules, and leave us to determine from our own reason and judgment and from the providence of God, what specific act or volition we should put forth at any given time ?

Does Grod afford us special directions in some things, and leave us to exercise our judgment in others, not knowing whether it may be in accordance with the will of God or not ?

Does He give us general directions and then leave us to guess what may be His will in particular volitions and acts, not knowing whether we please the Lord or no ? Or has God made provision for our knowing His will at all times, and in all cases, so that we may affirm that we know what is His will, and be assured that we are doing it? This is certainly a very pra-ctical question, and one of great importance. If the gospel contains such privileges, every

XU THE QUESTION.

one ought to know it and avail himself of its advantages. What is so impoi-tant to us as to know the will of God from day to day and from moment to moment ? To meet our responsibilities and to fulfil all our obhgations, this knowledge is more needful than any other. No one can be indifferent to this question who has any desire to please the Lord. Hear the first inquiry of the converted Saul of Tarsus, ^'Lord, What wilt thou have me to do?" So will every Christian be interested in the question, May I know the will of God ?

TABLE OF CONTENTS.

PAET I.

THE MANIFESTATION OF GOD'S WILL FROM MOMENT TO MO- MENT NEEDFUL.

CHAPTER I-

The insufficiency of God's word without it. Law general. Not one thing in a thousand. The word itself acknowl- edges this necessity. Evident in Christian experience, and in Christian assurance 17

CHAPTER n.

Providences not sufficient. Will of God often contrary to their apparent leadings. Early disciples. Moffat in Western Africa. Need an interpreter. The history of prayer as proof. A case ^ . 28

CHAPTER ni.

Experience not enough. God never repeats. Course chang- ing. Need minute direction. Great results from little causes. An auxiliary 41

CHAPTER IV.

SECTION I.

Definition of a right moral act involves this necessity 48

SECTION II.

Moral wants require it , 50

SECTION III.

Economy in time requires it .^ 52

CHAPTER V.

Character of those without this guidance. Both backslid- ers and impenitent 55

CHAPTER VI. Prayers of Christians. Inspired prayers 64

XIV CONTENTS.

PART II.

THE PROVISION.

CHAPTER I. SECTION I.

The fact of the necessity 76

SECTION II.

Justice requires the provision 77

SECTION III.

Human responsibility 80

CHAPTER n. Promises show it. Particular, step by step. Shall not err... 84

CHAPTER ni.

The Spirit's agency. Superior facilities. Uses all other agen- cies 10

CHAPTER IV.

Included in the New Covenant 112

CHAPTER V.

Bible prayers and their promised answers. " Thy will be done." 116

.CHAPTER VI.

Gospel precepts require it. Be ye perfect. The law« 120

CHAPTER Vn. Actual attainment. Enoch, David, Paul, and John 123

CHAPTER Vm.

The Millennial provision. Prophecy and history. Not in a day. Have it when there is faith. No new provision. Only use the one we have 132

CONTENTS. XV

PART III.

HOW SECURE THE PROVISION.

CHAPTER I.

Self-denial. What meant. Condition of salvation and sanc- tification. Self-will renounced. A case. Self-depeni- ance abandoned. Illustration. Chronic case of despond- ency. Who shall perform the act of self-crucifixion 145

CHAPTER n.

The living sacrifice. What intended. Everlasting. Never to be taken off. Every church covenant requires it. Il- lustration. The pastor. Made once for all. Faith that God will accept- Know his will 165

CHAPTER in.

The keeping of the soul committed to God. What implied. Preservation from error. In the truth. From sin. And in holiness. Final perseverance. How done. Without reserve. In well-doing. Implicit laith 179

CHAPTER IV.

Faith in the word, and providences of God. Must believe. Illustration. An old letter. A pastor of the last century. 202

CHAPTER V.

The spirit of obedience Same state. Obey at once. The business man 212

CHAPTER VI.

Passive obedience. Common to all who walk with God. Na- ture of these sufferings. Object of them. Desirable and to be sought 228

CHAPTER Vn.

