Out-pourings of the Spirit

In all ages the Spirit of God has been active, working out His will and purpose, but in the fullness of time came the Christ and in Him the Spirit dwelt 'without measure.' During the Incarnation the Spirit was with us in Christ; since then Christ has been in us by the Spirit. With His ascension a new joy came into the world, the joy of a Divine presence never before so intimate, never before so constant, and never before so permanent. 'Lo I am with you all the days.' It is our privilege now to live under this dispensation of the Spirit. Our Lord has opened up new springs of spiritual life, new sources of Divine power. This is the substance of the great promise that He gives to us, not in His parting hours only, but throughout His ministry; and how amply is was fulfilled is demonstrated by continuing history.

Let us remind ourselves of our absolute dependence upon the Spirit of God for the inspirations and influences which secure our highest welfare. The dependence of the material world upon the spiritual universe is being more and more recognized by serious naturalists. The splendor of the world on which we look today is the outshining of the indwelling Spirit, without whom the standing miracle of earth and sky must sink into chaos. There are not two Spirits of God, one working in Nature and the other in the rational realm; but one and the selfsame Spirit creates the glorious things which enrich both.

That the Spirit of God reveals Himself in exceptional communications of richness and power at special times and seasons is an important truth to be remembered for our instruction. 'Until the Spirit is poured upon us.' We think of the Day of Pentecost as an altogether unique phenomenon; yet it is not so, but one according to the analogy of the Divine government as conducted from the beginning.

These extraordinary revelation of spiritual power are not to be considered as confined to the Apostolic Age. We have seen that while scientists recognize in geological periods "a persistent progress of life to a higher plane,' they also recognize in "the life of species sudden fundamental advances," "expression points," in which the underlying inscrutable force conspicuously declares itself. What are the wonderful revivals which periodically gladden the Church but such 'sudden fundamental advances,' in which the Spirit of God shows Himself in such a manner as to excite the attention and wonder of mankind? As a rule, the indwelling Spirit works silently, and is revealed only in 'the persistent' moral progress of the race; but now and again, 'suddenly there comes from heaven a sound as of the rushing of mighty wind,' filling the Church, shaking the world.

One great consolation arising out of this visitation of the Spirit relates to our personal experience. The will of God is our sanctification, our moral perfection, and the will of the believer is fixed on the attainment of the same ideal; but its realization is a question of indwelling power, of which too often we are deficient. If we thought more of the strengthening of the heart by the indwelling of the Almighty Spirit, there would be less need or disposition to labor and fret, as we so often do, about the concerns of the soul. Great power dispenses with painful effort, and life becomes assured, serene, victorious.

Then in a richer baptism of the heavenly power we become effective workers in the Kingdom of God. The disciples waited until endued with power from on high. Too often in our evangelism we trust more that we ought to our learning, method, and money; we are concerned with the ritual and statesmanship of the Church rather than with that interior fire on which virtually all success depends. We are so occupied with its mechanism that we hardly seem to appreciate the overwhelming importance of the powers of life, without which all organization is futile. What we require is a real faith in our creed, a Christlike love to men, and overpowering sense of God's presence, and an enthusiasm for the coming of His Kingdom. Then we may be confident that great Pentecostal visitations will burst forth upon the Church and the world.

In Him, Tim