The Authority of Experience

Eph. 5:10.---' Learn in your own experiences '

John 16:14.---' He will take of what is mine and will make it known to you '

The working proof of that which we call reality is a consensus of experiences. The greatest things in life are not the subjects of pure science and cannot be proved by mathematical demonstration. But experience affords its own working proof. Where personal love and honor and truth are concerned we grow in inward knowledge, and this growth for us is a working proof, and is a constant source of increasing joy and wonder. We learn in our experience and experience creates for us authority.

It does not seem that Jesus expected much immediate result from the two or three years of His work. He lived His life and gave to men ideas, great concepts of God and man, and having done that He died with great confidence that the Spirit He had brought into human life would, step by step, develop His purpose and teach men His way. ' He will take of what is mine and will make it known to you.' This is just one of those fundamental ways of thinking where Jesus asks for nothing but the will to know, the will to be open to experience of truth. Truly to worship the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of all Truth is ardently to desire to get to reality, and to know what things and thoughts really mean. Really to wait upon God is to open the mind and soul to the inner revelation and the experience which may, or may not, give what we expect. The true spirit of science is also the true spirit of religion, for it is the spirit of all truth.

Jesus told His disciples that this Spirit would convict the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. And truly there are few things more difficult for men to accomplish than to find out how to know good and evil, how to be just, and how to be wise, for these things are among the major problems of the mental and spiritual life. Jesus offers a guide in this struggle of the soul, the Spirit of Truth.

And then he identifies Himself with this Spirit. ' I am the Truth.' The Christ, the Seed, the Light, in the human soul is the revealer of truth if, and when, the soul bends its will to the revelation, listens to the spirit within.

What does Christ ask men to seek experience of? A Spirit of love and truth, a knowledge or experience of that Spirit within, and a kingdom of humanity which is a personal and social expression of that Spirit. Seek, He says, in effect, seek that Spirit and that Spirit will take of what is Mine and will make it known to you. It is the Spirit which gives life. In this teaching of Christ's there seems nothing that is a mental burden, no articles of belief, no creed, but a most absolute spiritual freedom. He asks nothing but the willingness to seek and to learn in a man's own experience. But He knows His own experience and gives it to His fellows with a conviction that is too great and too searching to be ignored.

The wonderful thing here is that multitudes of human minds, the most cultured and those of the utmost simplicity, bear one long and deep testimony that that conviction comes home to them as the deepest of all truths, for they have learnt in their experience that it is precisely through a knowledge of this experience of Jesus, and through the pursuit of the way he suggest, that they too have gained convincement of the life of the Spirit in their own souls.

So it comes to be to them authority. Not the authority, of outward imposition, but the authority of inward conviction, which allows of no gainsaying. It responds to the innate need of the seed in man's spirit, feeds, inspires and illuminates him; gives him no mental or spiritual fetters but the progressive and redemptive knowledge of eternal life. That indeed is the saving grace, God's free gift, the finding of the light of Christ in the soul.

In Christ, timothy. maranatha

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