Stacks Image 385


CHAPTER XI.


POWER FROM ON HIGH.


"Ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost is come upon you." — Acts i. 8

WHAT the Spirit of inspiration teaches us to pray for we may without presumption assume is attainable in the present life. When Jesus on the cross prayed, " Father forgive them," pardon even for the murderers of the Son of God was within 'reach of their penitent faith. The prayer of the Psalmist, "cleanse me from my sin," after the petition for forgiveness and regeneration, "wash me thoroughly from my iniquity," authorizes every believer to pray in faith "create in me a clean heart, O God." The prayer of Paul for the Ephesians sanctions our entreaty for a blessing beyond perfect purity, even that we may "be strengthened with might by his spirit in the inner man." This brings us to our theme, the endowment of power. There is in this prayer (Eph. iii. 14-21) nothing negative desired, no work of destruction prayed for, no reference to guilt, and no intimation that the old man is still alive and warring against the reign of Christ. Every petition is for a positive gift reaching this climax, "that ye may be filled unto all the fullness of God." Paul supposes the Ephesians are dead unto sin, and now prays for the fullness of the divine life which Christ calls the more abundant life. Many become weak because they rest satisfied with a negative experience without putting forth holy energies, the plenitude of the divine life. Our criticism of the churches of our day is that they are manifestly lacking in those positive qualities for which the apostle prays for the church in Ephesus. Christ strongly hints the possibility that his disciples may become like salt that has lost its savor. How may such salt be known? We answer, by its failure to preserve from corruption that perishable substance to which it has been applied without changing its form and name. What then shall we say respecting those churches numerous in members, venerable in age, and strong in social influence, around which communities are sinking in moral decay and spiritual death, and in many cases wallowing in gross vices? Are they not destitute of saving power? Power is known by its effects. The absence of the effects argues the absence of the cause, the power of the Holy Spirit in individuals, and their aggregate, the church. In discussing the endowment of power we cannot sunder it from its effects, and examine and define it in the abstract. All power has a spiritual origin. My muscular power by which I write these words originates not in my nervous system, nor in my brain, but in my spirit of which it is the organ. The forces in ceaseless activity about me, gravitation, heat, magnetism, and electricity, are not in the last analysis to be ascribed to matter, but to the Mind of its Creator, who, while he transcends matter, is in touch with every particle by his immanence. We are now in the region of mystery. But there are no greater mysteries in religion than in science, if we go down to the bottom of things and ask questions. For all beginnings are mysterious. If we reject Christianity because of its mysteries, we have started on a road which leads to the subversion of all the sciences. We cannot tell how the might of the Spirit of God is imparted to the inner man of the believer in Christ. But this is the endowment of power for which Paul prays. It is something beyond mere intellectual power, the capacity of the mind to energize intensely and continuously. This is desirable. To attain it we found schools and universities. In the days of the apostles it was miraculously imparted under the names of the gift of wisdom, the gift of knowledge, the gift of tongues, and the gift of interpretation.

The power which Paul invokes upon the Ephesian church is the restoration of Conscience to her lost throne; it is the ability not only to resist temptations when unmasked, but also to detect the devil in the guise of an angel of light. For fallen men have two weak points, dull spiritual discernment and depraved desires. It is the office of the Holy Spirit to fortify these points, and to bring souls obedient to the truth to that full age or perfection which consists not only in having their spiritual perceptions clarified and exercised to discern both good and evil, but also in the ability always to resist the evil and to cleave to the good.

