Infomotions, Inc.When the Holy Ghost is Come / Brengle, Col. S. L.



Author: Brengle, Col. S. L.
Title: When the Holy Ghost is Come
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Title: When the Holy Ghost is Come

Author: Col. S. L. Brengle

Release Date: July, 2004 [EBook #6135]
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WHEN THE HOLY GHOST IS COME.

BY

COLONEL S. L. BRENGLE,


Edited by BRAMWELL BOOTH.




FOREWORD.

The Salvation Army, contrary to what has often been thought by
surface observers, has owed its existence, its strength, and its
success chiefly to our careful attention to the profoundest
questions of the soul.

And still, as always, we wish to urge upon all the study of those
great practical truths, without the proclamation of which our
work for men would cease to have any abiding value. We glory in
the knowledge of Christ as a perfect Saviour just as much for
this, our own time, as for any past generation, or for any
generation yet to come. The pretence that this age has reached
some superior development, whether mental or moral, for which a
new kind of Saviour is needed, seems to us absurd. And we do not
believe it can long endure where Christ is really known.

To the most thoughtful, therefore, as well as to those who have
the least time for thought, I earnestly commend the words of
devout and practical men upon those great questions, which I hope
to see reproduced in the series of which the present volume is
the first. Prayerful reading of their messages cannot but lead to
immediate action, to a complete self-abandonment to God, and to a
realizing faith in His power to use every one of His sons and
daughters for the healing of the world's open sores and the
triumph of His Rule.

BRAMWELL BOOTH. LONDON, January, 1909.



CONTENTS.


PREFACE

I.     WHO IS HE?
II.    PREPARING HIS HOUSE III.   IS THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY
         SPIRIT A THIRD BLESSING?
IV.    THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT
V.     PURITY
VI.    POWER
VII.   TRYING THE SPIRITS
VIII.  GUIDANCE
IX.    THE MEEK AND LOWLY HEART
X.     HOPE
XI.    THE HOLY SPIRIT'S SUBSTITUTE FOR GOSSIP AND EVIL-SPEAKING
XII.   THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST
XIII.  OFFENCES AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST
XIV.   THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SOUND DOCTRINE
XV.    PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT
XVI.   CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ANOINTED PREACHER
XVII.  PREACHING
XIX.   THE SHEATHED SWORD: A LAW OF THE SPIRIT
XX.    VICTORY THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT OVER SUFFERING
XXI.   THE OVERFLOWING BLESSING
XXII.  IMPORTANCE OF THE DOCTRINE AND EXPERIENCE OF HOLINESS TO
         SPIRITUAL LEADERS
XXIII. VICTORY OVER EVIL TEMPER BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT




PREFACE.


It is no small pleasure to me to commend this book to all who
love God, and in particular to those who are labouring to serve
Him in the ranks of The Salvation Army. I believe that it will
prove useful in the most important ways--in its bearing, that
is, upon many of the practical difficulties and problems of daily
life.

The writer, Colonel Brengle, gives us not only of the fruit of an
orderly and well-stored mind on the great subject before us, but--
and this is the more important--he tells us of the actual work
of the Holy Spirit in the lives of ordinary men and women, as he
has witnessed the results of that work amidst his many labours
for the Salvation and Holiness of the people. It is for them he
writes. It is to them, living the common life, bound to others by
the obligations of ordinary social intercourse, toiling at their
secular occupations, and rubbing shoulders with the multitude in
the market-place, that his message comes. I venture to hope that
his words will make it plain to some of them that the highest
intercourse with the Divine is their privilege; that the special
province of the Holy Ghost is to lead men into the truest
devotion to God, and to the advancement of His Kingdom on earth,
even while they are carrying on the common avocations associated
with earning their daily bread.

The only purpose of God having a practical bearing on our lives
is His purpose to save men from sin and its awful consequences,
and make them conform to His will in this world as in the next.
The work of the Holy Spirit is to help us to achieve that
purpose. Without His help we are unable to overcome the
difficulties that are in the way, whether we consider them from
the standpoint of the world or of the individual. If anyone could
have looked at the state of the world at the time of our Lord's
death he would surely have regarded the work which the Apostles
were commissioned to attempt as the most utterly wild and
impracticable enterprise that the human mind could conceive. And
it was so, but for one fact. That fact was the promise of the
Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be the great Helper in the
undertaking.

And equally in the work of uniting the individual soul with God's
purpose that Spirit is our Helper. In the work of righteousness
He is a Partner with us. In the life of faith and prayer He is
our unwavering Prompter and Guide. In the submission of our wills
to God and the chastening of our spirits He is the great Co-worker
with us. In the bearing of burdens and the enduring of trial and
sorrow He joins hands with us to lead us on. In the purifying of
every power from the taint of sin He is our Sanctifier.

All this is practical. It has to do with to-day--with every bit
of to-day. In fact, so far from the sphere of the Holy Spirit
being limited to the pulpit or the platform, or to the inward
experiences of the religious life, He is just as truly and
properly concerned with the affairs of the shop and the street,
the nursery and the kitchen, the chamber of suffering and the
home of penury, as with preaching the Gospel or healing the sick.

Now it is to lead its readers to a personal experience of all
this that this book has been written. No mere intellectual assent
to the truth it sets forth can satisfy its author, any more than
it can benefit his readers. What he seeks, and what I join him in
devoutly asking of God, is that you, dear friend, who may take
this little volume into your hands, may see what an infinite
privilege is yours, and may begin to act with God the Holy Ghost,
and to open your whole being to Him, that He may work with you.

BRAMWELL BOOTH.
LONDON, January, 1909.




I.

WHO IS HE?


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

On that last eventful evening in the upper room, just after the
Passover feast, Jesus spoke to His disciples about His departure,
and, having commanded them to love one another, He besought them
not to be troubled in heart, but to hold fast their faith in Him,
assuring them that, though He was to die and leave them, He was
but going to the Father's many-mansioned house to prepare a place
for them.

But already they were troubled, for what could this death and
departure mean but the destruction of all their hopes, of all
their cherished plans? Jesus had drawn them away from their
fishing-boats, their places of custom and daily employment, and
inspired them with high personal and patriotic ambitions, and
encouraged them to believe that He was the Seed of David, the
promised Messiah; and they hoped that He would cast out Pilate
and his hated Roman garrison, restore the kingdom to Israel, and
sit on David's throne, a King, reigning in righteousness and
undisputed power and majesty for ever. And then, were they not to
be His Ministers of State and chief men in His Kingdom?

He was their Leader, directing their labours; their Teacher,
instructing their ignorance and solving their doubts and all
their puzzling problems; their Defence, stilling the stormy sea
and answering for them when questioned by wise and wily enemies.

They were poor and unlearned and weak. In Him was all their help,
and what would they do, what could they do, without Him? They
were without social standing, without financial prestige, without
learning or intellectual equipment, without political or military
power. He was their All, and without Him they were as helpless as
little children, as defenceless as lambs in the midst of wolves.
How could their poor hearts be otherwise than troubled?

But then He gave them a strange, wonderful, reassuring promise:
He said, "If ye love Me, keep My commandments. And I will pray
the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may
abide with you for ever" (John xiv. 15, 16). I am going away, but
Another shall come, who will fill My place. He shall not go away,
but abide with you for ever, and He "shall be in you." And later
He added: "It is expedient for you"--that is, better for you--
"that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not
come."

Who is this other One--this Comforter? He must be some august
Divine Person, and not a mere influence or impersonal force, for
how else could He take and fill the place of Jesus? How else
could it be said that it was better to have Him than to have
Jesus remaining in the flesh? He must be strong and wise, and
tender and true, to take the place of the Blessed One who is to
die and depart. Who is He?

John, writing in the Greek language, calls Him "Paraclete," but
we in English call Him Comforter. But Paraclete means more, much
more than Comforter. It means "one called in to help: an
advocate, a helper." The same word is used of Jesus in i John ii.
i: "We have an Advocate," a Paraclete, a Helper, "with the
Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Just as Jesus had gone to be
the disciples' Advocate, their Helper in the Heavens, so this
other Paraclete was to be their Advocate, their Helper on earth.
He would be their Comforter when comfort was needed; but He would
be more; He would be also their Teacher, Guide, Strengthener, as
Jesus had been. At every point of need there would He be as an
ever-present and all-wise, almighty Helper. He would meet their
need with His sufficiency; their weakness with His strength;
their foolishness with His wisdom; their ignorance with His
knowledge; their blindness and short-sightedness with His
perfect, all-embracing vision. Hallelujah! What a Comforter! Why
should they be troubled?

They were weak, but He would strengthen them with might in the
inner man (Eph. iii. 16). They were to give the world the words
of Jesus, and teach all nations (Matthew xxviii. 19, 20); and He
would teach them all things, and bring to their remembrance
whatsoever Jesus had said to them (John xiv. 26).

They were to guide their converts in the right way, and He was to
guide them into all truth (John xvi. 13). They were to attack
hoary systems of evil, and inbred and actively intrenched sin, in
every human heart; but He was to go before them, preparing the
way for conquest, by convincing the world of sin, of righteousness,
and of judgment (John xvi. 8). They were to bear heavy burdens and
face superhuman tasks, but He was to give them power (Acts i. 8).
Indeed, He was to be a Comforter, a Strengthener, a Helper.

Jesus had been external to them. Often they missed Him. Sometimes
He was asleep when they felt they sorely needed Him. Sometimes He
was on the mountains, while they were in the valley vainly trying
to cast out stubborn devils, or wearily toiling on the tumultuous,
wind-tossed sea. Sometimes He was surrounded by vast crowds, and
He entered into high disputes with the doctors of the law, and
they had to wait till He was alone to seek explanations of His
teachings. But they were never to lose this other Helper in the
crowd, nor be separated for an instant from Him, for no human
being, nor untoward circumstance, nor physical necessity, could
ever come between Him and them, for, said Jesus, "He shall be in
you."

From the words used to declare the sayings, the doings, the
offices and works of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, we are
forced to conclude that He is a Divine Person. Out of the
multitude of Scriptures which might be quoted, note this passage,
which, as nearly as is possible with human language, reveals to
us His personality: "Now there were in the Church that was at
Antioch certain prophets and teachers... As they ministered to
the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate Me Barnabas
and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when they
had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent
them away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed
into Seleucia" (Acts xiii. 1-4).

Further on we read that they "were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to
preach the word in Asia"; and when they would have gone into
Bithynia, "the Spirit suffered them not" (Acts xvi. 6, 7).

Again, when the messengers of Cornelius, the Roman centurion,
were seeking Peter, "the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men
seek thee. Arise, therefore, and get thee down, and go with them,
doubting nothing: for I have sent them" (Acts x. 19, 20).

These are but a few of the passages of Scripture that might be
quoted to establish the fact of His personality--His power to
think, to will, to act, to speak; and if His personality is not
made plain in these Scriptures, then it is impossible for human
language to make it so.

Indeed, I am persuaded that if an intelligent heathen, who had
never seen the Bible, should for the first time read the four
Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, he would say that the
personality of the Holy Spirit is as clearly revealed in the Acts
as is the personality of Jesus Christ in the Gospels. In truth,
the Acts of the Apostles are in a large measure the acts of the
Holy Spirit, and the disciples were not more certainly under the
immediate direction of Jesus during the three years of His
earthly ministry than they were under the direct leadership of
the Spirit after Pentecost.

But, while there are those that admit His personality, yet in
their loyalty to the Divine Unity they deny the Trinity, and
maintain that the Holy Spirit is only the Father manifesting
Himself as Spirit, without any distinction in personality. But
this view cannot be harmonised with certain Scriptures. While the
Bible and reason plainly declare that there is but one God, yet
the Scriptures as clearly reveal that there are three Persons in
the Godhead--Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

The form of Paul's benediction to the Corinthians proves the
doctrine:--

"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the
communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen" (2 Cor. xiii.
14).

Again, it is taught in the promise of Jesus, already quoted, "And
I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter...
the Spirit of Truth" (John xiv. 16, 17). Here the three Persons of
the Godhead are clearly revealed. The Son prays; the Father
answers; the Spirit comes.

The Holy Spirit is "another Comforter," a second Comforter
succeeding the first, who was Jesus, and both were given by the
Father.

Do you say, "I cannot understand it"? Neither do I. Who can
understand it? God does not expect us to understand it. Nor would
He have us puzzle our heads and trouble our hearts in attempting
to understand it or harmonise it with our knowledge of arithmetic.

Note this: it is only the _fact_ that is revealed;
_how_ there can be three Persons in one Godhead is not
revealed.

The _how_ is a mystery, and is not a matter of faith at all;
but the _fact_ is a matter of revelation, and therefore a
matter of faith. I myself am a mysterious trinity of body, mind,
and spirit. The fact I believe, but the _how_ is not a thing
to believe. It is at this point that many puzzle and perplex
themselves needlessly.

In the ordinary affairs of life we grasp facts, and hold them
fast, without puzzling ourselves over the _how_ of things.
Who can explain _how_ food sustains life; how light reveals
material objects, how sound conveys ideas to our minds? It is the
fact we know and believe, but the _how_ we pass by as a
mystery unrevealed. What God has revealed, we believe. We cannot
understand _how_ Jesus turned water into wine; _how_ He
multiplied a few loaves and fishes and fed thousands; _how_
He stilled the stormy sea; _how_ He opened blind eyes, healed
lepers, and raised the dead by a word. But the facts we believe.
Wireless telegraphic messages are sent over the vast wastes of
ocean. That is a fact, and we believe it. But _how_ they go we
do not know. That is not something to believe. It is a matter of
pure speculation, and is unexplained.

An old servant of God has pointed out that it is the fact of the
Trinity, and not the _manner_ of it, which God has revealed,
and made a subject for our faith.

But while the Scriptures reveal to us the fact of the personality
of the Holy Spirit, and it is a subject for our faith, to those
in whom He dwells this fact may become a matter of sacred
knowledge, of blessed experience.

How else can we account for the positive and assured way in which
the Apostles and disciples spoke of the Holy Ghost on and after
the day of Pentecost, if they did not know Him? Immediately after
the fiery baptism, with its blessed filling, Peter stood before
the people, and said: "This is that which was spoken by the
prophet Joel: And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith
God, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh"; then he exhorted
the people and assured them that if they would meet certain
simple conditions they should "receive the gift of the Holy
Ghost." He said to Ananias, "Why hath Satan filled thine heart to
lie to the Holy Ghost?" He declared to the High Priest and
Council that he and his fellow-Apostles were witnesses of the
resurrection of Jesus: and added, "And so is also the Holy Ghost,
whom God hath given to them that obey Him." Without any apology
or explanation, or "think so" or "hope so," they speak of being
"filled" (not simply with some new, strange experience or
emotion, but) "with the Holy Ghost." Certainly they must have
known Him. And if they knew Him, may not we?

Paul says: "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world,
but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things
that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak,
not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy
Ghost teacheth" (I Cor. ii. 12, 13). And if we know the words,
may we not know the Teacher of the words?

John Wesley says:--

"The knowledge of the Three-One God is interwoven with all true
Christian faith, with all vital religion. I do not say," he adds,
"that every real Christian can say, with the Marquis de Renty, 'I
bear about with me continually an experimental verity, and a
fullness of the ever-blessed'Trinity. I apprehend that this is
not the experience of "babes," but rather "fathers in Christ."'
But I know not how anyone can be a Christian believer till he
'hath the witness in himself,' till 'the Spirit of God witnesses
with his spirit that he is a child of God'; that is, in effect,
till God the Holy Ghost witnesses that God the Father has
accepted him through the merits of God the Son.

"Not that every Christian believer adverts to this; perhaps, at
first, not one in twenty; but, if you ask them a few questions,
you will easily find it is implied in what he believes."

I shall never forget my joy, mingled with awe and wonder, when
this dawned upon my consciousness. For several weeks I had been
searching the Scriptures, ransacking my heart, humbling my soul,
and crying to God almost day and night for a pure heart and the
baptism with the Holy Ghost, when one glad, sweet day (it was
January 9th, 1885) this text suddenly opened to my understanding:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness"; and I was
enabled to believe without any doubt that the precious blood
cleansed my heart, even mine, from all sin. Shortly after that,
while reading these words of Jesus to Martha: "I am the
resurrection and the life; he that believeth on Me, though he
were dead, yet shall he live; and he that liveth and believeth on
Me shall never die," instantly my heart was melted like wax
before fire; Jesus Christ was revealed to my spiritual consciousness,
revealed in me, and my soul was filled with unutterable love. I
walked in a heaven of love. Then one day, with amazement,
I said to a friend: "This is the perfect love about which the
Apostle John wrote; but it is beyond all I dreamed of; in it is
personality; this love thinks, wills, talks with me, corrects me,
instructs and teaches me." And then I knew that God the
Holy Ghost was in this love, and that this love was God, for
"God is love."

Oh, the rapture mingled with reverential, holy fear--for it is a
rapturous, yet divinely fearful thing--to be indwelt by the Holy
Ghost, to be a temple of the Living God! Great heights are always
opposite great depths, and from the heights of this blessed
experience many have plunged into the dark depths of fanaticism.
But we must not draw back from the experience through fear. All
danger will be avoided by meekness and lowliness of heart; by
humble, faithful service; by esteeming others better than
ourselves, and in honour preferring them before ourselves; by
keeping an open, teachable spirit; in a word, by looking steadily
unto Jesus, to whom the Holy Spirit continually points us: for He
would not have us fix our attention exclusively upon Himself and
His work _in_ us, but also upon the Crucified One and His
work _for_ us, that we may walk in the steps of Him whose
blood purchases our pardon, and makes and keeps us clean.

  "Great Paraclete! to Thee we cry:
  O highest Gift of God most high!
  O Fount of life! O Fire of love!
  And sweet Anointing from above!

  "Our senses touch with light and fire;
  Our hearts with tender love inspire;
  And with endurance from on high
  The weakness of our flesh supply.

  "Far back our enemy repel,
  And let Thy peace within us dwell;
  So may we, having Thee for Guide,
  Turn from each hurtful thing aside.

  "Oh, may Thy grace on us bestow
  The Father and the Son to know,
  And evermore to hold confessed
  Thyself of Each the Spirit blest."

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




II.

PREPARING HIS HOUSE.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

JESUS said, "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be
born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom
of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which
is born of the Spirit is spirit." And Paul wrote to the Romans
that, "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of
His."

So it must be that every child of God, every truly converted
person, has the Holy Spirit in some gracious manner and measure,
else he would not be a child of God; for it is only "as many as
are led by the Spirit of God" that "are the sons of God."

It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin, who makes us feel
how good and righteous, and just and patient God is, and how
guilty we are, and how unfit for Heaven, and how near to Hell. It
is the Holy Spirit who leads us to true repentance and confession
and amendment of life; and when our repentance is complete, and
our surrender is unconditional, it is He who reasons with us, and
calms our fears, and soothes our troubled hearts, and banishes
our darkness, and enables us to look to Jesus, and believe on Him
for the forgiveness of all our sins and the salvation of our
souls. And when we yield and trust, and are accepted of the Lord,
and are saved by grace, it is He who assures us of the Father's
favour, and notifies us that we are saved. "The Spirit Himself
beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God."
He is "the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."

  "And His that gentle voice we hear,
  Soft as the breath of even;
  That checks each thought, that calms each fear,
  And speaks of Heaven."

  It is He who strengthens the new convert
  to fight against and overcome sin, and it is
  He who "begets within him a hope of fuller
  righteousness through faith in Christ."

  "And every virtue we possess,
  And every victory won,
  And every thought of holiness,
     Are His alone."

Blessed be God for this work of the Holy Spirit within the heart
of every true child of His!

But, great and gracious as is this work, it is not the fiery
pentecostal baptism with the Spirit which is promised; it is not
the fullness of the Holy Ghost to which we are exhorted. It is
only the clear dawn of the day, and not the rising of the day-star.
This is only the initial work of the Spirit. It is perfect of
its kind, but it is preparatory to another and fuller work,
about which I wish to write.

Jesus said to His disciples, concerning the Holy Spirit, that
"the world" (the unsaved, unrepentant) "cannot receive" Him,
"because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him"; because they
resist Him, and will not permit Him to work in their hearts. And
then Jesus added, "but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you...."
He had begun His work in them, but there was more to follow, for
Jesus said, "and shall be in you."

When a man is building himself a house, he is in and out of it
and round about it. But we do not say he lives in it until it has
been completed. And it is in that sense that Jesus said, "He
dwelleth with you." But when the house is finished, the owner
sweeps out all the chips and saw-dust, scrubs the floor, lays
down his carpets, hangs up his pictures, arranges his furniture,
and moves in with his family. Then he is in the fullest sense
within it. He abides there. Now, it is in that sense that Jesus
meant that the Holy Spirit should be in them. This is fitly
expressed in one of our songs:--

  "Holy Spirit, come, Oh, come!
   Let Thy work in me be done!
   All that hinders shall be thrown aside;
   Make me fit to be Thy dwelling."

Previous to Pentecost He was with them, using the searching
preaching of John the Baptist, and the life, the words, the
example, the sufferings, and the death and resurrection of Jesus
as instruments with which to fashion their hearts for His
indwelling. As the truth was declared to them in the words of
Jesus, pictured to them in His doings, exemplified in His daily
life, and fulfilled in His death and His rising from the dead,
the Holy Spirit wrought mightily within them; but He could not
yet find perfect rest in their hearts; therefore He did not yet
abide within them.

They had forsaken all to follow Christ. They had been
commissioned to preach the Gospel, to heal the sick, to cleanse
the lepers, to raise the dead, to cast out devils. Their names
were written in Heaven. They were not of the world, even as Jesus
was not of the world, for they belonged to Him and to the Father.
They knew the Holy Spirit, for He was with them, working in them,
but not yet living in them, for they were yet carnal; that is,
they were selfish, each seeking the best place for himself. They
disputed among themselves as to which should be the greatest.
They were bigoted, wanting to call down fire from Heaven to
consume those who would not receive Jesus, and forbidding those
who would not follow them to cast out devils in His name. They
were positive and loud in their professions of devotion and
loyalty to Jesus when alone with Him. They declared they would
die with Him. But they were fearful, timid, and false to Him when
the testing time came. When the mocking crowd appeared, and
danger was near, they all forsook Him, and fled; while Peter
cursed and swore, and denied that he knew Him.

But the Holy Spirit did not forsake them. He still wrought within
them, and, no doubt, used their very mistakes and miserable
failures to perfect within them the spirit of humility and
perfect self-abasement in order that they might safely be
exalted. And on the day of Pentecost His work of preparation was
complete, and He moved in to abide for ever. Hallelujah!

And this experience of theirs before Pentecost is the common
experience of all true converts. Every child of God knows that
the Holy Spirit is with him; realises that He is working within,
striving to set the house in order. And with many who are
properly taught and gladly obedient, this work is done quickly,
and the heavenly Dove, the Blessed One, takes up his constant
abode within them; the toil and strife with inbred sin is ended
by its destruction, and they enter at once into the sabbath of
full salvation.

Surely this is possible. The disciples could not receive the Holy
Spirit till Jesus was glorified; because not until then was the
foundation for perfect, intelligent, unwavering faith laid. But
since the day of Pentecost, He may be received immediately by
those who have repented of all sin, who have believed on Jesus,
and been born again. Some have assured me that they were
sanctified wholly and filled with the Spirit within a few hours
of their conversion. I have no doubt that this was so with many
of the three thousand who were converted under Peter's preaching
on the day of Pentecost.

But often this work is slow, for He can only work effectually as
we work with Him, practising intelligent and obedient faith. Some
days the work prospers and seems almost complete, and then peace
and joy and comfort abound in the heart; at other times the work
is hindered, and oftentimes almost or quite undone, by the
strivings and stirrings of inbred sin, by fits of temper, by
lightness and frivolity, by neglect of watchfulness and prayer,
and the patient, attentive study of His word; by worldliness, by
unholy ambitions, by jealousies and envyings, by uncharitable
suspicions and harsh judgments and selfish indulgences, and
slowness to believe.

"The flesh lusteth against the Spirit," seeks to bring the soul
back under the bondage of sin again, while the Spirit wars
against the flesh, which is "the old man," "the carnal mind." The
Spirit seeks to bring every thought into "captivity to the
obedience of Christ," to lead the soul to that point of glad,
whole-hearted consecration to its Lord, and that simple, perfect
faith in the merits of His blood which shall enable Him to cast
out "the old man," destroy "the carnal mind," and, making the
heart His temple, enthrone Christ within.

"Here on earth a temple stands, Temple never built with hands;
There the Lord doth fill the place With the glory of His grace.
Cleansed by Christ's atoning blood, _Thou_ art this fair
house of God. Thoughts, desires, that enter there, Should they
not be pure and fair? Meet for holy courts and blest, Courts of
stillness and of rest, Where the soul, a priest in white, Singeth
praises day and night; Glory of the love divine, Filling all this
heart of mine."

My brother, my sister, what is your experience just now? Are you
filled with the Spirit? Or is the old man still warring against
Him in your heart? Oh, that you may receive Him fully by faith
just now!

"Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?"




III.

IS THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT A THIRD BLESSING?


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

There is much difference of opinion among many of God's children
as to the time and order of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and
many who believe that entire cleansing is subsequent to
salvation, ask if the baptism with the Spirit is not subsequent
to cleansing, and, therefore, a third blessing.

There are four classes of teachers whose views appear to differ
about this subject. There are:--

1. Those who emphasise cleansing; who say much of a clean heart,
but little, if anything, about the fullness of the Holy Spirit
and power from on High.

2. Those who emphasise the baptism with the Holy Ghost and
fullness of the Spirit, but say little or nothing of cleansing
from inbred sin and the destruction of the carnal mind.

3. Those who say much of both, but separate them into two
distinct experiences, often widely separated in time.

4. Those who teach that the truth is in the union of the two, and
that, while we may separate them in their order, putting
cleansing first, we cannot separate them as to time, since it is
the baptism that cleanses, just as the darkness vanishes before
the flash of the electric light when the right button is touched;
just as the Augean stables were cleansed, in the fabled story of
Grecian mythology, when Hercules turned in the floods of the
River Arno; the refuse went out as the rushing waters poured in.

There are three very blessed portions of Scripture which show us
that this is God's order, and two that plainly show us that
cleansing and the baptism are not separate in time.

In Psalm li. 10 and 12, David prays, "Create in me a clean heart,
O God, and renew a right spirit within me.... Uphold me with Thy
free Spirit." First the cleansing, then the filling that upholds:
for as it is my spirit within me that upholds my body, so it is
God's Spirit within that upholds my soul.

In Ezekiel xxxvi. 25 and 27, the Lord says, "Then will I sprinkle
clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your
filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.... And I
will put My Spirit within you."

Here again, the order is first cleansing, then filling.

In John xvii. 15-26, Jesus prays for His disciples, and says: "I
pray not that Thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that
Thou shouldst keep them from the evil.... Sanctify them;... that
they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee;
that they also may be one in Us;... I in them, and Thou in Me,
that they may be made perfect in one;... that the love wherewith
Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

Here, again, it is first sanctification (cleansing, being made
holy), then filling, divine union with the Father and the Son
through the Holy Spirit.

