By Rev. Asa Mahan
BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT UNDER THE NEW DISPENSATION.
In the last chapter some light, we hope, was thrown upon the forms and degrees in which the baptism of the Spirit was and is given under the Old and New Dispensations. But so much superior is this gift under the latter, that the apostle's statement is proper and significantviz., "the Holy Ghost was not given until after Jesus was glorified." This superiority is a leading theme of the inspirations of the prophets and of the apostles.
This baptism, with its results in the Church and upon the world, is "the glory which was to follow the sufferings of Christ." These are "the better things that God hath reserved for us." They comprise the glory of this Christian age. "What sort of persons ought we to be," upon whom and to whom this glory has descended? That far more is expected and justly required of us than was possible to the saints under the Old Dispensation we argue from the following considerations:
1. We live in a dispensation of far greater light and knowledge than they did. They had the Old Testament only. We have the Old and the New combined. The former differs from the latter, as the first glimmer of dawn differs from the light of cloudless noon. They knew nothing of Christ but what was obscurely hinted through types and shadows, and prophetic revelations, which the prophets themselves did not fully comprehend. "We behold, with open face, the glory of the Lord." The way of holiness was to them very obscure and intricate. We walk in the King's highway, in which a "wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err." With them, midday light was but a feeble twilight. With us, even "at evening time there is light." Our moon far outshines their sun. "Life and immortality are brought to light through the Gospel."
2. The law of duty is revealed to us in far clearer and more attractive and impressive forms than it was to them. To them it was revealed almost exclusively in the preceptive form, "line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little." That same law comes to us not merely in the form of command and prohibition, but also as exemplified in all its applications, through the pure and spotless example of Christ. They were taught what to do. We are taught not only what to do, but how to do it.
3. The forms of truth, hidden from them and revealed to us, have a quickening and transforming power which they did not possess as revealed and believed under the Old Dispensation. Through the greater light now shed upon them, they are far more effective in this age than they were in the times of the patriarchs and the prophets.
The Apostle John, in comparing the present with the former Dispensation, tells us that "the darkness has passed, and the true light now shineth." Peter tells us that the prophets, who stood amidst the clearest light then vouchsafed, "inquired and searched diligently, searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow. Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you, with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven, which things the angels desire to look into." (1 Pet. i. 10, 11.)
How impressive is the contrast which Paul draws between these dispensations: "For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words." "But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the firstborn, which are written in Heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh; for if they escaped not that refused Him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from Heaven." (Heb. xii. 18-25.)
The Scriptures everywhere represent the gospel as not only shedding new light upon questions pertaining to God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, duty, sin, holiness, redemption, and immortality, but as revealing forms of truth which have power before unknown, for conversion, sanctification, consolation, and fullness of joy.
One prophet speaks of these new revelations as "a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness." Others speak of the gospel as "a new covenant," in the fulfillment of which God is to cleanse His people "from all their filthiness, and from all their idols;" and so completely to sanctify them, that when "their iniquity shall be sought for, there shall be none," and their sins, and they shall not be found." In the New Testament, Christ is affirmed to be "the power of God and the wisdom of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth," and that "the weapons of our warfare are mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strongholds."
Now the special mission of the Spirit is to take truth, in all its forms, as revealed in both Testaments, and to render it most effective for the sanctification and edification of the Church, and the salvation of men. The Spirit knows absolutely what we need for these high ends, and what forms of truth to present for the realization of them, and how to present these truths for the most perfect accomplishment of these benign purposes. Surely we ought to rise as far above Old Testament saints as the New Testament towers above the Old. Of this fact we shall be still more deeply impressed when we have considered
some of the historic results of the Baptism under this dispensation.
The case of the apostles. If we take the apostles as examples, and contrast their intellectual, moral, and spiritual states before and after the Pentecost, we shall probably acknowledge that such transformations of character had never occurred in the history of the world. All along, up to the crucifixion, how dull were their apprehensions, how limited and obscure their visions of truth, how feeble their faith, what cowards they were; how worldly their affections; how weak their mutual love; and how like ropes of sand were their most sacred fixed resolutions!
