In Words to Winners of Souls Horatius Bonar now directs us toward needed actions in light of our sins and failures:
“Take heed unto thyself,”—1 Timothy 4:16.
It is easier to speak or write about revival than to set about it. There is so much rubbish to be swept out, so many self-raised hindrances to be dealt with, so many old habits to be overcome, so much sloth and easy-mindedness to be contended with, so much of ministerial routine to be broken through, and so much crucifixion, both of self and of the world, to be undergone. As Christ said of the unclean spirit which the disciples could not cast out, so we may say of these: “This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
So thought a minister in the seventeenth century; for, after lamenting the evils both of his life and his ministry, he thus resolves to set about their renewal:
- In imitation of Christ and His apostles, and to get good done, I purpose to rise timely every morning. (Job 1:5; 2 Chronicles 36:15)
- To prepare as soon as I am up some work to be done, and how and when to do it; to engage my heart to it, 1 Timothy 4:7; and at even to call myself to account and to mourn over my failings.
- To spend a sufficient portion of time every day in prayer, reading, meditating, spiritual exercises: morning, midday , evening, and ere I go to bed.
- Once in the month, either the end or middle of it, I keep a day of humiliation for the public condition, for the Lord’s people and their sad condition, for raising up the work and people of God.
- I spend, besides this, one day for my own private condition, in fighting against spiritual evils and to get my heart more holy, or to get some special exercise accomplished, once in six months.
- I spend once every week four hours over and above my daily portion in private, for some special causes relating either to myself or others.
- To spend some time on Saturday, towards night, for preparation for the Lord’s Day.
- To spend six or seven days together, once a year, when most convenient, wholly and only on spiritual accounts.
Such was the way in which he set about personal and ministerial revival. Let us take an example from him. If he needed it much, we need it more.