These Scriptures make plain the order of God's work, and if we
looked at them alone, without diligently comparing Scripture with
Scripture, as God would have us do, we might perhaps conclude
that the cleansing and filling were as distinct and separate in
time as they are in this order of statement.

But other Scriptures give us abundant light on that side of the
subject. In Isaiah vi. 1-8, we have the record of the prophet's
sanctification, and we notice that the cleansing and the filling
were not separate in time. The cleansing was not _before_
the baptism, but _by_ the baptism. The "live coal" was laid
upon his mouth, and touched his lips; and by this fiery baptism
his iniquity was taken away and his sin was purged.

In Acts x. 44, we read of Peter's preaching Jesus to Cornelius,
the Roman centurion, and his household; and "while Peter yet
spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard
the word"; and in Acts xv. 7-9, at the first Council in
Jerusalem, we have Peter's rehearsal of the experience of
Cornelius and his household. Peter says: "Men and brethren, ye
know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the
Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel, and
believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness,
giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no
difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith."
Here we see that their believing, and the sudden descent of the
Holy Ghost with cleansing power into their hearts, constitute one
blessed experience.

What patient, waiting, expectant faith reckons done, the baptism
with the Holy Ghost actually accomplishes. Between the act of
faith by which a man begins to reckon himself "dead indeed unto
sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans
vi. 11), and the act of the Holy Spirit, which makes the
reckoning good, there may be an interval of time, "a little
while" (Hebrews x. 37); but the act and state of steadfastly,
patiently, joyously, perfectly believing, which is man's part,
and the act of baptising with the Holy Ghost, cleansing as by
fire, which is God's part, bring about the one experience of
entire sanctification, and must not and cannot be logically
looked upon as two distinct blessings, any more than the act of
the husband and the act of the wife can be separated in the one
experience of marriage.

There are two works and two workers: God and man. Just as my
right arm and my left arm work when my two hands come together,
but the union of the two hands constitute one experience.

If my left arm acts quickly, my right arm will surely respond.
And so, if the soul, renouncing self and sin and the world, with
ardour of faith in the precious blood for cleansing, and in the
promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, draws nigh to God, God
will draw nigh to that soul, and the blessed union will be
effected suddenly: and in that instant, what faith has reckoned
done will be done, the death-stroke will be given to "the old
man," sin will die, and the heart will be clean indeed, and
wholly alive toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ. It will
not be a mere "make-believe" experience, but a gloriously real
one.

It is possible that some have been led into confusion of thought
on this subject by not considering all the Scriptures bearing on
it. What is it that cleanses or sanctifies, and how? Jesus prays:
"Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth." Here it is
the word, or truth, that sanctifies.

John says: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from
all sin." Here it is the blood.

Peter says: "God...put no difference between us and them,
purifying their hearts by faith." And Paul says: "That they may
receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are
sanctified by faith." Here it is by faith.

Again, Paul writes: "God hath from the beginning chosen you to
salvation through sanctification of the Spirit" (2 Thess. ii.
13). And again, "That the offering up of the Gentiles might be
acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost" (Romans xv. 16).
And Peter writes: "To the strangers... elect... through
sanctification of the Spirit" (1 Peter i. I, 2). Here it is the
Spirit that sanctifies or makes clean and holy.

Is there, then, confusion here? Jesus says, "the truth"; John
says, "the blood"; Paul and Peter say, "faith," and "the Holy
Ghost." Can these be reconciled? Let us see.

Here is a child in a burning house. A man at the peril of his
life rushes to the spot above which the child stands in awful
danger, and cries out, "Jump, and I will catch you!"

The child hears, believes, leaps, and the man receives him; but
just as he turns and places the boy in safety, a falling timber
smites him to the ground wounded to death, and his flowing blood
sprinkles the boy whom he has saved.

A breathless spectator says: "The child's faith saved him."
Another says: "How quick the lad was! His courageous leap saved
him." Another says: "Bless the child! He was in awful danger, and
he just barely saved himself." Another says: "That man's word
just reached the boy's ear in the nick of time, and saved him."
Another says: "God bless that man! He saved that child." And yet
another says: "That boy was saved by blood; by the sacrifice of
that heroic man!"

Now, what saved the child? Without the man's presence and promise
there would have been no faith; and without faith there would
have been no saving action, and the boy would have perished. The
man's word saved him by inspiring faith. Faith saved him by
leading to proper action. He saved himself by leaping. The man
saved him by sacrificing his own life in order to catch him when
he leaped out.

Not the child himself alone, nor his faith, nor his brave leap,
nor his rescuer's word, nor his blood, nor the man himself saved
the boy, but they all together saved him; and the boy was not
saved till he was in the arms of the man.

And so it is faith and works, and the word and the blood and the
Holy Ghost that sanctify.

The blood, the sacrifice of Christ, underlies all, and is the
meritorious cause of every blessing we receive, but the Holy
Spirit is the active Agent by whom the merits of the blood are
applied to our needs.

During the American Civil War certain men committed some
dastardly and unlawful deeds, and were sentenced to be shot. On
the day of the execution they stood in a row confronted by
soldiers with loaded muskets, waiting the command to fire. Just
before the command was given, the commanding officer felt a touch
on his elbow, and, turning, saw a young man by his side, who
said, "Sir, there in that row, waiting to be shot, is a married
man. He has a wife and children. He is their bread-winner. If you
shoot him, he will be sorely missed. _Let me take his place._"

"All right," said the officer; "take his place, if you wish; but
you will be shot."

"I quite understand that," replied the young man; "but no one
will miss me"; and, going to the condemned man, he pushed him
aside, and took his place.

Soon the command to fire was given. The volley rang out, and the
young hero dropped dead with a bullet through his heart, while
the other man went free.

His freedom came to him by blood. Had he, however, neglected the
great salvation, and, despising the blood shed for him, and
refusing the sacrifice of the friend and the righteous claims of
the law, persisted in the same evil ways, he, too, would have
been shot. The blood, though shed for him, would not have availed
to set him free. But he accepted the sacrifice, submitted to the
law, and went home to his wife and children; but it was by the
blood; every breath he henceforth drew, every throb of his heart,
every blessing he enjoyed, or possibly could enjoy, came to him
by the blood. He owed everything from that day forth to the
blood, and every fleeting moment, every passing day, and every
rolling year but increased his debt to the blood which had been
shed for him.

And so we owe all to the blood of Christ, for we were under
sentence of death--"The soul that sinneth it shall die"; and we
have all sinned, and God, to be holy, must frown upon sin, and
utterly condemn it, and must execute His sentence against it.

But Jesus suffered for our sins. He died for us. "He was wounded
for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities;... and
with His stripes we are healed." "Ye know that ye were not
redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold... but with
the precious blood of Christ" (i Peter i. 18, 19); "Who loved me,
and gave Himself for me" (Gal. ii. 20). And now every blessing we
ever had, or ever shall have, comes to us by the Divine
Sacrifice, by "the precious blood." And "How shall we escape, if
we neglect so great salvation?" His blood is the meritorious
cause not only of our pardon, but of our cleansing, our
sanctification; but the Holy Spirit is the ever-present, living,
active Cause.

The truth or word which sanctifies is the record God has given us
of His will and of that Divine Sacrifice, that "precious blood."
The faith that purifies is that sure confidence in that word
which leads to renunciation of all self-righteousness, that utter
abandonment to God's will, and full dependence on the merits of
"the precious blood," the "faith that works by love," for "faith
without works is dead." And thus we draw nigh to God, and God
draws nigh to us, and the Holy Ghost falls upon us, comes into
us, and cleanses our hearts by the destruction of sin, and the
shedding abroad within us of the love of God.

The advocates of entire sanctification as an experience wrought
in the soul by the baptism with the Spirit subsequent to
regeneration call it "the second blessing."

But many good people object to the term, and say that they have
received the first, second, third, and fiftieth blessing; and no
doubt they have; and yet the people who speak of "the second
blessing" are right, in the sense in which they use the term; and
in that sense there are but the two blessings.

Some years ago a man heard things about a lady that filled him
with admiration for her, and made him feel that they were of one
mind and heart. Later, he met her for the first time, and fell in
love with her. After some months, following an enlarged
acquaintance and much consideration and prayer, he told her of
his love, and asked her to become his wife; and after due
consideration and prayer on her part she consented, and they
promised themselves to each other; they plighted their faith, and
in a sense gave themselves to each other.

That was the first blessing, and it filled him with great peace
and joy, but not perfect peace and joy. Now, there were many
blessings following that before the great second blessing came.
Every letter he received, every tender look, every pressure of
the hand, every tone of her voice, every fresh assurance of
enduring and increasing affection was a blessing; but it was not
the second blessing.

But one day, after patient waiting, which might have been
shortened by mutual consent, if they had thought it wise, and
after full preparation, they came together in the presence of
friends and before a man of God, and in the most solemn and
irrevocable manner gave themselves to each other to become one,
and were pronounced man and wife. That was the second blessing,
an epochal experience, unlike anything which preceded, or
anything to follow. And now their peace and joy and rest were
full.

There had to be the first and second blessings in this
relationship of man and wife, but there is no third. And yet in
the sense of those who say they have received fifty blessings
from the Lord, there have been countless blessings in their
wedded life; indeed, it has been a river of blessing, broadening
and deepening in gladness and joy and sweet affections and
fellowship with the increasing years.

But let us not confuse thought by disputing over terms and
wrangling about words.

The first blessing in Jesus Christ is salvation, with its
negative side of remission of sins and forgiveness, and its
positive side of renewal or regeneration--the new birth--one
experience.

And the second blessing is entire sanctification, with its
negative side of cleansing, and its positive side of filling with
the Holy Ghost--one whole, rounded, glorious, epochal experience.
And while there may be many refreshings, girdings, illuminations,
and secret tokens and assurances of love and favour, there is no
third blessing in this large sense, in this present time.

But when time is no more, when the ever-lasting doors have lifted
up, and the King of Glory comes in with His Bride, and, for ever
redeemed and crowned, He makes us to sit down with Him on His
throne, then in eternity we shall have the third blessing--we
shall be glorified.

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




IV.

THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

How shall I know that I am accepted of God?--that I am saved or
sanctified? The Bible declares God's love and pity for sinners,
including me, and reveals His offer of mercy to me in Jesus
Christ, on condition that I fully repent of my sins, and yielding
myself to Him, believe on Jesus Christ, and taking up my cross,
follow Him. But how shall I know that I have met these conditions
in a way to satisfy Him, and that I am myself saved?

1. The Bible cannot tell me this. It tells me what to do, but it
does not tell me when I have done it, any more than the sign-board
at the country cross-roads, pointing out the road leading to the
city, tells me when I have got to the city.

2. My religious teachers and friends cannot tell me, for they
cannot read my heart, nor the mind of God toward me. How can they
know when I have in my heart repented and believed, and when His
righteous anger is turned away?

They can encourage me to repent, believe, obey, and can assure me
that, if I do, He will accept me, and I shall be saved; but
beyond that they cannot go.

3. My own heart, owing to its darkness and deceitfulness and
liability to error, is not a safe witness previous to the
assurance God Himself gives. If my neighbour is justly offended
with me, it is not my own heart, but his testimony that first
assures me of his favour once more.

How, then, shall I know that I am justified or wholly sanctified?
There is but one way, and that is by the witness of the Holy
Spirit. God must notify me, and make me to know it; and this He
does, when, despairing of my own works of righteousness, I cast
my poor soul fully and in faith upon Jesus. "For ye have not
received the spirit of bondage again to fear," says Paul, "but ye
have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba,
Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that
we are the children of God" (Romans viii. 15, 16). "And because
ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your
hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Gal. iv. 6). Unless He Himself
assures me, I shall never know that He accepts me, but must
continue in uncertainty all my days.

  "Come, Holy Ghost, Thyself impress
    On my expanding heart:
   And show that in the Father's grace
    I share a filial part."

The General says: "Assurance is produced by the revelation of
forgiveness and acceptance made by God Himself directly to the
soul. This is the witness of the Spirit. It is God testifying in
my soul that He has loved me, and given Himself for me, and
washed me from my sins in His own blood. Nothing short of this
_actual revelation_, made by God Himself, can make anyone
sure of salvation."

John Wesley says: "By the testimony of the Spirit, I mean an
inward impression of the soul, whereby the Spirit of God
immediately and directly witnesses to my spirit that I am a child
of God; that 'Jesus hath loved me, and given Himself for me';
that all my sins are blotted out, and I, even I, am reconciled to
God."

This witness of the Spirit addressed to my consciousness enables
me to sing with joyful assurance:--

  "My God is reconciled;
   His pardoning voice I hear:
  He owns me for His child;
   I can no longer fear:
  With confidence I now draw nigh,
  And, 'Father, Abba, Father,' cry."

When the Holy Spirit witnesses to me that I am saved and adopted
into God's family as His child, then other evidences begin to
abound also. For instance:--

1. My own spirit witnesses that I am a new creature. I know that
old things have passed away, and all things have become new. My
very thoughts and desires have been changed. Love and joy and
peace reign within me. My heart no longer condemns me. Pride and
selfishness, and lust and temper, no longer control my thoughts
nor lead captive my will. I am a new creature, and I know it, and
I infer without doubt that this is the work of God in me.

2. My conscience bears witness that I am honest and true in all
my purposes and intentions; that I am without guile; that my eye
is single to the glory of God, and that with all simplicity and
sincerity of heart I serve Him; and, since by nature I am only
sinful, I again infer that this sincerity of heart is His blessed
work in my soul, and is a fruit of salvation.

3. The Bible becomes a witness to my salvation. In it are
accurately portrayed the true characteristics of the children of
God; and as I study it prayerfully, and find these characteristics
in my heart and life, I again infer that I am saved. This is true
self-examination, and is most useful.

These evidences are most important to guard us against any
mistake as to the witness of the Holy Spirit.

The witness of the Spirit is not likely to be mistaken for
something else, just as the sun is not likely to be mistaken for
a lesser light, a glow-worm or a moon. But one who has not seen
the sun might mistake some lesser light for the sun. So an
unsaved man may mistake some flash of fancy, some pleasant
emotion, for the witness of the Spirit. But if he is honest, the
absence of these secondary evidences and witnesses will correct
him. He must know that so long as sin masters him, reigns within
him, and he is devoid of the tempers, graces, and dispositions of
God's people, as portrayed in the Bible, that he is mistaken in
supposing that he has the witness of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit
cannot witness to what does not exist. He cannot lie. Not until
sin is forgiven does He witness to the fact. Not until we are
justified from our old sins and born again does He witness that
we are children of God; and when He does so witness, these
secondary evidences always follow. Charles Wesley expresses this
in one of his matchless hymns:--

  "How can a sinner know
   His sins on earth forgiven?
  How can my gracious Saviour show
   My name inscribed in Heaven?

  "We who in Christ believe
   That He for us hath died,
  We all His unknown peace receive,
   And feel His blood applied.

  "His love, surpassing far
   The love of all beneath,
  We find within our hearts, and dare
   The pointless darts of death.

  "Stronger than death and hell
   The mystic power we prove;
  And conquerors of the world, we dwell
   In Heaven, who dwell in love."

The witness of the Spirit is far more comprehensive than many
suppose. Multitudes do not believe that there is any such thing,
while others confine it to the forgiveness of sins and adoption
into the family of God. But the truth is that the Holy Spirit
witnesses to much more than this.

He witnesses to the sinner that he is guilty, condemned before
God, and lost. This we call conviction; but it is none other than
the witness of the Spirit to the sinner's true condition; and
when a man realises it, nothing can convince him to the contrary.
His friends may point out his good works, his kindly disposition,
and try to assure him that he is not a bad man; but, so long as
the Spirit continues to witness to his guilt, nothing can console
him or reassure his quaking heart. This convicting witness may
come to a sinner at any time, but it is usually given under the
searching preaching of the Gospel, or the burning testimony of
those who have been gloriously saved and sanctified; or in time
of danger, when the soul is awed into silence, so that it can
hear the "still small voice" of the Holy Spirit.

Again, the Holy Spirit not only witnesses to the forgiveness of
sins and acceptance with God, but He also witnesses to sanctification.
"For by one offering," says the Apostle, "He" (that is, Jesus) "hath
perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost
also is a witness to us" (Hebrews x. 14, 15).

Indeed, one who has this witness can no more doubt it than a man
with two good eyes can doubt the existence of the sun when he
steps forth into the splendour of a cloudless noon-day. It
satisfies him, and he cries out exultingly, "We know, we know!"
Hallelujah!

Paul seems to teach that the Holy Spirit witnesses to every good
thing God works in us, for he says: "We have received, not the
spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we
might know the things that are freely given to us of God" (1 Cor.
ii. 12). It is for our comfort and encouragement to know our
acceptance of God and our rights, privileges, and possessions in
Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is given for this purpose, that
we may _know_.

But it is important to bear in mind God's plan of work in this
matter.

1. The witness of the Spirit is dependent upon our faith. God
does not give it to those who do not believe in Jesus; and if our
faith wavers, the witness will become intermittent; and if faith
fails, it will be withdrawn. Owing to the unsteadiness of their
faith, many young converts get into uncertainty. Happy are they
at such times if some one is at hand to instruct and encourage
them to look steadfastly to Jesus. But, alas! many old Christians
through unsteady faith walk in gloom and uncertainty, and,
instead of encouraging the young, they discourage them. Steadfast
faith will keep the inward witness bright.

2. We must not get our attention off Jesus, and the promises of
God in Him, and fix it upon the witness of the Spirit. The
witness continues only while we look unto Jesus, and trust and
obey Him. When we take our eyes off Him, the witness is gone.
Many people fail here. Instead of quietly and confidently looking
unto Jesus, and trusting Him, they are vainly looking for the
witness; which is as though a man should try to realise the
sweetness of honey, without receiving it in his mouth; or the
beauty of a picture, while having his eyes turned inward upon
himself instead of outward upon the picture. Jesus saves. Look to
Him, and He will send the Spirit to witness to His work.

3. The witness may be brightened by diligence in the discharge of
duty, by frequent seasons of glad prayer, by definite testimony
to salvation and sanctification, and by stirring up our faith.

4. The witness may be dulled by neglect of duty, by sloth in
prayer, by inattention to the Bible, by indefinite, hesitating
testimony, and by carelessness, when we should be careful to walk
soberly and steadfastly with the Lord.

5. I dare not say that the witness of the Spirit is dependent
upon our health, but there are some forms of nervous and organic
disease that seem to so distract or becloud the mind as to
interfere with the clear discernment of the witness of the
Spirit. I knew a nervous little child who would be so distracted
with fear by an approaching carriage, when being carried across
the street in her father's arms, that she seemed to be incapable
of hearing or heeding his reassuring voice. It may be that there
are some diseases that for the time prevent the sufferer from
discerning the reassuring witness of the Heavenly Father. Dr. Asa
Mahan told me of an experience of this kind which he had in a
very dangerous sickness. And Dr. Daniel Steele had a similar
experience while lying at the point of death with typhoid fever.
But some of the happiest Christians the world has seen have been
racked with pain and tortured with disease.

And so there may be seasons of fierce temptation when the witness
is not clearly discerned; but we may rest assured that if our
hearts cleave to Jesus Christ and duty, He will never leave or
forsake us. Blessed be God!

6. But the witness will be lost if we wilfully sin, or
persistently neglect to follow where He leads. This witness is a
pearl of great price, and Satan will try to steal it from us;
therefore, we must guard it with watchful prayer continually.

7. If lost, it may be found again by prayer and faith and a
dutiful taking up of the cross which has been laid down.
Thousands who have lost it have found it again, and often they
have found it with increased brightness and glory. If you have
lost it, my brother, look up in faith to your loving God, and He
will restore it to you. It is possible to live on the right side
of plain duty without the witness, but you cannot be sure of your
salvation, joyful in service, or glad in God, without it; and
since it is promised to all God's children, no one who professes
to be His should be without it.

If you have it not, my brother or sister, seek it now by faith in
Jesus. Go to Him, and do not let Him go till He notifies you that
you are His. Listen to Charles Wesley:--

  "From the world of sin, and noise,
  And hurry,  I withdraw;
  For the small and inward voice
  I wait with humble awe;
  Silent am I now and still,
  Dare not in Thy presence move;
  To my waiting soul reveal
  The secret of Thy love."

Do you want the witness to abide? Then study the word of God, and
live by it; sing and make melody in your heart to the Lord;
praise the Lord with your first waking breath in the morning, and
thank Him with your last waking breath at night; flee from sin;
keep on believing; look to Jesus, cleave to Him, follow Him
gladly, trust the efficacy of His blood, and the witness will
abide in your heart. Be patient with the Lord. Let Him mould you,
and "He will save, He will rejoice over thee with joy; He will
rest in His love, He will joy over thee with singing" (Zeph. iii.
17); and you shall no longer doubt, but know that you are His.
Hallelujah!

  "There are in this loud stunning tide
  Of human care and crime,
  With whom the melodies abide
  Of th' everlasting chime;
  Who carry music in their heart
  Through dusky lane and wrangling mart,
  Plying their task with busier feet
  Because their secret souls a holy strain repeat."

And that "holy strain" is but the echo of the Lord's song in
their heart, which is the witness of the Spirit.

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




V.

PURITY.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

A MINISTER of the Gospel, after listening to an eminent servant
of God preaching on entire sanctification through the baptism
with the Spirit, wrote to him, saying: "I like your teaching on
the baptism with the Holy Ghost. I need it, and am seeking it;
but I do not care much for entire sanctification or heart-
cleansing. Pray for me that I may be filled with the Holy Ghost."

The brother knew him well, and immediately replied: "I am so glad
you believe in the baptism with the Holy Ghost, and are so
earnestly seeking it. I join my prayer with yours that you may
receive that gift. But let me say to you, that if you get the
gift of the Holy Ghost, you will have to take entire sanctification
with it, for the first thing the baptism with the Holy Ghost does
is to cleanse the heart from all sin."

Thank God, he humbled himself, permitted the Lord to sanctify
him, and he was filled with the Holy Spirit, and mightily
empowered to work for God.

Many have looked at the promise of power when the Holy Ghost is
come, the energy of Peter's preaching on the day of Pentecost,
and the marvellous results which followed, and they have hastily
and erroneously jumped to the conclusion that the baptism with
the Holy Ghost is for work and service only.

It does bring power--the power of God, and it does fit for
service, probably the most important service to which any created
beings are commissioned, the proclamation of salvation and the
conditions of peace to a lost world; but not that alone, nor
primarily. The primary, the basal work of the baptism, is that of
cleansing.

You may turn a flood into your millrace, but until it sweeps away
the logs and brushwood and dirt that obstruct the course, you
cannot get power to turn the wheels of your mill. The flood first
washes out the obstructions, and then you have power.

The great hindrance in the hearts of God's children to the power
of the Holy Ghost is inbred sin--that dark, defiant, evil
something within that struggles for the mastery of the soul, and
will not submit to be meek and lowly, and patient and forbearing
and holy, as was Jesus; and when the Holy Spirit comes, His first
work is to sweep away that something, that carnal principle, and
make free and clean all the channels of the soul.

Peter was filled with power on the day of Pentecost; but
evidently the purifying effect of the baptism made a deeper and
more lasting impression upon his mind than the empowering effect;
for years after, in that first Council in Jerusalem, recorded in
the fifteenth chapter of Acts, he stood up and told about the
spiritual baptism of Cornelius, the Roman centurion, and his
household, and he said: "And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare
them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us;
and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts
by faith." Here he calls attention not to power, but to purity,
as the effect of the baptism. When the Holy Ghost comes in to
abide, "the old man" goes out. Praise the Lord!

This destruction of inbred sin is made perfectly plain in that
wonderful Old Testament type of the baptism with the Holy Ghost
and fire recorded in the sixth chapter of Isaiah. The prophet was
a most earnest preacher of righteousness (see Isaiah i. 10-20),
yet he was not sanctified wholly. But he had a vision of the Lord
upon His Throne, and the seraphims crying one to another: "Holy,
holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts: the whole earth is full of His
glory." And the very "posts of the door moved at the voice of him
that cried"; and how much more should the heart of the prophet be
moved! And so it was; and he cried out: "Woe is me! for I am
undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the
midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the
King, the Lord of Hosts."

When unsanctified men have a vision of God, it is not their lack
of power, but their lack of purity, their unlikeness to Christ,
the Holy One, that troubles them. And so it was with the prophet.
But he adds: "Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a
live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off
the altar. And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath
touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin
purged." Here again, it is purity rather than power to which our
attention is directed.

Again, in the thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel, we have another
type of this spiritual baptism. In Isaiah the type was that of
fire, but here it is that of water; for water and oil, and the
wind and rain and dew, are all used as types of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord says, through Ezekiel: "Then will I sprinkle clean water
upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness, and
from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I
give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take
away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an
heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause
you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and
do them."

Here again, the incoming of the Holy Spirit means the outgoing of
all sin, of "all your filthiness, and of all your idols." How
plainly it is taught! And yet, many of God's dear children do not
believe it is their privilege to be free from sin and pure in
heart in this life. But, may we not? Let us consider this.

1. It is certainly _desirable_. Every sincere Christian--and
none can be a Christian who is not sincere--wants to be free from
sin, to be pure in heart, to be like Christ. Sin is hateful to
every true child of God. The Spirit within him cries out against
the sin, the wrong temper, the pride, the lust, the selfishness,
the evil that lurks within the heart. Surely, it is desirable to
be free from sin.

  "He wills that I should holy be:
   That holiness I long to feel;
  That full Divine conformity
   To all my Saviour's righteous will."

2. It is _necessary_, for "without holiness no man shall see
the Lord." Sometime, somehow, somewhere, sin must go out of our
hearts--all sin--or we cannot go into Heaven. Sin would spoil
Heaven just as it spoils earth; just as it spoils the peace of
hearts and homes, of families and neighbourhoods and nations
here. Why God in His wisdom allows sin in the world, I do not
know, I cannot understand. But this I understand: that He has one
world into which He will not let sin enter. He has notified us in
advance that no sin, nothing that defiles, can enter Heaven, can
mar the blessedness of that holy place. "Who shall ascend into
the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He
that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up
his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully" We must get rid of
sin to get into Heaven, to enjoy the full favour of God. It is
necessary.

  "Choose I must, and soon must choose
  Holiness, or Heaven lose.
  If what Heaven loves I hate,
  Shut for me is Heaven's gate!

  "Endless sin means endless woe;
  Into endless sin I go
  If my soul, from reason rent,
  Takes from sin its final bent.

  "As the stream its channel grooves,
  And within that channel moves;
  So does habit's deepest tide
  Groove its bed and there abide.

  "Light obeyed increaseth light;
  Light resisted bringeth night;
  Who shall give me will to choose
  If the love of light I lose?

