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Title: Quiet Talks on Power
Author: Gordon, S.D.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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             QUIET TALKS
              ON _POWER_

                 BY
            S. D. GORDON

           [Illustration]

       NEW AND REVISED EDITION

     CHICAGO  NEW YORK  TORONTO
     FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY
       LONDON AND EDINBURGH



         COPYRIGHT, 1903, BY
       FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY

     Chicago: 63 Washington Street
     New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
     Toronto: 27 Richmond Street, W
     London: 21 Paternoster Square
     Edinburgh: 30 St. Mary Street



CONTENTS


                                  PAGE

CHOKED CHANNELS                      9

THE OLIVET MESSAGE                  33

THE CHANNEL OF POWER                61

THE PRICE OF POWER                  87

THE PERSONALITY OF POWER           117

MAKING AND BREAKING CONNECTIONS    147

THE FLOOD-TIDE OF POWER            173

FRESH SUPPLIES OF POWER            199



CHOKED CHANNELS.

An Odd Distinction.


A few years ago I was making a brief tour among the colleges of
Missouri. I remember one morning in a certain college village going over
from the hotel to take breakfast with some of the boys, and coming back
with one of the fellows whom I had just met. As we walked along,
chatting away, I asked him quietly, "Are you a christian, sir?" He
turned quickly and looked at me with an odd, surprised expression in his
eye and then turning his face away said: "Well, I'm a member of church,
but--I don't believe I'm very much of a christian." Then I looked at him
and he frankly volunteered a little information. Not very much. He did
not need to say much. You can see a large field through a chink in the
fence. And I saw enough to let me know that he was right in the
criticism he had made upon himself. We talked a bit and parted. But his
remark set me to thinking.

A week later, in another town, speaking one morning to the students of a
young ladies' seminary, I said afterwards to one of the teachers as we
were talking: "I suppose your young women here are all christians." That
same quizzical look came into her eye as she said: "I think they are
all members of church, but I do not think they are all christians with
real power in their lives." There was that same odd distinction.

A few weeks later, in Kansas City visiting the medical and dental
schools, I recall distinctly standing one morning in a disordered
room--shavings on the floor, desks disarranged--the institution just
moving into new quarters, and not yet settled. I was discussing with a
member of the faculty, the dean I think, about how many the room would
hold, how soon it would be ready, and so on--just a business talk,
nothing more--when he turned to me rather abruptly, looking me full in
the face, and said with quiet deliberation: "I'm a member of church; I
_think_ I am a deacon in our church"--running his hand through his hair
meditatively, as though to refresh his memory--"but I am not very much
of a christian, sir." The smile that started to come to my face at the
odd frankness of his remark was completely chased away by the distinct
touch of pathos in both face and voice that seemed to speak of a hungry,
unsatisfied heart within.

Perhaps it was a month or so later, in one of the mining towns down in
the zinc belt of southwestern Missouri, I was to speak to a meeting of
men. There were probably five or six hundred gathered in a Methodist
Church. They were strangers to me. I was in doubt what best to say to
them. One dislikes to fire ammunition at people that are absent. So
stepping down to a front pew where several ministers were seated, I
asked one of them to run his eye over the house and tell me what sort of
a congregation it was, so far as he knew them. He did so, and presently
replied: "I think fully two-thirds of these men are members of our
churches"--and then, with that same quizzical, half-laughing look, he
added, "but you know, sir, as well as I do, that not half of them are
christians worth counting." "Well," I said to myself, astonished, "this
is a mining camp; this certainly is not anything like the condition of
affairs in the country generally."

But that series of incidents, coming one after the other in such rapid
succession, set me thinking intently about that strange distinction
between being members of a church on the one hand, and on the other,
living lives that count and tell and weigh for Jesus seven days in the
week. I knew that ministers had been recognizing such a distinction, but
to find it so freely acknowledged by folks in the pew was new, and
surely significant.

And so I thought I would just ask the friends here to-day very frankly,
"What kind of Christians are you?" I do not say what kind you are, for I
am a stranger, and do not know, and would only think the best things of
you. But I ask you frankly, honestly now, as I ask myself anew, what
kind are you? Do you know? Because it makes such a difference. The
Master's plan--and what a genius of a plan it is--is this, that the
world should be won, not by the preachers--though we must have these
men of God for teaching and leadership--but by everyone who knows the
story of Jesus _telling someone_, and telling not only with his lips
earnestly and tactfully, but even more, _telling with his life_. That is
the Master's plan of campaign for this world. And it makes a great
difference to Him and to the world outside whether you and I are
_living_ the story of His love and power among men or not.

Do you _know_ what kind of a christian you are? There are at least three
others that do. First of all there is Satan. He knows. Many of our
church officers are skilled in gathering and compiling statistics, but
they cannot hold a tallow-dip to Satan in this matter of exact
information. He is the ablest of all statisticians, second only to one
other. He keeps careful record of every one of us, and knows just how
far we are interfering with his plans. He knows that some of us--good,
respectable people, as common reckoning goes--neither help God nor
hinder Satan. Does that sound rather hard? But is it not true? He has no
objection to such people being counted in as christians. Indeed, he
rather prefers to have it so. Their presence inside the church circle
helps him mightily. _He_ knows what kind of a christian you are. Do
_you_ know?

Then there is the great outer circle of non-christian people--_they
know_. Many of them are poorly informed regarding the christian life;
hungry for something they have not, and know not just what it is; with
high ideals, though vague, of what a christian life should be. And they
look eagerly to us for what they have thought we had, and are so often
keenly disappointed that our ideals, our life, is so much like others
who profess nothing. And when here and there they meet one whose acts
are dominated by a pure, high spirit, whose faces reflect a sweet
radiance amid all circumstances, and whose lives send out a rare
fragrance of gladness and kindliness and controlling peace, they are
quick to recognize that, to them, intangible something that makes such
people different. The world--tired, hungry, keen and critical for mere
sham, appreciative of the real thing--the world knows what kind of
christians we are. Do _we_ know?

There is a third one watching us to-day with intense interest. The Lord
Jesus! Sitting up yonder in glory, with the scar-marks of earth on face
and form, looking eagerly down upon us who stand for Him in the world
that crucified Him--_He knows_. I imagine Him saying, "There is that one
down there whom I died for, who bears my name; _if_ I had the _control_
of that life what power I would gladly breathe in and out of it, but--he
is _so absorbed in other things_." The Master is thinking about you,
studying your life, longing to carry out His plan if He could only get
permission, and sorely disappointed in many of us. He knows. Do _you_
know?


The Night Visitor.

After that trip I became much interested in discovering in John's Gospel
some striking pictorial illustrations of these two kinds of christians,
namely, those who have power in their lives for Jesus Christ and those
who have not. Let me speak of only a few of these. The first is sketched
briefly in the third chapter, with added touches in the seventh and
nineteenth chapters. There is a little descriptive phrase used each
time--"the man who came to Jesus by night." That comes to be in John's
mind the most graphic and sure way of identifying this man. A good deal
of criticism, chiefly among the upper classes, had already been aroused
by Jesus' acts and words. This man Nicodemus clearly was deeply
impressed by the young preacher from up in Galilee. He wants to find out
more of him. But he shrank back from exposing himself to criticism by
these influential people for his possible friendship with the young
radical, as Jesus was regarded. So one day he waits until the friendly
shadows will conceal his identity, and slipping quietly along the
streets, close up to the houses so as to insure his purpose of not being
recognized, he goes up yonder side street where Jesus has lodgings. He
knocks timidly. "Does the preacher from up the north way stop here?"
"Yes." "Could I see him?" He steps in and spends an evening in earnest
conversation. I think we will all readily agree that Nicodemus
_believed_ Jesus after that night's interview, however he may have
failed to understand all He said. Yes, we can say much more--he _loved_
Him. For after the cruel crucifixion it is this man that brings a box of
very precious spices, weighing as much as a hundred pounds, worth,
without question, a large sum of money, with which to embalm the dead
body of his friend. Ah! he loved Him. No one may question that.

But turn now to the seventh chapter of John. There is being held a
special session of the Jewish Senate in Jerusalem for the express
purpose of determining how to silence Jesus--to get rid of Him. This man
is a member of that body, and is present. Yonder he sits with the
others, listening while his friend Jesus is being discussed and His
removal--by force if need be--is being plotted. What does he do? What
would you expect of a friend of Jesus under such circumstances? I wonder
what you and I would have done? I wonder what we do do? Does he say
modestly, but plainly, "I spent a whole evening with this man,
questioning Him, talking with Him, listening to Him. I feel quite sure
that He is our promised Messiah; and I have decided to accept Him as
such." Did he say that? That would have been the simple truth. But such
a remark plainly would have aroused a storm of criticism, and he dreaded
that. Yet he felt that something should be said. So, lawyer-like, he
puts the case abstractly. "Hmm--does our law judge a man without giving
him a fair hearing?" That sounds fair, though it does seem rather feeble
in face of their determined opposition. But near by sits a burly
Pharisee, who turns sharply around and, glaring savagely at Nicodemus,
says sneeringly: "Who are you? Do you come from Galilee, too? Look and
see! No prophet comes out of Galilee"--with intensest contempt in the
tone with which he pronounces the word Galilee. And poor Nicodemus seems
to shrink back into half his former size, and has not another word to
say, though all the facts, easily ascertainable, were upon his side of
the case. He loved Jesus without doubt, but he had _no power_ for Him
among men _because of his timidity_. Shall I use a plainer, though
uglier, word--his cowardice? That is not a pleasant word to apply to a
man. But is it not the true word here? He was so afraid of what _they_
would think and say! Is that the sort of christian _you_ are? Believing
Jesus, trusting Him, saved by Him, loving Him, but shrinking back from
speaking out for Him, tactfully, plainly, when opportunity presents or
can be made. A christian, but without positive power for Him among men
because of cowardice!

I can scarcely imagine Nicodemus walking down the street in Jerusalem,
arm in arm with another Pharisee-member of the Sanhedrin and saying to
him quietly, but earnestly: "Have you had a talk with this young man
Jesus?" "No, indeed, I have not!" "Well, do you know, I spent an
evening with Him down at His stopping place, and had a long, careful
talk with Him. I am quite satisfied that He is our long-looked-for
leader; I have decided to give Him my personal allegiance; won't you get
personally acquainted with Him? He is a wonderful man." I say I have
difficulty in thinking that this man worked for Jesus like that. And yet
what more natural and proper, both for him and for us? And what a
difference it might have made in many a man's life. _Powerless_ for
Jesus because of timidity! Is that the kind _you_ are? Possibly some one
thinks that rather hard on this man. Maybe you are thinking of that
other member of the Sanhedrin--Joseph of Arimathea--who was also a
follower of Jesus, and that quite possibly he may have been influenced
by Nicodemus. Let us suppose, for Nicodemus' sake, that this is so, and
then mark the brief record of this man Joseph in John's account: "A
disciple _secretly_ for _fear_ of the Jews." If we may fairly presume
that it was Nicodemus' influence that led his friend Joseph to follow
Jesus, yet he had led him no nearer than he himself had gone! He _could_
lead him no higher or nearer than that.

John in his gospel makes plain the fact that Jesus suffered much from
these secret, timid, cowardly disciples whose fear of men gripped them
as in a vise. Five times he makes special mention of these people who
believed Jesus, but cravenly feared to line up with Him.[1] He even says
that _many_ of the _rulers_--the very class that plotted and voted His
death--believed Jesus, but that _fear_ of _the others_ shut their lips
and drove them into the shadow when they could have helped Him most.
These people seem to have left numerous descendants, many of whom
continue with us unto this day.


Tightly Tied Up.

Turn now to the eleventh chapter and you will find another pictorial
suggestion of this same sort of _powerless christian_, though in this
instance made so by another reason. It is the Bethany Chapter, the
Lazarus Chapter. The scene is just out of Bethany village. There is a
man lying dead in the cave yonder. Here stands Jesus. There are the
disciples, and Martha, and Mary, and the villagers, and a crowd from
Jerusalem. The Master is speaking. His voice rings out clear and
commanding--"Lazarus, come forth"--speaking to a dead man. And the
simple record runs, "He that _was_ dead"--life comes between those two
lines of the record--"came forth, bound hand and foot with
grave-clothes, and his face was bound about with a napkin." Will you
please take a look at Lazarus as he steps from the tomb? Do you think
his eyes are dull, or his cheeks hollow and pale? I think not! When
Jesus, the Lord of life, gives life, either physical or spiritual, He
gives abundant life. That face may have been a bit spare. There had been
no food for at least four days and likely longer. But there is the
flash of health in his eye and the ruddy hue of good blood in his cheek.
He has life. But look closer. He is bound hand and foot and face. He can
neither walk nor work nor speak.

I have met some christian people who reminded me forcibly of that scene.
They are christians. The Master has spoken life, and they have responded
to His word. But they are so tied up with the grave-clothes of the old
life that there can be none of the power of free action in life or
service. May I ask you very kindly, but very plainly, are you like that?
Is that the reason you have so little power with God, and for God?
Perhaps some one would say, "Just what do you mean?" I mean this: that
there may be some personal habit of yours, or perhaps some society
custom which you practice, or it may be some business method, or
possibly an old friendship which you have carried over into the new life
from the old that is seriously hindering your christian life. It may be
something that goes into your mouth or comes out of it that prevents
those lips speaking for the Master. Perhaps it is some organization you
belong to. If there is lack of freedom and power for Christ you may be
sure there is _something_ that is blighting your life and dwarfing your
usefulness. It may possibly be that practically in your daily life you
are exerting no more power for God than a dead man! A christian, indeed,
but _without power because of compromise_ with something questionable
or outrightly wrong! Is that so with you? I do not say it is, for I do
not know. But _you_ know. The hungry, critical world knows. Subtle, keen
Satan knows. The Lord Jesus knows. Do you know if that describes you?
You may know with certainty within twenty-four hours if you wish to and
will to. May we be willing to have the Spirit's searchlight turned in
upon us to-night.


The Master's Ideal.

There is another kind of christian, an utterly different kind, spoken of
and illustrated in this same Gospel of John, and I doubt not many of
them also are here. It is _Jesus' ideal_ of what a christian should be.
Have you sometimes wished you could have a few minutes of quiet talk
with Jesus? I mean face to face, as two of us might sit and talk
together. You have thought you would ask Him to say very simply and
plainly just what He expects of you. Well, I believe He would answer in
words something like those of this seventh chapter of John. It was at
the time of Feast of Tabernacles. There was a vast multitude of Jews
there from all parts of the world. It was like an immense convention,
but larger than any convention we know. The people were not entertained
in the homes, but lived for seven days in leafy booths made of branches
of trees. It was the last day of the feast. There was a large concourse
of people gathered in one of the temple areas; not women, but men; not
sitting, but standing. Up yonder stand the priests, pouring water out of
large jars, to symbolize the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the
nation of Israel. Just then Jesus speaks, and amid the silence of the
intently watching throng His voice rings out: "If any man thirst let him
come unto Me and drink; he that believeth on Me, as the Scripture saith,
_out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water_." Mark that
significant closing clause. That packs into a sentence Jesus' ideal of
what a true christian down in this world should be, and may be. Every
word is full of meaning.

The heart of the sentence is in the last word--"water." _Water_ is an
essential of life. Absence of water means suffering and sickness, dearth
and death. Plenty of good water means _life_. All the history of the
world clusters about the water courses. Study the history of the rivers,
the seashores, and lake edges, and you know the history of the earth.
Those men who heard Jesus speak would instinctively think of the Jordan.
It was their river. Travelers say that no valley exceeded in beauty and
fruitfulness that valley of the Jordan, made so by those swift waters.
No hillside so fair in their green beauty, nor so wealthy in heavy loads
of fruit as those sloping down to the edge of that stream. Now plainly
Jesus is talking of something that may, through us, exert as decided an
influence upon the lives of those we touch as water has exerted, and
still exerts, on the history of the earth, and as this Jordan did in
that wonderful, historic Palestine. Mark the quantity of
water--"rivers." Not a Jordan merely, that would be wonderful enough,
but Jordans--a Jordan, and a Nile, and a Euphrates, a Yang Tse Kiang,
and an Olga and a Rhine, a Seine and a Thames, and a Hudson and an
Ohio--"_rivers_." Notice, too, the _kind_ of water. Like this racing,
turbulent, muddy Jordan? No, no! "rivers of _living_ water," "water of
_life_, clear as crystal." You remember in Ezekiel's vision which we
read together that the waters constantly increased in depth, and that
everywhere they went there was healing, and abundant life, and
prosperity, and beauty, and food, and a continual harvest the year
round, and all because of the waters of the river. They were veritable
waters of life.

Now mark that little, but very significant, phrase--"_Out of_"--not
_into_, but "out of." All the difference in the lives of men lies in the
difference between these two expressions. "Into" is the world's
preposition. Every stream turns in; and that means _a dead sea_. Many a
man's life is simply the coast line of a dead sea. "Out of" is the
Master's word. His thought is of others. The stream must flow in, and
must flow through, if it is to flow out, but it is judged by its
direction, and Jesus would turn it outward. There must be good
connections upward, and a clear channel inward, but the objective point
is outward toward a parched earth. But before it can flow out it must
_fill up_. An _out_flow in this case means an _over_flow. There must be
a flooding inside before there can be a flowing out. And let the fact be
carefully marked that it is only the overflow from the fullness within
our own lives that brings refreshing to anyone else. A man praying at a
conference in England for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit said: "O,
Lord, we can't hold much, but we can overflow lots." That is exactly the
Master's thought. "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."

Do you remember that phrase in the third chapter of Joshua--"For Jordan
overfloweth all its banks all the time of harvest." When there was a
flood in the river, there was a harvest in the land. Has there been a
harvest in your life? A harvest of the fruit of the spirit--love, joy,
peace, long-suffering; a harvest of souls? "No," do you say, "not much
of a harvest, I am afraid," or it may be your heart says "none at all."
Is it hard to tell why? Has there been a flood-tide in your heart, a
filling up from above until the blessed stream had to find an outlet
somewhere, and produce a harvest? A harvest outside means a rising of
the tide inside. A flooding of the heart always brings a harvest in the
life. A few years ago there were great floods in the southern states,
and the cotton and corn crops following were unprecedented. Paul
reminded his Roman friends that when the Holy Spirit has free swing in
the life "the love of God _floods_ our hearts."[2]

Please notice, too, the _source_ of the stream--"out of his belly." Will
you observe for a moment the rhetorical figure here? I used to suppose
it meant "out of his _heart_." The ancients, you remember, thought the
heart lay down in the abdominal region. But you will find that this book
is very exact in its use of words. The blood is the life. The heart
pumps the blood, but the stomach makes it. The seat of life is not in
the heart, but in the stomach. If you will take down a book of
physiology, and find the chart showing the circulation of the blood, you
will see a wonderful network of lines spreading out in every direction,
but all running, through lighter lines into heavier, and still blacker,
until every line converges in the great stomach artery. _And everywhere
the blood goes there is life._ Now turn to a book of physical geography
and get a map showing the water system of some great valley like the
Mississippi, and you will find a striking reproduction of the other
chart. And if you will shut your eyes and imagine the reality back of
that chart, you will see hundreds of cool, clear springs flowing
successively into runs, brooks, creeks, larger streams, river branches,
rivers, and finally into the great river--the reservoir of all. _And
everywhere the waters go there is life._ The only difference between
these two streams of life is in the direction. The blood flows from the
largest toward the smallest; the water flows from the smallest toward
the largest. Both bring life with its accompaniments of beauty and vigor
and fruitfulness. There is Jesus' picture of the Christian down in the
world. As the red stream flows out from the stomach, and, propelled by
the force-pump of the heart, through a marvelous network of minute
rivers takes life to every part of the body, so "he that believeth on
Me"--that is the vital connecting link with the great origin of this
stream of life--out of the very source of life within him shall go _a
flood-tide of life_, bringing refreshing, and cleansing, and beauty, and
vigor everywhere within the circle of his life, even though, like the
red streams and the water streams, he be unconscious of it.


An Unlikely Channel.

What a marvelous conception of the power of life! How strikingly it
describes Jesus' own earthly life! But there is something more marvelous
still--He means that ideal to become real in you, my friend, and in me.
I doubt not there are some here whose eager hearts are hungry for just
such a life, but who are tremblingly conscious of their own weakness.
Your thoughts are saying: "I wish I _could_ live such a life, but
certainly this is not for _me_; this man talking doesn't know _me_--no
special talent or opportunity: such strong tides of temptation that
sweep me clean off my feet--not for me." Ah, my friend, I verily believe
you are the very one the Master had in mind, for He had John put into
his gospel a living illustration of this ideal of His that goes down to
the very edge of human unlikeliness and inability. He goes down to the
lowest so as to include all. What proved true in this case may prove
true with you, and much more. The story is in the fourth chapter. It is
a sort of advance page of the Book of Acts. A sample of the power of
Pentecost before the day of Pentecost. You and I live on the flood-side
of Pentecost. This illustration belongs back where the streams had only
just commenced trickling. It is a miniature. You and I may furnish the
life-size if we will.

It is the story of a woman; not a man, but a woman. One of the _weaker_
sex, so called. She was ignorant, prejudiced, and without social
standing. She was a woman of no reputation. Aye, worse than that, of bad
reputation. She probably had less moral influence in her town than any
one here has in his circle. Could a more unlikely person have been used?
But she came in touch with the Lord Jesus. She yielded herself to that
touch. There lies the secret of what follows. That contact radically
changed her. She went back to her village and commenced speaking about
Jesus to those she knew. She could not preach; she simply told plainly
and earnestly what she knew and believed about Him. And the result is
startling. There are hundreds of ministers who are earnestly longing
for what came so easily to her. What modern people call a revival began
at once. We are told in the simple language of the Gospel record that
"_many believed on Him because of the word of the woman._" They had not
seen Jesus yet. He was up by the well. They were down in the village.
She was an ignorant woman, of formerly sinful life. But there is the
record of the wonderful result of her simple witnessing--they believed
on Jesus because of the word of that woman. There is only one way to
account for such results. Only the Holy Spirit speaking through her lips
could have produced them. She had commenced drinking of the living water
of which Jesus had been talking to her, and now already the rivers were
flowing out to others.

What Jesus did with her, He longs to do with you, _and far more_, if you
will let Him; though his plan for using you may be utterly different
from the one He had for her, and so the particular results different.
Now let me ask very frankly why have we not all such power for our
Master as she? The Master's plan is plain. He said "ye shall have
power." But so many of us do not have! Why not? Well, possibly some of
us are like Nicodemus--there is no power because of timidity, cowardice,
fear of what _they_ will think, or say. Possibly some of us are in the
same condition spiritually that Lazarus was in physically. We are tied
up tight, hands and feet and face. Some sin, some compromise, some
hushing of that inner voice, _something_ wrong. Some little thing, you
may say. Humph! as though anything _could_ be little that is wrong! _Sin
is never little!_


A Clogged Channel.

Out in Colorado they tell of a little town nestled down at the foot of
some hills--a sleepy-hollow village. You remember the rainfall is very
slight out there, and they depend much upon irrigation. But some
enterprising citizens ran a pipe up the hills to a lake of clear, sweet
water. As a result the town enjoyed a bountiful supply of water the year
round without being dependent upon the doubtful rainfall. And the
population increased and the place had quite a western boom. One morning
the housewives turned the water spigots, but no water came. There was
some sputtering. There is apt to be noise when there is nothing else.
The men climbed the hill. There was the lake full as ever. They examined
around the pipes as well as possible, but could find no break. Try as
they might, they could find no cause for the stoppage. And as days grew
into weeks, people commenced moving away again, the grass grew in the
streets, and the prosperous town was going back to its old sleepy
condition when one day one of the town officials received a note. It was
poorly written, with bad spelling and grammar, but he never cared less
about writing or grammar than just then. It said in effect: "Ef you'll
jes pull the plug out of the pipe about eight inches from the top you'll
get all the water you want." Up they started for the top of the hill,
and examining the pipe, found the plug which some vicious tramp had
inserted. Not a very big plug--just big enough to fill the pipe. It is
surprising how large a reservoir of water can be held back by how small
a plug. Out came the plug; down came the water freely; by and by back
came prosperity again.

_Why_ is there such a lack of power in our lives? The reservoir up
yonder is full to overflowing, with clear, sweet, life-giving water. And
here all around us the earth is so dry, so thirsty, cracked open--huge
cracks like dumb mouths asking mutely for what we should give. And the
connecting pipes between the reservoir above and the parched plain below
are there. Why then do not the refreshing waters come rushing down? The
answer is very plain. You know why. _There is a plug in the pipe._
Something in us clogging up the channel and nothing can get through. How
shall we have power, abundant, life-giving, sweetening our own lives,
and changing those we touch? The answer is easy for me to give--it will
be much harder for us all to do--_pull out the plug_. Get out the thing
that you know is hindering.

I am going to ask every one who will, to offer this simple prayer--and I
am sure every thoughtful, earnest man and woman here will. Just bow
your head and quietly under your breath say to Him: "Lord Jesus, show
me what there is in my life that is displeasing to Thee; what there is
Thou wouldst change." You may be sure He will. He is faithful. He will
put His finger on that tender spot very surely. Then add a second clause
to that prayer--"By Thy grace helping me, _I will put it out_ whatever
it may cost, or wherever it may cut." Shall we bow our heads and offer
that prayer, and hew close to that line, steadily, faithfully? It will
open up a life of marvelous blessing undreamed of for you and everyone
you touch.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] John 3:1. 7:50. 12:42 with 9:22. 19:38, 39.

[2] Rom. 5:5.



THE OLIVET MESSAGE.

Searchlight Sights.


Coming into Cleveland harbor one evening, just after nightfall, a number
of passengers were gathered on the upper deck eagerly watching the
colored breakwater lights and the city lights beyond. Suddenly a general
curiosity was aroused by a small boat of some sort, on the left,
scudding swiftly along in the darkness like a blacker streak on the
black waters. A few of us who chanced to be near the captain on the
smaller deck above, heard him quietly say, "Turn on the searchlight."
Almost instantly an intense white light shone full on the stranger-boat,
bringing it to view so distinctly that we could almost count the
nail-heads, and the strands in her cordage.

If some of us here to-night have made the prayer suggested in our last
talk together--Lord Jesus, show me what there is in my life that is
displeasing to Thee, that Thou wouldst change--we will appreciate
something of the power of that Lake Erie searchlight. There is a
searchlight whiter, intenser, more keenly piercing than any other. Into
every heart that desires, and will hold steadily open to it, the Lord
Jesus will turn that searching light. Then you will begin to see things
_as they actually are_. And that sight may well lead to discouragement.
Many a hidden thing, which you are glad enough to have hidden, will be
plainly seen. How is it possible, you will be ready to ask, for me to
lead the life the Master's ambition has planned for me, with such mixed
motives, selfish ambitions, sinfulness and weakness as I am beginning to
get a glimpse of--how is it possible?

There is one answer to that intense heart-question, and only one. _We
must have power_, some supernatural power, something outside of us, and
above us, and far greater than we, to come in and win the victory within
us and for us.

If that young man whose inner life is passion-swept, one tidal wave of
fierce temptation, hot on the heels of the last, until all the moorings
are snapped, and he driven rudderless out to sea--if he is to ride
masterfully upon that sea _he must have power_.