There is constant need of the exercise of this power of perception and resistance. In the Garden of Eden our first parents fell; Eve through dullness of spiritual discrimination, and Adam through lack of stalwart will power. "Adam was not deceived," — he sinned with his eyes open, — "but the woman being deceived was in the transgression." Much more do their degenerate descendants need to be strengthened with the might of the omnipotent Spirit begirding "the inner man." Sin paralyzes the will even where it fails to put a film over the eye. In the downfall of our race, in the transgression of our first parents, all our spiritual nature was damaged; the intellect the least, the will and moral sensibilities the most. Whence is the strength by which this weakness can be removed? Certainly not from within man, but from without; not from beneath, but from above, even from the source of all power, God himself. If fallen man is to overcome the evil propensities in his depraved nature and sit with King Jesus on his throne as he overcame and is set down with his Father in his throne, he must secure a mighty ally in the war which he must wage with the world, the flesh, and the devil. With this ally he can walk arm in arm in unsullied whiteness through the pollutions of the present world. As Jesus Christ is to-day in spotless holiness (1 John iv. 17), so are we who believe in him with a faith that lays hold of the highest possibilities of grace divine. It used to be argued that although man in his fallen estate has the natural ability to repent and believe, he has a total moral inability by reason of the perversity of his will. This deadlock between natural and moral ability was formerly urged as an excuse for impenitence, till the special call and the irresistible grace of the Holy Spirit should come to those who are written down in the register of God's secret will as unconditionally elected to eternal life before the foundation of the world. When Jesse Lee, the apostle of Methodism, came into New England in the last decade of the eighteenth century, he met everywhere, among saints and sinners, preachers and people alike, this pernicious doctrine, dishonoring God and destroying the souls of men. He banished it from the pulpits of New England by preaching the impartiality of the Divine regards, the universal extent of the atonement, and the GRACIOUS ABILITY of every sinner to repent through the help of the Holy Spirit freely bestowed upon all without respect of persons.

Whatever duty the Spirit prompts a person to do, whether repentance toward God, or saving trust in Jesus Christ, or to seek entire sanctification through his blood and that perfect love which casts out fear, the same Spirit will enable him to accomplish. Moral obligation always implies gracious ability. In every "ought" there is an implied "can."

But the endowment of the Spirit is not limited to his negative efficiency in the destruction of evil in the inner man. He is the ally of the believer in his offensive war against sin in others, in advancing the kingdom of God by aggression upon the ranks of Christ's enemies. When this ally is neglected there is no progress; the chariot wheels of King Jesus are taken off and the hosts of Satan prevail.

When we inquire into the source of that might by which self is sanctified and Christ's kingdom is advanced, we encounter those who teach that it is developed within us by culture, as strength of body is increased by muscular exercise, and as intellectual strength is attained by severe study wrestling with difficulties. We are told that there is a germ of spiritual might in the most morally irresolute, and feeblest souls, which needs only natural stimulants to develop it into titanic strength. But neither experience, observation, nor history confirms this theory which theologians, from its first eminent advocate, called Pelagianism. Spiritually the natural man is dead. Aside from divine help he has no power to purify his nature, and to soar aloft and hold communion with the skies. He has no wings for such a flight, nor motive power. These are the gift of divine grace under the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, the gift of the risen Christ. We are not slandering the natural man when we describe him as sensual, not having the Spirit, for we are quoting the adjectives used by an acknowledged expert, the inspired apostle Jude. It were as reasonable to incite a corpse to walk the streets, and till the fields, as to inspire an unregenerate soul to rise from earth to heaven in its affections by any power less than that which comes from God. An eagle cannot outsoar the atmosphere. The natural man unaided cannot rise above depravity. Spiritual might is not a development, but an endowment capable of a great increase by faithful use. "Tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high. Ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." This promise includes our times, for the uttermost pagan tribe has not yet been evangelized. This source of power is ignored and neglected just in proportion to the conformity of the church to the world. This is to sympathize with its spirit, to be chilled and deadened by its unbelief. When for the first time the Paraclete was promised, Jesus said respecting him, "Whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him." A worldly Christian, if such a paradox is allowable, has lost acquaintance with the Comforter. Thus sundering itself from the source of power, it seeks various substitutes, such as impressive architecture, artistic music, costly bouquets, gorgeous ceremonials at the altar, and rhetorical fireworks in the pulpit. Every church is a machine requiring some motive power. One church, after declining into worldliness, causing the departure of the Holy Spirit, the only agent to attract, convert, and sanctify people, and frame them together into a living church, resorts to the power of fashion; courts the classes, and in adapting its services to their refined taste, alienates the masses, and thus loses a hundredfold more than it gains.

