In that sublime formula of worship, the Te Deum Laudamus
, which has dropped from the lips of dying sires to living sons for fifteen centuries, there is found this sentence, referring to the work of Christ in opening the dispensation of the Spirit:
"When Thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death,
Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers."
To make the Church realize the presence of [the Holy Spirit], "The Executive of the Godhead," there must be more praying in the Holy Ghost, more preaching with the demonstration of the Spirit, more singing with the Spirit, and testifying as the Spirit giveth utterance, with the attesting fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, and peace. There must be more faith in the Holy Spirit as "the greatest gift that man could wish, or that heaven can send."
We belie His presence when in our fruitless lives we present Him as a barren tree, with no golden fruit to attract and feed hungry souls. This poor, blind world, which apprehends only sensible things, physical causes and effects, must be lifted up by the lever of sanctified character from the low plane of naturalism, to apprehend the presence of the supernatural on earth, the standing miracle of Christianity — the Holy Spirit dwelling in human hearts and transfiguring human lives.
How glorious will be that era when the brief credo
, "I believe in the Holy Ghost," has descended from the head into the heart of the Church, or has ascended from an intellectual assent into assured knowledge. "But ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you and shall be in you" (John xiv. 17). Then, and not till then, will Jesus, the glorified Bridegroom, have the entire heart of His bride, for then will the Spirit, the Bridegroom's looking glass, fully unveil His loveliness to her eyes as the chief among ten thousand. "He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you."
How cheering the thought that this period of intense spiritual illumination and power is not fixed by the decree of God in the distant future, but that it may be inaugurated in our own day by a simple, all surrendering faith in Christ's promise of the Comforter. The spiritual hunger of the Church eagerly devours every year nearly a million of tracts issued from the Willard Tract Repository alone, on the fulness of the Spirit as the Comforter and Sanctifier. Scores of periodicals setting forth entire sanctification from sin, not by death, but by the Holy Ghost, are, springing up in all Protestant lands, and even in foreign missions. These are indications of the dawn of that returning day of Pentecost, when the Spirit shall be poured out in His fulness upon all who "know the exceeding greatness of Christ's power to us-ward who believe." The eastern sky has streaks of light betokening the sunrise of a day power. Christians of every name, lone watchers on the mountain-tops, now see the edge of the ascending disc, and are shouting to the inhabitants of the dark valleys below to awake and arise, and behold the splendors of the King of day.
Reader, the perfect restoration of the reign of the Spirit over the Church involves your personal co-operation, and the entire consecration of your heart; your victory over the world, your crucifixion with Christ, the entire cleansing of your heart, and the transformation of your body into "the temple of the Holy Ghost," — "an habitation of God through the Spirit." Are you ready to be nailed to the Cross? By the "you" I mean the old self-life.
"Come Holy Spirit! from the height
Of heaven send down Thy blessed light!
Come Father of the friendless poor!
Giver of gifts, and Light of hearts,
Come with that unction which imparts
Such consolations as endure.
"Where Thou art, Lord, there is no ill,
For evil's self Thy light can kill:
O let that light upon us rise!
Lord, heal our wounds, and cleanse our stains,
Fountain of grace! and with Thy rains
Our barren spirits fertilize."
— Mile-Stone Papers, Part 1, Chapter 16.