The cold-hearted, the indifferent, the backslidden, the worldly, the pleasure-loving professor of religion does not, and he can not while he remains in this condition, do what is demanded of him. First of all, the soul that would do the work which God has a right to expect, and which he does expect, must know that all the sins of the past are pardoned; he must know that he is fully justified; he must know that he is regenerated; he must know that he is adopted into the heavenly family; he must know that there has come to him the baptism of the Holy Ghost and of fire; that his heart is cleansed from all sin; that the enduement of power for all possible service is his; that he loves God with all his mind, might, and strength; that he loves his neighbor as himself; that he lives not for himself, but to benefit and bless his fellow-men and glorify God.
Remember that this experience is the privilege of every professor of religion; indeed, of every Church member and of every person who would be a child of God and an heir of the heavenly inheritance. It is not an experience that may be hoped for by only the select few, the cultured, the refined, the wealthy, the intellectual, the highly-favored, but rather it is for these, and also for the poorest, the humblest, the lowliest, the most obscure, those least esteemed of men, and those who most distrust themselves. It is for servants and handmaidens; for young men who see visions, and old men who dream dreams; for children and youth; for sons and daughters; for as many as the Lord our God shall call; and surely he calls every one who reads these words, or who shall ever read the all-including promises of God as found alike in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The experience may be attained; and, when attained, then one has the preparation requisite for the wise, right, and successful performance of all the work of God. This is the experience necessary for the private Christian. With it he will be salt and light; he will exert a precious influence whether at home or abroad, whether in the shop or store, or wherever he may toil for his daily bread. Every Church official, every local preacher, every Sunday-school worker, every Epworth League officer, every steward, every trustee, every class-leader, surely ought to have this blessed experience. These are in positions of honor and responsibility; their example will tell on all the membership, from the oldest to the youngest. If these could only have the fullness of the blessing of the gospel, how the Churches would thrive and grow, and how revivals would everywhere prevail; how converts would be multiplied; how the lambs of the flock would be fed and sheltered, and the coming of the King be hastened!
Surely every pastor, every one called to preach the gospel, every one having the care of precious souls for whom the Lord of Glory died, ought to have this experience. Nothing will answer for a substitute. If this be lacking, nothing can be found to supply its place. Eloquence, oratory, scholarship, dignity of behavior, faithfulness in the performance of routine duties, hard study in the preparation of sermons, vast intellectual attainments, wealth of resources, highest appointments, — all, all will be in vain without this precious, glorious experience. There may be large congregations, abundant salaries, elegant parsonages, and splendid churches; the multitudes may be pleased, flattered, and possibly instructed in many things; but sinners are not convicted, alarmed, and in penitence brought to Christ; nor are believers built up in the faith; men are not saved from their sins, and made meet for heaven, unless the pastor has this fullness of the gospel, or is earnestly seeking for it. How can any soul frame an excuse for not seeking and finding this experience? Surely not one can be found that will be valid in this world, much less at the judgment seat.
The experience is attainable by each and every one. The plan of redemption provides for this in every case. If it is not realized, it is not the fault of God. The conditions upon which it may be secured are possible to all. Why, O why, should any one hesitate to accept the gift God so freely offers?
Fields ripe for the harvest wave on every hand. The Master calls for reapers. He waits for willing souls. He will completely prepare and equip each toiler for his task. A heart cleansed from all sin, a soul filled with love to God and man, and the whole nature strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man, and a quenchless longing for the salvation of the souls for whom Christ died, — all these being included in the experience of the fullness of the blessing of the gospel, and the preparation is complete for the performance of all the work that God expects from his children.
The centuries accumulate. It is almost nineteen hundred years since the Lord of life and glory left this redeemed world to take his place on the right hand of God the Father. With infinite love and unspeakable yearning he waits for the consummation of his toil, and suffering, and death. More than half of all the millions of earth have never heard the name of Jesus. They never will hear it, except from human lips. The disciples of Jesus must carry the gospel to all the nations. They can only do this effectively when they are fully saved themselves.
God grant that each one reading these words may have the experience, and then, by constant holy living, importunate, all-conquering prayer, and ever-faithful labors of love for perishing souls, prove to a wondering world its reality, sweetness, and power!