But this is not all even yet. We read in Acts vii. 14-16, "Now when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost (for as yet He was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus)." There was a great company of happy converts in Samaria, but when Peter and John came down to inspect the work, they evidently felt that there was something so essential that these young disciples had not received that before they did anything else, they must see to it that they received it. In a similar way we read in Acts xix. 1, 2, R. V., "And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper country came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples: and he said unto them, Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed?" When he found that they had not received the Holy Spirit, the first thing that he saw to was that they should receive the Holy Spirit. He did not go on with the work with the outsiders until that little group of twelve disciples had been equipped for service. So we see that when the Apostles found believers in Christ, the first thing that they always did was to demand whether they had received the Holy Spirit as a definite experience and if not, they saw to it at once that the steps were taken whereby they should receive the Holy Spirit. It is evident then that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary in every Christian for the service that Christ demands and expects of him. There are certainly few greater mistakes that we are making to-day in our various Christian enterprises than that of setting men to teach Sunday-school classes and do personal work and even to preach the Gospel, because they have been converted and received a certain amount of education, including it may be a college and seminary course, but have not as yet been baptized with the Holy Spirit. We think that if a man is hopefully pious and has had a college and seminary education and comes out of it reasonably orthodox, he is now ready that we should lay our hands upon him and ordain him to preach the Gospel. But Jesus Christ says, "No." There is another preparation so all essential that a man must not undertake this work until he has received it. "Tarry ye (literally 'sit ye down') until ye be endued with power from on high." A distinguished theological professor has said that the question ought to be put to every candidate for the ministry, "Have you met God?" Yes, but we ought to go farther than this and be even more definite; to every candidate for the ministry we should put the question, "Have you been baptized with the Holy Spirit?" and if not, we should say to him as Jesus said to the first preachers of the Gospel, "Sit down until you are endued with power from on high."
But not only is this true of ordained ministers, it is true of every Christian, for all Christians are called to ministry of some kind. Any man who is in Christian work, who has not received the baptism with the Holy Spirit, ought to stop his work right where he is and not go on with it until he has been "clothed with power from on high." But what will our work do while we are waiting? The question can be answered by asking another, "What did the world do during these ten days while the early disciples were waiting?" They knew the saving truth, they alone knew it; yet in obedience to the Lord's command they were silent. The world was no loser. Beyond a doubt, when the power came, they accomplished more in one day than they would have accomplished in years if they had gone on in self-confident defiance and disobedience to Christ's command. We too after that we have received the baptism with the Spirit will accomplish more of real work for our Lord in one day than we ever would in years without this power. Even if it were necessary to spend days in waiting, they would be well spent, but we shall see later that there is no need that we spend days in waiting, that the baptism with the Holy Spirit may be received to-day. Some one may say that the Apostles had gone on missionary tours during Christ's lifetime, even before they were baptized with the Holy Spirit. This is true, but that was before the Holy Spirit was given, and before the command was given, "Tarry ye until ye be clothed with power from on high." After that it would have been disobedience and folly and presumption to have gone forth without this enduement, and we are living to-day after the Holy Spirit has been given and after the charge has been given to tarry until clothed.
WHO CAN BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT?
We come now to the question of first importance, namely, Who can be baptized with the Holy Spirit? At a convention some years ago, a very intelligent Christian woman, a well-known worker in educational as well as Sunday-school work, sent me this question, "You have told us of the necessity of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, but who can have this baptism? The church to which I belong teaches that the baptism with the Holy Spirit was confined to the apostolic age. Will you not tell us who can have the baptism with the Holy Spirit?" Fortunately this question is answered in the most explicit terms in the Bible. We read in Acts ii. 38, 39, R. V., "And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him." What is the promise to which Peter refers in the thirty-ninth verse? There are two interpretations of the passage; one is that the promise of this verse is the promise of salvation; the other is that the promise of this verse is the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit (or the baptism with the Holy Spirit; a comparison of Scripture passages will show that the two expressions are synonymous). Which is the correct interpretation? There are two laws of interpretation universally recognized among Bible scholars. These two laws are the law of usage (or "usus loquendi" as it is called) and the law of context. Many a verse in the Bible standing alone might admit of two or three or even more interpretations, but when these two laws of interpretation are applied, it is settled to a certainty that only one of the various possible interpretations is the true interpretation. The law of usage is this, that when you find a word or phrase in any passage of Scripture and you wish to know what it means, do not go to a dictionary but go to the Bible itself, look up the various passages in which the word is used and especially how the particular writer being studied uses it, and especially how it is used in that particular book in which the passage is found. Thus you can determine what the precise meaning of the word or phrase is in the passage in question. The law of context is this; that when you study a passage, you should not take it out of its connection but should look at what goes before it and what comes after it; for while it might mean various things if it stood alone, it can only mean one thing in the connection in which it is found. Now let us apply these two laws to the passage in question. First of all, let us apply the law of usage. We are trying to discover what the expression "the promise" means in Acts ii. 39. Turning back to Acts i. 4, 5, R. V., we read, "He charged them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, said He, ye heard from Me: for John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." It is evident then, that here the promise of the Father means the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Turn now to the second chapter and the thirty-third verse, R. V., "Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath poured forth this, which ye see and hear." In this passage we are told in so many words that the promise is the promise of the Holy Spirit. If this peculiar expression means the baptism with the Holy Spirit in Acts i. 4, 5, and the same thing in Acts ii. 33, by what same law of interpretation can it possibly mean something entirely different six verses farther down in Acts ii. 39? So the law of usage establishes it that the promise of Acts ii. 39 is the promise of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Now let us apply the law of context, and we shall find that, if possible, this is even more decisive. Turn back to the thirty-eighth verse, "And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost; for the promise is unto you, etc." So it is evident here that the promise is the promise of the gift or baptism with the Holy Spirit. It is settled then by both laws that the promise of Acts ii. 39 is that of the gift of the Holy Spirit, or baptism with the Holy Spirit. Let us then read the verse in that way, substituting this synonymous expression for the expression "the promise," "For the baptism with the Spirit is unto you, and to your children and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." "It is unto you," says Peter, that is to the crowd assembled before him. There is nothing in that for us. We were not there, and that crowd were all Jews and we are not Jews; but Peter did not stop there, he goes further and says, "And to your children," that is to the next generation of Jews, or all future generations of Jews. Still there is nothing in it for us, for we are not Jews; but Peter did not stop even there, he went further and said, "And to all them that are afar off." That does take us in. We are the Gentiles who were once "afar off," but now "made nigh by the blood of Christ" (Eph. ii. 13, 17). But lest there be any mistake about it whatever, Peter adds "even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him." So on the very day of Pentecost, Peter declares that the baptism with the Holy Spirit is for every child of God in every coming age of the church's history. Some years ago at a ministerial conference in Chicago, a minister of the Gospel from the Southwest came to me after a lecture on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit and said, "The church to which I belong teaches that the baptism with the Holy Spirit was for the apostolic age alone." "I do not care," I replied, "what the church to which you belong teaches, or what the church to which I belong teaches. The only question with me is, What does the Word of God teach?" "That is right," he said. I then handed him my Bible and asked him to read Acts ii. 39, and he read, "For the promise is unto you, and unto your children and to all them that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto Him" (R. V.). "Has He