  "Speed, my soul, this instant yield;
  Let the light its sceptre wield.
  While thy God prolongs His grace,
  Haste thee to His holy face."

3. This purification from sin is _promised_. Nothing can be
plainer than the promise of God on this point. "Then will I
sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from
_all_ your filthiness and from _all_ your idols will I cleanse
you." When all is removed, nothing remains. When all filthiness
and all idols are taken away, none are left.

"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin
hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through
righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans
v. 20, 21). Grace reigns, not through sin, but "through
righteousness" which has expelled sin. Grace brings in
righteousness and sin goes out.

"If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have
fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His
Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1 John i. 7). Hallelujah!

"Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of
righteousness" (Romans vi. 18).

These are sample promises and assurances any one of which is
sufficient to encourage us to believe that our Heavenly Father
will save us from all sin, if we meet His conditions.

4. And that deliverance is _possible_. It was for this that
Jesus Christ, the Father's Son, came into the world, and suffered
and died, that He might "save His people from their sins"
(Matthew i. 21). It was for this that He shed His precious blood:
to "cleanse us from all sin." It was for this that the word of
God, with its wonderful promises, was given: "That by these ye
might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the
corruption that is in the world through lust" (2 Peter i. 4); by
which is meant, escape from inbred sin. It was for this that
ministers of the Gospel--Salvation Army Officers--are given, "for
the perfecting of the saints" (Eph. iv. 12), for the saving and
sanctifying of men (Acts xxvi. 18). It is primarily for this that
the Holy Ghost comes as a baptism of fire: that sin might be
consumed out of us, so that we might be "made meet for the
inheritance of the saints in light"; that so we might be ready
without a moment's warning to go into the midst of the heavenly
hosts in white garments, "washed in the blood of the Lamb." Glory
be to God for ever and ever!

And shall all these mighty agents and this heavenly provision,
and these gracious purposes of God, fail to destroy sin out of
any obedient, believing heart? Is sin omnipotent? No!

If you, my brother, my sister, will look unto Jesus just now,
trusting the merits of His blood, and receive the Holy Spirit
into your heart, you shall be "made free from sin"; it "shall not
have dominion over you." Hallelujah! Under the fiery touch of His
holy presence, your iniquity shall be taken away, and your sin
shall be purged. And you yourself shall burn as did the bush on
the mount of God which Moses saw; yet you, like the bush, shall
not be consumed; and by this holy fire, this flame of love,
that consumes sin, you shall be made proof against that
unquenchable fire that consumes sinners.

  "Come, Holy Ghost, Thy mighty aid bestowing;
   Destroy the works of sin, the self, the pride;
  Burn, burn in me, my idols overthrowing:
   Prepare my heart for Him, for my Lord crucified."

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




VI.

POWER.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

JUST before His ascension, Jesus met His disciples for the last
time, and repeated His command that they should "not depart from
Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father," and
reiterated His promise that they should be "baptised with the
Holy Ghost not many days hence."

Then "they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt Thou at this time
restore again the kingdom to Israel?" They were still eager for
an earthly kingdom. But "He said unto them, It is not for you to
know the time or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His
own power," or authority. And then He added, "But ye shall
receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you."

They wanted power, and He assured them that they should have it,
but said nothing of its nature, or the work and activities into
which it would thrust them, and for which it would equip them,
beyond the fact that they should be witnesses unto Him "in
Jerusalem and Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the
earth." After that the Holy Ghost Himself was henceforth to be
their Teacher.

And then Jesus left them. Earth lost its power to hold Him, and
while they beheld Him He began to ascend; a cloud bent low from
Heaven, receiving Him out of sight, and they were left alone,
with His promise of power ringing in their ears, and His command
to "wait for the promise of the Father" checking any impatience
that might lead them to "go a-fishing," as Peter had done some
days before, or cause an undue haste to begin their life-work of
witnessing for Him before God's appointed time.

For ten days they waited, not listlessly, but eagerly, as a maid
for her mistress, or a servant for his master, who is expected to
come at any moment; they forgot their personal ambitions; they
ceased to judge and criticise one another, and in the sweet unity
of brotherly love, "with one accord" they rejoiced, they prayed,
they waited; and then on the day of Pentecost, at their early
morning prayer meeting, when they were all present, the windows
of Heaven were opened, and such a blessing as they could not
contain was poured out upon them. "And suddenly there came a
sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all
the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them
cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And
they were all filled with the Holy Ghost."

This was the inaugural day of the Church of God: the dawn of the
dispensation of the Holy Spirit; the beginning of the days of
power.

In the morning of that day there were only a few Christians in
the world; the New Testament was not written, and it is doubtful
if they had among them all a copy of the Old Testament; they had
no church buildings, no colleges, no religious books and papers;
they were poor and despised, unlearned and ignorant; but before
night they had enrolled three thousand converts from among those
who, a few weeks before, had crucified their Lord, and they had
aroused and filled all Jerusalem with questionings and amazement.

What was the secret? Power. What was the secret? God the Holy
Ghost. He had come, and this work was His work, and they were His
instruments.

When Jesus came, a body was prepared for Him (Hebrews x. 5), and
through that body He wrought His wondrous works; but when the
other Comforter comes, He takes possession of those bodies that
are freely and fully presented to Him, and He touches their lips
with grace; He shines peacefully and gloriously on their faces;
He flashes beams of pity and compassion and heavenly affection
from their eyes; He kindles a fire of love in their hearts, and
lights the flame of truth in their minds. They become His temple,
and their hearts are a holy of holies in which His blessed
presence ever abides, and from that central citadel He works,
enduing the man who has received Him with power.

If you ask how the Holy Spirit can dwell within us and work
through us without destroying our personality, I cannot tell. How
can the electric fluid fill and transform a dead wire into a live
one, which you dare not touch? How can a magnetic current fill a
piece of steel, and transform it into a mighty force which by its
touch can raise tons of iron, as a child would lift a feather?
How can fire dwell in a piece of iron until its very appearance
is that of fire, and it becomes a fire-brand? I cannot tell.

Now, what fire and electricity and magnetism do in iron and
steel, the Holy Spirit does in the spirits of men who believe on
Jesus, follow Him wholly, and trust Him intelligently. He dwells
in them, and inspires them, till they are all alive with the very
life of God.

The transformation wrought in men by the baptism with the Holy
Ghost, and the power that fills them, are amazing beyond measure.
The Holy Spirit gives--

1. _Power over the world_. They become

  "Dead to the world and all its toys,
  Its idle pomps and fading joys."

The world masters and enslaves people who have not the Holy
Spirit. To one man it offers money, and he falls down and
worships; sells his conscience and character for gold. To another
it offers power, and he falls down and worships and sacrifices
his principles and sears his conscience for power. To another it
offers pleasure; to another learning; to another fame, and they
fall down and worship, and sell themselves for these things. But
the man filled with the Holy Ghost is free. He can turn from
these things without a pang, as he would from pebbles; or, he can
take them and use them as his servants for the glory of God and
the good of men.

What did Peter and James and John care for the great places in
the kingdoms of this world after they were filled with the Holy
Ghost? They would not have exchanged places with Herod the king
or with Caesar himself. For the gratification of any personal
ambition these things were no more attractive to them now than
the lordship over a tribe of ants on their tiny hill. They were
now kings and priests unto God, and theirs was an everlasting
kingdom, and its glory exceeds the glory of the kingdoms of this
world as the splendour of the sun exceeds that of the glow-worm.

The head of some great business enterprises was making many
thousands of dollars every year; but when the Holy Spirit filled
him money lost its power over him. He still retained his
position, and made vast sums; but, as a steward of the Lord, he
poured it into God's work, and has been doing so for more than
thirty years.

The disciples in Jerusalem after Pentecost held all their
possessions in common, so completely were they freed from the
power and love of money.

A rising young lawyer got filled with the Spirit, and the next
day said to his client: "I cannot plead your case. I have a
retainer from the Lord Jesus"; and he became one of the mightiest
preachers the world has ever seen.

A popular lad got the fiery baptism, and went to his baseball
team, and said: "Boys, you swear, and I am now a Christian, and I
cannot play with you any more"; and God made him the wonder of
all his old friends, and a happy winner of souls.

A fashionable woman got the baptism, and God gave her power to
break away from her worldly set and surroundings, live wholly for
Him, and gave her an influence that girdled the globe.

Paul said: "The world is crucified unto me, and I unto the
world." Men could whip, and stone, and imprison his body, and cut
off his head, but his soul was free. It was enslaved and driven
by no unholy or inordinate ambition, by no lust for gold, by no
desire for power or fame, by no fear of man, by no shame of
worldly censure or adverse public opinion. He had power over the
world, and this same power is the birthright of every converted
man, and the present possession of every one who is wholly
sanctified by the baptism with the Holy Ghost.

2. _Power over the flesh_. The body which God intended for a
"house beautiful" for the soul, and a temple holy unto Himself,
is often reduced to a sty, where the imprisoned soul wallows in
lusts and passions, and degrades itself below the level of
beasts. But this baptism gives a man power over his body.

God has given to man such desires and passions as are necessary
to secure his continued existence, and not one is in itself evil,
but good and only good; and when controlled and used, but not
abused, will help to develop and maintain the purest and highest
manhood. The appetites for food and drink are necessary to life.
Another desire is intended to secure the continuance of the human
race. And so all the desires and appetites of the body have
useful ends, and were given to us in love by our Heavenly Father
for high and essential purposes, and are necessary to us as human
beings.

But the soul, cut off from fellowship with God, by sin, seeks
satisfaction in sensual excesses, and the unlawful gratification
of these appetites, and so sinks to depths of degradation to
which no beast ever falls. Thus man becomes a slave; swollen and
raging passion takes the place of innocent appetites and desires.

Now, when the Holy Spirit enters the heart and sanctifies the
soul, He does not destroy these desires, but He purifies and
regulates them. He reinforces the soul with the fear and love of
God, and gives it power, complete power, over the fleshly
appetites. He restores it to its full fellowship with God and its
kingship over the body.

But while these appetites and desires are not in themselves
sinful, but are necessary for our welfare and our complete
manhood, and while their diseased and abnormal power is cured
when we are sanctified, they are still avenues through which we
may be tempted. Therefore, they must be guarded with care and
ruled in wisdom. Many people stumble at and reject the doctrine
of entire sanctification, because they do not understand these
things. They mistake that which is natural and essential to a
human being for the diseased and abnormal propensity caused by
sin, and so miss the blessed truth of full salvation.

I knew a doctor, who had used tobacco for over sixty years,
delivered from the abnormal appetite instantly through sanctification
of the Spirit. I knew an old man, who had been a drunkard for over
fifty years, similarly delivered. I knew a young man, the slave of a
vicious habit of the flesh, who was set free at once by the fiery
baptism. The electric current cannot transform the dead wire into
a live one quicker than the Holy Spirit can flood a soul with light
and love, destroy the carnal mind, and fill a man with power over
all sin.

3. _Power over the Devil_. The indwelling presence of the
Holy Spirit destroys all doubt as to the personality of the
Devil. He is discerned, and his malice is felt and known as never
before.

In the dark a man may be so skilfully attacked that his enemy is
not discovered, but not in the day. Many people in these days
deny that there is any Devil, only evil; but they are in the
dark, so much in the dark that they not only say that there is no
Devil, but that there is no personal God, only good. But the day
comes with the Holy Spirit's entrance, and then God is intimately
known and the Devil is discovered. And as he assailed Jesus after
His baptism with the Spirit, so he does to-day all who receive
the Holy Ghost. He comes as an angel of light to deceive, and as
a roaring lion to devour and overcome with fear; but the soul
filled with the Spirit outwits the Devil, and, clad in the whole
armour of God, overcomes the old enemy.

"Power over all the power of the enemy" is God's purpose for all
His children. Power to do the will of God patiently and
effectively, with naturalness and ease, or to suffer the will of
God with patience and good cheer, comes with this blessed
baptism. It is power for service or sacrifice, according to God's
will. Have you this power? If not, it is for you. Yield yourself
fully to Christ just now, and if you ask in faith you shall
receive.

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




VII.

TRYING THE SPIRITS.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

Those who have not the Holy Spirit, or who do not heed Him, fall
easily and naturally into formalism, substituting lifeless
ceremonies, sacraments, genuflections, and ritualistic performances
for the free, glad, living worship inspired by the indwelling
Spirit. They sing, but not from the heart. They say their prayers,
but they do not really pray. "I prayed last night, mother," said a
child. "Why, my child, you pray every night!" replied the mother.
"No," said the child, "I only said prayers, but last night I really
prayed." And his face shone. He had opened his heart to the Holy
Spirit, and had at last really talked with God and worshipped.

But those who receive the Holy Spirit may fall into fanaticism,
unless they follow the command of John to "try the spirits,
whether they are of God."

We are commanded to "despise not prophesyings," but at the same
time we are commanded to "prove all things." "Many false prophets
are gone out into the world," and, if possible, will lead us
astray. So we must beware. As some one has written, we must
"Believe not every spirit; regard not, trust not, follow not,
every pretender to the Spirit of God, or every professor of
vision, or inspiration, or revelation from God."

The higher and more intense the life, the more carefully must it
be guarded, lest it be endangered and go astray. It is so in the
natural world, and likewise in the spiritual world.

When Satan can no longer rock people to sleep with religious
lullabys, or satisfy them with the lifeless form, then he comes
as an angel of light, probably in the person of some professor or
teacher of religion, and seeks to usurp the place of the Holy
Spirit; but instead of leading "into all truth," he leads the
unwary soul into deadly error; instead of directing him on to the
highway of holiness, and into the path of perfect peace, where no
ravenous beast ever comes, he leads him into a wilderness where
the soul, stripped of its beautiful garments of salvation, is
robbed and wounded and left to die, if some good Samaritan, with
patient pity and Christlike love, come not that way.

1. When the Holy Spirit comes in His fullness, He strips men of
their self-righteousness and pride and conceit. They see
themselves as the chief of sinners, and realise that only through
the stripes of Jesus are they healed; and ever after, as they
live in the Spirit, their boast is in Him and their glory is in
the cross. Remembering the hole of the pit from which they were
digged, they are filled with tender pity for all who are out of
the way; and, while they do not excuse or belittle sin, yet they
are slow to believe evil, and their judgments are full of
charity.

  "Judge not; the workings of his brain
   And of his heart thou canst not see:
  What looks to thy dim eyes a stain,
   In God's pure light may only be
  A scar, brought from some well-won field,
  Where thou wouldst only faint and yield."

But the man who has been thus snared by Satan forgets his own
past miserable state, and boasts of his righteousness, and thanks
God that he was never as other men, and he begins to beat his
fellow-servants with heavy denunciations, and thrust them through
with sharp criticisms, and pelt them with hard words. He ceases
to pity, and begins to condemn; he no longer warns and entreats
men in tender love, but is quick to believe evil, and swift to
pass judgment, not only upon their actions, but upon their
motives as well.

True charity has no fellowship with deeds of darkness. It never
calls evil good, it does not wink at iniquity, but it is as far
removed from this sharp, condemning spirit as light is from
darkness, as honey is from vinegar. It is quick to condemn sin,
but is full of saving, long-suffering compassion for the sinner.

2. A humble, teachable mind marks those in whom the Holy Spirit
dwells. They esteem very highly in love those who are over them
in the Lord, and are glad to be admonished by them. They submit
themselves one to the other in the fear of the Lord, welcome
instruction and correction, and esteem "open rebuke better than
secret love" (Proverbs xxvii. 5). They believe that the Lord has
yet many things to say unto them, and they are willing and glad
for Him to say them by whom He will, but especially by their
leaders and their brethren. While they do not fawn and cringe
before men, nor believe everything that is said to them, without
proving it by the word and Spirit of God, they believe that God
"gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists;
and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints,
for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of
Christ"; and, like Cornelius, they are ready to hear these
appointed ministers, and receive the word of the Lord from them.

But Satan seeks to destroy all this lowliness of spirit and
humbleness of mind. Those in whom his deadly work has begun are
"wiser in their own conceit than seven men that can render a
reason." They are wiser than all their teachers, and no man can
instruct them. One of these deluded souls, who had previously
been marked by modesty and humility, declared of certain of God's
chosen leaders whose spiritual knowledge and wisdom were
everywhere recognised, that "the whole of them knew no more
about the Holy Ghost than an old goose." Paul, Luther, and Wesley
were much troubled, and their work greatly hurt, by some of these
misguided souls, and every great spiritual awakening is likely to
be marred more or less by such people; so that we cannot be too
much on our guard against false spirits who would counterfeit the
work and leadings of the Holy Spirit.

It is this huge conceit that has led some men to announce
themselves as apostles and prophets to whom all men must listen,
or fall under the wrath of God; while others have declared that
they were living in resurrection bodies and should not die; and
yet others have reached that pitch of fanaticism where they could
calmly proclaim themselves to be the Messiah, or the Holy Ghost
in bodily form. Such people will be quick to deny the infallibility
of the Pope, while they assume their own infallibility, and
denounce all who dispute it.

The Holy Spirit may lead to a holy rivalry in love and humility
and brotherly kindness and self-denial and good works, but He
never leads men into the swelling conceit of such exclusive
knowledge and superior wisdom that they can no longer be taught
by their fellow-men.

3. Again, the man who is filled with the Spirit is tolerant of
those who differ from him in opinion, in doctrine. He is firm in
his own convictions, and ready at all times with meekness and
fear to explain and defend the doctrines which he holds and is
convinced are according to God's word, but he does not condemn
and consign to damnation all those who differ from him. He is
glad to believe that men are often better than their creed, and
may be saved in spite of it; that, like mountains whose bases are
bathed with sunshine and clothed with fruitful fields and
vineyards, while their tops are covered with dark clouds, so
men's hearts are often fruitful in the graces of charity, while
their heads are yet darkened by doctrinal error.

Anyway, as "the servant of the Lord," he will "not strive; but be
gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness
instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure
will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and
that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the Devil"
(2 Timothy ii. 24-26).

But when Satan comes as an angel of light he will, under guise of
love for and loyalty to the truth, introduce the spirit of
intolerance. It was this spirit that crucified Jesus; that burned
Huss and Cranmer at the stake; that strangled Savonarola; that
inspired the massacre of St. Bartholomew and the horrors of the
Inquisition; and it is the same spirit, in a milder but possibly
more subtle form, that blinds the eyes of many professing
Christians to any good in those who differ from them in doctrine,
forms of worship or methods of government. They murder love to
protect what they often blindly call truth. What is truth without
love? A dead thing, an encumbrance, the letter that killeth!

The body is necessary to our life in this world, but life can
exist in a deformed and even mutilated body; and such a body with
life in it is better than the most perfect body that is only a
corpse. So, while truth is most precious, and sound doctrine to
be esteemed more than silver and gold, yet love can exist where
truth is not held in its most perfect and complete forms, and
love is the one thing needful.

  "The love of God is broader
   Than the measure of man's mind:
   And the heart of the Eternal
    Is most wonderfully kind."

4. The Holy Ghost begets a spirit of unity among Christians.
People who have been sitting behind their sectarian fences in
self-complacent ease, or proud indifference, or proselytising
zeal, or grim defiance, are suddenly lifted above the fence, and
find sweet fellowship with each other, when He comes into their
hearts.

They delight in each other's society; they each esteem others
better than themselves, and in honour they prefer one another
before themselves. They fulfil the Psalmist's ideal: "Behold, how
good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in
unity." Here is a picture of the unity of Christians in the
beginning in Jerusalem: "And they were all filled with the Holy
Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the
multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one
soul; neither said any of them that aught of the things which he
possessed was his own; but they had all things common." What an
ideal is this! And since it has been attained once, it can be
attained again and retained, but only by the indwelling of the
Holy Ghost. It was for this that Jesus poured out His heart in
His great intercessory prayer, recorded in John xvii., just
before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. He says, "I pray
for them.... Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also
which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may
be one." And what was the standard of unity to which He would
have us come? Listen!

"As Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee; that they also may be
one in Us; that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me."
Such unity has a wondrous power to compel the belief of worldly
men. "And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that
they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and Thou in Me,
that they may be perfect in one; and that the world may
_know_ that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou
hast loved Me." Wondrous unity! Wondrous love!

It is for this His blessed heart eternally yearns, and it is for
this that the Holy Spirit works in the hearts of those who
receive Him. But Satan ever seeks to destroy this holy love and
divine unity. When he comes, he arouses suspicions, he stirs up
strife, he quenches the spirit of intercessory prayer, he
engenders backbitings, and causes separations.

After enumerating various Christian graces, and urging the
Colossians to put them on, Paul adds: "And above all these
things, put on charity," or love, "which is the bond of
perfectness" (Col. iii. 14). These graces were garments, and love
was the girdle which bound and held them together; and so love is
the bond that holds true Christians together.

Divine love is the great test by which we are to try ourselves
and all teachers and spirits.

Love is not puffed up. Love is not bigoted. Love is not
intolerant. Love is not schismatic. Love is loyal to Jesus and to
all His people. If we have this love shed abroad in our hearts by
the Holy Ghost, we shall discern the voice of our Good Shepherd,
and we shall not be deceived by the voice of the stranger; and so
we shall be saved from both formalism and fanaticism.

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




VIII.

GUIDANCE.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to guide the people of God
through the uncertainties and dangers and duties of this life to
their home in Heaven. When He led the children of Israel out of
Egypt, by the hand of Moses, He guided them through the waste,
mountainous wilderness, in a pillar of cloud by day and of fire
by night, thus assuring their comfort and safety. And this was
but a type of His perpetual spiritual guidance of His people.

"But how may I certainly know what God wants of me?" is sure to
become the earnest and, oftentimes, the agonising cry of every
humble and devoutly zealous young Christian. "How may I know the
guidance of the Holy Spirit?" is asked again and again.

1. It is well for us to get it fixed in our minds that we need to
be guided always by Him. A ship was wrecked on a rocky coast far
out of the course that the captain thought he was taking. On
examination, it was found that the compass had been slightly
deflected by a bit of metal that had lodged in the box.

But the voyage of life on which we each one sail is beset by as
many dangers as the ship at sea, and how shall we surely steer
our course to our heavenly harbour without Divine guidance? There
is a wellnigh infinite number of influences to deflect us from
the safe and certain course. We start out in the morning, and we
know not what person we may meet, what paragraph we may read,
what word may be spoken, what letter we may receive, what subtle
temptation may assail or allure us, what immediate decisions we
may have to make during the day, that may turn us almost
imperceptibly, but none the less surely, from the right way. We
need the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

2. We not only need Divine guidance, but we may have it. God's
word assures us of this. Oh! how my heart was comforted and
assured one morning by these words: "And the Lord shall guide
thee continually" (Isaiah lviii. 11). Not occasionally, not
spasmodically, but "continually." Hallelujah! The Psalmist says:
"This God is our God for ever and ever: He will be our Guide even
unto death" (Psalm xlviii. 14). Again, he says: "The meek will
He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way" (Psalm
xxv. 9). And again, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the
way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye" (Psalm
xxxii. 8). And again, "Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel"
(Psalm Ixxiii. 24). Jesus said of the Holy Spirit: "Howbeit when
He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all
truth" (John xvi. 13). And Paul wrote: "As many as are led by the
Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans viii. 14).

These Scriptures establish the fact that the children of God may
be guided always by the Spirit of God.

  "Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
   Pilgrim through this barren land!
   I am weak, but Thou art mighty:
   Hold me with Thy powerful hand."

3. How does God guide us?

Paul says: "We walk by faith, not by sight," and, "The just shall
live by faith," so we may conclude:--

(a) That the guidance of the Holy Spirit is such as still to
demand the exercise of faith. God never leads us in such a way as
to do away with the necessity of faith. When God warned Noah, we
read that it was by faith that Noah was led to build the ark.
When God told Abraham to go to a land which He would show him, it
was by faith that Abraham went (Hebrews xi. 7, 8). If we believe,
we shall surely be guided; but if we do not believe, we shall be
left to ourselves. Without faith it is impossible to please God,
or to follow where He leads. Again, the Psalmist says, "The meek
will He guide in judgment," from which we gather:--

(b) That the Spirit guides us in such manner as to demand the
exercise of our best judgment. He enlightens our understanding
and directs our judgment by sound reason and sense.

I knew a man who was eager to obey God, and to be led by the
Spirit, but who had the mistaken idea that the Holy Spirit sets
aside human judgment and common sense, and speaks directly upon
the most minute and commonplace matters. He wanted the Holy
Spirit to direct him just how much to eat at each meal, and he
has been known to take food out of his mouth at what he supposed
to be the Holy Spirit's notification that he had eaten enough,
and that if he swallowed that mouthful, it would be in violation
of the leadings of the Spirit.

No doubt, the Spirit will help an honest man to arrive at a safe
judgment even in matters of this kind, but it will doubtless be
through the use of his sanctified common sense. Otherwise, he is
reduced to a state of mental infancy, and kept in intellectual
swaddling clothes. He will guide us in judgment; but it is only
as we resolutely, and in the best light we have, exercise
judgment.

John Wesley said that God usually guided him by presenting
reasons to his mind for any given course of action.

(c) The Psalmist says, "Thou shalt guide me with Thy
counsel," and "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way
that thou shalt go." Now, counsel, instruction, and teaching not
only imply effort upon the part of the teacher, but also study
and close attention on the part of the one being taught. So this
guidance of the Holy Spirit is such as will require us to
attentively listen, diligently study, and patiently learn the
lessons He would teach us. And so we see that the Holy Spirit
does not set aside our powers and faculties, but seeks to awaken
and stir them into full activity, and develop them into well-
rounded perfection, and thus make them channels through which He
can intelligently influence and direct us.

What He seeks to do is to illuminate our whole spiritual being,
as the sun illuminates our physical being, and bring us into such
union and sympathy, such oneness of thought, desire, affection,
and purpose with God, that we shall, by a kind of spiritual
instinct, know at all times the mind of God concerning us, and
never be in doubt about His will.

4. The Holy Spirit guides us--

(a) By opening up to our minds the deep, sanctifying truths of
the Bible, and especially by revealing to us the character and
spirit of Jesus and His Apostles, and leading us to follow in
their footsteps--the footsteps of their faith and love and
unselfish devotion to God and man, even unto the laying down of
their lives.

(b) By the circumstances and surroundings of our daily life.

(c) By the counsel of others, especially of devout, and wise, and
experienced men and women of God.

(d) By deep inward conviction, which increases as we wait
upon Him in prayer and readiness to obey. It is by this sovereign
conviction that men are called to preach, to go to foreign fields
as missionaries, to devote their time, talents, money, and lives
to God's work for the bodies and souls of men.

5. Why do people seek for guidance and not find it?

(a) Because they do not diligently study God's word, and
seek to be filled with its truths and principles. They neglect
the cultivation of their minds and hearts in the school of
Christ, and so miss Divine guidance. One of the mightiest men of
God now living used to carry his Bible with him into the coal
mine when only a boy, and spent his spare time filling his mind
and heart with its heavenly truths, and so prepared himself to be
divinely led in mighty labours for God.