If that young woman is to be as attractive, and womanly winsome in the
society circle where she moves, as she is meant to be, and yet able to
shape her lips into a gently uttered, but rock-ribbed _no_ when certain
well-understood questionable matters come up, _she must have power_. If
society young people are to remain in the world, and yet not be swayed
by its spirit: on one side not prudish, nor fanatical, nor extreme, but
cheery, and radiant, and full-lived, and yet free of those compromising
entanglements that are common to society everywhere, _they must have a
rare pervasive power_.

For that business man down in the sharp competition of the world where
duty calls him, to resist the sly temptations to overreach, to keep
keenly alert not to be overreached; and through all to preserve an
uncensorious spirit, unhurt by the selfishness of the crowd--tell me,
some of you men--_will that not take power_? Aye, more power than some
of us know about, yet.

For that same man to go through his store and remove from shelf or
counter some article which yields a good profit, but which he knows his
Master would not have there--Ah! _that'll take power_.

_It takes power_ to keep the body under control: the mouth clean and
sweet, both physically and morally: the eye turned away from the thing
that should not be thought about: the ear closed to what should not
enter that in-gate of the heart: to allow no picture to hang upon the
walls of your imagination that may not hang upon the walls of your home:
to keep every organ of the body pure for nature's holy function
only--_that takes mighty power_.

For that young man to be wide-awake, a pusher in business, and yet
steadily, determinedly to hold back any crowding of the other side of
his life: the inner side, the outer-helpful side, the Bible-reading-
and secret-prayer- and quiet personal-work-side of his life, _that will
take real power_.

_It will take a power_ that some of us have not known to let that glass
go untouched, and that quieting drug untasted and unhandled. If the rear
end of some pharmacies could speak out, many a story would startle our
ears of struggles and defeats that tell sadly of utter lack of power.

_It takes power_ for the man of God in the pulpit to speak plainly about
particular sins before the faces of those who are living in them; and
_still more power_ to do it with the rare tactfulness and tenderness of
the Galilean preacher. _It takes power_ to stick to the Gospel story and
the old book, when literature and philosophy present such fine
opportunities for the essays that are so enjoyable and that bring such
flattering notice. _It takes power_ to leave out the finely woven
rhetoric that you are disposed to put in for the sake of the compliment
it will bring from that literary woman down yonder, or that bright,
brainy young lawyer in the fifth pew on the left aisle. _It takes power_
to see that the lips that speak for God are thoroughly clean lips, and
the life that stands before that audience a pure life.

_It takes power_ to keep sweet in the home, where, if anywhere, the
seamy side is apt to stick out. How many wooden oaths could kicked
chairs and slammed doors tell of! After all the home-life comes close to
being the real test of power, does it not? _It takes power_ to be
gracious and strong, and patient and tender, and cheery, in the
commonplace things, and the commonplace places, does it not?

Now, I have something to tell you to-night that to me is very
wonderful, and constantly growing in wonder. It is this--_the Master has
thought of all that!_ He has thought into your life. Yes, I mean _your
particular life_, and made an arrangement to fully cover all your need
of power. He stands anew in our midst to-day, and putting His pierced
hand gently upon your arm, His low, loving, clear voice says quietly,
but very distinctly, "_You--you shall have power._" For every subtle,
strong temptation, for every cry of need, for every low moan of
disappointment, for every locking of the jaws in the resolution of
despair, for every disheartened look out into the morrow, for every
yearningly ambitious heart there comes to-night that unmistakable
ringing promise of _His_--_ye shall have power_.


The Olivet Message.

Our needs argue the necessity of power. And the argument is strengthened
by the peculiar emphasis of the Master's words. Do you remember that
wondrous Olivet scene? In the quiet twilight of a Sabbath evening a
group of twelve young men stand yonder on the brow of Olives. The last
glowing gleams of the setting sun fill all the western sky, and shed a
halo of yellow glory-light over the hilltop, through the trees, in upon
that group. You instantly pick out the leader. No mistaking Him. And
around Him group the eleven men who have lived with Him these months
past, now eagerly gazing into that marvelous face, listening for His
words. He is going away. They know that. Coming back soon, they
understand. But in His absence the work He has begun is to be entrusted
to their hands. And so with ears and eyes they listen intently for the
good-bye word--His last message. It will mean so much in the coming
days.

Two things the Master says. The first is that ringing "go ye" so
familiar to every true heart. The second is a very decisive, distinct
"_but tarry ye_." What, wait still longer! Tarry, now, when your great
work is done! Listen again, while His parting words cut the air with
their startling distinctness "_but tarry ye--until ye be endued with
power_."

I could readily imagine impulsive Peter quickly saying, "What! shall we
_tarry_ when the whole world is dying! Do we not _know_ enough now?" And
the Master's answer would come in that clear, quiet voice of His, "yes,
tarry: you have knowledge enough, but _knowledge is not enough_, there
must be power."

There is knowledge enough within the christian church of every
land--aye, knowledge enough within the walls of this building to-night
to convert the world, if knowledge would do it. Into many a life,
through home training, and school, and college, has come knowledge,
while power lingers without--a stranger. Knowledge--the twin idol with
gold to American hearts--is essential, but, let it be plainly said, is
not _the_ essential. Knowledge is the fuel piled up in the fireplace.
The mantel is of carved oak, and the fenders so highly polished they
seem almost to send out warmth, but the thermometer is working down
toward zero, and the people are shivering. The spark of living fire is
essential. Then how all changes! There must be fire from above to kindle
our knowledge and ourselves before any of the needed results will come.

There is no language strong enough to tell how absolutely needful it is
that every follower of Jesus Christ from the one most prominent in
leadership down to the very humblest disciple, shall receive this
promised power.

Look at these men Jesus is talking to. There is Peter, the man of rock,
and John and James, the sons of thunder. They were with the Lord on the
Transfiguration Mount, and when He raised the dead. They were near by
during the awful agony of Gethsemane. They were admitted nearer to the
Master's inner life than any others. There is quiet matter-of-fact
Andrew, who had a reputation for bringing others to Jesus. There is
Nathanael, in whom is no guile. It is to these men that there comes that
positive command to tarry. If _they_ needed such a command, do not we?

"Yes," someone says, "I understand that this power you speak of is
something the leaders and preachers must have, but you scarcely mean
that there is the same necessity for us people down in the ranks, and
that we are to expect the same power as these others, do you?" Will you
please call to mind that original Pentecost company? There were one
hundred and twenty of them. And while there was a Peter being prepared
to preach that tremendous sermon, and a John to write five books of the
New Testament and probably a James to preside over the affairs of the
Jerusalem Church, and possibly a Stephen, and a Philip, yet these are
only a few. By far the greater number, both men and women, are unnamed
and unknown. Just the common, every-day folk, the filling-in of society;
aye, the very foundation of all society. They had no prominent part to
play. But they accepted the Master's promise of power, and His command
to wait, _as made to them_. And as a result _they, too_, were filled
with the Holy Spirit, that wonderful morning. I think, very likely, "the
good man of the house" whose guest Jesus was that last night was there,
and all the Marys, including the Bethany Mary, who simply sat at His
feet, and the Magdalene Mary, and housekeeper Martha, and maybe that
little lad whose loaves and fishes had been used about a year before.
That was the sort of company that prayerfully, with one accord, not only
waited but _received_ that never-to-be-forgotten filling of the Holy
Spirit.

Certainly, as some of you think, the preacher must have this power
peculiarly for his leadership. But just as really he needs it _because
he is a man for his living_, to make him sweet and gentle and patient
down in his home: to make him sympathetic and strong in his constant
contact with the hungry hearts he must meet. That young mechanic must
have this promised power if he is to live an earnest, manly life in that
shop. That school girl, whose home duties crowd her time so; that
keen-minded student working for honors amid strong competition; these
society young people; these all need, above all else, this promised
power that in, and through, and around and above all of their lives may
be a wholesomely sweet, earnest Christliness, pervading the life even as
the odor of flowers pervades a room.

Do you remember Paul's list of the traits of character that mark a
christian life--love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness,
meekness, faithfulness, self-control?[3] Suppose for a moment you think
through a list of the opposites of those nine
characteristics--bitterness, envy, hate, low-spiritedness, sulkiness,
chafing, fretting, worrying, short-suffering, quick-temper, hot-temper,
high-spiritedness, unsteadiness, unreliability, lack of control of
yourself. May I ask, have you any personal acquaintance with some of
these qualities? Is there still some need in your life for the other
desirable traits? Well, remember that it is only as the Holy Spirit has
_control_ that this fruit of His is found. For notice that it is not we
that bear this fruit, but He in us. We furnish the soil. He must have
free swing in its cultivation if He is to get this harvest. And notice,
too, that it does not say "the _fruits_ of the Spirit," as though _you_
might have one or more, and _I_ have some others. But it is
"fruit"--that is, it is all one fruit and all of it is meant to be
growing up in each one of us. And let the fact be put down as settled
once for all that only as we tarry and receive the Master's promise of
power can we live the lives He longs to have us live down here among men
for Him.

If that father is so to live at home before those wide-awake, growing
boys that he can keep up the family altar, and instead of letting it
become a mere irksome form, make it the green, fresh spot in the home
life, he must have this promised power, for he cannot do it of himself.
I presume _some_ of you fathers know that.

There is that mother, living in what would be reckoned a humble home,
one of a thousand like it, but charged with the most sacred trust ever
committed to human hands--_the molding of precious lives_. If there be
hallowed ground anywhere surely it is there, in the life of that home.
What patience and tirelessness, and love and tact and wisdom and wealth
of resource does that woman not need! Ah, mothers! if any one needs to
tarry and receive the power promised by the Son of that Mary, who was
filled with the Holy Spirit from before His birth for her sacred trust,
_surely you do_.

Here sits one whose life plans seem to have gone all askew. The thing
you love to do, and had fondly planned over, removed utterly beyond
your reach and you compelled to fit in to something for which you have
no taste. It will take nothing less than the power the Master promised
for you to go on faithfully, cheerfully just where you have been placed,
no repining, no complaining, even in your innermost soul, but, instead,
a glad, joyous fitting into the Father's plan with a radiant light in
the face. Only His power can accomplish that victory! But _His can_. And
His may be yours for the tarrying and the taking.

Let me repeat then with all the emphasis possible that as certainly as
you need to trust Jesus Christ for your soul's salvation, you also need
to receive this power of the Holy Spirit to work that salvation out _in
your present life_.


A Double Center.

It has helped me greatly in understanding the Master's insistent
emphasis upon the promise of power to keep clearly in mind that the
christian system of truth revolves around a double center. It is
illustrated best not by a circle with its single center, but by an
ellipse with its twin centers. There are two central truths--not one,
but two. The first of the two is grained deep down in the common
Christian teaching and understanding. If I should ask any group of
Sabbath school children in this town, next Sabbath morning, the
question: What is the most important thing we christians believe? Amid
the great variety in the form of answer would come, in substance,
without doubt, this reply: "_The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from
all sin._" And they would be right. But there is a second truth--very
reverently and thoughtfully let me say--of _equal importance_ with that;
namely, this: _the Holy Spirit empowereth against all sin, and for life
and service_. These two truths are co-ordinate. They run in parallel
lines. They belong together. They are really two halves of the one great
truth. But this second half needs emphasis, because it has not always
been put into its proper place beside the other.

Jesus died on the cross to make freedom from sin _possible_. The Holy
Spirit dwells within me to make freedom from sin _actual_. The Holy
Spirit does _in_ me what Jesus did _for_ me. The Lord Jesus makes a
deposit in the bank on my account. The Spirit checks the money out and
puts it into my hands. Jesus does in me now by His Spirit what He did
for me centuries ago on the cross, in His person.

Now these two truths, or two parts of the same truth, go together in
God's plan, but, with some exceptions, have not gone together in men's
experience. That explains why so many christian lives are a failure and
a reproach. The Church of Christ has been gazing so intently upon the
hill of the cross with its blood-red message of sin and love, that it
has largely lost sight of the Ascension Mount with its legacy of power.
We have been so enwrapt with that marvelous scene on Calvary--and what
wonder!--that we have allowed ourselves to lose the intense significance
of Pentecost. That last victorious shout--"It is finished"--has been
crowding out in our ears its counterpart--the equally victorious cry of
Olivet--"_All power hath been given unto Me._"

The christian's range of vision must always take in two
hill-tops--Calvary and Olivet. Calvary--sin conquered through the blood
of Jesus, a matter of history. Olivet--sin conquered through the power
of Jesus, a matter of experience. When the subject is spoken of, we are
apt to say: "Yes, that is correct. I understand that." But _do_ we
understand it in our _experience_? So certainly as I must trust Jesus as
my Saviour so certainly must I constantly yield my life to the control
of the Spirit of Jesus if I am to find real the practical power of His
salvation.

As surely as men are now urged to accept Jesus as the great step in
life, so surely should they be instructed to yield themselves to the
Holy Spirit's control that Jesus' plan for their lives may be carried
through.

You remember in the olden time the Hebrew men were required to appear
before God in the appointed place three times during the year. At the
Passover, and at Pentecost, and again at the harvest home feast of
Tabernacles. So it is required of every man of us who would fit his
life into God's plan that he shall first of all come to the Passover
feast, where Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us. And then that he
shall as certainly come to the great Pentecost feast, or feast of first
fruits where a glorified Passover Lamb breathes down His Spirit of power
into the life. And then he is sure to have a constant attendance at a
first-fruits feast all his days, with a great harvest home festival at
the end.

I said there were two central truths. Will you notice that the gospels
put it also in this way, that _Jesus came to do two things_--not one
thing, but _two_ things--in working out our salvation. That the first is
dependent for its practical power upon the second, and the second is the
completing or carrying into effect of the power of the first. That the
first--let me say it with great reverence--is valueless without the
second.

What _was_ Jesus' mission? Would you not expect His forerunner to
understand it? Listen, then, to his words. When questioned specifically
by the official deputation sent from the national leaders at Jerusalem,
he pointed to Jesus, and declared that He had come for a two-fold
purpose. Listen: "Behold the Lamb of God who beareth away the sin of the
world"; and then he added, and the word comes to us with the peculiar
emphasis of repetition by each of the four gospel scribes--"this is He
that baptizeth with the Holy Spirit." That was spoken to them originally
without doubt in a national sense. It just as surely applies to every
one of us in a personal sense.

Mark also the emphasis of _Jesus' own teachings_ regarding this second
part of His mission. At the very beginning He spoke the decided words
about the necessity of being born of the Spirit. And we are all
impressed with that fact. But observe that several times, in the brief
gospel record, He refers the disciples to the overshadowing importance
of the _Spirit's control in the life_. And that He devotes a large part
of that last long confidential talk which John records, to this special
subject, pointing out the new experiences to come with the coming of the
Spirit, and holding out to them as the greatest evidence of His own love
_the promise of power_.

It adds intense emphasis to all this to note that Jesus Himself, very
Son of God, was in that wonderful human life of His utterly dependent
upon the Holy Spirit. At the very outset, before venturing upon a single
act or word of His appointed ministry, He waits at the Jordan waters,
until the promised anointing of power came. What a picture does that
prayerfully waiting Jesus present to powerless men to-day! From that
moment every bit and part of His life was under the control of that Holy
Spirit. Impelled into the wilderness for that fierce set-to with Satan,
coming back to Galilee within the power of the Spirit, He himself
clearly stated more than once, that it was through this anointing that
He preached, and taught, and healed, and cast out demons. The writer to
the Hebrews assures us that it was through the power of the Eternal
Spirit that He was enabled to go through the awful experiences of
Gethsemane and Calvary. And Luke adds that it was through the same
empowering Spirit that He gave commandment to the apostles for the
stupendous task of world-wide evangelization. And then at the very last
referring them to that life of His, He said: "As the father hath sent Me
even so send I you." Let me ask if He, very God of very God, yet in His
earthly life intensely human, needed that anointing, do not we? If He
waited for that experience before venturing upon any service, shall not
you and I?

But we must turn to the book of Acts to get fully within the grip of
this truth. For it, with the epistles fitting into it, is peculiarly the
_Holy Spirit book_, even as the Old Testament is the _Jehovah book_ and
the gospels with Revelation the _Jesus book_. The climax of the gospels
is in the Acts. What is promised in the gospels is _experienced_ in the
Acts.

Jesus is dominant in the gospels; the Spirit of Jesus in the Acts. He is
the only continuous personality from first to last. He is the common
denominator of the book. The first twelve chapters group about Peter,
the remaining sixteen about Paul, but distinctly above both they all
group about the Holy Spirit. He is the one dominant factor throughout.
The first fourth of the book is fairly aflame with His presence at the
center--Jerusalem. Thence out to Samaria, and through the Cornelius
door to the whole outer non-Jewish world; at Antioch the new center, and
thence through the uttermost parts of the Roman empire into its heart,
His is the presence recognized and obeyed. He is ceaselessly guiding,
empowering, inspiring, checking, controlling clear to the abrupt end.
His is the one mastering personality. And everywhere His presence is a
transforming presence. Nothing short of startling is the change in
Peter, in the attitude of the Jerusalem thousands, in the persecutor
Saul, in the spirit of these disciples, in the unprecedented and
unparalleled unselfishness shown. It is revolutionary. Ah! it was meant
to be so. This book is the living illustration of what Jesus meant by
His teaching regarding His successor. It becomes also an acted
illustration of what the personal christian life is meant to be.

The Spirit's presence and the necessity of His control is deep-grained
in the consciousness of the leaders in this book. Leaving the stirring
scenes at the capital the eighth chapter takes us down to Samaria.
Multitudes have been led to believe through the preaching of a man who
has been chosen to look after the business matters of the church. Peter
and John are sent down to aid the new movement. Note that their very
first concern is to spend time in prayer that this great company may
receive the Holy Spirit.

The next chapter shifts the scene to Damascus. A man unknown save for
this incident is sent as God's messenger to Saul. As he lays his hand
upon this chosen man and speaks the light-giving words he instinctively
adds, "and be filled with the Holy Spirit." That is not recorded as a
part of what he had been told to do. But plainly this humble man of God
believes that that is the essential element in Saul's preparation for
his great work.

In the tenth chapter the Holy Spirit's action with Cornelius completely
upsets the life-long, rock-rooted ideas of these intensely national, and
intensely exclusive Jews. Yet it is accepted as final.

With what quaint simplicity does the thirteenth chapter tell of the Holy
Spirit's initiation of those great missionary journeys of Paul from the
new center of world evangelization? "the Holy Spirit said, etc." And how
like it is the language of James in delivering the judgment of the first
church council:--"it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us."

Paul's conviction is very plain from numerous references in those
wonderful heart-searching and heart-revealing letters of his. But one
instance in this Book of Acts will serve as a fair illustration of his
teaching and habit. It is in the nineteenth chapter. In his travels he
has come as far as to Ephesus, and finds there a small company of
earnest disciples. They are strangers to him. He longs to help them, but
must first find their need. At once he puts a question to them. A
question may be a great revealer. This one reveals his own conception
of what must be the pivotal experience of every true follower of Jesus.
He asks: "Did ye receive the Holy Spirit when ye believed?"

But they had been poorly instructed, like many others since, and were
not clear just what he meant. They had received the baptism of John--a
baptism of repentance; but not the baptism of Jesus--a baptism of power.
And Paul at once gives himself up to instructing and then praying with
them until the promised gift is graciously bestowed. That is the last we
hear of those twelve persons. Some of them may have been women. Some may
have come to be leaders in that great Ephesian Church. But of that
nothing is said. The emphasis remains on the fact that in Paul's mind
because they were followers of the Lord Jesus they must have this
empowering experience of the Holy Spirit's infilling.

Plainly in this Book of Acts the pivot on which all else rests and turns
is the unhindered presence of the Holy Spirit.


Five Essentials.

If you will stop a while to think into it you will find that a rightly
rounded christian life has five essential characteristics. I mean
essential in the same sense as that light is an essential to the eye.
The eye's seeing depends wholly on light. If it does not see light, by
and by, it cannot see light. The ear that hears no sound loses the
power to hear sound. Light is essential to the healthful eye: sound to
the ear: air to the lungs: blood to the heart. Just as really are these
five things essential to a strong healthful christian life.

The _second_ of these is a heart-love for the old Book of God. Not
reading it as a duty--taking a chapter at night because you feel you
must. I do not mean that just now. But reading it because you _love_ to;
as you would a love letter or a letter from home. Thinking about it as
the writer of the one hundred and nineteenth psalm did. Listen to him
for a moment in that one psalm, talking about this book: "I delight," "I
will delight," "My delight"--in all nine times. "I love," "Oh! how I
love," "I do love," "Consider how I love," "I love exceedingly," again
nine times in all. "I have longed," "My eyes fail," "My soul breaketh,"
speaking of the intensity of his desire to get alone with the book.
"Sweeter than honey," "As great spoil," "As much as all riches," "Better
than thousands of gold," "Above gold, yea, above fine gold." And all
that packed into less than two leaves. Do you love this Book like that?
Would you like to? Wait a moment.

The _third_ essential is right habits of prayer. Living a veritable life
of prayer. Making prayer the chief part not alone of your life, but of
your service. Having answers to prayer as a constant experience. Being
like the young man in a conference in India, who said, "I used to pray
three times a day: Now I pray only once a day, and that is _all_ day."
Feet busy all the day, hands ceaselessly active, head full of matters of
business, but the heart never out of communication with Him. Has prayer
become to you like that? Would you have it so? Wait a moment.

The _fourth_ essential is a pure, earnest, unselfish life. Our lives are
the strongest part of us--or else the weakest. A man knows the least of
the influence of his own life. Life is not mere length of time but the
daily web of character we unconsciously weave. Our thoughts,
imaginations, purposes, motives, love, will, are the under threads: our
words, tone of voice, looks, acts, habits are the upper threads: and the
passing moment is the shuttle swiftly, ceaselessly, relentlessly,
weaving those threads into a web, and that web is life. It is woven, not
by our wishing, or willing, but irresistibly, unavoidably, woven by what
we _are_, moment by moment, hour after hour. What is your life weaving
out? Is it attractive because of the power in it of _His_ presence?
Would you have it so? Would you know the secret of a life marked by the
strange beauty of humility, and fragrant with the odor of _His_
presence? Wait just a moment.

The _fifth_ essential is a passion for winning others one by one to the
Lord Jesus. A passion, I say. I may use no weaker word than that. A
passion burning with the steady flame of anthracite. A passion for
_winning_: not driving, nor dragging, but drawing men. I am not talking
about preachers just now, as preachers, but about every one of us. Do
you know the peculiar delight there is in winning the fellow by your
side, the girl in your social circle, to Jesus Christ? No? Ah, you have
missed half your life! Would you have such an intense passion as that,
thrilling your heart, and inspiring your life, and know how to do it
skillfully and tactfully?

Let me tell you with my heart that the secret not only of this, but of
all four of these essentials I have named lies in the first one which I
have not yet named, and grows out of it. Given the first the others will
follow as day follows the rising sun.

What is the first great essential? It is this--the unrestrained,
unhindered, controlling presence in the heart of the Holy Spirit. It is
allowing Jesus' other Self, the Holy Spirit, to take full possession and
maintain a loving but absolute monopoly of all your powers.


Tarry.

My friend, have you received this promised power? Is there a growing up
of those four things within you by His grace? Does the Holy Spirit have
freeness of sway in you? Are you conscious of the fullness of His love
and power--conscious enough to know how much there is beyond of which
you are not conscious? Does your heart say, "No." Well, things may be
moving smoothly in that church of which you are pastor, and in that
school over which you preside. Business may be in a satisfactory
condition. Your standing in society may be quite pleasing. Your plans
working out well. The family may be growing up around you as you had
hoped. But let me say to you very kindly but very plainly _your life
thus far is a failure_. You have been succeeding splendidly it may be in
a great many important matters, but they are _the details_ and in the
main issue you have failed utterly.

And to you to-night I bring one message--the Master's Olivet
message--"_tarry ye_." No need of tarrying, as with these disciples, for
_God_ to do something. His part has been done, and splendidly done. And
He waits now upon you. But tarry until you are willing to put out of
your life what displeases Him, no matter what that may mean to you.
Tarry until your eyesight is corrected; until your will is surrendered.
Tarry that you may start the habit of tarrying, for those two Olivet
words, "Go" and "tarry," will become the even-balancing law of your new
life. A constant going to do His will; a continual tarrying to find out
His will. Tarry to get your ears cleared and quieted so you can learn to
recognize that low voice of His. Tarry earnestly, steadily until that
touch of power comes to change, and cleanse, and quiet, and to give you
a totally new conception of what power is. Then you can understand the
experience of the one who wrote:--

    "My hands were filled with many things
      That I did precious hold,
    As any treasure of a king's--
      Silver, or gems, or gold.
    The Master came and _touched_ my hands,
      (The scars were in His own)
    And at His feet my treasures sweet
      Fell shattered, one by one.
    'I must have empty hands,' said He,
      'Wherewith to work My works through thee.'

    "My hands were stained with marks of toil,
      Defiled with dust of earth;
    And I my work did ofttimes soil,
      And render little worth.
    The Master came and _touched_ my hands,
      (And crimson were His own)
    But when, amazed, on mine I gazed,
      Lo! every stain was gone.
    'I must have cleansed hands,' said He,
      'Wherewith to work My works through thee.'

    "My hands were growing feverish
      And cumbered with much care!
    Trembling with haste and eagerness,
      Nor folded oft in prayer.
    The Master came and _touched_ my hands,
      (With healing in His own)
    And calm and still to do His will
      They grew--the fever gone.
    'I must have quiet hands,' said He,
      'Wherewith to work My works for Me.'

    "My hands were strong in fancied strength,
      But not in power divine,
    And bold to take up tasks at length,
      That were not His but mine.
    The Master came and _touched_ my hands,
      (And might was in His own!)
    But mine since then have powerless been,
      _Save His are laid thereon_.
    'And it is only thus,' said He,
      'That I can work My works through thee.'"

FOOTNOTES:

[3] Gal., 5:22.



THE CHANNEL OF POWER.

A Word that Sticks and Stings.


I suppose everyone here can think of three or four persons whom he loves
or regards highly, who are not christians. Can you? Perhaps in your own
home circle, or in the circle of your close friends. They may be nice
people, cultured, lovable, delightful companions, fond of music and good
books, and all that; but this is true of them, that they do not trust
and confess Jesus as a personal Savior. Can you think of such persons in
your own circle? I am going to wait a few moments in silence while you
recall them to mind, if you will--Can you see their faces? Are their
names clear to your minds?

Now I want to talk with you a little while to-night, not about the whole
world, but just about these three or four dear friends of yours. I am
going to suppose them lovely people in personal contact, cultured, and
kindly, and intelligent, and of good habits even though all that may not
be true of all of them. And, I want to ask you a question--God's
question--about them. You remember God put His hand upon Cain's arm,
and, looking into his face, said: "Where is Abel, thy brother?" I want
to ask you that question. Where are these four friends? Not where are
they socially, nor financially, nor educationally. These are important
questions. But they are less important than this other question: Where
are they as touching _Him_? Where are they as regards the best life
here, and the longer life beyond this one?

