sluggishness, and self-satisfaction, and unbelief. They should be induced to acknowledge with shame that they have despised what God had prepared for them. When once the confession that they have not yet received the full blessing is deeply rooted in them, there will spring from it a stronger impulse to attain to it. Take, then, this thought and let it work in you with power: "No: it is true that I do not as yet have the full blessing."
The thought that will come next in succession is: This blessing is for me.
I have spoken of those who suppose that the full blessing of Pentecost was only for the first Christian community. There are others who are willing enough to acknowledge that it was intended also for the Church of later times but still think that all are not entitled to expect it. Eminent believers, the leaders of the Church, and such as have much leisure and abundant opportunity to occupy their minds with such attainments, may well cherish the hope of receiving this blessing, but it is not to be expected by ordinary members of the churches.
82 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
Any one of these might quite reasonably say: "My unfavourable circumstances, my unfortunate disposition, my lack of real ability, and similar difficulties, make it impossible for me to realise this ideal. God will not expect this at my hands: He has not destined me to obtain it." soul, do not permit yourself to be deceived by such shallow views. All the members of a body, even to the very least, must be healthy before the body as a whole can be healthy. The indwelling, the fulness of the Spirit, is nothing but the entire healthfulness of the body of Christ. Be assured that, even though you are actually the most insignificant member of it, the blessing is for you. In your own little measure you can at least be full. In this respect the Father makes no exceptions. A great distinction doubtless prevails in point of gifts, and calling, and circumstances; but there can be no distinction in the love of the Father and His desire to see every one of His children in full health and in the full enjoyment of the Spirit of adoption. Learn, then, to express and to repeat over again the conviction: " This blessing is for me. My Father desires to have me that He may fill
HOW IT IS OBTAINED BY US 83
me with His Spirit. The blessing lies before me, to be taken with my full consent. I will no longer despise by unbelief what falls to me as my birthright. With my whole heart I will say: This blessing is for me. "
/ cannot grasp this blessing in my own power.
Whenever a Christian begins to strive for this blessing, he generally makes a variety of efforts to reach after the faith, and obedience, and humility, and submission which are the conditions of obtaining it. Then, when he does not succeed, he is tempted to blame himself, and if he does not become utterly discouraged, he rouses himself to still stronger effort and greater zeal. All this struggling is not without its value and its use. It has its use, however, in other ways than are commonly anticipated. It does the very work that the law does that is to say, it brings us to the knowledge of our entire impotence; it leads us to that despair of ourselves in which we become willing to give to God the place that belongs to Him. This lesson is entirely indis-
84 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
pensable. " I can neither bestow this blessing on myself nor take it. It is God alone that must work it in me."
The blessing of Pentecost is a supernatural gift, a wonderful act of God in the soul. The life of God in every soul is just as truly a work of God as when that life was first manifested in Jesus Christ. A Christian can do as little to bring the full life of the Spirit to fruition in his soul as the Virgin Mary did to conceive her supernatural child. 1 Like her, he can only receive it as the gift of God. The impartation of this heavenly blessing is as entirely an act of God as the resurrection of Christ from the dead was His divine work. As Christ Jesus had wholly and entirely to go down unto death, and lay aside utterly the life He had, in order to receive a new life from God, so must the believer abandon all power and hope of his own to receive this full blessing as a free gift of divine Omnipotence. This acknowledgment of our utter impotence, this descent into true self-despair, is indispensable if we would enjoy this supreme blessing. 1 Luke i. 38.
HOW IT IS OBTAINED BY US 85
/ must have this blessing at any cost.
To get possession of the pearl of great price, the merchant man had to sell all that he had. The full blessing of Pentecost is to be obtained at no smaller price. He that would have it must sell all, must forsake all: sin to its smallest item, the love of the world in its most innocent forms, self-will in its simplest and most natural expressions, every faculty of our nature, every moment of our life, every pleasure that feeds our self-complacency, every exercise of our body, soul, and spirit all must be surrendered to the power of the Spirit of God. In nothing can independent control or in dependent force have a place: everything everything, I say must be under the leading of the Spirit. One must indeed say: "Cost what it may, I am determined to have this blessing." Only the vessel that is utterly empty of everything can be filled and overflow with this living water.
We know that there is oftentimes a great gulf betwixt the will and the deed. Even
86 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
when God has wrought the willing, the doing does not always come at once. But it will come wherever a man surrenders himself to the will which God has wrought, and openly expresses his consent in the presence of God. This, accordingly, is what must be done by the soul who intends to be sincerely ready to part with everything, even though he feels that he has no power to accomplish it. The selling price is not always paid at the moment; nevertheless, the purchaser may become the possessor as soon as the sale is concluded and security is given for the payment. my brother, this very day speak the word: " Cost what it may, I will have this blessing." Jesus is surety that you will have power to abandon everything. Express your decision in the presence of God with confidence and perseverance. Repeat it before your own conscience and say: " I am a purchaser of the pearl of great price: I have offered everything to obtain the full blessing of Pentecost. I have said to God that I must, I will have it. By this decision I abide. I must, I will have it."