Perfect contentment. What implied. Faith in Christ as a Saviour. Perfect harmony between the conscience and heart. Confidence in God's superintendance. Satisfac- tion with His providence. Faith in His promises. Per- fect love to God. Great efficiency. How obtained. Faith in God. A prudential maxim. Enlarged view ot His providence. God in all 261

XVI CONTENTS.

CHAPTER Vin.

Prayer of faith. What meant. Always answered. Requis- ites. Spirit of obedience. Righteous. An expectation. Prayer heard, and the blessing delayed. Importunity, What implied. An apprehension of the importance of the blessing . Strong desire. Never to give up ....... . 282

PART IV.

EVIDENCES.

CHAPTER I.

Guards and cautions. Wholly consecrated. Agree with God's words. Enlightened understanding. Not a mere impression. ... * 309

CHAPTER II.

The witnesses- 315

CHAPTER III.

CORROBORATIVE TESTIMONY, SECTION I.

Word of God 341

SECTION n.

Providence 346

SECTION III.

A godly and consistent life 352

PART V.

OBJECTIONS CONSIDERED.

1. This view encourages indolence 365

2. Inconsistent with the warnings and cautions given 366

3. Deception dreadfully disastrous 368

4. Tends to fanaticism » «••• 370

5. The old doctrine of infallibility 374

PART I.

THE MANIFESTATIONS OF THE WILL OF GOD BY HIS SPIRIT, NEEDFUL 11^ OUR SPE- CIFIC ACTS AND YOLITIONS.

CHAPTER I.

THIS NEED WILL APPEAR FROM THE INSUFFIENCY OF GOD'S WORD AS A GUIDE WITHOUT IT.

Though it is spoken of as a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, and is often explicit and definite, yet it does not specify one thing in a thousand that we are to do, nor does it meet all the wants of a single hour. Where is it revealed in God's word what I am required to do at the present time, under the circumstances in which 1 am placed ? Here lie a dozen ways before me, which I am to take, here are a dozen things to do, how am I to know which, or what

18 mille:n^nial experience ; oe,

first, or what not to do ? Tlie Bible certainly does not tell me ; it gives me general rules, but bow am I to know tbeir application to all the minutiae of actual life ? We seem to need an interpreter in understanding the word of God and in applying it to our actual wants. For illustra- tion, you may open the Bible and read, " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and thy neighbor as thyself." Here are re- quirements which impose obligation upon us every moment ; but who shall teach us what they demand at the present juncture, to worship God, or perform works of beneficence ; the law itself neither points to the right nor to the left. It says do, and there leaves us to determine what we are to do. Is this question now submitted to our erring judgments and ignorance to de- cide, or have we a guide in the matter upon which we may rely with unerring certainty ? Can any one doubt the necessity for such a guide? The question is not whether God uses our judgment or not, whether we are to exercise our reason or not ; this is 'granted. The Spirit utters his voice through the understanding and

god's will known and done. 19

enlightens the conscience. On the very suppo- sition that the law itself does not decide in the case what supreme love to God and impartial love to man requires us now to do. How are we to know, or must we guess what wiU be the fulfilling of the law under the circumstances? God means to have us act intelligently in the case, and not from any blind impulse. And though the word of God is often quite explicit and particular in its requirements, yet it cannot alone meet our necessities as it does not decide in a given case what is to be done. Nor could it be a sufficient guide, unless it marked out every course and step we are to take in our pilgrimage through the world. We need a teacher to instruct us in the word and to apply it to aU our varied wants and circumstances.

The need of such a teacher is often recognized in the book of Revelation, thereby showing its own insufficiency. Said the Saviour, " It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the comforter will not come unto you." '' Howbeit when He, the spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth ; for He shall

20 MILLENNIAL EXPERIENCE; OR,

not speak of liimself ; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall he speak and He wiU show things to come. He shall glorify me : for He shall receive of mine and shall show it unto you," &c.

