The people who will now see what is soon to come upon us by what is being transacted before us, will no longer trust in human inventions, and will feel that the Holy Spirit must be recognized, received, presented before the people, that they may contend for the glory of God, and work everywhere in the byways and highways of life, for the saving of the souls of their fellow-men.
O how we need the divine Presence! For the baptism of the Holy Spirit, every worker should be breathing out his prayers to God. Companies should be gathered together to call upon God for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that the people of God may know how to plan and devise and execute the work. Especially should men pray that the Lord will choose his agents, and baptize his missionaries with the Holy Spirit. For ten days the disciples prayed before the Pentecostal blessing came. It needed all that time to bring them to an understanding of what it meant to offer effectual prayer, drawing nearer and nearer to God, confessing their sins, humbling their hearts before God, and by faith beholding Jesus, and becoming changed into his image. When the blessing did come, it filled all the place where they were assembled; and endowed with power, they went forth to do effectual work for the Master.
We should pray as earnestly for the descent of the Holy Spirit as the disciples prayed on the day of Pentecost. If they needed it at that time, we need it more today. Moral darkness, like a funeral pall, covers the earth. All manner of false doctrines, heresies, and Satanic deceptions are misleading the minds of men. Without the Spirit and power of God, it will be in vain that we labor to present the truth. We must have the Holy Spirit to sustain us in the conflict; "for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
We cannot fall as long as we hope and trust in God. Let every soul of us, ministers and people, say, as did Paul, "I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air," but with a holy faith and hope, in expectation of winning the prize. Say to your soul, "Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God." By precept and example encourage faith, confidence, assurance. This is the work of the Comforter, and it is your work to co-operate with God's agencies.
It is true that every moment is precious, and not one of them is to be wasted; but it is when you obtain the grace of the Holy Spirit through faith in God that you are qualified for the performance of your various duties, and can work with an eye single to the glory of God. Look at the days and weeks and months of the past, and see if your life service has not been one long, complicated robbery of God, because you have failed to remember him, and have left eternity out of your reckoning. By neglecting spiritual things, you have not only robbed your own soul, but the souls of your family; for by seeking temporal enrichment to the neglect of heavenly enlightenment, you have not been in a condition, either physically or mentally, to educate and train your children to keep the way of the Lord.
You have a serious, solemn work to do to prepare the way of the Lord. You need the heavenly unction, and you may have it. "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." There needs to be an elevating, uplifting power, a constant growth in the knowledge of God and the truth, on the part of one who is seeking the salvation of souls. If the minister utters words drawn from the living oracles of God; if he believes in, and expects the co-operation of, Christ, whose servant he is; if he hides self and exalts Jesus, the world's Redeemer, his words will reach the hearts of his hearers, and his work will bear the divine credentials. The Holy Spirit must be the living agency to convince of sin. The divine agent presents to the speaker the benefits of the sacrifice made upon the cross; and as the truth is brought in contact with the souls present, Christ wins them to himself, and works to transform their nature. He is ready to help our infirmities, to teach, to lead, to inspire us with ideas that are of heavenly birth.
How little can men do in the work of saving souls, and yet how much through Christ, if they are imbued with his spirit! The human teacher cannot read the hearts of his hearers; but Jesus dispenses the grace that every soul needs. He understands the capabilities of man, his weakness and his strength. The Lord is working on the human heart; and a minister can be to the souls who are listening to his words, a savor of death unto death, turning them away from Christ; or, if he is consecrated, devotional, distrustful of self, but looking unto Jesus, he may be a savor of life unto life to souls who are already under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, and in whose hearts the Lord is preparing the way for the messages which he has given to the human agent. Thus the heart of the unbeliever is touched, and it responds to the message of truth. "Ye are laborers together with God." The convictions implanted in the heart, and the enlightenment of the understanding by the entrance of the word, work in perfect harmony. The truth brought before the mind, has power to arouse the dormant energies of the soul. The Spirit of God working in the heart, co-operates with the working of God through his human instrumentalities.
Again and again I have been shown that the people of God in these last days could not be safe in trusting in men, and making flesh their arm. The mighty cleaver of truth has taken them out of the world as rough stones that are to be hewed and squared and polished for the heavenly building. They must be hewed by the prophets with reproof, warning, admonition, and advice, that they may be fashioned after the divine Pattern; this is the specified work of the Comforter,--to transform heart and character, that men may keep the way of the Lord.