But how opposite in all these respects were they "after that the Holy Ghost came upon them." "In a moment," as it were, "in the twinkling of an eye," "they were crucified to the world, and the world to them;" and their characters took forms of glorious beauty and perfection, which rendered them "a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men." Their visions of truth seemed to be as cloudless as the kingdom of light. Their speech and their preaching brought the world on its knees before God. Peter, in faith, courage, and strength, became a rock. James and John vindicated their right to be called "sons of thunder." "They were all conquerors, and more than conquerors, through Him that loved them."
Power was one of the most striking characteristics of this baptism. All who received it "were endued with power from on high." Such was the power which they wielded, that the world stood in awe before them, devils fled from their presence; rulers, priests, and kings, were overcome by them. They planted the gospel in all nations. Their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. They were called, "The men that turned the world upside down."
Unity of spirit was another distinctive characteristic of this baptism. Before its descent, ambition, jealousy, and disputation among themselves about who should be greatest, and even anger towards one another, often divided their hearts. Now they were all "one in Christ Jesus," and nothing could interrupt their mutual love, fellowship, and co-operation.
Boldness and courage were marked effects of this baptism. No power in Heaven or earth could induce them to "deny the Lord that bought them." They witnessed for the Lord Jesus everywhere. Their peace in God, their "assurance of hope," their "everlasting consolations," their triumphs of faith and "fulness of joy," nothing could interrupt or diminish. "They walked in the light, as God is in the light."
If we turn from the apostles and their immediate associates and converts to the Primitive Church, we shall find among countless thousands of its membership examples in whom the results of this baptism were equally conspicuous and striking.
For the first three or four centuries of the Christian era, the doctrine of the gift of the Spirit, after conversion and believing in Christ, was a great leading theme of thought and teaching. Hence there was a very general experience of this baptism during these periods.
This was the martyr age of the Church, the era, also, of her power, of her glory, and of her "victory through the blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony." Such persecutions and fiery trials, such patience and endurance, such brotherly love, such charity to the poor and goodwill to men, such faith in Christ, such meek submission to the Divine will, such "assurance of hope," such deathless zeal, such courage, such peace in God, such "everlasting consolations" and "fulness of joy," the world never witnessed until after "Jesus was glorified," and "the Holy Ghost was given." "The light of the Church had come," and "the glory of the Lord had risen upon her." As a consequence, "the Gentiles came to her light, and kings to the brightness of her rising." "Her righteousness went forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burneth." No amount of suffering and torture, threatened or inflicted, could induce a denial of the faith, or draw from the sufferers any sentiments but those of goodwill towards even their judges and tormentors. "The holy martyrs of Christ," says Cyprian, "evidently show us that during this sad hour of suffering they were strangers to their own bodies; or, rather, that our Lord Himself stood by them, and familiarly conversed with them; and that, being made partakers of His grace, they made light of these temporal torments, and by one short your delivered themselves from eternal miseries.
Take a single fact illustrative of the Spirit and manner in which believers then "endured even unto the end." At Sebastia, in Armenia, in a cold and frosty night in the depth of winter, forty martyrs, stripped of all their clothing, were placed together in a lake. As death came on, they thus conversed together: "Is the weather sharp? but Paradise is comfortable and delightful. Is the frost cold and bitter? the rest that remains is sweet and pleasant. Let us but hold out a little, and Abraham's bosom will refresh us; we shall exchange this one night for an eternal age of happiness. It is but the flesh that suffers; let us not spare it. Since we must die, let us die that we may live!"
"By reason of our strange and wonderful courage and strength" says Lactantius, "new additions are made to us; for when people see men torn to pieces with infinite variety of torments, and yet maintain a patience unconquerable, and able to tire out their tormentors, they begin to think (what the truth is) that the consent of so many, and the perseverance of dying persons, cannot be in vain; nor that patience itself, were it not from God, could hold out under such racks and tortures. Thieves and men of robust bodies are not able to bear such tearing to pieces; they groan and cry out, and are overcome with pain, because not endued with divine patience; but our very children and women (to say nothing of men) do with silence conquer their tormentors; nor can the hottest fire force the least groan from them." So manifest did the fact become, that the places where the Christians were tortured were the holy places where the greatest numbers of converts were made, that the Roman Emperors at length prohibited all public executions of the saints of God.