If the word of God is a sufficient guide, why- has He given us another to teach us its meaning and its application, and why has He required us to pray for its illumination and guidance ? This necessity is most clearly admitted by the word itself. " Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities ; for w^e know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered." And again, " That the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit."

Two things at least are implied in this last passage; first, that the Spirit teaches or shows us what the law requires, and in the second place, He begets in us the spirit of obedience, so that when the requirement is made known, we most cheerfully comply with it. " There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit."

god's will known and done. 21

The same thing is abundantly evident in Chris- tian experience. How little did the disciples know of the word of God, especially of the exphcit declarations of Christ, till their minds were enlightened and guided by the spirit of God. When this was done, the whole book of divine revelation lay open before them. They could now understand the prophecies and apply them. The sayings of Jesus are comprehended and known. If they had studied the Scriptures all their days, they would not have understood them as they do now. They are never at a loss in applying them to passing events. They see in the life and death of Christ an exact fulfilment of all the things written and said of Him. The spirit of God taught them and they could but know them. With this interpreter they find no difficulty in understanding the whole book of Revelation, not merely as a work of intellection, but its application to all the varied scenes of life. The word of God is ever at hand to cheer and comfort them amid difficulties and trials and to guide them through new and untried events. We never find them hesitating and doubting, but

22 MILLENNIAL EXPERIENCE ; OR,

they act like men, assured they were doing the will of God. They say, " We cannot but speak the things we have heard and seen."

Our own ignorance and blindness lay the foundation for the necessity of this guidance. We know but little of the present, much less of the future. Indeed we know nothing of the future, but are profoundly ignorant to all its developments. Consequently, without any other help, we are unable to decide intelligently the commonest concerns of life. TV e may not know how to take even the first step ; as we cannot see the future, the first step may be a stumble or a fall; we may do the most unwise thing in the world when we would do right. " I know that the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps." Several things may appear equally important, and as we do not know the result of acting in a particular direction, what are we to do ? Must we go forward blindly and do what comes in our way ? The word says, " Whether, therefore, ye eat or drink or what- soever ye do, do all to the glory of God." But who shall tell us which to do ? That tells us for

god's will known and done. 23

whom to do it, but not whether to eat or drink or sleep or what avocation to follow. Is the word then a sufficient guide ? or do we not need the spirit to apply it that we may act intelligently and know what is the fulfilling of the law, and what is the will of God in our present circum- stances. In some way then, that will must be manifested to us.

We are like a blind man, who is told to go forward, but he must have some one to lead him, or he knows not which way to move. Now let a kind hand be stretched out to guide, in which he can confide implicity, he can walk as securely and as firmly upon that plank road as though he had eyes. So when the word of God bids us go forward, we need to have the unseen hand point out the way and show us what to do. We need the invisible spirit to teach and assure us what is the will of God concerning us in the circumstances where we are placed, then we can go on unfalteringly and firmly with the assur- ance that we are doing it.

Again how is it that people become satisfied that they have passed from death unto life, or

24 MILLENNIAL FXPERIENCE ; OR,

that they have become the children of God? Whence do they derive this assurance ? Is it from the word of God merely^ or from the testimony of the Spirit ? What is it that gives that pecuHar life and power to the truth of God at times which makes one feel as thdugh he was the one meant in all those gracious promises, and which gives such personality to every utterance of God in his word ? The Bible has not changed, the same promises were there before, but there seemed no meanmg in them to him. Most manifestly it is the spirit of God giving vitality and power to the written word, and applying it to the individual person, making all the promises of God, yea and amen in Christ Jesus. If the spirit of God is thus necessary in the commencement of the spiritual life, must it not be equally important in its continuance ? And if the word of God was not sufficient to inspire hope and confidence, then how can it be in the subsequent life of the Christian ? Without the life-giving power of the Spirit the living word becomes a dead letter. We thus establish the insufficiency of God's word alone as

god's will known and done. 25

a guide without the spirit, and in doing so, we do not disparage but honor it in assigning it its proper place in the great system of instrumen- talities by which the body of Christ is to be preserved and sanctified.

