The more we reflect upon this principle which I have been illustrating, the more we shall see that it is the life of all true work, and can be applied to any work in which a Christian can engage. The true artist, for example, ought to occupy the elevated position of being a labourer with God in faithfully, industriously, and conscientiously working in harmony with Nature, which is “the Art of God.” He ought to study, therefore, the sculpture, the paintings, the music, of the Great Artist, and understand the principles on which He produces the beautiful in form, in colour, or in sound. The humblest mason who plies his chisel on the highest pinnacle of a great building, or who fashions the lowliest hut, should have an eye to Him who makes all things very good, and for conscience’ sake, ay, for God’s sake, he should, to the very best of his ability, work in the spirit of the Great Architect, who bestows the same care in building up the mountains, moulding the valleys, fashioning the crystal, making a home to shelter the tiny insect, or a nest where the bird may rear her young. Without loving our work, and doing it to the best of our ability, as in the sight of God, we cannot be fellow-workers with Him who hath made our bodies so wonderfully, and cultivated our souls so carefully; for “ye are God’s building”—“ye are God’s husbandry.”
“An awakening” expresses better than the stereotyped phrase “revival,” the idea of a wide-spread interest in religious truth. This is the response to the righteous demand, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light,” for at such a time men but awake to the reality of truth, which was previously dim and shadowy to them as things seen in dreams; or formerly the awful facts of God’s revelation had been as pictures hung up on the wall, which now suddenly become alive.
Before entering on the discussion of this rather delicate subject, there is one question which we would respectfully press upon the attention of the reader, and that is, Whether he would like a revival of genuine religion? We do not question him regarding his sympathy with any particular form in which the supposed revival might come, far less with any of those peculiarities which are supposed by some to be necessarily characteristic of a revival; but supposing that such an awakening or revival occurred by means of any agency, or any process, that it was accompanied by such outward signs of calm and peace as he himself would select, and that its results were unquestionable;—supposing that society was unusually pervaded by a spirit of truth and holiness, that no countenance could be given to evil by word, look, or sentiment, but only to all that was pure, lovely, and of good report,—would such a heaven upon earth be readily rejoiced in by him? If this question is fairly and honestly put to the heart and conscience, the manner in which we entertain the thought of the mere possibility of a revival becomes a trial of our own spirit, a test of our sincerity when we pray, “Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.”