This was the first address of the Third International Convention of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, held at Cleveland, OH, February 23-27, 1898. Other speakers included, John R. Mott, J. C. R. Ewing, H. C. Mabie, Robert E. Speer, and S. M. Zwemer.
I think we all understand the object of our first meeting. It is not intended this afternoon that we should have addresses delivered to you, or exhortations, but that the bulk of our time should be consumed by definite dealing between each one of us and Jesus Christ, our Lord. We believe that all who are gathered here are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and by a living faith or union with Jesus Christ, the head of the Church. We meet in no sectarian name. We here promote the ends and objects of no one visible church. But we meet as part of the great invisible holy Church, the bride of Christ, in which there are no denominations or sects, because we are all one in Him. But, having met, we think that it may be necessary for us quietly to review our standing and condition before Him. That we are Christians, and that we are Christians set upon the evangelization of the world, is not, as we deem, sufficient warrant for us to suppose that all are in living union with Christ. Hence, before the Convention proper begins, we intend to spend an hour and a half reviewing in the sight of Christ the condition in which we stand to Him and so to men. I propose to spend the time in three great divisions. The first will be—Separation from Known Evil. For a half-hour we shall have quietly and definitely to deal with the question of separation. Then for the second half-hour it may be necessary for us to consider the Fullness that we have in Christ, and to learn how to avail ourselves of that fullness for this moment and for all coming time. And then the third half-hour— certainly the most momentous and important—will be that in which together we shall claim from our Master the Anointing of the Holy Spirit, and each receive from Him his and her share in Pentecost. We believe that there is waiting for the entire Church and for every member of that Church the plenitude of the Holy Spirit, and we do not wish to pass into the Convention until every one of us has become filled with the Holy Spirit. I trust that those who are in touch with God will through the following moments keep reminding Him of the utter necessity we realize that He should make bare His arm and send us His own mighty and speedy help.
I purpose to speak for about a quarter of an hour upon each of these allotted themes; and then I ask you to bow your heads in silent self-examination and prayer, that each one of you may adjust himself or be adjusted, and that, instead of merely giving an intelligent assent to the propositions that I make, you shall take each word of mine and by it examine and test your position in the sight of God. And let me assure you that it is upon condition of your careful adherence to the earlier propositions that I shall make, that we shall come at the close of the meeting to that consummation for which we devoutly yearn and pray.
Let us consider what God says as to our Separation from Evil. Will you turn to the text which is to be the keynote of this halfhour, in Isaiah lii. 11: "Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, ye that bear the vessels of the Lord." And the passage which illustrates that you will find in Ezra, 8th chapter, and in that chapter at the 24th verse. You will know that the good Ezra was about to conduct the march across the desert, and gathered the people by the river before they broke from the green strip of pasture land for forty days' journey upon the yellow sand. When he reached the spot he found that the king had sent a large number of holy vessels which in the previous reign had been taken from the temple. There they were, the golden seven-branched candlestick and the talents of silver and all the golden vessels which the Jews were accustomed to use in their sacred service. Ezra felt it was necessary that these holy vessels should be intrusted to reverent and picked hands, that they might bear them as a sacred charge across the desert to the newly-built temple in Jerusalem; and, therefore, you will notice, the words are selected with the utmost care. In the 24th verse he says: "I separated twelve of the chiefs of the priests, and weighed unto them the silver, and the gold, and the vessels, even the offering for the house of our God, which the king, and his counselors, and his princes, and all Israel there present, had offered: I even weighed into their hand six hundred and fifty talents of silver, and silver vessels an hundred talents; of gold an hundred talents; and twenty bowls of gold, of a thousand darics; and two vessels of fine bright brass, precious as gold. And I said"—Can't you see the man, the servant of God, standing there with those separated souls before him? And whilst the people stood massed around and the river was yonder flowing on in its course and the desert waiting there with unknown peril, he said, "You take this, and you take that, and you take that, and you that, and you that"; and when they stood with all the vessels in their hands he said, "Ye are holy unto the Lord." Ah, that is what we want to come to. "Ye are holy unto the Lord."