How strikingly are proclaimed the spiritual poverty and infantile weakness of many of our city churches, which have moved from localities crowded with poor people speaking the English language, because their high-toned æstheticism, called Christian worship, their only power of attraction, utterly failed to attract and uplift and save the perishing thousands near by, who might have been saved if the church had possessed grace enough to get down from its stilts and adapt its ministrations to the needs of the unchurched multitudes! What a cowardly act for a church of Christ, who came to seek and to save the lost, to desert a city ward because there are so many sinners in it! It retires to a more respectable location, where it may gather the gay and rich, and, shutting its pews against the ragged poor, may sit down on velvet cushions and dream of going to heaven on flowery beds of ease. Such a reproach to him who ate with publicans and sinners would not have been if that church had fully trusted in the power of the Spirit to rescue the vicious, and transform the criminal, and had adjusted the gospel message to this sole aim.

Another whole denomination attaches its machinery to an apostolic wheel eighteen hundred years distant, and imagines that it conveys down through all the ages the whole power which Christ bequeathed to his apostles without loss or waste. According to this exclusive theory, which boasts a patent right to the Holy Ghost, the only way for the individual believer to receive the Pentecostal gift, and thereby to be endued with power, is to receive it through the hands of "the historic Episcopate," which professes to hold a monopoly by virtue of the apostolic succession, not of God's regenerating grace, but of the Holy Spirit as the sanctifier and abiding Comforter. This many deluded souls are trusting in as the channel of their full heritage in Christ, though Lord MaCaulay says, "It is probable that no clergyman in the church of England can trace up his spiritual genealogy from bishop to bishop even so far back as the time of the Reformation. There remain fifteen or sixteen hundred years during which the history of the transmission of his orders is buried in utter darkness. And whether he be a priest by succession from the-apostles, depends on the question whether, during that long period, some thousands of events took place, any one of which may, without any gross improbability, be supposed not to have taken place. We have not a tittle of evidence to any one of these events."

We therefore caution all who seek the fullness of the Spirit and his uttermost saving-power to beware of so doubtful a method as that of clapping the band of your faith around an apostle, though that band

"be long and dark
As a musty roll from Noah's ark."

We live in a day when intellectual culture is in some denominations assuming to be the source of power. The so-called liberalistic organizations have without a blush openly dethroned the Holy Spirit and enthroned education. This is the panacea for all the evils of the human heart and all the ills of society. Some go so far as to say that science is the only positive power in the world which is to be enlightened and purified by rejecting all the miracles of the Bible as so many myths, and banishing the superstitions of Christianity, and inaugurating the era of universal knowledge. This is the only power needed by mankind to cure their bodily, mental, and moral maladies. Guilt is a superstition which a liberal education will dispel. Sin, "a much-abused word," is a necessary step in the process of human development. The steam-engine is the Savior which is elevating mankind, and the magnetic telegraph and the long-distance telephone are his band of apostles preaching with electric tongues this new gospel of science. Against this rejection of Christ and displacement of his gift, the Holy Spirit, evangelical churches loudly protest. Yet many of these are unconsciously, or semi-consciously, leaning on the same broken reed, to be pierced through with the sorrow of disappointment. This disproves the claim for the purifying power of education dissevered from Christianity. Was Athens at the zenith of her æsthetic culture, not cherishing human slavery and its twin vice, licentiousness? How fared the suffering nations when Rome had her iron heel on the neck of the prostrate world? How gloomy the prospects of the present republic of France under the auspices of a cultivated infidelity!

While power in the abstract is a simple idea, spiritual power is capable of analysis.