HOW IT IS OBTAINED BY US 87
In faith that God accepts my surrender and bestows this blessing upon me, I appropriate it for myself.
There is a great difference betwixt the appropriation of a blessing by faith and the actual experience of it. It is because Christians do not understand this that they often become discouraged, when they do not at once experience the feeling and the enjoyment of what is promised them. Whenever in response to the offer of Christ you have said that you forsake all, and count it but loss for the full blessing of Pentecost, then from that moment you have to believe that He receives your offer and that He bestows upon you the fulness of the Spirit. Yet it may easily be that you cannot at that crisis trace any marked change in your experience. It is as if everything in you remained in its old condition. Now, however, is just the very time to persevere in faith. Learn by faith to be as sure as if you had seen it written in heaven that God has accepted your surrender of everything as a certain and
88 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
completed transaction. In this faith look upon yourself as a man who is known to God as one that has sold everything to obtain this heavenly treasure. Believe that God has in heaven bestowed upon you the fulness of the Spirit. In this faith regard yourself as on the way to know the full blessing also in feeling and experience. Believe that God will order this blessing to break forth and be revealed in you. In this faith let your life be a life of joyful thanksgiving and expectation. God will not disappoint you.
Now I count upon God and wait upon Him to reveal truly within me the blessing which He has bestowed upon me.
Faith must lead me to the actual inheritance of the promise, to the experience and enjoyment of it. Do not rest content with a belief that does not lead to experience. Rest in God by faith in the full assurance that He can make Himself known to you in a manner that is truly divine. At times the whole process may appear to you too great and too wonderful, and really
HOW IT IS OBTAINED BY US 89
impossible. Be not afraid. The more clearly you discern the amazing elements in the fact that you on your part have said to the Eternal Holy God that He on His part may have you to make you full of His Holy Spirit here on earth, the more shall you feel what a miracle of the grace of God it must be. There may be in you things you are not aware of, which hinder the breaking forth of the blessing. God is bent on putting them aside. Let them be consumed in the fire of strong burning desire. Let them, be annihilated in the flame of God’s countenance and His love. Let your expectation be fixed upon the Lord your God. He who in a frail woman revealed the divine life in the Infant Jesus, He that raised up the dead Jesus to the life of glory, He can He will, indeed just as miraculously bring this heavenly blessing to fruition in you, so that you may be filled with the Holy Spirit and that you may know, not by reasoning but by experience, that you have actually received the Holy Spirit.
Beloved brother, thou who readest all this,
90 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
give answer, I entreat thee, to the summons I bring thee. God promises, God desires to make you full of the Holy Spirit. He would fain have your whole nature and life under the power of the Holy Spirit. He asks if you on your part are willing, if you really desire to have it. Pray let there be in your answer no uncertain sound, but let all that is within you cry out: "Yea, Lord, with all my heart." Let this promise of your God become the chief element in your life, the most precious, the chief, the only thing you seek. Do not be content to think and pray over it, but this very day enter into a transaction and a compact with God that will admit of no doubt concerning the choice you have made.
When once you have made this choice, cleave firmly to what is the chief element in it namely, the faith that expects this blessing as a miracle of divine Omnipotence. The more earnestly you exercise that faith, the more will it teach you that your heart must be entirely emptied of everything and set free from every fetter, to be filled with the Spirit, to be occupied by the indwelling Christ. Contemplate yourself in
HOW IT IS OBTAINED BY US 91
faith as a man betwixt whom and God a firm compact has been made that you must receive the full blessing. You may take it for granted that it will surely come. Amen.
THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
it may be kept
"But ye, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God.... Now unto Him who is able to guard you from stumbling, to the only God our Saviour, be glory for evermore. Amen." JCDE 21, 24.
/"^AN one who has the full blessing of Pentecost lose it again? Yes: undoubtedly. God does not bestow this boon with such constraint that a man retains it whether he will or not. No: this blessing also is intrusted to him as a talent which must be used; and only by use does it become secure and win success. Just as the Lord Jesus after He was baptized with the Holy Spirit had to be perfected by obedience and submission to the leading of the Spirit, so
HOW IT MAY BE KEPT 93
the Christian who has received the blessing of Pentecost has to see to it that he guards safely the deposit that has been intrusted to him.