Separated, yes, but "holy unto the Lord, and the vessels are holy; and the silver and gold are our free-will offering unto the Lord; watch ye, and keep them, until ye weigh them out before the chiefs of the priests and the Levites in the house of the Lord. So the priests and the Levites received the weight of the silver and the gold and the vessels, to briug them to Jerusalem unto the house of our God." Is that relevant to our meeting? Why, of course it is. I stand here not to do Ezra's work, but that of another whom you do not see, your Master, and address you, the representatives of the new generation which is coming up. He says: The older men, the missionaries on the foreign field and my servants in the home land, are becoming gray-headed and infirm, and I call on you, the representatives of the pick of the youth, of the Christian youth of many countries, I call upon you to take the holy vessels of my gospel and bear them through the world. To you He gives the great doctrine of justification by faith; to you He gives the great doctrine of regeneration by the Spirit; to you He gives the doctrine of salvation only by the blood of Christ; to you, the doctrine of the filling of the Holy Ghost; to you, the doctrine of sanctity and purity of life; to you, the integrity of the Word of God; to you, the maintenance of the holy rest day, the day that God has given to mankind; and Christ to-day, as it were, gives to you, men and women, the sacred deposit of His holy gospel, and bids you bear it through the world—some to the home land, some to foreign parts, but not one of you without some vessel and some mission. Do you think I slightly exaggerate for my own purposes that picture? Then I ask you once more to look at Timothy, the first chapter of the second epistle, where the Apostle uses the word "deposit" twice over. In the 12th verse he says, "I know He can keep my deposit," and he says to Timothy, "Be sure to keep this deposit." You deposit all with Christ,—and every one of you has done that; you have deposited spirit, soul and body for time and eternity for safe keeping into the hands of Jesus, and Jesus has deposited in your care His holy character, His sacred truth, the institution of His holy gospel, and as you have trusted Him, He trusts you. Now, I say, "Be ye clean." If ever any of you should be called to carry around at the Lord's supper the sacred chalice or the platter that holds the bread, how careful you should be that your hands should not soil the silver sheen, but that you should bear it gravely and reverently and thoughtfully up and down the aisles of the church. Now, equally careful must you and I be. And I want to ask you, my friends, if there is anything in your life which is out of harmony and incongruous to being ministers, to being missionaries, to being Christian workers. Oh, for the next few minutes "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." Mark you, when God deals with a soul about its cleanliness He doesn't worry it on twenty different points. He always is definite. When Satan deals with you he worries you about twenty things at once. When God deals with a soul He always goes straight to the mark, and He knocks at the soul and deals with it about one thing, bringing His rebuke, His remonstrance to bear upon it, like a hammer striking again and again upon a wedge of iron.
Now, as I go through seven points in which possibly you are not clean, I want you to be true and I want you to say to each one, "That is not mine," "That is not mine," and presently, "That is I." I am going to lead you step by step. May God help you to deal truly with yourself—with thyself, and thyself, and thyself, young friends.
Now, first, are you clean in your habits? There are evil habits which cling to us as you might suppose the grave clothes clung to Lazarus. Lazarus had received life, but he was bound with grave clothes. It is conceivable that in those grave clothes he might have gone back to his sister's house and sat with them at meals. Whatever other men may do about certain habits, you have got to be unusually careful, because you are carrying before Sunday school classes, before mission churches and ultimately before the heathen the sacred gospel of your Lord. In the light that streams from it ask whether there be not some habit, some evil, filthy, unnatural, polluting habit which has struck a fast hold upon you. And if there be, and the Spirit of God, who is co-operating with me at this minute, will strike conviction home if there be, then "be ye clean" and drop it. Drop it instantly. Remember that, if you are willing to be delivered from evil habits, Christ will utterly free you and will take away the very desire for the sin. If any of you should be taking opium, alcohol, morphine, have a strong habit for tobacco in any form, and if you truly want to be clean in your breath, in your body, in your whole nature—at this minute, if you are willing—Christ can say "Loose him, and let him go."
