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Discussion Forum : Revivals And Church History : Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Howell Harris and the Baptism of the Spirit

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Joined: 2010/12/7
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"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

 Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Howell Harris and the Baptism of the Spirit

"...What I would emphasize particularly is that Harris was already converted, had already received forgiveness of sins, and he knew that he had it, and had been dancing in joy. But it was now just over three weeks later that he received this crucial experience which turned him into a flaming evangelist. What was it? This is how he describes what happened as he was there sitting in the tower and reading and praying:

'Suddenly I felt my heart melting within me like wax before a fire, and love to God for my Saviour. I felt also not only love and peace, but a longing to die and to be with Christ. Then there came a cry into my soul within that I had never known before - Abba, Father! I could do nothing but call God my Father. I knew that I was His child, and He loved me and was listening to me. My mind was satisfied and I cried out, Now I am satisfied! Give me strength and I will follow Thee through water and fire'.

That is the account of this crucial experience; and I emphasize that it was the crucial experience. I do so by showing how Harris keeps on referring to it. He never forgot it. It was the biggest and most momentous event in his life. If you read his diaries or extracts from them, you will find that when he comes to June 18th he generally refers to what happened to him in Llangasty church. It is to this he points back rather than to what happened on Whit Sunday in the month of May.

For instance, in 1739 he writes in his diary on this date, 'The love of God was shed in my heart four years ago to give myself to God'. Again in 1746, 'A day to me mentorable. This day 11 years ago I was sealed to the day of redemption'. Again, 'Had a seal through reading Revelation 21: 7. Oh! sweet day. I had this before in Llangasty church of old, but through yielding to sin and carelessness and being curbed by almost-christians, and because it was not given through a Scriptural promise I fell again into doubts'. On June 29th, 1763 he seems a bit confused with his dates, but he writes, 'This day 28 years ago I was (when I did not seek it as I had never heard of it) sealed by the Spirit of adoption and feeling that I loved God with all my heart, that I was in God and He in me. I longed to be dissolved and to be with my own dear Father'.

Another very interesting reference in his diaries - not to his own experience but to an experience of a little maid - must be quoted in this connection. 'The Lord revealed Himself to her in an amazing manner for some hours, so that she was lost in His love that she knew not where she was. Sinking to nothing in the discovery of his majesty and glory in Jesus Christ her eternal portion, and by the uncommon earnestness the Spirit gave her to pray for the church, she thought an uncommon work on the earth. Many such instances of the outpouring of the Spirit have we among us'.

If you read extracts from his diaries you will find that this is his constant emphasis, this to him was the turning-point, the crucial event that made him an evangelist, it is essential to an understanding of Revival...he had several repetitions of this, refers to it, and reminds himself of it, or the date brings it back to him, he also had similar experiences...

Another extract from his diary says, 'In private society till two in the morning like a drunken man. Could say nothing but glory, glory, for a long time. Who can write all the Lord did here?'

In 1747, 'God came down as He used in Wales and our hearts did burn within us'...

May 1749, 'The Lord came, overpowering me with love like a mighty, torrent that I could not withstand or reason against or doubt'...

This is the only explanation of this man. This is what created within him a compassion for the lost. This is what urged him to go out and to tell the people about their condition and do something about them. His concern for the lost and the perishing was the consuming passion of his soul.

I would make this comment at this point: Is not that always the crucial test which we must apply to those who claim to have received the baptism of the Spirit? The crucial test is the concern for souls, compassion for the lost. That was the great characteristic of our Lord. He saw the people as 'sheep without a shepherd'. He 'had compassion upon them'; and the man who is filled with the Spirit in this way is like his Lord.

It does not lead to an inward looking, self-indulgent, church movement that turns in on itself and spends its time reciting and even boasting at times of experiences. It always leads to this concern for others...The baptism of or with the Spirit, however, shows itself primarily by giving its recipients a great evangelistic concern. That is not to deny the great value of experiences; but I would suggest in the light of this history that this deep concern for the lost is the most prominent and chief characteristic of such an experience...

Another matter that must be emphasized...This was of great concern to him: This great vital experience could be repeated..."

 2017/9/8 20:18Profile

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