CHAPTER n.

DIVINE PROVIDENCE UNINTERPRETED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD NOT A SUFFICIENT GUIDE.

Some may have already fallen back upon the promdence of God^ as the help needed to make up the deficiency of the word as a sufficiently defi- nite interpreter. " We must judge," say they, "as to what is called for by the circumstances around us, listen to the calls of Divine providence from time to time and study its teachings, and in this way we shall know the will of God." In this way, is not the providence of God often deified as an omnipresent God ?

There is no doubt but we may get much light by regarding the intimations of Divine providence, and we should never be indifferent to the light derived from this source. Though the word and providence of God are not a sufficient guide in life, yet we are never to disregard them. They show us our duty with a proper interpreter ; they

god's will known and done. 27

both need application in understanding them aright.

Is it not true that the will of God often lies directly across the path of his providence as read by erring mortals ? If we obey God, do we not have to go contrary to the appearance of things ? Our way may seem to be hedged up, difficulties thicken aU around us, and we may appear to be entirely out of our place, and have nothing to do where we are, and yet we may be assured that we are just where God designed us to be. His providence may seem to point in another direction ; many doors of usefulness opened else- where, and we seem to be doing nothing of any amount in our present position ; still there may be a strong conviction, farther a perfect knowledge that we are doing the will of God where we are ; we may have no more doubt that we are in the will of God, than we have that we are his chil- dren. As an illustration of this, take the case of Abraham, who, against hope, believed in hope. The providence of God indicated any thing than the fulfilment of the thing promised. He has some other guide than divine providence.

28 MILLENNIAL EXPERIENCE ; OR,

Take the whole history of the Christian Church ; her way has been dark and threatening, and often

t when her prospects have been ominoxis and adverse, she has gained her most signal triumphs. When her defeat has been looked for, there has been victory ; when her cause has seemed to be lost, there has been a triumph. There are so many Illustrations of the above In her history, It is difficult to know which to select. The first propagation of the gospel was made when earth and heaven seemed to conspire together to de- stroy the very existence of the Christian Church. Here was her greatest triumph. What mistakes

I men have made who have been governed by appearances, who have taken the apparent indica- tions of divine providence as the real ones ! It was generally hailed as a glorious day when the church formed an affinity with the world, and the great Roman empire became nominally Christian, and yet It well nigh proved her ruin.

, ' She was all but lost In the wilderness of the

1/ world. And when nearly a thousand fears of tomb-Hke darkness had rolled over the world, and ignorance had become the mother of devotion,

god's will known and done. 29

as tlie last gKmmering of light disappears, you cry, "She is gone." No. She is not gone. It was only the darkness that precedes the morn. Day approaches, the sun rises, which shall never set again, but its light shall spread over all the earth. It may be said, that the providences of God have not been understood correctly, and therefore great mistakes have been made. True. But have they not always been made when men have had no other guide ? Has it not required the anointing of the spirit as much to read the book of Divine providence as the volume of Revelation? Has any one understood it without ?

Take your own history as proof of this posi- tion. Have you not been often ready to exclaim, [* all these things be against me when they were only working your deliverance? Has not your way been hedged up so that there appeared no escape, and no path for you to take, yet when you had the presence and guidance of the Spirit, all was light and clear within, but if not, the darkness of the grave seemed to have fallen upon you? Have you not sometimes wondered how ' everything appeared so clear, when Divine pro-