Secondly, how about appetite? Are you clean in appetite? We all have these natural appetites, but may we not be gratifying a natural appetite either in the wrong direction or to an undue extreme? If a natural appetite is unnaturally indulged it will pollute the conscience and the heart. If that is true will you put it away right now? Restrict it within its due limits. It may be eating and drinking; it may be that you are unusually fond of the pleasures of the table. Be careful, if that is true of you, to bring the indulgence of appetite within the limit that Jesus assigns.
Thirdly, does your uncleanness lie in the direction of alliances? Are any young men who are going to bear the vessels of the Lord engaged or seeking the affection of girls who are worldly girls, living a butterfly, frivolous life? That alliance must be broken. And if there should be young women who want to be missionaries or serve God in the home land, who are allowing men to pay attentions to them, and these men are not children of God, I say, whatever it costs, the alliance must be broken. "Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord."
Fourthly, we must be clean from worldly aims and ambitions. There are men, who, listening to me here to-day, may be entering the Church or undertaking even missionary work because they think that in either one of these two spheres they may make a conspicuous and brilliant success. I always remember what Mr. Spurgeon said when some one asked him to come to the east end of London and promised to give him an audience of fifteen thousand souls at every service. The servant of God answered: "I am not eager to preach to fifteen thousand souls, but to do the will of God." If there be any ambition defiling and polluting our hearts, that must be put away.
Fifthly, we must stand clear of worldly pleasures. The world has its card table, its horse races, its opera, its theater, its dance, its ball. We are not here to denounce these things as far as the world indulges them. The world must have its pleasures. But, as for ourselves, if we are going to serve God in His holy Church, we must stand clear. If you want to play cards, play cards. If you want to go to the theater, go. If you want to go to dancing parties and balls, go. But put down the vessel before you start.
And then, sixthly, you must put away, too, all desire for merely emotional religious life. If any of us are living a life dependent upon signs and dreams and sudden openings of the Bible at texts or anything that is sensational and unhealthy in religious life, we must stand clear of that.
Lastly, we must stand aside from the activities of our own evil nature if we would fain serve God. For often Cain brings his offering without accepting God's indication of the way in which He would have him worship. I know not how it may be to-day, but I am almost certain, in this place, this minute, there is going to be repeated the memorable scene in Augustine's life, when he and Alypius were in the garden at Tagaste and Augustine had just been converted. There was one evil association of his previous life that clung to him— I need not say what; those of you who know St. Augustine's "Confessions" remember, and those of you who have not read them will know that an association will often cling to a man when he is converted and when he wants to serve God—and he stood there and a voice said, "Tolle et lege"—"Take and read." He thought it meant he was to take up the Bible that lay upon the garden seat. He took it up and opened at this text, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust thereof." And he told Alypius, and the two went and told Monica, and at that minute the cursed thing, which nearly blasted his life, dropped off as the viper did from Paul's hand. Many of us have gone through that. I wouldn't be here to-day, young men and women, if, sixteen years ago, through Charley Studd, I hadn't been brought to stand face to face with my Master and to drop off one memorable night a thing that was about to blight my whole life. What I did that day, which was the beginning of any influence I have had with men since, I call upon every one of you to do now. Let the search-light of God come in upon your soul, and, if there be anything that is polluting, unclean, defiling in your heart or habit of life, in God's name put it away, and then take the vessel and bear it to the world. Be thou clean, woman or man, that bears the vessel of God. Let us pray.
Now in silence just go through: Is it habit, some evil habit? Will you drop it? Tobacco, if that is it? The reading of stupid novels, if that is it? What is the habit? Some polluting vice? Will you drop it, right now? Is it the indulgence of the appetite, legitimate appetite, but inordinately permitted? Will you drop it? There are alliances between yourself and some girl or some man who is not a child of God. Will you tell God you are willing to drop it at any cost? Are you willing to lay your aims and ambitions on the altar? If God should take away your reputation, are you willing? Would you be a poor man for Jesus? Would you be despised and condemned and cast out for Jesus? Are you willing to lie in the dust for Him to tread upon to raise Him one inch higher? Will you give up some worldly pleasures? Will you give them up? Will you come out and be separate? Will you lay aside the merely emotional religious life? Will you come away from the activities of your own busy fussy self? Will you be clean?
Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts, and show me, show me, show me if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me, lead me, lead me in the way everlasting. Strip me, clothe me. I am sick and tired of my life. I know I have been wrong; I have often felt it; and I know why. Lord Jesus, I know what has grieved Thee, but I put it away; in my will, in my choice, in the deep purpose of my heart I separate myself from it. I desire to live a clean life. Lord Jesus, cleanse me and keep me from evil to-day. I give up my will and trust Thee with my life. I am willing at any cost to suffer, but I must be clean, I must be clean. I cannot go on playing the hypocrite. I cannot go on carrying the vessel with unclean hands. Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, deliver me just now, and keep me clean by Thy blood and by the water that came from Thy side.
Now, it is not enough to stay there. I am very glad that we have come to that point together; it is very sweet. I know the Spirit of God has been leading you to make a very definite surrender of things which are grieving to God. Well, that is right. I remember so well, dear friends, the day when Charley Studd looked into my face and said, "Mr. Meyer, there is nothing I have got that you may not have"; he looked so bright. I can see him now that autumn morning, standing there in his cricket flannels. It was rather chilly and the morning sun was streaming in the uncurtained window and the candles were burning low on each side of his open Bible. And I said to him: "You have been up early." "Yes," said he, "I got up at four o'clock this morning. Christ always knows when I have had sleep enough, and He wakes me to have a good time with Him." And I said: "What have you been doing this morning?" And he said: "You know the Lord says, 'If ye love Me, keep My commandments,' and I was just looking through all the commandments that I could find that the Lord gave and putting a tick against them if I had kept them, because I do love Him." "Well," I said to him, "how can I be like you?" He said: "Have you ever given yourself to Christ, for Christ to fill you?" "Well," I said, "I have done so in a general way, but I don't know that I have done so particularly." He said: "You must do it particularly also." I knelt down that night and thought I could give myself to Christ as easily as possible. And I gave Him an iron ring, the iron ring of my will, with all the keys of my life on it, except one little key that I kept back. And He said: "Are they all here?" I said: "They are all there but one, the key of a tiny closet in my heart of which I must keep control." He said: "If you don't trust Me in all, you don't trust Me at all." I tried to make terms; I said: "Lord, I will be so devoted in everything else, but I can't live without the contents of that closet." I believe, young friends, that my whole life was just hovering on the balance, and, if I had kept the key of that closet and had mistrusted Christ, He never would have trusted me with His blessed Word. He seemed to be receding from me, and I called Him back and said: "I am not willing, but I am willing to be made willing." It seemed as though He took that key out of my hand and went straight for that closet. I knew what He would find there, and He knew, too. Within a week from that time He had cleared it right out. But He filled it with something so much better! Why, what a fool I was! He wanted to take away the sham jewels to give me the real ones. He just took away the thing which was eating out my life and instead gave me Himself.