(b) They do not humbly accept the daily providences, the
circumstances, and conditions of their everyday life as a part of
God's present plan for them; as His school in which He would
train them for greater things; as His vineyard in which He would
have them diligently labour.

A young woman imagined she was called to devote herself entirely
to saving souls; but under the searching training through which
she had to pass saw her selfishness, and she said she would have
to return home, and live a holy life there, and seek to get her
family saved--something which she had utterly neglected--before
she could go into the work. If we are not faithful at home, or in
the shop, or mill, or store where we work, we shall miss God's
way for us.

(c) Because they are not teachable, and are unwilling to receive
instruction from other Christians. They are not humble-minded.

(d) Because they do not wait on God, and listen and heed the
inner leadings of the Holy Spirit. They are self-willed; they
want their own way. Some one has said, "That which is often asked
of God is not so much His will and way, as His approval of our
way." And another has said: "God's guidance is plain, when we are
true." If we promptly and gladly obey, we shall not miss the way.
Paul said of himself, "I was not disobedient to the heavenly
vision." He obeyed God at all costs, and so the Holy Spirit could
guide him.

(e) Because of fear and unbelief. It was this fearfulness of
unbelief that caused the Israelites to turn back, and not go into
Canaan when Caleb and Joshua assured them that God would help
them to possess the land. They lost sight of God, and feared the
giants and walled cities, and so missed God's way for them and
perished in the wilderness.

(f) Because they do not take everything promptly and confidently
to God in prayer.

Paul tells us to be "instant in prayer"; and I am persuaded that
it is slowness and delay to pray, and sloth and sleepiness in
prayer, that rob God's children of the glad assurance of His
guidance in all things.

(g) Because of impatience and haste. Some of God's plans
for us unfold slowly, and we must patiently and calmly wait on
Him in faith and faithfulness, assured that in due time He will
make plain His way for us, if our faith fail not. It is never
God's will that we should get into a headlong hurry; but that,
with patient steadfastness, we should learn to stand still when
the pillar of cloud and fire does not move, and that with loving
confidence and glad promptness we should strike our tents and
march forward when He leads.

  "When we cannot see our way,
  Let us trust and still obey;
  He who bids us forward go,
  Cannot fail the way to show.
  Though the sea be deep and wide,
  Though a passage seem denied;
  Fearless, let us still proceed,
  Since the Lord vouchsafes to lead."

Finally, we may rest assured that the Holy Spirit never leads His
people to do anything that is wrong, or that is contrary to the
will of God as revealed in the Bible. He never leads anyone to be
impolite and discourteous. "Be courteous" is a Divine command. He
would have us respect the minor graces of gentle, kindly manners,
as well as the great laws of holiness and righteousness.

He may sometimes lead us in ways that are hard for flesh and
blood, and that bring to us sorrow and loss in this life. He led
Jesus into the wilderness to be sore tried by the Devil, and to
Pilate's judgment hall, and to the cross. He led Paul in ways
that meant imprisonment, stonings, whippings, hunger and cold,
and bitter persecution and death. But He upheld Paul until he
cried out: "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in
necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake."
"Yea," said he, "I glory in my infirmities, that the power of
Christ may rest upon me." Hallelujah! Oh, to be thus led by our
Heavenly Guide!

   "He leadeth me! Oh, blessed thought!
    Oh, words with heavenly comfort fraught!
    Whate'er I do, where'er I be,
    Still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

   "Sometimes 'mid scenes of deepest gloom,
    Sometimes where Eden's bowers bloom,
    By waters still, o'er troubled sea,
    Still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

   "Lord, I will clasp Thy hand in mine,
    Nor ever murmur nor repine,
    Content, whatever lot I see,
    Since 'tis my God that leadeth me.

   "And when my task on earth is done,
    When by Thy grace the victory's won,
    E'en death's cold wave I will not flee,
    Since God through Jordan leadeth me."

"HAVE  YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




IX.

THE MEEK AND LOWLY HEART.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

I know a man whose daily prayer for years was that he might be
meek and lowly in heart as was his Master. "Take My yoke upon
you, and learn of Me," said Jesus; "for I am meek and lowly in
heart."

How lowly Jesus was! He was the Lord of life and glory. He made
the worlds, and upholds them by His word of power (John i.,
Hebrews i.). But He humbled Himself, and became man, and was born
of the Virgin in a manger among the cattle. He lived among the
common people, and worked at the carpenter's bench. And then,
anointed with the Holy Spirit, He went about doing good,
preaching the Gospel to the poor, and ministering to the manifold
needs of the sick and sinful and sorrowing. He touched the
lepers; He was the Friend of publicans and sinners. His whole
life was a ministry of mercy to those who most needed Him. He
humbled Himself to our low estate. He was a King who came "lowly,
and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass"
(Zech. ix. 9). He was a King, but His crown was of thorns, and a
cross was His throne.

What a picture Paul gives us of the mind and heart of Jesus! He
exhorts the Philippians, saying, "Let nothing be done through
strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem
other better than themselves"; and then he adds, "Let this mind
be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form
of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made
Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a
servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in
fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto
death, even the death of the cross."

Now, when the Holy Spirit finds His way into the heart of a man,
the Spirit of Jesus has come to that man, and leads him to the
same meekness of heart and lowly service that were seen in the
Master.

Ambition for place and power and money and fame vanishes, and in
its place is a consuming desire to be good and do good, to
accomplish in full the blessed, the beneficent will of God.

Some time ago I met a woman who, as a trained nurse in Paris,
nursing rich, English-speaking foreigners, received pay that in a
few years would have made her independently wealthy; but the
spirit of Jesus came into her heart, and she is now nursing the
poor, and giving her life to them, and doing for them service the
most loathsome and exacting, and doing it with a smiling face,
for her food and clothes.

Some able men in one of our largest American cities lost their
spiritual balance, cut themselves loose from all other Christians,
and made for a time quite a religious stir among many good people.
They were very clear and powerful in their presentation of certain
phases of truth, but they were also very strong, if not bitter,
in their denunciations of all existing religious organisations.
They attacked the churches and The Salvation Army, pointing out
what they considered wrong so skilfully, and with such professions
of sanctity, that many people were made most dissatisfied with the
churches and with The Army.

An Army Captain listened to them, and was greatly moved by their
fervour, their burning appeals, their religious ecstasy, and
their denunciations of the lukewarmness of other Christians,
including The Army. She began to wonder if after all they were
not right, and whether or not the Holy Spirit was amongst us. Her
heart was full of distress, and she cried to God. And then the
vision of our Slum Officers rose before her eyes. She saw their
devotion, their sacrifice, their lowly, hidden service, year
after year, among the poor and ignorant and vicious, and she said
to herself, "Is not this the Spirit of Jesus? Would these men,
who denounce us so, be willing to forgo their religious ecstasies
and spend their lives in such lowly, unheralded service?" And the
mists that had begun to blind her eyes were swept away, and she
saw Jesus still amongst us going about doing good in the person
of our Slum Officers and of all who for His name's sake sacrifice
their time and money and strength to bless and save their
fellow-men.

You who have visions of glory and rapturous delight, and so count
yourselves filled with the Spirit, do these visions lead you to
virtue and to lowly, loving service? If not, take heed to
yourselves, lest, exalted like Capernaum to Heaven, you are at
last cast down to Hell. Thank God for the mounts of transfiguration
where we behold His glory! but down below in the valley are
children possessed of devils, and to them He would have us go
with the glory of the mount on our faces, and lowly love and
vigorous faith in our hearts, and clean hands ready for any service.
He would have us give ourselves to them; and if we love Him,
if we follow Him, if we are truly filled with the Holy Spirit, we
will.

A Captain used to slip out of bed early in the morning to pray,
and then black his own and his Lieutenant's boots, and God
mightily blessed him. Recently I saw him, now a Commissioner,
with thousands of Officers and Soldiers under his command, at an
outing in the woods by the lake shore, looking after poor and
forgotten Soldiers, and giving them food with his own hand. Like
the Lord, his eyes seemed to be in every place beholding
opportunities to do good, and his feet and hands always followed
his eyes; and this is the fruit of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




X.

HOPE.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

Are you ever cast down and depressed in spirit? Listen to Paul:
"Now, the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in
believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the
Holy Ghost" (Romans xv. 13). What cheer is in those words! They
ring like the shout of a triumph.

1. God Himself is "the God of hope." There is no gloom, no
depression, no wasting sickness of deferred hope in Him. He is a
brimming fountain and ocean of hope eternally, and He is our God.
He is our Hope.

2. Out of His infinite fullness He is to fill us; not half fill
us, but fill us with joy, "all joy," hallelujah! "and peace."

3. And this is not by some condition or means that is so high and
difficult that we cannot perform our part, but it is simply "in
believing "--something which the little child or the aged
philosopher, the poor man and the rich man, the ignorant and the
learned can do. And the result will be:--

4. Abounding "hope through the power of the Holy Ghost." And what
power is that? If it is physical power, then the power of a
million Niagaras and flowing oceans and rushing worlds is as
nothing compared to it. If it is mental power, then the power of
Plato and Bacon and Milton and Shakespeare and Newton is as the
light of a fire-fly to the sun when compared to it. If it is
spiritual power, then there is nothing with which it can be
compared. But suppose it is all three in one, infinite and
eternal! This is the power, throbbing with love and mercy, to
which we are to bring our little hearts by living faith, and God
will fill us with joy and peace and hope by the incoming of the
Holy Spirit.

God's people are a hopeful people. They hope in God, with whom
there is no change, no weakness, no decay. In the darkest night
and the fiercest storm they still hope in Him, though it may be
feebly. But He would have His people "abound in hope" so that
they should always be buoyant, triumphant.

But how can this be in a world such as this? We are surrounded by
awful, mysterious, and merciless forces, that at any moment may
overwhelm us. The fire may burn us, the water may drown us, the
hurricane may sweep us away, friends may desert us, foes may
master us. There is the depression that comes from failing
health, from poverty, from overwork and sleepless nights and
constant care, from thwarted plans, disappointed ambitions,
slighted love, and base ingratitude. Old age comes on with its
grey hairs, failing strength, dimness of sight, dullness of
hearing, tottering step, shortness of breath, and general
weakness and decay. The friends of youth die, and a new, strange,
pushing generation that knows not the old man, comes elbowing him
aside and taking his place. Under some blessed outpouring of the
Spirit the work of God revives, vile sinners are saved, Zion puts
on her beautiful garments, reforms of all kind advance, the
desert blossoms as the rose, the waste place becomes a fruitful
field, and the millennium seems just at hand; and then the
spiritual tide recedes, the forces of evil are emboldened, they
mass themselves and again sweep over the heritage of the Lord,
leaving it waste and desolate, and the battle must be fought over
again.

How can one be always hopeful, always abounding in hope, in such
a world? Well, hallelujah! it is possible "through the power of
the Holy Ghost," but only through His power; and this power will
not fail so long as we fix our eyes on eternal things and
believe.

The Holy Spirit, dwelling within, turns our eyes from that which
is temporal to that which is eternal; from the trial itself to
God's purpose in the trial; from the present pain to the precious
promise.

I am now writing in a little city made rich by vast potteries. If
the dull, heavy clay on the potter's wheel and in the fiery oven
could think and speak, it would doubtless cry out against the
fierce agony; but if it could foresee the purpose of the potter,
and the thing of use and beauty he meant to make it, it would
nestle low under his hand and rejoice in hope.

We are clay in the hand of the Divine Potter, but we can think
and speak, and in some measure understand His high purpose in us.
It is the work of the Holy Spirit to make us understand. And if
we will not be dull and senseless and unbelieving, He will
illuminate us and fill us with peaceful, joyous hope.

1. He would reveal to us that our Heavenly Potter has Himself
been on the wheel and in the fiery furnace, learning obedience
and being fashioned into "the Captain of our salvation" by the
things which He suffered. When we are tempted and tried, and
tempest-tossed, He raises our hope by showing us Jesus suffering
and sympathising with us, tempted in all points as we are, and so
able and wise and willing to help us in our struggle and conflict
(Hebrews ii. 9-18). He assures us that Jesus, into whose hands is
committed all power in Heaven and earth, is our elder Brother,
"touched with the feeling of our infirmities" (Hebrews iv. 15),
and He encourages us to rest in Him and not be afraid; and so we
abound in hope, through His power as we believe.

2. He reveals to us the eternal purpose of God in our trials and
difficulties. Listen to Paul: "All things work together for good
to them that love God." "We know _this_," says Paul (Romans
viii. 28). But how can this be? Ah! there is where faith must be
exercised. It is "in believing" that we "abound in hope through
the power of the Holy Ghost."

God's wisdom and ability to make all things work together for our
good are not to be measured by our understanding, but to be
firmly held by our faith. My child is in serious difficulty and
does not know how to help himself; but I say, "Leave it to me."
He may not understand how I am to help him, but he trusts me, and
rejoices in hope. We are God's dear children, and He knows how to
help us, and make all things work together for our good, if we
will only commit ourselves to Him in faith.

  "Thou art as much His care as if beside
   Nor man nor angel lived in Heaven or earth;
  Thus sunbeams pour alike their glorious tide,
   To light up worlds, or wake an insect's mirth."

Again, afflictions overtake us, and now the Holy Spirit
encourages our hope and makes it to abound by such promises as
these: "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh
for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we
look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which
are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal, but the
things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. iv. 17, 18). But
such a promise as that only mocks us if we do not believe. "In
all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His
presence saved them: in His love and in His pity He redeemed
them; and He bare them, and He carried them all the days of old"
(Isaiah lxiii. 9). And He is just the same to-day. To some He
says: "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction" (Isaiah
xlviii 10), and nestling down into His will and "believing," they
"abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost."

He turns our eyes back upon Job in his loss and pain; upon Joseph
sold into Egyptian slavery; Daniel in the lions' den; the three
Hebrews in the burning fiery furnace, and Paul in prison and
shipwreck and manifold perils; and, showing us their steadfastness
and their final triumph, He prompts us to hope in God.

When weakness of body overtakes us, He encourages us with such
assurances as these: "My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is
the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever" (Psalm lxxiii.
26), and the words of Paul: "Though our outward man perish, yet
the inward man is renewed day by day" (2 Cor. iv. 16).

When old age comes creeping on apace, He has promised to meet the
need that our hope fail not. Listen to David! He prays: "Cast me
not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength
faileth.... Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake
me not; until I have showed Thy strength unto this generation,
and Thy power to every one that is to come" (Psalm lxxi. 9, 18).
And through Isaiah the Lord replies: "Even to your old age I am
He; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I
will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you" (Isaiah xlvi.
4). And David cries out, "The righteous shall flourish like the
palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be
planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of
our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they
shall be fat and flourishing, to show that the Lord is upright"
(Psalm xcii. 12-15).

These are sample promises of which the Bible is full, and which
have been adapted by infinite wisdom and love to meet us at every
point of doubt and fear and need, that, in believing them, we may
have a steadfast and glad hope in God. He is pledged to help us.
He says: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for
I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea,
I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness"
(Isaiah xli. 10).

When all God's waves and billows seemed to sweep over David, and
his soul was bowed within him, three times he cried out: "Why art
thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me?
Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His
countenance" (Psalm xlii. 5). And Jeremiah, remembering the
wormwood and the gall, and the deep mire of the dungeon into
which they had plunged him, and from which he had scarcely been
delivered, said: "It is good that a man should both hope and
quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord" (Lam. iii. 26).

When the Holy Spirit is come, He brings to remembrance these
precious promises, and makes them living words; and, if we
believe, the whole heaven of our soul shall be lighted up with
abounding hope. Hallelujah! It is only through ignorance of God's
promises, or through weak and wavering faith, that hope is
dimmed. Oh, that we may heed the still small voice of the
Heavenly Comforter, and steadfastly, joyously believe!

  "My hope is built on nothing less
  Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
  When all around my soul gives way,
  He then is all my Hope and Stay."

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XI.

THE HOLY SPIRIT'S SUBSTITUTE FOR GOSSIP AND EVIL-SPEAKING.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

The other day I heard a man of God say: "We cannot bridle the
tongues of the people among whom we live: they will talk"; and by
talk he meant gossip and criticism and fault-finding.

  "You never can tell when you send a word--
   Like an arrow shot from a bow
  By an archer blind--be it cruel or kind,
   Just where it will chance to go.
  It may pierce the breast of your dearest friend,
   Tipped with its poison or balm:
  To a stranger's heart in life's great mart
   It may carry its pain or its calm."

The wise mother, when she finds her little boy playing with a
sharp knife, or the looking-glass, or some dainty dish, does not
snatch it away with a slap on his cheek or harsh words, but
quietly and gently substitutes a safer and more interesting toy,
and so avoids a storm.

A sensible father who finds his boy reading a book of dangerous
tendency, will kindly point out its character and substitute a
better book that is equally interesting.

When children want to spend their evenings on the street,
thoughtful and intelligent parents will seek to make their
evenings at home more healthfully attractive.

When a man seeks to rid his mind of evil and hurtful thoughts, he
will find it wise to follow Paul's exhortation to the Philippians:
"Brethren, whatsoever things are true,... honest,... just,...
pure,... lovely,... of good report;... if there be any praise,
think on these things" (Phil. iv. 8).

Any man who faithfully, patiently, and persistently accepts this
programme of Paul's will find his evil thoughts vanishing away.

And this is the Holy Spirit's method: He has a pleasant and safe
substitute for gossip and fault-finding and slander.

Here it is: "Be filled with the Spirit: speaking to yourselves in
psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody
in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things
unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ"
(Eph. v. 18-20). This is certainly a fruit of being filled with
the Spirit.

Many years ago the Lord gave me a blessed revival in a little
village in which nearly every soul in the place, as well as
farmers from the surrounding country, were converted. One result
was that they now had no time for gossip and doubtful talk about
their neighbours. They were all talking about religion and
rejoicing in the things of the Lord. If they met each other on
the street, or in some shop or store, they praised the Lord, and
encouraged each other to press on in the heavenly way. If they
met a sinner, they tenderly besought him to be reconciled to God,
to give up his sins, "flee from the wrath to come," and start at
once for Heaven. If they met in each other's houses, they
gathered around the organ or the piano and sang hymns and songs,
and did not part till they had united in prayer.

There was no criticising of their neighbours, no grumbling and
complaining about the weather, no fault-finding with their lot in
life, or their daily surroundings and circumstances. Their
conversation was joyous, cheerful, and helpful to one another.
Nor was it forced and out of place, but rather it was the
natural, spontaneous outflow of loving, humble, glad hearts
filled with the Spirit, in union with Jesus, and in love and
sympathy with their fellow-men.

And this is, I think, our Heavenly Father's ideal of social and
spiritual intercourse for His children on earth. He would not
have us separate ourselves from each other and shut ourselves up
in convents and monasteries in austere asceticism on the one
hand, nor would He have us light and foolish, or fault-finding
and censorious on the other hand, but sociable, cheerful, and
full of tender, considerate love.

On the day of Pentecost, when they were all filled with the Holy
Ghost and a multitude were converted, we read that "they,
continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking
bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and
singleness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the
people" (Acts ii. 46, 47). This is a sample of the brotherly love
and unity which our Heavenly Father would have throughout the
whole earth; but how the breath of gossip and evil-speaking would
have marred this heavenly fellowship and separated these "chief
friends"!

  "Lord! subdue our selfish will;
   Each to each our tempers suit
  By Thy modulating skill,
   Heart to heart, as lute to lute."

Let no one suppose, however, that the Holy Spirit accomplishes
this heavenly work by some overwhelming baptism which does away
with the need of our co-operation. He does not override us, but
works with us; and we must intelligently and determinedly work
with Him in this matter.

People often fall into idle and hurtful gossip and evil-speaking,
not so much from ill-will, as from old habit, as a wagon falls
into a rut. Or they drift into it with the current of conversation
about them. Or they are beguiled into it by a desire to say
something, and be pleasant and entertaining.

But when the Holy Spirit comes, He lifts us out of the old ruts,
and we must follow Him with care lest we fall into them again,
possibly never more to escape. He gives us life and power to stem
the adverse currents about us, but we must exercise ourselves not
to be swept downward by them. He does not destroy the desire to
please, but He subordinates it to the desire to help and bless,
and we must stir ourselves up to do this.

When Miss Havergal was asked to sing and play before a worldly
company, she sang a sweet song about Jesus, and, without
displeasing anybody, greatly blessed the company.

At a breakfast party John Fletcher told his experience so sweetly
and naturally that all hearts were stirred, the Holy Ghost fell
upon the company, and they ended with a glorious prayer meeting.

William Bramwell used at meals to steadily and persistently turn
the conversation into spiritual channels to the blessing of all
who were present, so that they had two meals--one for the body
and one for the soul.

To do this wisely and helpfully requires thought and prayer and a
fixed purpose, and a tender, loving heart filled with the Holy
Spirit.

I know a mother who seeks to have a brief season of prayer and a
text of Scripture just before going to dinner to prepare her
heart to guide the conversation along spiritual highways.

Are you careful and have you victory in this matter, my comrade?
If not, seek it just now in simple, trustful prayer, and the Lord
who loves you will surely answer, and will be your helper from
this time forth. He surely will. Believe just now, and henceforth
"let your conversation be as becometh the gospel of Christ."

  "I ask Thee, ever blessed Lord,
  That I may never speak a word,
  Of envy born, or passion stirred.

  "First, true to Thee in heart and mind,
  Then always to my neighbour kind,
  By Thy good hand to good inclined.

  "Oh, save from words that bear a sting,
  That pain to any brother bring:
  Inbreathe Thy calm in everything.

  "Let love within my heart prevail,
  To rule my words when thoughts assail,
  That, hid in Thee, I may not fail.

  "I know, my Lord, Thy power within
  Can save from all the power of sin;
  In Thee let every word begin.

  "Should I be silent? Keep me still,
  Glad waiting on my Master's will:
  Thy message through my lips fulfil.

  "Give me Thy words when I should speak,
  For words of Thine are never weak,
  But break the proud, but raise the meek.

  "Into Thy lips all grace is poured,
  Speak Thou through me, Eternal Word,
  Of thought, of heart, of lips the Lord."

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XII.

THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

God is love, and the Holy Spirit is ceaselessly striving to make
this love known in our hearts, work out God's purposes of love in
our lives, and transform and transfigure our character by love.
And so we are solemnly warned against resisting the Spirit, and
almost tearfully and always tenderly exhorted to "quench not the
Spirit," and to "grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby,"
says the Apostle, "ye are sealed unto the day of redemption."

There is one great sin against which Jesus warned the Jews, as a
sin never to be forgiven in this world nor in that which is to
come. That was blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.

That there is such a sin, Jesus teaches in Matthew xii. 31, 32,
Mark iii. 28-30, and Luke xii. 10. And it may be that this is the
sin referred to in Hebrews vi. 4-6; x. 29.

Since many of God's dear children have fallen into dreadful
distress through fear that they had committed this sin, it may be
helpful for us to study carefully as to what constitutes it.

Jesus was casting out devils, and Mark tells us that "the scribes
which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by
the prince of the devils casteth He out devils." To this Jesus
replied with gracious kindness and searching logic: "How can
Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself,
that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against
itself, it cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself and
be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end. No man can enter
into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, except he will
first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house."

In this quiet reply we see that Jesus does not rail against them,
nor flatly deny their base assertion that He does His miracles by
the power of the Devil, but shows how logically false must be
their statement. And then, with grave authority, and, I think,
with solemn tenderness in His voice and in His eyes, He adds,
"Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons
of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never
forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation"; or, as the
Revised Version puts it, "is guilty of an eternal sin"; and then
Mark adds, "because they said, He hath an unclean spirit" (Mark
iii. 22-30).

Jesus came into the world to reveal God's truth and love to men,
and to save them, and men are saved by believing in Him. But how
could the men of His day, who saw Him working at the carpenter's
bench, and living the life of an ordinary man of humble toil and
daily temptation and trial, believe His stupendous claim to be
the only-begotten Son of God, the Saviour of the world, and the
final Judge of all men? Any wilful and proud impostor could make
such a claim. But men _could_ not and _ought_ not to believe
such an assertion unless the claim were supported by ungainsayable
evidence. This evidence Jesus began to give, not only in the holy
life which He lived and the pure Gospel He preached, but in the
miracles He wrought, the blind eyes He opened, the sick He healed,
the hungry thousands He fed, the seas He stilled, the dead He
raised to life again, and the devils He cast out of bound and
harassed souls.

The Scribes and Pharisees witnessed these miracles, and were
compelled to admit these signs and wonders. Nicodemus, one of
their number, said to Jesus, "Rabbi, we know that Thou art a
teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that Thou
doest, except God be with him" (John iii. 2). Would they now
admit His claim to be the Son of God, their promised and long-
looked-for Messiah? They were thoughtful men and very religious,
but not spiritual. The Gospel He preached was Spirit and life; it
appealed to their conscience and revealed their sin, and to
acknowledge Him was to admit that they themselves were wrong. It
meant submission to His authority, the surrender of their wills,
and a change of front in their whole inner and outer life. This
meant moral and spiritual revolution in each man's heart and
life, and to this they would not submit. And so to avoid such
plain inconsistency, they must discredit His miracles; and since
they could not deny them, they declared that He wrought them by
the power of the Devil.

Jesus worked these signs and wonders by the power of the Holy
Spirit, that he might win their confidence, and that they might
reasonably believe and be saved. But they refused to believe, and
in their malignant obstinacy heaped scorn upon Him, accusing Him
of being in league with the Devil; and how could they be saved?
This was the sin against the Holy Spirit against which Jesus
warned them. It was not so much one act of sin, as a deep-seated,
stubborn rebellion against God that led them to choose darkness
rather than light, and so to blaspheme against the Spirit of
truth and light. It was sin full and ripe and ready for the
harvest.

Some one has said that "this sin cannot be forgiven, not because
God is unwilling to forgive, but because one who thus sins
against the Holy Spirit has put himself where no power can soften
his heart or change his nature. A man may misuse his eyes and yet
see; but whosoever puts them out can never see again. One may
misdirect his compass, and turn it aside from the North Pole by a
magnet or piece of iron, and it may recover and point right
again; but whosoever destroys the compass itself has lost his
guide at sea."

Many of God's dear children, honest souls, have been persuaded
that they have committed this awful sin. Indeed, I once thought
that I myself had done so, and for twenty-eight days I felt that,
like Jonah, I was "in the belly of hell." But God, in love and
tender mercy, drew me out of the horrible pit of doubt and fear,
and showed me that this is a sin committed only by those who, in
spite of all evidence, harden their hearts in unbelief, and to
shield themselves in their sins deny and blaspheme the Lord.

Dr. Daniel Steele tells of a Jew who was asked, "Is it that you
_cannot_, or that you _will not_ believe?" The Jew passionately
replied, "We _will_ not, we _will_ not believe."

This was wilful refusal and rejection of light, and in that
direction lies hardness of heart beyond recovery, fullness of
sin, and final impenitence, which are unpardonable.