/N

30 MILLENNIAL EXPERIENCE ; OR,

^, vidences appeared so dark, wLen you could not get a ray of light from the surrounding gloom ? It was the light of heaven beaming oa your soul and dissipating the clouds hanging around. At such times your eye-sight failed you, your past experience failed you, and nothing but the light from above could afford you the / least satisfaction. You knew the way, the dark- ness disappeared from before you, and you passed on, rejoicing in the power of God. Here is something above the brightness of the noon-day sun. It is assurance forever. Others might doubt, but you could not. Often the light within increases as the external darkness grows more dense. How little did the disciples know what God was doing in his providence, and wliat they ought to do till they were enlightened by the spirit of the Lord. Everything seemed to be against them. Judging from what had been they had reason to expect utter extinction ; they had seen their Master crucified, and every effort made to exterminate his little flock. Everything ap- peared dark and ominous. They could say, " we trusted that it had been He which should have

god's will known and done. 31

redeemed Israel." But things did not seem to favor any such expectation then. Appearances indicated anything else sooner. A few days pass and they receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit gives them a new sight, and those apparently untoward providences are full of hope and triumph. Each unfolding leaf gives promise of something greater and still more glorious. They see in the passing events the fulfilment of Heaven's design In the redemption of the world. The plUar of cloud which had appeared so dark, now becomes luminous as the noon-day sun. They can triumph right amid the most trying scenes. They take joyfully the spoIHng of their goods ; for they know that all things work to- gether for ihe glory of God and the redemption of the world. There Is an entire change In their views and conduct. What is the secret of this change ? You may ascribe It to Inspiration or to the gift of prophecy ? Whatever It may be, no \ one will deny but the spirit of God is the cause, enlightening their minds and giving them an insight Into the nature and spirituality of Christ's kingdom, such as they never had before, and

32 MILLENNIAL EXPERIENCE; OR,

passing events are in perfect keeping with the rest, tlnderstandino; thino-s with the aid of the Spirit, they can even count it all joy when they fall into divers temptations. They go to prison singing, and in death they " see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." They see the hand of God in every event of Divine providence as it passes. And have we not the same promises of guidance in understanding the will of God in his pro- vidence which they possessed? Are not the promises addressed to us as much as to tJiem f

As the will of God often lies directly across the path of his providence as interpreted by people without the enlightenment of his Spirit, it must be expected that we shall often have to act con- trary to the appearance of things. "For we walk by faith and not by sight." " The just shall live by faith." This, indeed, is the grand point of distinction between the righteous and the wicked. The one has a guidance, a divine know- ledge of things not known to the other.

While we urge the necessity of the Spirit to guide us, we do not object to a proper regard of

god's will known and done. 33

Diylne providences, but we would inculcate the idea that we must have the teachings of the spirit to understand them aright. While mindful of what God is doing around us, we should implore the illumination of His spirit, and re- ceiving this we may go forward unhesitatingly, though providences may seem to point the other way. This has often been illustrated in Christian experience and will be again and again.

Moffat's sojourn in West Africa affords a clear illustration of this thought. For eleven long years he continued his missionary labors among a pagan tribe without the least encouragement from their conduct. They insulted and robbed him, threatening his life again and again, and at no time showing the least interest in his labors or desire to be benefitted thereby. Everything seemed to be against him and not to encourage any results ; still he remained, with the strongest assurance that he was just where he ought to be ; as well convinced that it was the wiU of God he should be there as if hundreds had been turning to the Lord. He knew it. How did he know it when the providences of God seemed to be

34 MILLENNIAL EXPEKIENCE ; OE,

against him ? By the witness of the Spirit within witnessing with his spirit that he was doing the will of God. At length the promised day came, and with it the blessing of salvation to that heathen tribe confirmatory of the genuineness of his former convictions. He had no doubts before, but now the voice of Divine providence which once seemed to contradict his convictions, speaks most decidedly and decisively in their favor.

The history of the Reformation under Luther and his coadjutors, abounds with these illustrations, and shows conclusively they had some other guide than that furnished them in the providence of God. See the calmness and assurance of Luther when everything around portended destruction. He had light when others were enshrouded in darkness. The Spirit enabled him to read pass- ing events differently from the rest of the world. It is not his superior wisdom or experience, but a \ Divine illumination given him to understand what God is doiQg, just as one receives the evidence that he is born of the spirit of God. He is not misguided by Divine providence, because he has