Many who are explaining the Scriptures to others have not conscientiously and entirely surrendered mind and heart and life to the control of the Holy Spirit
The message we have to bear is not a message that men need cringe to declare. They are not to seek to cover it, to conceal its origin and purpose. Its advocates must be men who will not hold their peace day nor night. As those who have made solemn vows to God, and who have been commissioned as the messengers of Christ, as stewards of the mysteries of the grace of God, we are under obligation to declare faithfully the whole counsel of God. We are not to make less prominent the special truths that have separated us from the world, and made us what we are; for they are fraught with eternal interests. God has given us light in regard to the things that are now taking place in the last remnant of time, and with pen and voice we are to proclaim the truth to a world, not in a tame, spiritless way, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power of God.
But it is the life of Jesus Christ in the soul, it is the active principle of love imparted by the Holy Spirit, that alone will make the soul fruitful unto good works. The love of Christ is the force and power of every message for God that ever fell from human lips.
When one is fully emptied of self, when every false god is cast out of the soul, the vacuum is supplied by the inflowing of the Spirit of Christ. Such a one has the faith which works by love and purifies the soul from every moral and spiritual defilement. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, can work upon the heart, influencing and directing, so that he enjoys spiritual things. He is "after the spirit," and he minds the things of the Spirit. He has no confidence in self; Christ is all and in all. Truth is constantly being unfolded by the Holy Spirit; he receives with meekness the engrafted word, and he gives the Lord all the glory, saying, "God has revealed them to us by his Spirit." "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God." The Spirit that reveals, also works in him the fruits of righteousness. Christ is in him "a well of water, springing up into everlasting life." He is a branch of the True Vine, and bears rich clusters of fruit to the glory of God. What is the character of the fruit borne?--"The fruit of the Spirit is love." Mark the words,--love, not hatred; it is joy, not discontent and mourning; peace, not irritation, anxiety and manufactured trials. It is "long-suffering gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Those who have this spirit will be earnest laborers together with God; the heavenly intelligences co-operate with them, and they go weighted with the spirit of the message of truth which they bear. They are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. They are ennobled, refined, through the sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. They have not brought into the treasury of the soul wood, hay, stubble, but gold, silver, and precious stones. They speak words of solid sense, and from the treasures of the heart bring forth pure and sacred things according to the example of Christ.
Day after day is passing into eternity, bringing us nearer to the close of probation. Now we must pray as never before for the Holy Spirit to be more abundantly bestowed upon us, and we must look for its sanctifying influence to come upon the workers, that the people for whom they labor may know that they have been with Jesus and learned of him. We need spiritual eyesight now as never before, that we may see afar off, and that we may discern the snares and designs of the enemy, and as faithful watchmen proclaim the danger. We need spiritual power that we may take in, as far as the human mind can, the great subjects of Christianity, and how far-reaching are its principles.
When God's people humble the soul before him, individually seeking his Holy Spirit with all the heart, there will be heard from human lips such a testimony as is represented in this scripture: "After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory." There will be faces aglow with the love of God, there will be lips touched with holy fire, saying, "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."
Those who are under the influence of the Spirit of God will not be fanatical, but calm, steadfast, free from extravagance. But let all who have had the light of truth shining clear and distinct upon their pathway, be careful how they cry peace and safety. Be careful what influence you exert at this time.
When the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the early church, "the whole multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." The Spirit of Christ made them one. This is the fruit of abiding in Christ.
Jesus longs to bestow the heavenly endowment in large measure upon his people. Prayers are ascending to God daily for the fulfillment of the promise; and not one of the prayers put up in faith is lost. Christ ascended on high, leading captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. When, after Christ's ascension, the Spirit came down as promised, like a rushing, mighty wind, filling the whole place where the disciples were assembled, what was the effect?--Thousands were converted in a day. We have taught, we have expected that an angel is to come down from heaven, that the earth will be lightened with his glory, when we shall behold an ingathering of souls similar to that witnessed on the day of Pentecost.
Amid the confusion of delusive doctrines, the Spirit of God will be a guide and a shield to those who have not resisted the evidences of truth. He silences every other voice than that which comes from him who is the truth and the life. God gives to every soul opportunity to hear the voice of the True Shepherd, to receive the knowledge of God and our Saviour. When the heart receives this truth as a precious treasure, Christ is formed within, the hope of glory, while the whole heavenly universe exclaims, Amen and amen! We have absolute need of the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit. We have no time to confer with flesh and blood.
We have need of divine illumination. Every individual is striving to become a center of influence; and until God works for his people, they will not see that subordination to God is the only safety for any soul. His transforming grace upon human hearts will lead to unity that has not yet been realized; for all who are assimilated to Christ will be in harmony with one another. The Holy Spirit will create unity.
