You remember that strange, half-involuntary |forty years| of Moses in the |wilderness| of Midian, when he had fled from Egypt. You remember, too, the almost equally strange years of retirement in |Arabia| by Paul, when, if ever, humanly speaking, instant action was needed. And pre-eminently you remember the amazing charge of the ascending Lord to the disciples, |Tarry at Jerusalem.| Speaking after the manner of men, one could not have wondered if out-spoken Peter, or fervid James had said: |Tarry, Lord! How long?| |Tarry, Lord! is there not a perishing world, groaning for the 'good news?'| |Tarry! did we hear Thee aright, Lord? Was the word not haste?| |Nay;| |Being assembled together with them, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father.| (Acts 1:4.) -- Grosart
POWER -- |IN| AND |UPON.|
THE Holy Spirit dwelling in us, is one thing; I think this is clearly brought out in Scripture; and the Holy Spirit upon us for service, is another thing. Now there are only three places we find in Scripture that are dwelling-places for the Holy Ghost.
In the 40th chapter of Exodus, commencing with the 33d verse, are these words:
|And he (that is Moses) reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.
Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.
And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.|
The moment that Moses finished the work, the moment that the tabernacle was ready, the cloud came, the Shekinah glory came and filled it so that Moses was not able to stand before the presence of the Lord. I believe firmly, that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride and selfishness and ambition and self-seeking, and everything that is contrary to God's law, the Holy Ghost will come and fill every corner of our hearts; but if we are full of pride and conceit, and ambition and self-seeking, and pleasure and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God; and I believe many a man is praying to God to fill him when he is full already with something else. Before we pray that God would fill us, I believe we ought to pray Him to empty us.
There must be an emptying before there can be a filling; and when the heart is turned upside down, and everything is turned out that is contrary to God, then the Spirit will come, just as He did in the tabernacle, and fill us with His glory. We read in 2d Chronicles, 5th chapter and 13th verse: |It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one to make one Sound, to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good; for His mercy endureth forever; that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the Lord. So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God.|
PRAISING WITH ONE HEART.
We find, the very moment that Solomon completed the Temple, when all was finished, they were just praising God with one heart -- the choristers and the singers and the ministers were all one; there was not any discord; they were all praising God, and the glory of God came and just filled the Temple as the Tabernacle. Now, as you turn over into the New Testament, you will find, instead of coming to Tabernacles and Temples, believers are now the Temple of the Holy Ghost. When, on the day of Pentecost, before Peter preached that memorable sermon, as they were praying, the Holy Ghost came, and came in mighty power. We now pray for the Spirit of God to come, and we sing:
|Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly dove,
With all thy quickening power;
Kindle a flame of heavenly love
In these cold hearts of ours,|
I believe, if we understand it, it is perfectly right; but if we are praying for Him to come out of heaven down to earth again, that is wrong, because He is already here; He has not been out of this earth for 1800 years; He has been in the Church, and He is with all believers; the believers in the Church are the called-out ones; they are called out from the world, and every true believer is a Temple for the Holy Ghost to dwell in. In the 14th chapter of John, 17th verse, we have the words of Jesus:
|The Spirit of Truth, whom the world can not receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him; but ye know Him, for He dwelleth in you.|
|Greater is He that is in you than He that is in the world.| If we have the Spirit dwelling in us, He gives us power over the flesh and the world, and over every enemy. |He is dwelling with you, and shall be in you.|
Read 1st Corinthians iii, 16: |Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?|
There were some men burying an aged saint some time ago, and he was very poor, like many of God's people, poor in this world, but they are very rich, they have all the riches on the other side of life -- they have them laid up there where thieves can not get them, and where sharpers can not take them away from them, and where moth can not corrupt -- so this aged man was very rich in the other world, and they were just hastening him off to the grave, wanting to get rid of him, when an old minister, who was officiating at the grave, said, |Tread softly, for you are carrying the temple of the Holy Ghost.| Whenever you see a believer, you see a temple of the Holy Ghost.
In 1 Cor. vi, 19, 20, we read again: |Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own for ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.| Thus are we taught that there is a divine resident in every child of God.