called you?" I asked. "Yes, He certainly has." "Is the promise for you then?" "Yes, it is." He took it and the result was a transformed ministry. Some years ago at a students' conference, the gatherings were presided over by a prominent Episcopalian minister, a man greatly honoured and loved. I spoke at this conference on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, and dwelt upon the significance of Acts ii. 39. That night as we sat together after the meetings were over, this servant of God said to me, "Brother Torrey, I was greatly interested in what you had to say to-day on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. If your interpretation of Acts ii. 39 is correct, you have your case, but I doubt your interpretation of Acts ii. 39. Let us talk it over." We did talk it over. Several years later, in July, 1894, I was at the students' conference at Northfield. As I entered the back door of Stone Hall that day, this Episcopalian minister entered the front door. Seeing me he hurried across the hall and held out his hand and said, "You were right about Acts ii. 39 at Knoxville, and I believe I have a right to tell you something better yet, that I have been baptized with the Holy Spirit." I am glad that I was right about Acts ii. 39, not that it is of any importance that I should be right, but the truth thus established is of immeasurable importance. Is it not glorious to be able to go literally around the world and face audiences of believers all over the United States, in the Sandwich Islands, in Australia and Tasmania and New Zealand, in China and Japan and India, in England and Scotland, Ireland, Germany, France and Switzerland and to be able to tell them, and to know that you have God's sure Word under your feet when you do tell them, "You may all be baptized with the Holy Spirit"? But that unspeakably joyous and glorious thought has its solemn side. If we may be baptized with the Holy Spirit then we must be. If we are baptized with the Holy Spirit then souls will be saved through our instrumentality who will not be saved if we are not thus baptized. If then we are not willing to pay the price of this baptism and therefore are not thus baptized we shall be responsible before God for every soul that might have been saved who was not saved because we did not pay the price and therefore did not obtain the blessing. I often tremble for myself and for my brethren in the ministry, and not only for my brethren in the ministry but for my brethren in all forms of Christian work, even the most humble and obscure. Why? Because we are preaching error? No, alas, there are many in these dark days who are doing that, and I do tremble for them; but that is not what I mean now. Do I mean that I tremble because we are not preaching the truth? for it is quite possible not to preach error and yet not preach the truth; many a man has never preached a word of error in his life, but still is not preaching the truth, and I do tremble for them; but that is not what I mean now. I mean that I tremble for those of us who are preaching the truth, the very truth as it is in Jesus, the truth as it is recorded in the written Word of God, the truth in its simplicity, its purity and its fullness, but who are preaching it in "persuasive words of man's wisdom" and not "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power" (1 Cor. ii. 4, R. V.). Preaching it in the energy of the flesh and not in the power of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing more death dealing than the Gospel without the Spirit's power. "The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." It is awfully solemn business preaching the Gospel either from the pulpit or in more quiet ways. It means death or life to those that hear, and whether it means death or life depends very largely on whether we preach it with or without the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
WE MUST BE BAPTISED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Even after one has been baptized with the Holy Spirit, no matter how definite that baptism may be, he needs to be filled again and again with the Spirit. This is the clear teaching of the New Testament. We read in Acts ii. 4, "They were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance." Now one of those who was present on this occasion and who therefore was filled at this time with the Holy Spirit was Peter. Indeed, he stands forth most prominently in the chapter as a man baptized with the Holy Spirit. But we read in Acts iv. 8, "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, etc." Here we read again that Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost. Further down in the chapter we read, in the thirty-first verse, that being assembled together and praying, they were "all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness." We are expressly told in the context that two of those present were John and Peter. Here then was a third instance in which Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit. It is not enough that one be filled with the Holy Spirit once. We, need a new filling for each new emergency of Christian service. The failure to realize this need of constant refillings with the Holy Spirit has led to many a man who at one time was greatly used of God, being utterly laid aside. There are many to-day who once knew what it was to work in the power of the Holy Spirit who have lost their unction and their power. I do not say that the Holy Spirit has left them—I do not believe He has—but the manifestation of His presence and power has gone. One of the saddest sights among us to-day is that of the men and women who once toiled for the Master in the mighty power of the Holy Spirit who are now practically of no use, or even a hindrance to the work, because they are trying to go in the power of the blessing received a year or five years or twenty years ago. For each new service that is to be conducted, for each new soul that is to be dealt with, for each new work for Christ that is to be performed, for each new day and each new emergency of Christian life and service, we should seek and obtain a new filling with the Holy Spirit. We must not "neglect" the gift that is in us (1 Tim. iv. 14), but on the contrary "kindle anew" or "stir into flame" this gift (1 Tim. i. 6, R. V., margin). Repeated fillings with the Holy Spirit are necessary to continuance and increase of power.
The question may arise, "Shall we call these new fillings with the Holy Spirit 'fresh baptisms' with the Holy Spirit?" To this we would answer, the expression "baptism" is never used in the Scriptures of a second experience and there is something of an initiatory character in the very thought of baptism, so if one wishes to be precisely Biblical, it would seem to be better not to use the term "baptism" of a second experience but to limit it to the first experience. On the other hand "filled with the Holy Spirit" is used in Acts ii. 4, to describe the experience promised in Acts i. 5, where the words used are "Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost." And it is evident from this and from other passages that the two expressions are to a large extent practically synonymous. However, if we confine the expression "baptism with the Holy Spirit" to our first experience, we shall be more exactly Biblical and it would be well to speak of one baptism but many fillings. But I would a great deal rather that one should speak about new or fresh baptisms with the Holy Spirit, standing for the all-important truth that we need repeated fillings with the Holy Spirit, than that he should so insist on exact phraseology that he would lose sight of the truth that repeated fillings are needed, i. e., I would rather have the right experience by a wrong name, than the wrong experience by the right name. This much is as clear as day, that we need to be filled again and again and again with the Holy Spirit. I am sometimes asked, "Have you received the second blessing?" Yes, and the third and the fourth and the fifth and hundreds beside, and I am looking for a new blessing to-day.
We come now to the question of first practical importance, namely, WHAT MUST ONE DO IN ORDER TO OBTAIN THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT? This question is answered in the plainest and most positive way in the Bible. A plain path is laid down in the Bible consisting of a few simple steps that any one can take, and it is absolutely certain that any one who takes these steps will enter into the blessing. This is, of course, a very positive statement, and we would not dare be so positive if the Bible were not equally positive. But what right have we to be uncertain when the Word of God is positive? There are seven steps in this path:
1. The first step is that we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Lord. We read in Acts ii. 38, R. V., "Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Is not this statement as positive as that which we made above? Peter says that if we do certain things, the result will be, "Ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." All seven steps are in this passage, but we shall refer later to other passages as throwing light upon this. The first two steps are in the word "repent." "Repent ye," said Peter. What does it mean to repent? The Greek word for repentance means "an afterthought" or "change of mind." To repent then means to change your mind. But change your mind about what? About three things; about God, about Jesus Christ, about sin. What the change of mind is about in any given instance must be determined by the context. As determined by the context in the present case, the change of mind is primarily about Jesus Christ. Peter had just said in the thirty-sixth verse, R. V., "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified. When they heard this, they were pricked in their heart," as well they might be, "and said unto Peter and the rest of the Apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?" Then it was that Peter said, "Repent ye," "Change your mind about Jesus, change your mind from that attitude of mind that rejected Him and crucified Him to that attitude of mind that accepts Him as Lord and King and Saviour." This then is the first step towards receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit; receive Jesus as Saviour and Lord; first of all receive Him as your Saviour. Have you done that?