And I shall not ask you what you think about it. For I am not concerned
just now with what you think. Nor shall I tell you what I think. For I
am not here to tell you what I think, but to bring a message from the
Master as plainly and kindly as I can. So I shall ask you to notice what
this old book of God says about these friends of yours. It is full of
statements regarding them. I can take time for only a few.

Turn, for instance, to the last chapter of Mark's Gospel, and the
sixteenth verse, and you will find these words: "He that believeth and
is baptized shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be--." You know
the last word of that sentence. It is an ugly word. I dislike intensely
to think it, much less repeat it. It is one of those blunt, sharp,
Anglo-Saxon words that stick and sting. I wish I had a tenderer tone of
voice, in which to repeat it, and then only in a low whisper--it is so
awful--"_damned_."

Let me ask you very gently: Does the first part of that sentence--"he
that believeth--trusteth--not," does that describe the four friends you
are thinking of now? And please remember that that word "believeth"
does not mean the assent of the mind to a form of creed: never that: but
the assent of the heart to a person: always that. "Yes," you say "I'm
afraid it does: that is just the one thing. He is thoughtful and
gentlemanly; she is kind and good; but they do not trust Jesus Christ
personally." Then let me add, very kindly, but very plainly, if the
first part is an accurate description of your friends, the second part
is meant to apply to them, too, would you not say? And that is an awful
thing to say.

What a strange book this Bible is! It makes such radical statements, and
uses such unpleasant words that grate on the nerves, and startle the
ear. No man would have dared of himself to write such statements.

I remember one time visiting a friend in Boston, engaged in christian
work there; an earnest man. We were talking one day about this very
thing and I recall saying: "Do you really believe that what the Bible
says about these people can be true? Because if it is you and I should
be tremendously stirred up over it." And I recall distinctly his reply,
after a moment's pause, "Well, their condition certainly will be
unfortunate." _Unfortunate!_ That is the Bostonese of it. That is a much
less disagreeable word. It has a smoother finish--a sort of polish--to
it. It does not jar on your feelings so. But this book uses a very
different word from that, a word that must grate harshly upon every ear
here.

I know very well that some persons have associated that ugly word with a
scene something like this: They have imagined a man standing with fist
clenched, and eyes flashing fire, and the lines of his face knotted up
hard, as he says in a harsh voice, "He that believeth not shall be
damned," as though he found pleasure in saying it. If there is _one_
person here to-night who ever had such a conception, will you kindly cut
it out of your imagination at once? For it is untrue. And put in its
place the true setting of the word.

Have you ever noticed what a difference the manner, and expression of
face, and tone of voice, yes, and the character of a person make in the
impression his words leave upon your mind? Now mark: It is Jesus talking
here. _Jesus_--the tenderest-hearted, the most mother-hearted man this
world ever listened to. Look at Him, standing there on that hilltop,
looking out toward the great world He has just died for, with the tears
coming into His eyes, and His lips quivering with the awfulness of what
He was saying--"he that believeth not shall be damned," as though it
just broke his heart to say it. And it did break His heart that it might
not be true of us. For He died literally of a broken heart, the walls of
that great, throbbing muscle burst asunder by the strain of soul. That
is the true setting of that terrific statement.

Please notice it does not say that God damns men. You will find that
nowhere within the pages of this book. But it is love talking; love that
sees the end of the road and speaks of it. And true love tells the truth
at all risks when it must be told. And Jesus because of His dying and
undying love seeks to make men acquainted with the fact which _He_ sees
so plainly, and _they_ do not.

Now turn for a moment to a second statement. You will find it in
Galatians, third chapter, tenth verse. Paul is quoting from the book of
Deuteronomy these words: "Cursed"--there is another ugly word--"cursed
is everyone who continueth not in all the words of the book of this law
to do them." Let me ask: Does that describe your friends? Well, I guess
it describes us all, does it not? Who is there here that has continued
in all the words of the book of this law to do them? If there is some
one I think perhaps you would better withdraw, for I have no message for
you to-night. The sole difference between some of us, and these friends
you have in your mind is that _we_ are depending upon Another who bore
the curse for us. But these friends decline to come into personal touch
with Him. Do they not? And this honest spoken book of God tells us
plainly of that word "cursed" which has been written, and remains
written, over their faces and lives.

The Bible is full of such statements. There is no need of multiplying
them. And I am sure I have no heart in repeating any more of them. But
I bring you these two for a purpose. This purpose: of asking you one
question--whose fault is it? Who is to blame? Some one is at fault.
There is blame somewhere. This thing is all wrong. It is no part of
God's plan, and when things go wrong, some one is to blame. Now I ask
you: _Who_ is to blame?


A Mother-Heart.

Well, there are just four persons, or groups of persons concerned. There
is God; and Satan; and these friends we are talking about; and,
ourselves, who are not a bit better in ourselves than they--not a
bit--but who are trusting some One else to see us through. Somewhere
within the lines of those four we must find the blame of this awful
state of affairs. Well, we can say very promptly that Satan is to blame.
He is at the bottom of it all. And that certainly is true, though it is
not all of the truth. Then it can be added, and added in a softer voice
because the thing is so serious, and these friends are dear to us, that
these people themselves are to blame. And that is true, too. Because
they _choose_ to remain out of touch with Him who died that it might not
be so. For there is no sin charged where there is no choice made. Sin
follows choice. Only where one has known the wrong and has chosen it is
there sin charged.

But that this awful condition goes on unchanged, that those two ugly
words remain true of our dear friends, day after day, while we meet
them, and live with them, is there still blame? There are just two left
out of the four: God, and ourselves who trust Him. Let me ask very
reverently, but very plainly: Is it God's fault? You and I have both
heard such a thing hinted at, and sometimes openly said. I believe it is
a good thing with reverence to ask, and attempt to find the answer, to
such a question as that. And for answer let me first bring to you a
picture of the God of the Old Testament whom some people think of as
being just, but severe and stern.

Away back in the earliest time, in the first book, Genesis, the sixth
chapter, and down in verses five and six are these words: "And the Lord
saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and"--listen to
these words--"that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was
only evil continually."

What an arraignment! "Every imagination," "evil," "_only_ evil;" no
mixture of good at all; "only evil _continually_," no occasional spurts
of good even--the whole fabric bad, and bad clear through, and all the
time. Is not that a terrific arraignment? But listen further: "And it
repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and"--listen to
these last pathetic words--"_it grieved Him at His heart_."

Will you please remember that "grieve" is always a love word? There can
be no grief except where there is love. You may annoy a neighbor, or
vex a partner, or anger an acquaintance, but you cannot grieve except
where there is love, and you cannot be grieved except wherein you love.

I have sometimes, more often than I could wish, seen a case like this. A
young man of good family sent away to college. He gets in with the wrong
crowd, for they are not all angels in colleges yet, quite. Gets to
smoking and drinking and gambling, improper hours, bad companions, and
all that. His real friends try to advise him, but without effect. By and
by the college authorities remonstrate with him, and he tries to
improve, but without much success after the first pull. And after a
while, very reluctantly, he is suspended, and sent home in disgrace. He
feels very bad, and makes good resolutions and earnest promises, and
when he returns he does do much better for a time. But it does not last
long. Soon he is in with the old crowd again, the old round of habits
and dissipations, only now it gets worse than before; the pace is
faster. And the upshot of it all is that he is called up before the
authorities and expelled, sent home in utter disgrace, not to return.

And here is his chum who roomed with him, ate with him, lived with him.
He says, "Well, I declare, I am all broken up over Jim. It's too bad! He
was "hail-fellow, well met," and now he has gone like that. I'm awfully
sorry. It's too bad! too bad!!" And by and by he forgets about it
except as an unpleasant memory roused up now and then. And here is one
of his professors who knew him best perhaps, and liked him. "Well," he
says, "it is too bad about young Collins. Strange, too, he came of good
family; good blood in his veins; and yet he seems to have gone right
down with the ragtag. It's too bad! too bad!! I am so sorry." And the
matter passes from his mind in the press of duties and is remembered
only occasionally as one of the disagreeable things to be regretted, and
perhaps philosophized over.

And there is the boy's father's partner, down in the home town. "Well,"
he soliloquizes, "it is too bad about Collins' boy. He is all broken up
over it, and no wonder. Doesn't it seem queer? That boy has as good
blood as there is: good father, lovely mother, and yet gone clean to the
bad, and so young. It is too bad! I am awfully sorry for Collins." And
in the busy round of life he forgets, save as a bad dream which will
come back now and then.

But down in that boy's home there is a woman--a mother,
heart-broken--secretly bleeding her heart out through her eyes. She goes
quietly, faithfully about her round of life, but her hair gets thinner,
and the gray streaks it plainer, her form bends over more, and the lines
become more deeply bitten in her face, as the days come and go. And if
you talk with her, and she will talk with you, she will say, "Oh, yes, I
know other mothers' boys go wrong; some of them going wrong all the
time; but to think of _my Jim_--that I've nursed, and loved so, and done
everything for--to think that my Jim--" and her voice chokes in her
throat, and she refuses to be comforted. _She grieves at her heart._ Ah!
that is the picture of God in that Genesis chapter. He saw that the
world He had made and lavished all the wealth of His love upon had gone
wrong, and it grieved Him at His heart.

This world is God's prodigal son, and He is heartbroken over it. And
what has He done about it. Ah! what has He done! Turn to Mark's twelfth
chapter, and see there Jesus' own picture of His Father as He knew Him.
In the form of a parable He tells how His Father felt about things here.
He sent man after man to try and win us back, but without effect, except
that things got worse. Then Jesus represents God talking with Himself.
"What _shall_ I do next, to win them back?--there is My son--My only
boy--Jesus--I believe--yes, I believe I'll send Him--then they'll _see_
how badly I feel, and how much I love them; that'll touch them surely;
I'll do it." You remember just how that sixth verse goes, "He had yet
one, a beloved Son; He sent Him _last_ unto them, saying, they will
_reverence_ my Son." And you know how they treated God's Son, His love
gift. And I want to remind you to-night that, speaking in our human
way--the only way we can speak--God suffered more in seeing His Son
suffer than though He might have suffered Himself. Ask any mother here:
Would you not gladly suffer pain in place of your child suffering if you
could? And every mother-heart answers quickly, "Aye, ten times over, if
the child could be spared pain." Where did you get that marvelous
mother-heart and mother-love? Ah, that mother-heart is a bit of the
God-heart transferred. That is what God is like. Let me repeat very
reverently that God suffered more in giving His Son to suffer than
though He had Himself suffered. And that is the God of the Old
Testament! Let me ask: Is _He_ to blame? Has He not done His best?

Let it be said as softly as you will, and yet very plainly, that those
awful words, "damned" and "cursed," whatever their meaning may be, are
true of your friends. Then add: It is not so because of God's will in
the matter, but in spite of His will. Remember that God exhausted all
the wealth of His resource when He gave His Son. There can come nothing
more after that.


Your Personality Needed.

Then there is a second question from God's side to ask about those ugly
words: thoughtfully, and yet plainly--Is it the fault of Jesus, the Son
of God? And let anyone here listen to Him speaking in that tenth chapter
of John. "I lay down My life for the sheep. No man taketh it from Me. I
lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and power to take it
again." And then go out yonder to that scene just outside the Jerusalem
wall. There hangs Jesus upon that cross, suspended by nails through
hands and feet. He is only thirty-three. He is intensely human. Life was
just as sweet to Him that day as it is to you and me to-night. Aye, more
sweet: for sin had not taken the edge off his relish of life. Plainly He
could have prevented them. For many a time had He held the murderous mob
in check by the sheer power of His presence alone. Yet there He hangs
from nine until noon and until three--six long hours. And He said He did
it for you, for me. Do not ask me to tell _how_ His dying for us saves.
I do not know. No one statement seems to tell all the truth. When I
study into it I always get clear beyond my depth. In a tremendous way it
tells a double story; of the damnable blackness of sin; and of the
intensity of love. I do know that _He said_ He did it for us, and for
our salvation, and that it had to be done. But as we look to-day on that
scene, again the question: does any of the blame of the awful statements
this book makes regarding your friends belong to Him, do you think? And
I think I hear your hearts say "surely not."

Well, the Father has done His best. No blame surely attaches there. The
Son has gone to the utmost limit. No fault can be found there. There is
just one other left up yonder, of the divine partnership--the Holy
Spirit. What about Him. Listen. Just as soon as the Son went back home
with face and form all scarred from His brief stay upon the earth, He
and the Father said, "now We will send down the last one of Us, the Holy
Spirit, and He will do His best to woo men back," and so it was done.
The last supreme effort to win men back was begun. The Holy Spirit came
down for the specific purpose of telling the world about Jesus. His work
down here is to convict men of their terrible wrong in rejecting Jesus,
and of His righteousness, and of the judgment passed upon Satan. Only He
can convince men's minds and consciences. A thousand preachers with the
logic of a Paul and the eloquence of an Isaiah could not convince one
man of sin. Only the Spirit can do that. But listen to me as I say very
thoughtfully--and this is the one truth I pray God to _burn_ into our
hearts to-night--that to do His work among men _He needs to use men_. He
needs you. "Oh!" you say, "it is hardly possible that you mean that: I
am not a minister: I have no special ability for christian work: I am
just an obscure, humble christian: I have no gift in that direction."
Listen with your heart while I remind you that He needs not your special
abilities or gifts, though He will use all you have, and the more the
better, but _He needs your personality as a human channel_ through which
to touch the men you touch. And I want to say just as kindly and
tenderly as I can and yet with great plainness that if you are refusing
to let Him use you as He chooses--shall I say the unpleasant
truth?--the practical blame for those ugly words, and the uglier truth
back of them come straight home to _you_.

That is a very serious thing to say, and so I must add a few words to
make it still more clear and plain. The Spirit of God in working among
men seeks embodiment _in men_, through whom He acts. The amazing truth
is that not only is He willing to enter into and fill you with His very
presence, but He seeks for, He wants, yes, _He needs your personality_
as a channel or medium, that living in you He may be able to do His work
among the men you touch even though you may not be conscious of much
that He is doing through you. Is not that startling? He wants to live in
your body, and speak through your lips, and look out of your eyes, and
use your hands, really, actually. Have you turned your personality over
to Him as completely as that?

Remember the law of God's communication with men; namely, He speaks _to_
men _through_ men. Run carefully through the Bible, and you will find
that since the Cain disaster, which divided all men into two great
groups, whenever God has a message for a man or a nation out in the
world He chooses and uses a man in touch with Himself as His messenger.

Listen to Jesus' own words in that last night's long talk in John's
Gospel, chapter fourteen, verse seventeen. Speaking about the coming
Spirit, He says, "Whom the world cannot receive." That is a strange
statement. Though an important part of the Spirit's great mission is to
the world yet it cannot receive Him. But chapter sixteen, verses seven
and eight gives the explanation: "I will send Him _unto you_, and He
when He is come (unto you) will convince," and so on. That is to say, a
message from God to one who has come within the circle of personal
relation with Jesus--that message comes along a straight line without
break or crook. But a message to one who remains outside that circle
comes along an _angled_ line--two lines meeting at an angle--and the
point of that angle is in some christian heart. The message He sends out
to the outer circle passes through some one within the inner circle. To
make it direct and personal: He needs to use you to touch those whom you
touch.


God's Sub-Headquarters.

Let me bring you a few illustrations of how God uses men, though the
_fact_ of His using them is on almost every page of this Bible. Back in
the old book of Judges is a peculiar expression which is not brought out
as clearly as it might be in our English Bibles. The sixth chapter and
thirty-fourth verse might properly read: "_the Spirit of Jehovah clothed
Himself with Gideon_." It was a time of desperate crisis in the nation.
God chose this man for leadership among his fellows. If you take his
life throughout you will not think him an ideal character. But he seems
to be the best available stuff there was. He became the general guiding
an army in what, to human eyes, was a perfectly hopeless struggle. Men
saw Gideon moving about giving orders. But this strangely significant
phrase lets us into the secret of his wise strategy and splendid
victory. "The Spirit of Jehovah clothed Himself with Gideon." Gideon's
personality was merely a suit of clothes which God wore that day in
achieving that tremendous victory for His people. The same expression is
used of Amasai, one of David's mighty chieftains,[4] and of Zechariah,
one of the priests during Joash's reign.[5]

A New Testament illustration is found in the book of Acts in the account
of Philip and the Ethiopian stranger. This devout African official had a
copy of the old Hebrew Scriptures, but needed an interpreter to make
plain their newly acquired significance. The Holy Spirit, _the_
interpreter of Scripture, longs to help him. For that purpose He seeks
out a man, of whom He has control, named Philip. He is directed to go
some distance over toward the road where this man is journeying. We are
told of Philip that he was "full of the Spirit." And a reading of that
eighth chapter makes plain the controlling presence of the Spirit in
Philip's personality. In the beginning He gives very explicit direction.
"The Spirit (within Philip) said, go near, join thyself to this
chariot." And at the close "the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip."

These are a few illustrations of what seems to be a common law of God's
intercourse with men. The language of the Bible throughout fits in with
this same conception. Strikingly enough the same seems to be true in the
opposing camp, among the forces of the Evil One. Repeatedly in the
gospels we come across the startling expressions--"possessed with
demons," "possessed of demons," evidently speaking of men whom demons
had succeeded in getting possession of, and clothing themselves with. It
seems to be a law of _spirit_ life that a spirit needs to be embodied in
dealing with embodied beings. And God conforms to this law in His
dealings with men.

My friend, will you ask your heart, has the Holy Spirit gotten
possession of you like that? With reverence I repeat that He is seeking
for men in whom He may set up a sort of sub-headquarters, from which He
may work out as He pleases. Has He been able to do that with you? Or,
have you been holding back from Him, fearing He might make some changes
in you or your plans? If that is so, may I say just as kindly as these
lips can speak it, but also as plainly, that then _the practical blame_
for those cutting words about your friends comes straight back to _you_.

Hugh McAllister Beaver, son of the former governor of Pennsylvania, and
one of the rarest christian young men that ever lived, felt impelled at
a conference of students at Northfield, in '97, to tell this bit of his
inner experience, though naturally reluctant to do so. While at college,
arrangements were made for a series of meetings every night for a week.
"One day going down the hallway of the college building," he said, "I
met a boy we all called Dutchy, one of the toughest fellows in school. I
said to him, 'Dutch, come to the meeting to-night.'" Instead of laughing
or swearing, to Beaver's surprise, he paused a moment as though such a
thing was possible, and Beaver said, "I prayed quietly to myself, and
urged him to come." And he said, "Well, I guess I will." And that night
to every one's surprise Dutch came to the meeting. When Beaver rose to
speak, to his surprise this fellow was not simply intensely interested
but his eyes were full of tears. And Beaver said "a voice as distinct as
an audible voice said to me, 'Speak to Dutchy!' But _I did not_." Again
the next night Dutchy came of his own accord, and one of the boys
putting his arm on Beaver's shoulder said, "Speak to Dutchy. We boys
never saw him like this before." And he said he would. But _he did not_.
And some time after he had a dream and thought he would not walk this
earth any more. It did not trouble him except that his brother was
crying. But he thought he met the Master, who looked into his face, and
said, "Hugh, do you remember, I asked you to speak to Dutchy?" "Yes."
"And you did not." "No." "Would you like to go back the earth and win
him?" And he finished the story by saying, "it's hard work, but he's
coming now."

I wonder if the Master has ever tried to use your lips like that, and
you have refused?

A prominent clergyman in New England tells this experience of his. In
the course of his pastoral work he was called to conduct the funeral
service of a young woman who had died quite unexpectedly. As he entered
the house he met the minister in charge of the mission church, where the
family attended, and asked him, "Was Mary a christian?" To his surprise
a pained look came into the young man's face as he replied, "Three weeks
ago I had a strong impulse to speak to her, but _I did not_; and I do
not know." A moment later he met the girl's Sunday school teacher and
asked her the same question. Quickly the tears came, as she said, "Two
weeks ago, Doctor, a voice seemed to say to me, 'Speak to Mary,' and I
knew what it meant, and I intended to, but _I did not_, and I do not
know." Deeply moved by these unexpected answers, a few minutes later he
met the girl's mother, and thinking doubtless to give her an opportunity
to speak a word that would bring comfort to her own heart, he said
quietly, "Mary was a christian girl?" The tears came quick and hot to
the mother's eyes, as she sobbed out, "One week ago a voice came to me
saying, 'Speak to Mary,' and I thought of it, but I did not at the
time, and you know how unexpectedly she went away and I do not know."

Well, please understand me, I am not saying a word about that girl. I do
not know anything to say. I would hope much and can understand that
there is ground for hope. But this is what I say: How pathetic, beyond
expression, that the Spirit tried to get the use of the lips of three
persons, a pastor, a teacher, aye, _a mother!_ to speak the word that
evidently He longed to have spoken to her, _and He could not_!

Has He tried to use you _like that_?


The Highest Law of Action.

But these two illustrations are narrower than the truth. They speak of
the lips. He wants to use your lips; but, even more, He wants to use
your _life_. Much as He may use your lips, He will use your personality,
your presence, your life ten times more, when you are wholly unconscious
of it. He loves men so much. He longs to save them. But He needs us--you
and me--as channels through which His power shall flow to touch and
mightily influence those whom we touch. How often has He turned away
disappointed because the channel had broken connections, or could not be
used?

    "He was not willing that any should perish;
      Jesus, enthroned in the glory above,
    Saw our poor fallen world, pitied our sorrows,
      Poured out His life for us, wonderful love.
    Perishing, perishing, thronging our pathway,
      Hearts break with burdens too heavy to bear;
    Jesus would save, but there's no one to tell them,
      No one to save them from sin and despair."

Someone says: "You are putting an awful responsibility upon us. Would
you have us go out and begin speaking to everyone we meet?" No, that is
not what I am saying just now. Though there is a truth there. But this:
Surrender yourself to Jesus as your _Master_, for Him to take
possession. Turn the channel over to Him, that He may tighten the
connections, upward and outward, and clean it out, and then use as He
may choose. He has a passion for winning men, and He has marvelous tact
in doing it. Let Him have His way in you. Keep quiet and close to Him,
and _obey_ Him, gladly, cheerily, constantly, and _He will assume all
responsibility for the results_.

There is a law of personal service. It is this: Contact means
opportunity; opportunity means responsibility. To come into personal
contact with a man gives an opportunity of influencing him for Christ,
and with opportunity goes its twin partner--responsibility.

There is another law--a higher law--the highest law of the christian
life. It is this: In everything hold yourself subject to the _Holy
Spirit's leading_. Whenever these two laws come into conflict remember
that the lower law always yields to the higher. It is a law of life that
where two laws come into conflict the lower law always gives way to the
higher. That is a supreme law both of nature and in legislation. Now,
the highest law of the christian life is to yield constantly to the
leading of our Companion--the Holy Spirit. Then quiet time alone with
the Master daily over His word for the training of the ear, and the
training of the judgment, and the training of the tongue becomes the
great essential.

But to-night the great question is: Have you turned the channel of
power--your personality--over to Him to be flushed and flooded with His
power? Will you?

    "Only a smile, yes, only a smile,
      That a woman o'erburdened with grief
      Expected from you; 'twould have given relief,
    For her heart ached sore the while.
      But, weary and cheerless, she went away,
      Because, as it happened that very day,
    You were _out of touch_ with your Lord.

    "Only a word, yes, only a word,
      That the Spirit's small voice whispered, 'Speak';
      But the worker passed onward, unblessed and weak,
    Whom you were meant to have stirred
      To courage, devotion and love anew,
      Because, when the message came to you,
    You were _out of touch_ with your Lord.

    "Only a note, yes, only a note,
      To a friend in a distant land;
      The Spirit said, 'Write,' but then you had planned
    Some different work, and you thought
      It mattered little. You did not know
      'Twould have saved a soul from sin and woe--
    You were _out of touch_ with your Lord.

    "Only a song, yes, only a song,
      That the Spirit said, 'Sing to-night;
      Thy voice is thy Master's by purchased right.'
    But you thought, ''Mid this motley throng,
      I care not to sing of the City of God';
      And the heart that your words might have reached grew cold--
    You were _out of touch_ with your Lord.

    "Only a day, yes, only a day,
      But oh! can you guess, my friend,
      Where the influence reaches and where it will end
    Of the hours that you frittered away?
      The Master's command is, 'Abide in Me';
      And fruitless and vain will your service be
    If _out of touch_ with your Lord."

FOOTNOTES:

[4] 1 Chron. xii: 18.

[5] 2 Chron. xxiv: 20.



THE PRICE OF POWER.

Law of Exchange.


Every man needs power. Every earnest man covets power. Every willing man
has the Master's promise of power. But every man does not possess the
promised power. And many, it is to be feared, never will. Many a man's
life to-day is utterly lacking in power. Some of us will look back at
the close of life with a sense of keen disappointment and of bitter
defeat. And the reason is not far to seek, nor hard to see through. If
we do not have power it is because _we are not willing to pay the
price_.

Everything costs. There is a law of exchange that rules in every sphere
of life. It is this, "to get, you must give." It rules in the business
world. If I want a house or a hat I must give the sum agreed upon. It
rules in the intellectual world. If a young man wants a disciplined mind
he must give time, and close application, and some real, hard work. It
holds true in the spirit realm. If you and I wish to have business
transactions in this upper world of spirit-life we must be governed by
this same law. To have power in our lives over sin and selfishness, and
passion, and appetite; over tongue, and temper, and self-seeking
ambition; to have power in prayer, and in winning others over from sin
to Jesus Christ, one must first lay down the required price.

What is the price of power? Turn to Jesus' talk with Peter and the
others in the latter part of the sixteenth chapter of Matthew's gospel.
Jesus has been telling them of the awful cross-experiences which He
clearly saw ahead. Peter probably fearful that whatever came to his
Master might possibly come to himself also, and shrinking back in horror
from that, has the hardihood to rebuke Jesus. The Master, recognizing
the suggestion as coming from a far subtler individual than Peter, who
is using ignorant Peter's selfishness to repeat the suggestion of the
wilderness, again bids _him_ begone. Then in a few simple words of
far-reaching significance, He states first the standard of power, and
then the price to be paid by one who would reach that standard. Listen
to Him: "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take
up his cross and follow Me."


In the Footprints of Jesus.

Let us look a little into these familiar words. "If any man _would come
after Me_"--that is the standard set before us. Not to be regarded as a
pillar in the church, a leader in religious circles, a good Bible
student, a generous giver, an earnest speaker, an energetic worker, a
spiritually minded person, but, what _may_ not be coupled with any or
all of these admirable things, _to tread in the footprints of Jesus_.

Think back into that marvelous life. A human life, remember. For though
He was Son of God He lived His life down here as a son of man. Think of
His power over temptation, not alone at the outset in the fierce
wilderness struggle, but through those succeeding years of intense
conflict; His power over Satan, over man-possessing demons, over
disease; His power in dealing with the subtle schoolmen trying their
best to trip Him up, as well as over His more violent enemies who would
have dashed Him over yon Nazareth precipice, or later stoned the life
out of His body in Jerusalem. Recall the power of His rare
unselfishness; His combined plainness and tenderness of speech in
dealing with men; His unfailing love to all classes; His power as a soul
winner, as a man of prayer, as a popular preacher, lovingly wooing men
while unsparingly rebuking their sins. _There_ is the suggestion of
Jesus' standard of power. Would you go _after Him_? You may. For as the
Father sent Him even so sends He us, to do the same work and live the
same life.