I think it is clearly taught in the Scripture that every believer has the Holy Ghost dwelling in him. He may be quenching the Spirit of God, and he may not glorify God as he should, but if he is a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost dwells in him. But I want to call your attention to another fact. I believe to-day, that though Christian men and women have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, yet He is not dwelling within them in power; in other words, God has a great many sons and daughters without power.
WHAT IS NEEDED.
Nine-tenths, at least, of the church members never think of speaking for Christ. If they see a man, perhaps a near relative, just going right down to ruin, going rapidly, they never think of speaking to him about his sinful course and of seeking to win him to Christ. Now certainly there must be something wrong. And yet when you talk with them you find they have faith, and you can not say they are not children of God; but they have not the power, they have not the liberty, they have not the love that real disciples of Christ should have. A great many people are thinking that we need new measures, that we need new churches, that we need new organs, and that we need new choirs, and all these new things. That is not what the Church of God needs to-day. It is the old power that the Apostles had; that is what we want, and if we have that in our churches, there will be new life. Then we will have new ministers -- the same old ministers renewed with power; filled with the Spirit. I remember when in Chicago many were toiling in the work, and it seemed as though the car of salvation didn't move on, when a minister began to cry out from the very depths of his heart, |Oh, God, put new ministers in every pulpit.| On next Monday I heard two or three men stand up and say, |We had a new minister last Sunday -- the same old minister, but he had got new power,| and I firmly believe that is what we want to-day all over America. We want new ministers in the pulpit and new people in the pews. We want people quickened by the Spirit of God, and the Spirit coming down and taking possession of the children of God and giving them power.
Then a man filled with the Spirit will know how to use |the sword of the Spirit.| If a man is not filled with the Spirit, he will never know now to use the Book. We are told that this is the sword of the Spirit; and what is an army good for that does not know how to use its weapons? Suppose a battle going on, and I were a general and had a hundred thousand men, great, able-bodied men, full of life, but they could not one of them handle a sword, and not one of them knew how to use his rifle, what would that army be good for? Why, one thousand well-drilled men, with good weapons, would rout the whole of them. The reason why the Church can not overcome the enemy is, because she don't know how to use the sword of the Spirit. People will get up and try to fight the devil with their experiences, but he don't care for that, he will overcome them every time. People are trying to fight the devil with theories and pet ideas, but he will get the victory over them likewise. What we want is to draw the sword of the Spirit. It is that which cuts deeper than anything else.
Turn in your Bibles to Eph. vi, 14: |Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all (or over all), taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.|
THE GREATEST WEAPON.
The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, and what we need specially is to be filled with the Spirit, so we shall know how to use the Word. There was a Christian man talking to a skeptic, who was using the Word, and the skeptic said, |I don't believe, sir, in that Book.| But the man went right on and he gave him more of the Word; and the man again remarked, |I don't believe the Word,| but he kept giving him more, and at last the man was reached. And the brother added, |When I have proved a good sword which does the work of execution, I would just keep right on using it.| That is what we want. Skeptics and infidels may say they don't believe in it. It is not our work to make them believe in it; that is the work of the Spirit. Our work is to give them the Word of God; not to preach our theories and our ideas about it, but just to deliver the message as God gives it to us. We read in the Scriptures of the sword of the Lord and Gideon. Suppose Gideon had gone out without the Word, he would have been defeated. But the Lord used Gideon; and I think you find all through the Scriptures, God takes up and uses human instruments. You can not find, I believe, a case in the Bible where a man is converted without God calling in some human agency -- using some human instrument; not but what He can do it in His independent sovereignty; there is no doubt about that. Even when by the revealed glory of the Lord Jesus, Saul of Tarsus was smitten to the earth, Annanias was used to open his eyes and lead him into the light of the Gospel. I heard a man once say, if you put a man on a mountain peak, higher than one of the Alpine peaks, God could save him without a human messenger; but that is not His way; that is not His method; but it is |the sword of the Lord and Gideon|; and the Lord and Gideon will do the work; and if we are just willing to let the Lord use us, He will.
|NONE OF SELF.|
Then you will find all through the Scriptures, when men were filled with the Holy Spirit, they preached Christ and not themselves. They preached Christ and Him crucified. It says in the first chapter of Luke, 67th verse, speaking of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist:
|And his father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He hath visited and redeemed His people, and hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David. As He spake by the mouth of His Holy prophets, which have been since the world began.|
See, he is talking about the Word. If a man is filled with the Spirit, he will magnify the Word; he will preach the Word, and not himself; he will give this lost world the Word of the living God. |And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest; for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways. To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us. To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.| And so we find again that when Elizabeth and Mary met, they talked of the Scriptures, and they were both filled with the Holy Ghost, and at once began to talk of their Lord.
