"He that believeth on Me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water "
JAMES NISBET & CO. LIMITED
22 BERBERS STREET, W
TRANSLATED FROM THE DUTCH
BY REV. J. P. LILLEY, M.A., D.D.
Printed by MORRISON & GIBE LIMITBD, Edinburgh
THE Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa has, during the past forty years, been in the habit of observing the ten days between Ascension and Whitsunday as days of prayer.
The custom had its origin during the revival that passed over this country between 1860 and 1862 in the suggestion of the minister of a parish which at that time had received special blessing. The observance has in many cases been accompanied with blessing. The opportunity it gives for training Christians in the knowledge of what God s Word teaches concerning the Spirit, to the practice and the faith to which it calls, to prayer and fellowship and special efforts in behalf of the careless, has often been of the greatest value. Each year subjects for meditation and discourse have been published.
It was when I was about to proceed to England in 1895 that I was led to write and publish a little book with the title, The Full Pentecostal Blessing. I never had any thoughts of translating it into English, as about that time there had been various books published on the subject. A request has lately corne to me from Holland urging that it should appear in English too, specially for the sake of some English friends with whom those in Holland had been in close intercourse. Though I was in doubt about the need, I gladly gave my consent.
I venture just one remark. In all our study of the work of the blessed Spirit, and in all our pursuit of a life in His fulness, we shall ever find the sum of Christ s teaching in those wonderful words : " He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." It is as we are convicted of the defectiveness of our faith in Christ, and what He has promised to do in saving and keeping us from sin, and as we understand that believing in Him means a yielding up of the whole heart and life and will, to let Him rule and live within us, that we can confidently count upon receiving all that we need of the Holy Spirit s power and presence. It is as Christ becomes to us all that God has made Him to be, that the Holy Spirit can flow from Him and do His blessed work of leading us back to know Him better and to believe in Him more completely.
My attention has lately again been directed by a brother to the Epistle to the Hebrews, and to the way it speaks of Christ in His heavenly glory and power as the object of our faith. In my book, The Holiest of All, I have tried to point out (see chaps. Ixv. Ixx., and elsewhere) how the Holy Spirit reveals the way into the Holiest as opened by the blood of Christ, and invites us by faith in Christ to have our life there. It is as we yield our hearts to the leading of the Spirit to know Christ and look at Him, and believe in what is revealed, that the Spirit can take possession of us. The Spirit is given to reveal Christ, and every revelation of Christ fully accepted gives the Spirit room to dwell and work within us.
This is the sure way in which the promise will be fulfilled : " He that belie veth on Me, rivers of living water shall flow out of him." May God lead us to this simple and full faith in Christ, our great High Priest and King in the heavens, and so into a life in the fulness of the Spirit.
6th November 1907.
THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST :
I. How it is to be Taught . . .7
II. How Glorious it is . . . .21
III. How it was Bestowed from Heaven . 35
IV. How Little it is Enjoyed . . .49
V. How the Blessing is Hindered . . 64
VI. How it is Obtained by Us . .77
VII. How it may be Kept . . . .92
VIII. How it may be Increased . . .107
IX. How it Comes to its Full Manifestation . 121
X. How Fully it is Assured to Us By God . 137
XI. How it is to be Found by All . .152
XII. How Everything Must be Given up for it 160
The message which this little book brings is simple but most solemn. It is to the effect that the one thing needful for the Church, and the thing which, above all others, men ought everywhere to seek for with one accord and with their whole heart, is to be filled with the Spirit of God.
In order to secure attention to this message and attract the hearts of my readers to the blessing of which it speaks, I have laid particular emphasis on certain main points. These I briefly state here.
1. It is the will of God that every one of His children should live entirely and unceasingly under the control of the Holy Spirit.
2. Without being filled with the Spirit, it is utterly impossible that an individual Christian or a church can ever live or work as God desires,
3. Everywhere and in everything we see the proofs, in the life and experience of Christians, that this blessing is but little enjoyed in the Church, and, alas! is but little sought for.