Doubtless many through resistance to the Holy Spirit come to this
awful state of heart; but those troubled, anxious souls who think
they have committed this sin are not usually among the number.

An Army Officer in Canada was in the midst of a glorious revival,
when one night a gentleman arose and with deep emotion urged the
young people present to yield themselves to God, accept Jesus as
their Saviour, and receive the Holy Spirit. He told them that he
had once been a Christian, but that he had not walked in the
light, and, consequently, had sinned against the Holy Spirit, and
could never more be pardoned. Then, with all earnest tenderness,
he exhorted them to be warned by his sad state, and not to harden
their hearts against the gracious influences, and entreated them
to yield to the Saviour. Suddenly the scales of doubt dropped
from his eyes, and he saw that he had not in his inmost heart
rejected Jesus; that he had not committed the unpardonable sin;
that

  "The love of God is broader
   Than the measure of man's mind:
  And the heart of the Eternal
   Is most wonderfully kind."

And in an instant his heart was filled with light and love and
peace, and sweet assurance that Christ Jesus was his Saviour,
even his.

In one meeting, I have known three people who thought they had
committed this sin, and were bowed with grief and fear, to come
to the penitent-form and find deliverance.

The poet Cowper was plunged into unutterable gloom by the
conviction that he had committed this awful sin; but God tenderly
brought him into the light and sweet comforts of the Holy Spirit
again, and doubtless it was in the sense of such lovingkindness
that he wrote:

  "There is a fountain filled with blood,
   Drawn from Emanuel's veins;
  And sinners plunged beneath that flood
   Lose all their guilty stains."

John Bunyan was also afflicted with horrible fears that he had
committed the unpardonable sin, and in his little book entitled,
"Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners" (a book which I would
earnestly recommend to all soul-winners), he tells how he was
delivered from his doubts and fears and was filled once more with
the joy of the Lord. There are portions of his "Pilgrim's
Progress" which are to be interpreted in the light of this
grievous experience.

Those who think they have committed this sin may generally be
assured that they have not.

1. Their hearts are usually very tender, while this sin must
harden the heart past all feeling.

2. They are full of sorrow and shame for having neglected God's
grace and trifled with the Saviour's dying words, but such sorrow
could not exist in a heart so fully given over to sin that pardon
was impossible.

3. God says, "Whosoever will may come"; and if they find it in
their hearts to come, they will not be cast out, but freely
pardoned and received with loving kindness through the merits of
Jesus' blood. God's promise will not fail, His faithfulness is
established in the heavens. Bless His holy name! Those who have
committed this sin are full of evil, and do not care to come, and
will not, and, therefore, are never pardoned. Their sin is
eternal.

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XIII.

OFFENCES AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

One day, in a fit of boyish temper, I spoke hot words of anger,
somewhat unjustly, against another person, and this deeply
grieved my mother. She said but little, and though her sweet face
has mouldered many years beneath the Southern daisies, her look
of grief I can still see across the years of a third of a
century. And that is the one sad memory of my childhood. A
stranger might have been amused or incensed at my words, but
mother was grieved--grieved to her heart by my lack of generous,
self-forgetful, thoughtful love.

We can anger a stranger or an enemy, but it is only a friend we
grieve. The Holy Spirit is such a Friend, more tender and
faithful than a mother; and shall we carelessly offend Him, and
estrange ourselves from Him in spite of His love?

There is a sense in which every sin is against the Holy Ghost. Of
course, not every such sin is unpardonable, but the tendency of
all sin is in that direction, and we are only safe as we avoid
the very beginnings of sin. Only as we "walk in the Spirit" are
we "free from the law of sin and death" (Romans viii. 2).
Therefore, it is infinitely important that we beware of offences
against the Spirit, "lest any of you be hardened through the
deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews iii. 13).

Grieving the Holy Spirit is a very common and a very sad offence
of professing Christians, and it is to this that must be
attributed much of the weakness and ignorance and joylessness of
so many followers of Christ.

And He is grieved, as was my mother, by the unloving speech and
spirit of God's children.

In his letters to the Ephesians, Paul says, "Let no corrupt
communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good
to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the
hearers." And then he adds: "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of
God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all
bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking,
be put away from you, with all malice. And be ye kind one to
another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for
Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of
God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath
loved us, and hath given Himself for us" (Eph. iv. 29-v. 2).

What does Paul teach us here? That it is not by some huge
wickedness, some Judas-like betrayal, some tempting and lying to
the Holy Ghost, as did Ananias and Sapphira (Acts v. 1-9), that
we grieve Him, but by that which most people count little and
unimportant; by talk that corrupts instead of blessing and
building up those that hear, by gossip, by bitterness, and
uncharitable criticisms and fault-findings. This was the sin of
the elder son when the prodigal returned, and it was by this he
pierced with grief the kind old father's heart.

By getting in a rage, by loud, angry talking and evil-speaking
and petty malice, by unkindness and hard-heartedness and an
unforgiving spirit, we grieve Him. In a word, by not walking
through the world as in our Father's house, and among our
neighbours and friends as among His dear children; by not loving
tenderly and making kindly sacrifices for one another, He is
grieved. And this is not a matter of little importance. It may
have sadly momentous consequences.

It is a bitter, cruel, and often an irreparable thing to trifle
with a valuable earthly friendship. How much more when the
friendship is heavenly? when the Friend is our Lord and Saviour,
our Creator and Redeemer, our Governor and Judge, our Teacher,
Guide, and God? When we trifle with a friend's wishes--especially
when such wishes are all in perfect harmony with and for our
highest possible good--we may not estrange the friend from us,
but we estrange ourselves from our friend. Our hearts grow cold
toward him, though his heart may be breaking with longing toward
us.

The more Saul ill-treated David, the more he hated David.

Such estrangement may lead, little by little, to yet greater sin,
to strange hardness of heart, to doubts and unbelief, and
backslidings and denial of the Lord.

The cure for all this is a clean heart full of sweet and gentle,
self-forgetful, generous love. Then we shall be "followers of God
as dear children," then we shall "walk in love as Christ loved
us, and gave Himself for us."

But there is another offence, that of quenching the Spirit, which
accounts for the comparative darkness and deadness of many of
God's children.

In I Thess. v. 16-19 the Apostle says: "Rejoice evermore. Pray
without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will
of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit."

When will the Lord's dear children learn that the religion of
Jesus is a lowly thing, and that it is the little foxes that
spoil the vines? Does not the Apostle here teach that it is not
by some desperate, dastardly deed that we quench the Spirit, but
simply by neglecting to rejoice and pray, and give thanks at all
times and for all things?

It is not necessary to blot the sun out of the heavens to keep
the sunlight out of your house--just close the blinds and draw
the curtains; nor do you pour barrels of water on the flames to
quench the fire--just shut off the draught; nor do you dynamite
the city reservoir and destroy all the mains and pipes to cut off
your supply of sparkling water, but just refrain from turning on
the main.

So you do not need to do some great evil, some deadly sin, to
quench the Spirit. Just cease to rejoice, through fear of man and
of being peculiar; be prim and proper as a white and polished
gravestone; let gushing joy be curbed; neglect to pray when you
feel a gentle pull in your heart to get alone with the Lord; omit
giving hearty thanks for all God's tender mercies, faithful
discipline and loving chastenings, and soon you will find the
Spirit quenched. He will no longer spring up joyously like a well
of living water within you.

But give the Spirit a vent, an opening, a chance, and He will
rise within you and flood your soul with light and love and joy.

Some years ago a sanctified woman of clear experience went alone
to keep her daily hour with God; but, to her surprise, it seemed
that she could not find Him, either in prayer or in His word. She
searched her heart for evidence of sin, but the Spirit showed her
nothing contrary to God in her mind, heart, or will. She searched
her memory for any breach of covenant, any broken vows, any
neglect, any omission, but could find none.

Then she asked the Lord to show her if there were any duty
unfulfilled, any command unnoticed, which she might perform, and
quick as thought came the often-read words, "Rejoice evermore."
"Have you done that this morning?"

She had not. It had been a busy morning, and a well-spent one,
but so far there had been no definite rejoicing in her heart,
though the manifold riches and ground for joy of all Christians
were hers.

At once she began to count her blessings and thank the Lord for
each one, and rejoice in Him for all the way He had led her, and
the gifts He had bestowed, and in a very few minutes the Lord
stood revealed to her spiritual consciousness.

She had not committed sin, nor resisted the Spirit, but a failure
to rejoice in Him who had daily loaded her with benefits (Psalm
lxviii. 19) had in a measure quenched the Spirit. She had not
turned the main, and so her soul was not flooded with living
waters. She had not remembered the command: "Thou shalt rejoice
before the Lord thy God in all that thou puttest thine hand
unto." But that morning she learned a lifelong lesson, and she
has ever since safeguarded her soul by obeying the many commands
to "Rejoice in the Lord."

Grieving and quenching the Spirit will not only leave barren and
desolate an individual soul, but it will do so for a Corps, a
church, a community, a whole nation or continent. We see this
illustrated on a large scale by the long and weary Dark Ages,
when the light of the Gospel was almost extinguished, and only
here and there was the darkness broken by the torch of truth held
aloft by some humble, suffering soul that had wept and prayed,
and through painful struggles had found the light.

We see it also in those Corps, churches, communities, and
countries where revivals are unknown, or are a thing of the past,
where souls are not born into the Kingdom, and where there is no
joyous shout of victory among the people of God.

Grieving and quenching the Spirit may be done unintentionally by
lack of thought and prayer and hearty devotion to the Lord Jesus;
but they prepare the way and lead to intentional and positive
resistance to the Spirit.

To resist the Spirit is to fight against Him.

The sinner who, listening to the Gospel invitation, and convicted
of sin, refuses to submit to God in true repentance and faith in
Jesus, is resisting the Holy Spirit.  We have bold and striking
historical illustrations of the danger of resisting the Holy
Spirit in the disasters which befell Pharaoh, and the terrible
calamities which came upon Jerusalem, and have for twenty
centuries followed the Jews.

The ten plagues that came upon Pharaoh and his people were ten
opportunities and open doors into God's favour and fellowship,
which they themselves shut by their stubborn resistance, only to
be overtaken by dreadful catastrophe.

To the Jews, Stephen said: "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost"
(Acts vii. 51); and the siege and fall of Jerusalem, and the
butchery and banishment and enslavement of its inhabitants, and
all the woes that came upon the Jews, followed their rejection of
Jesus and the hardness of heart and spiritual blindness which
swiftly overtook them when they resisted all the loving efforts
and entreaties of His disciples baptised with the Holy Spirit.

And what on a large scale befalls nations and people, on a small
scale also befalls individuals. Those that receive and obey the
Lord are enlightened and blessed and saved; those that resist and
reject Him are sadly left to themselves and surely swallowed up
in destruction.

Likewise the professing Christian who hears of heart-holiness and
cleansing from all sin as a blessing he may now have by faith,
and, convicted of his need of the blessing and of God's desire
and willingness to bestow it upon him now, refuses to seek it in
whole-hearted affectionate consecration and faith, is resisting
the Holy Spirit. And such resistance imperils the soul beyond all
possible computation.

We see an example of this in the Israelites who were brought out
of Egypt with signs and wonders, and led through the Red Sea and
the wilderness to the borders of Canaan, but, forgetting,
refused to go over into the land. In this they resisted the Holy
Spirit in His leadings as surely as did Pharaoh, and with quite
as disastrous results to themselves, perishing in their evil way.

For their sin was as much greater than his as their light
exceeded his.

Hundreds of years later, Isaiah, writing of this time, says: "In
all their affliction He was afflicted, and the angel of His
presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed
them; and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old. But
they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit; therefore He was turned
to be their enemy, and He fought against them" (Isaiah lxiii. 9,
10).

We see from this that Christians must beware and watch and pray
and walk softly with the Lord in glad obedience and childlike
faith, if they would escape the darkness and dryness that result
from grieving and quenching the Spirit, and the dangers that
surely come from resisting Him.

  "Arm me with jealous care,
   As in Thy sight to live;
  And, Oh, Thy servant, Lord, prepare,
   A strict account to give.

  "Help me to watch and pray,
   And on Thyself rely,
  Assured if I my trust betray,
   I shall for ever die."

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XIV.

THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SOUND DOCTRINE.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

Is Jesus Christ divine? Is the Bible an inspired Book? Is man a
fallen creature who can be saved only through the suffering and
sacrifice of the Creator? Will there be a resurrection of the
dead, and a day in which God will judge all the world by the Man
Christ Jesus? Is Satan a personal being, and is there a Hell in
which the wicked will be for ever punished?

These are great doctrines which have been held and taught by His
followers since the days of Jesus and His Apostles, and yet they
are ever being attacked and denied.

Are they true? Or are they only fancies and falsehoods, or
figures of speech and distortions of truth? How can we find truth
and know it?

Jesus said, "When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide
you into all truth" (John xvi. 13).

What truth? Not the truth of the multiplication table, or of
physical science, or art, or secular history, but spiritual
truth--the truth about God and His will and character, and our
relations to Him in Christ--that truth which is necessary to
salvation and holiness--into all this truth the Holy Spirit will
guide us. "He shall teach you all things," said Jesus (John xiv.
26).

How, then, shall we escape error and be "sound in doctrine"? Only
by the help of the Holy Spirit.

How do we know Jesus Christ is divine? Because the Bible tells us
so? Infinitely precious and important is this revelation in the
Bible; but not by this do we know it. Because the Church teaches
it in her creed, and we have heard it from the catechism? Nothing
taught in any creed or catechism is of more vital importance; but
neither by this do we know it.

How then? Listen to Paul: "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord,
but by the Holy Ghost" (I Cor. xii. 3). "No man," says Paul. Then
learning it from the Bible or catechism is not to know it except
as the parrot might know it; but every man is to be taught this
by the Holy Spirit, if he is to really know it.

Then it is not a revelation made once for all, and only to the
men who walked and talked with Jesus, but it is a spiritual
revelation made anew to each believing heart that in penitence
seeks Him and so meets the conditions of such a revelation.

Then the poor, degraded, ignorant outcast at The Army penitent-
form in the slums of London or Chicago, who never heard of a
creed, and the ebony African and dusky Indian, who never saw the
inside of a Bible, may have Christ revealed in him, and know by
the revelation of the Holy Spirit that Jesus is Lord.

"It pleased God... to reveal His Son in me," wrote Paul (Gal. i.
15, 16); and again, "Christ liveth in me" (Gal. ii. 20); and
again, "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again
until Christ be formed in you" (Gal. iv. 19); as though Christ is
to be spiritually formed in the heart of each believer by the
operation of the Holy Spirit, as He was physically formed in the
womb of Mary by the same Spirit (Luke i. 35); and again, "The
mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but
now is made manifest to His saints,... which is Christ in you,
the hope of glory" (Col. i. 26, 27); "That Christ may dwell in
your hearts by faith" (Eph. iii. 17); "Examine yourselves,
whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not
your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be
reprobates" (2 Cor. xiii. 5)?

"At that day," said Jesus, when making His great promise of the
Comforter to His disciples, "At that day ye shall know that I am
in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you" (John xiv. 20); and
again, in His great prayer, He said: "I have declared unto them
Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast
loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

It is this ever-recurring revelation to penitent, believing
hearts, by the agency of the ever-present Holy Spirit, that makes
faith in Jesus Christ living and invincible. "I know He is Lord,
for He saves my soul from sin, and He saves me now," is an
argument that rationalism and unbelief cannot answer nor
overthrow, and so long as there are men in the world who can say
this, faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ is secure; and this
experience and witness come by the Holy Ghost.

  "I worship Thee, O Holy Ghost,
   I love to worship Thee;
  My risen Lord for aye were lost
   But for Thy company."

And so it is by the guidance and teaching of the Holy Spirit that
all saving truth becomes vital to us.

It is He that makes the Bible a living Book; it is He that
convinces the world of judgment (John xvi. 8-11); it is He that
makes men certain that there is a Heaven of surpassing and
enduring glory and joy, and a Hell of endless sorrow and woe for
those who sin away their day of grace and die in impenitence.

Who have been the mightiest and most faithful preachers of the
gloom and terror and pain of a perpetual Hell? those who have
been the mightiest and most effective preachers of God's
compassionate love.

In all periods of great revival, when men seemed to live on the
borderland, and in the vision of eternity, Hell has been
preached. The leaders in these revivals have been men of prayer
and faith and consuming love, but they have been men who knew
"the terrors of the Lord," and, therefore,  they preached the
judgments of God, and they proved that the law with its penalties
is a schoolmaster to bring men to Christ (Gal. iii. 24). Fox, the
Quaker; Bunyan, the Baptist; Baxter, the Puritan; Wesley and
Fletcher, and Whitefield and Caughey, the Methodists; Finney, the
Presbyterian; Edwards and Moody, the Congregationalists; and
General Booth, the  Salvationist, have preached it, not savagely,
but tenderly and faithfully, as a mother might warn her child
against some great danger that would surely follow careless and
selfish wrong-doing.

What men have loved and laboured and sacrificed as these men?
Their hearts have been a flaming furnace of love and devotion to
God, and an over-flowing fountain of love and compassion for men;
but just in proportion as they have discovered God's love and
pity for the sinner, so have they discovered His wrath against
sin and all obstinate wrong-doing; and as they have caught
glimpses of Heaven and declared its joys and everlasting glories
to men, so they have seen Hell, with its endless punishment, and
with trembling voice and overflowing eyes have they warned men to
"flee from the wrath to come."

Were these men, throbbing with spiritual life and consumed with
devotion to the Kingdom of God and the everlasting well-being of
their fellowmen, led to this belief by the Spirit of Truth, or
were they misled? Is it the prophet, weeping and praying and
preaching and fighting for God and men, to whom the Spirit has
always first spoken and revealed the things of God? Or is it the
philosopher, or dry-as-dust theologian, or the popular preacher
of smooth things, sitting in his study and among his books,
spinning out of his own mind his conceits concerning God's plan
and purpose in the universe?

Does Seneca or the Psalmist, Plato or Paul, Rousseau or Wesley,
the idolised, high-salaried, soft-raimented preacher of a wide
gate and broad way to life and Heaven, or the veteran soul-winner,
General Booth, more clearly make known the mind of God in
matters that are spiritual?

"The things of the Spirit... are spiritually discerned" (I Cor.
ii. 14), says Paul. It is not by searching and philosophising
that these things are found out, but by revelation. "Flesh and
blood hath not revealed it unto thee," said Jesus to Peter, "but
My Father which is in Heaven" (Matthew xvi. 17). The great
teacher of truth is the Spirit of Truth, and the only safe
expounders and guardians of sound doctrine are men filled with
the Holy Ghost.

Study and research have their place, and an important place; but
in spiritual things they will be no avail unless prosecuted by
spiritual men. As well might men blind from birth attempt to
study the starry heavens, and men born deaf undertake to expound
and criticise the harmonies of Bach and Beethoven. Men must see
and hear to speak and write intelligently on such subjects. And
so men must be spiritually enlightened to understand spiritual
truth.

The greatest danger to any religious organisation is that a body
of men should arise in its ranks, and hold its positions of
trust, who have learned its great fundamental doctrines by rote
out of the catechism, but have no experimental knowledge of their
truth inwrought by the mighty anointing of the Holy Ghost, and
who are destitute of "an unction from the Holy One," by which,
says John, "ye know all things" (1 John ii. 20, 27).

Why do men deny the divinity of Jesus Christ? Because they have
never placed themselves in that relation to the Spirit, and met
those unchanging conditions that would enable Him to reveal Jesus
to them as Saviour and Lord.

Why do men dispute the inspiration of the Scriptures? Because the
Holy Ghost, who inspired "holy men of God" to write the Book (2
Peter i. 21), hides its spiritual sense from unspiritual and
unholy men.

Why do men doubt a Day of Judgment, and a state of everlasting
doom? Because they have never been bowed and broken and crushed
beneath the weight of their sin, and by a sense of guilt and
separation from a holy God that can only be removed by faith in
His dying Son.

A sportsman lost his way in a pitiless storm on a black and
starless night. Suddenly his horse drew back and refused to take
another step. He urged it forward, but it only threw itself back
upon its haunches. Just then a vivid flash of lightning revealed
a great precipice upon the brink of which he stood. It was but an
instant, and then the pitchy blackness hid it again from view.
But he turned his horse and anxiously rode away from the terrible
danger.

A distinguished professor of religion said to me some time ago,
"I dislike, I abhor, the doctrine of Hell"; and then after a
while added, "But three times in my life I have seen that there
was eternal separation from God and an everlasting Hell for me,
if I walked not in the way God was calling me to go."

Into the blackness of the sinner's night the Holy Spirit, who is
patiently and compassionately seeking the salvation of all men,
flashes a light that gives him a glimpse of eternal things which,
heeded, would lead to the sweet peace and security of eternal
day. For when the Holy Spirit is heeded and honoured, the night
passes, the shadows flee away, the day dawns, "the Sun of
Righteousness arises with healing in His wings," and, saved and
sanctified, men walk in His light in safety and joy. Doctrines
which before were repellent to the carnal mind, and but
foolishness, or a stumbling-block to the heart of unbelief, now
become precious and satisfying to the soul; and truths which
before were hid in impenetrable darkness, or seen only as through
dense gloom and fog, are now seen clearly as in the light of
broad day.

  "Hold thou the faith that Christ is Lord,
   God over all, who died and rose;
   And everlasting life bestows
   On all who hear the living word.
   For thee His life-blood He out-poured,
   His Spirit sets thy spirit free;
   Hold thou the faith--He dwells in thee,
   And thou in Him, and Christ is Lord!"

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XV.

PRAYING IN THE SPIRIT.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

An important work of the Holy Spirit is to teach us how to pray,
instruct us what to pray for, and inspire us to pray earnestly,
without ceasing, and in faith, for the things we desire and the
things that are dear to the heart of the Lord.

In a familiar verse, the poet Montgomery says:

  "Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
   The falling of a tear,
   The upward glancing of the eye,
   When none but God is near."

And no doubt he is right. Prayer is exceedingly simple. The
faintest cry for help, a whisper for mercy, is prayer. But when
the Holy Spirit comes and fills the soul with His blessed
presence, prayer becomes more than a cry; it ceases to be a
feeble request, and often becomes a strife (Romans xv. 30; Col.
iv. 12) for greater things, a conflict, an invincible argument, a
wrestling with God, and through it men enter into the Divine
councils and rise into a blessed and responsible fellowship in
some important sense with the Father and the Son in the moral
government of the world.

It was in this spirit and fellowship that Abraham prayed for
Sodom (Genesis xviii. 23-32); that Moses interceded for Israel,
and stood between them and God's hot displeasure (Exodus xxxii.
7-14); and that Elijah prevailed to shut up the heavens for three
years and six months, and then again prevailed in his prayer for
rain.

God would have us come to Him not only as a foolish and ignorant
child comes, but as an ambassador to his home government; as a
full-grown son who has become of age and entered into partnership
with his father; as a bride who is one in all interests and affections
with the bridegroom.

He would have us "come boldly to the throne of grace" with a
well-reasoned and Scriptural understanding of what we desire, and
with a purpose to "ask," "seek," and "knock" till we get the
thing we wish, being assured that it is according to His will;
and this boldness is not inconsistent with the profoundest
humility and a sense of utter dependence; indeed, it is always
accompanied by self-distrust and humble reliance upon the merits
of Jesus, else it is but presumption and unsanctified conceit.
This union of assurance and humility, of boldness and dependence,
can be secured only by the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and only
so can one be prepared and fitted for such prayer.

Three great obstacles hinder mighty prayer:

1. selfishness; 2, unbelief; 3, the darkness of ignorance and
foolishness. The baptism with the Spirit sweeps away these
obstacles and brings in the three great essentials to prayer--1,
faith; 2, love, Divine love; 3, the light of heavenly knowledge
and wisdom.

1. Selfishness must be cast out by the incoming of love. The
ambassador must not be seeking personal ends, but the interests
of his government and the people he represents; the son must not
be seeking private gain, but the common prosperity of the
partnership in which he will fully and lawfully share; the bride
must not forget him to whom she belongs, and seek separate ends,
but in all ways identify herself with her husband and his
interests.

So the child of God must come in prayer, unselfishly.

It is the work of the Holy Spirit, with our co-operation and glad
consent, to search and destroy selfishness out of our hearts, and
fill them with pure love to God and man. And when this is done we
shall not then be asking for things amiss to consume them upon
our lusts, to gratify our appetites, or pride, or ambition, or
ease, or vain-glory. We shall seek only the glory of our Lord and
the common good of our fellow-men, in which, as co-workers and
partners, we shall have a common share. If we ask for success, it
is not that we may be exalted, but that God may be glorified;
that Jesus may secure the purchase of His blood; that men may be
saved, and the Kingdom of Heaven be established upon earth.

If we ask for daily bread, it is not that we may be full, but
that we may be fitted for daily duty. If we ask for health, it is
not alone that we may be free from pain and filled with physical
comfort, but that we may be spent "in publishing the sinner's
Friend," in fulfilling the work for which God has placed us here.

2. Unbelief must be destroyed. Doubt paralyzes prayer. Unbelief
quenches the spirit of intercession. Only as the eye of faith
sees our Father God upon the Throne guaranteeing to us rights and
privileges by the blood of His Son, and inviting us to come
without fear, and make our wants known, does prayer rise from the
commonplace to the sublime; does it cease to be a feeble, timid
cry, and become a mighty spiritual force, moving God Himself in
the interests which it seeks.

Men, wise with the wisdom of this world, but poor and naked and
blind and foolish in matters of faith, ask: "Will God change His
plans at the request of man?" And we answer, "Yes," since many of
God's plans are made contingent upon the prayers of His people,
and He has ordered that prayer offered in faith, according to His
will, revealed in His word, shall be one of the controlling
factors in His government of men.

Is it God's will that the tides of the Atlantic and Pacific
should sweep across the Isthmus of Panama? That men should run
under the Alps? That thoughts and words should be winged across
the ocean without any visible or tangible medium? Yes; it is His
will, if men will it, and work to these ends in harmony with His
great physical laws. So in the spiritual world there are wonders
wrought by prayer, and God wills the will of His people when they
come to Him in faith and love.

What else is meant by such promises and assurances as these:
"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye
pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark
xi. 24); "The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in
its working. Elijah was a man of like passions with us, and he
prayed fervently that it might not rain; and it rained not on the
earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and
the heavens gave rain and the earth brought forth her fruit"
(James v. 16-18. American Revision).

The Holy Spirit dwelling within the heart helps us to understand
the things we may pray for, and the heart that is full of love
and loyalty to God only wants what is lawful. This is mystery to
people who are under the dominion of selfishness and the darkness
of unbelief, but it is a soul-thrilling fact to those who are
filled with the Holy Ghost.

"What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" asked Jesus of the
blind man (Luke xviii. 41).

He had respect to the will of the blind man, and granted his
request, seeing he had faith. And He still has respect to the
vigorous, sanctified will of His people--the will that has been
subdued by consecration and faith into loving union with His
will.

