Out-pourings of the Spirit

Isa. 32:15.---' Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.'

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. This last phrase of Divine immanence was conditioned on the withdrawal of Christ's bodily presence. 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 was the substance of the great promise that He gave to His disciples, not in His parting hours only, but throughout His ministry; and how amply it was fulfilled is demonstrated by the preaching and writings of the apostles.

Let us remind ourselves of our absolute dependence upon the Spirit of God for the inspirations and influences which secure our highest welfare. Our moral and spiritual life are dependent upon the vivifying influence of the Holy Spirit. 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. So the Creator Spirit abides in His creation, and certain expression points of fundamental change and advance testify to His presence and activity. 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. With many it involves so much fatiguing endeavor, doubtful progress, disheartening failure, that the spiritual life, so far from being one of joyfulness, is little more than a protracted, painful, and dubious striving. This is not, however, the scriptural ideal of the growth in grace, and it is to be explained only by the lack of a more vigorous inward life. 'Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.' The mighty forces of infinite Nature are working in the bulb of the lily, and have made it lovely and fragrant without more ado; and 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 than 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 seen to appreciate the overwhelming importance of the powers of life, without which all organization is futile. What we require is a real faith of 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 visitations will burst forth upon the Church and the world.