But wait a moment before answering that question. There is another side
in His life to that "come-after-me." Opposites brought into contact
produce a violent disturbance. Such a life as that of Jesus, down in the
atmosphere of this world will of necessity provoke bitter enmities, both
then and now. Listen. He was criticized and slandered. They said He was
peculiar and fanatical. His friends thought Him "beside Himself," swept
off His feet by excessive, hot-headed enthusiasm. They "laughed Him to
scorn," and reviled Him. They picked His words, and nagged His kindliest
acts, and dogged His steps. Repeated attempts were made upon His life,
both at Nazareth and by stoning at Jerusalem. A determined conspiracy
against His life was planned by the Jerusalem officials six months
before the end actually came. He was practically a fugitive for those
months. At the last He was arrested and mocked and _spit_ upon, struck
with open hand and clenched fist, derisively crowned with thorns, and
finally killed--a cruel, lingering, tortured death.

"If any man would _come after Me_." Plainly this language of Jesus put
back into its original setting begins to assume a new significance.


A Fixed Purpose.

But look at these words a little more closely. "_If_"--it is an open
question, this matter of following Jesus. It is kept open by many people
who want to be known as christian, but who hesitate over what a plain
understanding of Jesus' words may involve. Some of us may be disposed to
shrink back from the simple meaning these words will yet disclose.

"If any man _would_"--would is the past tense of will. The word will is
one of the strongest in our language. A man's will is the imperial part
of him. It is the autocrat upon the throne; the judge upon the bench of
final appeal. Jesus is getting down to the root of matters here. He is
appealing to the highest authority. No mere passing sentiment is this.
Not attending a meeting and being swept along with the crowd by the
hour's influence. But _a fixed purpose_, calmly, resolutely settled
upon, rooted away down deep in the very vitals of the will to follow
Jesus absolutely, no matter what it may cost or where it may cut.

I wonder how many of us would form such a purpose, to follow Jesus
_blindly_, utterly regardless of what it might be found to mean as the
days come and go? "Oh, well," I hear some one say, "why talk like that.
Nobody is required to suffer to-day as He did." Do you think not? I am
not so sure about that. There is a young man in Southern India, bright
fellow, full of power, of high class family, who heard of Jesus, and
felt the personal appeal to himself of that marvelous story. He thought
a good while of what it meant, and what it might involve, and at length
resolutely formed his decision to accept and follow Jesus. As he had
anticipated, his dear ones remonstrated with him, coaxed, pleaded,
threatened, and finally, his own father violently put him out of his
life-long home, and he has remained since _an outcast_ from home and
loved ones. These words of Jesus surely are full of significance to
him.

"But that was in India, far off, heathen India," you say. Well, here is
something of a similar sort at home. I knew a young woman in a certain
New England town visiting away from home. She attended some meetings
where she was visiting, and decided to be a christian. She was betrothed
to a young man, not a christian, in her home town. At once she wrote him
explaining her new step thinking, doubtless how glad he would be. For
most men seem very willing to have their _wives_ christian. But he wrote
back that if she were determined to be a christian that must put an end
to their engagement. He was not a christian and did not want his wife to
be one. Every one here must know how serious a question that brought up
for decision. For she was a true woman, and love's tendrils twine with
wondrous tenacity about a woman's heart. And I presume, too, that
everyone of you has already thought while I am speaking, of the
temptation that, quick as a flash, went through her mind. "You need not
make a public matter of this. Just be a true christian in heart and
life, and in that way _you'll win him over afterwards_." I imagine some
of you have heard something like that before. But she remembered that
her new Master said "Confess" as well as "believe." It was a crisis; a
severe struggle of soul. But she felt she must follow her Master's
leading regardless of what it involved. And so she decided. You are not
surprised to know that she was ill for a time. The intense strain of
spirit affected her body. "If--any--man--would--come--after--Me" meant
much to her. Did it not?

Without doubt if some of _us_ listening to-day were to follow Jesus
quietly, but absolutely, in all things as His own Spirit plainly led, we
would find as sharp a line of separation drawn against us, as did He in
Palestine, and these young people in India and America.

Many a social door would be shut in our faces. O, shut _politely_ of
course! Society thinks it in very bad form to get unduly excited about
mere matters of religious opinion. But the door is _shut_, and barred,
too. Some of us would possibly be searching for other business positions
before to-morrow's light faded away if we were determined to go only
where _He_ clearly pointed the way.

But we have only begun to get at the meaning of Jesus' words. Is there
still a _fixed purpose_ to follow regardless of what meaning these words
may yet disclose? Not impossibly the company of those willing to go
straight through this verse with a calm, determined "yes" to every word
of Jesus, will grow smaller as we go on.


A Character Sketch.

Let us go a little farther. "If any man would come after Me let him
_deny himself_." "Deny himself"--what does that mean? Well, deny means
to say "no," plainly and positively. Himself is the smoother English
word for his self. Let him say "no" to his self. Please notice that
Jesus is not speaking of what is commonly called self-denial. That is,
repressing some desire for a time, sacrificing something temporarily in
order to gain an advantage later. That sort of thing is not peculiar to
the christian life, but is practiced by all classes, even among the
lowest. He is not speaking of that, but of something far more radical.
Reading the verse through again, it will be seen that there are three
distinct persons referred to by Jesus. First, the "any man" He speaks
of, and then the two others represented by these words "himself" and
"Me," either one or the other of whom is influencing this "any man's"
life. "Say no to his self" is coupled with "follow Me." And the opposite
is implied--if any man will not do as _I_ desire, he will continue to do
as he is now doing, namely, deny Me and follow his self.

These two persons self and Jesus are placed here in sharpest contrast.
An uncompromising antagonism exists between them. They are sworn foes,
and every man must decide to which he will yield his allegiance. To
agree with either one is to oppose the other one. For a man to settle
some matter that comes up for decision by saying "yes" to the desires or
demands of his self involves his saying "no" to Jesus. And on the other
hand his yielding assent to the plans and wishes of this "me," namely
Jesus, is plainly equivalent to saying "no" to his self.

What is this self in each of us that Jesus sets in such antagonism to
Himself, and instructs us to say a hard, uncompromising, unceasing "no"
to? There are a few words in common use that give some suggestion of its
character. There is the word selfish, that is, being absorbed in one's
own self; in getting every stream to flow by his own door. That is
commonly regarded, even in absolutely worldly circles, as a detestable
trait. Its opposite, self-forgetful, being full of forgetting one's self
in thinking of others, is as commonly regarded in all circles as a
charming, winsome trait of character. The words self-centered, and
self-willed, are as familiar and suggestive.

The fact is, there is an individual living inside each one of us whom
Jesus refers to, by this word "his self." This individual takes on the
degree of intensity and other local coloring of the person it inhabits.
It may be polished, scholarly, cultured; or, coarse, ignorant and
ill-mannered. But "scratch a Russian and you find a Tartar." Scratch
through the veneering here and, whether coarse or highly polished, you
will find the same individual--self.

There are some quite marked characteristics by which its presence may be
recognized. They may not all be noticeable together in any one person.
But one or more will be found in every person whom it succeeds in
influencing and dominating. One characteristic is this: _it covets
praise_. It feeds and fattens on commendation. It constantly seeks to
be highly esteemed, to have its worth properly appraised. It is
immensely impressed with its own importance, its value to society, its
keenness, wisdom or aptness, and wishes others to be so impressed also.
It is fond of a mirror, especially one made to magnify. It seeks
recognition. It presses forward, rudely or politely, according as its
habitat has been trained in rude or polite circles. It may put on the
garb of humility, and use the language of depreciation. But its ear is
none the less keenly alert to hear the agreeable things and to cherish
them.

Another characteristic, which really is simply the other side of this
first named one, is this: _it shrinks from criticism_. How it writhes
and twists at the least touch of unfavorable criticism! It is always on
the defensive. The cheek colors at the suggestion of its being wrong, or
having blundered, or of being peculiar.

How quickly it explains and defends and brings evidence of its being in
the right. It is extremely sensitive. "It is that _touchy_ thing in
you." It is chronically troubled with "the disease of _touchiness_." Its
feelings are readily hurt. It is easily slighted. It remembers
grievances. It has an interrogation point constantly on sentinel duty,
namely, What will _they_ think? What will _they_ say? It lives in
constant fear, under the lash of that huge, vague, awful _they_.

I remember knowing a Sunday school teacher who had a mission class of
rather rough boys from non-christian homes. I asked one day how she was
getting along with them. "Going to give them up," she replied. "Is that
so? They have all become christians?" No, none of them were christians,
and they liked her, and said they would not come if she gave them up,
but she felt discouraged, and anyway she had decided to give them up.
Lawyers and women do not always give their reasons, very wisely. I
ventured to suggest that before giving them up, she have the boys come
up to her home, one at a time, perhaps for tea; have a pleasant chatty
time at tea and afterwards, and then before the boy left have a quiet
friendly talk with him by himself about being a christian, and, a few
words of prayer with him. Wouldn't she try that before giving them up?
And I remember distinctly that her face blushed as red as a bright red
rose, as she replied, "Why, Mr. Gordon, _he'd laugh at me_!" And she
could not bear the possible chance of being laughed at for the other
more likely possibility of winning a soul--a man--a life. That was
"self" in her, shrinking back from a laugh; dreading that look of
possibly contemptuous surprise that _might_ come.

Another person, speaking about certain recreations very common in
society, and which he was in the habit of joining, though freely
questioning the propriety of so doing, said, "O, I don't care much for
those things. I could easily give them up, but people think you are so
queer if you decline, and you feel as if you were a back number." Ah!
there was the rub. The desire to be thought well of; the dislike of
being considered peculiar; the fear of that thinly veiled sneering curl
on the lip--that was _self_ in him asserting its presence, and even
more, ruling his action. Do you recognize the individual inside of you
that Jesus is speaking of?

There is a third tell-tale ear-mark of self that is difficult to
conceal--_it is assertive_. It dearly loves to have its own way. It has
plans and ambitions, and proposes to carry them through regardless of
man, or--let the plain truth be spoken softly--of God. Its opinions are
held tenaciously. Its favorite pronoun is I, capitalized, with
variations of my and me. The personal equation is extremely powerful and
persuasive.

The true follower of Jesus holds every plan subject to change from
above. But this self, if allowed to rule, takes the bit in its
tightly-shut teeth, and drives determinedly ahead, reckless of either
man's or God's preferences, even though religious phraseology may be
upon its tongue.

Still another trait of character of this self whose closer acquaintance
we are making is this: _It has an insatiable appetite_. It grows
hungrier by that on which it feeds. Its capacity is beyond the measuring
line. If given free rein it will debase the holiest functions of the
body, and degrade the highest powers of the mind to appease its gnawing,
passion-bitten hunger. The noblest gifts, the purest emotions, the most
sacred relationships, are dragged down to the slimy gutter to tempt and
temporarily stay its jaded palate.


Unmasked.

_That_ is something of a suggestion of the character of this other
master than Jesus, who seeks to get control of us, and from whose
relentless, vise-like grip Jesus would fain free us. He says there is
only one thing to do with it. No half-way compromise--the great American
expedient--will do here. The Master says plainly it is to be denied,
repressed, put determinedly down, starved, strangled. To every
suggestion or demand there is to be a prompt, positive, jaw-locked no.

There is war to the knife, and the knife clear up to the hilt, between
these two claimants for the control of our powers--self and Jesus. Paul
understood this antagonism thoroughly. It comes out repeatedly in his
writings. His name for this inner enemy, by an accidental turn in
English, is Jesus' word "self" spelled backwards with the letter "h"
added--f-l-e-s-h. His remarks in Romans, eighth chapter, verses four to
eight, and twelve to thirteen, are simply an enlargement of these words
in the sixteenth of Matthew's gospel. If one will read these verses,
substituting Jesus' word "self" for Paul's word he will be surprised to
find how strikingly Paul is expressing this very thought of Jesus. A
free translation of part of these verses would read like this: Verse
five--"They that choose to walk after self (as a slave walked after, or
behind, his master) will show their choice by obeying the desires of
self, and they that choose to walk after the Spirit will obey the
desires of the Spirit." Verse seven--"For the purposes of self are
opposed to God's purposes; for it does not hold itself subject to God's
wishes; indeed, in its very nature it cannot; and they that choose to
obey self cannot please God." Verse thirteen--"If by the Holy Spirit's
aid ye kill off the plans and doings of self, ye shall therein find real
true life, and only so."

Plainly, the deep searching experiences of Paul's great soul, and his
wide observation of others, in his ceaseless travels, confirm the
statements already made, that there is the intensest hatred, the
bitterest antagonism, between these two personalities represented by
Jesus' words, "himself" and "me." There can be no patched-up truce here.
The only way the lion and the lamb can lie down together in this case is
for the one to lie down underneath the other--conquered; or inside the
other--devoured.

In his other letters Paul sometimes uses still another name, "the old
man," and names the characteristics of this omnipresent self, which crop
out with varying degrees of prominence, in different persons, and under
different circumstances. Notice only a few of these: In Galatians, fifth
chapter, nineteenth verse: "The deeds of self are ... improper sexual
intercourse, impurity, shameless looseness...." It will, wherever
possible, debase the holiest functions of the body. In Colossians, third
chapter, fifth verse, speaking of the "old man": "And covetousness,
which is reckoning of highest worth that which is less worthy than God."
That is to say, the ambitious longings of self, will if unchecked become
the ruling passion, thrusting all else ruthlessly aside and degrading
the highest powers of the mind to satisfying its feverish desire. In
Ephesians, fourth chapter, thirty-first verse: "Bitterness, passion,
anger, loud disputing, evil-speaking ... malice." Its assertiveness, and
demand for a due recognition of its worth, its rights, its opinions, its
proper place, bring bitterest burnings, and worse. It will not be
needful to review congressional, and political, and society life for
illustrations. They may be found much nearer one's own door.

Was there ever such a list? Such a being whose heart begets and nurses
such progeny! This being has the smell of hell, and of the evil one
himself. Ah! now we are getting at the straight truth. Self is Satan's
personal representative in every human heart. Its door of entrance is
the door of disobedience. It can have control only where one allows
himself to get out of intelligent sympathy with God. The self in Peter
was recoiling from that cross of which Jesus spoke. How keen Jesus was
in recognizing the suggestor of the thought that found expression
through Peter's lips--"Get thee behind me, _Satan_." Self is Satan,
condensed into each man's life, though in some he dare not exhibit his
coarser traits; and in others he is being _constantly conquered_ by that
power of the Spirit of Jesus which comes through absolute, glad
surrender to Him.

This sly Satan-self may often be recognized by a favorite question it
asks among christian people about a great many so-called unimportant
matters:--What's the harm? But a true follower of Jesus never lives down
upon the plane of "what's-the-harm?" He lives up in a higher sphere with
his Master, who "pleased not Himself," but made it the steady,
unfaltering aim of His life to do always those things that were pleasing
to His Father. Men thought Him narrow and fanatical, but He cared not so
long as He could daily hear that clear, sweet voice saying "This is My
beloved Son, in whom _I_ am well pleased." The final touchstone which
the follower of Jesus applies to every matter is this: _Would it please
Him?_

Let everyone here who earnestly desires to fit into, and to fill out,
Jesus' plan for his life, take paper and pencil and make a list of his
personal habits; such as his eating, what he eats and how; his drinking,
other things he puts into his mouth, his dress, the use and care of his
body, his recreations, his reading, his conversation, his use of money,
his use of time, his life plans and his daily plans, his social
engagements; and regarding each ask plainly the question--what is the
_motive_ that _controls_ me in this? Is it my own preference or
enjoyment? Or, is it to please and honor Jesus? Let him further go
through the list of his business methods, his friendships, the various
organizations he belongs to, with the same question. If he will do
thorough work he will probably have some stiff fighting on hand both at
the start and afterwards. Many a life would thereby be radically
changed. For example, I know a christian storekeeper who has on his
shelves a certain article bearing the label of a tonic medicine, but he
knows perfectly well, as does anyone who stops to think about it, that
the stuff back of the label is one form of an intoxicant. There can be
no question of what the Master would say about it. But it brings a good
profit. And his money-fevered self asserts its mastery and carries the
day. And the man tightly grips the profits, while Satan chuckles with
unholy glee, and souls are being damned by this christian man's aid.
Certainly there can be none of the power of God in such a life. Let us
rather speak the truth and say that this man is exerting a positive
power for Satan and for hell.

All this is included in these few simple words, "let him deny himself."
Is there still a fixed purpose to follow Jesus without regard to what it
may cost us, or where the keen edge of separation may cut in?


The Battle of the Forks.

Here is a forking of the road. I bring this whole company up to this
dividing, and therefore deciding, point. Let each choose his own road
deliberately, prayerfully, with open eyes. This road to the left has as
its law, yielding to self; saying "yes" to the desires and demands of
self; with some modifications possibly, here and there, for I am talking
to professing christian people. Yes to Jesus _sometimes_, but at _other_
times, when it suits circumstances and inclinations better to do
otherwise--well, a pushing of the troublesome question aside. And that
means a decided yes to self, with as positive a negative to Jesus'
desires implied thereby. That is the left-hand fork.

This right-hand road knows only one law to which exception is never
made, namely: _Yes to Jesus_, everywhere, always, regardless of
consequences, though it may entail loss of friendships, or money, or
position, or social standing, or personal preference, or radical change
of plans, or, what not.

Judas assented to the cravings of his ambitious self and said "no" to
his Master, thinking possibly, with his worldly shrewdness, thereby to
force Jesus to assert His power. He little knew what a time of crisis it
was, and what terrific results would follow.

Peter stood on the side of his cowardly, shrinking self in the
court-yard that dark night, and against his Master. And though with
matchless love he was forgiven, he never forgave himself, nor was able
to get that night's doings out of his memory. Judas and Peter were
brothers in action that night, and there are evidences that many other
disciples are standing over in the same group. Are you? Which road do
you choose to-night: this--to the left? Or, this--to the right?

I knew a young man who was deeply attached to an admirable young woman,
both refined christian persons, much above the average in native
ability, and in culture. He made known to her his feelings. But as many
a woman who does not trust her best Friend in such matters is apt to do
she held him off, testing him repeatedly, to find out just how real his
attachment was. Finally revealing indirectly her own feeling she still
withheld the consent he pleaded for, until he would yield acquiescence
in a certain plan of hers for him. The plan, proper enough in itself,
was an ambitious one, and tended decidedly toward swinging him away from
the high, tenderly spiritual ideals that had swayed his life in college
and afterwards, though he probably was not clearly conscious of this
tendency. The only safe thing to do under such strong circumstances was
to take time, aside, alone, for calm, poised, thought and prayer, to
learn if her plan was also the Master's plan for him. But the personal
element proved too strong for such deliberation. The possibility of
losing her swung him off of his feet. It was no longer a question
between her plan and the Master's plan. The latter dropped out of view,
probably half-unconsciously because hurriedly. _He must have her_, he
thought. That rose before his eyes above all else. And so the decision
was made. With what result? He is to-day prominent in christian service,
an earnest speaker, a tireless worker, with a most winsome personality.
But his inner spiritual life has perceptibly dwarfed. His ideals, still
high and noble, are distinctly lower than in his earlier life.
Intellectual ideals, admirable in themselves, but belonging in second
place in a christian life, now command the field. His conceptions and
understanding of spiritual truth have undergone a decided change.

The proposal of the self-life came in very fascinating guise to him. He
hastily said "yes" to it: that meant as decided a refusal of Another's
plan for him, which had once been clearly recognized, and accepted, but
was now set aside, be it sadly said, as he swung quickly off to the left
fork of the road.

There is an incident told of a European pastor, an earnest, eloquent
man. The realization came in upon him that he had not been fully
following the Master. In much of his life self was still ruling. He came
to this forking of the road, and the battle was a fierce one, for self
dies hard. But finally "by the Spirit," he got the victory, as every one
may, and calmly stepped off to the right. He has vividly described that
battle of the forks in language, the accuracy of which will be
recognized by others who have been in action on that field.

    "Oh, the bitter shame and sorrow,
      That a time could ever be
    When I let the Saviour's pity
    Plead in vain, and proudly answered:
     '_All of self, and none of Thee_.'

    "Yet He found me: I beheld him
      Bleeding on the accursed tree;
    Heard Him pray, 'forgive them, Father,'
    And my wistful heart said faintly:
      '_Some of self and some of Thee_.'

    "Day by day, His tender mercy,
      Healing, helping, full and free,
    Sweet and strong, and oh, so patient,
    Brought me lower, while I whispered:
      '_Less of self and more of Thee_.'

    "Higher than the highest heaven,
      Deeper than the deepest sea,
    Lord, thy love at last has conquered;
    Grant me now my soul's desire,
      '_None of self and all of Thee_.'"

Is there still a fixed purpose? Will you take this right fork? Let those
who will, and those who linger reluctantly listen to the further word
that Jesus adds: "Let him deny himself and take up his cross." "_Take up
his cross_"--what does that mean? The cross has come to be regarded in
these days as a fine ornament. It looks beautiful bejeweled; on the end
of a sword; or worked into regalia. It makes such an artistic finish to
a church building, finely chiseled in stone, or enwreathed with ivy. It
looks pretty in jewelry and flowers. But to Jesus and the men of His
time it had a grim, hard, painful significance. In Roman usage a man
condemned to this death was required to take up the crude wooden cross
provided, carry it out to the place of execution, and there be
transfixed upon it. Plainly to these men listening, Jesus' words meant:
Let him say "no" to his self, and then nail it up on the cross and leave
it there _to die_.

Paul understood this thoroughly. To help the young christians in Galatia
he explains his own experience by saying: "_I have been crucified_ with
Christ;" and to the unknown friends in Rome he writes: "if ye by the
Spirit _put to death_ the doings of the self life ye shall live." The
only thing to do with this self is to kill it.

In Luke's account an intensely practical word is added to Jesus' remark:
"Let him take up his cross _daily_." A cat is said to have nine lives,
because it is so hard to kill. I do not know what your experience may
have been, but, judged by this rule, the self in me is tougher-lived
than that. It has about ninety-nine, or nine hundred and ninety-nine
lives. I put it on the cross to-day in the purpose of my will by the
power of the Spirit, and I find it trying to sneak down and step into
active control again to-morrow through some sly, subtle suggestion which
it hopes may get past the vigilance of my sentinel. That word _daily_
becomes, of necessity, my constant keynote--a _daily_ conflict, a
_daily_ sleepless vigilance, and, thank God, a _daily victory_.

Every man's heart is a battlefield. If self has possession, Jesus is
lovingly striving to get possession. If possession has been yielded to
Jesus, there is a constant besieging by the forces of self. And self is
a skilled strategist. In every heart there is a cross, and a throne, and
each is occupied. If Jesus is on the throne, ruling, self is on the
cross, dying. But if self is being obeyed, and so is ruling, then it is
on the throne. And self on the throne means that _Jesus has been put on
the cross_. And it seems to be only too pathetically true that not only
in New Testament times, but in these times, there are numbers of
professing christians, who, in the practice of daily life, are
crucifying the Son of God afresh, and openly exposing Him to shame
before the eyes of the crowd.

Suppose that to-night I determine to make this absolute surrender to
Jesus as my Master. To-morrow in some matter, possibly a small
matter--speaking a word to some one--asking a silent blessing at the
meal--making a change in some personal habit--or some other apparently
trivial matter--the Spirit quietly makes clear _His wish_ as to what I
should do. But I hesitate: it seems hard. I do not say that I will not
obey, but actually _I do not_. Let me plainly understand that in such a
single failure to obey, self is again mounting the throne, and Jesus is
being dethroned and put over yonder on the cross.

Do some of us still hesitate at this forking of the roads, irresolute? A
crowned Christ is attractive. But self's tendrils, though small, are
tenaciously tough, and twine into so many corners and around some hidden
things. And the uprooting and outcutting mean sharp pain. Is that so?
And you hesitate? Please take another frank look.


Lock-Step.

These two forks differ radically. They differ in direction. One is to
the _left_; the other to the _right_. And these two words are
significant of more than direction. They differ in grade. This left-hand
road does not seem to have any grade. It is smooth and level, and
straightaway, _apparently_. But a keener look reveals a slant _down_,
very slight at first, but steadily increasing, not only in its downward
grade, but in the _proportionate_ grade down.

This right-hand road has a decided grade _up_ from the beginning, a
steep slant, that causes many to avoid it, though they feel impelled to
take it. Those who take it say that after the first decided step into it
the slant does not seem nearly so hard as before starting, and that
climbing it makes splendid muscle and gives an inspiring sense of
exhilaration from the very start. The atmosphere is rare and purifying
and invigorating. It is not traveled by so many, though the number keeps
increasing. But such rare companionship, hitherto unknown, they afford!

_The striking peculiarity_ of this road, however, is this, that each one
keeps lock-step with a certain One who leads the way. This One is
remarkable in appearance. His face combines all the strength and
resolution of the strongest man's with all the fineness and gentleness
of the finest woman's. But He bears peculiar marks as though He had been
through some terrible experience. His face has a number of small scars
as though it had been torn by thorns and cut by thongs. His hands and
feet look as though huge spikes had been forced through them. But the
glory-light of another world is in His eyes, and illumines His face
radiantly, and a glad ring is in His low, musical, singularly clear
voice.

The walking in step with Him is _so_ close that one can feel the tender
throbbing of His heart, and can talk confidentially with Him in low,
quiet tones, and can hear distinctly His gentle still-like voice in
reply.

As one steps off quietly, determinedly to the right from the battle of
the forks he hears the closing words of Jesus' remarks to Peter--"_and
follow Me_." Jesus sends no one ahead alone. He blazes out every path
through the unknown, unbroken forest, and asks us simply to come along
after Him. He did what He asks us to do. The self-life was alluringly
and repeatedly presented to Him by Satan, in the wilderness, in the
remark of Peter, by the visit of the Greeks, in Gethsemane where the
struggle of soul almost broke the tie that held body and spirit
together, and many other times. In many a hard battle--for the divine
Jesus was intensely human in His earthly life--He repeatedly said a
never-varying "no" to the self-life, and lived a constant victory until
the very last triumphant shout of victory on Calvary. It was a life of
constant conflict, but of splendid, calming, scarce-broken peace within,
and of marvelous power without.

Earnestly, lovingly, gently, yet passionately, He stands just ahead in
that path now, with pierced hands outstretched in open invitation, with
a heart-yearning in the depths of His great eyes, wooing us on to follow
where He goes on before.

Let us follow. It may be, it _will_ be, in some measure, through the
experiences of the wilderness temptation, and of Gethsemane, and of
Calvary, but it will also be to share the victory which was always
coupled with every testing _He_ met. It will as certainly be following
Him in power, and victory, on past Calvary to the new life of the
resurrection morning, that saw the greatest display of power. And even
past that, to the upper chamber where His words burn their way into our
hearts--"as the Father sent Me (clothed with power unconquerable) even
so send I you." And then to Olivet where the victorious words ring out,
"All power hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth, therefore go
ye and make disciples."

    "If any man
    would come alter me,
    let him say "no" to his self,
    and nail it to the cross daily,
    and follow me."

Jesus, Master, by the Holy Spirit's help, _I will_.



THE PERSONALITY OF POWER.

