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THE BAPTISM OF THE
To Which Is Added
The Enduement of Power
by Charles G. Finney
The Electronic Editions
Containing Both Publications
by Charles G. Finney
REASONS WHY THE POWER IS NOT RECEIVED
In my first remarks, I would call attention to the mission of the Church to disciple all nations, as recorded by Matthew and Luke, and state that this commission was given by Christ to the whole Church, and that every member of the Church is under obligation to make it his lifework to convert the world. Upon this I raise two inquiries: 1. What do we need to secure success in this great work? 2. How can we get it?
Answer -- 1. We need the enduement of power from on high. Christ had previously informed the disciples that without Him they could do nothing. When He gave them the commission to convert the world, He added: "But tarry ye in Jerusalem till ye be endued with power from on high. Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. Lo! I send upon you the promise of My Father." This baptism of the Holy Ghost, this blessing promised by the Father, this enduement of power from on high, Christ has expressly informed us, is the indispensable condition of performing the work which He has set before us.
2. How shall we get it? 1. Christ expressly promised it to the whole Church, and to every individual whose duty it is to labor for the conversion of the world. He admonished the first disciples not to undertake the work until they had received this enduement of power from on high. Both the promise and the admonition apply equally to all Christians of every age and nation. No one has at any time any right to expect success unless he first secures the enduement of this power. 3. The example of the first disciples teaches us how to secure this enduement. They first consecrated themselves to the work, and continued in prayer and supplication until the Holy Ghost fell upon them, on the day of Pentecost, and they received the promised enduement of power from on high. This, then, is the way to get it.
"If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him." (Luke 11:13.)
1. This text informs us that it is delightfully easy to obtain the Holy Spirit, or this enduement of power, from the Father.
2. That this is made a constant subject of prayer. Everybody prays for this, at all times; and yet, with all this intercession, how few, comparatively, are really endued with the Spirit of power from on high. This want is not met. The want of power is a subject of constant complaint. Christ says, "Everyone that asketh receiveth;" but there certainly is a "great gulf" between the asking and receiving, which is a serious stumblingblock to many. How, then, is this discrepancy to be explained? The answer may appear in some one or all of the following statements:
1. We are not willing, upon the whole, to have what we desire and ask.
2. God has expressly informed us that if we regard iniquity in our hearts He will not hear us. But the petitioner is often self-indulgent. This is iniquity, and God will not hear him.
3. He is uncharitable.
6. Resists conviction of sin.
7. Refuses to confess to all the parties concerned.
8. Refuses to make restitution to injured parties.
9. He is prejudiced and uncandid.
10. He is resentful.
11. He has a revengeful spirit.
12. Has a worldly ambition.
13. He has committed himself on some point, and become dishonest, and rejects further light.
14. He is denominationally selfish.
15. Selfish for his own congregation.
16. He resists the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
17. He grieves the Holy Spirit by dissension.
18. He quenches the Spirit by persistence in justifying wrong.
19. He grieves Him by a want of watch fullness.
20. He resists Him by indulging evil tempers.
21. Also by dishonesties in business.
22. Also by indolence and impatience in waiting upon the Lord.
23. By many forms of selfishness.
24. By negligence in business, in study, in prayer.
25. By undertaking too much business, too much study, and too little prayer.
26. By a want consecration.
27. Last and greatest, by unbelief. He prays for this enduement without expecting to receive it. "He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar." This, then, is the greatest sin of all. What an insult, what a blasphemy, to accuse God of lying! I conclude by saying that these and other forms of indulged sin explain why so little is received, while so much is asked. Someone may ask, "What is the other side?" The other side presents the certainty that we shall receive the promised enduement of power from on high, and be successful in winning souls, if we ask in faith and fulfill the plainly revealed conditions of prevailing prayer. "But if we first get rid of all the forms of sin which prevent our receiving this enduement, have we not already obtained the blessing? What more do we need?"
Answer: There is a great difference between the peace and the power of the Holy Spirit in the soul. The disciples were Christians before the day of Pentecost, and as such had a measure of the Holy Spirit. They must have had the peace of sins forgiven, and of a justified state; but yet they had not the enduement of power necessary to the accomplishment of the work assigned them. They had the peace which Christ had given them, but not the power which He had promised. This may be true of all Christians; and right here is, I think, the great mistake of the Church and of the ministry. They rest in conversion, and do not seek until they obtain this enduement of power from on high.