We also find that Simeon, as he came into the temple and found the young child Jesus there, at once began to quote the Scriptures, for the Spirit was upon him. And when Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost, and preached that wonderful sermon, it is said he was filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to preach the Word to the multitude, and it was the Word that cut them. It was the sword of the Lord and Peter, the same as it was the sword of the Lord and Gideon. And we find it says of Stephen, |They were not able to resist the spirit and wisdom by which he spake.| Why? Because he gave them the Word of God. And we are told that the Holy Ghost came on Stephen, and none could resist his word. And we read, too, that Paul was full of the Holy Spirit, and that he preached Christ and Him crucified, and that many people were added to the Church. Barnabas was full of faith and the Holy Ghost; and if you will just read and find out what he preached, you will find it was the Word, and many were added to the Lord. So that when a man is full of the Spirit, he begins to preach, not himself, but Christ, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
The disciples of Jesus were all filled with the Spirit, and the Word was published; and when the Spirit of God comes down upon the Church, and we are anointed, the Word will be published in the streets, in the lanes, and in the alleys; there will not be a dark cellar nor a dark attic, nor a home where the Gospel will not be carried by some loving heart, if the Spirit comes upon God's people in demonstration and in power.
It is possible a man may just barely have life and be satisfied; and I think that a great many are in that condition. In the 3d chapter of John we find that Nicodemus came to Christ and that he received life. At first this life was feeble. You don't hear of him standing up confessing Christ boldly, and of the Spirit coming upon him in great power, though possessing life through faith in Christ. And then turn to the 4th chapter of John, and you will find it speaks of the woman coming to the well of Samaria, and Christ held out the cup of salvation to her and she took it and drank, and it became in her |a well of water springing up into everlasting life.| That is better than in the 3d chapter of John; here it came down in a flood into her soul; as some one has said, it came down from the throne of God, and like a mighty current carried her back to the throne of God. Water always rises to its level, and if we get the soul filled with water from the throne of God it will bear us upward to its source.
But if you want to get the best class of Christian life portrayed, turn to the 7th chapter and you will find that it says he that receiveth the Spirit, through trusting in the Lord Jesus, |out of him shall flow rivers of living water.| Now there are two ways of digging a well. I remember, when a boy, upon a farm, in New England, they had a well, and they put in an old wooden pump, and I used to have to pump the water from that well upon wash-day, and to water the cattle; and I had to pump and pump and pump until my arm got tired, many a time. But they have a better way now; they don't dig down a few feet and brick up the hole and put the pump in, but they go down through the clay and the sand and the rock, and on down until they strike what they call a lower stream, and then it becomes an artesian well, which needs no labor, as the water rises spontaneously from the depths beneath.
Now I think God wants all His children to be a sort of artesian well; not to keep pumping, but to flow right out. Why, haven't you seen ministers in the pulpit just pumping, and pumping and pumping? I have, many a time, and I have had to do it, too. I know how it is. They stand in the pulpit and talk and talk and talk, and the people go to sleep, they can't arouse them. What is the trouble? Why, the living water is not there; they are just pumping when there is no water in the well. You can't get water out of a dry well; you have to get something in the well, or you can't get anything out. I have seen these wooden pumps where you had to pour water into them before you could pump any water out, and so it is with a good many people; you have to get something in them before you can get any out. People wonder why it is that they have no Spiritual power. They stand up and talk in meeting, and don't say anything; they say they haven't anything to say, and you find it out soon enough; they need not state it; but they just talk, because they feel it is a duty, and say nothing.
Now I tell you when the Spirit of God is on us for service, resting upon us, we are anointed, and then we can do great things. |I will pour water on him that is thirsty,| says God. O, blessed thought -- |He that hungers and thirsts after righteousness shall be filled!|
I would like to see some one just full of living water; so full that they couldn't contain it; that they would have to go out and publish the Gospel of the grace of God. When a man gets so full that he can't hold any more, then he is just ready for God's service.
