The third supremely necessary preparative, for receiving the Holy Ghost, consists in our cultivating a pure, simple, and cordial intercourse with other children of God, and our being closely united to them, after the example of the apostles and disciples of our Lord. “They were, with one accord, in one place.” It is afterwards said, “They were of one heart and one soul.” The Holy Spirit is a God of love and peace. Therefore in order to become capable and susceptible of him, we must cleave unto those, who are already either led and animated by this Spirit, or at least hunger and thirst after him, and possess the good will of submitting themselves to his government. If we associate much with the children of the world, we shall most assuredly be infected and captivated by the spirit of the world. But if we turn ourselves from the dead to the living, from the children of darkness, to the children of light, and cleave to them, the ardent love-fire of the Holy Spirit, which is in them, would also seize upon and inflame us, if it only met with the least spark of a similar fire in us. This pure and simple intercourse with the ransomed children of God, is therefore likewise a very salutary, approved, common, yea, necessary preparative for the reception of the Holy Spirit. The Lord’s disciples might easily have thought, we will remain at home, and enter into our closets, where each one may pray for himself, and wait for the promised power from on high; the Holy Spirit will know how to find out each of us; he is an omnipresent and omniscient Spirit. ‘They did not, however think so, but assembled mutually, and remained together, with one accord. They remembered the promise, which their Lord and Master had left them, that wherever two or three met together in his name, he would be in the midst of them;’ therefore they remained continually together, unanimously, with prayer and supplication. The Lord knows better than we, that the Holy Spirit is present in every place and omniscient, and therefore may be called upon in one place, as well as in another; and yet he says, that he will be peculiarly present, in a more intimate manner, where two or three are gathered together in his name. The one, therefore, does not render void the other. A man may pray, in an acceptable manner, by himself, and can do it also when associated with others. But the mutual prayer of many souls gathered together in one spirit, has an especial value, and also an especial promise of life and blessing. It does not, indeed, depend upon the outward meeting together, much less upon much speaking; but in persons assembling together in the presence of God, with one accord, in calm and sincere devotion, with the united desire of receiving a drop of the gracious water of the Holy Ghost, and full of childlike confidence, engaging in prayer and supplication. But if we have not always the opportunity of cherishing a blissful intercourse with other children of God, and of outwardly uniting with them: we ought the more ardently to seize and accept these opportunities, when, through divine providence, they are presented to us, and by no means, from lightly esteeming them, let them pass over and neglect them. But if such opportunities do not all occur, we must notwithstanding, stand in a childlike and cordial unanimity with all the children of God, wherever they may be, and continually unite our devotion, our desires, and our prayers with theirs.
Hence, if we will not unite with the children of God, either outwardly or inwardly, either in a bodily or spiritual manner; if, instead of love, we cherish hatred, envy, and bitterness, in our hearts; and instead of unanimity and peace, animosity and discord—shall we then be capable of receiving the Holy Ghost? shall we not rather entirely bar up his entrance to us? O let us therefore study to be unanimous! Let us incessantly and unweariedly strive after it! And if we cannot outwardly unite with them, let us at least do it in spirit. I am certain, that according to the prophecy of the Prophet Zephaniah, chap. iii. 10, the Lord will bring souls together, more and more, from all places and corners of the earth, from all the different religious sects, and lead and guide them all to the one thing needful, namely, the baptism of the Spirit, and the heavenly unction, to the conversion and renewal into the image of God, which entirely depends upon it, to the great mystery, which has been hid from the beginning of the world, and from all ages; but is now revealed to the saints of God, which is, Christ in us. And this will be the preparation for the great day of Pentecost, which is to be expected in the latter days. Therefore, examine yourselves, my dear friends, in the presence of God, whether your love to the brethren is not perhaps grown cool; whether you do not, on this account, make too much room in your hearts for the accuser of the brethren? Whether you have not looked with a scornful eye upon the meanest? Certainly, by so doing, you would have much grieved the Holy Spirit, who works in a variety of ways, in the children of God.