By William B. Rose
Topics Beginning with "A"
001 -- ACCURATE STATEMENT, Importance of
Form habits of accuracy. It will add to your happiness, your usefulness, your prosperity, and your piety. You can depend upon yourself, and others can depend upon you. A text of Scripture which you will want to use, commit carefully to memory, and quote it as it is. Do not misstate nor exaggerate any facts you may relate. If you make allusions to any of the arts or sciences, see that you do not get things mixed or wrong end to.
At a camp-meeting in Minnesota, we referred to a Presbyterian brother in the East, on whose land a railroad station was located. In every deed he gave he stipulated that the property should be forfeited, if intoxicating liquors or beer were sold upon the premises. A man opened a saloon on a lot which he had bought. The Presbyterian brought suit in the courts. The case was carried to the Court of Appeals, the lot declared to be forfeited, and liquor kept out. The occurrence took place a thousand miles away, and twenty years before the relation of it here referred to. We had no thought that any one present knew anything about it. To our surprise a resident of the community, a gentleman well known, who made no profession of religion, confirmed all we had said, and stated that he himself "was the victim" -- the man who made the attempt to run a saloon and was defeated. This little incident seemed to add greatly to our influence with the congregation. People appeared to think they could rely upon our statements.
It greatly cripples one's ability to do good, when those who hear him feel that they must make allowance for what he says. Be accurate in your statements. Keep accurate accounts.
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002 -- ALTAR WORK: Prayer Important
Brother, when any persons come forward to be prayed for, and you undertake to lead in prayer, then pray for them. If you are not in a spiritual condition to do it, then be honest and go forward for prayers yourself. But do not substitute a sermon on your knees for prayer. Do not attempt to inform the Lord what he is. Come to him in simplicity, and in plain, earnest language ask him to do the work that the Spirit makes you feel needs to be done. Many words are not necessary. Borrowed beauties of expression are not necessary. But definiteness and simplicity, and faith, are necessary. If the seeker is not under conviction, as he should be, pray conviction upon him. If he lacks light, try and bring to his soul the light of the Holy Ghost. If the Lord gives you anything for him, it can be said in a few words; say it, and they keep him looking to the Lord for deliverance. All our members should be good workers at the altar. They may be, if they will. If you are not a good altar worker, will you become one? Consecrate yourself to God for this service, and he will fire you up, and use you.
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003 -- ALTAR WORK: United Prayer the Means
"Evil communications corrupt good manners." Some of our people, by working in popular revivals, have got in a bad way of working. They talk too much, and sing too much, and pray too little. They do not appear to get the burden of souls upon them. They do not pray with the intercession of the Spirit, "with groanings that cannot he uttered." We must never forget that souls are not saved by prayer, but by the power of God in answer to prayer. We do not pray to men, but to God. Therefore, if fifty pray at once it is no confusion, for God can hear fifty or a thousand at the same time, as well as one. Invariably, where people take hold together in this way, the best results are realized. The converts are more numerous, and stronger, and longer- lived. Let us do time work which God has committed to us just as nearly as we can In God's own way.
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004 -- ALTAR WORK: Salvation only by the Holy Ghost
Souls are saved by the power of the Holy Ghost, and not by the force of logic. When Paul reasoned of "righteousness, temperance and judgment to come, Felix trembled" (Acts 24:25). That was as far as logic could carry him. But when Paul, "filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes" on Elymas, and in response to his words the great sorcerer was smitten with blindness. "then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord" (Acts 13:12). So. when sinners come forward to our altars, we should pray the power of God upon them, and not carry on a running conversation with them. We should rely upon the Holy Ghost to do the work in answer to prayer. Seekers should be encouraged to pray; and we should hold on with them until the blessing comes. If they do not pray right, we should lead them right, and put short, appropriate petitions in their mouths. Only get them to pray in earnest and in faith. and they will get through. "Every one that asketh receiveth."
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005 -- AUTHORITY To Be Respected
The Bible inculcates a proper respect to persons in authority. "Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour" (Rom. 13:7). To "despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities," the Apostle gives as marks of those who have "crept In unawares"; "ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness" (Jude 8 and 4). Ungodly pride and ambition are at the bottom of this unwillingness to respect those above us. The celebrated Dr. Samuel Johnson says: "Your levelers wish to level down as far as themselves; but they can not bear leveling up to themselves, They would all have some people under them; why not, then, have some people above them?" Love of having the pre-eminence makes sad havoc with personal piety and with the prosperity of the church. Such people are ready to reject their preachers. Diotrephes would not receive even the Apostle John, the beloved disciple.
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006 -- AWAKENING, Efforts For
Unless the whole community is converted, a preacher ought not to be satisfied with preaching only, or mainly, to his own members. Where this is the case, there is something wrong with the preacher. If there is no interest, he should awaken an interest. But alas! Probably none needs awakening more than himself. A man can not be deeply interested in anything without, if he tries, exciting an interest in others. This is doubly true in the great matter of salvation. A lack of interest in the congregation-much more, the lack of a congregation-proves that the preacher is spiritually dead.
If you can not get the people to come to you, then go to them. Visit them at their homes. Show an interest in them, a sympathy for them. If you are in town, hold a meeting in the street, just before the time for meeting in the church. Form a procession and march, with singing in the Spirit, to the church. This never fails to draw a congregation. Keep up an interest in the meeting. Long, dull, prosy prayers and exhortations drive the people away. Get others to take a part in the meeting. Begin in the Spirit, and go on in the Spirit to the close.
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007 -- AWAKENING, True
A desire to flee from the wrath to come is the very beginning of a genuine religious experience. No one can be justified, much less sanctified, without it. If in every case this desire shows itself by the fruits above specified, then It must follow that the vast army of jewel-wearing, novel-reading, cigar-smoking, money-grasping professors of religion, with which the churches are filled, can not possibly be in a state of salvation! They have not attained to the first stage of a truly religious life. Many of them will say that they do not feel condemned for these things. But those same General Rules say that all these "we are taught of God to observe, even in his written word. And all these "ye know his Spirit writes on truly awakened hearts." Then it must follow that those who have no conscience on these matters are not awakened. Oh, what a need there is everywhere of doing thorough work for God!