On the Outpouring of the Spirit of God
Doctrine: There are some special Seasons wherein God doth in a remarkable Manner revive Religion among his People.
Use: Q. How is it with a People when Religion is revived?
A. 1. Saints are quickened. It contributes much to the flourishing of Religion, when Righteous Men flourish in Holiness, as it is foretold, Psalm 92:12. . . . Sometimes they run the ways of God’s commandments, because God enlarges their Hearts. . . . This mightily increaseth Holiness among a People.
2. Sinners are converted. God makes the Gospel at times to be very Powerful. . . . There is a mighty Change wrought in a little Time: They that were dead are made alive, and they that were Lost are Found.
3. Many that are not Converted do become more Religious. When Israel went out of Egypt, there was a mixed Multitude that went with them. So when God is pleased to convert a Number, there be many others who have a common Work of the Spirit on their Hearts; they are affected with their Condition, reform their evil Manners, and engage in Religious Duties. . . . When God works savingly upon some, it is frequent that others have common Illuminations, whereby great Reformation is wrought, and the Reputation of Religion is advanced, and People are disposed to keep the external Covenant.
Observation: This reviving is sometimes of longer, and sometimes of shorter Continuance. Sometimes Religion flourishes in a Country for a great many years together. So it did for twenty-nine Years in the days of Hezekiah, 2 Chronicles 29:1. . . . But sometimes it is for a less space.
God is very Arbitrary [unpredictable] in this Matter. The People of God are praying, and waiting for this Mercy. Psalm 85:6—“Wilt Thou not revive us again, that thy People may rejoice in Thee?” But God will take his own time for this Mercy.
By Solomon Stoddard
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #23 in 1989]Taken from a collection of sermons by Solomon Stoddard entitled The Efficacy of the Fear of Hell, printed by B. Green of Boston in 1713.
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