A Personally Conducted Journey.


Everyone enjoys the pleasure of travel; but nearly all shrink back from
its tiresomeness and drudgery. The transportation companies are
constantly scheming to overcome this disagreeable side for both pleasure
and business travel. One of the popular ways of pleasure travel of late
is by means of personally conducted tours. A party is formed, often by
the railroad company, and is accompanied by a special agent to attend to
all the business matters of the trip. A variation of this is to arrange
for a group of congenial people to accompany some well-known
accomplished gentleman. This gives the trip, not alone the convenience
of having all business matters cared for, but also the decided enjoyment
which this gentleman's wide knowledge and experience, and personal
contact incidentally give. There are some criticisms however of such
parties, from the standpoint of greatest comfort and of freedom in
moving about.

Probably the very pleasantest way--the ideal way, to travel anywhere,
either in our own home land, or abroad--is to form a party of only a
very few persons, mutually congenial, and personally agreeable, _one of
whom is an experienced traveler_, to whom checking baggage, buying
tickets, studying timetables, planning connections and all the rest of
that sort of thing which, to most, is disagreeable drudgery, to whom all
that is mere pleasant detail; and who in addition knows all the ground
you will cover, the best hotels, the inconveniences to avoid, the
desirable places and things, and who finds rare enjoyment in making the
trip delightful and inspiring, and restful too, to these dear friends of
his.

For instance if the trip is a foreign one beginning with a run through
Great Britain it would add immensely to have such a friend in London who
knew that great whirling world-metropolis, as you know your own home.
After a bit you may slip over the Channel to Holland. It is only a few
hours away, but the strange language, new custom-house rules, new
usages, new sights, different sort of people, all make it a totally
different world. A few hours will bring you into Sweden, or west from
the hollow-landed Dutch to the higher-landed Germans, or south through
Belgium into sunny France, and so on. And in each place the customs, and
language, and sights, and people, the food, the sleeping arrangements,
and apparently everything, especially to a stranger, are totally
different. It is this very variety--the constant change of
surroundings--that constitutes much of the charm of it all. There is
nothing so refreshing and invigorating as that. But on the other hand
to an entire stranger who has no guide, it is apt to be confusing and
wearisome. And the tiresome side often overcomes the pleasant side. Now
this is what I am saying, that, if there are just a few together, and
this experienced traveler, who is also a dear friend, is one of them,
the trip is radically changed. You move in a new world. He can talk
Dutch in Holland, and German in Germany, Swedish in Scandinavia, and
French in Switzerland. He sees the baggage past the customs officials,
and provides restful stopping places, and keeps the disagreeables away
from you. He knows the places to visit, and is familiar with the
historic occurrences, and is a quiet, cheery companion, and _if_ with it
all he has an unlimited letter-of-credit, and makes you feel that
somehow you are favoring him by letting him help you out when you run
short--that, I say, would be _the ideal way of traveling_.

Now why take so much time speaking about all that? Listen! I will tell
you why. Living is like traveling. Life is a journey. It is a trip
through a strange land where you have never been before, and you never
know a moment ahead where you are going next. Strange languages, strange
scenes, strange dilemmas; new tangles, new experiences, and some old
ones with new faces so you do not know them. It is just as chock-full of
pleasure and enjoyment as it can be, if you could only make some
provision for the drudgery and hard things that seem to crowd in so
thick and fast sometimes, as to make people forget the gladness of it.

Now I have something to tell you that seems too utterly good to be
believed, and yet keeps getting better all the way along. It is this:
the Master has planned that your life journey shall be a personally
conducted one on this ideal plan. It was said a night or two ago that
the Master has thought into your life and made arrangement for all its
needs. Let me add to-night this further fact: _He has arranged with His
best friend, who is an experienced traveler, to go with you and devote
Himself wholly to your interests._

Some of you, I am afraid, will smile, and think that I am just indulging
in a fancy sketch--drawing on my imagination. And so I pray our Master
to burn into our hearts that it is plain, matter-of-fact truth, for
every day life. I would say that it is cold fact were it not that such a
fact can never be cold.


Power is a Person.

Each of these talks, you have noticed, has led up to the one idea of
surrender. That word surrender stands for one side only of a
transaction--_our_ side. As in all transactions, there is another
side--_His_ side to whom the surrender is made. To-night we want to take
a step in advance and talk about the part which Jesus has in this
surrender-transaction. All truth goes in pairs. The partnership word
with surrender is mastery. Surrender on my part is followed by mastery
on His part. There are two personalities in this transaction. You are
one: an important one, but only one. To-night we shall try to get a
better acquaintance with the other One. The One who assumes control of
the surrendered life, who is to be our personal guide and friend.

Will you recall again the Master's good-bye Olivet message, and notice
just what it means? Listen to the very words: "Ye shall receive power."
Let me ask you--what is power? Will some one give a simple definition of
that word? There are four words, four of the commonest, most familiar in
our language, for which I have not been able to find a definition. If
some one here can help me I will be grateful. They are the words life,
light, love, and power. What do they mean? I can find plenty of
statements _about_ them, descriptions of what each of these is like, but
no definitions.

What is life? Recently I looked into the statement regarding life made
by three of the most famous English scientists of the nineteenth
century, whose names are household words. I read them carefully. The
wisdom and keenness of observation they show are amazing. But when I had
studied and read them repeatedly I found myself asking--what is life?
They have described rarely the functions and characteristics of life,
but have not told what it is. They do not seem to know. Do you?

What is light? Will some one tell me? The corpuscular theory, which the
famous Newton advocated, is long since abandoned. The later wave theory
is pretty generally accepted, and yet they can not all agree upon that.
These people say that light is a part of the kind of energy called
radiant energy. Now, we all know what light is! The sun of course is not
light, only a light-holder and distributer. According to the oldest
record we have of the creation, light existed before these
light-holders, the sun and moon and stars.

What is love? Well, you all _know_, I hope. Pity the poor man who does
not know by experience what love is. But you cannot tell what it is.
"Oh!" you say, "it is emotion." Yes, so is hate, its very opposite.
"Well, love is affection." Yes. What is affection? "Well, it is a
pleasurable feeling, or regard, which may be very intense, and which
leads us to unlimited sacrifice if need be. It is a devotion that grips
the soul tremendously." That is true; yet that is only telling what love
is like. No simple, plain definition of love, or light or life has ever
been formed yet by man so far as I can learn.

What is power? You may say it is force. And what is force? "Well, force
is a form of energy." What is energy? "Well," you reply, "it is a strong
inward movement whose strength is very impressive." Some one says "power
is ability." And ability? "Well, that is the innate power to do
something." And so we get to use our word in the attempted definition
itself, which is simply talking in a circle. We can find good
descriptive words, but no defining words.

Now mark a singular fact. In the writings of John, in this old book I
have here, you will find a few statements regarding these things which
combine wondrous simplicity of language with marvelous, yes,
unfathomable, depth of meaning. First, about life: in chapter one, verse
four, of the gospel:--"in Him was life," being an evident allusion to
the remarkable Genesis statement: "the Lord God breathed into his
nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul." Then, about
love: in chapter four, verse seven, of his first epistle:--"love is of
God"; coupled with the twice spoken words "God is love" in the same
chapter. About light: in chapter one, verse five, of the same epistle,
"God is light."

I know some of you, perhaps some skilled theologian here, is saying to
himself, "Those are statements of _moral_ truths." And I understand that
that is the common conception. But I want to state here my own profound
conviction, based on the Spirit-breathed words of John, that some day,
when we shall know about all these deep things, we shall be finding that
there is a basis not only of moral truth, but of far more than moral
truth underlying those profoundly simple statements.

And I believe in that day we shall find that life--all life--is, in some
actual, marvelous way, the outbreathing of God's own being. And that
light is the inherent radiance of His person and face, and that the
universal passion of love is the throbbing pulse-beat of His own great
heart.

Now why take time to speak about these things to-night when we are
talking about power? I will tell you why. Because they give the
intensest practical significance to a similar statement about that word
power with which we _are_ greatly concerned just now.

Mark the language Luke uses in describing that memorable Olivet scene in
which we are so deeply interested in these talks together. The old King
James version reads: "ye shall receive power _after_ that the Holy
Spirit is come upon you." The revised version puts it in this way, "ye
shall receive power _when_ the Holy Spirit is come upon you." Some of
you have probably noticed that some editions give a marginal note,
which, in this case, proves to be the literal reading namely: _ye shall
receive power the Holy Spirit coming upon you_. Not "after," nor "when,"
but simply "the Holy Spirit coming," etc. That is to say, the _Holy
Spirit is power_. That you will observe fits in with the form of
statement John uses. The Holy Spirit in control, unhindered, unhampered,
means power manifest in the life. That is the profound truth of God's
book. And as a bit of side evidence it is striking to observe that all
Scripture statements throughout fit in with that conception. Power is a
person. Not some thing, nor influence, nor sentiment, nor some working
upon our hearts at a distance by God seated up yonder on the throne.
That were wonderful indeed. But a person, called the Holy Spirit, living
in me--shall I make it very definite by saying, living _in my
body_?--that is power. If restrained by sin, or disobedience, or
ignorance, or wilfulness of any sort, then power _restrained_, held in
check, not evident. If utterly unrestrained, given free sway and
control--ah! then power manifest, limitless, wonderful, all exercised in
carrying out God's will in, and with, and through me.

And the marvelous message I bring you from the old book of God is this:
_The Master has sent a dear friend of His, and of yours, who is
experienced, and strong, and loving, personally to conduct you through
your daily life, and His presence unrestrained, means power unlimited._


A Significant Name.

Do you remember that heart-to-heart talk that Jesus had with the eleven
disciples that last night they spent together in the upper room? John
tells us about it in chapters thirteen to sixteen. The Master talks a
great deal that night, about some One else, who was coming to take His
place with them. They did not understand what He meant till afterwards.
He packs more into that one evening's talk about this coming One than
all He had said before put together. Notice that now He gives a name, a
new name, to this person, repeated four times that night. It is an
intensely significant name--_the Comforter_. Will you remember, and keep
constantly in mind, the actual meaning of that new name? it is simply
this: _one called alongside to help_.

Let me attempt to suggest a little of its practical meaning.

Here is a little girl standing on the curbstone down town on Broadway in
New York, with a bundle in her arms. She has been sent on an errand, and
wants to get across the street. But the electric cars are whizzing past
in both directions, and wagons, and carriages, and omnibuses, and horses
jam the street from curb to curb, and she cannot get across. She stands
there gripping her bundle, watching eagerly for a chance, and yet afraid
to venture. But the jam seems endless, and she grows very tired, and by
and by the corners of her mouth begin to twitch down suspiciously, and a
big tear is just starting in each eye. Just then a big policeman steps
up, one of the finest, six feet tall, and heavy and broad. He seems like
a giant to her. He stoops down. Would you imagine he had such a gentle
voice? "What's the matter?" "Can't--get--'cross." Oh! is that all; he'll
fix that. And he takes her little hand in his with a reassuring "come
along." And along she goes, past cars, under horses' heads, close up to
big wheels. She is just as small as before, and just as weak. But
though her eyes stay pretty big, the tears are gone, and there is an air
of confidence, because this big, kind-hearted giant by her side is
walking across the street as though he owned the whole place, _and he is
devoting his entire attention to her_. That policeman is a comforter in
the strict meaning of the word.

Here is a boy in school, head down close to the desk, puzzling over a
"sum." It won't "come out." He figures away, and his brow is all knitted
up, and a worried look is coming into his face for he is a conscientious
little fellow. But he cannot seem to get it right and the clouds gather
thicker. By and by the teacher comes up and sits down by his side. It
awes him a little to have her quite so close. But her kindliness of
manner mellows the awe. "How are you getting along?" "Won't come out
right"--in a very despondent tone. "Let me see, did you subtract
that...?" "Oh-h-h! I forgot that," and a little light seems to break, as
he scratches away for a few moments; then pauses. "And this figure here,
should it be...." "Oh-h-h, I see." More scratching, and a soft sigh of
relief, and the knitting brows unravel, and the face brightens. The
teacher did not do the problem for him. She did better. She let him feel
her kindly interest first of all, and gave just the light, experienced
touch that showed him the way out, and yet allowed him the peculiar
pleasure of getting through himself. _That is what "Comforter" means._

One summer a friend suggested to me spending a week on Lake Chautauqua.
I did not have the money to spare, and so told him I was not sure I
could arrange to get away. But he seemed to divine the basis of my
objection, and insisted on my going along. We went. I had very little
money with me. I got on the train without a ticket, took a seat in the
parlor car, stopped at the best hotel, had a choice room on the ground
floor, patronized the well-ordered dining-room regularly, and made free
use of the place. And all the time I had practically no money with me.
But would you believe me I was not a particle concerned about paying for
those privileges. Never felt less concern about anything in my life. You
know why. _I had a trustworthy friend, with me who was concerned for
me._

Now these are simple suggestions, illustrating _partly_ the meaning of
that marvelous name Jesus gave to the Holy Spirit. I will send another
Comforter, one who will be right by your side to help, sympathetic,
experienced, strong; and He will stay with you all the time. In the
kitchen, in the sitting-room, the sick-room, with the children, when
work piles up, when things jangle or threaten to, when the baby's cross,
and the patching and sweeping and baking, and all the rest of it seem
endless, on the street, in the office, on the campus, in the store, when
tempted--almost slipped, when opportunity opens for a quiet personal
word, everywhere, every time, in every circumstance, one alongside to
help. Is not that wonderful?


A Pictorial Illustration.

There is one bother about illustrations: they never do tell all the
truth. They never are as vivid, nor as good as the truth, that is when
you are talking about our Master, or His arrangements. The very best
illustrations of Bible truth are Bible illustrations. Now there is a
striking pictorial illustration back in the Old Testament of the meaning
of this name of the Holy Spirit. It is in the story of a most remarkable
journey from Egypt to the border line of Palestine. The journey was
remarkable for two things. First, for the sort of country it was
through. It is a trackless waste of sand, that spreads over thousands of
square miles. It was infested with venomous serpents and scorpions, and
is described as "all that great and terrible wilderness," "a waste
howling wilderness," and "a land of deserts and pits, of drought and of
the shadow of death, that none passed through, and where no man dwelt."
Think of taking a trip through a country like that! But it was even more
remarkable because of the transformation that took place in the
travelers. For a mob of four millions of people was changed into a
well-organized nation. The explanation given is fully as remarkable as
the trip, and the transformation. It must strike very strangely on the
cold, matter-of-fact ears of this materialistic world we dwell in. It is
this: that the Lord God Himself actually went with them in person, and
lived with them, and took immediate charge of everything. He had
promised Moses, their leader, that He would do this. Just how definite
or indefinite a thing that meant to Moses' mind we cannot know. But it
became very definite and tangible that memorable night of departure from
the iron furnace of Egypt. For there was a real physical evidence of His
presence. There appeared a column or pillar of fleecy-like cloud which
came down close to the ground, and which every one could plainly see. At
night time it shone and flamed as a pillar full of partly concealed
fire. God's voice spake out of it in their hearing. And that
presence-cloud never left them. In spite of complaints, and criticisms,
and rebellions of the most mean and exasperating kind, it never left
them until they had safely arrived at the border line of the promised
Palestine.

Now it is extremely fascinating in tracing that journey to notice just
what that cloud came to mean to them. If you will run rapidly through
the three wilderness books, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, you will find
there twenty distinct incidents[6] which illustrate how God's actual
presence in that cloud was made very real to them in practical affairs.
In those incidents there are ten different ways in which they were made
to feel that powerful Presence.

At the outset it is mentioned that the chief purpose was "to lead them
the way," and, by night "to give them light." Five incidents speak of
bodily nourishment, including fresh food daily, with occasional extras,
and a full supply of pure living water. Five speak of protection from
bodily harm. Two tell of the defeat of an enemy. Once there is chiding
for ingratitude. Six times rebuke or punishment for sin. In four they
are held back when dead-set on a very wrong course. Twice there is
instruction in their leader's plan for them. Three times a fuller
manifestation of Himself, and each time this is preceded by obedience on
their part in some particular matter. Once there is a special plan
suggested for relief in managing the nation's affairs. And then the fact
is stated that whenever Moses went apart to talk with God the cloud
descended lower, that is, _God came nearer_ when Moses desired to talk
with Him. So you see, the cloud meant guidance through that trackless
desert, food supplies, protection, defeat for the enemy, chiding,
restraint, punishment, instruction, help in business matters, a more
intimate manifestation of the glorious personality of their Guide, and a
gracious coming nearer whenever desired. Was not that a real practical
presence of the great God with them all those days?

Now that is the Bible's own graphic illustration of the meaning of that
new name given to the Holy Spirit, by Him who knew Him best,
_Comforter--one alongside to help_.


On a Higher Level.

Before we leave that illustration we must notice a very significant
thing which is no small part of the truth illustrated. Though the cloud
appeared the very night of that sudden going out of Egypt, and was never
absent from them, by day or by night, yet a full year afterwards there
was a new experience. By God's direction a special tent was made and set
up in which He said He would dwell. It was known as God's dwelling
place, the tent of meeting, the tabernacle, the tent of testimony. When
everything concerning its setting up had been fully done as specified
then there was an experience the most remarkable they had yet had with
God. It was a new manifestation of the glorious presence of their unseen
Friend-Guide. It is twice said that the tent was "_filled_" with His
glory. And this nearer disclosure, which God gave of Himself, was so
marvelously glorious and overpowering that even Moses, who had spent
almost twelve weeks in that mount with God, in closer intimacy than any
one else--even Moses was not able to enter into the tent, so over-awing
was that Presence.

Now it is of intensest interest to mark four things about that
experience. _First_ of all, before it came, there was _obedience_ to
God's instructions. Eighteen times within the narrow limits of the last
two pages of the Exodus record, it is said that Moses and the people did
everything, in every particular, just exactly as "the Lord commanded
Moses." There was explicit obedience before anything else. _Then_
followed the wondrous _infilling_ of the tent with God's presence. The
_third_ thing is particularized very carefully: all their movements were
directed and controlled by that Presence. Clearly the only safe rule for
living in that terrible desert, was to plan to live a planless life so
far as their own planning was concerned. Besides the last two verses of
Exodus which emphasize this, I find that in my revised Oxford edition
forty-five lines in the ninth chapter of Numbers are given to telling
how exactly they were guided, and how explicitly they followed their
Guide. It seems almost at first reading as though there was a decidedly
needless repetition. You seem to understand the thing easily enough
without that. But as one reads it again, and yet again, slowly, it
begins to dawn upon the mind that the purpose is to put marked emphasis
on this feature of their new life in the wilderness. The people would
rise in the morning, and probably the first thing done was to look out
toward the cloud to learn if there was to be any change that day. And so
during the day there would come to be an instinctive habit of watching
that cloud. They might remain in a new camping place for months, or only
for a few weeks, or, possibly only for a few days. They never knew a day
ahead. They lived literally a day at a time. It was certainly a
hand-to-mouth existence so far as the daily manna was concerned. But
then it was from _His_ hand to _their_ mouths and that made a great
difference. It was equally so in their movements and in all of their new
life. When, one morning as thousands of heads peep out, the cloud is
seen to have lifted up from over the tent, the next question was--which
direction? It might be toward the west, or it might be just the
opposite, toward the east. Both the time of going, and the direction,
and the pace were regulated by the presence of their Friend in that
cloud. Their life was a life of obedience to the will of their wise,
loving Companion.

The _fourth_ thing was intimacy of intercourse. It is a little
unfortunate that in reading our Bibles we sometimes allow the gaps that
come in the printing to break the continuity of thought. There is a
break for instance between the last verse of Exodus and the first verse
of Leviticus. The reading is meant to be continuous, and shows that
after the infilling, and the explanation about guidance, that God
"_called_" Moses to Him and _commenced talking about their new life_.
Now in connection with that call, and all their after talks, notice a
remarkable statement in the last verse of that long seventh chapter of
Numbers. It explains just _how_ God talked with Moses. Listen: "Whenever
Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him, _then he heard
the voice_ speaking unto him from above the mercy-seat that was upon the
ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and _He_ speaketh
unto him." There was the living, loving voice of their Companion-God,
which Moses could plainly hear, and which others heard, talking
familiarly and intimately about all their affairs. Several times when in
doubt what to do Moses promptly went off into the tent, then the cloud
would come down nearer, and Moses would state his difficulty, and back
would come that clear distinct voice with an answer. Group up those four
things--obedience; the never-to-be-forgotten infilling; the controlling
guidance; and intimate companionship.

That is the very best illustration I can find of the meaning of that
word which Jesus now chooses out and uses as the new name which would
most vividly tell what the Holy Spirit was to be to all believers after
His own departure. All that the presence of God in that pillar was to
those people, and to Moses personally, all that the Holy Spirit will be
to you. And my own conviction is that Jesus had that Old Testament scene
in His mind. For if you will turn again to that last night's talk you
will find a striking repetition of the steps or peculiarities of that
wilderness experience. Though here the whole experience is on a much
higher, finer plane. There is a closeness of personal regard, a depth of
that deepest of all loves, friendship love, that is not found in the Old
Testament story, except perhaps between Moses himself and God.

But now read the twenty-first verse of the fourteenth chapter of John:
"He that hath My commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth
Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father and I will love
him, and _will manifest Myself unto him_." And the twenty-third verse
adds to it: "If a man love Me, he will keep My word: and My Father will
love him, and _We will come unto him and make Our abiding place with
him_." Notice: there is obedience; it is accepted as an evidence of
love: there is a return love--a new, higher, reciprocal love: then there
is a revealing of Himself; and, constant abiding. Now run your eye
through the remaining part of that evening's conversation and you can
quickly pick out these words: "teach," "bring to your remembrance,"
"guide," "bear witness of me," "tell you coming things," "tell you about
me."

Does that not parallel remarkably the wilderness experience? Only it is
all put on such a higher plane. There is a fullness, and richness, and
tenderness, of personal intimacy here. The Presence in the wilderness
was for the national life: here it is peculiarly for the personal life.
There He dwelt actually in the heart of the nation. Here He dwells
actually in one's own very person. And then, too, now He can do so much
more _in_ us because so much more has been done for us through the
person of Jesus.


How to Find the Meaning.

May I say right here plainly: there seems to be even yet in some
quarters a hazy idea about the Holy Spirit being a person. It is
extremely common, even among people of excellent christian training, to
find Him referred to, both in prayer and speech as _it_. Could anything
be more disrespectful or insulting, if it were intentional instead of
being thoughtless or, in ignorance, as I am sure it really is. Imagine
my speaking of the pastor of this church in that way. "_It_ is a good
preacher. _It_ is a helpful pastor." You smile, and he smiles. But if I
said it repeatedly, and in sober earnest, you know how insulted he would
be. I suppose that the use of the word "itself" for the Holy Spirit in
the eighth chapter of Romans is largely responsible for this. The
revisers have properly substituted the word "himself." That very usage
so common has doubtless accustomed many persons to a vague idea of the
personality of the Spirit. And yet apart from that, there is without
doubt much mistiness, and uncertainty, in some minds, because of the
difficulty of thinking of a person without a form. It seems impossible
for our minds to grasp the idea of existence without bodily shape, yet
of course we believe in a personal God. Probably another reason is that
the Holy Spirit's work is not to speak of Himself but of Another--of
Jesus. He is Jesus' representative, and is constantly absorbed in
filling us with thoughts of His Chief. And when our minds are most
deeply stirred with thoughts of Jesus then it is that in that very fact
of being so stirred we have clearest evidence of the Holy Spirit's
presence within us. His very faithfulness to His mission has led to
Himself suffering depreciation at our hands, through our ignorance.

I am sure it must help us all decidedly in getting a clear-cut, sharply
defined idea of His personality to notice the language Jesus uses in
speaking of Him that night. For instance, notice that in our English
version the personal pronouns "he," "whom," "him," "which" (used in the
sense of who as is common with the British translators), occur
twenty-four times. A study of the actual words used would prove helpful
and interesting. One of them, used several times, is peculiarly
emphatic, its meaning being equivalent to the expression "that person
there."

And then notice the words used to describe what this person will do: "He
shall teach," "bring to your remembrance," "bear witness of Me,"
"convict the world of" three distinct things, "shall guide," "shall
hear," "shall speak," "shall declare," "shall glorify Me," "shall take
of Mine and declare it unto you." Everyone of these ten different
expressions imply intelligence and discrimination, and therefore of
course personality. And then added to this is the name given to Him here
of which so much has been said.

May we take just another look at that name--_The Comforter_--as we close
our talk together? I wish with my whole heart, and I pray, that a vivid
sense of the meaning of that name may be one result of this evening's
meeting. I was traveling alone in Germany one hot July day on a train
going down to the city of Worms. It was quite hot and I was very tired,
and my head aching, I distinctly remember. The conductor came along and
objected to my ticket. Before leaving this country, I thought I knew a
_little_ of German, enough to worry through on. My ideas on that subject
changed a trifle over there, however. That day my tired ears refused to
recognize any familiar sounds on the conductor's lips, and my tired
tongue refused to utter anything satisfactory to him. And there I was, a
complete stranger in a strange land too tired to think or have any
mental resources, not knowing but I might be put off at the next
station. In fact just tired enough for fine worrying. It looked blue for
a few moments. But not for long. A young man by my side, a Jew, spoke to
me in excellent English. Was any sound ever so welcome! He straightened
the conductor out, and then we fell to talking together. He proved to be
a very intelligent, agreeable companion. I found his home was in the
city where I was going. So we got off there together, and he simply
devoted himself to me for the day. He took me up to a good hotel, and
while I was eating dinner, went and got his brother who had been in
America, and who entertained me while I ate. Then he took me to his
father's home, a large old mansion, overlooking the famous Luther
monument where I rested a while. And then a quick run to a few
interesting points, and finally when leaving time came, he insisted on
accompanying me to the station, and making sure I had a good seat, and
then bade me a gracious good-bye.

That day lingers in my memory as one of the green spots of that trip. It
touched me to think that my Master graciously sent one of His own
despised race to be my friend. Do you not think that that man,
experienced where I was ignorant, and so sympathetic, was a living
illustration to me of Jesus' name for the Holy Spirit--_one called
alongside to help_?

One day recently, riding on a Lake Shore train in Ohio, I chanced to
notice the conductor stopping to speak to a little girl sitting behind
me. Then I noticed that she was alone and crying a little, quietly. She
did not answer his questions, but he must have been a father, I thought,
because he seemed to understand so well. Speaking to a kind-faced
motherly looking woman in the next seat he had the little girl go back
and sit beside her, next the window. They did not talk much, if any, I
noticed. But the girl was snuggled up close, and I knew from her face
that she felt the warm sympathy of that friendly presence, and that the
terrible feeling of loneliness had gone. Is not that woman another
illustration of that name Comforter? Her mere presence was all that was
needed to clear the skies and change the atmosphere for the little lone
and lonely traveler.