What does it mean to receive Jesus as Saviour? It means to accept Him as the One who bore our sins in our place on the cross (Gal. iii. 13; 2 Cor. v. 21) and to trust God to forgive us because Jesus Christ died in our place. It means to rest all our hope of acceptance before God upon the finished work of Christ upon the cross of Calvary. There are many who profess to be Christians who have not done this. When you go to many who call themselves Christians and ask them if they are saved, they reply, "Yes." Then if you put to them the question "Upon what are you resting as the ground of your salvation?" they will reply something like this, "I go to church; I say my prayers, I read my Bible, I have been baptized, I have united with the church, I partake of the Lord's supper, I attend prayer-meeting, and I am trying to live as near right as I know how." If these things are what you are resting upon as the ground of your acceptance before God, then you are not saved, for all these things are your own works (all proper in their places but still your own works) and we are distinctly told in Rom. iii. 20, R. V., that "By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight." But if you go to others and ask them if they are saved, they will reply "Yes." And then if you ask them upon what they are resting as the ground of their acceptance before God, they will reply something to this effect, "I am not resting upon anything I ever did, or upon anything I am ever going to do; I am resting upon what Jesus Christ did for me when He bore my sins in His own body on the cross. I am resting in His finished work of atonement." If this is what you are really resting upon, then you are saved, you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Saviour and you have taken the first step towards the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
The same thought is taught elsewhere in the Bible, for example in Gal. iii. 2. Here Paul asks of the believers in Galatia, "Received ye the Holy Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" Just what did he mean? On one occasion when Paul was passing through Galatia, he was detained there by some physical infirmity. We are not told what it was, but at all events, he was not so ill but that he could preach to the Galatians the Gospel, or glad tidings, that Jesus Christ had redeemed them from the curse of the law by becoming a curse in their place, by dying on the cross of Calvary. These Galatians believed this testimony; this was the hearing of faith, and God set the stamp of His endorsement upon their faith by giving them as a personal experience the Holy Spirit. But after Paul had left Galatia, certain Judaizers came down from Jerusalem, men who were substituting the law of Moses for the Gospel and taught them that it was not enough that they simply believe on Jesus Christ but in addition to this they must keep the law of Moses, especially the law of Moses regarding circumcision, and that without circumcision they could not be saved—i. e., they could not be saved by simple faith in Jesus (cf. Acts xv. 1). These young converts in Galatia became all upset. They did not know whether they were saved or not; they did not know what they ought to do, and all was confusion. It was just as when modern Judaizers come around and get after young converts and tell them that in addition to believing in Jesus Christ, they must keep the Mosaic Seventh Day Sabbath, or they cannot be saved. This is simply the old controversy breaking out at a new point. When Paul heard what had happened in Galatia, he was very indignant and wrote the Epistle to the Galatians simply for the purpose of exposing the utter error of these Judaizers. He showed them how Abraham himself was justified before he was circumcised by simply believing God (Gal. iii. 6), and how he was circumcised after he was justified as a seal of the faith which he already had while he was in uncircumcision. But in addition to this proof of the error of the Judaizers, Paul appeals to their own personal experience. He says to them, "You received the Holy Spirit, did you not?" "Yes." "How did you receive the Holy Spirit, by keeping the law of Moses, or by the hearing of faith, the simple accepting of God's testimony about Jesus Christ that your sins were laid upon Him, and that you are thus justified and saved?" The Galatians had had a very definite experience of receiving the Holy Spirit and Paul appeals to it, and recalls to their mind how it was by the simple hearing of faith that they had received the Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit is God's seal upon the simple acceptance of God's testimony about Jesus Christ, that our sins were laid upon Him, and thus trusting God to forgive us and justify us. This then is the first step towards receiving the Holy Spirit. But we must not only receive Jesus as Saviour, we must also receive Him as Lord. Of this we shall speak further in connection with another passage in the fourth step.
2. The second step in the path that leads into the blessing of being baptized with the Holy Spirit is renunciation of sin. Repentance as we have seen is a change of mind about sin as well as a change of mind about Christ; a change of mind from that attitude of mind that loves sin and indulges sin to that attitude of mind that hates sin and renounces sin. This then is the second step—renunciation of sin. The Holy Spirit is a Holy Spirit and we cannot have both Him and sin. We must make our choice between the Holy Spirit and unholy sin. We cannot have both. He that will not give up sin cannot have the Holy Spirit. It is not enough that we renounce one sin or two sins or three sins or many sins, we must renounce all sin. If we cling to one single known sin, it will shut us out of the blessing. Here we find the cause of failure in many people who are praying for the baptism with the Holy Spirit, going to conventions and hearing about the baptism with the Holy Spirit, reading books about the baptism with the Holy Spirit, perhaps spending whole nights in prayer for the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and yet obtaining nothing. Why? Because there is some sin to which they are clinging. People often say to me, or write to me, "I have been praying for the baptism with the Holy Spirit for a year (five years, ten years, one man said twenty years). Why do I not receive?" In many such cases, I feel led to reply, "It is sin, and if I could look down into your heart this moment as God looks into your heart, I could put my finger on the specific sin." It may be what you are pleased to call a small sin, but there are no small sins. There are sins that concern small things, but every sin is an act of rebellion against God and therefore no sin is a small sin. A controversy with God about the smallest thing is sufficient to shut one out of the blessing. Mr. Finney tells of a woman who was greatly exercised about the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Every night after the meetings, she would go to her rooms and pray way into the night and her friends were afraid she would go insane, but no blessing came. One night as she prayed, some little matter of head adornment, a matter that would probably not trouble many Christians to-day, but a matter of controversy between her and God, came up (as it had often come up before) as she knelt in prayer. She put her hand to her head and took the pins out of her hair and threw them across the room and said, "There go!" and instantly the Holy Ghost fell upon her. It was not so much the matter of head adornment as the matter of controversy with God that had kept her out of the blessing.
If there is anything that always comes up when you get nearest to God, that is the thing to deal with. Some years ago at a convention in a Southern state, the presiding officer, a minister in the Baptist Church, called my attention to a man and said, "That man is the pope of our denomination in ——; everything he says goes, but he is not at all with us in this matter, but I am glad to see him here." This minister kept attending the meetings. At the close of the last meeting where I had spoken upon the conditions of receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit, I found this man awaiting me in the vestibule. He said, "I did not stand up on your invitation to-day." I replied, "I saw you did not." "I thought you said," he continued, "that you only wanted those to stand who could say they had absolutely surrendered to God?" "That is what I did say," I replied. "Well, I could not say that." "Then you did perfectly right not to stand. I did not want you to lie to God." "Say," he continued, "you hit me pretty hard to-day. You said if there was anything that always comes up when you get nearest to God, that is the thing to deal with. Now there is something that always comes up when I get nearest to God. I am not going to tell you what it is. I think you know." "Yes," I replied. (I could smell it.) "Well, I simply wanted to say this to you." This was on Friday afternoon. I had occasion to go to another city, and returning through that city the following Tuesday morning, the minister who had presided at the meeting was at the station. "I wish you could have been in our Baptist ministers' meeting yesterday morning," he said; "that man I pointed out to you from the north part of the state was present. He got up in our meeting and said, 'Brethren, we have been all wrong about this matter,' and then he told what he had done. He had settled his controversy with God, had given up the thing which had always come up when he got nearest to God, then he continued and said, 'Brethren, I have received a more definite experience than I had when I was converted.' " Just such an experience is waiting many another, both minister and layman, just as soon as he will judge his sin, just as soon as he will put away the thing that is a matter of controversy between him and God, no matter how small the thing may seem. If any one sincerely desires the baptism with the Holy Spirit, he should go alone with God and ask God to search him and bring to light anything in his heart or life that is displeasing to Him, and when He brings it to light, he should put it away. If after sincerely waiting on God, nothing is brought to light, then we may proceed to take the other steps. But there is no use praying, no use going to conventions, no use in reading books about the baptism with the Holy Spirit, no use in doing anything else, until we judge our sins.
3. The third step is an open confession of our renunciation of sin and our acceptance of Jesus Christ. After telling his hearers to repent in Acts ii. 38, Peter continues and tells them to be "baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins." Heart repentance alone was not enough. There must be an open confession of that repentance, and God's appointed way of confession of repentance is baptism. None of those to whom Peter spoke had ever been baptized, and, of course, what Peter meant in that case was water baptism. But suppose one has already been baptized, what then? Even in that case, there must be that for which baptism stands, namely, an open confession of our renunciation of sin and our acceptance of Jesus Christ. The baptism with the Spirit is not for the secret disciple, but for the open confessed disciple. There are many doubtless to-day who are trying to be Christians in their hearts, many who really believe that they have accepted Jesus as their Saviour and their Lord and have renounced sin, but they are not willing to make an open confession of their renunciation of sin and their acceptance of Christ. Such an one cannot have the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Some one may ask, "Do not the Friends ('Quakers'), who do not believe in water baptism, give evidence of being baptized with the Holy Spirit?" Doubtless many of them do, but this does not alter the teaching of God's Word. God doubtless condescends in many instances where people are misled as to the teaching of His Word to their ignorance, if they are sincere, but that fact does not alter His Word, and even with a member of the congregation of Friends, who sincerely does not believe in water baptism, there must be before the blessing is received that for which baptism stands, namely, the open confession of our acceptance of Christ and of our renunciation of sin.