Had this Divine baptism continued in the Church, long before the first thousand years of the Christian era had passed away "the kingdoms of this world would have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ." If we leave this era of light and power, and pass through the dark ages that followed, in which this and all other vital truths of the gospel were allowed to sink into a deep eclipse, we shall find that even then God did not leave Himself without witnesses. Men and women, "full of faith and the Holy Ghost," arose in all Christian nations as "burning and shining lights," bearing their testimony to the sanctifying power of the Holy Ghost. These attained to the full "liberty of the sons of God," "walked in the light of God," and had "fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ."
Such individuals as Thomas a Kempis, Catharine Adorna, and many others, were not only Christians, but believers who had a knowledge of the mysteries of the higher life, and who through all coming time will shine as stars of the first magnitude in the firmament of the Church. In their inward experiences, holy walk, and "power with God and with men," they had few if any superiors in preceding eras of Church history. "The unction of the Spirit" was as manifest in them as in the apostles and primitive believers. They also made their attainments in the Christian life under distinct apprehensions of the doctrines of the Spirit, as set forth in these chapters.
Look now at the state of the Church since the Reformation. Among Roman Catholics there have been a few, and among Protestants many, who have fully known this baptism. It is a singular fact, that while the fundamental doctrine of Protestantism was "justification by faith," the equally essential doctrine of "sanctification by faith" was first, in modern times, distinctly announced and taught within the circle of the Roman Church by such individuals as Madame Guyon and Archbishop Fenelon. It is equally true that in all the churches of every name the men and women who have been most distinguished for "power with God and with men," are the individuals who did receive the "sealing and earnest of the Spirit" after they believed. Luther, for example, Knox and his associates, "the Scotch worthies," who, with him, brought Scotland out from under the power of the "man of sin," and rendered it, for a long period, the crowning glory of Christendom, received this Divine baptism in this form, and "here was the hiding of their power."
Let us first consider the case of Luther. Subsequently to his conversion he had many and hard struggles after the "higher life." While studying the Epistle to the Romans, these words, "The just shall live by faith," sent new light through his soul. On a subsequent occasion, when clouds and darkness hung over his mind in regard to the subject of personal holiness, the same words, "The just shall live by faith," came again to him with new force, and filled him with the light of Heaven.
"The Pentecost" with him, however, was not yet fully come. He had heard that all who, upon their knees, would climb Pilate's staircase at Rome, would thereby attain to full salvation. While painfully creeping up from stone to stone that ascent, he suddenly heard in the depth of his soul a voice as of thunder, "The just shall live by faith." In a moment he leaped on his feet, the free man of the Lord. "Then," he says, "I felt myself born again as a new man, and I entered by an open door into the very paradise of God. From that hour I saw the precious and holy Scriptures with new eyes. I went through the whole Bible. I collected a multitude of passages, which taught me what the work of God was. Truly this text of St. Paul was to me the very gate of Heaven." Here we have the secret of Luther's subsequent courage and power. Here, too, we have one special form in which "the baptism of the Spirit" is commonly received: the opening, in new and divine forms, of some special truth of God upon the mind, and that in connection with some particular passage of the Divine Word.
"The memoirs of the Scotch Worthies" disclose three central facts in their spiritual history: their conversion, followed by the common forms of Christian experience; a subsequent heart-searching, breaking up of the fountains of the great deep of the soul, and a baptism, in which they were filled with "the light of God;" and, finally, forms of the Divine life so new, and so far transcending anything before experienced, that they were utterly at loss in regard to the nature and character of their first conversion.
It was after this great change that they became the mighty men of God, who revolutionized that kingdom. It was no uncommon event then for one, two, and sometimes as many as five hundred souls to be converted under single discourses delivered by these men, who evinced, by their subsequent lives, that they belonged to "the people of whom God is not ashamed to be called their God." It was the eclipse of this glory that left the Scotch Church the comparatively "dead letter" which it now is.
Who is not aware that no one ever led a more laborious and comparatively fruitless life than did Mr. Wesley before his enduement with power by this Divine baptism, and that very few ever led a more laborious and fruitful life than he did after he received the gift of the Holy Ghost? The time of his barrenness ended, and of his amazing fruitfulness commenced, at the same moment. The same is true of his associates. The experience of these men of God should be a solemn admonition to all believers, never to go forth to their life mission and work but under "the power of the Spirit." It were as impossible to account for the marvelous results of the labors of Wesley and his coadjutors without this baptism as to account for the extraordinary accomplishments of the apostles without it.