Now, that is the point I am coming to with you. You have given Him the keys, haven't you? You have given Him your will with every key of your heart and life. It is all in His hands. If He would send you to India, you would go. If He would send you to Japan, you would go. If He would ask you to give up the dearest idol that your heart knows, you have given it up. So far as you know, you just want to be the slave of Jesus. I believe if I should ask you, you would be willing to go anywhere and do anything for Jesus, to make any sacrifice He asked, though it was to lay down your life in a tropical land in a fever-stricken latitude; I believe if I should ask you I should have every man or woman in this house on his or her feet. Oh, I believe Jesus must be looking down on you and feeling that it is worth having died for. I believe He says to Himself: "Well, the thorns were sharp and the nails were bitter and death was terrible, but it is worth it all to have the love of these young men and women." I believe He is repaid. Have you left a little ingredient of bitterness in His cup, because you are not with us? Come along, join in, step up now, come, and don't let there be one jarring note in this great orchestra to-day, but let every one of you be sweetly attuned to Jesus in entire surrender. I have it! I hear from hundreds of hearts the cry, the murmur, "All for Christ." Yes, yes, remember, if you are all for Christ, Christ is all for you. That is it. That is the blessedness of it. And I must give you a text to remember, because it is better to have His word than mine: Colossians i. 19. "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." And in Colossians ii. 9, 10, "For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him"—ye are made full, ye are complete in Him. It is very beautiful of our Father to put all His fullness into Jesus, because we might be afraid of the Father and of the great Holy Spirit God, but no child is afraid of Jesus. God has put all his fullness into Jesus, and if you have given all to Jesus, you may take all from Jesus. Let me give you a little lesson in mathematics. Suppose I draw in the air a curve like this (indicating); then the remainder of the circumference which is needed to complete the curve and make it a circle is called the complement of the curve. The curve and the complement together make one circle. The complement is really the completement of the curve. Now, you understand that if the curve is short it needs a large completement, and if the curve is long it needs a small completement. But whether the curve is large or small, there is a completement for it. You are a curve, and the smaller it is, the less there is of you, the more you need the completement of Christ. The more there is of you, the less you have of Christ. But Christ and you are complete, to meet any need that may come to you in time or eternity. Jesus and you! Jesus and you are complete to meet any necessity.
But I want to show you how to take; because there are hundreds of Christians who don't know the difference between praying for a thing and taking it. Nearly everything in Christian life and growth depends upon knowing how to take, to take the fullness of Christ. There was a time in my life when I used to resist temptation, and, if I overcame Satan, I congratulated myself and was thankful. Then I came in contact with an old clergyman, who told me there was something better than that. He said: "When I am tempted, I turn to Christ and take the opposite grace. If I am tempted to impurity, I don't simply rebut the temptation, I turn to Christ and take of Him as my purity and I put His purity against the temptation to impurity. When I am tempted to irritability—and I am naturally very irascible—I don't simply pull myself together and say, 'No, no, I must not yield,' but I turn to my Lord and take a new cargo of His sweet temper." And this mortifies Satan vastly, that we should take what he means to be a stumbling-block and make a stepping-stone out of it; that we should take his temptation as a reminder to get more out of Christ. That is not at all what Satan wants the issue of temptation to be. It is a glorious way of living and I pass it on to you. Paul said he gloried in his infirmity, in his weakness, in his need, in his helplessness. He said: "I am glad for it all. I would not have it otherwise, because when I am weak, then I am strong; the lower I am, the more I obtain of Christ." Dear young people, it seems to me as if you may be almost glad if you are deficient in a good many things that make other men strong, if you have once learned how to get it all out of Christ. You haven't eloquence, but He gives you utterance. You haven't wealth, but He gives you plenty. You haven't sweetness, but He has all loveliness. You have no strength, but there is plenty in the Lion of the tribe of Judah. You are not meek, He is the Lamb that was slain. Anything you want—and the more you want—you can get out of Him. You and Christ together can meet the world.
But how are you to take? That is the question. People think that they receive these things by praying for them. I am sure that is not the way, if praying means supplicating in a kind of hopeless fashion that you may or may not get what you want. I have learned in my prayer to receive, to take. If my little grandchild comes to stay with us, and he appears in our parlor in the morning with a keen appetite, quite glad to have a chance of breakfast, and the breakfast is there before him, I never tell that child, if his grandmother or my daughter are absent from the room, to go and scream, to go and shut himself up in a room and agonize for an hour and then come for it. I am only too thankful to say: "Child, there is porridge; there is bread and milk; there is your chair, sit on it and take what you want." And the child starts out by saying his grace, and helps himself. So, men and women, look. This table to-day is just laden with gifts for you, like the table at my home used to be on Christmas morning. You have just to come and take what you want. There is a young woman there who is very weak with jealousy. Jesus Christ is the complement of that. There is a young man there who is overcome by passion, but from this minute Christ and he can meet it. There is a man there who is very weak and cowardly; let him come and take from Christ. Don't pray for it, but definitely say to Jesus this minute, "Jesus, I know there is in Thee what I want, and what I have been wanting these months and years, and I now definitely take Thee to be that in my life"; and believe at that moment that you do receive Jesus to be evermore in you what you have been wanting; and go away from this place, and don't fear temptation. Don't fear that you will fail. Don't dread defeat. But know that the moment a poor trembling heart lays itself at the feet of Christ, and one thin, languid hand touches the hem of His garment, that moment virtue streams in to be the complement of twelve years of weakness. God help you now to appropriate Christ! Let us pray.
