Psalm li. 13
The Restoration of Saints and Their Gospel Service
by Henry Dyer
"I will bless thee, and thou shalt be a blessing," is God's great and gracious way with us. And no part of His ways of blessing us is richer to us, or more to His own glory, than when He recovers any of us from a time of secret declension, or of open backsliding. And one of the fruits of such recovery always is an even-more-than-former zeal of the Gospel to the still unsaved. Declensions and backslidings are either in individuals, or in local assemblies, or in the Church as a whole, in this or that period of its sojourn here below.
In all three of these the fruit here named will be found. David is an example of the first of the three. In Psalm xxxii., when his "moisture" returned by acknowledging his sin, and it was no longer to him "the roaring all the day long," and "the drought of summer," not only does he give himself afresh to God, but he bids others " be glad in the Lord, and also shout for joy." And in Psalm li., he makes it a plea for having the joy of God's salvation restored to him, that he will then "teach transgressors" God's ways, and "sinners shall be converted" to Him. And we can hardly doubt that Solomon's earnest voice of "wisdom" to sinners, wandering in the broad road of folly," which he so touchingly pours out in the first nine chapters of Proverbs, was uttered in his elder days, and was the fruit of his soul's restoration. With Peter's case we are all familiar. And have not we ourselves found that every debt we have owed the Saviour for recovering grace has not moved us afresh to tell of Him to those that knew Him not?
It is the same with assemblies of saints. We see this in the church at Corinth In his first epistle to them Paul wept over them (see 2 Cor. ii. 4) for the lax state into which they had sunk, both in doctrine and in habits of life. His sharp yet tender words brought them back, it may be, to more than their first love and zeal. And in his second epistle, the apostle at once yokes them with himself and his fellow-labourers in the work of the Gospel to others; beseeches them not to receive this "grace of God in vain," for God has given now to the feeblest of His saints "the ministry (i.e., the servantship) of reconciliation," and has "put" in such "the word of reconciliation," that they might now be saying to men, "Be ye reconciled to God."
The same is true of the Church of God as a whole. Whenever God has "in the midst of the years revived His work" (Hab. iii. 1), this quickening of His people has always borne the fruit of warmer and wider testimony than before to the unsaved, both close around and in parts far of. The work of Whitfield, Wesley, and others at the end of last century, kindled heavenly fire afresh in the hearts of God's own children in this country, in which it had burned low; and the "Missionary Societies" of Great Britain date from the beginning of this century. And all other revival work in the souls of Christians since has of necessity borne a measure of the same Gospel fruit.
Many labourers in other lands are such as have tasted the joy of that revival which God has been causing in His Church of rich but long-forgotten truths; and enriched out of these newly-opened treasures, they have, like the children of the captivity, when set free in Nehemiah's day (see Neh. ix. 9), not been content with only themselves "eating the fat and drinking the sweet," but have hastened to carry "portions also for them for whom nothing is prepared."