The TenantsWilliam especiallywere the wonder of the age in which they lived. The secret of the influence of God that everywhere encircled them, and of their wonderful power as "ministers of the word," was the fact that "after they believed they were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."
On one occasion, during the interval of worship on the Sabbath, Mr. William Tenant retired to a grove near by for private meditation and prayer. When the congregation re-assembled, and their pastor did not appear, several individuals went to the grove to find him. They found him lying helpless upon the ground, under the visions of God which had there opened upon his mind. In their arms they carried him to the pulpit, where he lifted up a prayer that God would veil His power and love a little, so that he might tell the people of the "glory manifested to him." The prayer was answered, and "no man" not thus illumined "ever spake as did this man" on that occasion. Such manifestations were of common occurrence in the experience of these men, and they ever spoke and acted under their influence.
John Fletcher, of Madeley. Could any other gift of God have made him such a holy saint of the Lord Jesus; such a faithful minister of the gospel; such an effective writer in the things of salvation, whose life was so profuse with Divine influences, whose death was so magnificent, and whose posthumous power will live through all ages?
President Edwards thus describes the baptism which rendered his subsequent life so holy and powerful for good. "One day, when walking for Divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view, that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as Mediator between God and man, and His wonderful, great, full, pure, and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescension. This grace, that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens, the Person of Christ appeared also ineffably excellent, with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception, which continued, as near as I can judge, about an hour, which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears, weeping aloud. I had an ardency of soul to be, what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated, to lie in the dust and to be filled with Christ alone, to love Him with a holy and pure love, to trust in Him, to live upon Him, and to be perfectly sanctified, and made pure with a divine and heavenly purity."
Of the lady who afterwards became his wife, and who, during her married life, often had visions of the Divine glory and love, under the power of which she would lie helpless for hours, President Edwards thus writes:
"They say there is a young lady in, who is beloved of that great Being who moves and rules the world, and there are certain seasons in which this great Being, in some way or other invisible, comes to her, and fills her mind with exceeding sweet delights, and that she hardly ever cares for anything, except to meditate on Him; that she expects after a while to be received up where He is, to be raised up out of this world and caught up into Heaven, being assured that He loves her too well to let her remain at a distance from Him always. There she is to dwell with Him, and to be ravished with His love and delight forever. Therefore, if you present all the world before her, with the richest of its treasures, she disregards it, and cares not for it, and is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a strange sweetness in her mind, and singular purity in her affections; is most just and conscientious in all her conduct, and you could not persuade her to do anything wrong or sinful if you would give her all the world, lest she should offend this great Being. She is of a wonderful sweetness, calmness, and benevolence of mind. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing devoutly, and seems to be always full of joy and pleasure, and no one knows for what. She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have some one invisible always conversing with her."
All are aware that the savor of the writings of Merle D'Aubigne has been, throughout Christendom, "as ointment poured forth." What was the cause of this? Several years after his conversion, when at Kiel, in company with Rev. F. Monod, of Paris, Rev. C. Riell, of Jutland, and Klenker, Biblical Professor of the University there, in the course of their conversation upon the Scriptures, the aged Professor refused to enter into any detailed solution of difficulties presented, saying that the first step was to be "firmly settled in the grace of Christ," and that "the light which proceeds from Him will disperse all darkness." "We were studying," says D'Aubigne, "The Epistle to the Ephesians, and had got to the end of the third chapter. When we read the last two verses, 'Now unto Him that can do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,' &c., this expression fell upon my soul as a revelation from God. He can do, by His power, I said to myself, above all that we ask, above all, even, that we think, nay, exceeding abundantly above all. A full trust in Christ for the work to be done in my poor heart now filled my soul."
They then all knelt together in prayer. "When I arose," he adds, "I felt as if my wings had been 'renewed, as the wings of eagles.' All my doubts were removed, my anguish was quelled, and the Lord extended peace to me as a river. Then I could 'comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and depth, and length, and height, and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.' Then was I able to say, 'Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.'"
About thirty or forty years ago, there died, in the city of Newark, N. J., a man of God, named Carpenter. At his funeral in the First Presbyterian Church in that city, it was publicly stated by one of the ministers present, that from the most careful estimate, it was fully believed that the deceased had been directly instrumental in the conversion of more than ten thousand souls. This man was a layman of very limited common-school education, and was very simple and ungrammatical in his conversation and public addresses. Before the time of his anointing, he had a mere "name to live" in the Church. As soon as he received that anointing, "as a prince he had power with God and with men."