4. The fourth step is absolute surrender to God. This comes out in what has been already said, namely, that we must accept Jesus as Lord as well as Saviour. It is stated explicitly in Acts v. 32, "And we are His witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him." That is the fourth step, "obey Him," obedience. But what does obedience mean? Some one will say, doing as we are told. Right, but doing how much that we are told? Not merely one thing or two things or three things or four things, but all things. The heart of obedience is in the will, the essence of obedience is the surrender of the will to God. It is going to God our heavenly Father and saying, "Heavenly Father, here I am. I am Thy property. Thou hast bought me with a price. I acknowledge Thine ownership, and surrender myself and all that I am absolutely to Thee. Send me where Thou wilt; do with me what Thou wilt; use me as Thou wilt." This is in most instances the decisive step in receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament types it was when the whole burnt offering was laid upon the altar, nothing kept back within or without the sacrificial animal, that the fire came forth from the Holy Place where God dwelt and accepted and consumed the gift upon the altar. And so it is to-day, in the fulfillment of the type, when we lay ourselves, a whole burnt offering, upon the altar, keeping nothing within or without back, that the fire of God, the Holy Spirit, descends from the real Holy Place, heaven (of which the Most Holy Place in the tabernacle was simply a type), and accepts the gift upon the altar. When we can truly say, "My all is on the altar," then we shall not have long to wait for the fire. The lack of this absolute surrender is shutting many out of the blessing to-day. People turn the keys of almost every closet in their heart over to God, but there is some small closet of which they wish to keep the key themselves, and the blessing does not come.
At a convention in Washington, D. C., on the last night, I had spoken on How to Receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit Himself was present in mighty power that night. The chaplain of one of the houses had said to me at the close of the meeting, "It almost seemed as if I could see the Holy Spirit in this place to-night." There were many to be dealt with. About two hours after the meeting closed, about eleven o'clock, a worker came to me and said, "Do you see that young woman over to the right with whom Miss W—— is speaking?" "Yes." "Well, she has been dealing with her for two hours and she is in awful agony. Won't you come and see if you can help?" I went into the seat back of this woman in distress and asked her her trouble. "Oh," she said, "I came from Baltimore to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and I cannot go back to Baltimore until I have received Him." "Is your will laid down?" I asked. "I am afraid not." "Will you lay it down now?" "I cannot." "Are you willing that God should lay it down for you?" "Yes." "Ask Him to do it." She bowed her head in prayer and asked God to empty her of her will, to lay it down for her, to bring it into conformity to His will, in absolute surrender to His own. When the prayer was finished, I said, "Is it laid down?" She said, "It must be. I have asked something according to His will. Yes, it is done." I said, "Ask Him for the baptism with the Holy Spirit." She bowed her head again in brief prayer and asked God to baptize her with the Holy Spirit and in a few moments looked up with peace in her heart and in her face. Why? Because she had surrendered her will. She had met the conditions and God had given the blessing.
5. The fifth step is an intense desire for the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in John vii. 37-39, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive." Here again we have belief on Jesus as the condition of receiving the Holy Spirit but we have also this, "If any man thirst." Doubtless when Jesus spake these words He had in mind the Old Testament promise in Isa. xliv. 3, "For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour My Spirit upon thy seed, and My blessing upon thine offspring." In both these passages thirst is the condition of receiving the Holy Spirit. What does it mean to thirst? When a man really thirsts, it seems as if every pore in his body had just one cry, "Water! Water! Water!" Apply this to the matter in question; when a man thirsts spiritually, his whole being has but one cry, "The Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit!" As long as one fancies he can get along somehow without the baptism with the Holy Spirit, he is not going to receive that baptism. As long as one is casting about for some new kind of church, machinery, or new style of preaching, or anything else, by which he hopes to accomplish what the Holy Spirit only can accomplish, he will not receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. As long as one tries to find some subtle system of exegesis to read out of the New Testament what God has put into it, namely, the absolute necessity that each believer receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit as a definite experience, he is not going to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. As long as a man tries to persuade himself that he has received the baptism with the Holy Spirit when he really has not, he is not going to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. But when one gets to the place where he sees the absolute necessity that he be baptized with the Holy Spirit as a definite experience and desires this blessing at any cost, he is far on the way towards receiving it. At a state Young Men's Christian Association Convention, where I had spoken on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit, two ministers went out of the meeting side by side. One said to the other, "That kind of teaching leads either to fanaticism or despair." He did not attempt to show that it was unscriptural. He felt condemned and was not willing to admit his lack and seek to have it supplied, and so he tried to avoid the condemnation that came from the Word by this bright remark, "that kind of teaching leads either to fanaticism or despair." Such a man will not receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit until he is brought to himself and acknowledges honestly his need and intensely desires to have it supplied. How different another minister of the same denomination who came to me one Sunday morning at Northfield. I was to speak that morning on How to Receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. He said to me, "I have come to Northfield from —— for just one purpose, to receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and I would rather die than go back to my church without receiving it." I said, "My brother, you are going to receive it." The following morning he came very early to my house. He said, "I have to go away on the early train but I came around to tell you before I went that I have received the baptism with the Holy Spirit."
6. The sixth step is definite prayer for the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Jesus says in Luke xi. 13, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him." This is very explicit. Jesus teaches us that the Holy Spirit is given in answer to definite prayer—just ask Him. There are many who tell us that we should not pray for the Holy Spirit, and they reason it out very speciously. They say that the Holy Spirit was given as an abiding gift to the church at Pentecost, and why pray for what is already given? To this the late Rev. Dr. A. J. Gordon well replied that Jesus Christ was given as an abiding gift to the world at Calvary (John iii. 16), but what was given to the world as a whole each individual in the world must appropriate to himself; and just so the Holy Spirit was given to the church as an abiding gift at Pentecost, but what was given to the church as a whole each individual in the church must appropriate to himself, and God's way of appropriation is prayer. But those who say we should not pray for the Holy Spirit go further still than this. They tell us that every believer already has the Holy Spirit (which we have already seen is true in a sense), and why pray for what we already have? To this the very simple answer is, that it is one thing to have the Holy Spirit dwelling way back of consciousness in some hidden sanctuary of the being and something quite different, and vastly more, to have Him take possession of the whole house that He inhabits. But against all these specious arguments we place the simple word of Jesus Christ, "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him." It will not do to say, as has been said, that "this promise was for the time of the earth life of our Lord, and to go back to the promise of Luke xi. 13 is to forget Pentecost, and to ignore the truth that now every believer has the indwelling Spirit;" for we find that after Pentecost as well as before, the Holy Spirit was given to believers in answer to definite prayer. For example, we read in Acts iv. 31, R. V., "When they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness." Again in Acts viii. 15, 16, we read that when Peter and John were come down and saw the believers in Samaria they "prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Ghost, for as yet He was fallen upon none of them, only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." Again in the Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians, Paul tells the believers in Ephesus that he was praying for them that they might be strengthened with power through His Spirit (Eph. iii. 16). So right through the New Testament after Pentecost, as well as before, by specific teaching and illustrative example, we are taught that the Holy Spirit is given in answer to definite prayer. At a Christian workers' convention in Boston, a brother came to me and said, "I notice that you are on the program to speak on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit." "Yes." "I think that is the most important subject on the program. Now be sure and tell them not to pray for the Holy Spirit." I replied, "My brother, I will be sure and not tell them that: for Jesus says, 'How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?' " "Yes, but that was before Pentecost." "How about Acts iv. 31, R. V., was that before Pentecost or after?" He said, "It was certainly after." "Well," I said, "take it and read it." "And when they had prayed, the place where they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and spake the Word of God with boldness." "How about Acts viii. 15, 16, was that before Pentecost or after?" "Certainly, it was after." "Take it and read it." "Who when they were come down prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for as yet He was fallen on none of them, only they were baptized in the name of Jesus." He had nothing more to say. What was there more to say? But with me, it is not a matter of mere exegesis, that the Holy Spirit is given in answer to definite prayer. It is a matter of personal and indubitable experience. I know just as well that God gives the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer as I know that water quenches thirst and food satisfies hunger. In my first experience of being baptized with the Holy Spirit, it was while I waited upon God in prayer that I was thus baptized. Since then time and again as I have waited on God in prayer, I have been definitely filled with the Holy Spirit. Often as I have knelt in prayer with others, as we prayed the Holy Spirit has fallen upon us just as perceptibly as the rain ever fell upon and fructified the earth. I shall never forget one experience in our church in Chicago. We were holding a noon prayer-meeting of the ministers at the Y. M. C. A. Auditorium, preparatory to an expected visit to