"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. He shall receive the blessing from the Lord."Psalm 24:3-5.
This life to which we are called can be entered only through
Consecration is not sanctification, but there can be no sanctification apart from the yielding of self. Someone has said that the essential nature of sin is my claim to my right to myself. Consecration is my relinquishing of that claim. That yielding of myself in the presence of God leads me into the radical experience of what I like to term entire sanctification. So you have the Apostle writing: "Present your bodies a living sacrifice . . . and be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind." There can be no half measures here. One regrets to say that we are living in days when we have a Christianity made easy, as an accommodation to an age that is unwilling to face reality; an accommodation to an age that is more desirous of being amused than instructed in the things of God. Without question there is today an unwillingness to face the implications of Calvary. Jesus said, "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." Many of us are deeply concerned about the need of revival.
The stream of vital Christianity is running low and there are many today who, with the Prophet of old, are crying "Oh that Thou wouldst rend the heavens, that Thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence." Yes, that prayer is on our lips, but I sometimes wonder if this truth is in our hearts: that self-renunciation must ever be the cardinal ethic of the Christian life.
Where there is honesty and sincerity, where there is obedience and faith, this full life in God is gloriously possible. God in His wonderful mercy has made provision by which we can become the possessors of a life of purity, a life of power, a life through which there flows the blessing of revival, a life that has all its springs in God. Over and over again I have been asked, "Is it possible in the realm of practical experience to know this life of intimate fellowship? Is it really possible to know the blessing of a clean heart?" Can we really ascend the hill of God and stand in His holy place with clean hands and with a pure heart? Is there a condition of heart that corresponds to the truth expressed in that great hymn of Wesley?
"Twas most impossible of all
That here sin's reign in me should cease.
Yet shall it be, I know it shall;
Jesus look to Thy faithfulness!
If nothing is too hard for Thee,
All things are possible to me."
I want to bear testimony that it was the realization of this glorious truth that revolutionized my life and my ministry seven years ago. After spending seventeen years in a barren wilderness, baffled and frustrated in Christian work and witness, I suddenly came to realize that God had made provision for clean hands and a pure heart. And on my face in my own study at five o'clock in the morning I came to know the recovering power of the blood of Christ, and could with the hymn writer say:
"Thro' all my soul its waters flow,
Thro' all my nature stealing;
And deep within my heart I know
The consciousness of healing."
I know that in some small measure I say, in some small measure the revival in Sky and later in Lewis, must be related to the experience of that morning. You ask me how did it begin? What was it that led me into this full realization of glorious deliverance in the Holy Spirit? I answer in one word, a baptism from God. Explain it as you will, it was a baptism from God. That experience was in my case preceded by a spiritual hunger, a longing for God to do something.
Now I am sure it will interest you to know that this is just how it began in Lewis also. The revival did not begin by my going there. God was moving and moving mightily before ever I thought of going to Lewis. This is where and how it began: A number of men and two elderly women there were made conscious of the desperate need of their parish; all human effort had failed and had left them baffled. They realized that their one resource was to fall back upon God. Oh, how true it is that despair often is the womb from which real faith is born. When man comes to the end of himself to the end of all human resources he has reached the beginning of God. That was where I had arrived, and that was where the men of Lewis had arrived. So they entered into a solemn covenant that they would not rest nor cease from prayer until He made "Jerusalem" a praise on the Island. According to the report given me by the minister of the parish you find men waiting through the night in confidence that God was about to manifest His power. You find two elderly sisters on their faces before the peat fire three nights a week pleading one promise, I say one promise: "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground." A promise made, as they declared, by a covenant-keeping God who must ever be true to His covenant engagements. So they waited and the months passed and nothing happened; until one morning a young man in the company read the portion of Psalm 24 that we have read, "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" the Word of God speaks about heart purity "He shall receive the blessing of the Lord." Looking down at his praying companions, and speaking in Gaelic, he said: "Brethren, it seems to me just so much sentimental humbug to be praying as we are praying, to be waiting as we are waiting here, if we ourselves are not rightly related to God." And then he prayed, "Are my hands clean, is my heart pure?"
He got no further. At that moment there came a realization of God, an awareness of His presence that lifted them from the sphere of the ordinary into the sphere of the extraordinary. Three of them fell prostrate on the floor: they realized that they were now moving, not in the field of the natural, but on the plane of the supernatural. Revival had come and the power that was let loose in that barn shook the whole community of Lewis.