You were definite before, were you not? Now, be definite, and take one thing—take Jesus to be one thing. Take Jesus, your Lord. Look at Him. Look right up into His face. He is looking down on you. He and you are just close together, away in the gallery there. Jesus is just bending over you and saying: "Child, what do you want?" Now, don't pray, but say: "Lord, I take Thee from this moment to be to me"—now fill up the blank check. "I am the rose of Sharon. I am the bright and morning star. I am the bread of life. I am thy salvation. I am the Alpha and the Omega." Have you taken it? Have you taken Him? Blessed moment!
Now, the last half is the greatest, the most important of all. O men and women, what may not be the issue of this half-hour? I suppose every one here admits that over and above regeneration and sanctification, which are the work of the Spirit, there is a special work He does in anointing. I am going to speak to you—oh, that God may just speak through me—about the anointing of the Spirit of God. Jesus Christ was one with the Spirit before the worlds were made. He was begotten of the Holy Ghost. But He waited for thirty years before He essayed to bind up one broken heart; before He preached deliverance to the captive and the opening of the prison to the bound. He waited at Nazareth, wandering on the hills. When the winds came around Him from the east they bore the cry of dying populations. But He did not go to help them. And when the west wind blew from over Greece and Rome and Alexandria in Egypt, laden with the cry, "Come over and help ns," He did not go, because in His human nature He had not received the anointing. And He went down finally to the Jordan valley and stood beneath the open sky, and the Spirit like a dove came and hovered over Him and He said: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me." Now, if Jesus didn't attempt to bind up broken hearts or preach the gospel, though He was conceived of the Holy Ghost, until He had received the anointing, aren't you and I very foolish to attempt to do the same work without that anointing? If He wanted it, don't we? He told the Church to wait for it. When He went back to God, the Father, He went back in our nature; He didn't go back as He came. He came as God, but He went back bearing our nature with Him, as our representative, your head and mine. And when He entered the presence of the Father we may suppose the Father said: "My Son, what guerdon should I give Thee for all Thy toils and fears and death?" And Jesus said: "Father, I want nothing for myself except to be glorified with the glory I had with Thee before the worlds were made. But I ask this—that I, as the representative of my Church, may have the power of giving to my Church and to every member of it the same anointing of the Spirit that Thou gavest to me for my life work. I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and they have to do the work in it, and as I could not do it without the anointing of the Spirit, they cannot." And so he received from the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, in his human-divine nature, and He has been the storehouse of Him ever since. And He anoints the Church, and He anoints every individual of the Church, if the individual so seeks it. Have you ever sought for it? I know you are regenerate, I know that you have been sanctified by the indwelling Spirit, that you have many promptings and desires to serve God. I am glad it is so. But listen. Have you ever received the Spirit of God as an anointing? I don't ask you if you have had a distinct experience. Some of us don't remember ever being converted. It is quite possible not to have an experience of the anointing. You may not be able to put your hand upon that hour or that place in your life when you stood beneath the open sky and received the anointing. But, men and women, with all the fervor and simplicity which I can possibly command at this moment, I go through these ranks of God's children and I ask with the most vehement and intense earnestness, do you, and you, and you, and you, do you know what it is to receive the anointing of the Holy Ghost? Because if you don't, you are trying to do God's work without the one power by which that work can effectively be done.