Chicago of Mr. Moody. At one of these meetings a minister sprang to his feet and said, "What we need in Chicago is an all-night meeting of the ministers." "Very well," I said. "If you will come up to Chicago Avenue Church Friday night at ten o'clock, we will have a prayer-meeting and if God keeps us all night, we will stay all night." At ten o'clock on Friday night four or five hundred people gathered in the lecture-rooms of the Chicago Avenue Church. They were not all ministers. They were not all men. Satan made a mighty attempt to ruin the meeting. First of all three men got down by the door and knelt down by chairs and pounded and shouted until some of our heads seemed almost splitting, and some felt they must retire from the meeting; and when a brother went to expostulate with them and urge them that things be done decently and in order, they swore at the brother who made the protest. Still later a man sprang up in the middle of the room and announced that he was Elijah. The poor man was insane. But these things were distracting, and there was more or less of confusion until nearly midnight, and some thought they would go home. But it is a poor meeting that the devil can spoil, and some of us were there for a blessing and determined to remain until we received it. About midnight God gave us complete victory over all the discordant elements. Then for two hours there was such praying as I have rarely heard in my life. A little after two o'clock in the morning a sudden hush fell upon the whole gathering; we were all on our knees at the time. No one could speak; no one could pray, no one could sing; all you could hear was the subdued sobbing of joy, unspeakable and full of glory. The very air seemed tremulous with the presence of the Spirit of God. It was now Saturday morning. The following morning, one of my deacons came to me and said, with bated breath, "Brother Torrey, I shall never forget yesterday morning until the latest day of my life." But it was not by any means all emotion. There was solid reality that could be tested by practical tests. A man went out of that meeting in the early morning hours, took a train for Missouri. When he had transacted his business in the town that he visited, he asked the proprietor of the hotel if there was any meeting going on in the town at the time. He said, "Yes, there is a protracted meeting going on at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church." The man was himself a Cumberland Presbyterian. He went to the church and when the meeting was opened he arose in his place and asked the minister if he could speak. Permission was granted, and with the power of the Holy Spirit upon him, he so spoke that fifty-eight or fifty-nine persons professed to accept Christ on the spot. A young man went out of the meeting in the early morning hours and took a train for a city in Wisconsin, and I soon received word from that city that thirty-eight young men and boys had been converted while he spoke. Another young man, one of our students in the Institute, went to another part of Wisconsin, and soon I began to receive letters from ministers in that neighbourhood inquiring about him and telling how he had gone into the school-houses and churches and Soldiers' Home and how there were conversions wherever he spoke. In the days that followed men and women from that meeting went out over the earth and I doubt if there was any country that I visited in my tour around the world, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, India, etc., in which I did not find some one who had gone out from that meeting with the power of God upon them. For me to doubt that God fills men with the Holy Spirit in answer to prayer would be thoroughly unscientific and irrational. I know He does. And in a matter like this, I would rather have one ounce of believing experience than ten tons of unbelieving exegesis.
7. The seventh and last step is faith. We read in Mark xi. 24, "Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them." No matter how definite God's promises are, we only realize these promises experimentally when we believe. For example we read in James i. 5, R. V., "But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Now that promise is as positive as a promise can be but we read in the following verses, "But let him ask in faith nothing doubting: for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea driven by the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord; a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." The baptism with the Spirit, as we have already seen, is for those believers in Christ, who have put away all sin and surrendered absolutely to God, who ask for it, but even though we ask there will be no receiving if we do not believe. There are many who have met the other conditions of receiving the baptism with the Holy Spirit and yet do not receive, simply because they do not believe. They do not expect to receive and they do not receive. But there is a faith that goes beyond expectation, a faith that puts out its hand and takes what it asks on the spot. This comes out in the Revised Version of Mark xi. 24, "Therefore I say unto you, All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them and ye shall have them." When we pray for the baptism with the Holy Spirit we should believe that we have received (that is that God has granted our prayer and therefore it is ours) and then we shall have the actual experience of that which we have asked. When the Revised Version came out, I was greatly puzzled about the rendering of Mark xi. 24. I had begun at the beginning of the New Testament and gone right through comparing the Authorized Version with the Revised and comparing both with the best Greek text, but when I reached this passage, I was greatly puzzled. I read the Authorized Version, "What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them," and that seemed plain enough. Then I turned to the Revised Version and read, "All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for believe that ye have received them and ye shall have them." And I said to myself, "What a confusion of the tenses. Believe that ye have already received (past), and ye shall have afterwards (future). What nonsense." Then I turned to my Greek Testament and I found whether sense or nonsense, the Revised Version was the correct rendering of the Greek, but what it meant I did not know for years. But one time I was studying and expounding to my church the First Epistle of John. I came to the fifth chapter, the fourteenth and fifteenth verses (R. V.) and I read, "And this is the boldness which we have towards Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him." Then I understood Mark xi. 24. Do you see it? If not, let me explain it a little further. When we come to God in prayer, the first question to ask is, Is that which I have asked of God according to His will? If it is promised in His Word, of course, we know it is according to His will. Then we can say with 1 John v. 14, I have asked something according to His will and I know He hears me. Then we can go further and say with the fifteenth verse, Because I know He hears what I ask, I know I have the petition which I asked of Him. I may not have it in actual possession but I know it is mine because I have asked something according to His will and He has heard me and granted that which I have asked, and what I thus believe I have received because the Word of God says so, I shall afterwards have in actual experience. Now apply this to the matter before us. When I ask for the baptism with the Holy Spirit, I have asked something according to His will, for Luke xi. 13 and Acts ii. 39 say so, therefore I know my prayer is heard, and still further I know because the prayer is heard that I have the petition which I have asked of Him, i. e., I know I have the baptism with the Holy Spirit. I may not feel it yet but I have received, and what I thus count mine resting upon the naked word of God, I shall afterwards have in actual experience. Some years ago I went to the students' conference at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, with Mr. F. B. Meyer, of London. Mr. Meyer spoke that night on the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. At the conclusion of his address, he said, "If any of you wish to speak with Mr. Torrey or myself after the meeting is over, we will stay and speak with you." A young man came to me who had just graduated from one of the Illinois colleges. He said, "I heard of this blessing thirty days ago and have been praying for it ever since but do not receive. What is the trouble?" "Is your will laid down?" I asked. "No," he said, "I am afraid it is not." "Then," I said, "there is no use praying until your will is laid down. Will you lay down your will?" He said, "I cannot." "Are you willing that God should lay it down for you?" "I am." "Let us kneel and ask Him to do it." We knelt side by side and I placed my Bible open at 1 John v. 14, 15 on the chair before him. He asked God to lay down his will for him and empty him of his self-will and to bring his will into conformity with the will of God. When he had finished the prayer, I said, "Is it done?" He said, "It must be. I have asked something according to His will and I know He hears me and I know I have the petition I have asked. Yes, my will is laid down." "What is it you desire?" "The baptism with the Holy Spirit." "Ask for it." Looking up to God he said, "Heavenly Father, baptize me with the Holy Spirit now." "Did you get what you asked?" I asked. "I don't feel it," he replied. "That is not what I asked you," I said. "Read the verse before you," and he read, "This is the boldness which we have towards Him that if we ask anything according to His will He heareth us." "What do you know?" I asked. He said, "I know if I ask anything according to His will He hears me." "What did you ask?" "I asked for the baptism with the Holy Spirit." "Is that according to His will?" "Yes, Acts ii. 39 says so." "What do you know then?" "I know He has heard me." "Read on." "And if we know that if He heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him." "What do you know?" I asked. "I know I have the petition I asked of Him." "What was the petition you asked of Him?" "The baptism with the Holy Spirit." "What do you know?" "I know I have the baptism with the Holy Spirit. I don't feel it, but God says so." We arose from our knees and after a short conversation separated. I left Lake Geneva the next morning, but returned in a few days. I met the young man and asked if he had really received the baptism with the Holy Spirit. He did not need to answer. His face told the story, but he did answer. He went into a theological seminary the following autumn, was given a church his junior year in the seminary, had conversions from the outset, and the next year on the Day of Prayer for Colleges, largely through his influence there came a mighty outpouring of the Spirit upon the seminary of which the president of the seminary wrote to a denominational paper, that it was a veritable Pentecost, and it all came through this young man who received the baptism with the Holy Spirit through simple faith in the Word of God. Any one who will accept Jesus as their Saviour and their Lord, put away all sin out of their life, publicly confess their renunciation of sin and acceptance of Jesus Christ, surrender absolutely to God, and ask God for the baptism with the Holy Spirit, and take it by simple faith in the naked Word of God, can receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit right now. There are some who so emphasize the matter of absolute surrender that they ignore, or even deny, the necessity of prayer. It is always unfortunate when one so emphasizes one side of truth that he loses sight of another side which may be equally important. In this way, many lose the blessing which God has provided for them.