These few men and two elderly women discovered this profound truth, that a
and real New Testament separation. Yes, that was the truth that they discovered; revival was coming, God was going to be honored, they were going to see men so supernaturally altered that holiness would characterize every part of their being, body, soul and spirit. That was the truth that gripped them and that moved Lewis and Harris, There was a hunger, a cry, for pardon.
Let us be honest in the presence of God and get right into the grips of reality. Have I a vision of my own desperate need? Oh, for a baptism of honesty, for a gripping sincerity that will move us to cry with the men of Barvas, "Is my heart pure, are my hands clean?" This great blessing of heart purity, of clean hands, is a human necessity. Sanctification is Christ enthroned. If the secret of holiness is in the complete filling of the soul with the life of Christ; if the baptism with the Holy Spirit is, in its final analysis, the revelation of Jesus; if the beauty of Christian character comes from the incorporation of His personality in mine, surely the great need of the Christian Church today is a clean heart.
"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord, who shall stand in His holy place? ... he shall receive the blessing of the Lord" that is revival; that is God let loose through human personality and there you have the floodgates of heaven opened and the dry places flooded with God
That is the difference between revival and successful evangelism. In successful evangelism, in successful crusades, you have ten or twenty saved here, you have a hundred brought to Christ there, but the community remains unchanged. Men move on to their Christless future. But when God steps down, when hearts are made clean by Him, then He finds an avenue through which He can move; the community becomes saturated with God, so that many of those who find the Savior come into saving relationship with Him before they come near any Church or place of meeting.
God is sovereign in His movings among men and, if this is true, the need is not a new technique in the field of evangelism, not a new approach to truth, not better organization, but a baptism of cleansing, making us fit vessels that God can use. When sin exerts itself and you know its power, when by its power we are held in bondage and in misery, when self-loathing and despair are the symptoms of its deadliness, surely our dire need is for God to deal with the cause. The cause is a sinful heart.
This is a divine promise. Nothing is 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." Note the words "from all." When all is removed, nothing remains; when all idols are taken away, none is left. This is where the miracle of the work of sanctification is seen. This glorious, mighty, and complete deliverance comes not from any effort of my own, but by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit.
I could bring you just now to the village in Lewis where a young man made this great discovery. He was out on the hillside and battling with the corruption of his own nature. He was a convert of six months, battling with corruption, and suddenly he found himself asking the question: "Can Christ do nothing better than this?" Have you ever said that? At that moment a verse of scripture spoke "the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleans us from all sin" and at that moment the young man was lifted from the place of defeat and frustration of the Christian, to stand in God's Holy place. I believe when the day of reckoning comes it will be seen that more came to Christ through the prayer and through the life of this young man than from the efforts of all the ministers in Lewis, myself included.
What God can do! through a man completely and entirely filled by the Holy Spirit, through clean hands and a pure heart! I want to think of this as a glorious possibility for you. You have heard of the movement in the Hebrides; you have heard of the movement in the Congo; you have heard of the movement in Korea and in Brazil.
Then you exclaim: "God can you do it again?" I want to say this, and I say it on the authority of this Book, yes,
God found such men in Lewis!
Now let me demonstrate and illustrate what I mean. We were in a village where things were really difficult. A certain section of the Christian community were bitterly opposing me on the grounds that I was not teaching truth, because I proclaimed the truth that John Wesley proclaimed and the New Testament proclaims, that there is a Savior from sin.
Now I proclaimed the truth and I was opposed, and the opposition was so successful that only seven from this community came near the meetings in the Parish Church. At the close of one meeting the session-clerk of this particular congregation in which I was ministering, came to me and said, "Mr. Campbell these go not out but by prayer and fasting so we are meeting tonight in the farmhouse; we are going to spend the night in prayer."
So we met. There were about thirty of us, and prayer began. I found it a very hard meeting. I found myself battling and getting nowhere as the hours passed. After midnight, between 12 and 1 o'clock in the morning, I turned to a young man in the meeting and said, "I feel led of God to ask you to pray," and that dear man rose to his feet and prayed, and in his prayer he uttered words such as I had never heard in a prayer before. He said, "Lord, You made a promise, are You going to fulfill it? We believe that You are a covenant keeping God; will You be true to Your covenant? You have said that You would pour water on the thirsty and floods upon the dry ground. I do not know how others stand in Your Presence, I do not know how the ministers stand, but if I know my own heart, I know where I stand, and I tell Thee now that I am thirsty, oh, I am thirsty for a manifestation of the Man of Thy right hand" and then he said this "Lord before I sit down, I want to tell You that Your honor is at stake."
