God can do His perfect work in a soul only when the will is in the attitude of complete, trustful submission. Only when the will thus bows to God's will does faith in His promises mount up to its climax. For this Paul prayed, "that ye may know what is the exceeding greatness of his Power to us-ward who believe." Then he adds the measure of that power which stands ready to transfigure believers, "according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead." The greatest miracle in the universe, the miracle attested by men, by angels and by God, is the resurrection of His Son. Even the creation of the world was not so striking an exhibition of omnipotence. Yet Paul assures us that the same resurrection power in "its exceeding greatness" stands ready to work its wonders in "us who believe" with that faith which appropriates the largest promises of God. This highest up-reaching of faith is possible only to the deepest submission of the human will. To this point of entire self-surrender every believer has the gracious ability to descend without the incentive of outward adversities, losses, bereavements, disappointments, persecutions and bodily afflictions. These, as in the case of Job, are necessary to the revelation to the world of our perfect trust, loyalty and submission to God, but not to the production of these virtues. Many have had the spirit of the martyrs who were never led to the stake. The axe and block were once deemed necessary to Christian perfection. But this is a mistake. God takes the will for the deed. We 'can climb to as high spiritual altitudes in the sunshine as In the storm; yes, to higher. There is such a thing as an equation of spiritual advantages. Those who are on the verge of the twentieth century may achieve as lofty Christian excellencies as the believers who listened to the preaching of Peter at Pentecost. The gift of the Holy Spirit has suffered no diminution because of the intervening centuries. Like Christ, the giver of the Paraclete, He is the same yesterday, to-day and forever. Fulfill the conditions, and the humblest modern believer may receive Him in the perfect performance of His offices as graciously and as effectively as did the company in the upper room. The externals of sound and tongues of fire were no part of the essential and inward grace bestowed in the Comforter.
When any local church, any company of believers associated for spiritual ends, fulfills the social conditions, — all of one accord in one place making the reception of the Holy Spirit their only business for at least ten days, Pentecost will be repeated in every essential particular. Their hearts will be purified by faith, and they will be endowed with a marvelous spiritual insight and courage and utterance.
It is not the law of the Spirit that His transfiguring power should decrease with the lapse of ages, nor with the spread of education and the growth of intelligence and culture. It is true that there is an intellectual pride with a pretense to culture which boasts that it has outgrown such so-called crudities as disfigured Christianity on the day of Pentecost. These over-wise philosophers insist that the doctrine that one personality, even though divine, can interpenetrate a human personality and consciously abide therein, violates all the known principles of mental philosophy and lays the foundation of various forms of fanaticism, in the end destructive of all morality and sound piety. Our reply to this is that the greater the value of a coin the greater its liability to be counterfeited. The highest possible experience for men dwelling in houses of clay is to be inhabited by God in the person of His Spirit. This is a mystery next to the incarnation of the Son of God in human form.
— The Gospel of the Comforter, Chapter 12.
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