The seven steps given above lead with absolute certainty into the blessing. But several questions arise:
1. Must we not wait until we know we have received the baptism with the Holy Spirit before we take up Christian work? Yes, but how shall we know? There are two ways of knowing anything in the Christian life. First, by the Word of God; second, by experience or feeling. God's order is to know things first of all by the Word of God. How one may know by the Word of God that they have received the baptism with the Holy Spirit has just been told. We have a right when we have met the conditions and have definitely asked for the baptism with the Holy Spirit to say, "It is mine," and to get up and go on in our work leaving the matter of experience to God's time and place. We get assurance that we have received the baptism with the Holy Spirit in precisely the same way that we get assurance of our salvation. When an inquirer comes to you, whom you have reason to believe really has received Jesus but who lacks assurance, what do you do with him? Do you tell him to kneel down and pray until he gets assurance? Not if you know how to deal with a soul. You know that true assurance comes through the Word of God, that it is through what is "written" that we are to know that we have eternal life (1 John v. 13). So you take the inquirer to the written Word. For example, you take him to John iii. 36. You tell him to read it. He reads, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." You ask him, "Who has everlasting life?" He replies from the passage before him, "He that believeth on the Son." "How many who believe on the Son have everlasting life?" "Every one that believes on the Son." "Do you know this to be true?" "Yes." "Why?" "Because God says so." "What does God say?" "God says, 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.' " "Do you believe on the Son?" "Yes." "What have you then?" He ought to say, "Everlasting life," but quite likely he will not. He may say, "I wish I had everlasting life." You point him again to the verse and by questions bring out what it says, and you hold him to it until he sees that he has everlasting life; sees that he has everlasting life simply because God says so. After he has assurance on the ground of the Word, he will have assurance by personal experience, by the testimony of the Spirit in his heart. Now you should deal with yourself in precisely the same way about the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Hold yourself to the word found in 1 John v. 14, 15, and know that you have the baptism with the Spirit simply because God says so in His Word, whether you feel it or not. Afterwards you will know it by experience. God's order is always: first, His Word; second, belief in His Word; third, experience, or feeling. We desire to change God's order, and have first, His Word, then feeling, then we will believe. But God demands that we believe on His naked Word. "Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness" (Gal. iii. 6; cf. Gen. xv. 6). Abraham had as yet no feeling in his body of new life and power. He just believed God and feeling came afterwards. God demands of us to-day, as He did Abraham of old, that we simply take Him at His Word and count the thing ours which He has promised, simply because He has promised it. Afterwards we get the feeling and the realization of that which He has promised.
2. The second question that some will ask is, "Will there be no manifestation of the baptism with the Spirit which we receive? Will everything be just as it was before, and if it will, where is the reality and use of the baptism?" Yes, there will be manifestation, very definite manifestation, but bear in mind what the character of the manifestation will be, and when the manifestation is to be expected. When is the manifestation to be expected? After we believe. After we have received on simple faith in the naked Word of God. And what will be the character of the manifestation? Here many go astray. They have read the wonderful experiences of Charles G. Finney, John Wesley, D. L. Moody and others. These men tell us that when they were baptized with the Holy Spirit they had wonderful sensations. Finney, for example, describes it as like great waves of electricity sweeping over him, so that he was compelled to ask God to withhold His hand, lest he die on the spot. Mr. Moody, on rare occasions, described a similar experience. That these men had such experiences, I do not for a moment question. The word of such men as Charles G. Finney, D. L. Moody and others is to be believed, and there is another reason why I cannot question the reality of these experiences, but while these men doubtless had these experiences, there is not a passage in the Bible that describes such an experience. I am inclined to think the Apostles had them, but if they had, they kept them to themselves and it is well that they did, for if they had put them on record, that is what we would be looking for to-day. But what are the manifestations that actually occurred in the case of the Apostles and the early disciples? New power in the Lord's work. We read at Pentecost that they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts ii. 4). Similar accounts are given of what occurred in the household of Cornelius and what occurred in Ephesus. All we read in the case of the Apostle Paul is that Ananias came in and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost." Then Ananias baptized him, and the next thing we read is that Paul went straight down to the synagogue and preached Christ so mightily in the power of the Spirit that he "confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ" (Acts ix. 17-22). So right through the New Testament, the manifestation that we are taught to expect, and the manifestation that actually occurred was new power in Christian work, and that is the manifestation that we may expect to-day and we need not look too carefully for that. The thing for us to do is to claim God's promise and let God take care of the mode of manifestation.
3. The third question that will arise with some is, _May we not have to wait for the baptism with the Holy _ Spirit?_ Did not the Apostles have to wait ten days, and may we not have to wait ten days or even more? No, there is no necessity that we wait. We are told distinctly in the Bible why the Apostles had to wait ten days. In Acts ii. 1, we read, "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come" (literally "When the day of Pentecost was being fulfilled," R. V., margin). Way back in the Old Testament types, and back of that in the eternal counsels of God, the day of Pentecost was set for the coming of the Holy Spirit and the gathering of the church, and the Holy Spirit could not be given until the day of Pentecost was fully come, therefore the Apostles had to wait until the day of Pentecost was fulfilled, but there was no waiting after Pentecost. There was no waiting for example in Acts iv. 31; scarcely had they finished the prayer when the place where they were gathered together was shaken and "they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." There was no waiting in the household of Cornelius. They were listening to their first Gospel sermon and Peter said as the climax of his argument "to Him (that is Jesus) bear all the prophets witness that through His name every one that believeth on Him shall receive remission of sins" (R. V.), and no sooner had Peter spoken these words than they believed and "the Holy Ghost fell on them which heard the word." There was no waiting in Samaria after Peter and John came down and told them about the baptism with the Holy Spirit and prayed with them. There was no waiting in Ephesus after Paul came and told them that there was not only the baptism of John unto repentance, but the baptism of Jesus in the Holy Spirit. It is true that they had been waiting some time until then, but it was simply because they did not know that there was such a baptism for them. And many may wait to-day because they do not know that there is the baptism with the Spirit for them, or they may have to wait because they are not resting in the finished work of Christ, or because they have not put away sin, or because they have not surrendered fully to God, or because they will not definitely ask and believe and take; but the reason for the waiting is not in God, it is in ourselves. Any one who will, can lay this book down at this point, take the steps which have been stated and immediately receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. I would not say a word to dissuade men from spending much time in waiting upon God in prayer for "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isa. xl. 31). There are few of us indeed in these days who spend as many hours as we should in waiting upon God. The writer can bear joyful testimony to the manifest outpourings of the Spirit that have come time and again as he has waited upon God through the hours of the night with believing brethren, but the point I would emphasize is that the baptism with the Holy Spirit may be had at once. The Bible proves this; experience proves it. There are many waiting for feeling who ought to be claiming by faith. In these days we hear of many who say they are "waiting for their Pentecost"; some have been waiting weeks, some have been waiting months, some have been waiting years. This is not Scriptural and it is dishonouring to God. These brethren have an unscriptural view of what constitutes Pentecost. They have fixed it in their minds that certain manifestations are to occur and as these particular manifestations, which they themselves have prescribed, do not come, they think they have not received the Holy Spirit. There are many who have been led into the error, already confuted in this book, that the baptism with the Holy Spirit always manifests itself in the gift of tongues. They have not received the gift of tongues and therefore they conclude that they have not received the baptism with the Holy Spirit. But as already seen, one may receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit and not receive the gift of tongues. Others still are waiting for some ecstatic feeling. We do not need to wait at all. We may meet the conditions, we may claim the blessing at once on the ground of God's sure Word. There was a time in the writer's ministry when he was led to say that he would never enter his pulpit again until he had been definitely baptized with the Holy Spirit and knew it, or until God in some way told him to go. I shut myself up in my study and day by day waited upon God for the baptism with the Holy Spirit. It was a time of struggle. The thought would arise, "Suppose you do not receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit before Sunday. How it will look for you to refuse to go into your pulpit," but I held fast to my resolution. I had a more or less definite thought in my mind of what might happen when I was baptized with the Holy Spirit, but it did not come that way at all. One morning as I waited upon God, one of the quietest and calmest moments of my life, it was just as if God said to me, "The blessing is yours. Now go and preach." If I had known my Bible then as I know it now, I might have heard that voice the very first day speaking to me through the Word, but I did not know it and God in His infinite condescension, looking upon my weakness, spoke it directly to my heart. There was no particular ecstasy or emotion, simply the calm assurance that the blessing was mine. I went into my work and God manifested His power in that work. Some time passed, I do not remember just how long, and I was sitting in that same study. I do not remember that I was thinking about this subject at all, but suddenly it was just as if I had been knocked out of my chair on to the floor, and I lay upon my face crying, "Glory to God! Glory to God!" I could not stop. Some power, not my own, had taken possession of my lips and my whole person. The writer is not of an excitable, hysterical or even emotional temperament, but I lost control of myself absolutely. I had never shouted before in my life, but I could not stop. When after a while I got control of myself, I went to my wife and told her what had happened. I tell this experience, not to magnify it, but to say that the time when this wonderful experience (which I cannot really fully describe) came was not the moment when I was baptized with the Holy Spirit. The moment when I was baptized with the Holy Spirit was in that calm hour when God said, "It is yours. Now go and preach."