Have you ever prayed like that? Here is a man praying the prayer of faith. I love to believe that angels and archangels were looking over the battlements of Glory and saying to one another, "This is a man who believes God; there is a man who dares to stand solid on the promise of God and take from the throne what the throne has promised." Believe it, or disbelieve it and you can verify this if you like the house shook like a leaf, the dishes rattled on the sideboard, and an elder standing beside me said, "Mr. Campbell, an earth tremor." I said, "Yes!" and I pronounced the benediction immediately and walked out to find the community alive with an awareness of God.
Men and women were carrying stools and chairs and asking "Is there room for us in the church?" The revival did not break out because Duncan Campbell was there. No, a thousand times no, but because God found a man whom He could trust, a man who dared to believe the promise of God. I hear men say at meetings, "Lord, I am claiming revival; I'm claiming revival." We ought to be careful what we say. If we claim it, we have it; yes, this is a glorious possibility. Indeed I would go as far as to say if I did not believe this I would go back to business, and I believe that
Seven American ministers were in Lewis some time ago. They were walking through a certain valley when they heard singing coming from this direction and coming from that direction.
This is what was being sung:
"His name forever shall endure;
Last like the sun it shall:
Men shall be blessed in Him, and blessed
All nations shall Him call.
And blessed be the Lord our God, the
God of Israel,
For He alone doth wondrous works in glory that excel.
And blessed be His glorious name to all eternity;
The whole earth let His glory fill,
Amen, so let it be."
One of the ministers turned to the others and said: "This is heaven; heaven around us." The Parish of Uig will never forget that night. Revival blessing had come, and now it had reached flood tide. That night, some men and women, on the crest of its wave, were swept into the Kingdom of God. Oh, that God would do it again.
My dear people, let us get on our faces before God and pray that He may yet visit us in mercy and that we, His people, may once again ascend the hill of God and stand in His holy place. May God grant it.
One encouraging feature of our day is the growing concern on the part of many of God's people regarding the situation that confronts us. Indeed, we are not without blessed tokens of God's favor, as witnessed again in the Outer and Inner Hebrides, and in the prayer meetings springing up in different parts of our country. A report from Ashbury Methodist College tells of a revival that is deep and genuine, and has now spread to a number of other colleges in the United States.
While we praise God for these tokens of His favor, I personally feel that the time has come when as Christians we must face ourselves with unqualified honesty, and ask what we are doing to stem the tide of evil that is flooding our country today. I believe that Satan's master strategy is to destroy our powers to wage spiritual warfare, and surely we have ample evidence of his success in this field today. We need to share the burden of the prophet in his cry: "Oh that Thou wouldst rend the Heavens, that Thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at Thy presence" (Isaiah 64:1). We need men today with the conviction of the prophet. He clearly suggests that nothing can possibly be done unless God comes down, but if there was a manifestation of God's power the miracle would happen, and mountains of indifference would flow and nations would be made to tremble.
On the spiritual battlefield of the present day I believe Christ is taking up His position, and the great conflict has begun, and we are called to get by the side of our Redeemer as coworkers with Him in this great ministry of intercession. "Brother," wrote Hudson Taylor to Jonathan Goforth, "If you are to win the province of Honan, you must go forward on your knees."
These are days of much activity in the field of church and mission work, but we do well to remember that no amount of activity in the King's service will make up for the neglect of the King Himself.
Many a Christian worker has buried his spirituality in the grave of his activity. It is possible to be doing a great deal in the name of religion, and yet not possible for it to be acceptable to God. The word of God declares: "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord" (Zechariah 4:6). We have introduced unspiritual ways and unscriptural activities in the field of evangelism, which, to my mind, threatens the very life of the church. "I have proved," said Mrs. Penn-Lewis, "that the presence of God is more attractive than spiritual entertainment. The truth is that we cannot compete with the world. We must win by the force of something far above competition, and this is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit." Glover said, "The early church conquered because the early church out-thought, out-lived and out-died the pagan." That is, they showed a quality of life that could only be explained in terms of the Holy Spirit. Their work and witness leave us with no explanation apart from God. How much we need to return to spiritual sanity that leads to repentance, and true humility that finds expression in the words:
"Soul of mine, must I surrender,
See myself as crucified,
Turn from all of earth's ambitions,
That Thou might'st be satisfied."