But Jesus Himself has a very striking way of making clear just what He
meant, by coupling another word with that new name the first time He
used it. He says, "I will send _another_ Comforter." The comparison is
with Himself. He is one comforter. The Holy Spirit another one. The only
other time this word is used is by John in his first epistle, and is
translated by our word advocate, and refers to Jesus. Jesus practically
says: "You know what I have been to you these months past." And they
would think through, the close intimacy of nearly two years. How He had
spoken with unmistakable plainness when they were in the wrong, but also
how loving with a strong love He had been, how patient, and gentle, and
resourceful, and how He seemed to yearn over them that they might grow
into His ideal for them. "Now," He says, "I am going away, but I will
send you _another_ one who will be to you all that I have been--_and
more_." _And more!_ That comparative more, either spoken or implied,
runs all through this last long confidential talk. "More, much more,
_because I go unto the Father_." Jesus crucified, risen, glorified can
do much more by far in us by His other self, the Holy Spirit, than He
could in person on the earth those years. And the wondrous meaning of
that "another comforter" to you and me, my friends, to-night is simply
this: it is the same as though the Lord Jesus had actually come back
again and _you had Him all to yourself--and more_.

But I cannot tell you the meaning of that wonderful name. Nor yet the
wondrous charm of Him who, for our sakes, embodies it. You may put
together all these illustrations in the attempt to get a real, close-up,
idea of what Jesus meant in that love-gift of His to you. And then you
will not know. There is really only one way to gain that knowledge. It
is this: take the step which belongs to _your_ side of the transaction
between you and the Master. Surrender yourself to Him to be changed and
cleansed and used as He may choose. Then _He_ will begin at once working
out the side that belongs to Him. _You shall be filled with His
presence._ Then you will _begin_ to know. Then you can sing--

    "I have a wonderful guest,
      Who speeds my feet, who moves my hands,
      Who strengthens, comforts, guides, commands,
    Whose presence gives me rest.

    "He dwells within my soul,
      He swept away the filth and gloom;
      He garnished fair the empty room,
    And now pervades the whole."

And you shall go on knowing more and better until the day dawn and the
shadows flee away.

FOOTNOTES:

[6] See note at the end.[A]

[Transcriber's Note A: The note in question follows immediately below, as
the footnote was moved to the end.]


     Of the twenty incidents referred to three do not directly
     mention the cloud, and in two others it is over the mount, with
     its characteristics much intensified. The references are given
     for those who will want to get closer up to this famous
     illustration.

     Guidance: Ex. xiii: 21-22, with Numbers xiv: 14.

     Bodily nourishment. Ex. xv: 25; xvi: 13-14, 45; xvii: 6.
     Numbers xi: 31-32. xx: 1-12.

     Protection from bodily harm: The nation--Ex. xiv: 19-20. The
     leaders--Num. xiv: 10 and on. xvi: 19 and on. xvi: 42 and on.
     xx: 1-12.

     Defeat of an enemy: Ex. xiv: 24-31, xvii: 8-16.

     Chiding: Ex. xvi: 4-7, 10-12.

     Rebuke or punishment for sin: Numbers xi: 33; xii: 1-10; xiv:
     10 and on; xvi: 19 and on; 42 and on; xx: 1-12.

     Held back from wrong: Numbers xiv: 10 and on; xvi: 19 and on;
     42 and on; xx: 1-12.

     Instruction and training: Ex. xix: 9, 16 and on; xxiv: 15-18.

     Fuller manifestation: Ex. xxxiv: 5 and on; xi: 34-38. Lev. ix:
     6, 23.

     Special plan of relief in managment: Numbers xi: 16, 17, 25.

     Coming nearer: Ex. xxxiii: 7-11, revised version.



MAKING AND BREAKING CONNECTIONS.

Many Experiences, but One Law.


In mechanics power depends on good connections. A visit to any great
machine shop makes that clear. There must be good connections in two
directions--inward toward the source of power, and outward for use. The
same law holds true in spiritual power as in mechanical. There must be
good connections.

These nights we have been together a few things have seemed clear. We
have seen that from the standpoint of our lives there is _need_ of
power, as well as from the standpoint of the Master's use of us among
others. Jesus' promise and insistent words make plain the _necessity_ of
our having power if His plan for us is not to fail. His words about the
_price_ of power have set many of us to doing some honest thinking and
heart-searching. And we have gotten some suggestion, too, of the meaning
of that word power, and of the _personality_ back of the word.

To-night I want to talk with you a little about how to secure good
connections between the source of power and the channel through which it
is to flow out to others; and, once secured, how to preserve the
connections unbroken.

It has been one of the peculiar characteristics of recent years in
religious circles that much has been spoken and written about the Holy
Spirit. Thousands of persons have been led into a clearer understanding
of His personality and mission, and into intimate relationship with
Himself. And yet, may I say frankly, that I read much and listened to
much without being able to get a simple workable understanding of how I
was to receive the much-talked-of baptism of power. That may quite
likely have been due to my own dullness of comprehension. But whatever
the cause, my failing to understand led to a rather careful study of the
old Book itself until somewhat clearer light has come. And now in this
convention I am anxious to put the truth as simply as I may that others
may not blunder and bungle along and lose precious time as I have done.

Many an earnest heart, conscious of weakness and failure, is asking, how
may I have power to resist temptation, and live a strong, useful,
christian life? In the search for an answer some of us have run across
two difficulties. One of these is in _other people's experiences_. It is
very natural to try to find out how someone else has succeeded in
getting what we are after. Many a godly man has told of his experience
of waiting and pleading with God before the thing he sought came.
Personal experiences are intensely interesting, and often helpful. But
there are apt to be as many different sorts of experiences as there are
persons. Yet there is one unchanging law of God's dealing with men
underlying them all. But unless one is more skilled than many of us are
in analyzing experiences and discovering the underlying law, these
experiences of others are often misleading. We are so likely to think at
once of the desirability of having the same experience as someone else,
rather than trying to find God's law of spirit life in them all. And so,
some of the written experiences have clouded rather than cleared the
sky. We should rather try _first_ to get something of a clear
understanding of God's law of dealing with men as a sort of basis to
build upon. And then fit into that, even though it may develop
differently in our circumstances. We may then get much help from others'
experiences. If possible, we want to-night to get something of an
inkling of that law.

Another difficulty that has bothered some of us is in the great variety
of language used in speaking of this life of power; a variety that seems
confusing to some of us. "The baptism of the Holy Spirit," "the
induement," "the filling," "refilling," "many fillings," "special
anointings"--these terms are familiar, though just the distinctive
meaning of each is not always clear. Let us look a little at the
language of the Book at this point. A run through the New Testament
brings out five leading words used[B] in speaking of the Holy Spirit's
relation to us. These words are "baptized," "filled," "anointed,"
"sealed," and "earnest." It seems to take all five words to tell all of
the truth. Each gives a different side.

[Transcriber's note B: Original had "word sused"]

The word _baptized_ is the distinctive word always used _before_ the day
of Pentecost, in speaking of what was to occur then. It is not used
afterward except in referring back to that day. It belongs peculiarly to
the day of Pentecost. Each of the gospels tells that John the Baptist
said that Jesus was to baptize with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself uses
the word, during the forty days, in Acts, first chapter. Peter, in Acts,
eleventh chapter, recalls this remark. Paul uses it once in referring
back to Pentecost.[7] These seem to be the only instances where the word
is used in speaking of the Holy Spirit. One other word is used once in
advance of Pentecost. "Tarry until ye be _endued_ or clothed upon."[8]
We shall see in a few moments that the meaning of this fits in with the
meaning of baptized, emphasizing one part of its meaning.

"Baptized" may be called the _historical_ word. It describes an act done
once for all on that great day of Pentecost, with possibly four
accessory repetitions to make clear that additional classes and groups
were included.[9] It tells God's side.

In this connection it will be helpful to note the significance of the
word baptize. Of course you will understand that I am not speaking now
of the matter or mode of water baptism. But I am supposing that
originally or historically the word means a plunging or dipping into. We
commonly think of the act of immersion-baptism from the side of the
object immersed because the action is on the side of the thing or person
which is plunged down into the immersing flood. But in the historical
baptism of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the standpoint is reversed.
Instead of a plunging down into there is a coming down upon, exactly
reversing the order with which we are familiar, but with the same
result--submersion. Notice the phrases in Acts used in describing the
baptism of the Holy Spirit on that historical Pentecost: "Coming upon
you," "pour out," "poured forth," "fallen upon," "fell upon," "poured
out," "fell on them," "came upon,"[10] all suggesting an act from above.


A Four-Sided Truth.

Now notice that the word used at the time of the actual occurrence and
afterwards is another word--"_filled_" and "full," which occurs eleven
times in the first nine chapters of Acts. It tells what was
_experienced_ by those persons at Pentecost and afterwards. It describes
_their_ side. Baptism was the _act_; filling was the _result_. If you
plunge a book into water you are submerging the book: that is your side.
The leaves of the book quickly become soaked, filled with the water:
that is the other side. When a baby is born it is plunged out into the
atmosphere. That is an immersion into air. It begins at once to cry and
its lungs become filled with the air into which it has been plunged. So
here "filled" is the _experience_ word; it tells our side.

The third word, "_anointed_," indicates the _purpose_ of this filling;
it is to qualify for living and for service. It is the word commonly
used in the Old Testament for the setting apart of the tabernacle to its
holy use; and of priests and kings, and sometimes prophets for service
and leadership. In the New Testament it is four times used of Jesus,
each time in connection with His public ministry.[11] Paul uses it of
himself in answering those who had criticised his work and leadership at
Corinth.[12] And John uses it twice in speaking of ability to discern
and teach the truth.[13] It is the _power_ word, indicating that the
Holy Spirit's coming is for the specific purpose of setting us apart,
and to qualify us for right living, and for acceptable and helpful
service.

The fourth word, "_sealed_," explains our personal connection with the
Lord Jesus. It is used once by Paul in writing to his friends at
Corinth, and twice in the Ephesian epistle.[14] The seal was used, and
still is to mark ownership. In our lumber regions up in the Northwest it
is customary to clear a small spot on a log and strike it with the blunt
end of a hatchet containing the initials of the owner, and then send it
adrift down the stream with hundreds of others, and though it may float
miles unguarded, that mark of ownership is respected. On the Western
plains it is common to see mules with an initial branded on the flank.
In both cases the initial is the owner's seal, recognized by law as
sufficient evidence of ownership. So the Holy Spirit is Jesus' ownership
mark stamped upon us to indicate that we belong to Him. He is our sole
Owner. And if any of us are not allowing Him to have full control of His
property, we are dealing dishonestly. Sealed is the _property_ or
_ownership_ word.

The last one of these words, "_earnest_," is a peculiarly interesting
one. It is found three times in Paul's epistles.[15] An earnest is a
pledge given in advance as an evidence of good faith. We are familiar
with the usage of paying down a small part of the price agreed upon to
make a business transaction binding. In old English it is called caution
money. My mother has told me of seeing her mother many a time pay a
shilling in the Belfast market-house to insure the delivery of a bag of
potatoes, paying the remainder on its delivery.

Now here the Holy Spirit is called "the earnest of our inheritance unto
the redemption of the purchased possession." That means two things to
us: First--that the Holy Spirit now filling us is Jesus' pledge that He
has purchased us, and that some day He is coming back to claim His
possessions; and then that the measure of the Spirit's presence and
power now is only a foretaste of a greater fullness at the time of
coming back; a sort of partial advance payment which insures a payment
in full when the transaction is completed. Paul speaks of this to the
Romans as the _first fruits_ of the Spirit.[16]

So, if you will take all five words you will get all of the truth about
our friend the Holy Spirit, and just what His coming into one's life
means. The first word, "baptism," is the _historical_ word, pointing us
_back_ to the day of Pentecost. The other four words, taken together,
tell us the four sides of the Holy Spirit's relation to us now. "Filled"
is the _experience_ word, pointing us _inward_ to what actually takes
place there. "Anointed" is the _power_ word, pointing us _outward_ to
the life and service among men to which we are set apart. "Sealed" is
the _personal-relation_ word, pointing us _upward_ to our Owner and
Master. "Earnest" is the _prophetic_ word, pointing us _forward_ to the
Master's coming back to claim His own, and to bestow the full measure of
the Spirit's presence.

And to-night we want to get some hint of how to have this infilling,
which shall also be an anointing of power and a seal of ownership and an
earnest of greater things at Jesus' return.


Broken Couplings.

But perhaps some one is saying, "Have not we all received the Holy
Spirit if we are christians?" Yes, that is quite true. It is the Holy
Spirit's presence in us that makes us christians. His work begins at
conversion. Conversion and regeneration are the two sides of the same
transaction. Conversion, the human side: regeneration, the divine side.
My turning clear around to God is my side, and instantly His Spirit
enters and begins His work. But here is a distinction to be made: the
Holy Spirit is in every christian, but in many He is not allowed free
and full control, and so there is little or none of His power _felt_ or
_seen_. Only as He has full sway is His power _manifest_. If at the time
of conversion or decision there is clear instruction and a whole-hearted
surrender, there will be evidence of the Spirit's presence at once. And
if the new life goes on _without break_ there will be a continuance of
that power in ever-increasing measure. But many a time, through
ignorance, or through some disobedience or failure to obey, there has
come a break, a slipping of a cog somewhere, and so an interruption of
the flow of power. Many a time lack of instruction regarding the
cultivation of the Spirit's friendship has resulted in just such a
break. And so a new start is necessary. Then a full surrender is
followed by a new experience or, shall I better say, a re-experience of
the Spirit's presence. And this new experience sometimes is so sharply
marked as to begin a new epoch in the life. Some of the notable leaders
of the Church have gone through just such an experience.

Yet, I know a man--have known him somewhat intimately for years--one of
the most saintly men it has been my privilege to know. For some years he
was a missionary abroad, but now is preaching in this country. His
private personal life is fragrant, and his public speech is always
accompanied with rare power. In conversation with a young minister at a
summer conference, he said he had never known this second blessing or
experience on which such stress was being laid there. And I think I can
readily understand that he had not. For, apparently, so far as one can
see, his first surrender or decision had been a whole-hearted one. He
had followed simply, fully, as he saw the way. There had been no break,
but a steady going on and up, and an ever-increasing manifestation of
the Spirit's presence from the time of that first decision. So that it
may be said, quite accurately, I think, that _in God's plan_ there is no
need of any second stage, but _in our actual experience_ there has been
a second stage, and sometimes more than a second, too, because with so
many of us the connections have been broken, making a fresh act on our
part a necessity.


The Real Battlefield.

But now the main topic we are to talk about is making and breaking
connections. First, making connections with the source of power. How may
one who has been willing to go thus far in these talks go a step further
and have power in actual _conscious_ possession?

There are many passages in this old Book that answer that question. But
let me turn you to one which puts the answer in very simple shape.
John's gospel, seventh chapter, verses thirty-seven to thirty-nine.
Listen: "Now, on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood
and cried, saying, if any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He
that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall
flow rivers of living water." Then John, writing some fifty years or so
afterwards, adds what he himself did not understand at the time: "But
this spake He of the Spirit who they that believed on Him were to
receive; for not yet was the Spirit given, because not yet was Jesus
glorified."

There are four words here which tell the four steps into a new life of
power. Sometimes these steps are taken so quickly that they seem in
actual experience like only one. But that does not matter to us just
now, for we are after the practical result. Four words--thirst,
glorified, drink, believe--tell the whole story. Thirst means desire,
intense desire. There is no word in our language so strong to express
desire as the word thirst. Physical thirst will completely control your
actions. If you are very thirsty, you can do nothing till that gnawing
desire is satisfied. You cannot read, nor study, nor talk, nor transact
business. You are in agony when intensely thirsty. To die of thirst is
extremely painful. Jesus uses that word thirst to express intensest
desire. Let me ask you--Are you thirsty for power? Is there a yearning
down in your heart for something you have not? That is the first step.
No good to offer food to a man without appetite. "Blessed are they that
hunger and thirst." Pitiable are they that need and do not know their
need. Physicians find their most difficult work in dealing with the man
who has no desire to live. He is at the lowest ebb. Are you thirsty?
There is a special promise for thirsty ones. "I will pour water on him
that is thirsty." If you are not thirsty for the Master's power, are you
thirsty to be made thirsty? If you are not really thirsty in your heart
for this new life of power, you might ask the Master to put that thirst
in you. For there can be nothing before that.

The second word is the one added long afterwards by John, when the
Spirit had enlightened his understanding--"glorified." "For not yet was
the Spirit given, because not yet was Jesus glorified." That word has
two meanings here: the first meaning a historical one, the second a
personal or experimental one. The historical meaning is this: when Jesus
returned home all scarred in face and form from His trip to the earth,
He was received back with great enthusiasm, and was glorified in the
presence of myriads of angel beings by being enthroned at the Father's
right hand. Then the glorified Jesus sent the Holy Spirit down to the
earth as His own personal representative for His new peculiar mission.
The presence of the Spirit in our hearts is evidence that the Jesus whom
earth despised and crucified is now held in highest honor and glory in
that upper world. The Spirit is the gift of a _glorified_ Jesus. Peter
lays particular stress upon this in his Pentecost sermon, telling to
those who had so spitefully murdered Jesus that He "being at the right
hand of God _exalted_ ... hath poured forth this." That is the
historical meaning--the first meaning--of that word "glorified." It
refers to an event in the highest heaven after Jesus' ascension. The
_personal_ meaning is this: when Jesus is enthroned in my life the Holy
Spirit shall fill me. The Father glorified Jesus by enthroning Him. I
must glorify Him by enthroning Him. But the throne of my heart was
occupied by another who did not propose to resign, nor to be deposed
without resistance. So there had to be a dethronement as well as an
enthronement. I must quietly but resolutely place the crown of my life,
my love, my _will_ upon Jesus' brow for Him henceforth to control me as
He will. That act of enthroning Him carries with it the dethronement of
self.

Let me say plainly that here is _the_ searching test of the whole
matter. _Why_ do you want power? For the rare enjoyment of ecstatic
moods? For some hidden selfish purpose, like Simon of Samaria, of which
you are perhaps only half conscious, so subtly does it lurk underneath?
That you may be able to move men? These motives are all selfish. The
streams turn in, and that means a dead sea. Better stop before you
begin. For thy heart is not right before God. But if the uppermost and
undermost desire be to glorify Jesus and let Him do in you, and with you
_what He chooses_, then you shall know the flooding of the channel-ways
of your life with a new stream of power.

Jesus Himself, when down here as Son of Man, met this test. With
reverence be it said that His highest purpose in coming to earth was not
to die upon the cross, but to glorify His Father. That memorable passage
opening the sixty-first chapter of Isaiah, which Jesus applied to
Himself in the Nazareth synagogue, contains eight or nine statements of
what He was to do, but closes with a comprehensive statement of the
underlying purpose--"_that He might be glorified_." As it turned out,
that could best be done by yielding to the awful experiences through
which He passed. But the supreme thought of pleasing His Father was
never absent from His thought. It drove Him to the wilderness, and to
Gethsemane, and to Calvary.

Is that the one purpose in your heart in desiring power? He might send
some of us out to the far-off foreign mission field. He might send some
down to the less enchanted field of the city slums to do salvage service
night after night among the awful social wreckage[C] thrown upon the
strand there; or possibly it would mean an isolated post out on the
frontier, or down in the equally heroic field of the mountains of the
South. He might leave some of you just where you are, in a commonplace,
humdrum spot, as you think, when your visions had been in other fields.
He might make you a seed-sower, like lonely Morrison in China, when
_you_ wanted to be a harvester like Moody. Here is the real battlefield.
The fighting and agonizing are here. Not with God but with yourself,
that the old self in you may be crucified and Jesus crowned in its
place.

[Transcriber's Note C: Original had "weckage"]

Will you _in the purpose of your heart_ make Jesus absolute monarch
whatever that may prove to mean? It _may_ mean great sacrifice; it
_will_ mean greater joy and power at once. May we have the simple
courage to do it. Master, help us! Thou wilt help us. Thou art helping
some of us now as we talk and listen and think.


Power Manifest in Action.

Well, then, if you have won on that field of action, the rest is very
simple. Indeed, after a victory there, your whole life moves up to a new
level. The third word is drink. "Let him come unto Me _and drink_."
Drinking is one of the easiest acts imaginable. I wish I had a glass of
water here just to let you see how easy a thing it is. Tip up the glass
and let the water run in and down. Drink simply means _take_. It is
saying, "Lord Jesus, I take from Thee the promised power.... I thank
Thee that the Spirit has taken full control." But you say, "Is that
all?" Yes. "Why, I do not feel anything." Do you remember saying
something like that when you were urged to take Jesus as your Savior?
And some kind friend told you not to wait for feeling, but to trust, and
that when you did that, the light came? Now, the fourth word is
_believe_. The law of God's dealing with you has not changed. Jesus
says, "Out of his belly _shall flow_ rivers of living water." You are to
believe His word. "But," you say, "how shall I _know_ I have this
power?" Well, first, by _believing_ that Jesus has done what He agreed.
He promised the Spirit to them that obey Him. The Holy Spirit fills
every surrendered heart. Then there is a second way--you will experience
the power as need arises. How do you know _any_thing? Here is this
chair. Suppose I tell you I have power to pick it up and hold it out at
arm's length. Well, you think, I look as though I might have that much
power in my arm. But you do not know. Perhaps my arm is weak and does
not show it. But now I pick it up and hold it out--(holding chair out at
arm's length)--now you _know_ I have at least that much power in my arm.
Power is always manifest in action. That is a law of power. How did that
man by the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, who had not walked for
thirty-eight years--how did he _know_ that he had received power to
walk? _He got up and walked!_ He did not know he had received the power
till he got up. Power is shown in action always. Faith acts. It pushes
out, in obedience to command. And when you go out of here to-day, _as
the need arises_ you will find the power rising within you to meet it.
When the hasty word comes hot to your lips, when that old habit asserts
itself, when the actual test of sacrifice comes, when the opportunity
for service comes, as surely as the need comes, will come the sense of
_His power_ in control. Believe means _expect_.

"Thirst," "glorify," "drink," "believe"--_desire_, _enthrone_, _accept_,
_expect_--that is the simple story. Are you thirsty? Will you put Jesus
on the throne? Then accept, and go out with your eyes open, expecting,
expecting, _expecting_, and He will never fail to reveal His power.
Shall we bow in silence a few moments and settle the matter, each of us,
with the Master direct?


Three Laws of Continuous Power.

Power depends on good connections. In mechanics: the train with the
locomotive; the machinery with the engine; the electrical mechanism with
the power house. In the body: the arm with the socket; the brain with
the heart. In the christian life the follower of Jesus with the Spirit
of Jesus. We have been talking together about making connections, and I
believe some of us have made the vital connection this hour, which means
new inflow and outflow of power.

Now there will be time for only a brief word about _breaking_
connections. "But," you say, "we do not want to break connections." No,
_you_ do not. But there is someone else who does. Since you have put
yourself into intimate contact with Jesus this someone else has become
intensely interested in breaking that contact. And this enemy of ours,
this Satan, the hater, is subtle and deep and experienced and more than
a match for any of us. But greater is He that is now in you than he that
is in the world. Satan will do his best by bold attack and cunning
deceit to tamper with your couplings.

One of the saddest sights, and yet a not uncommon one, is to see a man
who has been mightily used of God, but whose usefulness is now wholly
gone. One can run back through only recent years and recall, one after
another, those through whom multitudes were blessed, but who, yielding
to some subtle temptation, have utterly and forever lost their
opportunity Of service. The same is true of scores in more secluded
circles whose lives, spiritually blighted and dwarfed, tell the same sad
story.

These recent instances are but repetitions of older ones. Three times
the writer of Judges tells of Samson that "the spirit of the Lord came
mightily upon him," and then is added the pathetic sentence--"but he
wist not that the Lord was departed from him." And between the two
occurs the story of an act of disobedience. Twice the same thing is
recorded of King Saul, "the spirit of God came mightily upon him," and
the same sequel follows, "the spirit of the Lord had departed." And
between the two is found an act of disobedience to God's command. The
ninth of Luke tells a similar story. The disciples had been given power;
had used the power for others; were requested to relieve a demonized
boy; had tried to; had expected to; but utterly failed, to their own
chagrin, and the father's disappointment, amid the surprise and
criticism of the crowd. The Master explains that a slipshod connection
with God was at the bottom of their failure. Power is not stored in us
apart from God's presence. It merely passes through as He has sway. Once
the connection between Him and you is disturbed, the flow of power is
interrupted. We do not run on the storage battery plan, but on the
trolley plan. Constant communication with the source of power is
absolutely essential. The spirit of God never leaves us. We do not lose
His presence. But whatever grieves Him prevents His presence being
manifest. The _evidence_ of His presence may be lost through wrongdoing.
So I want to give you in very brief compass _the three laws_ of the life
of power--continued and increasing power. I wish some one had given them
to me long ago. It might have saved me many a bad break.

_The first law_ can be put in a single word--_obey_. Obedience is the
great foundation law of the christian life. Indeed it is the common
fundamental law of all organization, in nature, in military, naval,
commercial, political and domestic circles. Obedience is the great
essential to securing the purpose of life. Disobedience means disaster.
If you turn to scripture you must read almost every page if you would
get all the statements and illustrations of obedience and its opposite.
Begin with the third of Genesis, where the first disastrous act of
disobedience brought a ruin still going on. Run through the three
wilderness books, where the new nation is grouped about the smoking
mountain. Listen in Deuteronomy to the old man Moses talking during the
thirty days' conference they had in Moab's plains before he was taken
away. Then into Joshua's book of victory and the Judges' dark story of
defeats, through the kingdom books, and the prophecies, and you will
find the changes rung more frequently upon _obedience_ than anything
else. The same is true of the New Testament clear to the last column of
the last page.

The fact is, every heart is a battlefield whose possession is being
hotly contested. If Jesus is in possession Satan is trying his best by
storm or strategy to get in. If Satan be in possession whether as a
coarse or a cultured Satan, then Jesus is lovingly storming the door.
Satan _can_ not get in without your consent, and Jesus _will_ not. An
act of obedience to God is slamming the door in Satan's face, and
opening it wider for Jesus' control. Listen with your heart! An act of
disobedience, however slight, as _you_ think, is slamming the door of
your heart in Jesus' face and flinging it open to Satan's entrance. Is
that mere rhetoric? It is cold fact. No, it is hot fact. The first great
simple law is obedience.

But someone asks, "How shall I know what--whom, to obey? Sometimes the
voices coming to my ear seem to be jarring voices; they do not agree.
Pastors do not all agree: churches are not quite agreed on some matters:
my best friends think differently: how shall I know?" Here comes in _the
second law_, _Obey the book of God as interpreted by the Spirit of God_.
Not the book alone. That will lead into superstition. Not to say the
Spirit without the book He has indited. That will lead to fanaticism.
But the book as interpreted by the Spirit, and the Spirit as He speaks
through His book. There is a voice of God, and a Spirit of God and a
book of God. God speaks by His Spirit through His word Sometimes He
speaks directly without the written word. But _very, very rarely_. The
mental impressions by which the Spirit guides are frequent. But I am
speaking now, not of that but of His audible inner voice. He is chary in
the use of that. And when he so speaks the _test_ is that, of necessity,
the voice of God always agrees with itself. The spoken word is never out
of harmony with the written word. And as He has given us the written
word, it becomes our standard of His will. This book of God was
inspired. It _is_ inspired. God spoke in it. He speaks in it to-day. You
will be surprised to find how light on every sort of question will come
through this in-Spirited book.