There is an afternoon that I shall never forget. It was the eighth day of July, 1894. It was at the Northfield Students' Convention. I had spoken that morning in the church on How to Receive the Baptism with the Holy Spirit. As I drew to a close, I took out my watch and noticed that it was exactly twelve o'clock. Mr. Moody had invited us to go up on the mountain that afternoon at three o'clock to wait upon God for the baptism with the Holy Spirit. As I looked at my watch, I said, "Gentlemen, it is exactly twelve o'clock. Mr. Moody has invited us to go up on the mountain at three o'clock to wait upon God for the baptism with the Holy Spirit. It is three hours until three o'clock. Some of you cannot wait three hours, nor do you need to wait. Go to your tent, go to your room in the hotel or in the buildings, go out into the woods, go anywhere, where you can get alone with God, meet the conditions of the baptism with the Holy Spirit and claim it at once." At three o'clock we gathered in front of Mr. Moody's mother's house; four hundred and fifty-six of us in all, all men from the eastern colleges. (I know the number because Mr. Paul Moody counted us as we passed through the gates down into the lots.) We commenced to climb the mountainside. After we had gone some distance, Mr. Moody said, "I do not think we need to go further. Let us stop here." We sat down and Mr. Moody said, "Have any of you anything to say?" One after another, perhaps seventy-five men, arose and said words to this effect, "I could not wait until three o'clock. I have been alone with God and I have received the baptism with the Holy Spirit." Then Mr. Moody said, "I can see no reason why we should not kneel right down here now and ask God that the Holy Spirit may fall on us as definitely as He fell on the Apostles at Pentecost. Let us pray." We knelt down on the ground; some of us lay on our faces on the pine-needles. As we had gone up the mountainside, a cloud had been gathering over the mountain, and as we began to pray the cloud broke and the rain-drops began to come down upon us through the overhanging pine trees, but another cloud, big with mercy, had been gathering over Northfield for ten days and our prayers seemed to pierce that cloud and the Holy Ghost fell upon us. It was a wonderful hour. There are many who will never forget it. But any one who reads this book may have a similar hour alone by himself now. He can take the seven steps one by one and the Holy Spirit will fall upon him.
CHAPTER XXI. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN PROPHETS AND APOSTLES.
The work of the Holy Spirit in apostles and prophets is an entirely distinctive work. He imparts to apostles and prophets an especial gift for an especial purpose.
We read in 1 Cor. xii. 4, 8-11, 28, 29, R. V., "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.... For to one is given through the Spirit wisdom; and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, in the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, in the one Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits: to another divers kinds of tongues; and to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh the one and the same Spirit, dividing to each severally even as He will.... And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, divers kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Have all gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?" It is evident from these verses that the work of the Holy Spirit in apostles and prophets is of a distinctive character.
The doctrine is becoming very common and very popular in our day that the work of the Holy Spirit in preachers and teachers and in ordinary believers, illuminating them and guiding them into the truth and opening their minds to understand the Word of God is the same in kind and differs only in degree from the work of the Holy Spirit in prophets and apostles. It is evident from the passage just cited that this doctrine is thoroughly unscriptural and untrue. It overlooks the fact so clearly stated and carefully elucidated that while there is "the same Spirit" there are "diversities of gifts" "diversities of administrations" "diversities of workings" (1 Cor. xii. 4-6) and that "not all are prophets" and "not all are apostles" (1 Cor. xii. 29). A very scholarly and brilliant preacher seeking to minimize the difference between the work of the Holy Spirit in apostles and prophets and His work in other men calls attention to the fact that the Bible says that Bezaleel was to be "filled with the Spirit of God" to devise the work of the tabernacle (Ex. xxxi. 1-11). He gives this as a proof that the inspiration of the prophet does not differ from the inspiration of the artist or architect, but in doing this, he loses sight of the fact that the tabernacle was to be built after the "pattern shown to Moses in the Mount" (Ex. xxv. 9, 40) and that therefore it was itself a prophecy and an exposition of the truth of God. It was not mere architecture. It was the Word of God done into wood, gold, silver, brass, cloth, skin, etc. And Bezaleel needed as much special inspiration to reveal the truth in wood, gold, silver, brass, etc., as the apostle or prophet needs it to reveal the Word of God with pen and ink on parchment. There is much reasoning in these days about inspiration that appears at first sight very learned, but that will not bear much rigid scrutiny or candid comparison with the exact statements of the Word of God. There is nothing in the Bible more inspired than the tabernacle, and if the Destructive Critics would study it more, they would give up their ingenious but untenable theories as to the composite structure of the Pentateuch.
2. Truth hidden from man for ages and which they had not discovered and could not discover by the unaided processes of human reasoning has been revealed to apostles and prophets in the Spirit.
We read in Eph. iii. 3-5, R. V., "By revelation was made known unto me the mystery, as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ; which in other generations was not made known unto the sons of men, as it hath now been revealed unto His holy Apostles and prophets in the Spirit." The Bible contains truth that men had never discovered before the Bible stated it. It contains truth that men never could have discovered if left to themselves. Our heavenly Father, in great grace, has revealed this truth to us His children through His servants, the apostles and the prophets. The Holy Spirit is the agent of this revelation. There are many who tell us to-day that we should test the statements of Scripture by the conclusions of human reasoning or by the "Christian consciousness." The folly of all this is evident when we bear in mind that the revelation of God transcends human reasoning, and that any consciousness that is not the product of the study and absorption of Bible truth is not really a Christian consciousness. The fact that the Bible does contain truth that man never had discovered we know not merely because it is so stated in the Scriptures, but we know it also as a matter of fact. There is not one of the most distinctive and precious doctrines taught in the Bible that men have ever discovered apart from the Bible. If our consciousness differs from the statements of this Book, which is so plainly God's Book, it is not yet fully Christian and the thing to do is not to try to pull God's revelation down to the level of our consciousness but to tone our consciousness up to the level of God's Word.