Concerning the anointing, there are these propositions—I think Andrew Murray stated some of them, but I will slightly modify them. I will just run through these seven points:
1. There is such a blessing to be had as the anointing of the Spirit. That is proved by Christ's experience, by the waiting of the Church at Pentecost, by the experience of Samaria which rejoiced in Christ and then afterward received the Spirit, by the experience of Acts xix., where the apostle said to disciples—regenerate souls— "Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" There is such a blessing to be had as the anointing.
2. That blessing is for me. That is proved by Acts ii., 39, where Peter says, "The promise"—oh, what words!—"the promise"—this promise of the Spirit—"is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off"—Gentiles in the nineteenth century—"even as many as the Lord our God shall call." If God has called you, the promise is for you. There is such a thing. It is for me.
3. I haven't got it. I either had it once and lost it, or I have never had it. I haven't got it. How do you know you haven't got it? Why, you may know you haven't got it when Jesus is not real to you, when the Bible is not interesting to you, when you have no power over sin, when you have no converting power over other men, when you live a life of fitful emotion. Those are five proofs that you haven't got the anointing. You haven't got it? Then confess it, and sadly, in the depths of your heart at this moment say: "Good God, it is for me, but I am fool enough not to have it." There is such a blessing, it is for me, I haven't got it.
4. I am hungry for it. Oh, blessed hunger that may be satisfied!
5. I am prepared to make any sacrifice to obtain it. What is it that is in the way? You are prepared to sacrifice it? Yes, anything. I tell you I don't mind the cost, I must have it. You shall have it.
6. I give myself to Christ that He may fill me. Ah! it is the touch of the Spirit of Christ. It is He who baptizes with the Holy Ghost. I give myself to Christ that He may fill me with the Spirit and anoint me with it.
7. I take it by faith. Galatians iii. 14, "That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." I do now take it.
Will you forgive me, if I seem egotistic, and let me tell you how I received it the first time? May we all receive it together. I was very hungry for it. I knew I hadn't received the best. I had no power with man and little with God. I went to a great convention of Christian people in the hope that I would hear about it. And they spoke much concerning it, and the more I heard the more I wanted it. They said they would have a prayer meeting on Friday night at nine o'clock to get it. I went to the prayer meeting and stopped there until about eleven o'clock, and I got no nearer to it. There was a great deal of noise and singing and men cried "Hallelujah" but it didn't seem to help me. At last I could stand it no more and I crept out of the tent, under the curtain, and away out into the dark night along a lonely road that led out of the little town. Stars were shining—I can see them now, clouds drifting across them, letting a shower of rain now and then fall upon my upturned face—and I took the way up to the hills and presently got far up among the hills, with the heaven above and the mountains around and the gleam of the lake in the distance. I walked about there and said: "My God, if there is a man in all this place that wants the anointing of the Holy Ghost it is I; but how to get it I don't know." And a voice said—I am sure I shall find some day in heaven the angel that said the word—"As you took forgiveness from the hands of the dying Christ, take the anointing from the hands of the living Christ." I took forgiveness years ago from the hand of the Crucified, and I now had to take the same blessed Spirit from the hand of the Risen One, the Christ. The word Christ means anointed; it is He who anoints. The high priest anoints the priests, the king anoints the kings, the prophet anoints the prophets. So I stood and I said: "My God, as I breathe in this deep breath of the air I breathe in my spirit the filling and anointing of the most Holy Spirit." I waited and just opened my whole heart, as I want you to do now. I threw all my heart open to the Spirit and said: "Now, Spirit of God, come in Pentecostal power and anoint me, fill me and witness with me in all my future life." Just that one act, one act in the last five minutes, may change your life as it did mine. I have always been different since then. I turned to go down the hill, and as I went a mocking voice said: "You are a fool, you have nothing." I said: "I have." The voice said: "You haven't." I said: "I have, I reckon I have." The voice said: "How do you know? Do you feel it?" "No," said I, "I don't." "Then how do you know you have got it?" "I know I have it because I reckon on God's faithfulness. He would never bring me to the point to claim a thing, and then tantalize me by withdrawing it. I took it by faith, and I have it, and I am going to keep it by faith." When I got back down to Keswick a number of clergymen were standing around. They said: "Well, did you have a good time?" I said: "I don't feel much." They said: "Then you haven't got much." I said: "That doesn't follow. I have got it all." They said: "How do you know?" I said: "I know. I have learned a lesson to-day to take the Spirit of God by faith." They said: "Let us go and talk about it." We had a talk about it, and I found out that they reckoned they were filled with the Spirit and anointed when they felt much, while I hadn't had the feeling to start with, and whether the feeling went or came didn't matter much, I was going to reckon by faith. There we talked about it in the dark. And a young Scotchman, a Glasgow man, said: "May I ask a word, sir?" I said: "Certainly." "Well, sir, you have been talking a good deal about feeling the Spirit or not feeling the Spirit. I am sure that feeling is not the gauge of it, but"—says he—"the presence of Christ. When I have most of the Spirit I have most of Jesus. If ever I lose the sense of the presence of Christ half an hour in my manufactory I go into my counting room and lock the door and kneel down and say: 'Spirit of God, what have I done to grieve Thee, that Thou hast withdrawn the sense of the presence of Christ?'" And we all said: "That is it, you have hit the nail on the head this time. It is Jesus we want, and when we are filled with the Spirit of God we are filled with Jesus."