But someone with a practical turn of mind is thinking: "but it is such a
big book. I do not know much about it. I read the psalms some, and some
chapters in Isaiah, and the gospels and some in the epistles, but I have
no grasp of the whole book; and your second law seems a little beyond
me." Then _you_ listen to the third law, namely: _time alone with the
book daily_. It should be unhurried time. Time enough not to think about
time. At least a half hour every day, I would suggest, and preferably
the first half hour of the morning, rising at least early enough to get
this bit of time before any duty can claim you. It may seem very
difficult for some. But it is an absolute essential, for the first two
laws depend on this one for their practical force.

When Joshua, trembling, was called upon to assume the stupendous task of
being Moses' successor, God came and had a quiet talk with him. In that
talk He emphasized just one thing as the secret of his new leadership.
Listen: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but
thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to
do according to all that is written therein." There are the three laws
straight from the lips of God, packed into a single sentence.

Let us plan to get alone with the Master daily over His word, with the
door shut, other things shut out, and ourselves shut in, that we may
learn His will, and get strength to do it. And when in doubt _wait_.

FOOTNOTES:

[7] 1 Cor. xii. 13.

[8] Luke xxiv. 49.

[9] That is to make perfectly plain that this experience was for _all_:
a very difficult fact for these intensely Jewish disciples to grasp.

(1) Not limited to the original one hundred and twenty, but for the
whole body of Jewish disciples--Acts iv.

(2) For the hated half-breed Samaritans--Acts viii.

(3) For the "dogs" of Gentiles--Acts x.

(4) For individual disciples anywhere, and at any distance in time from
Pentecost--Acts xix.

[10] Acts i: 8; ii: 17, 33; viii: 15; x: 45; xix: 6.

[11] (1) Luke iv. 18, quo. from Isa. lxi: 1. (2) Acts iv: 27. (3) Acts
x: 38. (4) Heb. i: 9, quotation from Ps. xlv: 7.

[12] 2 Cor. i: 21.

[13] 1 John i: 20, 27.

[14] 2 Cor. i: 22. Eph. i: 13; iv: 30.

[15] 2 Cor. i: 22; v: 5. Eph. i: 14.

[16] Romans viii: 23.



THE FLOOD-TIDE OF POWER.

God's Highest Ideal.


A flood-tide is a rising tide. It flows in and fills up and spreads out.
Wherever it goes it cleanses and fertilizes and beautifies. For untold
centuries Egypt has depended for its very life upon the yearly
flood-tide of the Nile. The rich bottom lands of the Connecticut Valley
are refertilized every spring by that river's flood-tide. The green
beauty and rich fruitage of some parts of the Sacramento Valley, whose
soil is flooded by the artificial irrigation-rivers, are in sharp
contrast with adjoining unwatered portions.

The flood-tide is caused by influences from above. In the ocean and the
portions of rivers under its influence by the heavenly bodies. In the
rivers by the fall of rain and snow swelling successively the upper
streams and lakes.

God's highest ideal for men is frequently expressed under the figure of
a river running at flood-tide. Ezekiel's vision of the future capital of
Israel gives prominence to a wonderful river gradually reaching
flood-tide and exerting untold influence.

John's companion vision of the future church in the closing chapters of
Revelation finds its radiating center in an equally wonderful river of
water of life. When Jesus would give a picture of a christian man up to
His ideal He exclaims, "Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living
water." John's explanation years after was that He was speaking of the
Holy Spirit's presence in the human life. Jesus' ideal would put our
lives at the flood-tide. No ebb-tide there. No rise and fall. But a
constant flowing in and filling up and flooding out.

Love is ambitious. God is love. And therefore God is ambitious for us.
In the best sense of the word He is ambitious for our lives. The old
impression has been that salvation is for the soul, and for heaven.
Well, it is for the soul, and it is for heaven, but it is for the
present life and for this earth. Some of God's most far-reaching plans
have to do with this earth. To-night we want to get a glimpse of God's
ambitious ideal for our lives down here; something of an understanding
of the _results_ of the unrestrained presence within us of His Holy
Spirit.

It is not surprising that there have been some mistaken ideas about the
results. It has been a common supposition that somehow the baptism of
the Holy Spirit is always connected with an evangelistic gift and,
further, connected with marked success in soul-winning. Men have thought
of Mr. Moody facing great crowds, who were swayed and melted at his
words, and of people in great multitudes accepting Christ. Probably the
world has never had a finer illustration of a Spirit-filled man than in
dear old Moody. And it is not to be wondered at that the rare
evangelistic gift of service with which he was endowed and the great
results attending it should be so closely allied in our minds with the
Spirit-filled life which he exemplified so unusually. In sharp contrast
however with that conception will you note that we are told over here in
Exodus of a man named Bezalel[17] who was filled with the Spirit of God
that he might have skill in carpentry, in metal working, and weaving of
fine fabrics, for the construction of the old tent of God. Will you note
further that a company of seventy men[18] were filled in a like manner
that they might be skilled in conducting the business affairs of the
nation; and that Luke tells of Elizabeth[19] being filled that she might
become a true mother for John.

A second misconception has been that marked success always accompanies
the Spirit's control. In contrast with that will you please note the
results in some of the Spirit-swayed men whom God used in Bible times.
Isaiah was called to a service that was to be barren of results, though
long continued; and Jeremiah's was not only fruitless but with great
personal peril. Jesus' public work led through a rough path to a crown
of thorns and a cross. Stephen's testimony brought him a storm of
stones. And Paul passed through great danger and distress to a cell,
and beyond, a keen-edged ax. These are leaders among Spirit-filled men.

Paul's teaching in the Corinthian epistle helps one to a clear
understanding about results. He explains that while it is one Spirit
dwelling in all who acknowledge Jesus as Lord, yet the _evidence_ of His
presence differs widely in different persons. It is one God working all
things in all persons, but with great variety in the gifts bestowed, in
the service with which they are intrusted, and in the inner experiences
they are conscious of.[20]

What results then may be expected to follow the filling of the Holy
Spirit? It may be said in a sentence that Jesus fills us with the same
Spirit that filled Himself that He may work out in us His own image and
ideal, _and_ make use of us in His passionate reaching out after others.
If we attempt to analyze these results we shall find them falling into
three groups. First--results in the _life_, that is in the inner
experiences, and the habits. Second--results in the _personality_, that
is in the appearance, and the mental faculties. Third--results in
_service_. Let us look a little at each of these.


A Transfigured Life.

First regarding the inner experiences. Without doubt the first result
experienced will be a new sense of _peace_: a glad, quiet stillness of
spirit which nothing seems able to disturb. The heart will be filled
with a peace still as the stars, calm as the night, deep as the sea,
fragrant as the flowers.

How many thousands of lips have lovingly lingered over those sweet
strong words: "The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall
guard your heart and thought in Christ Jesus." It is God's peace. It
acts as an armed guard drawn up around heart and thoughts to keep unrest
out. It is too subtle for intellectual analysis, but it steals into and
steadies the heart. You cannot understand it but you can feel it. You
cannot get hold of it with your head, but you can with your heart. You
do not get it. It gets you. You need not understand in order to
experience. Blessed are they that have not understood and yet have
yielded and experienced.

      "Peace beginning to be
      Deep as the sleep of the sea
    When the stars their faces glass
      In its blue tranquillity:
    Hearts of men upon earth
    That rested not from their birth
    To rest, as the wild waters rest,
    With the colors of heaven on their breast."

With that will come a new intense longing to do the Master's will; to
_please Him_. As the days come and go this will come to be the
master-passion of this new life. It will drive one with a new purpose
and zest to studying the one book which tells His will. That book
becomes literally the book of books to the Spirit-dominated man.

With that will come a new desire to talk with this new Master, who talks
to you in His word, and is ever at your side sympathetically listening.
His book reveals Himself. And better acquaintance with Him will draw you
oftener aside for a quiet talk. The _pleasure_ of praying will grow by
leaps and bounds. Nothing so inspires to prayer as reverent listening to
His voice. Frequent use of the ears will result in more frequent use of
the voice in prayer and praise. And more: Prayer will come to be a part
of service. Intercession will become the life mission.

But I must be frank enough to tell you of another result, which is as
sure to come as these--_there will be conflict_. You will be tempted
more than ever. Temptations will come with the subtlety of a snake; with
the rush of a storm; with the unexpected swiftness of a lightning flash.
You see the act of surrender to Jesus is a notice of fight to another.
You have changed masters, and the discarded master does not let go
easily. He is a trained, toughened fighter. You will think that you
never had so many temptations, so strong, so subtle, so trying, so
unexpected. But listen--_there will be victory_! Truth goes in pairs.
You will be tempted. The devil will attend to that. That is one truth.
Its companion truth is this: you will be victorious over temptation as
the new Master has sway. Your new Master will attend to that. Great and
cunning and strong is the tempter. Do not underrate him. But greater is
He that is in you. You cannot overrate Him. He got the victory at every
turn during those thirty-three years, and will get it for you as many
years and turns as shall make out the span of your life. Your one
business will be to let Him have full control.

Still another result, of the surprising sort, will be a new feeling
about _sin_. There will be an increased and increasing _sensitiveness_
to sin. It will seem so hateful whether coarse or cultured. You will
shrink from contact with it. There will also be a growing sense of the
_sinfulness_ of that old heart of yours, even while you may be having
constant victory over temptation. Then, too, there will grow up a
yearning, oh! such a heart-yearning as cannot be told in words, _to be
pure_, really pure in heart.

A seventh result will be an intense desire to get others to know your
wonderful Master. A desire so strong, gripping you so tremendously, that
all thought of sacrifice will sink out of sight in its achievement. He
is such a Master! so loving, so kind, so wondrous! And so many do not
know Him: have wrong ideas about Him. If they only _knew_ Him--that
surely would settle it. And probably these two--the desire to please
Him, and the desire to get others to know Him will take the _mastery_ of
your ambition and life.


The All-Inclusive Passion.

But all of these and much more is included in one of Paul's packed
phrases which may be read, "the _love_ of God hath _flooded_ our hearts
through the Holy Spirit given unto us."[21] The all-inclusive result is
_love_. That marvelous tender passion--the love of God--heightless,
depthless, shoreless, shall _flood_ our hearts, making us as gentle and
tender-hearted and self-sacrificing and gracious as He. Every phase of
life will become a phase of love. Peace is love resting. Bible study is
love reading its lover's letters. Prayer is love keeping tryst. Conflict
with sin is love jealously fighting for its Lover. Hatred of sin is love
shrinking from that which separates from its lover. Sympathy is love
tenderly feeling. Enthusiasm is love burning. Hope is love expecting.
Patience is love waiting. Faithfulness is love sticking fast. Humility
is love taking its true place. Modesty is love keeping out of sight.
Soul-winning is love pleading.

Love is revolutionary. It radically changes us, and revolutionizes our
spirit toward all others. Love is democratic. It ruthlessly levels all
class distinctions. Love is intensely practical. It is always hunting
something to do. Paul lays great stress on this outer practical side. Do
you remember his "fruit of the Spirit"?[22] It is an analysis of love.
While the first three--"love, joy, peace"--are emotions within, the
remaining six are outward toward others. Notice, "long-suffering,
gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness," and then the climax is
reached in the last--"self-control." And in his great love passage in
the first Corinthian epistle,[23] he picks out four of these last six,
and shows further just what he means by love in its practical working in
the life. "Long-suffering" is repeated, and so is "kindness" or
"goodness." "Faithfulness" is reproduced in "never faileth." Then
"self-control" receives the emphasis of an eight-fold repetition of
"nots." Listen:--"Envieth not," "boasteth not," "not puffed up," "not
unseemly," "seeketh not (even) her own," "is not provoked," "taketh not
account of evil" (in trying to help others, like Jesus' word "despairing
of no man"[24]), "rejoiceth not in unrighteousness" (that is when the
unrighteous is punished, but instead feels sorry for him). What
tremendous power of self-mastery in those "nots"! Then the positive side
is brought out in four "alls"; two of them--the first and last--passive
qualities, "beareth all things," "endureth all things." And in between,
two active "hopeth all things," "believeth all things." The passive
qualities doing sentinel duty on both sides of the active. These passive
traits are intensely active in their passivity. There is a busy time
under the surface of those "nots" and "alls." What a wealth of
underlying power they reveal! Sometimes folks think it sentimental to
talk of love. Probably it is of some stuff that shuffles along under
that name. But when the Holy Spirit talks about it, and fills our hearts
with it there is seen to be an intensely practical passion at work.

Love is not only the finest fruit, but it is the final test of a
christian life. How many splendid men of God have seemed to lack here.
What a giant of faith and strength Elijah was. Such intense indignation
over sin! Such fearless denunciation! What tremendous faith gripping the
very heavens! What marvelous power in prayer. Yet listen to him
criticising the faithful remnant whom God lovingly defends against his
aspersions. There seems a serious lack there. God seems to understand
his need. He asks him to slip down to Horeb for a new vision of his
Master. And then He revealed Himself not in whirlwind nor earthquake nor
lightning. He doubtless felt at home among these tempestuous outbreaks.
They suit his temper. But something startlingly new came to him in that
exquisite "sound of gentle stillness," hushing, awing, mellowing, giving
a new conception of the dominant heart of his God. Some of us might well
drop things, and take a run down to Horeb.

I know an earnest scholarly minister with strong personality, and
fearless in his preaching against sin, but who seems to lack this spirit
of love. He is so cuttingly critical at times. The other ministers of
his town whom he might easily lead, shy off from him. There is no
magnetism in the edge of a razor. His critical spirit can be felt when
his lips are shut. I recall a woman, earnest, winsome when she chooses
to be, an intelligent Bible student, keen-scented for error, a generous
giver, but what a sharp edge her tongue has. One is afraid to get close
lest it may cut.

When the Holy Spirit takes possession there is _love_, aye, more, a
_flood_ of love. Have you ever seen a flood? I remember one in the
Schuylkill during my boyhood days and how it impressed me. Those who
live along the valley of that treacherous mountain stream, the Ohio,
know something of the power of a flood. How the waters come rushing
down, cutting out new channels, washing down rubbish, tearing valuable
property from its moorings, ruling the valley autocratically while men
stand back entirely helpless.

Would you care to have a flood-tide of love flush the channelways of
your life like that? It would clean out something you have preferred
keeping. It would with quiet, ruthless strength, tear some prized
possessions from their moorings and send them adrift down stream and
out. Its high waters would put out some of the fires on the lower
levels. Better think a bit before opening the sluice-ways for that
flood. But ah! it will sweeten and make fragrant. It will cut new
channels, and broaden and deepen old ones. And what a harvest will
follow in its wake. Floods are apt to do peculiar things. So does this
one. It washes out the friction-grit from between the wheels. It does
not dull the edge of the tongue, but washes the bitter out of the mouth,
and the green out of the eye. It leaves one deaf and blind in some
matters, but much keener-sighted and quicker-eared in others. Strange
flood that! Would that we all knew more of it.


The Fullness of the Stature of a Man.

Now note some of the changes _in the personality_ which attend the
Spirit's unrestrained presence. Without doubt the face will change,
though it might be difficult to describe the change. That Spirit within
changes the look of the eye. His peace within the heart will affect the
flow of blood in the physical heart, and so in turn the clearness of the
complexion. The real secret of winsome beauty is here. That new dominant
purpose will modulate the voice, and the whole expression of the face,
and the touch of the hand, and the carriage of the body. And yet the one
changed will be least conscious of it, if conscious at all. Neither
Moses nor Stephen knew of their transfigured faces.

It is of peculiar interest to note the changes in the mental make-up. It
may be said positively that _the original group of mental faculties
remain the same_. There seems to be nothing to indicate that any change
takes place in one's natural endowment. No faculty is added that nature
had not put there, and certainly none removed.

But it is very clear that there is a _marked development_ of these
natural gifts, and that this change is brought about by the putting in
of _a new and tremendous motive power_, which radically affects
everything it touches.

Regarding this development four facts may be noted.

First fact:--_Those faculties or talents which may hitherto have lain
latent, unmatured, are aroused into use._ Most men have large
undeveloped resources, and endowments. Many of us are one-sided in our
development. We are strangers to the real possible self within,
unconscious of some of the powers with which we are endowed and
intrusted. The Holy Spirit, when given a free hand, works out the
fullness of the life that has been put in. The change will not be in the
sort but in the size, and that not by an addition but by a growth of
what is there.

Moses complains that he is slow of speech and of a slow tongue. God does
not promise a new tongue but that he will be _with_ him and _train_ his
tongue. Listen to him forty years after in the Moab Plains, as with
brain fired, and tongue loosened and trained he gives that series of
farewell talks fairly burning with eloquence. Students of oratory can
find no nobler specimens than Deuteronomy furnishes. The unmatured
powers lying dormant had been aroused to full growth by the indwelling
Spirit of God.

Saintly Dr. A. J. Gordon, whose face was as surely transfigured as was
Moses' or Stephen's used to say that in his earlier years he had no
executive ability. Men would say of him, "Well, Gordon can preach but--"
intimating that he could not do much else; not much of the practical
getting of things done in his makeup. When he was offered the
chairmanship of the missionary committee of the Baptist Church, he
promptly declined as being utterly unfit for such a task. Finally with
reluctance he accepted, and for years he guided and molded with rare
sagacity the entire scheme of missionary operation of the great Baptist
Church of the North. He was accustomed with rare frankness and modesty
to speak of the change in himself as an illustration of how the Spirit
develops talents which otherwise had lain unsuspected and unused.

The second fact: _ALL of one's faculties will be developed, to the
highest normal pitch._ Not only the undeveloped faculties, but those
already developed will know a new life. That new presence within will
sharpen the brain, and fire the imagination. It will make the logic
keener, the will steadier, the executive faculty more alert.

The civil engineer will be more accurate in his measurements and
calculations. The scientific man more keenly observant of facts, better
poised in his generalization upon them, and more convincing in his
demonstrations. The locomotive engineer will handle his huge machine
more skillfully. The road saves money in having a christian hand on the
throttle. The lawyer will be more thorough in his sifting of evidence,
and more convincing in the planning of his cases. The business man will
be even more sharply alive to business. The college student can better
grasp his studies, and write with stronger thought and clearer diction.
The cook will get a finer flavor into the food. And so on to the end of
the list. Why? Not by any magic, but simply and only because man was
created to be animated and dominated by the Spirit of God. That is his
normal condition. The Spirit of God is his natural atmosphere. The
machine works best when run under the inventor's immediate direction.
Only as a man--any man--is swayed by the Holy Spirit, will his powers
rise to their best. And a man is not doing his best, however hardworking
and conscientious, and therefore not fair to his own powers, who lives
otherwise.

Some one may enter the objection, that many of the keenest men with
finely disciplined powers may be found among non-christian men. But he
should remember two facts, first, that a like truth holds good in the
opposite camp. There are undoubtedly men whose genius is brilliant
because inspired by an evil spirit. There are cultured scholarly men,
and keen shrewd business men who have yielded their powers to another
than God and are greatly assisted by evil spirits, though it is quite
likely that they are not conscious that this is the true analysis of
their success.

The second fact to note is that no matter how keen or developed a man's
powers may be either as just suggested, or, by dint of native strength
and of his own effort they are still of necessity less than they would
be if swayed by the Spirit of God. For man is created to be indwelt and
inspired by God's Spirit, and his powers _can_ not be at their best
pitch save as the conditions of their creation are met.

The third fact:--_There will be a gradual bringing back to their normal
condition of those facilities which have been dwarfed, or warped, or
abnormally developed through sin and selfishness._ Sometimes these moral
twists and quirks in our mental faculties are an inheritance through one
or more generations. The man with excessive egotism often carries the
evidence of it in the very shape of his head. But as he yields to the
new Spirit dominant within, a spirit of humility, of modesty will
gradually displace so much of the other as is abnormal. The man of
superficial mind will be deepened in his mental processes. The man of
hasty judgment or poor judgment will grow careful in his conclusions.
The lazy man will get a new lease of ambition and energy.

These results will be gradual, as all of God's processes are. Sometimes
painfully gradual, and will be strictly in proportion as the man yields
himself unreservedly to the control of the indwelling Spirit. And the
process will be by the injection of a new and mighty motive power. The
shallow-minded man will have an intense desire to study God's wondrous
classic so as to learn His will. And though his studies may not get much
farther, yet no one book so disciplines and deepens the mind as that.
The lazy man will find a fire kindling in his bones to please his Master
and do something for Him, that will burn through and burn up his
indolence. The man of hasty judgment will find himself stopping to
consider what his Master would desire. And the mere pause to think is a
long step toward more accurate judgment. He will become a reverent
student of the word of God, and nothing corrects the judgment like that.

The self-willed, headstrong man will likely have the toughest time of
any. To let his own plan utterly go, and instead fit into a radically
different one will shake him up terrifically. But that mighty One within
will lovingly woo and move him. And as he yields, and victory comes, he
will be delighted to find that the highest act of the strongest will is
in yielding to a higher will when found. He will be charmed to discover
that the rarest liberty comes only in perfect obedience to perfect law.

And so every sort of man who has gotten some moral twist or obliquity in
his mental make-up will be straightened out to the normal standard of
his Maker, _as he allows Him to take full control_.

The fourth fact:--_All this growth and development will be strictly
along the groove of the man's natural endowment._ The natural mental
bent will not be changed though the moral crooks will be straightened
out. Peter's rash, self-assertive twists are corrected, but he remains
the same Peter mentally. He does not possess the rare logical powers of
Paul, nor the judicial administrative temper of James, before the
infilling, and is not endowed with either after that experience. John's
intensity which would call down fire to burn up supposed foes is not
removed but turned into another channel, and burns itself out in love.
Jonathan Edwards retains and develops his marvelous faculty of
metaphysical reasoning and uses it to influence men for God. Finney's
intensely logical mind is not changed but fired and used in the same
direction.

Moody has neither of these gifts, but has an unusually magnetic
presence, and a great executive faculty which leaves its impress on his
blunt direct speech. His faculties are not changed, nor added to, but
developed wonderfully and used. Geo. Mueller never becomes a great
preacher like these three; nor an expositor, but finds his rare
development in his marked administrative skill. Charles Studd remains a
poor speaker with jagged rhetoric and with no organizing knack, though
the fire of God in his presence kindles the flames of mission zeal in
the British universities, and melts your heart as you listen.
Shaftsbury's mental processes show the generations of aristocratic
breeding even in his costermonger's cart lovingly winning these men, or
after midnight searching out the waifs of London's nooks and docks.
Clough is refused by the missionary board because of his lack of certain
required qualifications, and when finally he reaches the field none of
these qualities appears, but his skill as an engineer gives him a hold
upon thousands whom his presence and God-breathed passion for souls win
to Jesus Christ. Carey's unusual linguistic talent, Mary Lyon's teaching
gift are not changed but developed and used. The growth produced by the
Spirit's presence is strictly along the groove of the natural gift. But
note that in this great variety of natural endowment there is one
trait--a moral trait, not a mental--that marks all alike, namely a
pervading purpose, that comes to be a passion, to do God's will, and get
men to know Him, and that everything is forced to bend to this dominant
purpose. Is not this glorious unity in diversity?


Saved and Sent to Serve.

The third group of results affects our _service_. We will want to serve.
Love must act. We must _do_ something for our Master. We must do
_something_ for those around us. There will be a new _spirit_ of
service. Its peculiar characteristic and charm will be the _heart of
love_ in it. Love will envelop and undergird and pervade and exude from
all service. There will be a fine graciousness, a patience, a strong
tenderness, an earnest faithfulness, a hopeful tirelessness which will
despair of no man, and of no situation.

The _sort_ of service and the _sphere_ of service will be left entirely
to the direction of the indwelling Holy Spirit, "dividing to every man
_as He will_." There will be no choosing of a life work but a prayerful
waiting till _His choice_ is clear, and then a joyous acceptance of
that. There will be no attempt to open doors, not even with a single
touch or twist of the knob, but only an entering of _opened_ doors.

If the work be humble, or the place lowly, or both, there will be a
cheery eager using of the highest powers keyed to their best pitch. If
higher up, a steady remembering that there can be no power save as the
Spirit controls, and a praying to be kept from the dizziness which
unaccustomed height is apt to produce. Large quantities of paper and ink
will be saved. For many letters of application and indorsement will
remain _unwritten_.

The Master's say-so is accepted by Spirit-led men as final. He chooses
Peter to _open_ the door to the outer nations, and Paul to _enter_ the
opened door. He chooses not an apostle but Philip to open up Samaria,
and Titus to guide church matters in Crete. A miner's son is chosen to
shake Europe, and a cobbler to kindle anew the missionary fires of
Christendom. Livingston is sent to open up the heart of Africa for a
fresh infusion of the blood the Son of God. A nurse-maid, whose name
remains unknown, is used to mold for God the child who became the
seventh Earl of Shaftsbury, one of the most truly Spirit-filled men of
the world. Geo. Mueller is chosen for the signal service of re-teaching
men that God still lives and actually answers prayer. Speer is used to
breathe a new spirit of devotion among college students, and Mott to
arouse and organize their service around the world. Geo. Williams and
Robert McBurney become the leaders, British and American, in an
in-Spirited movement to win young men by thousands. An earnest woman is
chosen to mother and to shape for God the tender years of earth's
greatest queen, who through character and position exerted a greater
influence for righteousness than any other woman. The common factor in
all is the Chooser. Jesus is the Chief Executive of the campaign through
His Spirit. The direction of it belongs to Him. He knows best what each
one can do. He knows best what needs to be done. He is ambitious that
each of us shall be the best, and have the best. He has a plan thought
out for each life, and for the whole campaign. His Spirit is in us to
administer His plan. He never sleeps. He divideth to every man severally
as He will. And His is a loving, wise will. It can be trusted.

A Spirit-mastered man slowly comes to understand that service now is
apprenticeship-service. He is in training for the time when a King shall
reign, and will need tested and trusted and trained servants. He is in
college getting ready for commencement day. That _may_ explain in part
why some of the workers whom _we_ think can be least spared, are called
away in their prime. Their apprentice term is served. School's out. They
are moved up.


The Music of the Wind Harp.

Please remember that these are _flood-tide_ results. Some good people
will never know them except in a very limited way. For they do not open
the sluice-gates wide enough to let the waters reach flood-tide. _These
results will vary in degree with the degree and constancy of the
yielding to the Spirit's control._ A full yielding at the start, and
constantly continued will bring these results in full measure and
without break, though the growth will be gradual. For it is a rising
flood, ever increasing in height and depth and sweep and power. Partial
surrender will mean only partial results; the largest and finest results
come only as the spirit has full control, for the work is all His, by
and with our consent.

In one of her exquisite poems Frances Ridley Havergal tells of a friend
who was given an æolian harp which, she was told, sent out unutterably
sweet melodies. She tried to bring the music by playing upon it with her
hand, but found the seven strings would yield but one tone. Keenly
disappointed she turned to the letter sent before the gift and found
she had not noticed the directions given. Following them carefully she
placed the harp in the opened window-way where the wind could blow upon
it. Quite a while she waited but at last in the twilight the music came:

    "Like stars that tremble into light
      Out of the purple dark, a low, sweet note
      Just trembled out of silence, antidote
    To any doubt; for never finger might
      Produce that note, so different, so new:
      Melodious pledge that all He promised should come true.