The Lord answered Abraham on behalf of Sodom till he ceased to
ask.

"The Lord has had His way so long with Hudson Taylor," said a
friend, "that now, Hudson Taylor can have his way with the Lord."

Adoniram Judson lay sick with a fatal illness in far-away Burmah.
His wife read to him an account of the conversion of a number of
Jews in Constantinople through some of his writings. For a while
the sick man was silent, and then he spoke with awe, telling his
wife that for years he had prayed that he might be used in some
way to bless the Jews, yet never having seen any evidence that
his prayers were answered; but now, after many years and from far
away, the evidence of answer had come. And then, after further
silence, he spoke with deep emotion, saying that he had never
prayed a prayer for the glory of God and the good of men but
that, sooner or later, even though for the time being he had
forgotten, he found that God had not forgotten, but had
remembered and patiently worked to answer his prayer.

Oh, the faithfulness of God! He means it when He makes promises
and exhorts and urges and commands us to pray. It is not His
purpose to mock us, but to answer and "to do exceeding abundantly
above all that we ask or think." Bless His holy Name!

3. Knowledge and wisdom must take the place of foolish ignorance.
Paul says, "We know not what we should pray for as we ought," and
then adds, "But the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us
with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans viii. 26). If my
little child asks for a glittering razor, I refuse its request;
but when my full-grown son asks for one I grant it. So God cannot
wisely answer some prayers, for they are foolish or untimely.
Hence, we need not love and faith only, but wisdom and knowledge,
that we may ask according to the will of God.

It is this that Paul has in mind when he says that he will not
only pray with the Spirit, but "I will pray with the understanding
also" (I Cor. xiv. 15). Men should think before they pray, and
study that they may pray wisely.

Now, when the Holy Spirit comes there pours into the soul not
only a tide of love and simple faith, but a flood of light as
well, and prayer becomes not only earnest, but intelligent also.
And this intelligence increases, as, under the leadership of the
Holy Spirit, the word of God is studied, and its heavenly truths
and principles are grasped and assimilated.

It is thus men come to know God and become His friends, whose
prayers He will assist and will not deny.

Such men talk with God as friend with friend, and the Holy Spirit
helps their infirmities; encourages them to urge their prayer in
faith; teaches them to reason with God; enables them to come
boldly in the name of Jesus, when oppressed with a sense of their
own insignificance and unworthiness; and, when words fail them
and they scarcely know how to voice their desires, He intercedes
within them with unutterable groanings, according to the will of
God (Romans viii. 26, 27; 1 Cor. ii. 11).

A young man felt called to mission work in China, but his mother
offered strong opposition to his going. An agent of the mission,
knowing the need of the work, and vexed with the mother, one day
laid the case before Hudson Taylor.

"Mr. Taylor," said he, "listened patiently and lovingly to all I
had to say, and then gently suggested our praying about it. Such
a prayer I have never heard before! It seemed to me more like a
conversation with a trusted friend whose advice he was seeking.
He talked the matter over with the Friend from every point of
view--from the side of the young man, from the side of China's
needs, from the side of the mother, and her natural feelings, and
also from my side. It was a revelation to me. I saw that prayer
did not mean merely asking for things, much less asking for
things to be carried out by God according to our ideas; but that
it means _communion_, fellowship, partnership, with our
Heavenly Father. And when our will is really blended with His,
what liberty we may have in asking for what we want!"

Hallelujah!

  "My soul, ask what thou wilt,
  Thou canst not be too bold;
  Since His own blood for thee He spilt,
  What else can He withhold?"

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XVI.

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ANOINTED PREACHER.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

Since God saves men by "the foolishness of preaching," the
preacher has an infinitely important work, and he must be fitted
for it. But what can fit a man for such sacred work? Not
education alone, not knowledge of books, not gifts of speech, not
winsome manners, nor a magnetic voice, nor a commanding presence,
but only God. The preacher must be more than a man--he must be a
man plus the Holy Ghost.

Paul was such a man. He was full of the Holy Spirit, and in
studying his life and ministry we get a life-sized portrait of an
anointed preacher living, fighting, preaching, praying,
suffering, triumphing, and dying in the power and light and glory
of the indwelling Spirit.

In the second chapter of the First of Thessalonians he gives us a
picture of his character and ministry which were formed and
inspired by the Holy Spirit, a sample of His workmanship, and an
example for all Gospel preachers.

At Philippi he had been terribly beaten with stripes on his bare
back, and roughly thrust into the inner dungeon, and his feet
were made fast in the stocks; but that did not break nor quench
his spirit. Love burned in his heart, and his joy in the Lord
brimmed full and bubbled over, and at midnight, in the damp,
dark, loathsome dungeon, he and Silas, his comrade in service and
suffering, "prayed and sang praises unto God." God answered with
an earthquake, and the jailer and his household got gloriously
converted. Paul was set free and went at once to Thessalonica,
where, regardless of the shameful way he had been treated at
Philippi, he preached the Gospel boldly, and a blessed revival
followed with many converts; but persecution arose, and Paul had
again to flee. His heart, however, was continually turning back
to these converts, and at last he sat down and wrote them this
letter. From this we learn that--

1. He was a _joyful_ preacher. He was no pessimist, croaking
out doleful prophecies and lamentations and bitter criticisms. He
was full of the joy of the Lord. It was not the joy that comes
from good health, a pleasant home, plenty of money, wholesome
food, numerous and smiling friends, and sunny, favouring skies;
but a deep, springing fountain of solemn, gladdening joy that
abounded and overflowed in pain and weariness, in filthy, noisome
surroundings, in loneliness and poverty, and danger and bitter
persecutions. No earth-born trial could quench it, for it was
Heaven-born; it was "the joy of the Lord" poured into his heart
with the Holy Spirit.

2. He was a _bold_ preacher. Worldly prudence would have
constrained him to go softly at Thessalonica, after his
experience at Philippi, lest he arouse opposition and meet again
with personal violence; but, instead, he says: "We were bold in
our God to speak unto you the Gospel of God with much contention."
Personal considerations were all forgotten, or cast to the winds,
in his impetuous desire to declare the Gospel and save their
souls. He lived in the will of God, and conquered his fears. "The
wicked" are fearful, and "flee when no man pursueth; but the
righteous are as bold as a lion."

This boldness is a fruit of righteousness, and is always found in
those who are full of the Holy Ghost. They forget themselves, and
so lose all fear. This was the secret of the martyrs when burned
at the stake or thrown to the wild beasts.

Fear is a fruit of selfishness. Boldness thrives when selfishness
is destroyed. God esteems it, commands His people to be
courageous, and makes spiritual leaders only of those who possess
courage (Joshua i. 9).

Moses feared not the wrath of the king, refused to be called the
son of Pharaoh's daughter, and boldly espoused the cause of his
despised and enslaved people.

Joshua was full of courage. Gideon fearlessly attacked one
hundred and twenty thousand Midianites, with but three hundred
unarmed men.

Jonathan and his armour-bearer charged the Philistine garrison
and routed hundreds singlehanded.

David faced the lion and the bear, and inspired all Israel by
battling with and killing Goliath.

The prophets were men of the highest courage, who fearlessly
rebuked kings, and at the risk of life, and often at the cost of
life, denounced popular sins, and called the people back to
righteousness and the faithful service of God. These men feared
God, and so lost the fear of man. They believed God, and so
obeyed Him, and found His favour, and were entrusted with His
high missions and everlasting employments.

"Fear thou not, for I am with thee," saith the Lord; and this
Paul believed, and so says, "We were bold in our God." God was
his high tower, his strength and unfailing defence, and so he was
not afraid.

His boldness toward man was a fruit of his boldness toward God,
and that, in turn, was a fruit of his faith in Jesus as his High
Priest, who had been touched with the feeling of his infirmities,
and through whom he could "come boldly to the Throne of Grace,
and obtain mercy, and find grace to help in every time of need."

It is the timidity and delicacy with which men attempt God's work
that often accounts for their failure. Let them speak out boldly
like men, as ambassadors of Heaven, who are not afraid to
represent their King, and they will command attention and
respect, and reach the hearts and consciences of men.

I have read that quaint old Bishop Latimer, who was afterwards
burned at the stake, "having preached a sermon before King Henry
VIII, which greatly displeased the monarch, was ordered to preach
again on the next Sunday, and make apology for the offence given.
The day came, and with it a crowded assembly anxious to hear the
bishop's apology. Reading his text, he commenced thus: 'Hugh
Latimer, dost thou know before whom thou art this day to speak?
To the high and mighty monarch, the king's most excellent
majesty, who can take away thy life if thou offendest. Therefore,
take heed that thou speakest not a word that may displease. But,
then, consider well, Hugh, dost thou not know from whence thou
comest? Upon whose message thou art sent? Even by the great and
mighty God, who is all-present, and who beholdeth all thy ways,
and who is able to cast thy soul into Hell! Therefore, take care
that thou deliver thy message faithfully.'"

He then repeated the sermon of the previous Sunday, word for
word, but with double its former energy and emphasis. The Court
was full of excitement to learn what would be the fate of this
plain-dealing and fearless bishop. He was ordered into the king's
presence, who, with a stern voice, asked: "How dared you thus
offend me?" "I merely discharged my duty," was Latimer's reply.
The king arose from his seat, embraced the good man, saying,
"Blessed be God I have so honest a servant."

He was a worthy successor of Nathan, who confronted King David
with his sin, and said, "Thou art the man."

This Divine courage will surely accompany the fiery baptism of
the Spirit.

What is it but the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that gives
courage to Salvation Army Officers and Soldiers, enabling them to
face danger and difficulty and loneliness with joy, and attack
sin in its worst forms as fearlessly as David attacked Goliath?

"Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord."

  "Shall I, for fear of feeble man,
  The Spirit's course in me restrain?
  Awed by a mortal's frown, shall I
  Conceal the word of God most high?
  Shall I, to soothe the unholy throng,
  Soften Thy truth, or smooth my tongue?

  "How then before Thee shall I dare
  To stand, or how Thine anger bear?
  Yea, let men rage; since Thou wilt spread
  Thy shadowing wings around my head;
  Since in all pain Thy tender love
  Will still my sure refreshment prove."

3. He was _without guile_. "For our exhortation was not of
deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile; but as we were allowed
of God to be put in trust with the Gospel, even so we speak; not
as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts."

He was frank and open. He spoke right out of his heart. He was
transparently simple and straightforward. Since God had honoured
him with this infinite trust of preaching the Gospel, he sought
to so preach it that he should please God regardless of men. And
yet that is the surest way to please men. People who listen to
such a man feel his honesty, and realise that he is seeking to do
them good, to save them rather than to tickle their ears and win
their applause, and in their hearts they are pleased.

But, anyway, whether or not they are pleased, he is to deliver
his message as an ambassador, and look to his home government for
his reward. He gets his commission from God, and it is God who
will try his heart and prove his ministry. Oh, to please Jesus!
Oh, to stand perfect before God after preaching His Gospel!

4. He was _not a time-server nor a covetous man._ "Neither
at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak of
covetousness; God is witness," he adds.

There are three ways of reaching a man's purse: (1) Directly. (2)
By way of his head with flattering words. (3) By way of his heart
with manly, honest, saving words. The first way is robbery. The
second way is robbery, with the poison of a deadly, but pleasing,
opiate added, which may damn his soul. The third reaches his
purse by saving his soul and opening in his heart an unfailing
fountain of benevolence to bless himself and the world.

It were better for a preacher to turn highwayman, and rob men
with a club and a strong hand, than, with smiles and smooth words
and feigned and fawning affection, to rob them with flattery,
while their poor souls, neglected and deceived, go down to Hell.
How will he meet them in the Day of Judgment, and look into their
horrorstricken faces, realising that he played and toyed with
their fancies and affections and pride to get money, and, instead
of faithfully warning them and seeking to save them, with
flattering words fattened their souls for destruction!

Not so did Paul. "I seek not yours, but you," he wrote the
Corinthians. It was not their money, but their souls he wanted.

But such faithful love will be able to command all men have to
give. Why, to some of his converts he wrote: "I bear you record,
that if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own
eyes, and have given them to me" (Gal. iv. 15). But he sought not
to please them with flattering words, only to save them.

So faithful was he in this matter, and so conscious of his
integrity, that he called God Himself into the witness-box. "God
is witness," says he.

Blessed is the man who can call on God to witness for him; and
that man in whom the Holy Spirit dwells in fullness can do this.
Can you, my brother?

5. He was _not vain-glorious, nor dictatorial, nor oppressive_.
Some men care nothing for money, but they care mightily for power
and place and the glory that men give. But Paul was free from
this spiritual itching. Listen to him: "Nor of men sought we
glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been
burdensome" (or "used authority") "as the Apostles of Christ."

Said Solomon, "For men to seek their own glory is not glory," it
is only vain-glory. "How can ye believe, which receive honour one
of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?"
asked Jesus.

From all this Paul was free, and so is every man who is full of
the Holy Ghost. And it is only as we are thus free that with the
whole heart and with a single eye we can devote ourselves to the
work of saving men.

6. With all his boldness and faithfulness he was _gentle_.
"We were gentle among you," he says, "as a nurse cherisheth her
children."

The fierce hurricane which casts down the giant trees of the
forest is not so mighty as the gentle sunshine, which, from tiny
seeds and acorns, lifts aloft the towering spires of oak and fir
on a thousand hills and mountains.

The wild storm that lashes the sea into foam and fury is feeble
compared to the gentle, yet immeasurably powerful influence,
which twice a day swings the oceans in resistless tides from
shore to shore.

And as in the physical world the mighty powers are gentle in
their vast workings, so it is in the spiritual world. The light
that falls on the lids of the sleeping infant and wakes it from
its slumber, is not more gentle than the "still small voice" that
brings assurance of forgiveness or cleansing to them that look
unto Jesus.

Oh, the gentleness of God! "Thy gentleness hath made me great,"
said David. "I beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of
Christ" (2 Cor. x. 1), wrote Paul. And again, "The fruit of the
Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness" (Gal. v.
22). And as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are gentle, so will
be the servant of the Lord who is filled with the Spirit.

I shall never forget the gentleness of a mighty man of God whom I
well knew, who on the platform was clothed with zeal as with a
garment, and in his overwhelming earnestness was like a lion or a
consuming fire; but when dealing with a wounded or broken heart,
or with a seeking soul, no nurse with a little babe could be more
tender than he.

7. Finally, Paul was full of _self-forgetful, self-sacrificing
love._ "So being affectionately desirous of you, we were
willing to have imparted unto you, not the Gospel of God only,
but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us."

No wonder he shook those heathen cities, overthrew their idols,
had great revivals, that his jailer was converted, and that his
converts would have gladly plucked out their eyes for him! Such
tender, self-sacrificing love compels attention, begets
confidence, enkindles love, and surely wins its object.

This burning love led him to labour and sacrifice, and so live
and walk before them that he was not only a teacher, but an
example of all he taught, and could safely say, "Follow me."

This love led him to preach the whole truth, that he might by all
means save them. He kept back no truth because it was unpopular,
for it was their salvation and not his own reputation and
popularity he sought.

He preached not himself, but a crucified Christ, without the
shedding of whose blood there is no remission of sins; and
through that precious blood he preached present cleansing from
all sin, and the gift of the Holy Spirit for all who obediently
believe.

And this love kept him faithful and humble and true to the end,
so that at last in sight of the martyr's death, he saw the
martyr's crown, and cried out: "I am now ready to be offered,...
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have
kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of
righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me
at that day."

He had been faithful, and now at the end he was oppressed with no
doubts and harassed with no bitter regrets, but looked forward
with eager joy to meeting his Lord and beholding the blessed face
of Him he loved. Hallelujah!

  "Have you received the Holy Ghost?
   'Twill fit you for the fight,
  'Twill make of you a mighty host,
   To put your foes to flight.

  "Have you received the Holy Power?
   'Twill fall from Heaven on you,
  From Jesus' throne this very hour,
   'Twill make you brave and true.

  "Oh, now receive the Holy Fire!
   'Twill burn away all dross,
  All earthly, selfish, vain desire,
   'Twill make you love the Cross."

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XVII.

PREACHING.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

"Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of
this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"
asks Paul. And then he declares: "After that in the wisdom of God
the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the
foolishness of preaching to save them that believe."

What kind of preaching is this? He does not say, "foolish
preaching," but the foolishness of such a way as that of
preaching. Certainly, it is not the moral essay, or the
intellectual, or semi-intellectual, kind of preaching that is
most generally heard throughout the world to-day, that is to save
men; for thousands of such sermons move and convert no one: nor
is it a mere noisy declamation called a sermon--noisy because
empty of all earnest thought and true feeling; but it must be the
kind of which Peter speaks when he writes of "them that preached
the Gospel ... with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven" (1
Peter i. 12).

No man is equipped to rightly preach the Gospel, and undertake
the spiritual oversight and instruction of souls, till he has
been anointed with the Holy Ghost.

The disciples had been led to Jesus by John the Baptist, whose
mighty preaching laid a deep and broad foundation for their
spiritual education, and then for three years they had listened
to both the public and private teachings of Jesus; they had been
"eye-witnesses of His glory," of His life and death and
resurrection, and yet He commanded them to tarry in Jerusalem,
and wait for the Holy Spirit. He was to fit them for their
ministry. And if they, trained and taught by the Master Himself,
had need of the Holy Spirit to enable them to preach and testify
with wisdom and power, how much more do you and I need His
presence!

Without Him they could do nothing. With Him they were invincible,
and could continue the work of Jesus. The mighty energy of His
working is seen in the preaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost.
The sermon itself does not seem to have been very remarkable;
indeed, it is principally composed of testimony backed up and
fortified by Scripture quotations, followed by exhortation, just as
are the sermons that are most effective to-day in the immediate
conversion and sanctification of men. "True preaching," said Horace
Bushnell, "is a testimony."

Peter's Scripture quotations were apt, fitting the occasion and
the people to whom they were addressed. The testimony was bold
and joyous, the rushing outflow of a warm, fresh throbbing
experience; and the exhortation was burning, uncompromising in
its demands, and yet tender and full of sympathy and love. But a
Divine Presence was at work in that vast, mocking, wondering
throng, and it was He who made Peter's simple words search like
fire, and carry such overwhelming conviction to the hearts of the
people.

And it is still so that whenever and wherever a man preaches
"with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven," there will be
conviction.

Under Peter's sermon "they were pricked in their hearts." The
truth pierced them as a sword until they said, "What shall we
do?" They had been doubting and mocking a short time before, but
now they were earnestly inquiring the way to be saved.

The speech may be without polish, the manner uncouth, and the
matter simple and plain; but conviction will surely follow any
preaching in the burning love and power and contagious joy of the
Holy Spirit.

A few years ago a poor black boy in Africa, who had been stolen
for a slave, and most cruelly treated, heard a missionary talking
of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and his heart hungered and
thirsted for Him. In a strange manner he worked his way to New
York to find out more about the Holy Spirit, getting the captain
of the ship and several of the crew converted on the way. The
brother in New York to whom he came took him to a meeting the
first night he was in the city, and left him there, while he went
to fulfil another engagement. When he returned at a late hour, he
found a crowd of men at the penitent-form, led there by the
simple words of this poor black fellow. He took him to his
Sunday-school, and put him up to speak, while he attended to some
other matters. When he turned from these affairs that had
occupied his attention for only a little while, he found the
penitent-form full of teachers and scholars, weeping before the
Lord. What the black boy had said he did not know; but he was
bowed with wonder and filled with joy, for it was the power of
the Holy Spirit.

Men used to fall as though cut down in battle under the preaching
of Wesley, Whitefield, Finney, and others. And while there may
not be the same physical manifestation at all times, there will
surely be the same opening of eyes to spiritual things, breaking
of hearts, and piercing of consciences. The Spirit under the
preaching of a man filled with the Holy Ghost will often come
upon a congregation like a wind, and heads will droop, eyes will
brim with tears, and hearts will break under His convicting
power. I remember a proud young woman who had been mercilessly
criticising us for several nights smitten in this way. She was
smiling when suddenly the Holy Spirit winged a word to her heart,
and instantly her countenance changed, her head drooped, and for
an hour or more she sobbed and struggled while her proud heart
broke, and she found her way with true repentance and faith to
the feet of Jesus, and her Heavenly Father's favour. How often
have we seen such sights as this under the preaching of The
General! And it ought to be a common sight under the preaching of
all servants of God, for what are we sent for but to convict men
of their sin and their need, and by the power of the Spirit to
lead them to the Saviour?

And not only will there be conviction under such preaching, but
generally, if not always, there will be conversion and sanctification.

Three thousand people accepted Christ under Peter's Pentecostal
sermon, and later five thousand were converted, and a multitude
of the priests were obedient to the faith. And it was so under
the preaching of Philip in Samaria, of Peter in Lydda and Saron
and in Caesarea, and of Paul in Ephesus and other cities.

To be sure, the preaching of Stephen in its immediate effect only
resulted in enraging his hearers until they stoned him to death;
but it is highly probable that the ultimate result was the
conversion of Paul, who kept the clothes of those who stoned him,
and through Paul the evangelisation of the Gentiles.

One of the greatest of American evangelists sought with agonising
prayers and tears the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and received
it; and then he said he preached the same sermons; but where
before it had been as one beating the air, now hundreds were
saved.

It is this that has made Salvation Army Officers successful.
Young, inexperienced, without special gifts, and without
learning, but with the baptism, they have been mighty to win
souls. The hardest hearts have been broken, the darkest minds
illuminated, the most stubborn wills subdued, and the wildest
natures tamed by them. Their words have been with power, and have
convicted and converted and sanctified men, and whole communities
have been transformed by their labours.

But without this Presence great gifts and profound and accurate
learning are without avail in the salvation of men. We often see
men with great natural powers, splendidly trained, and equipped
with everything save this fiery baptism, and they labour and
preach year after year without seeing a soul saved. They have
spent years in study; but they have not spent a day, much less
ten days, fasting and praying and waiting upon God for His
anointing that should fill them with heavenly wisdom and power
for their work. They are like a great gun loaded and primed, but
without a spark of fire to turn the powder and ball into a
resistless lightning bolt.

It is fire men need, and that they get from God in agonising,
wrestling, listening prayer that will not be denied; and when
they get it, and not till then, will they preach with the Holy
Ghost sent down from Heaven, and surely men shall be saved. Such
preaching is not foolish. The Holy Spirit makes the word alive.
He brings it to the remembrance of the preachers in whom He
abides, and He applies it to the heart of the hearers, lightening
up the soul as with a sun until sin is seen in all its hideousness,
or cutting as a sharp sword, piercing the heart with resistless
conviction of the guilt and shame of sin.

Peter had no time to consult the Scriptures and prepare a sermon
on the morning of Pentecost; but the Holy Spirit quickened his
memory, and brought to his mind the Scriptures appropriate to the
occasion.

Hundreds of years before, the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of the
prophet Joel, had foretold that in the last days the Spirit
should be poured out upon all flesh, and that their sons and
daughters should prophesy. And the same Spirit that spoke through
Joel now made Peter to see and declare that this Pentecostal
baptism was that of which Joel spoke.

By the mouth of David He had said: "Thou wilt not leave My soul
in hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption";
and now Peter, by the inspiration of the same Spirit, applies
this Scripture to the resurrection of Jesus, and so proves to the
Jews that the One they had condemned and killed was the Holy One
foretold in prophecy and psalm.

And so to-day the Holy Spirit inspires men who receive Him to use
the Scriptures to awaken, convict, and save men.

When Finney was a young preacher, he was invited to a country
school-house to preach. On the way there he became much
distressed in soul, and his mind seemed blank and dark, when all
at once this text, spoken to Lot in Sodom by the angels, came to
his mind: "Up, get you out of this place; for the Lord will
destroy this city." He explained the text, told the people about
Lot, and the wickedness of Sodom, and applied it to them. While
he spoke they began to look exceedingly angry, and then, as he
earnestly exhorted them to give up their sins and seek the Lord,
they began to fall from their seats as though stricken down in
battle, and to cry to God for mercy. A great revival followed;
many were converted, and a number of the converts became
ministers of the Gospel.

To Finney's amazement, he learned afterwards that the place was
called Sodom, because of its extreme wickedness, and the old man
who had invited him to preach was called Lot, because he was the
only God-fearing man in the place. Evidently the Holy Spirit
worked through Finney to accomplish these results. And such
inspiration is not uncommon with those who are filled with the
Spirit.

But this reinforcement of the mind and memory by the Holy Spirit
does not do away with the need of study. The Spirit quickens that
which is already in the mind and memory, as the warm sun and
rains of spring quicken the sleeping seeds that are in the
ground, and only those.

The sun does not put the seed in the soil, nor does the Holy
Spirit without our attention and study put the word of God in our
minds. For that we should prayerfully and patiently study.

"We will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the
ministry of the word," said the Apostles.

"Study to show thyself approved of God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed; rightly dividing the word of truth," wrote
Paul to Timothy.

Those men have been best able to rightly divide the word, and
have been most mightily used by the Holy Spirit, who have most
carefully and prayerfully studied the word of God, and most
constantly and lovingly meditated upon it.

4. This preaching is _healing and comforting._ Preaching
"with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven" is indescribably
searching in its effects. But it is also edifying, strengthening,
comforting to those who are wholly the Lord's. It cuts, but only
to cure. It searches, but only to save. It is constructive, as
well as destructive. It tears down sin and pride and unbelief,
but it builds up faith and righteousness and holiness and all the
graces of a Christian character. It warms the heart with love,
strengthens faith, and confirms the will in all holy purposes.

Every preacher baptised with the Holy Ghost can say with Jesus:
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath
anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me
to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the
captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of
vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn."

Seldom is there a congregation in which there are only those who
need to be convicted. There will also be meek and gentle ones to
whom should be brought a message of joy and good tidings; broken-
hearted ones to be bound up; wounded ones to heal; tempted ones to
be delivered; and those whom Satan has bound by some fear or habit
to be set free; and the Holy Spirit who knows all hearts will
inspire the word that shall bless these needy ones.

The preacher filled with the Holy Spirit, who is instant in
prayer, constant in the study of God's word, and steadfast and
active in faith, will surely be so helped that he can say with
Isaiah: "The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned,
that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is
weary" (Isaiah i. 4). And as with little Samuel, the Lord will
"let none of his words fall to the ground" (1 Samuel iii. 19).

He will expect results, and God will make them follow his
preaching as surely as corn follows the planting and cultivating
of the farmer.

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XVIII.

THE HOLY SPIRIT'S CALL TO THE WORK.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

"THE Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath
anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent
Me" (Isaiah lxi. 1), is the testimony of the workman God sends.

God chooses His own workmen, and it is the office of the Holy
Spirit to call whom He will to preach the Gospel. I doubt not He
calls men to other employments for His glory, and would still
more often do so, if men would but listen and wait upon Him to
know His will.

He called Bezaleel and Aholiab to build the tabernacle. He called
and commissioned the Gentile king, Cyrus, to rebuild Jerusalem
and restore His chastised and humbled people to their own land.
And did He not call Joan of Arc to her strange and wonderful
mission? And Washington and Lincoln?

