Free eBook: Getting Through the Storms in Life

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praising Him for the results. And yet I feel as if there is one remark I cannot withhold. I noticed with great int.,rest a paper, issued before the meeting, in T'u Christian, by Dr. A. Pierson, pointing out what might be hoped for from such a gathering, and concluding with the remark that unless it issued in a great baptism of prayer it might still be a comparative failure.1 What l have felt in regard to some other large gatherings of God's servants in the holy ministry impressed me here too, that there was too little time given to the united confession of our need of, our expectation of, our faith in. the power of the Holy Ghost. We all admit that what the steam is to the engine that draws the train, what the fire is to the cannon with its powder and ball, the Holy Spirit is to the work of the Church and of Missions. And why should not, at such gatherings for eight or ten days, the very best of the days be set apart for persevering united supplication for the mighty indwelling and working of the Holy Spirit in God's servants, present or represented in such a gathering, for His mighty power in the assembly, and for the deepening throughout the Church of the conviction that both for life and work the one thing needful is Christ's indwelling presence revealed by the Holy Spirit? Instead of the meetings for prayer being the smallest, should they not be the largest and most important! It was ten da> s of continuing with one accord in prayer and supplication at the footstool of the exalted Lord prepared that feeble company of disciples for the struggle in which they defied the power of Jerusnh m and Kome, and conquered. Oh, we need above every

1 * There is one outcome for which we look with greater confidence and hopefulness than for all other results combined. What the Church just neejs above all else is a baptism of prayer. ... If that Ciinlerence in London shall not issue in a new baptism of prayer, the highest result will not be attained. Let the whole Christian Church unite in one mighty and moving entreaty that in theee latter ihiys it may come to pass that God shall pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, and Joel's prophecy shall at last receive its grandly complete fulfilment.'

thing to helo each other to continue in prayer that we may b- mightily stret.g hened by God's Spirit.

1 fed confident that if at such gatherings we could be brought to make wahing upon God our first work, there would imt only be the blessing at the time for th ,.-e Who meet, bui it would be a living testimony' of unspeakable \alue to the blessed truth that it is by the Holy Ghost filling each individual believer that our bl, sseii Lord is waiting to bless the world.

ln reading the stirring reports of the Missionary Crusade in Scotland, the same thought presented itself in a different shape. When one or more men, full of a holy enthusiasm for missions, address large audiences, they may succeed in imparting somewhat of their fire to their hearers, the Spirit in them touches deeply those who thus come under their influence. And yet the permanent result is often very small, and the process has to be continually repeated.1 What the Church needs, what our Lurd asks and longs to give, is something more. It is not enough that Christians, living a feeble, sickly Christian life, should from time to time be stirred. lf the interest of the individual believer in missions is to be well-pleasing to the Master, and a real spiritual force in the world, it must come, not from continual appeals from without, but as the spontaneous outflow of a he rt in which the Spirit of Jesus is dwelling. Every branch of the vine must bear its fruit from the direct inflow of the life-giving sap—the Holy Spirit. If the confessions that have been made, in these past years of terrible shortcomings and unfaithfulness, while we have only been playing at missions, are to mean anything, we must all labour for the restoration of th,e half-forgotten truth, that every believer is expected to be full of the Holy Ghost. All the Church's appeals for

i Dr. Picrson says in the same paper, 'Dependenve is frequently placed upon mere organization. A transient enthusiasm is awakened that is like the morning cloud or early dew, and passes as quickly away.'

support and prayer must be accompanied by the teaching, in the power of the Spirit, that where the Holy Spirit dwells and rules, sacrifice for Christ and entire personal devotion to His interests is nothing but the natural outcome of a healthy Christian life. Christ did not call His Church to be His witness to the whole earth without first premising the power of the Spirit coming on her.

I must ask my readers to forgive me if I appear to repeat too frequently this one thought . I feel as one who has a message to bring, but is conscious that he stammers, and fears that his message will not be rightly understood. We are all so sure that we believe in the Holy Ghost, and that we understand how indispensable His operation is, that it is with difficulty we can look on the deep spiritual truth, that our Almighty Lord Jesus is waiting, by His Holy Spirit, to work in evt,ry believer, and so through His Church, the greater works He promised, something exceeding abundantly above what we ask or think, according to the power that is working in us. The beginning of the change must be that, in the ordinary ministry of the word, every individual believer must he educated into the full consciousness that to be filled with the Holy Ghost is an absolute necessity for a life truly fruitful and well-pleasing to God. May every appeal for missions, every effort, in presence of the hundreds of millions whom we have been leaving to perish, to bring the Church to a sense of her ^uilt, and a surrender to her glorious calling, may all speaking and writing and praying, may all our conferences and Church councils, lead to the deepening of the conviction—the Holy Spirit is the Church's power for all her work and her missions, and that power will only act mightily as the number increases of individual believers who give themselves to be possessed, to be led, to be used of the Spirit of Christ.

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