By Aaron Hills
This book grew out of a burning desire in the author's soul to tell to others what he himself so longed to know a quarter of a century ago. When the truth dawned upon him in all its preciousness, it seemed to him that he could point out the way to receive the desired blessing of the Holy Spirit more fully and plainly than other authors had done. The result of his effort to do so is found in Part III. of this volume. Those who are convinced that there is such a blessing for them, and are in haste to receive it, may begin to read at Part III., omitting for the time the first half of the book.
There are others who are in doubt about the theological and Scriptural standing of the doctrine of the instantaneous "baptism with the Holy Ghost," with its consequent "holiness and power." To them Part I. and Part II. are earnestly commended. We believe that the arguments there advanced are built on, and formed out of, the impregnable Rock of God's Word. We have avoided all fanciful and doubtful and forced interpretations of Scripture. Passing by all texts of questionable bearing, there are enough left and in such profusion and variety of form and expression as to make the argument, to our mind, simply unanswerable.
For the sake of strength and accuracy of statement, we have used in discussions the Revised Version of Scripture, at some expense of pleasant familiarity to the general reader.
We have not made the slightest attempt at originality. Our aim was simply to write a book so plain, using all material at hand, that any one hungering for "holiness and power," could find how to be satisfied. The original writer on this subject was the Holy Ghost. If any one since St. Paul can claim originality, it is John Wesley. Later writers are only stating in a new form what has already been said. Readers will notice that the author has profusely quoted the written testimony and opinion of many others who have received the Spirit in sanctifying power. That fact gives to this book a great advantage. Had the author made a cheap attempt at originality, this volume would have been no more than one obscure man's private opinion or theory. But citing, as he has, the testimony of a hundred souls, who have been "filled" with the sanctifying Spirit, the combined verdict of these "living epistles" of God, written in human hearts, makes this volume, like the "Acts of the Apostles," a record of the work of the Holy Ghost in human hearts. Whoever argues against this book as a whole, is arguing not against a theory of the author, but against the facts of human experience created by the Holy Ghost himself in the souls of men. If human testimony, in perfect harmony with Scripture, can prove anything with regard to the work of the Spirit in human lives, then the author's position is impregnable, and the book unanswerable.
The book has been written in the last fourteen weeks, while the author has been labouring in revival work most of the time, and preaching twelve to fifteen times a week, and with only such books of reference at hand as could be carried about with him in his trunk. This may partially explain any lack of literary finish and minor defects that may appear to the critical eye, and for which we crave the charity of a generous public.258 N. Pleasant St., Oberlin, O., Oct. 15, 1896