1. It consists first in the removal of a source of weakness. Incertitude is a, paralysis of the soul's highest faculties. Doubt weakens by distraction. Etymologically it signifies moving in two opposite directions. It produces fluctuation, hesitation, and suspense. "A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways." He has a divine premonition that he needs "not expect to receive anything from the Lord." If he is a preacher, his announcement of the Gospel will be weak and ineffectual. He cannot speak with the assurance of a personal experience which is requisite to produce conviction. How many preachers would multiply their efficiency and usefulness if they would kneel down by the side of Paul and repeat in faith his petition that they might be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man! It was his experience of the revelation of the Son of God in him by the Holy Ghost that made him successful as an evangelist, mighty in labors, courageous in danger, patient in sufferings, and triumphant in martyrdom. No heroism was ever born of doubt. It is only when the soul is set on fire by some great moral truth, clearly seen and firmly grasped, yea, ingrained into its very texture, that moral sublimity in effort, in sacrifice, and in speech emerges. Doubt heads no glorious company of martyrs marching to the stake. It is customary to advise the doubter to a study of the Christian evidences, to count the towers of Christianity, and mark well her bulwarks. Such a survey has done me much good, and I commend it to all who have leisure. But there is for the mass of busy people a shorter way. Everybody cannot thoroughly master the treatises of Bishop Butler, Archdeacon Paley, and President Hopkins, and, if they could, they might die before they had got so far along as to be convinced of the truth and receive Christ as both Savior and Lord. What is the shorter way? With the New Testament open before him, even if he doubts the ability of Christ to save, let him act on the truth he does believe, however small, and kneel down with a sense of dependence on some higher power or person, and utter an honest prayer for help. Let him, if he doubts even the existence of God, begin as one bewildered skeptic did, by saying, "O God, if there be a God, save my soul, if I have a soul." Our merciful God did not disdain to answer this prayer. The Holy Spirit showed in quick succession the greatness of his sins and the surpassing greatness of his Redeemer, whom he was enabled by the same spirit to apprehend by faith as his personal Savior. Now this shorter way, which we recommend to the slave ignorant of the alphabet, we commend to skeptical sage sitting in his ample library. On your knees pray for light, and as fast as it comes follow it. "If any man willeth to do his will" — God's will — "he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God, or whether I speak from myself," as a mere man without divine authority. Heaven and earth shall pass away before one jot or tittle, one crossing of a
t or dot of an i, shall fail in this promise in the case of one who seeks with a spirit of obedience to know Jesus Christ's character and mission. No man can be an honest skeptic till he has faithfully tried this shorter way and found that it leads nowhere. This way honestly trodden brings the doubter to certainty. Says Joseph Cook, "I assert that it is a fixed natural law that when you yield yourself utterly to God, his light will stream through and through your soul." God honors obedience because it implies faith as its root. This truth we commend to those who regard it a special excellence to be in uncertainty respecting their relation to Christ. To be void of assurance they regard as an evidence of humility; whereas it is an evidence of a very defective obedience and of an absence of total self-surrender to God. As well might the guest without the wedding garment plead that this destitution evinces superior humility. Assurance is always accompanied by humility. Thomas never felt smaller than in the moment when his risen Lord stood before him challenging him to test the reality of his body. When he was constrained to cry, " My Lord and my God," "how cheap and mean his previous doubts seemed, and how deep his self-abasement.

2. Another element of power inwrought by the Holy Spirit is love. We have all heard the phrase made classic in Christian literature by Dr. Chalmers' title to one of his sermons "The Expulsive Power of a New Affection." A man's spiritual foes are chiefly of his own natural heart. He needs a power to bind these enemies and cast them out before he can have perfect peace. This power is love, not merely the natural affection for kindred and friends, but that supernatural affection "shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit," causing our whole being to move God-ward and manward, because man wears the image of God. The Holy Spirit must not be viewed as a material agent infusing a subtle, imponderable fluid into man's body. He is God's messenger through whom he communicates the good news that his anger for our sins is turned away from us, and that he now loves us because of our faith in his Son. This trust in Christ has caused a revolution in us, turning us away from our sins and bringing us into the sphere of his complacent love. This good news from God that he loves me, even me, awakens responsive love in me, a new affection averse to every impulse in me which is hostile to God. This is the philosophy of the expulsive power of love. Do I need any such message direct from God? Can I not infer from a study of my own mental exercises, and a comparison with the description of God's friends in his written Word, that God loves me? Let us see. The same Word of God declares that he is angry with the wicked every day. My conscience testifies that I am wicked. Before I can have perfect deliverance from a sense of guilt and dread of punishment I must know, beyond a peradventure, by an assurance excluding doubt, that I have been taken out of the company on whom God frowns, and have been put into company basking in his smile. Inference is not sufficient. I must have an assurance from the mouth of God himself. This alone allays fear and opens the fountain of the purest joy. This message instantaneously communicated is in beautiful harmony with our Protestant doctrine of justification by faith, a momentary act taking place in the mind of the Moral Governor in heaven. The witness of the spirit is the link between the pardoning God and the pardoned sinner. The news of God's benefaction awakens love towards the Benefactor. Hence this love divine arises in us in perfect harmony with the structure and laws of the human mind. Love is the essence of Christianity and its central power which is moving it through the world, and which will ultimately draw all nations to God:

"Sink downs ye separating hills,
Let sin and death remove;
'Tis love that drives my chariot wheels,
And death must yield to love."