And, no doubt, He _leads_ most men by His providence to
their life-work; but the call to preach the Gospel is more than a
providential leading; it is a distinct and imperative conviction.
Bishop Simpson, in his "Lectures on Preaching," says:--

"Even in its faintest form there is this distinction between a
call to the ministry and a choice of other professions: a young
man may _wish_ to be a physician; he may _desire_ to enter the
navy; he would _like_ to be a farmer; but he feels he _ought_ to
be a minister. It is this feeling of _ought_, or obligation,
which in its feeblest form indicates the Divine call. It is not
in the aptitude, taste, or desire, but in the conscience, that
its root is found. It is the voice of God to the human conscience,
saying, 'You ought to preach.'"

Sometimes the call comes as distinctly as though a voice had
spoken from the skies into the depths of the heart.

A young man who was studying law was converted. After a while he
was convicted for sanctification, and while seeking he heard, as
it were, a voice, saying, "Will you devote all your time to the
Lord?" He replied: "I am to be a lawyer, not a preacher, Lord."
But not until he had said, "Yes, Lord," could he find the
blessing.

A thoughtless, godless young fellow was working in the corn-field
when a telegram was handed him announcing the death of his
brother, a brilliant and devoted Salvation Army Field Officer;
and there and then, unsaved as he was, God called him, showed him
a vast Army with ranks broken, where his brother had fallen, and
made him to feel that he should fill the breach in the ranks.
Fourteen months later he took up the sword, and entered the Fight
from the same platform from which his brother fell, and is to-day
one of our most successful and promising Field Officers.

Again, the call may come as a quiet suggestion, a gentle
conviction, as though a gossamer bridle were placed upon the
heart and conscience to guide the man into the work of the Lord.
The suggestion gradually becomes clearer, the conviction
strengthens until it masters the man, and if he seeks to escape
it, he finds the silken bridle to be one of stoutest thongs and
firmest steel.

It was so with me. When but a boy of eleven, I heard a man
preaching, and I said to myself, "Oh, how beautiful to preach!"
Two years later I was converted, and soon the conviction came
upon me that I should preach. Later, I decided to follow another
profession; but the conviction increased in strength, while I
struggled against it, and turned away my ears and went on with my
studies. Yet in every crisis, or hour of stillness, when my soul
faced God, the conviction that I must preach burned itself deeper
into my conscience. I rebelled against it. I felt I would almost
rather (but not quite) go to Hell than to submit. Then at last a
great "Woe is me, if I preach not the Gospel," took possession of
me, and I yielded, and God won. Hallelujah!

The first year He gave me three revivals, with many souls; and
now I would rather preach Jesus to poor sinners and feed His
lambs than to be an archangel before the Throne. Some day, some
day, He will call me into His blessed presence, and I shall stand
before His face, and praise Him for ever for counting me worthy,
and calling me to preach His glad Gospel, and share in His joy of
saving the lost. The "woe" is lost in love and delight through
the baptism of the Spirit and the sweet assurance that Jesus is
pleased.

Occasionally, the call comes to a man who is ready and responds
promptly and gladly. When Isaiah received the fiery touch that
purged his life and purified his heart, he "heard the voice of
the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?"
And in the joy and power of his new experience, he cried out,
"Here am I; send me!" (Isaiah vi. 5-8).

When Paul received his call, he says, "Immediately I conferred
not with flesh and blood" (Gal. i. 16), and he got up and went as
the Lord led him.

But more often it seems the Lord finds men preoccupied with other
plans and ambitions, or encompassed with obstacles and difficulties,
or oppressed with a deep sense of unworthiness or unfitness. Moses
argued that he could not talk. "O Lord!" he said, "I am not
eloquent, neither heretofore nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy
servant; but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue."

And then the Lord condescended, as He always does, to reason with
the backward man. "Who hath made man's mouth?" He asks, "or who
maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I
the Lord? Now, therefore, go, and I will be with thy mouth, and
teach thee what thou shalt say" (Exodus iv. 10-12).

When the call of God came to Jeremiah, he shrank back, and said,
"Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child." But the
Lord replied, "Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all
that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt
speak. Be not afraid of their faces, for I am with thee to
deliver thee" (Jeremiah i. 6-8).

And so the call of God comes to-day to those who shrink and feel
that they are the most unfit, or most hedged in by insuperable
difficulties.

I know a man, who, when converted, could not tell A from B. He
knew nothing whatever about the Bible, and stammered so badly
that, when asked his own name, it would usually take him a minute
or so to tell it; added to this, he lisped badly, and was subject
to a nervous affliction which seemed likely to unfit him for any
kind of work whatever. But God poured light and love into his
heart, called him to preach, and to-day he is one of the
mightiest soul-winners in the whole round of my acquaintance.
When he speaks the house is always packed to the doors, and the
people hang on his words with wonder and joy.

He was converted at a Camp meeting, and sanctified wholly in a
cornfield. He learned to read; but, being too poor to afford a
light in the evening, he studied a large-print Bible by the light
of the full moon. To-day, he has the Bible almost committed to
memory, and when he speaks he does not open the Book, but reads
his lesson from memory, and quotes proof texts from Genesis to
Revelation without mistake, and gives chapter and verse for every
quotation. When he talks his face shines, and his speech is like
honey for sweetness, and like bullets fired from a gun for power.
He is one of the weak and foolish ones God has chosen to confound
the wise and mighty (1 Cor. i. 27).

If God calls a man, He will so corroborate the call in some way,
that men may know that there is a prophet among them. It will be
with him as it was with Samuel. "And Samuel grew, and the Lord
was with him, and did let none of His words fall to the ground.
And all Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, knew that Samuel was
established to be a prophet of the Lord" (1 Samuel iii. 19, 20).

If the man himself is uncertain about the call, God will deal
patiently with him, as He did with Gideon, to make him certain.
His fleece will be wet with dew when the earth is dry, or dry
when the earth is wet; or he will hear of some tumbling barley
cake smiting the tents of Midian, that will strengthen his faith,
and make him to know that God is with him (Judges vi. 36-40;
vii. 9-15).

If the door is shut and difficulties hedge the way, God will go
before the man He calls, and open the door and sweep away the
difficulties (Isaiah xlv. 2, 3).

If others think the man so ignorant and unfit that they doubt his
call, God will give him such grace or such power to win souls
that they shall have to acknowledge that God has chosen him. It
was in this way that God made a whole National Headquarters, from
the Commissioner downwards, to know that He had chosen the
elevator boy for His work. The boy got scores of his passengers
on the elevator saved, and then he was commissioned and sent into
the Field to devote all his time to saving men.

The Lord will surely let the man's comrades and brethren know, as
surely as He did the Church at Antioch, when "the Holy Ghost
said, Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have
called them" (Acts xiii. 2).

Sometimes the one who is called will try to hide it in his heart,
and then God stirs up some Officer or minister, some Soldier or
mother in Israel, to lay a hand on his shoulders, and ask, "Are
you not called to the work?" and he finds he cannot hide himself
nor escape from the call, any more than could Adam hide himself
from God behind the trees of the garden, or Jonah escape God's
call by taking ship for Tarshish.

Happy is the man who does not try to escape, but, though
trembling at the mighty responsibility, assumes it, and, with all
humility and faithfulness, sets to work by prayer and patient,
continuous study of God's word, to fit himself for God's work. He
will need to prepare himself, for the call to the work is also a
call to preparation, continuous preparation of the fullest
possible kind.

The man whom God calls cannot safely neglect or despise the call.
He will find his mission on earth, his happiness and peace, his
power and prosperity, his reward in Heaven, and probably Heaven
itself, bound up with that call and dependent upon it. He may run
away from it, as did Jonah, and find a waiting ship to favour his
flight; but he will also find fierce storms and bellowing seas
overtaking him, and big-mouthed fishes of trouble and disaster
ready to swallow him.

But if he heeds the call, and cheerfully goes where God appoints,
God will go with him; he shall nevermore be left alone. The Holy
Spirit will surely accompany him, and he may be one of the
happiest men on earth, one of the gladdest creatures in God's
universe.

"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," said
Jesus, as He commissioned His disciples to go to all nations and
preach the Gospel. "My presence shall go with thee," said Jehovah
to Moses, when sending him to face Pharaoh and free Israel, and
lead them to the Promised Land.

And to the boy Jeremiah, He said, "Be not afraid of their faces:
for I am with thee to deliver thee.... And they shall fight
against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am
with thee" (Jeremiah i. 8, 19).

I used to read these words with a great and rapturous joy, as I
realised by faith that they were also meant for me, and for every
man sent of God, and that His blessed presence was with me every
time I spoke to the people or dealt with an individual soul, or
knelt in prayer with a penitent seeker after God; and I still
read them so.

Has He called you into the work, my brother? And are you
conscious of His helpful, sympathising, loving presence with you?
If so, let no petty offence, no hardship, nor danger, nor dread
of the future, cause you to turn aside or draw back. Stick to the
work till He calls you out, and when He so calls you can go with
open face and a heart abounding with love, joy, and peace, and He
will still go with you.

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XIX.

THE SHEATHED SWORD: A LAW OF THE SPIRIT.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

JUST as the moss and the oak are higher in the order of creation
than the clod of clay and the rock, the bird and beast than the
moss and the oak, the man than the bird and the beast, so the
spiritual man is a higher being than the natural man. The sons of
God are a new order of being. The Christian is a "new creation."
Just as there are laws governing the life of the plant, and other
and higher laws that of the bird and beast, so there are higher
laws for man, and still higher for the Christian. It was with
regard to one of these higher laws that govern the heavenly life
of the Christian that Jesus said to Peter, "Put up thy sword."

Jesus said to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world; if My
kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight." The
natural man is a fighter. It is the law of his carnal nature. He
fights with fist and sword, tongue and wit. His kingdom is of
this world, and he fights for it with such weapons as this world
furnishes. The Christian is a citizen of Heaven, and is subject
to its law, which is universal, wholehearted love. In his kingdom
he conquers not by fighting, but by submitting. When an enemy
takes his coat, he overcomes him, not by going to law, but by
generously giving him his cloak also. When his enemy compels him
to go a mile with him, he vanquishes the enemy by cheerfully
going two miles with him. When he is smitten on one cheek, he
wins his foe by meekly turning the other cheek. This is the law
of the new life from Heaven, and only by recognising and obeying
it can that new life be sustained and passed on to others. This
is the narrow way which leads to life eternal, "and few there be
that find it," or, finding it, are willing to walk in it.

A Russian peasant, Sutajeff, could get no help from the religious
teachers of his village, so he learned to read, and while
studying the Bible he found this narrow way, and walked gladly in
it. One night neighbours of his stole some of his grain, but in
their haste or carelessness they left a bag. He found it, and ran
after them to restore it, "for," said he, "fellows who have to
steal must be hard up." And by this Christlike spirit he saved
both himself and them, for he kept the spirit of love in his own
heart, and they were converted and became his most ardent
disciples.

A beggar woman, to whom he gave lodging, stole the bedding and
ran away with it. She was pursued by the neighbours, and was just
about to be put in prison when Sutajeff appeared, became her
advocate, secured her acquittal, and gave her food and money for
her journey.

He recognised the law of his new life and gladly obeyed it, and
so was not overcome of evil, but persistently and triumphantly
overcame evil with good (Romans xii. 21).

This is the spirit and method of Jesus; and by men filled with
this spirit and following this method He will yet win the world.

He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His
life a ransom for many. His spirit is not one of self-seeking, but
of self-sacrifice. Some mysterious majesty of His presence or voice
so awed and overcame His foes that they went back and fell to the
ground before Him in the Garden of His agony, but He meekly
submitted Himself to them; and when Peter laid to with his sword,
and cut off the ear of the high priest's servant, Jesus said to him,
"Put up thy sword into the sheath; the cup which My Father hath
given Me, shall I not drink it?"

This was the spirit of Isaac. When he digged a well, the
Philistines strove with his servants for it; so he digged
another; and when they strove for that, he removed and digged yet
another, "and for that they strove not: and he called the name of
it Rehoboth" (margin, _room_): "and he said, For now the
Lord hath made room for us, and we shall be fruitful in the
land.... And the Lord appeared unto him the same night, and said,
I am the God of Abraham, thy father: fear not, for I am with
thee, and will bless thee, and multiply thy seed" (Genesis xxvi.
22, 24).

This was the spirit of David, when Saul was hunting for his life;
twice David could have slain him, and when urged to do so, he
said, "As the Lord liveth, the Lord shall smite him; or his day
shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle and perish.
The Lord forbid that I should stretch forth my hand against the
Lord's anointed" (1 Samuel xxvi. 10, 11).

This was the spirit of Paul. He says, "Being reviled, we bless;
being persecuted, we suffer it; being defamed, we intreat" (1
Cor. iv. 12, 13). "The servant of the Lord must not strive,"
wrote Paul to Timothy, "but be gentle unto all men." This is the
spirit of our King, this is the law of His Kingdom.

Is this your spirit? When you are reviled, bemeaned and
slandered, and are tempted to retort, He says to you, "Put up thy
sword into the sheath." When you are wronged and illtreated, and
men ride rough-shod over you, and you feel it but just to smite
back, He says, "Put up thy sword into the sheath." "Live
peaceably with all men." Your weapons are not carnal, but
spiritual, now that you belong to Him, and have your citizenship
in Heaven. If you fight with the sword; if you retort and smite
back when you are wronged, you quench the Spirit; you get out of
the narrow way, and your new life from Heaven will perish.

An Officer went to a hard Corps, and after a while found that his
predecessor was sending back to friends for money which his own
Corps much needed. He felt it to be an injustice, and, losing
sight of the Spirit of Jesus, he made a complaint about it, and
the money was returned. But he got lean in his soul. He had
quenched the Spirit. He had broken the law of the Kingdom. He had
not only refused to give his cloak, but had fought for and
secured the return of the coat. He had lost the smile of Jesus,
and his poor heart was sad and heavy within him. He came to me
with anxious inquiry as to what I thought of his action. I had to
admit that the other man had transgressed, and that the money
ought to be returned, but that he should have been more grieved
over the unchristlike spirit of his brother than over the loss of
the five dollars, and that like Sutajeff he should have said,
"Poor fellow! he must be hard up; I will send him five dollars
myself. He has taken my coat, he shall have my cloak too." When I
told him that story, he came to himself very quickly, and was
soon back in the narrow way and rejoicing in the smile of Jesus
once again.

"But will not people walk over us, if we do not stand up for our
rights?" you ask. I do not argue that you are not to stand up for
your rights; but that you are to stand up for your higher rather
than your lower rights, the rights of your heavenly life rather
than your earthly life, and that you are to stand up for your
rights in the way and spirit of Jesus rather than in the way and
spirit of the world.

If men wrong you intentionally, they wrong themselves far worse
than they wrong you; and if you have the spirit of Jesus in your
heart you will pity them more than you pity yourself. They nailed
Jesus to the cross and hung Him up to die; they gave Him gall and
vinegar to drink; they cast votes for His seamless robe, and
divided His garments between them, while the crowd wagged their
heads at Him and mocked Him. Great was the injustice and wrong
they were inflicting upon Him, but He was not filled with anger,
only pity. He thought not of the wrong done Him, but of the wrong
they did themselves, and their sin against His Heavenly Father,
and He prayed not for judgment upon them, but that they might be
forgiven, and He won them, and is winning and will win the world.
Bless God!

"By mercy and truth iniquity is purged," wrote Solomon. "Put up
thy sword into the sheath, "and take mercy and truth for your
weapons, and God will be with you and for you, and great shall be
your victory and joy. Hallelujah!

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XX.

VICTORY THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT OVER SUFFERING.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

HAD there been no sin our Heavenly Father would have found other
means by which to develop in us passive virtues, and train us in
the graces of meekness, patience, long-suffering, and forbearance,
which so beautify and display the Christian character. But since
sin is here, with its contradictions and falsehoods, its darkness,
its wars, brutalities and injustices, producing awful harvests of
pain and sorrow, God, in wonderful wisdom and lovingkindness,
turns even these into instruments by which to fashion in us
beautiful graces. Storm succeeds sunshine, and darkness the light;
pain follows hard on the heels of pleasure, while sorrow peers
over the shoulder of joy; gladness and grief, rest and toil,
peace and war, interminably intermingled, follow each other in
ceaseless succession in this world. We cannot escape suffering
while in the body. But we can receive it with a faith that robs
it of its terror, and extracts from it richest blessing; from
the flinty rock will gush forth living waters, and the carcase
of the lion will furnish the sweetest honey.

This is so even when the suffering is a result of our own folly
or sin. It is intended not only in some measure as a punishment,
but also as a teacher, a corrective, a remedy, a warning; and it
will surely work for good, if, instead of repining and vainly
regretting the past, we steadily look unto Jesus and learn our
lesson in patience and thankfulness.

  "If all the skies were sunshine,
   Our faces would be fain
  To feel once more upon them
   The cooling plash of rain.

  "If all the world were music,
   Our hearts would often long
  For one sweet strain of silence
   To break the endless song.

  "If life were always merry,
   Our souls would seek relief
  And rest from weary laughter
   In the quiet arms of grief."

Doubtless all our suffering is a result of sin, but not
necessarily the sin of the sufferer. Jesus was the sinless One,
but He was also the Chief of sufferers. Paul's great and lifelong
sufferings came upon him, not because of his sins, but rather
because he had forsaken sin, and was following Jesus in a world
of sin, and seeking the salvation of his fellows. In this path
there is no escape from suffering, though there are hidden and
unspeakable consolations. "In the world ye shall have tribulation,"
said Jesus. "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer
persecution," wrote Paul.

Sooner or later, suffering in some form comes to each of us. It
may come through broken health, or pain and weariness of body; or
through mental anguish, moral distress, spiritual darkness and
uncertainty. It may come through the loss of loved ones, through
betrayal by trusted friends; or through deferred or ruined hopes,
or base ingratitude; or perhaps in unrequited toil and sacrifice
and ambitions all unfulfilled. Nothing more clearly distinguishes
the man filled with the Spirit from the man who is not than the
way each receives suffering.

One with triumphant faith and shining face and strong heart
glories in tribulation, and counts it all joy. To this class
belong the Apostles, who, beaten and threatened, "departed from
the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer
shame for His Name" (Acts v. 41).

The other with doubts and fears, murmurs and complains, and to
his other miseries adds that of a rebellious heart and discontented
mind. One sees the enemy's armed host, and unmixed distress
and danger; the other sees the angel of the Lord, with abundant
succour and safety (2 Kings vi. 15-17).

An evangelist of my acquaintance told a story that illustrates
this. When a pastor he went one morning to visit two sisters who
were greatly afflicted. They were about the same age, and had
long been professing Christians and members of the Church. He
asked the first one upon whom he called, "How is it with you this
morning?" "Oh, I have not slept all night," she replied. "I have
so much pain. It is so hard to have to lie here. I cannot see why
God deals so with me." Evidently, she was not filled with the
Spirit, but was in a controversy with the Lord about her
sufferings, and would not be comforted.

Leaving her he called immediately upon the other sister, and
asked, "How are you to-day?" "Oh, I had such a night of
suffering!" she replied. "Then," said he, "there came out upon
her worn face, furrowed and pale, a beautiful radiance, and she
added, "but Jesus was so near and helped me so, that I could
suffer this way and more, if my Father thinks best"; and on she
went with like words of cheer and triumph that made the sick room
a vestibule of glory. No lack of comfort in her heart, for the
Comforter Himself, the Holy Spirit, had been invited and had come
in. One had the Comforter in fullness, the other had not.

Probably, no man ever suffered more than Paul, but with soldier-
like fortitude he bore his heavy burdens, faced his constant and
exacting labours, endured his sore trials, disappointments, and
bitter persecutions by fierce and relentless enemies; he stood
unmoved amid shipwrecks, stripes and imprisonments, cold, hunger,
and homelessness without a whimper that might suggest repining or
discouragement, or an appeal for pity. Indeed, he went beyond
simple uncomplaining fortitude, and said, "we glory in tribulation"
(Romans v. 3); "I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation"
(2 Cor. vii. 4); "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches,
in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake"
(2 Cor. xii. 10). After a terrible scourging upon his bare back,
he was thrust into a loathsome inner dungeon, his feet fast in
the stocks, with worse things probably awaiting him on the morrow.
Nevertheless, we find him and Silas, his companion in suffering,
at midnight praying and singing praises unto God (Acts xvi. 25).

What is his secret? Listen to him: "Because the love of God is
shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto
us" (Romans v. 5). His prayer for his Ephesian brethren had been
answered in his own heart: "That He would grant you, according to
the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His
Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by
faith." And this inner strength and consciousness, through faith,
in an indwelling Christ enabled him to receive suffering and
trial, not stoically as the Red Indian, nor hilariously, in a
spirit of bravado, but cheerfully and with a thankful heart.

Arnold of Rugby has written something about his "most dear and
blessed sister" that illustrates the power flowing from
exhaustless fountains of inner joy and strength through the
working of the Holy Spirit.  He says:--

"I never saw a more perfect instance of the spirit and power of
love, and of a sound mind. Her life was a daily martyrdom for
twenty years, during which she adhered to her early-formed
resolution of never talking about herself; she was thoughtful
about the very pins and ribands of my wife's dress, about the
making of a doll's cap for a child--but of herself, save only as
regarded her ripening in all goodness, wholly thoughtless,
enjoying everything lovely, graceful, beautiful, high-minded,
whether in God's works or man's, with the keenest relish;
inheriting the earth to the very fullness of the promise, though
never leaving her crib, nor changing her posture; and preserved,
through the very valley of the shadow of death, from all fear or
impatience, and from every cloud of impaired reason, which might
mar the beauty of Christ's and the Spirit's work."

It is not by hypnotising the soul, nor by blessing it into a
state of ecstatic insensibility, that the Lord enables the man
filled with the Spirit to thus triumph over suffering. Rather it
is by giving the soul a sweet, constant, and unshaken assurance
through faith: First, that it is freely and fully accepted in
Christ. Second, that whatever suffering comes, it is measured,
weighed, and permitted by love infinitely tender, and guided by
wisdom that cannot err. Third, that however difficult it may be
to explain suffering now, it is nevertheless _one_ of the
"all things" which "work together for good to them that love
God," and that in a "little while" it will not only be swallowed
up in the ineffable blessedness and glory, but that in some way
it is actually helping to work out "a far more exceeding and
eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. iv. 7). Fourth, that though the
furnace has been heated seven times hotter than was wont, yet
"the Form... like unto the Son of God" is walking with us in the
fire; though triumphant enemies have thrust us into the lions'
den, yet the angel of the Lord arrived first and locked the
lions' jaws; though foes may have formed against us sharp
weapons, yet they cannot prosper, for His shield and buckler
defend us; though all things be lost, yet "Thou remainest"; and
though "my flesh and my heart may fail, God is the strength of my
heart and my portion for ever."

Not all God's dear children thus triumph over their difficulties
and sufferings, but this is God's standard, and they may attain
unto it, if, by faith, they will open their hearts and "be filled
with the Spirit."

Here is the testimony of a Salvation Army Officer up to date:--

"Viewed from the outside, my life as a sinner was easy and
untroubled, over which most of my friends expressed envy; while
these same friends thought my life as a Christian full of care,
toil, hardship, and immense loss. This, however, was only an
outside view, and the real state of the case was exactly the
opposite of what they supposed. For in all the pleasure-seeking,
idleness, and freedom from responsibility of my life apart from
God, I carried an immeasurable burden of fear, anxiety, and
constantly recurring disappointment; trifles weighed upon me, and
the thought of death haunted me with vague terrors.

"But when I gave myself wholly to God, though my lot became at
once one of toil, responsibility, comparative poverty and
sacrifice, yet I could not feel pain in any storm that broke over
my head, because of the presence of God. It was not so much that
I was insensible to trouble, as sensible of His presence and
love; and the worst trials were as nothing in my sight, nor have
been for over twenty-two years. While as for death, it appears
only as a doorway into more abundant life, and I can alter an old
German hymn, and sing with joy:

  "'Oh, how my heart with rapture dances.
  To think my dying hour advances!
  Then, Lord, with Thee!
  My Lord, with Thee!'"

This is faith's triumph over the worst the world can offer
through the blessed fullness of the indwelling Comforter. Bless
His Name!

  "Here speaks the Comforter, Light of the straying,
   Hope of the penitent, Advocate sure,
  Joy of the desolate, tenderly saying,
   'Earth has no sorrow My grace cannot cure.'"

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XXI.

THE OVERFLOWING BLESSING.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

THE children of Israel were instructed by Moses to give tithes of
all they had to the Lord, and in return God promised to richly
bless them, making their fields and vineyards fruitful and
causing their flocks and herds to safely multiply. But they
became covetous and unbelieving, and began to rob God by
withholding their tithes, and then God began to withhold His
blessing from them.

But still God loved and pitied them, and sent to them again and
again by His prophets; and finally by the prophet Malachi He
said: "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there
may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the
Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and
pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to
receive it" (Malachi iii. 10).

He promised to make their barns overflow, if they would be
faithful, if they would pay their tithes and discharge their
obligations to Him.

Now, this overflow of barns and granaries is a type of
overflowing hearts and lives when we give ourselves fully to God,
and the blessed Holy Ghost comes in, and Jesus becomes all and in
all to us. The blessing is too big to contain, but just bursts
out and overflows through the life, the looks, the conversation,
the very tones of the voice, and gladdens and refreshes and
purifies wherever it goes. Jesus calls it "rivers of living
water" (John vii. 38).

There is an overflow of _love_. Sin brings in an overflow of
hate, so that the world is filled with wars and murders,
slanders, oppression, and selfishness. But this blessing causes
love to overflow. Schools, colleges, and hospitals are built;
shelters, rescue homes, and orphanages are opened; even war
itself is in some measure humanised by the Red Cross Society and
Christian commissions. Sinners love their own, but this blessing
makes us to love all men--strangers, the heathen, and even our
enemies.

There is an overflow of _peace_. It settles old quarrels and
grudges. It makes a different atmosphere in the home. The
children know it when father and mother get the Comforter. Kindly
words and sweet goodwill take the place of bitterness and strife.
I suspect that even the dumb beasts realise the overflow.

I heard a laughable story of a man whose cow would switch her
tail in his face, and then kick over the pail when he was milking
her, after which he would always give her a beating with the
stool on which he sat. But he got the blessing, and his heart was
overflowing with peace. The next morning he went to milk that
cow, and when the pail was nearly full, swish! came the tail in
his face, and with a vicious kick she knocked over the pail, and
then ran across the barn-yard. The blessed man picked up the
empty pail and stool and went over to the cow, which stood
trembling, awaiting the usual kicks and beating; but instead he
patted her gently, and said, "You may kick over that pail as
often as you please, but I am not going to beat you any more";
and the cow seemed to understand, for she dropped her head and
quietly began to eat, and never kicked again! That story is good
enough to be true, and I doubt not it is, for certainly when the
Comforter comes a great peace fills the heart and overflows
through all the life.

