Imágenes de páginas

my soul for ever Thine. I lifted up my heart in prayer that the blessing might descend. I felt that I needed something I did not possess. There was a void within which must be filled, or I could not be happy. My earnest desire was then, as it had been ever since I professed religion six years before, that all love of the world might be destroyed-all selfishness extirpated-pride banished-unbelief removed -all idols dethroned-everything hostile to holiness and opposed to the divine will crucified; that holiness to the Lord might be engraved on my heart, and evermore characterize my conversation. My mind was led to reflect on what would probably be my future situation. It recurred to me, I am to be hereafter a minister of the Gospel. But how shall I be able to preach in my present state of mind? I cannot-never, no, never shall I be able to do it with pleasure, without great overturnings in my soul. I felt that I needed that for which I was then, and for a long time had been, hungering and thirsting. I de sired it, not for my benefit only, but for that of the Church and the world. At this very juncture I was most delightfully conscious of giving up all to God. I was enabled in my heart to say, Here, Lord, take me, take my whole soul, and seal me Thine-Thine now and Thine for ever. 'If Thou wilt Thou canst make me clean.' Then there ensued such emotions as I never before experienced. All was calm and tranquiland a heaven of love pervaded my whole soul. I had a witness of God's love to me and of mine to Him. Shortly after I was dissolved in tears of love and gratitude to our blessed Lord. The name of Jesus was precious to me; 'Twas music in my ear.' He came as King, and took full possession of my heart; and I was enabled to say, 'I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.' Let Him, as King of kings and Lord reign without a rival for ever." *

of lords, reign in me,

* "Memoir," pp. 86, 87.

The invariable accompaniment of such visitations of the Spirit, we find throughout the whole subsequent history of this young man. His communion with God was of the most elevated and transforming character. It seemed literally as though it were Christ for him to live. For wherever he went he exhibited the Lord Jesus so conspicuously, in his example, in his words and in his persuasions, that men could not resist the power with which he lived and spoke. Dying at the age of twenty-eight, his labours had nevertheless been such a blessing to his generation, that many servants of God, living till threescore and ten, might be glad to leave behind them such a record. His college and seminary vacations were spent in evangelistic labours, and during these seasons he toiled like an apostle. Night and day with tears he warned men. Publicly and from house to house he exhorted, and entreated, and prayed. And wherever he went, revivals seemed to break forth as though he carried some resistless divine influence in his person, and hundreds in a town would be converted during a single visit. His own soul meanwhile lived in the most exultant fellowship with the Father and the Son. He makes the same record that Edwards does, that the one memorable season of divine visitation was followed by many others, in which the tides of heavenly love and delight filled and flooded the soul. The joy of that first baptism and its accompanying power remained unto the end.

Undoubtedly the regeneration of the Spirit and the enduement of the Spirit are often embraced in a single experience.* Christian Eddy, who lived to prove so remarkably how the faithful house servant and the illustrious saint may be combined in one, gives an example of this experience. She says artlessly-"At my conversion it seemed as though the Dove rested on my heart, and He has never left me since!" + So they also thought, thou true yokefellow of Christ, who beheld thy holiness and steadfastness in the gospel. If the gift to win the hardest and most hopeless sinners to Christ, and amid all rebuffs to keep the crown of meekness unsullied, be not an evidence of the baptism and abiding of that Spirit which descended like a dove and rested in power upon the Lord, we know not where such evidence could be found. The career of this Cornwall servant is a sufficient demonstration, if any were needed, that the highest endowments of the Spirit are not alone for the eminent theologian and the deeply instructed saint. So is the history of William Carvosso, the humble fisherman on the coast of England. He had not learned to write his name till after he was sixty-five years of age. But at twenty-one the Lord wrote upon him his new

* "Both gifts came upon St. Paul at once—the indwelling of the Holy Ghost and the enduement for service. This was so with him, but individuals have different experiences in that regard. Often the enduement comes later than conversion, because it was not sought at the time of conversion."-Dr Andrew Bonar.

t "Consecrated Women," p. 231.


name. One year after, he records that he was visited with a gracious anointing of the Spirit. had wrestled in secret places for the power of the Lord to come upon him, and on March 13th, 1772, in a little prayer meeting, he relates that a most blessed experience was granted him. He says:

"Now I felt that I was nothing and Christ was all in all. Him I now cheerfully received in all His offices—my Prophet to teach me, my Priest to atone for me, my King to reign over me. Oh, what boundless happiness there is in Christ! and all for such a poor sinner as I."

The evidence that he at this time received a special effusion of the Holy Ghost is very strong, for he became henceforth one of the most successful fishers of men that the Church in latter times has seen. A sketch of his devoted life records that "at one place, Cambuslang, where he went from house to house through the day, and held class-meetings at night, seven hundred or more were hopefully converted to God."

We have cited these two examples, which might be greatly multiplied, to show how the humblest instruments, when filled with the Spirit, are lifted to the same plane with the mightiest.

In being introduced somewhat into the private history of eminent revivalists, we have the strongest confirmation of the view which we are advocating in this chapter. Almost all of them carry the cherished secret of some special divine visitation by

which they have been empowered for their work. There are men upon whom no ordaining hands have been laid, whose success might well be the envy of the most honoured ministers, if envy were allowed in such a field. The most painful experience of the ordinary pastor is the lack of direct results-so many sermons to which there is no response, and from which there is no visible impression. Say what we will about the educating power of the pulpit, there ought to be no such fixed gap between ministerial effort and spiritual success. Every good workman, whether merchant, mechanic, farmer, builder, or student, is able to see the definite issues of his toil at the end of the year. So ought the "workman that needeth not to be ashamed," whom the Scriptures commend. He should use his sermon

as a means to a definite end—the converting and sanctifying of souls-and should be disappointed if he fails to see this end attained. The evangelist labours on this principle, and often reaps immense harvests. Has He any secret to communicate to pastors? Sometimes He has. We will refer to one who has been used of God to turn thousands to the obedience of the faith. In a season of confidential communion with brethren and fellow-workers, he narrated this experience which was taken down from his lips

"It was in connection with evangelistic services which I was conducting in Scotland in the early part of my ministry, that I experienced a marked visitation of God's

« AnteriorContinuar »