The more love the more power. Perfect love brings the maximum of spiritual power to the individual and to the church. When churches decline in love they lose their power to attract and to convert. Then it is pitiable to see the ineffectual substitutes for the lost power. To hold the young people who belong to them by inheritance they resort to entertainments, but these do not transform and fill with divine love. They are soon disgusted, and fall away from attending those amusements, which are discovered to be only baits to draw them unwilling into the net of the church when all their inclinations are to the world and its more attractive entertainments, — the pleasures of the dance, the card-table, and the theater. This is a most woeful mistake made by many modern churches. It must be rectified or those churches will become extinct. When does a church die? When it loses its converting power, just as a family becomes extinct when its power of reproduction is lost. You will find in our great libraries A History of Burke's Extinct Baronetcies of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Some centuries hence there may be found in our libraries a History of the extinct denominations of the United States, the Quakers, Swedenborgians, the Unitarians, the Congregationalists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Baptists. They all died of one disease, — heart-failure.

Jesus Christ's method of conquest by love, disarming malice by turning the other cheek to the smiter, has been sneeringly criticized by a shallow philosophy as the vantage ground to wrong and not to right, as subversive of justice and good order, and inadequate to the cure of social evils. More recently a better philosophy, called altruism, has prevailed. Its primal principle is that the only way to beget right feelings, motives, and impulses in others is to manifest them as incarnated in yourself; that love toward the unworthy and malevolent will awaken responsive love. The second altruistic principle is that love towards enemies can originate and flourish on the plane of nature far below the sphere of the supernatural. The love that is conquering the world is not human but divine. Only by divine grace can you love the unlovely and hateful. You cannot do it by mere will power. Unchristian altruism is a fine theory but it will not work; it is utterly impracticable. Christianity is practicable when it successfully confronts all the moral, social, political, and economic problems, because omnipotence is its motive power, the omnipotence of that love which is sky-born.

