"As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, 0 God" (Psa. 42: 1).
Among the first gifts imparted by God to newly born souls is an intense desire for spiritual things, yea, something that calls the soul away from every earthly pleasure or treasure and fills it with an all-consuming passion for God. The poet expresses this thought in the following lines:
"My soul breaks out with strong desire,
Thy perfect bliss to prove;
My longing heart is all on fire,
To be dissolved in love."
This is not only the condition of every newly born soul, but the condition of every true child of God, however filled with the Spirit. There is something in the heart of every Christian that yearns day and night for the whole image of God. They are like the busy bee craving honey, which goes from flower to flower, and from field to field, in search of the idol of its life. So it is with the Christian; his inmost being cries out continually for more of God. He earnestly pursues Him in every act of life; yea, in reading and meditating on the Word. He earnestly pursues Him in the closet of prayer, and in the public services continually. There is such an all-consuming passion filling his inmost being, that at times it seems as if his soul would take wings and fly away.
Souls thus possessed with an ever-yearning desire for more of God never oppose holiness or getting more of God. They are like misers who are hungry for another mite. People who oppose holiness and getting a better experience are wofully backslidden, no matter if they are preachers or presiding elders.
The reason why it is so difficult to get people to attend the prayer and class meetings is because they have lost their relish for God. Hence it is an irksome task to read the Bible and attend the services. But it is no difficulty to get them to attend an entertainment, or an ice-cream party, because they relish such things. In the natural world, if one loses his appetite and refuses to eat, it is not long before we have a funeral on hand. So it is in the spiritual world; when people lose their appetite for secret prayer, reading the Word, attending the services of the Lord, it is not long before the church has a spiritual corpse on her hands. But the great mistake with her is she fails to bury her dead; hence hundreds of her living children catch the same malady and perish. It is so much so, that it is quite difficult to find a real healthy Christian.
What I mean by a real healthy Christian is one who is all aflame and on fire for God, with an increasing desire for Him and His truth, and walking in all the light of the Bible. Of course we find a few of this kind here and there, as we go over the land, for which we are thankful, but the majority of the preachers and church members are as dead to God and holiness as the soldiers who died in the Civil War. They would be as much out of place in a holiness meeting as a span of mules would be in heaven drawing a mud wagon. The only longings and soul cravings they have are for a new style hat or a new gown or to have a new church (meeting house), where God is only allowed during a funeral (so to speak). When things are viewed from this standpoint it is easy to see why the modern preacher and his members fight clean living and holiness like tigers.
Now, reader, be honest; have you ever felt this deep yearning for God If not, you have never been converted and born of the Spirit. If you once had it, have you it now-that deep heart cry for more of God, that intense desire for the Word, that high regard for the prayer and preaching services, that soul burden for the lost of earth If you have not at least a measure of this, you are wofully backslidden and out of touch with God.