"He shall glorify me." "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." The Holy Spirit glorifies God by so revealing his character to his people that he becomes the object of their supreme affections, and by making manifest his character in them
They see clearly that there never was any righteousness in the world but his, no excellence in the world but that derived from him. When the Spirit was poured out from on high, the church as flooded with light, but Christ was the source of that light; his name was on every tongue, his love filled every heart. So it will be when the angel that comes down from heaven having great power shall lighten the whole earth with his glory.
The church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as it may be, is the only object on earth on which He bestows his supreme regard. While he extends to all the world his invitation to come to him and be saved, he commissions his angels to render divine help to every soul that cometh to him in repentance and contrition, and he comes personally by his Holy Spirit into the midst of his church.
The gift of his Holy Spirit, rich, full, and abundant, is to his church as an encompassing wall of fire, and the powers of hell shall not prevail against it. In their untainted purity and spotless perfection Christ looks upon his people as the reward of all his suffering, his humiliation, and his love, and the supplement of his glory,--Christ the great center from which radiates all glory.
How can we stand in the day of test if we do not understand the words of Christ? He said: "These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." It is the Holy Spirit that is to bring to our remembrance the words of Christ. The theme Christ chose to dwell upon in his last discourse to his disciples was that of the office of the Holy Spirit. He opened before them a wide tract of truth. They were to receive his words by faith, and the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, was to bring all things to their remembrance. The consolation given by Christ in this promise was found in the fact that the divine influence was to be with his followers to the end. But this promise is not accepted and believed by the people today, and therefore is not cherished by them, nor is its fulfillment seen in the experience of the church. The promise of the gift of the Spirit of God is left as a matter to be little considered by the church. It is not impressed upon the people, and the result is only that which might be expected,--spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Minor matters occupy the mind and soul, but divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, which would if possessed, bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, although it is offered to us in infinite plenitude. Just as long as the church is satisfied with small things, it is disqualified to receive the great things of God.
But why do we not hunger and thirst after the gift of the Holy Spirit, since it is the means whereby the heart may be kept pure? The Lord designs that divine power shall co-operate with human effort. It is all-essential for the Christian to understand the meaning of the promise of the Holy Spirit just prior to the coming of our Lord Jesus the second time. Talk of it, pray for it, preach concerning it; for the Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit than parents are to give good gifts to their children. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
We are living in the last days, when error of a most deceptive character is accepted and believed, while truth is discarded. The Lord will hold both ministers and people responsible for the light which shines in our day. God calls upon all who claim to believe present truth to work diligently in gathering up the precious jewels of truth, and placing them in their position in the framework of the gospel. Let them shine in all their divine beauty and loveliness, that the light may flash forth amid the moral darkness. This cannot be accomplished without the aid of the Holy Spirit, but with the aid of the Spirit we can do all things. When we are endowed with the Holy Spirit, we by faith take hold of infinite power. There is nothing to be lost of that which comes from God. The Saviour of the world sends his divine messenger to the soul, that men may dig for the truth, that by its revelation they may dispel the multitude of errors. This is the Christian's work.
The work of the Holy Spirit is immeasurably great. It is from this source that power and efficiency come to the worker for God; and the holy Spirit is the Comforter, as the personal presence of Christ to the soul. He who looks to Christ in simple, child-like faith, is made a partaker of the divine nature through the agency of the Holy Spirit. When led by the Spirit of God, the Christian may know that he is made complete in Him who is the head of all things. As Christ was glorified on the day of Pentecost, so will he again be glorified in the closing work of the gospel, when he shall prepare a people to stand the final test, in the closing conflict of the great controversy.
When the earth is lightened with the glory of God, we shall see a work similar to that which was wrought when the disciples, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaimed the power of a risen Saviour. The light of heaven penetrated the darkened minds of those who had been deceived by the enemies of Christ, and the false representation of him was rejected; for through the efficacy of the Holy Spirit, they now saw him exalted to be a Prince and Saviour, to give repentance unto Israel, and remission of sins. Christ was glorified through the power of the Holy Spirit resting upon men.
The revelation of Christ by the Holy Spirit brought to them a realizing sense of his power and majesty, and they stretched forth their hands unto him by faith, saying, "I believe." Thus it was in the time of the early rain; but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Saviour of men will be glorified, and the earth will be lightened with the bright shining of the beams of his righteousness. He is the fountain of light, and light from the gates ajar has been shining upon the people of God, that they may lift him up in his glorious character before those who sit in darkness.
It is Christ in his fullness as a sin-pardoning Saviour, that the sinner must see; for the unparalleled love of Christ, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, will bring conviction and conversion to the hardened heart.
O that we as a people might humble our hearts before God, and plead with him for the endowment of the Holy Spirit!
Home Missionary, November 1, 1893