The Need for Divine Power
Some persons cannot understand why the doctrinal preachers of our day should not be as highly esteemed and as greatly blessed as the doctrinal preachers of the last century. They do not see the wide difference between receiving the truth at first hand and at second hand.
When Toplady preached election and Whitefield urged the new birth, they preached what their souls had received directly and immediately from God. It was not with them a second or third running, but the pure blood of the grape. Their souls had drunk of the wine of the kingdom and, like the apostles on the day of Pentecost, they preached under its influence. Peter preaching Christ s resurrection at Jerusalem, Athanasius contending for the Trinity at Alexandria, Luther declaring justification by Christ s righteousness at Wittenberg, Knox thundering against Popery at St. Andrews, Whitefield pouring out his very soul in enforcing the new birth in Moorfields, Toplady urging election at Orange Street Chapel, all preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.
Many ministers now preach just the same truths; but are they equally blessed? No. Why not? Because they have not received them in the same way, nor do they preach them under the same power and influence. Their thunders are mimic thunders; their preaching is rather acting than preaching.
Someone asked to see the sword of Scanderbeg, a celebrated warrior against the Turks, which was preserved in a museum. "Why," exclaimed he, "there is nothing remarkable in this sword" "No," was the reply, "but you should have seen the arm which wielded it." So the doctrines of justification, as preached by Luther, and of the new birth, as urged by Whitefield, maybe stated by any white-cravated youth, with a few hairs on his chin. It may be the sword of Scanderbeg; but where is the hand that made it drunk with the blood of the slain? The secret of all preaching and of all writing is power; and if that be denied, the tongue and pen are both those of the stage.
Oh Lord our God, our prayer is that in our living, preaching and teaching we might know THE EXCEEDING GREATNESS OF THY POWER TO USWARD WHO BELIEVE. May the EFFECTUAL WORKING OF THY POWER be in us as it was in the apostle Paul. May the Gospel of Thy grace come to our hearts not in word only, but ALSO IN POWER, AND IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND IN MUCH ASSURANCE. Please do not leave us to ourselves, but stir up our hearts in DEMONSTRATION OF THE SPIRIT AND OF POWER, for Jesus sake. Amen.