There is an overflow of _joy_. It makes the face to shine;
it glances from the eye, and bubbles out in thanksgiving and
praise. You never can tell when one who has the blessing will
shout out, "Glory to God! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Amen!"

I have sometimes seen a whole congregation wakened up and
refreshed and made glad by the joyous overflow from one clean-
hearted soul. A Salvation Soldier or Officer with an overflow of
genuine joy is worth a whole company of ordinary folks. He is a
host within himself, and is a living proof of the text, "The joy
of the Lord is your strength."

There is an overflow of _patience_ and _long-
suffering._ A man got this blessing, and his wicked wife was
so enraged that she left him, and went across the way and lived
as the wife of his unmarried brother. He was terribly tempted to
take his gun and go over and kill them both. But he prayed about
it, and the Lord gave him the patience and long-suffering of
Jesus, who bears long with the backslider who leaves Him and
joins himself with the world; and he continued to treat them with
the utmost kindness, as though they had done him no wrong. Some
people might say the man was weak, but I should say he was
unusually "strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," and a
neighbour of his told me that all his neighbours believed in his
religion.

There is an overflow of _goodness_ and _generosity_. I
read the other day of a poor man who supports eight workers in
the foreign mission field. When asked how he did it, he replied
that he wore celluloid collars, did his own washing, denied
himself, and managed his affairs in order to do it.

Do you ask, "How can I get such a blessing?" You will get it by
bringing in all the tithes, by giving yourself in love and
obedience and wholehearted, joyous consecration to Jesus, as a
true bride gives herself to her husband. Do not try to bargain
with the Lord and buy it of Him, but wait on Him in never-give-in
prayer and confident expectation, and He will give it to you. And
then you must not hold it selfishly for your own gratification,
but let it overflow to the hungry, thirsty, fainting world about
you. God bless you even now, and do for you exceeding abundantly
above all you ask or think!

A comrade went from one of my meetings recently with a heart
greatly burdened for the blessing, and for two or three days and
nights did little else but read the Bible, and pray and cry to
God for a clean heart filled with the Spirit. At last the
Comforter came, and with Him fullness of peace and joy and soul-
rest, and that day this comrade led a number of others into the
blessing. Hallelujah! "If ye then, being evil, know how to give
good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Heavenly
Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him" (Luke xi. 13).
"_Ask,... seek,... knock_."

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XXII.

IMPORTANCE OF THE DOCTRINE AND EXPERIENCE OF HOLINESS TO SPIRITUAL
LEADERS.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

A mighty man inspires and trains other men to be mighty. We
wonder and exclaim often at the slaughter of Goliath by David,
and we forget that David was the forerunner of a race of
fearless, invincible warriors and giant-killers.

If we would in this light but study and remember the story of
David's mighty men, it would be most instructive to us.

Moses inspired a tribe of cowering, toiling, sweat-begrimed,
spiritless slaves to lift up their heads, straighten their backs,
and throw off the yoke; and he led them forth with songs of
victory and shouts of triumph from under the mailed hand and iron
bondage of Pharaoh. He fired them with a national spirit, and
welded and organised them into a distinct and compact people that
could be hurled with resistless power against the walled cities
and trained warriors of Canaan.

But what was the secret of David and Moses? Whence the
superiority of these men? David was only a stripling shepherd-boy
when he immortalised himself. What was his secret? To be sure,
Moses was "instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," and,
doubtless, had been trained in all the civil, military, and
scientific learning of his day, but he was so weak in himself
that he feared and fled at the first word of questioning and
disparagement that he heard (Exodus ii. 14), and spent the next
forty years feeding sheep for another man in the rugged
wilderness of Sinai. What, then, was his secret?

Doubtless, they were men cast in a kinglier mould than most men;
but their secret was not in themselves.

Joseph Parker declared that great lives are built on great
promises, and so they are. These men had so far humbled
themselves that they found God. They got close to Him, and He
spoke to them. He gave them promises. He revealed His way and
truth to them, and trusting Him, believing His promises, and
fashioning their lives according to His truth--His doctrine--
everything else followed. They became "workers together with
God," heroes of faith, leaders of men, builders of empire,
teachers of the race, and, in an important sense, saviours of
mankind.

Their secret is an open one; it is the secret of every truly
successful spiritual leader from then till now, and there is no
other way to success in spiritual leadership.

1. They had an _experience_. They _knew God_.

2. This experience, this acquaintance with God, was
_maintained_ and deepened and broadened in obedience to
God's teaching, or truth, or doctrine.

3. They patiently yet urgently _taught others_ what they
themselves had learned, and declared, so far as they saw it, the
whole counsel of God.

They were abreast of the deepest experiences and fullest
revelations God had yet made to men. They were leaders, not
laggards. They were not in the rear of the procession of God's
warriors and saints; they were in the forefront.

Here we discover the importance of the doctrine and experience of
holiness through the baptism of the Holy Spirit to Salvation Army
leaders. We are to know God and glorify Him and reveal Him to
men. We are to finish the work of Jesus, and "fill up that which
is behind of the sufferings of Christ" (Col. i. 24). We are to
rescue the slaves of sin, to make a people, to fashion them into
a holy nation, and inspire and lead them forth to save the world.
How can we do this? Only by being in the forefront of God's
spiritual hosts; not in name and in titles only, but in reality;
by being in glad possession of the deepest experiences God gives,
and the fullest revelations He makes to men.

The astonishing military and naval successes of the Japanese are
said to be due to their profound study, clear understanding, and
firm grasp of the theory, the principles, the doctrines of war;
their careful and minute preparation of every detail of their
campaigns; the scientific accuracy and precision with which they
carry out all their plans, and their splendid and utter personal
devotion to their cause.

Our war is far more complex and desperate than theirs, and its
issues are infinitely more far-reaching, and we must equip
ourselves for it; and nothing is so vital to our cause as a
mastery of the doctrine and an assured and joyous possession of
the Pentecostal experience of holiness through the indwelling
Spirit.

I. _The Doctrine._--What is the teaching of God's word about
holiness?

1. If we carefully study God's word, we find that He wants His
people to be holy, and the making of a holy people, after the
pattern of Jesus, is the crowning work of the Holy Spirit. He
commands us to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the
flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord" (2
Cor. vii. 1). It is prayed that we may "increase and abound in
love one toward another, and toward all men... to the end He may
stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God" (1
Thess. iii. 12, 13). He says: "As He which hath called you is
holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is
written, Be ye holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter i. 15, 16). And in
the most earnest manner we are exhorted to "follow peace with all
men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord"
(Hebrews xii. 14).

2. As we further study the word, we discover that holiness is
more than simple freedom from condemnation for wrong-doing. A
helpless invalid lying on his bed of sickness, unable to do
anything wrong, may be free from the condemnation of actual
wrong-doing, and yet it may be in his heart to do all manner of
evil. Holiness on its negative side is a state of heart purity;
it is heart cleanness--cleanness of thought and temper and
disposition, cleanness of intention and purpose and wish; it is a
state of freedom from all sin, both inward and outward (Romans
vi. 18). On the positive side it is a state of union with God in
Christ, in which the whole man becomes a temple of God and filled
with the fruit of the Spirit, which is "love, joy, peace, long-
suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." It
is moral and spiritual sympathy and harmony with God in the
holiness of His nature.

We must not, however, confound purity with maturity. Purity is a
matter of the heart, and is secured by an instantaneous act of
the Holy Spirit; maturity is largely a matter of the head and
results from growth in knowledge and experience. In one, the
heart is made clean, and is filled with love; in the other, the
head is gradually corrected and filled with light, and so the
heart is enlarged and more firmly established in faith;
consequently, the experience deepens and becomes stronger and
more robust in every way. It is for this reason that we need
teachers after we are sanctified, and to this end we are exhorted
to humbleness of mind.

Importance of the Doctrine.

With a heart full of sympathy and love for his father my little
boy may voluntarily go into the garden to weed the vegetables;
but, being yet ignorant, lacking light in his head, he pulls up
my sweet corn with the grass and weeds. His little heart glows
with pleasure and pride in the thought that he is "helping papa,"
and yet he is doing the very thing I don't want him to do. But if
I am a wise and patient father, I shall be pleased with him; for
what is the loss of my few stalks of corn compared to the
expression and development of his love and loyalty? And I shall
commend him for the love and faithful purpose of his little
heart, while I patiently set to work to enlighten the darkness of
his little head. His heart is pure toward his father, but he is
not yet mature. In this matter of light and maturity holy people
often widely differ, and this causes much perplexity and needless
and unwise anxiety. In the fourteenth chapter of Romans, Paul
discusses and illustrates the principle underlying this
distinction between purity and maturity.

3. As we continue to study the word under the illumination of the
Spirit, who is given to lead us into all truth, we further learn
that holiness is not a state which we reach in conversion. The
Apostles were converted, they had forsaken all to follow Jesus
(Matthew xix. 27-29), their names were written in Heaven (Luke x.
20), and yet they were not holy. They doubted and feared, and
again and again were they rebuked for the slowness and littleness
of their faith. They were bigoted, and wanted to call down fire
from Heaven to consume those who would not receive Jesus (Luke
ix. 51-56); they were frequently contending among themselves as
to which should be the greatest, and when the supreme test came
they all forsook Him and fled. Certainly, they were not only
afflicted with darkness in their heads, but, far worse, carnality
in their hearts; they were His, and they were very dear to Him,
but they were not yet holy, they were yet impure of heart.

Paul makes this point very clear in his Epistle to the
Corinthians. He tells them plainly that they were yet only babes
in Christ, because they were carnal and contentious (I Cor. iii.
I). They were in Christ, they had been converted, but they were
not holy.

It is of great importance that we keep this truth well in mind
that men may be truly converted, may be babes in Christ, and yet
not be pure in heart; we shall then sympathise more fully with
them, and see the more clearly how to help them and guide their
feet into the way of holiness and peace.

Those who hold that we are sanctified wholly in conversion will
meet with much to perplex them in their converts, and are not
intelligently equipped to bless and help God's little children.

4. A continued study of God's teaching on this subject will
clearly reveal to us that purity of heart is obtained after we
are converted. Peter makes this very plain in his address to the
Council in Jersualem, where he recounts the outpouring of the
Holy Spirit upon Cornelius and his household. After mentioning
the gift of the Holy Ghost, he adds, "and put no difference
between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith" (Acts xv.
9). Among other things, then, the baptism of the Holy Ghost
purifies the heart; but the disciples were converted before they
received this Pentecostal experience, so we see that heart
purity, or holiness, is a work wrought in us after conversion.

Again, we notice that Peter says, "purifying their hearts by
faith." If it is by faith, then it is not by growth, nor by
works, nor by death, nor by purgatory after death. It is God's
work. He purifies the heart, and He does it for those, and only
those who, devoting all their possessions and powers to Him, seek
Him by simple, prayerful, obedient, expectant, unwavering faith
through His Son our Saviour.

Unless we grasp these truths, and hold them firmly, we shall not
be able to "rightly divide the word of truth," we shall hardly be
"workmen that need not be ashamed, approved unto God" (2 Tim. ii.
15). Some one has written that "the searcher in science knows
that if he but stumble in his hypothesis--that if he but let
himself be betrayed into prejudice or undue leaning toward a pet
theory, or anything but absolute uprightness of mind--his whole
work will be stultified and he will fail ignominiously. To get
anywhere in science he must follow truth with absolute rectitude."

THE HOLY SPIRIT.

And is there not a science of salvation, of holiness, of eternal
life, that requires the same absolute loyalty to "the Spirit of
Truth"? How infinitely important, then, that we know what that
truth is, that we may understand and hold that doctrine.

A friend of mine who finished his course with joy, and was called
into the presence of his Lord to receive his crown some time ago,
has pointed out some mistakes which we must carefully avoid. Here
they are:--

"It is a great mistake to substitute repentance for Bible
consecration. The people whom Paul exhorted to full sanctification
were those who had turned from their idols to serve the living
and true God, and to wait for His Son sent down from Heaven
(I Thess. i. 9, 10; iii. 10-13; v. 23).

"Only people who are citizens of His kingdom can claim His
sanctifying power. Those who still have idols to renounce may be
candidates for conversion, but not for the baptism with the Holy
Ghost and fire.

"It is a mistake in consecration to suppose that the person
making it has anything of his own to give. We are not our own,
but we are bought with a price, and consecration is simply taking
our hands off from God's property. To wilfully withhold anything
from God is to be a God-robber.

"It is a mistake to substitute a mere mental assent to God's
proprietorship and right to all we have, while withholding
complete devotion to Him. This is theoretical consecration--a
rock on which we fear multitudes are being wrecked. Consecration
which does not embrace the crucifixion of self and the funeral of
all false ambitions is not the kind which will bring the Holy
Fire. A consecration is imperfect which does not embrace the
speaking faculty" (the tongue), "and the believing faculty" (the
heart), "the imagination, and every power of mind, soul, and
body, and give all absolutely and for ever into the hands of
Jesus, turning a deaf ear to every opposing voice.

"Reader, have you made such a consecration as this? It must
embrace all this, or it will prove a bed of quicksand to sink
your soul, instead of a full salvation balloon, which will safely
bear you above the fog and malaria and turmoil of the world,
where you can triumphantly sing:

  "'I rise to float in realms of light,
     Above the world and sin.
   With heart made pure and garments white,
     And Christ enthroned within.'

"It is a mistake to teach seekers to 'only believe,' without
complete abandonment to God at every point, for they can no more
do it than an anchored ship can sail.

"It is a mistake to substitute mere verbal assent for obedient
trust. 'Only believe' is a fatal snare to all who fall into these
traps.

"It is a mistake to believe that the altar sanctifies the gift
without the assurance that all is on the altar. If even the end
of your tongue, or one cent of your money, or a straw's weight of
false ambition, or spirit of dictation, or one ounce of your
reputation, or will, or believing powers be left off the altar,
you can no more believe than a bird without wings can fly.

"'Only believe' is only for those seekers of holiness who are
truly converted, fully consecrated, and crucified to everything
but the whole will of God. Teachers who apply this to people who
have not yet reached these stations need themselves to be taught.
All who have reached them may believe, and if they do believe,
may look God in the face, and triumphantly sing:

  "'The blood, the blood is all my plea,
   Hallelujah, for it cleanseth me.'"

II. _The Experience_.--Simply to be skilled in the doctrine
is not sufficient for us as leaders. We may be as orthodox as St.
Paul himself, and yet be only as "sounding brass and clanging
cymbals," unless we are rooted in the blessed experience of
holiness. If we would save ourselves and them that follow us, if
we would make havoc of the Devil's kingdom and build up God's
kingdom, we must not only know and preach the truth, but we must
be living examples of the saving and sanctifying power of the
truth. We are to be "living epistles, known and read of all men";
we must be able to say with Paul, "follow me as I follow Christ";
and "those things which ye learned and received and heard and saw
in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you."

We must not forget that--

1. We are ourselves simple Christians, individual souls
struggling for eternal life and liberty, and we must by all means
save ourselves. To this end we must be holy, else we shall at
last experience the awful woe of those who, having preached to
others, are yet themselves castaways.

2. We are leaders upon whom multitudes depend. It is a joy and an
honour to be a leader, but it is also a grave responsibility.
James says: "We shall receive the heavier judgment" (James iii.
i, R.V.). How unspeakable shall be our blessedness, and how vast
our reward, if, wise in the doctrine, and rich and strong and
clean in the experience of holiness, we lead our people into
their full heritage in Jesus! But how terrible shall be our
condemnation, and how great our loss, if, in spiritual slothfulness
and unbelief, we stop short of the experience ourselves and leave
them to perish for want of the gushing waters and heavenly food
and Divine direction we should have brought them! We need the
experience for ourselves, and we need it for our work and for our
people.

What the roof is to a house, that the doctrine is to our system
of truth. It completes it. What sound and robust health is to our
bodies, that the experience is to our souls. It makes us every
whit whole, and fits us for all duty. Sweep away the doctrine,
and the experience will soon be lost. Lose the experience, and
the doctrine will surely be neglected, if not attacked and
denied. No man can have the heart, even if he has the head, to
fully and faithfully and constantly preach the doctrine unless he
has the experience.

Spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and as this doctrine
deals with the deepest things of the Spirit, it is only clearly
understood and is best recommended, explained, defended, and
enforced by those who have the experience.

Without the experience, the presentation of the doctrine will be
faulty and cold and lifeless, or weak and vacillating, or harsh
and sharp and severe. With the experience, the preaching of the
doctrine will be with great joy and assurance, and will be strong
and searching, but at the same time warm and persuasive and
tender.

I shall never forget the shock of mingled surprise and amusement
and grief with which I heard a Captain loudly announce in one of
my meetings many years ago that he was "going to preach holiness
now," and his people "have to get it," if he had to "ram it down
their throats." Poor fellow! He did not possess the experience
himself, and never pressed into it and soon forsook his people.

A man in the clear experience of the blessing will never think of
"ramming" it down people; but will, with much secret prayer,
constant meditation and study, patient instruction, faithful
warning, loving persuasion, and burning, joyful testimony, seek
to lead them into that entire and glad consecration and that
fullness of faith that never fail to receive the blessing.

Again, the most accurate and complete knowledge of the doctrine,
and the fullest possession of the experience, will fail us at
last unless we carefully guard ourselves at several points, and
unless we watch and pray.

3. We must not judge ourselves so much by our feelings as by our
volitions. It is not my feelings, but the purpose of my heart,
the attitude of my will, that God looks at, and it is that to
which I must look. "If our heart condemns us not, then have we
confidence toward God." A friend of mine who had firmly grasped
this thought, and walked continually with God, used to testify:
"I am just as good when I don't feel good as when I do feel
good." Another mighty man of God said that all the feeling he
needed to enable him to trust God was the consciousness that he
was fully submitted to all the known will of God.

We must not forget that the Devil is "the accuser of the
brethren" (Rev. xii. 10), and that he seeks to turn our eyes away
from Jesus, who is our Surety and our Advocate, to ourselves, our
feelings, our infirmities, our failures; and if he succeeds in
this, gloom will fill us, doubts and fears will spring up within
us, and we shall soon fail and fall. We must be wise as the
conies, and build our nest in the cleft of the Rock of Ages.
Hallelujah!

4. We must not divorce conduct from character, or works from
faith. Our lives must square with our teaching. We must live what
we preach. We must not suppose that faith in Jesus excuses us
from patient, faithful, laborious service. We must "live by every
word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God"; that is, we must
fashion our lives, our conduct, our conversation by the
principles laid down in His word, remembering His searching
saying, "Not every one that saith unto Me, Lord, Lord, shall
enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of
My Father which is in Heaven."

This subject of faith and works is very fully discussed by James
(chap. ii. 14-26), and Paul is very clear in his teaching that,
while God saves us not by our works, but by His mercy through
faith, yet it is that we may "maintain good work" (Titus iii.
14); and "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto
good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in
them" (Eph. ii. 8-10).

Faith must "work by love," and emotion must be transmitted into
action, and joy must lead to work, and love to faithful, self-
sacrificing service, else they become a kind of pleasant and
respectable, but none the less deadly, debauchery, and at last
ruin us.

5. However blessed and satisfactory our present experience may
be, we must not rest in it, but remember that our Lord has yet
many things to say unto us, as we are able to receive them. We
must stir up the gift of God that is in us, and say with Paul,
"One thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and
stretching forward" (as a racer) "to the things which are before,
I press on toward the goal unto the prize of the high calling of
God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. iii. 13, 14, R.V.). It is at this
point that many fail. They seek the Lord, they weep and struggle
and pray, and then they believe; but, instead of pressing on,
they sit down to enjoy the blessing, and, lo! it is not. The
children of Israel must needs follow the pillar of cloud and
fire. It made no difference when it moved--by day or by night,
they followed; and when the Comforter comes we must follow, if we
would abide in Him and be filled with all the fullness of God.
And, Oh, the joy of following Him!

Finally, if we have the blessing--not the harsh, narrow,
unprogressive exclusiveness which often calls itself by the
sweet, heavenly term of holiness, but the vigorous, courageous,
self-sacrificing, tender, Pentecostal experience of perfect love
--we shall both save ourselves and enlighten the world, our
converts will be strong, our Candidates for the work will
multiply, and will be able, dare-devil men and women, and our
people will come to be like the brethren of Gideon, of whom it
was said, "Each one resembled the children of a king."

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"




XXIII.

VICTORY OVER EVIL TEMPER BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.


"Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon
you."

Two letters recently reached me, one from Oregon, and one from
Massachusetts, inquiring if I thought it possible to have temper
destroyed. The comrade from Oregon wrote: "I have been wondering
if the statement is correct when one says, 'My temper is all
taken away.' Do you think the temper is destroyed or sanctified?
It seems to me that if one's temper were actually gone he would
not be good for anything."

The comrade from Massachusetts wrote: "Two of our Corps Cadets
have had the question put to them: 'Is it possible to have all
temper taken out of our hearts?' One claims it is possible. The
other holds that the temper is not taken out, but God gives power
to overcome it."

Evidently these are questions that perplex many people, and yet
the answer seems to me simple.

Temper, _as usually spoken of_, is not a faculty or power of
the soul, but is rather an irregular, passionate, violent
expression of selfishness. When selfishness is destroyed by love,
by the incoming of the Holy Spirit, revealing Jesus to us as an
uttermost Saviour, and creating within us a clean heart, of
course such evil temper is gone, just as the friction and
consequent wear and heat of two wheels is gone when the cogs are
perfectly adjusted to each other. The wheels are far better off
without friction, and just so man is far better off without such
temper.

We do not destroy the wheels to get rid of the friction, but we
readjust them; that is, we put them into just or right relations
to each other, and then noiselessly and perfectly they do their
work. So, strictly speaking, sanctification does not destroy
self, but it destroys selfishness--the abnormal and mean and dis-
ordered manifestation and assertion of self. I myself am to be
sanctified, rectified, purified, brought into harmony with God's
will as revealed in His word, and united to Him in Jesus, so that
His life of holiness and love flows continually through all the
avenues of my being, as the sap of the vine flows through all
parts of the branch. "I am the Vine, ye are the branches," said
Jesus.

When a man is thus filled with the Holy Spirit he is not made
into a putty man, a jelly fish, with all powers of resistance
taken out of him; he does not have any less force and "push" and
"go" than before, but rather more, for all his natural energy is
now reinforced by the Holy Spirit, and turned into channels of
love and peace instead of hate and strife.

He may still feel indignation in the presence of wrong, but it
will not be rash, violent, explosive, and selfish, as before he
was sanctified, but calm and orderly, and holy, and determined,
like that of God. It will be the wholesome, natural antagonism of
holiness and righteousness to all unrighteousness and evil.

Such a man will feel it when he is wronged, but it will be much
in the same way that he feels when others are wronged. The
personal, selfish element will be absent. At the same time there
will be pity and compassion and yearning love for the wrong-doer
and a greater desire to see him saved than to see him punished.

A sanctified man was walking down the street the other day with
his wife, when a filthy fellow on a passing wagon insulted her
with foul words. Instantly the temptation came to the man to want
to get hold of him and punish him, but as instantly the
indwelling Comforter whispered, "If ye will forgive men their
trespasses;" and instantly the clean heart of the man responded,
"I will, I do forgive him, Lord;" and instead of anger a great
love filled his soul, and instead of hurling a brick or hot words
at the poor Devil-deceived sinner, he sent a prayer to God in
Heaven for him. There was no friction in his soul. He was
perfectly adjusted to his Lord; his heart was perfectly
responsive to his Master's word, and he could rightly say, "My
temper is gone."

A man must have his spiritual eyes wide open to discern the
difference between sinful temper and righteous indignation.

Many a man wrongs and robs himself by calling his fits of temper
"righteous indignation;" while, on the other hand, there is here
and there a timid soul who is so afraid of sinning through temper
as to suppress the wholesome antagonism that righteousness, to be
healthy and perfect, must express towards all unrighteousness and
sin.

It takes the keen-edged word of God, applied by the Holy Spirit,
to cut away unholy temper without destroying righteous antagonism;
to enable a man to hate and fight sin with spiritual weapons
(2 Cor. x. 3-5), while pitying and loving the sinner; to so fill
him with the mind of Jesus that he will feel as badly over a wrong
done to a stranger as though it were done to himself; to help him
to put away the personal feeling and be as calm and unselfish and
judicial in opposing wrong as is the judge upon the bench. Into
this state of heart and mind is one brought who is entirely
sanctified by the indwelling Holy Spirit. Hallelujah!

Dr. Asa Mahan, the friend and co-worker of Finney, had a quick
and violent temper in his youth and young manhood; but one day he
believed, and God sanctified him, and for fifty years he said he
never felt but one uprising of temper, and that was but for an
instant, about five years after he received the blessing. For the
following forty-five years, though subjected to many trials and
provocations, he felt only love and peace and patience and good-
will in his heart.

A Christian woman was confined to her bed for years with nervous
and other troubles, and was very cross and touchy and petulant.
At last she became convinced that the Lord had a better
experience for her, and she began to pray for a clean heart full
of patient, holy, humble love; and she prayed so earnestly, so
violently, that her family became alarmed lest she should wear
her poor, frail body out in her struggle for spiritual freedom.
But she told them she was determined to have the blessing, if it
cost her her life, and so she continued to pray, until one glad,
sweet day the Comforter came; her heart was purified, and from
that day forth, in spite of the fact that she was still a nervous
invalid, suffering constant pain, she never showed the least sign
of temper or impatience, but was full of meekness, and patient,
joyous thankfulness.

  "Love took up the harp of life, and smote on all
     the chords with might--
  Smote the chord of Self, that, trembling, passed in
     music out of sight."

Such is the experience of one in whom Jesus lives without a
rival, and in whom grace has wrought its perfect work.

"No form of vice, not worldliness, not greed of gold, not
drunkenness itself, does more to un-Christianise society than
evil temper," says a distinguished and thoughtful writer.

If this be true, it must be God's will that we be saved from it.
And it is provided for in the uttermost salvation that Jesus
offers.

Do you want this blessing, my brother, my sister? If so, be sure
of this: God has not begotten such a desire in your heart to mock
you; you may have it. God is able to do even this for you. With
man it is impossible, but not with God. Look at Him just now for
it. It is His work, His gift. Look at your past failures, and
acknowledge them; look at your present and future difficulties,
count them up and face them every one, and admit that they are
more than you can hope to conquer; but then look at the dying Son
of God, your Saviour--the Man with the seamless robe, the crown
of thorns, and the nail-prints; look at the fountain of His
Blood; look at His word; look at the Almighty Holy Ghost, who
will dwell within you, if you but trust and obey, and cry out:
"It shall be done! The mountain shall become a plain; the
impossible shall become possible. Hallelujah!" Quietly,
intelligently, abandon yourself to the Holy Spirit just now in
simple, glad, obedient faith, and the blessing shall be yours.
Glory to God!

"HAVE YE RECEIVED THE HOLY GHOST SINCE YE BELIEVED?"






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