           *       *       *       *       *

    "Anon a thrill of all the strings;
      And then a flash of music, swift and bright,
      Like a first throb of weird Auroral light,
    Then crimson coruscations from the wings
      Of the Pole-spirit; then ecstatic beat,
      As if an angel-host went forth on shining feet.

    "Soon passed the sounding starlit march,
      And then one swelling note grew full and long,
      While, like a far-off cathedral song,
    Through dreamy length of echoing aisle and arch
      Float softest harmonies around, above,
      Like flowing chordal robes of blessing and of love.

    "Thus, while the holy stars did shine
      And listen, the æolian marvels breathed;
      While love and peace and gratitude enwreathed
    With rich delight in one fair crown were mine.
      The wind that bloweth where it listeth brought
      This glory of harp-music--not my skill or thought."

And the listening friend to whom this wondrous experience is told, who
has had a great sorrow in her life, and been much troubled in her
thoughts and plans replies:

    " ... I too have tried
    My finger skill in vain. But opening now
    My window, like wise Daniel, I will set
    My little harp therein, and listening wait
    The breath of heaven, the Spirit of our God."

May we too learn the lesson of the wind-harp. For man is God's æolian
harp. The human-taught finger skill can bring some rare music, yet by
comparison it is at best but a monotone. When the instrument is set to
catch the full breathing of the breath of God, then shall it sound out
the rarest wealth of music's melodies. As the life is yielded fully to
the breathing of the Spirit we shall find the peace of God which passeth
all understanding filling the heart; and the power of God that passeth
all resisting flooding the life; and others shall find the beauty of
God, that passeth all describing, transfiguring the face; and the dewy
fragrance of God, that passeth all comparing, pervading the personality,
though most likely _we_ shall not know it.

FOOTNOTES:

[17] Exodus xxxi: 1-5.

[18] Numbers xi: 16, 17.

[19] Luke i: 13-17, 41.

[20] 1 Cor. xii: 4-6, 11.

[21] Rom. v: 5.

[22] Gal. v: 22-23.

[23] 1 Cor. xiii.

[24] Luke vi: 35. R. V., margin.



FRESH SUPPLIES OF POWER.

"As the Dew."


There is another very important bit needed to complete the circle of
truth we are going over together in these quiet talks. Namely, _the
daily life_ after the act of surrender and all that comes with that act.
The steady pull day by day. After the eagle-flight up into highest air,
and the hundred yards dash, or even the mile run, comes the steady,
steady walking mile after mile. The real test of life is here. And the
highest victories are here, too.

I recall the remark made by a friend when this sort of thing was being
discussed:--"I would make the surrender gladly but as I think of my home
life I know I cannot keep it." There was the rub. The day-by-day life
afterwards. The habitual steady-going when temptations come in, and when
many special aids, and stimulating surroundings are withdrawn. This last
talk together is about this _afterlife_. What is the plan for that?
Well, let us talk it over a bit.

Have you noticed that the old earth receives a fresh baptism of life
daily? Every night the life-giving dew is distilled. The moisture rises
during the day from ocean, and lake, and river, undergoes a chemical
change in God's laboratory and returns nightly in dew to refresh the
earth. It brings to all nature new life, with rare beauty, and fills the
air with the exquisite fragrance drawn from flowers and plants. Its
power to purify and revitalize is peculiar and remarkable. It distils
only in the night when the world is at rest. It can come only on clear
calm nights. Both cloud and wind disturb and prevent its working. It
comes quietly and works noiselessly. But the changes effected are
radical and immeasurable. Literally it gives to the earth a nightly
baptism of new life. That is God's plan for the earth. And that, too,
let me say to you, is His plan for our day-by-day life.

It hushes one's heart with a gentle awe to go out early in the morning
after a clear night when air and flower and leaf are fragrant with an
indescribable freshness, and listen to God's voice saying, "_I will be
as the dew unto Israel._" That sentence is the climax of the book where
it occurs.[25] God is trying through Hosea to woo His people away from
their evil leaders up to Himself again. To a people who knew well the
vitalizing power of the deep dews of an Oriental night, and their own
dependence upon them, He says with pleading voice, "_I_ will be to you
_as the dew_."

The setting of that sentence is made very winsome. The _beauty_ of the
lily, and of the olive-tree; the _strength_ of the roots of Lebanon's
giant cedars, and the _fragrance_ of their boughs; the _fruitfulness_
of the vine, and the _richness_ of the grain harvest are used to bring
graphically to their minds the meaning of His words: "as the dew."

Tenderly as He speaks to that nation in which His love-plan for a world
centered, more tenderly yet does He ever speak to the individual heart.
That wondrous One who is "alongside to help" will be by the atmosphere
of His presence to you and to me as the dew is to the earth--a daily
refreshing of new life, with its new strength, and rare beauty and fine
fragrance.

Have you noticed how Jesus Himself puts His ideal for the day-by-day
life? At that last Feast of Tabernacles He said, "He that believeth on
me out of his inner being shall flow rivers of water of life."[26] Jesus
was fairly saturated with the Old Testament figures and language. Here
He seems to be thinking, of that remarkable river-vision of
Ezekiel's.[27] You remember how much space is given there to describing
a wonderful river running through a place where living waters had never
flowed. The stream begins with a few strings of water trickling out from
under the door-step of the temple, and rises gradually but steadily
ankle-deep, knee-deep, loin-deep, over-head, until flood-tide is
reached, and an ever rising and deepening flood-tide. And everywhere the
waters go is life with beauty, and fruitfulness. There is no drought,
no ebbing, but a continual flowing in, and filling up, and flooding out.
In these two intensely vivid figures is given our Master's carefully,
lovingly thought out plan for the day-by-day life.

In actual experience the reverse of this is, shall I say too much if I
say, _most commonly_ the case? It seems to be so. Who of us has not at
times been conscious of some failure that cut keenly into the very
tissue of the heart! And even when no such break may have come there is
ever a heart-yearning for more than has yet been experienced. The men
who seem to know most of God's power have had great, unspeakable
longings at times for a fresh consciousness of that power.

There is a simple but striking incident told of one of Mr. Moody's
British campaigns. He was resting a few days after a tour in which God's
power was plainly felt and seen. He was soon to be out at work again.
Talking out of his inner heart to a few sympathetic friends, he
earnestly asked them to join in prayer that he might receive "a fresh
baptism of power." Without doubt that very consciousness of failure, and
this longing for more is evidence of the Spirit's presence within wooing
us up the heights.

The language that springs so readily to one's lips at such times is just
such as Mr. Moody used, a fresh baptism, a fresh filling, a fresh
anointing. And the _fresh consciousness_ of God's presence and power is
to one as a fresh act of anointing on His part. Practically it does not
matter whether there is actually a fresh act upon the Spirit's part,
_or_ a renewed consciousness upon our part of His presence, and a
renewed humble depending wholly upon Him. Yet to learn the real truth
puts one's relationship to God in the clearer light that prevents
periods of doubt and darkness. Does it not too bring one yet nearer to
Him? In this case it certainly suggests a depth and a tenderness of His
unparalleled love of which some of us have not even dreamed. So far as
the Scriptures seem to suggest there is not a fresh act upon God's part
at certain times in one's experience, but His wondrous love is such that
there is _a continuous act_--a continuous flooding in of all the
gracious power of His Spirit that the human conditions will admit of.
The flood-tide is ever being poured out from above, but, as a rule, our
gates are not open full width. And so only part can get in, and part
which He is giving is restrained by us.

Without doubt, too, the incoming flood expands that into which it comes.
And so the capacity increases ever more, and yet more. And, too, we may
become much more sensitive to the Spirit's presence. We may grow into
better mediums for the transmission of His power. As the hindrances and
limitations of centuries of sin's warping and stupefying are gradually
lessened there is a freer better channel for the through-flowing of His
power.


A Transition Stage.

Such seems to be the teaching of the old Book. Let us look into it a
little more particularly. One needs to be discriminating in quoting the
Book of Acts on this subject. That book marks _a transition stage_
historically in the experience possible to men. Some of the older
persons in the Acts lived in three distinct periods. There was the Old
Testament period when a salvation was foretold and promised. Then came
the period when Jesus was on the earth and did a wholly new thing in the
world's history in actually working out a salvation. And then followed
the period of the Holy Spirit applying to men the salvation worked out
by Jesus. All these persons named in the Book of Acts lived both before
and after the day of Pentecost, which marked the descent of the Holy
Spirit. The Book of Acts marks the clear establishing of the transition
from the second to the third of these three periods. Ever since then men
have lived _after_ Pentecost. The transitional period of the Book of
Acts is behind us.

Men in Old Testament times both in the Hebrew nation and outside of it
were born of the Spirit, and under His sway. But there was a limit to
what He could do, because there was a limit to what had been done. The
Holy Spirit is the executive member of the Godhead. He applies to men
what has been worked out, or achieved for them, and only that. Jesus
came and did a new thing which stands wholly alone in history. He lived
a sinless life, and then He died sacrificially for men, and then
further, arose up to a new life after death. The next step necessary was
the sending down of the divine executive to work out in men this new
achievement. He does in men what Jesus did for them. He can do much more
for us than for the Old Testament people because much more has been done
for us by God through Jesus. The standing of a saved man before
Pentecost was like that of a young child in a rich family who cannot
under the provisions of the family will come into his inheritance until
the majority age is reached. After the Son of God came, men are _through
Him_ reckoned as being _as He is_, namely in full possession of all
rights conferred by being a born son of full age. Now note carefully
that this Book of Acts marks the transition from the one period to the
other. And so one needs to be discriminating in applying the experiences
of men passing through a transition period to those who live wholly
afterwards.


The After-Teaching.

The after-Pentecost teaching, that is the personal relation to the
Spirit by one who has received Him to-day, may best be learned from the
epistles. Paul's letters form the bulk of the New Testament after the
Book of Acts is passed. They contain the Spirit's _after-teaching_
regarding much which the disciples were not yet able to receive from
Jesus' own lips. They were written to churches that were far from ideal.
They were composed largely of people dug out of the darkest heathenism.
And with the infinite patience and tact of the Spirit Paul writes to
them with a pen dipped in his own heart.

A rather careful run through these thirteen letters brings to view two
things about the relation of these people to the Holy Spirit. First
there are certain _allusions_ or references to the Spirit, and then
certain _exhortations_. Note first these _allusions_.[28] They are
numerous. In them it is constantly _assumed_ that these people _have
received the Holy Spirit_. Paul's dealing with the twelve disciples whom
he found at Ephesus[29] suggests his habit in dealing with all whom he
taught. Reading that incident in connection with these letters seems to
suggest that in every place he laid great stress upon the necessity of
the Spirit's control in every life. And now in writing back to these
friends nearly all the allusions to the Spirit are in language that
_assumes_ that they have surrendered fully and been filled with His
presence.

There are just four _exhortations_ about the Holy Spirit. It is
significant to notice what these are not. They are not exhorted to seek
the baptism of the Holy Spirit nor to wait for the filling. There is no
word about refillings, fresh baptisms or anointings. For these people,
unlike most of us to-day, have been thoroughly instructed regarding the
Spirit and presumably have had the great radical experience of His full
incoming. On the other hand notice what these exhortations _are_. To the
Thessalonians in his first letter he says, "_Quench not_ the
Spirit."[30] To the disciples scattered throughout the province of
Galatia who had been much disturbed by false leaders he gives a rule to
be followed, "_Walk_ by the Spirit."[31] The other two of these
incisive words of advice are found in the Ephesian letter--"_Grieve not_
the Spirit of God,"[32] and "_be ye filled_ with the Spirit."[33]

These exhortations like the allusions assume that they have received the
Spirit, and know that they have. The last quoted, "be ye filled," may
seem at first flush to be an exception to this, but I think we shall see
in a moment that a clearer rendering takes away this seeming, and shows
it as agreeing with the others in the general teaching.

This letter to the Ephesians may perhaps be taken as a fair index of the
New Testament teaching on this matter after the descent of the Spirit;
the _after-teaching_ promised by Jesus. It bears evidence of being a
sort of circular letter intended to be sent in turn to a number of the
churches, and is therefore a still better illustration of the
after-teaching. The latter half of the letter is dealing wholly with
this question of the day-by-day life after the distinct act of surrender
and infilling. Here are found two companion exhortations. One is
negative: the other positive. The two together suggest the rounded truth
which we are now seeking. On one side is this:--"Grieve not the Spirit
of God," and on the other side is this:--"be ye filled with the Spirit."
Bishop H. C. G. Moule calls attention to the more nearly accurate
reading of this last,--"be ye _filling_ with the Spirit." That suggests
two things, a _habitual inflow_, and, that _it depends on us_ to keep
the inlets ever open. Now around about these two companion exhortations
are gathered two groups of friendly counsels. One group is about the
_grieving_ things which must be avoided. The other group is about the
positive things to be cultivated. And the inference of the whole passage
is that this avoiding and this cultivating result in the habitual
filling of the Spirit's presence.


Cross-Currents.

Fresh supplies of power then seem to be dependent upon two things. The
first is this:--_Keeping the life dear of hindrances._ This is the
negative side, though it takes very positive work. It is really the
abnormal side of the true life. Sin is abnormal, unnatural. It is a
foreign element that has come into the world and into life disturbing
the natural order. It must be kept out. The whole concern here is
keeping certain things _out_ of the life. The task is that of staying in
the world but keeping the world-spirit _out_ of us. We are to remain in
the world for its sake, but to allow nothing in it to disturb our full
touch with the other world where our citizenship is. The christian's
position in this world is strikingly like that of a nation's ambassador
at a foreign court. Joseph H. Choate mingles freely with the subjects of
King Edward, attends many functions, makes speeches, grants occasional
interviews, but he is ever on the alert with his rarely keen mind, and
long years of legal training not to utter a syllable which might not
properly come from the head of his home government. Never for one moment
is he off his guard. His whole aim is to keep in perfect sympathy with
his home country as represented by its head. He never forgets that he is
there as a stranger, sojourning for a while, belonging to and
representing a foreign country. So, and only so, all the authority and
power of his own government flows through his person and is in every
word and act. Such a man invariably provides himself with a home in
which is breathed the atmosphere of his far away homeland. Now we are
strangers, sojourners, indeed more, ambassadors, representatives of a
government foreign to the present prince of this world. It is only as we
keep in perfect sympathy with the homeland and its Head that there can
flow into and through us all the immeasurable power of our King.
Whatever interrupts that intercourse with headquarters interrupts the
flow of power in our lives and service. We must guard most jealously
against such things.

Electricity helps a man here, in the similes it suggests. For instance
the electric current passing into a building is sometimes mysteriously
turned aside and work seriously interrupted. A cross-wire dropping down
out of place, and leaning upon the feed-wire has drawn the power into
itself and off somewhere else. The cross is apt to be in some unknown
place, and much searching is frequently necessary before it can be found
and fixed. And all the work affected by that feed-wire waits till the
fixing is done.

The spirit atmosphere in which we live is full, chock-full, of
cross-currents. And a man has to be keenly alert to keep his feed-wire
clear. If it be crossed, or grounded, away goes the power, while he may
be wondering why.

What are some of the cross-currents that threaten to draw the power of
the feed-wire? Well, just like the electric currents some of them seem
very trivial. Here are a few of the commoner ones:--

Failure to keep bodily appetites under control. Intimate fellowship with
those who are enemies of our Lord, it may be in some organization, or
otherwise. The absence of a spirit of loving sympathy. The dominance in
one's life of a critical spirit which saps the warmth out of everything
it touches. Jealousy, and the whole brood which that single word
suggests. Keeping money which God would have out in service for himself.
Self-seeking. Self-assertion. A frivolous spirit, instead of a joyous
winsomeness, or a sweet seriousness. Overworking one's bodily strength,
which grows out of a wrong ambition, and is trusting one's own efforts
more than God's power, and which always involves disobedience of His law
for the body. Over-anxiety which robs the mind of its freshness, and the
spirit of its sweetness, and whose roots are the same as overwork.

The hot hasty word. The uncontrolled temper. The pride that will not
confess to having been in the wrong. Lack of rugged honesty in speech.
Carelessness in money matters. Lack of reverence for the body. The
unholy use between two, whose relation is the most sacred of earth, of
that hallowed function of nature which has rigidly but one normal use.

Some personal habit which may be common enough, and for which plausible
arguments can be made, but which does take the fine edge off of the
inner consciousness of the Master's approval. Keen shrewd scheming for
position by those in holy service.

Paul's Galatian letter supplies these items:--wrangling; wordy disputes;
passionate outbursts of anger; wire-pulling or electioneering, that is,
using the world's methods to attain one's ends by those in God's
service.

These are some of the cross-currents that are surely drawing the power
out of many a life to-day. But how may one know surely about the wrong
thing? Well, that One who resides within the heart is very sensitive and
is very faithful. If I will jealously keep on good terms, aye on the
best terms, with Him, ever listening, ever obeying, I will come to know
at first touch the thing that disturbs His sensitive spirit. And to keep
that thing _out_, uncompromisingly, unflinchingly _out_, is the only
safeguard here.

But there will be continual testings and temptings. Testings by God.
Temptings by Satan. There will be testings by God that the realness of
the surrender may be made clear, and, too, that in these repeated
siftings the dross may all go, and only the pure gold remain. The will
must be exercised in rejecting and accepting that its fiber may be
toughened. No man knows how deep is his conviction until the test comes.
God will test for love's sake to strengthen. Satan will tempt for hate's
sake to trip up and weaken. God's testings will give strength for
Satan's temptings. And out of this double furnace the gold comes doubly
purified.

Some circumstance arises involving a decision. There is a clear
conviction of what the inner One prefers but it runs against our plans
in which friends or loved ones are concerned who may not see eye-to-eye
with us. To follow the conviction means misunderstanding and some
sacrifice. And so the test is on. To be tactful, and gentle in following
rigidly the clear conviction will take grace, _and_, will bring a
refining of life's strength and fabric.

To run through this old Book and call the names is to bring to mind the
men who have gone through just such testings and temptings; some with
splendid victory, and some with shameful defeat.

So it comes to pass that surrender is not simply the initial _act_ into
this life of power. It must become the continuous _habit_. There must be
a habitual living up to the act. Surrender comes to be an attitude of
the will affecting every act and event of life. And by and by the
instinctive measuring of everything by its relation to Jesus comes to be
the involuntary habit of the life.


Friends with God.

_The second thing_ upon which fresh supplies of power hinge is _the
cultivation of personal friendship with God_. This is the positive side
of the new life. This is the true natural life. It is the living
constantly in the atmosphere of the Spirit's presence.

The highest and closest relation possible between any two is friendship.
The basis of friendship is sympathy, that is, fellow-feeling. The
atmosphere of friendship is mutual unquestioning trust. In the original
meaning of the word, a friend is a lover. A friend is one who loves you
for your sake alone, and steadfastly loves, regardless of any return,
even return-love. Friendship hungers for a closer knowledge, and for a
deeper intimacy. Friendship grows with exchange of confidences. Friends
are confidants.

     "As in a double solitude, ye think in each other's hearing."

A man's friendships shape his life more than aught else, or all
else.

Now this is the tender relation which God Himself desires with each of
us. Did Jesus ever speak more tenderly than on that last Thursday night
when He said to those constant companions of two years, "I have called
you _friends_, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made
known unto you"? Out of his own experience David writes, "The friendship
of the Lord is with those that reverently love Him, and He will give
evidence of His friendship by showing to them His covenant, His plans,
and His power." And David knew. Abraham had the reputation of being a
friend of God. He even trusted his darling boy's life to God when he
_could not_ understand what God was doing. And he found God worthy of
his friendship. He spared that darling boy even though later He spared
not His own darling boy. It thrills one's heart to hear God saying,
"Abraham _my friend_." Friendship with God means such oneness of spirit
with Him that He may do with us and through us what He wills. This and
this alone is the true power--God in us, and God with us free to do as
He wills.

Now trust is the native air of friendship. A breath of doubt chills and
chokes. If one is filled and surrounded by trust in God as the
atmosphere of his life his touch with God then becomes most intimate.
Satan cannot breathe in that atmosphere. It chokes him. Air is the
native element of the bird. Away from air it gasps and dies. Water is
the native element of the fish. Out of water it chokes and gasps and
dies. Trust is the native element of friendship--friendship with God. A
constant feeling of confidence in GOD that believes in His overruling
power, and in His unfailing love, and rests in Him in the darkness when
the thing you prize most is lying bound on the stony altar.

The Spirit of God is a friend, a lover. He is ever wooing us up the
heights. Let us climb up. He is every wooing us into the inner recesses
of friendship with Himself. Shall we not go along with Him? This is the
secret of a life ever fresh with the presence of God. It is the only
pathway of increasing youthfulness in the power of God.

    "And in old age, when others fade,
      They fruit still forth shall bring;
    They shall be fat, and full of sap,
      And aye be flourishing."


A Bunch of Keys.

To those who would enter these inner sacred recesses here is a small
bunch of keys which will unlock the doors. Three keys in this bunch; a
key-time, a key-book, and a key-word. _The key-time_ is time alone with
God daily. With the door shut. Outside things shut outside, and one's
self shut in alone with God. This is the trysting-hour with our Friend.
Here He will reveal Himself to us, and reveal our real selves to
ourselves. This is going to school to God. It is giving Him a chance to
instruct and correct, to strengthen and mellow and sweeten us. One must
get alone to find out that he never is alone. The more alone we are so
far as men are concerned the least alone we are so far as God is
concerned. It must be unhurried time. Time enough to forget about time.
When the mind is fresh and open. One _must_ use this key if he is to
know the sweets of friendship with God.

_The key-book_ is this marvelous old classic of God's Word. Take this
book with you when you go to keep tryst with your Friend. God speaks in
His Word. He will take these words and speak them with His own voice
into the ear of your heart. You will be surprised to find how light on
every sort of question will come. It is remarkable what a faithful
half-hour daily with a good paragraph[34] Bible in wide, swift,
continuous reading will do in giving one a swing and a grasp of this
old Book. In time, and not long time either, one will come to be
saturated with its thought and spirit. Reading the Bible is listening to
God. It is fairly pathetic what a hard time God has to get men's ears.
He is ever speaking but we will not be quiet enough to hear. One always
enjoys listening to his friend. What _this_ Friend says to us will
change radically our conceptions of Himself, and of life. It will clear
the vision, and discipline the judgment, and stiffen the will.

_The key-word_ is obedience: a glad prompt doing of what our Friend
desires _because He desires it_. Obedience is saying "yes" to God. It is
the harmony of the life with the will of God. With some it seems to mean
a servile bondage to details. It should rather mean a spirit of
_intelligent_ loyalty to God. It aims to _learn_ His will, and then to
do it. God's will is revealed in His word. His particular will for my
life He will reveal to me if I will listen, _and_, if I will obey, so
far as I know to obey. If I obey what I know, I will know more.
Obedience is the organ of knowledge in the soul. "He that willeth to do
His will shall know."

God's will includes His plan for a world, and for each life in the
world. Both concern us. He would first work in us, that He may work
_through_ us in His passionate outreach for a world. His will includes
every bit of one's life; and therefore obedience must also include every
bit. A run out in a single direction may serve as a suggestion of many
others.

The law of my body, which obeyed brings or continues health is God's
will, as much as that which concerns moral action. Our bodies are holy
because God lives in them. Overwork, insufficient sleep, that imprudent
diet and eating which seems the rule rather than the exception,
carelessness of bodily protection in rain or storm or drafts or
otherwise:--these are sins against God's will for the body, and no one
who is disobedient here can ever be a channel of power up to the measure
of God's longing for us.

And so regarding all of one's life, one must ever keep an open mind
Godward so as to get a well balanced sense of what His will is. Practice
is the great thing here. This is school work. By persistent listening
and practising there comes a mature judgment which avoids extremes in
both directions. But the rule is this: cheery prompt obeying regardless
of consequences. Disobedience, failure to obey, is _breaking with our
Friend_.

These are the three keys which will let us into the innermost chambers
of friendship with God. And with them goes a _key-ring_ on which these
keys must be strung. It is this:--_implicit trust in God_. Trust is the
native air of friendship. In its native air it grows strong and
beautiful. Whatever disturbs an active abiding trust in God must be
driven out of doors, and kept out. Doubt chills the air below normal.
Anxiety overheats the air. A calm looking up into God's face with an
unquestioning faith in _Him_ under every sort of circumstance--this is
trust. Faith has three elements: knowledge, belief and _trust_.
Knowledge is acquaintance with certain facts. Belief is accepting these
facts as true. _Trust is risking_ something that is very precious. Trust
is the life-blood of faith. This is the atmosphere of the true natural
life as planned by God.

    "If a wren can cling
    To a spray a-swing
    In a mad May wind, and sing, and sing,
    As if she'd burst for joy;
    Why cannot I,
    Contented lie,
    In His quiet arms, beneath His sky,
    Unmoved by earth's annoy?"

Shall we take these keys, and this key-ring and use them faithfully? It
will mean intimate friendship with God. And that is the one secret of
power, fresh, and ever freshening.

There is a simple story told of an old German friend of God which
illustrates all of this with a charming picturesqueness. Professor Johan
Albrecht Bengal was a teacher in the seminary in Denkendorf, Germany, in
the eighteenth century. "He united profound reverence for the Bible with
an acuteness which let nothing escape him." The seminary students used
to wonder at the great intellectuality, and great humility and
Christliness which blended their beauty in him. One night, one of them,
eager to learn the secret of his holy life, slipped up into his
apartments while the professor was out lecturing in the city, and hid
himself behind the heavy curtains in the deep recess of the
old-fashioned window. Quite a while he waited until he grew weary and
thought of how weary his teacher must be with his long day's work in the
class-room and the city. At length he heard the step in the hall, and
waited breathlessly to learn the coveted secret. The man came in,
changed his shoes for slippers, and sitting down at the study table,
opened the old well-thumbed German Bible and began reading leisurely
page by page. A half-hour he read, three-quarters of an hour, an hour,
and more yet. Then leaning his head down on his hands for a few minutes
in silence he said in the simplest most familiar way, "Well, Lord Jesus,
we're on the same old terms. Good-night."

If we might live like that. Begin the day with a bit of time alone, a
good-morning talk with Him. And as the day goes on in its busy round
sometimes to put out your hand to Him, and under your breath say, "let's
keep on good terms, Lord Jesus." And then when eventide comes in to go
off alone with Him for a quiet look into His face, and a good-night
talk, and to be able to say, with reverent familiarity: "Good-night,
Lord Jesus, we are on the same old terms, you and I, good-night." Ah!
such a life will be fairly fragrant with the very presence of God.

FOOTNOTES:

[25] Hosea xiv: 5.

[26] John vii: 37-39.

[27] Ezekiel xlvii: 1-12.

[28] 1 Thessalonians iv: 8
     1 Corinthians xii: 1-11.
     2 Corinthians xi: 4
     Galatians iii: 2-5; iv: 6; v: 5, 18,[D] 22-25.
     Romans viii: 1-27, xv: 13.
     Colossians i: 8.
     Philippians iii: 3.
     Titus iii: 5-6.

[Transcriber's Note D: Original had "18, 18,"]

[29] Acts xix: 1-7.

[30] 1 Thessalonians v: 19.

[31] Galatians v: 16.

[32] Ephesians iv: 30.

[33] Eph. v: 18.

[34] One beauty of the revised version is its paragraphing.



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Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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