The success of a preacher is not so much in the strength of his logic, or the splendor of his rhetoric, as in the atmosphere of love in which both his pulpit and pastoral work are ensphered. The brainy man will be admired, but admiration is not ministerial success. It converts no sinners. The man of a warm heart will be loved. Gospel salvation makes sanctified human love its electric wire to souls distant from God, and melts them into penitence. It is not possible for all preachers to be as irresistible in argument as Chillingworth, as brilliant in diction as MaCaulay, or as his gifted limner, Punshon; but all may have the baptism of love, perfect love to God and man, love the fountain of pathos and of power to sway men, drawing them to God. If this secret of success is within every one's reach, how can it be obtained? Some tell us that we must commune with nature, study the beautiful flower, listen to His voice in the zephyr, and, in a reverent and childlike attitude, read earth and sky as two pages of God's love-letter to man. It is true that "part of his name divinely stands, on all His creatures writ." But only the sentiment of love, not the real virtue of love to God, will be awakened by the study of nature. The contemplation of Nature is one thing, but communion with the Personal God is another and far superior thing. Sentimental love bearing the Christian name will prompt no sacrifices, awaken no quenchless zeal, inspire no unspeakable joy, eradicate no inward depravity, tame no evil passion, make no roll of heroes, thrust out no evangelists, and erect no trophy of victory over the world. That this is a truthful description you will not deny after an examination of the characters of those who profess this kind of love to God. On their return not from communion with God on the Lord's Day, not in the house of prayer, but in the forest or field, what kind of fruits do they bear? Are they aflame with that love to God which obeys with gladness all his known commands, and diligently searches his Word for a more accurate knowledge of his will? Are they burning with zeal to spread his kingdom? Do they so earnestly love their fellow-men in the pagan lands, or in the slums of our great cities, that they gladly sacrifice for the success of Christian missions? Worshipers of nature have never been known to bear these practical proofs of genuine Christian love. They have not been to its source, they do not know the Person who enkindles every truly believing heart into a flame of love by dropping a spark from the skies. "Hope maketh not ashamed because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given unto us." Others assert that we do not need the Spirit to reveal God's love, that the Bible is all the revelation that we need. It is true that the Bible is our sufficient revelation of God's attributes, the principles of his moral government, the law he has given us, and the Redeemer whom he has provided. But my pardon and purity are personal facts which it is not the province of God's written Word to reveal, but his Spirit only. "No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." Many talk glibly about a Father to whom they have never been introduced by the Son through the mission of the Spirit, crying in their hearts "Abba, Father." They belong to the "many" to whom the Judge will say, "I never knew you, depart from me." Salvation includes much more than a book knowledge of God. It is quite probable that the entire New Testament, if not the whole Bible, will be found in hell in the memories of those who have read it, but have failed to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Thousands have read the Gospels, and have seen the Son of God pass four times before their eyes, and have failed to know him as their personal Savior. They can admire his sinless character and still say, "This man shall not rule over us." They are not new creatures, because they refuse to be born of the Spirit. They may have a historical faith in Jesus Christ, but they come short of that evangelical trust which receives him as the Savior and enthrones him as king. "They have the form of godliness while denying its power." Trusting in a form is building your mansion on a cloud instead of the Rock of Ages. This is the great peril of nominal Christians. Their number increases rapidly wherever persecution has ceased and Christianity has become fashionable. They have never been transformed by its power. They have never really submitted to God and received his adorable Son as their infallible teacher, effectual Savior, and rightful Lord. They have never cast themselves in utter self-despair upon the merits of his atonement, crying, "for me, for me my Savior died." They have never received a response from heaven, the witness to their adoption, uttered by the Holy Spirit with a voice which no one knows excepting him in whose heart it has consciously resounded. They have no power because they have no life. They may have culture, science, money, and social standing, but they have no grip upon God, the source of all power. What they need is that vital power which overcomes the inertia of nature and makes the sluggish active. Look at the apostles. Like all men they once preferred ease to toil, security to peril, and life to death. After Pentecost they knew no rest, shunned no peril, and counted not their own lives dear unto them in their attestation of the truth that Jesus is the Messiah of the Jews and the Redeemer of the world. Peter, who less than two months before had uttered cowardly lies, vainly confirming them with oaths, shaking with terror at the presence and questions of a servant girl, now looks the assembled Jewish magnates in the eye, and boldly declares that they with wicked hands have crucified the Prince of Life. Timidity yields to the might of the Holy Spirit having full sway in the believer's soul. Many regenerate persons are weakened by timidity. They are spiritual mutes in public and private. Utterance and boldness would be theirs if by faith they would submit their hearts to be strengthened by the might of the Spirit.

3. Temptation is one of the conditions of human probation. We must be put to the proof so long as we are in this world. Character can be solidified and beautified in no other way. Solicitations to sin under various disguises severely test all men. Temptation is a fiery furnace which either anneals or annihilates. The question, Which of these destinies? is determined each for himself. It is the question of power to endure the flames. This power in turn is the question of the indwelling of God, making the soul and body his habitation through the Spirit. This ultimately hinges on faith. "This is the victory which overcomes the world, even our faith." This unites with God and infuses into us his omnipotence. Some are tempted in one way and some in another; some in their animal nature, and yielding, are drawn downward to sensuality; some are tempted on the intellectual side, and failing to overcome, they become skeptics and stumble on the dark mountains of unbelief. Kings and presidents are tempted by their possession of power, and by a crowd of flatterers; the beggar is drawn toward the low vices of falsehood, deception, and theft. How may all classes overcome? There is but one sure way — by being girded with strength by the Holy Spirit received by faith in Jesus Christ.