That was a revelation to me—that I could receive the Spirit by faith. I couldn't believe it. And within a month Pastor Stockmeyer happened to be in Scotland, staying in Glasgow, and I was staying at the same house. One evening, when he went to his bedroom, I crept after him and said: "Pastor, I must ask you one question." "What is it?" "I have learned the most wonderful thing in my life—that I may receive the Spirit of Pentecost by faith, naked, unemotional faith. Am I right?" He said: "Certainly." I said: "You mean that a man if he is clean can receive the Spirit by faith, without agony and without emotion?" He said: "Certainly." He called me as I was going out and said: "I think, if a man has received the Spirit of God, there may not be great rapture, but there will be a solemn sense that God has come very near him, and the people that look at him will know that though he is perfectly natural, yet there is a new light on his face, a new gravity in his walk, a new something." And I think that is so. If after this moment that we are together, you go helter-skelter out of the door, and one says one thing and one another, I shall feel that you haven't received Him. There are some you haven't met for years. You will grip them by the hand and say: "I am glad to see you." That is all right. Then you will say: "Hasn't God come near this evening? Didn't He come very near you?" "Yes." "Have you made a start?" "Yes." "We were friends before, but we are closer than ever." With such talk as that God will know it is a genuine thing. If you should shout hallelujah and laugh and cry, I should think it was wholly emotion, and that when the emotion left it would all go. In India and China, when there are no conventions, you will go alone beneath the palm in the grove, in the midst of the noise of heathen ceremonies, and you will just take and take the anointing of the Spirit. I don't know how many hundreds of times in my life I have taken it; I keep taking it all the time. When you once learn to do it, you will never, never drop it. Let us now receive Him—not it—Him to be the anointing. Let us pray.
There is such a blessing as the anointing and filling of the Spirit. It is for me, in the hand of my risen Lord. As He purchased forgiveness, so He received the Spirit. It is for me. I haven't it, I never had it, I never thought about it; I had it once, but I lost it. But it is for me, I am hungry for it, for Him, for a new power. I am prepared to make any sacrifice to receive the anointing: I have already made it in this hall this afternoon. Jesus, Thou seest. If it is my right hand or right eye or right foot, I am quite willing to have Thee amputate it or cut it out, if that be necessary. I must have the anointing. Now, Lord, I yield myself to Thee, that by touching Thee I may receive Him. Jesus, I am in communion with Thee and I do now from Thee receive; by faith I take from Thy dear, pierced hand my share in Pentecost. I have taken it a hundred times, I take it again. I have never taken it, but I take it now. I have received, I do receive, I reckon I have received; I go from this place reckoning, reckoning, reckoning that God is true. Thank Thee, Lord, thank Thee.
F. B. Meyer, The Student Missionary Appeal, Addresses at the Third International Convention of the Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, Held at Cleveland, OH, February 23-27, 1898, 3-17