god's will known and done. 85

an interpreter in the Spirit of what God is doing. In such cases others may think we act very unwisely and strangely, perhaps, and yet we are perfectly satisfied that we are acting in accor- dance with the Divine will. This has been acted over again and again through the whole history of the church. If then the appearances of things and the indications of Divine providence may not be a guide, we certainly need the manifestations of God's will through another channel. The history of prayer in personal experience abun- dantly illustrates this same truth. How often have the people of God had perfect assurance that God had heard prayer and granted the blessing sought, when every appearance seemed unfavorable ? The probability grew less and less, while the assurance grew stronger and stronger. Perhaps it was prayer for the out- pouring of the Spirit upon the church. The suppliant at length received perfect assurance, but there was no indication of such an event in the state of Zion. The apathy and indiffer- ence to say nothing of its obliquities and infi- delity, never appeared greater. The members

86 MILLENNIAL FXPERIENCE ; OR,

of the church seemed to have no heart for the work. Things grew more trymg and unpromis- ing, yet his assurance did not abate but gathered strength by the trial. This might have con- tinued for days, weeks, months, yes, even for years. At length the promised season of refresh- ing from the presence of the Lord came, and more than was expected was realized in that work of grace. Such has been the history of many a revival. One suggests itself to us just at this moment

Some few years since, in one of the enter- prising villages of Connecticut, as the pastor of the church returned home from making some parochial visits, he found a member of his church sitting at his door, Bible in hand. He was not a prominent member, nor had he been particularly active. He had occupied his place in the house of God without awakening any special attention by his devotion or faithfulness in the community. He was one of those harmless sort of men who help to fill up the ranks of an army without adding much to its strength and efficiency. He was known to be in the church, and this is the

god's will known and done. 37

most that could have been said of him at this time. After compliments had been passed, open- ing his Bible, where a leaf had been turned down, he began reading a precious promise, adding, " We are going to have a revival." The pastor replied, " that is an encouraging pro- mise," and started, as though he would enter his house, at the same time, inviting him to fol- low. "But stop," said he, opening his Bible, where another leaf had been turned down, and reading, again adding, " We are going to have a Tevival." And this he continued for some time, reading passage after passage, till he had read some of the most prominent promises of God's word, adding at every successive reading, " We are going to have a revival." The church was in a very cold and backslidden state without the least promise of a gracious work. He proposed a morning prayer-meeting, and at the first meet- ing he secured the attendance of two others, after waking them up. The same apathy prevailed in the church without the least apparent improve- ment. Still he was sure, " We are going to have a revival." A neighboring pastor whose labors

38 MILLENNIAL EXPERIENCE ; OR

had been very much blessed, was invited to preach for several successive evenings without any encouraging results. The prospect only darkened, and external appearances forbade any encouraging expectations, still he remained as sure as ever, " We are going to have a revival !" The pastor's faith and courage at length failed, and he said to his people publicly, he could do nothing more for them in improving their spiritual condition. The providences of God seemed to be entirely against them ; at length spring business was at its height, the cares of the world were never more pressing, and everybody was unusually busy, still he was sure, ^' We are going to have a revival." Nor was he disappointed. God opened the way for the introduction of other means and men, and His spirit accompanied their efforts with His blessing. The revival came, and it was a reviving indeed to that church. It was a time of great heart-searching among God's peo- ple, many gave up their hopes and afterwards came into the liberty of the Gospel. Several heads of families indulged hopes, and many of the precious youth were converted, fully verifying the

god's will known and done. 39

assurance expressed. That prayer meeting, so poorly began, became at length filled, and the house would hardly contain the multitudes who came together.

What was it that gave such assurance and con- fidence when the providences of God appeared so forbidding ; when nothing seemed to encourage any such expectations ? Most manifestly it was the spirit of God awakening and energizing his mind, and enabling him to appropriate and apply the promises to the existing state of the church and community around him. With this addi- tional light, or with the spirit of God as his inter- preter, the book of divine providence seemed to speak a different language from what it did to others not enjoying this unction. In this view faith begets a stronger assurance than sight, inas- much as one depends upon the word of God, made y