This strength is required for the eradication of evil habits, especially from the yoke of degrading artificial appetites which are more tenacious and invincible than inborn tendencies. The acquired appetite for tobacco, opium, alcohol, and other drugs, yokes under which millions are groaning to-day, can be broken. The Lion of Judah, the Giver of the cleansing Spirit, can break every chain in a moment, and completely emancipate the soul from its degrading slavery. The instances of an instantaneous, complete, and permanent annihilation of these appetites, not by the gold cure, but by the Holy Ghost, are too numerous to be detailed here. The only effectual reform of drunkards is by gospel temperance, preached by earnest believers in the transforming power of the Spirit of God. I have lost faith in all other schemes of moral rescue. We must, in assaulting the Gibraltar of wickedness in our great cities, acquire the spirit of early Methodism in the streets and fields of England, preaching to mobs of raving, swearing, and threatening men just from the ale-house. The faith in which the early Methodist applied the Gospel to such men is well reflected by Charles Wesley's Hymn-Book, entitled "Hymns for Times of Trouble," and "Hymns to be Sung in a Tumult." verses: Listen to a few

"Outcasts of men, to you I call,
Harlots, and publicans, and thieves;
He spreads his arms to embrace you all;
Sinners alone his grace receives:
No need of him the righteous have;
He came the lost to seek and save.

"Come all ye Magdalens in lust,
Ye ruffians fell in murders old;
Repent, and live: despair and trust!
Jesus for you to death was sold.
Though hell protest, and earth repine,
He died for crimes like yours and mine.

"Come, O my guilty brethren, come,
Groaning beneath your load of sin;
His bleeding heart shall make you room,
His open side shall take you in.
He calls you now, invites you home —
Come, O my guilty brethren, come."

Lest I should be misunderstood as decrying moral reforms, I say that efforts on the plane of nature to prevent vice are valuable, but such efforts to reform the vicious are failures. The Gospel of Christ contains the only cure. The leprosy lies deep within. The new birth and the Holy Spirit received are the only effective power for the moral recovery of the grossly vicious whom many now pass by as hopelessly lost.

4. It will be spiritually healthful to dwell upon a few of the desperate cases which illustrate the power of the Gospel. Paul thus describes a miracle of the Holy Ghost wrought in Corinth: "Neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor drunkards, nor idolaters, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor revilers, nor extortioners shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." Look at this rogues gallery, — as vile a gang as ever were sentenced to State-prison, — transformed by the grace of our Lord Jesus into a company of seraphs fit to be enthroned beside the archangels. See Augustine, a rake transformed by the Holy Spirit, in answer to his mother's prayers, into the saintly Christian bishop. It was the power of the Spirit which changed John Newton, the captain of a slave-ship, into an eminent minister of the gospel of love, and the vicious tinker of Elstow, transfigured by the regenerating and sanctifying Spirit, into the glorious dreamer and author of
Pilgrim's Progress, a book which has a grip on an earthly immortality next to the Bible itself. Take one of the many remarkable conversions of our own times; that of Jerry McAuley, notorious as the wickedest man in New York, a thief, drunkard, ex-convict, and noted river pirate. He was when nineteen years old sent to prison for fifteen years and six months. After he signed the temperance pledge, "he fell five times in the first few months and got fighting drunk." But after he let the Holy Spirit have the right of way through all his being he never fell again. He established a rescue mission in which hundreds, if not thousands, of sinners of his class were saved before his death, and many since he went up to receive a victor's crown. Modern Methodists would receive a healthful spiritual tonic in studying the triumphs of the Gospel as preached by Wesley and Whitefield, disarming desperate and infuriated men, turning cursings into blessings, drunkards into sober men, whole communities of ignorant, besotted, and belligerent colliers into intelligent, peaceable Christians, thickly dotting their once semi-pagan region with elegant Wesleyan chapels, filled with joyful worshipers singing the hymns of the Wesleys, whose faith in the Holy Spirit's power to save was so strong that they risked their lives in preaching, to these worse than beasts at Ephesus, the glorious gospel of Christ. They believed that it could change lions into lambs. God signally honored their faith. O for such preachers everywhere, to-day and to-morrow and forever as long as sinners are found on the earth!

Well may the triumphant believer sing, —

"Thou dost conduct thy people
Through torrents of temptation;
Nor will we fear while thou art near
The fire of tribulation;
"The world, with sin and Satan,
In vain our march opposes;
In thee we will break through them all
And sing the Song of Moses."

C. WESLEY.