When preaching in Chicago, Dr. Gibson remarked in the inquiry meeting, |Now, how can we find out who is thirsty?| Said he, |I was just thinking how we could find out. If a boy should come down the aisle, bringing a good pail full of clear water, and a dipper, we would soon find out who was thirsty; we would see thirsty men and women reach out for water; but if you should walk down the aisle with an empty bucket, you wouldn't find it out. People would look in and see that there was no water, and say nothing.| So said he, |I think that is the reason we are not more blessed in our ministry; we are carrying around empty buckets, and the people see that we have not anything in them, and they don't come forward.| I think that there is a good deal of truth in that. People see that we are carrying around empty buckets, and they will not come to us until they are filled. They see we haven't any more than they have. We must have the Spirit of God resting upon us, and then we will have something that gives the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil; something that gives the victory over our tempers, over our conceits, and over every other evil, and when we can trample these sins under our feet, then people will come to us and say, |How did you get it? I need this power; you have something that I haven't got; I want it.| O, may God show us this truth. Have we been toiling all night? let us throw the net on the right side; let us ask God to forgive our sins, and anoint us with power from on high. But remember, He is not going to give this power to an impatient man; He is not going to give it to a selfish man; He will never give it to an ambitious man whose aim is selfish, till first emptied of self; emptied of pride and of all worldly thoughts. Let it be God's glory and not our own that we seek, and when we get to that point, how speedily the Lord will bless us for good. Then will the measure of our blessing be full. Do you know what heaven's measure is? Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. If we get our heart filled with the Word of God, how is Satan going to get in? How is the world going to get in, for heaven's measure is good measure, full measure, running over. Have you this fullness? If you have not, then seek it; say by the grace of God you will have it, for it is the Father's good pleasure to give us these things. He wants us to shine down in this world; He wants to lift us up for His work; He wants us to have the power to testify for His Son. He has left us in this world to testify for Him. What did He leave us for? Not to buy and sell and to get gain, but to glorify Christ. How are you going to do it without the Spirit? That is the question. How are you to do it without the power of God?
WHY SOME FAIL.
We read in John xx, 22: |And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost.|
Then see Luke xxiv, 49: |And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high.|
The first passage tells us He had raised those pierced and wounded hands over them and breathed upon them and said, |Receive ye the Holy Ghost.| And I haven't a doubt they received it then, but not in such mighty power as afterward when qualified for their work. It was not in fullness that He gave it to them then, but if they had been like a good many now, they would have said, |I have enough now; I am not going to tarry; I am going to work.|
Some people seem to think they are losing time if they wait on God for his power, and so away they go and work without unction; they are working without any anointing, they are working without any power. But after Jesus had said |Receive ye the Holy Ghost,| and had breathed on them, He said: |Now you tarry in Jerusalem until you be endued with power from on high.| Read in the 1st chapter of Acts, 8th verse: |But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.|
Now, the Spirit had been given them certainly or they could not have believed, and they could not have taken their stand for God and gone through what they did, and endured the scoffs and frowns of their friends, if they had not been converted by the power of the Holy Ghost. But now just see what Christ said:
|Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.|
Then, the Holy Spirit IN US is one thing, and the Holy Spirit ON US is another; and if these Christians had gone out and went right to preaching then and there, without the power, do you think that scene would have taken place on the day of Pentecost? Don't you think that Peter would have stood up there and beat against the air, while these Jews would have gnashed their teeth and mocked him? But they tarried in Jerusalem; they waited ten days. What! you say. What, the world perishing and men dying! Shall I wait? Do what God tells you. There is no use in running before you are sent; there is no use in attempting to do God's work without God's power. A man working without this unction, a man working without this anointing, a man working without the Holy Ghost upon him, is losing his time after all. So we are not going to lose anything if we tarry till we get this power. That is the object of true service, to wait on God, to tarry till we receive this power for witness-bearing. Then we find that on the day of Pentecost, ten days after Jesus Christ was glorified, the Holy Spirit descended in power. Do you think that Peter and James and John and those apostles doubted it from that very hour? They never doubted it. Perhaps some question the possibility of having the power of God now, and that the Holy Spirit never came afterward in similar manifestation, and will never come again in such power.