3. The revelation made to the prophets was independent of their own thinking. It was made to them by the Spirit of Christ which was in them. And was a subject of inquiry to their own mind as to its meaning. It was not their own thought, but His.
We read in 1 Peter i. 10, 11, 12, R. V., "Concerning which salvation the prophets sought and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what time or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto, when it (He) testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that should follow them. To whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto you, did they minister these things, which now have been announced unto you through them that preached the Gospel unto you by the Holy Ghost sent forth from heaven; which things angels desire to look into." These words make it plain that a Person in the prophets, and independent of the prophets, and that Person the Holy Spirit, revealed truth which was independent of their own thinking, which they did not altogether understand themselves, and regarding which it was necessary that they make diligent search and study. Another Person than themselves was thinking and speaking and they were seeking to comprehend what He said.
4. No prophet's utterance was of the prophet's own will, but he spoke from God, and the prophet was carried along in his utterance by the Holy Spirit.
We read in 2 Peter i. 21, R. V., "For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost." Clearly then, the prophet was simply an instrument in the hands of another, as the Spirit of God carried him along, so he spoke.
5. It was the Holy Spirit who spoke in the prophetic utterances. It was His word that was upon the prophet's tongue.
We read in Heb. iii. 7, "Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day if ye will hear His voice." Again we read in Heb. x. 15, 16, "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that He had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord. I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them."
We read again in Acts xxviii. 25, R. V., "And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken the word, 'Well spake the Holy Ghost by Isaiah the prophet unto your fathers saying, etc.' " Still again we read in 2 Sam. xxiii. 2, R. V., "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was upon my tongue." Over and over again in these passages we are told that it was the Holy Spirit who was the speaker in the prophetic utterances and that it was His word, not theirs, that was upon the prophet's tongue. The prophet was simply the mouth by which the Holy Spirit spoke. As a man, that is except as the Spirit taught him and used him, the prophet might be as fallible as other men are but when the Spirit was upon him and he was taken up and borne along by the Holy Spirit, he was infallible in his teachings; for his teachings in that case were not his own, but the teachings of the Holy Spirit. When thus borne along by the Holy Spirit it was God who was speaking and not the prophet. For example, there can be little doubt that Paul had many mistaken notions about many things but when he taught as an Apostle in the Spirit's power, he was infallible—or rather the Spirit, who taught through him was infallible and the consequent teaching was infallible—as infallible as God Himself. We do well therefore to carefully distinguish what Paul may have thought as a man and what he actually did teach as an Apostle. In the Bible we have the record of what he taught as an Apostle. There are those who think that in 1 Cor. vii. 6, 25, "But I speak this by permission, not of commandment ... yet I give my judgment as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord," Paul admits that he was not sure in this case that he had the word of the Lord. If this be the true interpretation of the passage (which is more than doubtful) we see how careful Paul was when he was not sure to note the fact and this gives us additional certainty in all other passages. It is sometimes said that Paul taught in his early ministry that the Lord would return during his lifetime, and that in this he was, of course, mistaken. But Paul never taught anywhere that the Lord would return in his lifetime. It is true he says in 1 Thess. iv. 17, "Then we which are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord." As he was still living when he wrote the words, he naturally and properly did not include himself with those who had already fallen asleep in speaking of the Lord's return. But this is not to assert that he would remain alive until the Lord came. Quite probably at this period of his ministry he entertained the hope that he might remain alive and consequently lived in an attitude of expectancy, but the attitude of expectancy is the true attitude in all ages for each believer. It is quite probable that Paul expected that he would be alive to the coming of the Lord, but if he did so expect, he did not so teach. The Holy Spirit kept him from this as from all other errors in his teachings.
6. The Holy Spirit in the Apostle taught not only the thought (or "concept") but the words in which the thought was to he expressed. We read in 1 Cor. ii. 13, A. R. V., "Which things also we speak not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth combining spiritual things with spiritual words." This passage clearly teaches that the words, as well as the thought, were chosen and taught by the Holy Spirit. This is also a necessary inference from the fact that thought is conveyed from mind to mind by words and it is the words which express the thought, and if the words were imperfect, the thought expressed in these words would necessarily be imperfect and to that extent be untrue. Nothing could be plainer than Paul's statement "in words which the Spirit teacheth." The Holy Spirit has Himself anticipated all the modern ingenious and wholly unbiblical and false theories regarding His own work in the Apostles. The more carefully and minutely we study the wording of the statements of this wonderful Book, the more we will become convinced of the marvellous accuracy of the words used to express the thought. Very often the solution of an apparent difficulty is found in studying the exact words used. The accuracy, precision and inerrancy of the exact words used is amazing. To the superficial student, the doctrine of verbal inspiration may appear questionable or even absurd; any regenerated and Spirit-taught man, who ponders the words of the Scripture day after day and year after year, will become convinced that the wisdom of God is in the very words, as well as in the thought which the words endeavour to convey. A change of a word, or letter, or a tense, or case, or number, in many instances would land us into contradiction or untruth, but taking the words exactly as written, difficulties disappear and truth shines forth. The Divine origin of nature shines forth more clearly in the use of a microscope as we see the perfection of form and adaptation of means to end of the minutest particles of matter. In a similar manner, the Divine origin of the Bible shines forth more clearly under the microscope as we notice the perfection with which the turn of a word reveals the absolute thought of God.
But some one may ask, "If the Holy Spirit is the author of the words of Scripture, how do we account for variations in style and diction? How do we explain for instance that Paul always used Pauline language and John Johannean language, etc.?" The answer to this is very simple. If we could not account at all for this fact, it would have but little weight against the explicit statement of God's Word with any one who is humble enough and wise enough to recognize that there are a great many things which he cannot account for at all which could be easily accounted for if he knew more. But these variations are easily accounted for. The Holy Spirit is quite wise enough and has quite facility enough in the use of language in revealing truth to and through any given individual, to use words, phrases and forms of expression and idioms in that person's vocabulary and forms of thought, and to make use of that person's peculiar individuality. Indeed, it is a mark of the Divine wisdom of this Book that the same truth is expressed with absolute accuracy in such widely variant forms of expression.
7. _The utterances of the Apostles and the prophets were the Word of God. When we read these words, _ we are listening not to the voice of man, but to the voice of God._
We read in Mark vii. 13, "Making the word of God of none effect, through your tradition, which ye have delivered; and many such like things do ye." Jesus had been setting the law given through Moses over against the Pharisaic traditions, and in doing this, He expressly says in this passage that the law given through Moses was "the word of God." In 2 Sam. xxiii. 2, we read, "The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue." Here again we are told that the utterance of God's prophet was the word of God. In a similar way God says in 1 Thess. ii. 13, "For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe." Here Paul declares that the word which he spoke, taught by the Spirit of God, was the very word of God.
CHAPTER XXII. THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN JESUS CHRIST.
Jesus Christ Himself is the one perfect manifestation in history of the complete work of the Holy Spirit in man.
1. Jesus Christ was begotten of the Holy Spirit. We read in Luke i. 35, R. V., "And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee; and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also that which is to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God." As we have already seen, in regeneration the believer is begotten of God, but Jesus Christ was begotten of God in His original generation. He is the only begotten Son of God (John iii. 16). It was entirely by the Spirit's power working in Mary that the Son of God was formed within her. The regenerated man has a carnal nature received from his earthly father and a new nature imparted by God. Jesus Christ had only the one holy nature, that which in man is called the new nature. Nevertheless, He was a real man as He had a human mother.
2. _Jesus Christ led a holy and spotless life and offered Himself without spot to God through the working of the Holy Spirit._ We read in Heb. ix. 14, "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who _through the eternal _ Spirit offered Himself without spot to God_, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." Jesus Christ met and overcame temptations as other men may meet and overcome them, in the power of the Holy Spirit. He was tempted and suffered through temptation (Heb. iii. 18), He was tempted in all points like as we are (Heb. iv. 15), but never once in any way did He yield to temptation. He was tempted entirely apart from sin (Heb. iv. 15), but He won His victories in a way that is open for all of us to win victory, in the power of the Holy Spirit.