When we inquire how we can keep it, Scripture points us to the fact that our keeping of it consists in our intrusting it to the Lord to be kept by Him. Paul places these two ideas along side one another in his second letter to Timothy: "He is able to keep my deposit" (K.V. margin); " That good thing which was committed unto thee, guard through the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us." 1 Jude also, after saying, "Keep yourselves in the love of God," adds the doxology: " Unto Him that is able to keep us be glory." 2 The main secret of success in the preservation of the blessing is the exercise of a humble dependence on the Lord who keeps us and on the Spirit by whom we ourselves are kept in close fellow ship with Him. It is with this blessing as with the mana that fell in the wilderness: it must be renewed from heaven every day. It is with the new heavenly life as with the life we live on earth: the fresh air that sustains it must be drawn in every moment from without and from 1 2 Tim. i. 12, 14. 2 Jude 21, 24.
94 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
above. Let us see how this ever-abiding, uninterrupted keeping takes place.
Jesus, who gave us the blessing, will keep it for us.
Jesus is the Keeper of Israel. This is His name and this is His work. God not only created the world but also keeps and upholds it. Jesus is not content with merely giving the blessing of Pentecost: He will also maintain it every moment. The Holy Spirit is not a power that in any sense is subordinate to us, that is intrusted to us, and that we must use; He is a power that is over and above us, that possesses and energises us, a power by which Jesus in heaven will carry forward His work from moment to moment. Our right place and our proper attitude must always be that of the deepest dependence, a sinking down in our own nothingness and impotence. Our chief concern is to let Jesus do His work within us.
So long as the soul does not discern this truth there will always be in it a certain dread of receiving the full blessing. Such a one
HOW IT MAY BE KEPT 95
will be inclined to say: " I shall not be able to continue in that holy life. I shall not be able to dwell always on such a lofty plane." But these thoughts only show what a feeble grasp such a one has of the great reality. When Jesus conies by the Spirit to dwell in nay heart and to live in me, He will actually work out the maintenance of the blessing and regard my whole inner life as His special care. He who believes this truth sees that the life in the joy of the blessing of Pentecost, while it can never be relieved of the necessity of watchfulness, is a life that is freed from anxiety and ought to be characterised by continued gladness. The Lord has come into His holy temple. There He will abide and work out everything. He desires only this one thing namely, that the soul shall know and honour Him as its faithful Shepherd, its Almighty Keeper. Jesus, who gives the bless ing of Pentecost, will certainly keep it in us.
Jesus will keep the blessing, as He gave it, by faith.
The law that prevails at every stage in the
96 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
progress of the kingdom of God is: " Be it unto you according to your faith." The faith that in the first reception of the Lord Jesus was as small as a grain of mustard-seed must, in the course of the Christian life, become always so enlarged that it shall see more and receive and enjoy more of the fulness that is in the Lord. Paul wrote to the Galatians: " I live, yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith." l His faith was as broad and boundless and unceasing as were the needs of his life and work. In everything and at all times, without ceasing, he trusted in Jesus to do all. His faith was as wide and abundant as the energy that flows from Jesus for the enrichment of His people is mighty and glorious. He had given up his whole life to Jesus: he himself lived no longer. By a continuous and unrestricted faith he gave to Jesus the liberty of energising his life without ceasing and without limitation.
The fulness of the Spirit is not a gift that is bestowed once for all as a part of the heavenly life. No: it is not so. It is rather a constantly
1 Gal. ii. 20.
HOW IT MAY BE KEPT 97
flowing stream of the river of the water of life that issues from beneath the throne of God and of the Lamb. It is an uninterrupted communica tion of the life and the love of Jesus, the most personal and intimate association of the Lord with His own upon the earth. It is by the faith which discerns this truth, and assents to it, and cleaves to it with joy, that Jesus will certainly do His work of keeping.
Jesus keeps this blessing in fellowship with Himself.
The single aim of the blessing of Pentecost is to reveal Jesus as a Saviour, so that He may exhibit His power to redeem souls in us and by us here in the world. The Spirit did not come merely to occupy the place of Jesus, but only and wholly to unite the disciples with their Lord more closely, and deeply, and completely than when He was on earth. The power from on high did not come as a power which they were thenceforth to reckon as their own: the power was inseparably bound up with the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Every operation of 7
98 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
the power was a direct working of God in them. The intercourse which the disciples had with Jesus on earth, the following of Him, the reception of His teaching, the doing of His will, the participation in His suffering all this was to be still their experience, only in greater measure.
Not otherwise, accordingly, is it with us. The Spirit in us will always glorify Jesus, will always make it manifest that He alone is to be Lord, that all which is glorious comes only from Him. Close communion with God in the inner chamber, faithfulness in searching His Word and seeking to know His will in the Scriptures, sacrifice of time and business and intercourse with men, to bring us into touch with the Saviour all this is indispensable for the keeping of the blessing. Jesus keeps us through our intercourse with Him, being occupied with Himself. He that loves His fellowship above everything shall have the experience of His keeping.