Turn to Acts iv, 31, and you will find He came a second time, and at a place where they were, so that the earth was shaken, and they were filled with this power. The fact is, we are leaky vessels, and we have to keep right under the fountain all the time to keep full of Christ, and so have a fresh supply.
I believe this is a mistake a great many of us are making; we are trying to do God's work with the grace God gave us ten years ago. We say, if it is necessary, we will go on with the same grace. Now, what we want is a fresh supply, a fresh anointing and fresh power, and if we seek it, and seek it with all our hearts, we will obtain it. The early converts were taught to look for that power. Philip went to Samaria, and news reached Jerusalem that there was a great work being done in Samaria, and many converts; and John and Peter went down, and they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost for service. I think that is what we Christians ought to be looking for -- the Spirit of God for service -- that God may use us mightily in the building up of His Church and hastening His glory. In Acts xix we read of twelve men at Ephesus, who, when the inquiry was made if they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed, answered: |We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.| I venture to say there are very many, who, if you were to ask them, |Have you received the Holy Ghost since you believed?| would reply, |I don't know what you mean by that.| They would be like the twelve men down at Ephesus, who had never understood the peculiar relation of the Spirit to the sons of God in this dispensation. I firmly believe that the Church has just laid this knowledge aside, mislaid it somewhere, and so Christians are without power. Sometimes you can take one hundred members into the Church, and they don't add to its power. Now that is all wrong. If they were only anointed by the Spirit of God, there would be great power if one hundred saved ones were added to the Church.
When I was out in California, the first time I went down from the Sierra Nevada Mountains and dropped into the Valley of the Sacramento, I was surprised to find on one farm that everything about it was green -- all the trees and flowers, everything was blooming, and everything was green and beautiful, and just across the hedge everything was dried up, and there was not a green thing there, and I could not understand it; I made inquiries, and I found that the man that had everything green, irrigated; he just poured the water right on, and he kept everything green, while the fields that were next to his were as dry as Gideon's fleece without a drop of dew; and so it is with a great many in the Church to-day. They are like these farms in California -- a dreary desert, everything parched and desolate, and apparently no life in them. They can sit next to a man who is full of the Spirit of God, who is like a green bay tree, and who is bringing forth fruit, and yet they will not seek a similar blessing. Well, why this difference? Because God has poured water on him that was thirsty; that is the difference. One has been seeking this anointing, and he has received it; and when we want this above everything else God will surely give it to us.
The great question before us now is, Do we want it? I remember when I first went to England and gave a Bible reading, I think about the first that I gave in that country, a great many ministers were there, and I didn't know anything about English theology, and I was afraid I should run against their creeds, and I was a little hampered, especially on this very subject, about the gift of the Holy Spirit for service. I remember particularly a Christian minister there who had his head bowed on his hand, and I thought the good man was ashamed of everything I was saying, and of course that troubled me. At the close of my address he took his hat and away he went, and then I thought, |Well, I shall never see him again.| At the next meeting I looked all around for him and he wasn't there, and at the next meeting I looked again, but he was absent; and I thought my teaching must have given him offense. But a few days after that, at a large noon prayer meeting, a man stood up and his face shone as if he had been up in the mountain with God, and I looked at him, and to my great joy it was this brother. He said he was at that Bible reading, and he heard there was such a thing as having fresh power to preach the Gospel; he said he made up his mind that if that was for him he would have it; he said he went home and looked to the Master, and that he never had such a battle with himself in his life. He asked that God would show him the sinfulness of his heart that he knew nothing about, and he just cried mightily to God that he might be emptied of himself and filled with the Spirit, and he said, |God has answered my prayer.| I met him in Edinburgh six months from that date, and he told me he had preached the Gospel every night during that time, that he had not preached one sermon but that some remained for conversation, and that he had engagements four months ahead to preach the Gospel every night in different churches. I think you could have fired a cannon ball right through his church and not hit any one before he got this anointing; but it was not thirty days before the building was full and aisles crowded. He had his bucket filled full of fresh water, and the people found it out and came flocking to him from every quarter. I tell you, you can't get the stream higher than the fountain. What we need very specially is power. There was another man whom I have in my mind, and he said, |I have heart disease, I can't preach more than once a week,| so he had a colleague to preach for him and do the visiting. He was an old minister, and he couldn't do any visiting. He had heard of this anointing, and said, |I would like to be anointed for my burial. I would like before I go hence to have just one more privilege to preach the Gospel with power.| He prayed that God would fill him with the Spirit, and I met him not long after that, and he said, |I have preached on an average eight times a week, and I have had conversions all along.| The Spirit came on him. I don't believe that man broke down at first with hard work, so much as with using the machinery without oil, without lubrication. It is not the hard work breaks down ministers, but it is the toil of working without power. Oh, that God may anoint His people! Not the ministry only, but every disciple. Do not suppose pastors are the only laborers needing it. There is not a mother but needs it in her house to regulate her family, just as much as the minister needs it in the pulpit or the Sunday-school teacher needs it in his Sunday-school. We all need it together, and let us not rest day nor night until we possess it; if that is the uppermost thought in our hearts, God will give it to us if we just hunger and thirst for it, and say, |God helping me, I will not rest until endued with power from on high.|
MASTER AND SERVANT.
