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Revivals are among the charter rights of the church. They are the evidences of its divinity, the tokens of God’s presence, the witness of his power. The frequency and power of these extraordinary seasons of grace are the tests and preservers of the vital force in the church. The church which is not visited by these seasons is as sterile in all spiritual products as a desert, and is not and cannot meet the designs of God’s church. Such churches may have all the show and parade of life, but it is only a painted life.

The revival element belongs to the individual, as well as to the church, life. The preacher whose experience is not marked by these inflows of great grace may question with anxious scrutiny whether he is in grace. The preacher whose ministry does not over and over again find its climax of success and power in these gracious visitations of God may well doubt the genuineness of his call, or be disquieted as to its continuance.

Revivals are not simply the reclamation of a backslidden church. They do secure this end, but they do not find their highest end in this important result. They are to invigorate and mature by one mighty act the feeble saints; they also pass on to sublimer regions of faith and experience the advanced ones of God’s elect. They are the fresh baptisms—the more powerful consecration of a waiting, willing, working church to a profounder willingness, and a mightier ability for a mightier work. These revivals are the pitched battles and the decisive victories for God, when the slain of the Lord is many, and his triumph glorious.

For the rest of the article by E.M. Bounds

February 2011



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