At one time, for example he with another Christian friend entered the coach to pass from Newark to New York. They found seven other individuals, all impenitent, with them in the vehicle. While on the way, or very soon after, all those seven individuals were hopefully converted, and that through the influence exerted during the journey. Such was the influence everywhere exerted by this "holy man of God." To a very intimate friend, a little time before his death, he made these statements: that for the previous ten years he had walked continuously under the cloudless light of the Sun of Righteousness; that the doctrine of Entire Sanctification was true; that he had been in that state during the period referred to; and that the truth would, ere long, be a leading theme in the churches.
The extraordinary power which attended the preaching of President Finney, during the early years of his ministry, was chiefly owing to a special baptism of the Spirit, which he received not long after his conversion. Hence it was that when through him "the violated law spoke out its thunders" it did seem as if we had in truth "come unto the mount that might be touched and that burned with fire, and unto blackness and darkness, and tempest, and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words." But when he spoke of Christ then indeed did his "doctrine drop as the rain, and his speech distill as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the mown grass." The reason, also, why he is bringing forth such wondrous "fruit in his old age" is, that while his whole ministry has been under "the power of the Spirit," his former baptisms have been renewed with increasing power and frequency during a few years past.
Many more instances similar to the above might be averted to, but they are sufficient to illustrate the point we had in view.
In drawing this chapter to a close, we would refer to:
some of the peculiarities which distinguish, and have distinguished, Christians in all churches, who have received "the baptism of the Holy Ghost."
1. One of these is a peculiar and special savor about their lives and utterances, which is recognized by others as unearthly and divine. When the light comes, the glory will be seen by the Church and the world. The prophet Elisha had made but a few calls at the house of the Shunamite before she knew him as "a holy man of God." A very bigoted Irish Roman Catholic had occasion to board for a time in the family of a friend of ours, whose wife had for years "walked in the light of God." This man had from childhood been taught, and had believed, that "out of the Mother Church salvation is impossible." His attention, however, was soon arrested by the peculiar spirit and sanctified conversation of that woman. He would frequently stop after meals, and continue conversations with her upon Christ, purity, and Heaven. At the close of such a conversation one day, he said, "Madam, you will get to Heaven before you die." That man was as profane and wicked as he was bigoted; yet such a character as hers could not lift its benign form before his mind without his recognizing it as unearthly and divine, and as advancing Heavenward.
Here is a divine something which must be possessed in order to be manifested. A preacher, for example, who is a stranger to this anointing, may be very able, exciting, and even instructive, in his discourses. But the peculiar influence which attends the unction of the Spirit only accompanies the utterances of those who "have received the Holy Ghost since they believed," and those who have received this anointing "cannot be hid." Logic, education, oratory, eloquence, physical force, all excellent in themselves, cannot take the place of the influence of the Spirit. These may have power with the understanding, but not with the conscience and the heart. This is mighty to the pulling down of strongholds which defy all other powers of men and angels.
2. All such Christians have a peace, quietude, assurance, and fullness of joy in God, which not only lift them above all worldly vicissitudes, but remain with them alike in all circumstances. "Their sun does not go down, neither does their moon withdraw itself. The Lord is their everlasting light, and the days of their mourning are ended." In the storm and the tempest, when "they go up by the mountains," they are consciously going nearer and nearer to Heaven, and when "they go down by the valleys," they are as consciously going down deeper and deeper into the bosom of God. "They have learned, in whatsoever state they are, therewith to be content." "They can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth them."
Madame Guyon, for proclaiming the doctrine of sanctification by faith, spent some fourteen years, as a culprit, in the prisons of France, and a large portion of these in the Bastille, with "the Man in the Iron Mask" passing daily the door of her cell. But prison walls could not shut out from her heart the light or the peace of God. In such words as the following she shadows forth her blessed experience:
"A little bird I am, Shut out from fields of air, And in my cage I sit and sing To Him who placed me there; Well pleased a prisoner to be, Because my God, it pleaseth Thee. "Nought have I else to do; I sing the whole day long; And He whom most I love to please Doth listen to my song; He caught and bound my wandering wing, But still He bends to hear me sing. "Oh! it is good to soar, These bolts and bars above, To Him whose purpose I adore, Whose providence I love; And in Thy mighty will to find The joy, the freedom of the mind."