There is a very sweet story of Elijah and Elisha, and I love to dwell upon it. The time had come for Elijah to be taken up, and he said to Elisha, |You stay here at Gilgal, and I will go up to Bethel.| There was a theological seminary there, and some young students, and he wanted to see how they were getting along; but Elisha said, |As the Lord liveth, and thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee.| And so Elisha just kept close to Elijah. They came to Bethel, and the sons of the prophets came out and said to Elisha, |Do you know that your master is to be taken away?| And Elisha said, |I know it; but you keep still.| Then Elijah said to Elisha, |You remain at Bethel until I go to Jericho.| But Elisha said, |As the Lord liveth and my soul liveth, I will not leave thee.| |You shall not go without me,| says Elisha; and then I can imagine that Elisha just put his arm in that of Elijah, and they walked down together. I can see those two mighty men walking down to Jericho, and when they arrived there, the sons of the prophets came and said to Elisha, |Do you know that your master is to be taken away?| |Hush! keep still,| says Elisha, |I know it.| And then Elijah said to Elisha, |Tarry here awhile; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan.| But Elisha said, |As the Lord liveth and my soul liveth, I will not leave thee. You shall not go without me.| And then Elisha came right close to Elijah, and as they went walking down, I imagine Elisha was after something; when they came to the Jordan, Elijah took off his mantle and struck the waters, and they separated hither and thither, and the two passed through like giants, dry-shod, and fifty sons of the prophets came to look at them and watch them. They didn't know but Elijah would be taken up right in their sight. As they passed over Jordan, Elijah said to Elisha, |Now, what do you want?| He knew he was after something. |What can I do for you. Just make your request known.| And he said, |I would like a double portion of thy Spirit.| I can imagine now that Elijah had given him a chance to ask; he said to himself, |I will ask for enough.| Elisha had a good deal of the Spirit, but, says he, |I want a double portion of thy Spirit.| |Well,| says Elijah, |if you see me when I am taken up, you shall have it.| Do you think you could have enticed Elisha from Elijah at that moment? I can almost see the two arm in arm, walking along, and as they walked, there came along the chariot of fire, and before Elisha knew it, Elijah was caught up, and as he went sweeping towards the throne, the servant cried, |My Father! My Father! The chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof!| Elisha saw him no more. He picked up Elijah's fallen mantle, and returning with that old mantle of his master's, he came to the Jordan and cried for Elijah's God, and the waters separated hither and thither, and he passed through dry-shod. Then the watching prophets lifted up their voices and said, |The Spirit of Elijah is upon Elisha;| and so it was, a double portion of it.
May the Spirit of Elijah, beloved reader, be upon us. If we seek for it we will have it. Oh, may the God of Elijah answer by fire, and consume the spirit of worldliness in the churches, burn up the dross, and make us whole-hearted Christians. May that Spirit come upon us; let that be our prayer in our family altars and in our closets. Let us cry mightily to God that we may have a double portion of the Holy Spirit, and that we may not rest satisfied with this worldly state of living, but let us, like Sampson, shake ourselves and come out from the world, that we may have the power of God.