NOTHING is impossible to the man who knows how to overcome heaven by wrestling intercession. When we have seen one, two, or ten, or twenty penitents converted, and when we have sometimes been heartily thankful that a hundred have been added to the church in a month, ought we ever to have been satisfied? Should we not have felt that the prayer which was blessed to the conversion of a hundred, had it been more earnest, might, in the Divine purpose, have been answered with the conversion of a thousand? Why not? I do not know why London should not be shaken from end to end with gospel truth before this day twelve months. You will say, “We have not enough ministers.” But God can make them. He can find ministers for His truth — ay, if He willed it, among the very offscourings of the earth. He can take the worst of men, the vilest of the vile, and change their hearts, and make them preach the truth, if He pleases. We are not to look to what we have. The witness of the senses only confuses those who would walk by faith. See what He did for the Church in the case of Saul of Tarsus. He just went up to the Devil’s army, and took out a ringleader, and said to him, “Now, sir, you preach the gospel which once you despised.” And who preached it better? Why, I should not wonder if ere long in answer to prayer we see the Ritualistic clergy preaching the gospel! Who can tell — the Romish priests may yet do it, and repeat the tale of Luther and Melancthon. Were not Luther, and Melancthon, and Calvin, and their comrades, brought out of Papal darkness to show light unto the people? We have heard with our ears, why may we not see with our eyes, the mighty works of God? The Lord can find His men where we know nothing about them. “Of these stones,” said the Baptist, as he pointed to the banks of the Jordan, “of these stones God can raise up children unto Abraham”; and as He could then, so He can now. Let us not despair. If we will but pray for it, our heavenly Father will deny His children nothing. Come, do but come, in simplicity of heart, and according to your faith shall it be done unto you.
There are two persons yonder. They are both alive, but one of them lies in bed. He wakes, but he says, with the sluggard — “You have woke me too soon, I must slumber again,” and when he gets up he gazes round with vacant wonder and strange bewilderment. He has no energy, he is listless, and we say of him, “What a lifeless creature he is! He is living, but with how little vitality?” Now, you see another man. His sleep is short; he wakes soon; he is out to his business; takes down the shutters; he is standing behind the counter waiting upon this customer and that; he is all active; he is here, there, and everywhere, nothing is neglected; his eyes are wide open, his brain is active, his hands are busy, his limbs are all nimble. Well, what a different man that is! you are glad to get this second man to be your servant; he is worth ten times the wages of the first. There is life in them both, but what a difference there is between them! The one is eagerly living, the other is drawling out an insipid existence. And how many Christians there are of this sort! They wander in on a Sunday morning, sit down, get their hymn book, listen to the prayer without joining in it, hear the sermon, but might almost as well not have heard it, go home, get through the Sunday, go in to business. With them there is never any secret prayer for the conversion of men; no trying to talk to children, or servants, or friends, about Christ; no zeal, no holy jealousy, no flaming love, no generosity, no consecrating of the substance to God’s cause! This is too faithful a picture of a vast number of professing Christians. Would it were not so? On the other hand, we see another kind of man — one that is renewed in the spirit of his mind; though he has to be in the world, his main thoughts are how he can use the world to promote the glory of Christ. If he goes into business, he wants to make money that he may have wherewith to give bountifully for the spread of the gospel. If he meets with friends, he tries to thrust a word in edgeways for his Master; and whenever he gets an opportunity, he will speak, or write, but he will be aiming to do something for Him who has bought him with His precious blood. Why, I could pick out, if it were right to mention names, some here who are all alive, till their bodies seem scarcely strong enough for the real vitality and energy of their souls. Oh! these are the cream of the Church, the pick and choice of the flock, the men who are true men, and the women who are the true daughters of Jerusalem.
So, it is not the great man who is loaded with learning that will achieve great work for God; it is the man who, however small his ability, is filled with force and fire, and who rushes forward in the energy which heaven has given him, that will accomplish the work — the man who has the most intense spiritual life, who has real vitality at its highest point of tension, and living, while he lives, with all the force of his nature for the glory of God.
Put these three or four things together, and I think you have the means of prosperity.