O, when will believers generally get so near to God that "the sun shall be no more their light by day, neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto them: but the Lord shall be unto them an everlasting light, and their God their glory?"
3. A peculiar and special form of self-control and balance of spirit attend all who receive this baptism. We refer to that self-mastery and divine equanimity of temper described in such statements and forms of expression as the following: "Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure it; and being defamed, we entreat;" "none of these things move me;" "I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong;" and "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." As the infant Jesus lay in His mother's arms, so with similar quietude, self-composure, self-control, and hopeful trust, does the soul, when filled with the Spirit, lie in the center of the sweet will of God.
"President Mahan," said a clerical friend, years ago, "I wish you could see my mother. To give you some idea of what a monument of grace she is, I would state, that in early life she was spoiled by training. She had one of the worst and most ungovernable tempers I ever knew. For years past she has been wholly confined to her bed from nervous prostration. During the early part of this period, it did seem that nobody could take care of her, or endure her continued manifestations of irritability, impatience, fretfulness, and furious anger. Right there, she became fully convinced that through grace and the baptism of the Spirit, she could have perfect rest, quietude, and self-control. She set her whole heart upon attaining that state. Such was her fervency of spirit, and earnestness in prayer, that her friends thought she would become deranged, and urged her to cease seeking and prayer. 'I die in the effort,' was her reply, 'or I obtain what I know to be in reserve for me.' At length the baptism of power came gently upon her. From that hour there has not been the slightest indication of even the remains of that temper. Her quietude and assurance have been absolute, and her sweetness of spirit 'as ointment poured forth.' It is no trouble to anyone now, but a privilege to all, to care for her. Many come, even from long distances, to listen to her divine discourse."
Years passed on, and again we met. "What of your mother?" we asked. "Does her faith hold out?" "She is gone," was the reply. But from the hour of that baptism to that of her death that quietude and assurance remained, and that ineffable sweetness of temper was never for a moment interrupted. I witnessed the closing scene. She died of cholera, and in the greatest conceivable agony. Yet such patience, serenity of hope, and such quiet waiting for the coming of the Lord, I hardly before deemed possible. 'My son,' she would say, 'nature has had a hard struggle; but it will be soon over, and I shall enter into the rest that remains for the people of God."'
"This," reader, "is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." The feeblest among us may be "more than conquerors through Him that hath loved us." Even "at evening time there shall be light" to all who "walk in the light of God." By the grace of Christ and "the power of the Spirit" we can "rule our own spirits." "We can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us."
Yes; there is no temper, appetite, passion, or circumstance, but this baptism can subdue into calmness, sobriety, peace, and love. All things can be done, within the will of God, by this strength of Israel resting upon us.
4. A peculiar and special degree of moral and spiritual power, with God and with men, is the only other characteristic which we would present, as distinguishing those who receive this baptism. The form of power possessed by each is in certain respects unlike that possessed by others. Yet in all it has this one common tendencyan almost resistless influence to draw others toward God, purity, and Heaven. Some are "sons of thunder;" others are "sons of consolation." Some have special wisdom as teachers of truth; others are endued with the special power of exhortation. Some have peculiar forms of courage and faith, by which they have special power to "strengthen weak hands, and confirm feeble knees;" others have equally special forms of power in ministering to the necessities of the sick and afflicted. Others still have special power in exciting in believers the spirit of hunger and thirst for the bread and waters of life. "What do you think of Mr. ?" said one Christian to another? "I have not heard him?" The clergyman referred to was a man "full of faith and of the Holy Ghost." "Well," replied the other, "if you will hear this man a few times, and not feel such a hungering and thirsting after righteousness as you never felt before, your experience will differ from mine." Others have special power in drawing sinners to repentance.
Power to prophesythat is, to "speak unto men for consolation, for exhortation, and edification"this is universal among all who receive this anointing. When one or more individuals in a given Church have this baptism, there will be a constant Divine influence drawing the whole body Heavenward. When the Church generally shall be endued with this power, "Gentiles will come to her light, and kings to the brightness of her rising." If, then, we would "serve God and our generation" according to His will in Christ Jesus our Lord, we must, one and all of us, tarry in the place of prayer, and struggle here with "strong crying and tears," until we are "endued with power from on high."