4. This blessing is prepared for us and God waits to bestow it. Our faith may expect it with the greatest confidence.
5. The great hindrance in the way is that the self-life, and the world, which it uses for its own service and pleasure, usurp the place that Christ ought to occupy.
6. We cannot be filled with the Spirit until we are prepared to yield ourselves to be led by the Lord Jesus to forsake and sacrifice everything for this pearl of great price.
I feel very deeply the imperfection that attaches to this little volume. Yet I am not without the hope that the Lord will make it a blessing to His people. We have such a feeble conception of the unspiritual and sinful state which prevails in the Church, that, unless we take time to devote our heart and our thoughts to the real facts of the case, the promise of God can make no deep impression
upon us. I hope that the attempt I have made to exhibit the subject in various aspects will help to prepare the way for the conviction that this blessing is in truth the one thing needful, and that to get possession of this one thing we ought to bid farewell to everything else we hold dear. I frankly invite Christian disciples into whose hands the book may fall to peruse it carefully more than once. Owing to the prevailing lack of the presence and operation of the Spirit, it takes a long time ere these spiritual truths concerning the need, and the fulness, and the reality of the Spirit’s power can obtain entire mastery over us. It is only by the exercise of self-sacrifice and persisting in keeping our minds occupied with these thoughts, that we can ever obtain what might otherwise come to us at once.
On reviewing what I have written, I am inclined to think that there is one point on which I ought to have spoken more definitely. I refer to the place which persevering prayer must occupy in connection with this blessing. This little book was not exclusively written for prayer at the season of Pentecost. Every day
ought to be a Pentecostal season in the Church of Christ. For just as little as a man can remain in sound health without the fresh air of heaven, can Christians or the Church live according to the will of God without this blessing. The book is designed to point to what must prevail throughout all the year; and it seems to me now that, perhaps under the impression that in the season of Pentecost prayer for the blessing is practically unanimous, I have not strongly enough exhorted my readers to ceaseless calling upon God in the confidence that He will answer. Let me advert again to this point in a few sentences. When we read the Book of the Acts, we see that the filling with the Spirit and His mighty operation was always obtained by prayer. Recall, for example, what took place at Antioch. It was when the Christians there were engaged in fasting and prayer that God regarded them as prepared to receive the revelation that they must separate Barnabas and Saul; and it was only after they had once more fasted and prayed that these two men went forth, sent by the Holy Spirit. 1 These servants of God felt
1 Acts xiii. 2, 3.
that the boon they needed must come only from above. To obtain the blessing we so much need, from heaven and out of the hands of the living God Himself, we in like manner, even with fasting, must liberate ourselves as far as possible from the demands of the earthly life, even in that which otherwise appears quite lawful; and no less must we betake ourselves wholly to God in prayer. Let us therefore never become weary or dispirited, but in union with God’s own elect, who call upon Him day and night, entreat Him and even weary Him by our incessant entreaties that the Holy Spirit may again assume His rightful place and exercise full dominion in ourselves and the Church as a whole: yea, more, that He may again have His true place in the Church, be held in honour by all, and in everything reveal the glory of our Lord Jesus. To the soul that in sincerity prays according to His Word, God’s answer will surely come. There is nothing so fitted to search and to cleanse the heart as true prayer. It teaches one to put to himself such questions as these: Do I really desire what above everything I pray for? Am I willing to cast out everything
to make room for what God is prepared to give me? Is the prayer of my lips really the prayer of my life? Do I really continue in intercourse with God, waiting upon Him, in quiet trust, until He gives me this great, heavenly, super natural gift, His own Spirit, to be my spirit, the spirit of my life every hour?
let us " pray always and not faint," set ting ourselves before God with supplications and strong crying as His priests and the representatives of His Church. We may reckon upon it that He will hear us.
" In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry before Him came into His ears. He delivered me from my strong enemy, He brought me forth also into a large place." 1
Brother, you know that the Lord is a God that often hideth Himself. He desires to be trusted. He is oftentimes very near to us without our knowing it. He is a God who knows His own time. Yet, " though He tarry, wait for Him. He will surely come. He will not tarry " z