Hence, so many professors have no power with either God or man. They prevail with neither? They cling to a hope in Christ, and even enter the ministry, overlooking the admonition to wait until they are endued with power from on high. But let anyone bring all the tithes and offerings into God's treasury, let him lay all upon the altar, and prove God herewith, and he shall find that God "will open the windows of Heaven, and pour him out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
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AN EXHIBITION OF THE POWER FROM ON HIGH
"But 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 Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." -- Acts 1:8
In the present chapter I will relate an exhibition of this power from on high, as witnessed by myself. Soon after I was licensed to preach I went into a region of country where I was an entire stranger. I went there at the request of a Female Missionary Society, located in Oneida County, New York. Early in May, I think, I visited the town of Antwerp, in the northern part of Jefferson County. I stopped at the village hotel, and there learned that there were no religious meetings held in that town at the time. They had a brick meetinghouse, but it was locked up. By personal efforts I got a few people to assemble in the parlor of a Christian lady in the place, and preached to them on the evening after my arrival. As I passed around the village, I was shocked with the horrible profanity that I heard among the men wherever I went. I obtained leave to preach in the schoolhouse on the next Sabbath; but before the Sabbath arrived I was much discouraged, and almost terrified, in view of the state of society which I witnessed. On Saturday the Lord applied with power to my heart the following words, addressed by the Lord Jesus to Paul, Acts 18:9,10: "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace; for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city." This completely subdued my fears; but my heart was loaded with agony for the people. On Sunday morning I arose early, and retired to a grove not far from the village to pour out my heart before God for a blessing on the labors of the day. I could not express the agony of my soul in words; but struggled, with much groaning and, I believe, with many tears, for an hour or two without getting relief. I returned to my room in the hotel; but almost immediately came back to the grove. This I did thrice. The last time I got complete relief, just as it was time to go to meeting, I went to the school-house, and found it filled to its utmost capacity. I took out my little pocket Bible, and read for my text: "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." I exhibited the love of God in contrast with the terrible manner in which He was treated by those for whom He gave up His Son. I charged home their profanity upon them; and, as I recognized among my hearers several whose profanity I had particularly noticed, in the fullness of my heart and the gushing of my tears, I pointed to them, and said, "I heard these men call upon God to damn their fellows." The Word took powerful effect. Nobody seemed offended, but almost everybody greatly melted. At the close of the service, the amiable landlord, Mr. Copeland, rose and said that he would open the meeting-house in the afternoon. He did so. The meeting-house was full, and, as in the morning, the Word took powerful effect. Thus a powerful revival commenced in the village, which soon after spread in every direction. I think it was on the second Sabbath after this, when I came out of the pulpit in the afternoon, an aged man approached, and said to me, "Can you not come and preach in our neighborhood? We have never had any religious meetings there." I inquired the direction and the distance, and appointed to preach there the next afternoon, Monday, at five o'clock, in their school-house. I had preached three times in the village, and attended two prayer-meetings on the Lord's day; and on Monday I went on foot to fulfill this appointment. The weather was very warm that day, and before I arrived there I felt almost too faint to walk, and greatly discouraged in my mind. I sat down in the shade by the wayside, and felt as if I was too faint to reach there, and if I did, too much discouraged to open my mouth to the people. When I arrived I found the house full, and immediately commenced the service by reading a hymn. They attempted to sing, but the horrible discord agonized me beyond expression. I leaned forward, put my elbows upon my knees and my hands over my ears, and shook my head withal, to shut out the discord, which even then I could barely endure. As soon as they had ceased to sing, I cast myself down upon my knees, almost in a state of desperation. The Lord opened the windows of Heaven upon me, and gave me great enlargement and power in prayer. Up to this moment I had had no idea what text I should use on the occasion. As I rose from my knees the Lord gave me this: "Up, get you out of this place, for the Lord will destroy this city." I told the people, as nearly as I could recollect, where they would find it, and went on to tell them of the destruction of Sodom. I gave them an outline of the history of Abraham and Lot, and their relations to each other; of Abraham's praying for Sodom; and of Lot as the only pious man that was found in the city. While I was doing this I was struck with the fact that the people looked exceedingly angry about me. Many countenances appeared very threatening, and some of the men near me looked as if they were about to strike me. This I could not understand, as I was only giving them, with great liberty of spirit, some interesting sketches of Bible history. As soon as I had completed the historical sketch, I turned upon them, and said that I had understood they had never had any religious meetings in that neighborhood; and applying that fact, I thrust at them with the sword of the Spirit with all my might. From this moment the solemnity increased with great rapidity. In a few moments there seemed to fall upon the congregation an instantaneous shock. I cannot describe the sensation that I felt, nor that which was apparent to the congregation; but the Word seemed literally to cut like a sword. The power from on high came down upon them in such a torrent that they fell from their seats in every direction. In less than a minute nearly the whole congregation were either down on their knees, or on their faces, or in some position prostrate before God. Everyone was crying or groaning for mercy upon his own soul. They paid no further attention to me or to my preaching. I tried to get their attention; but I could not. I observed the aged man who had invited me there, still retaining his seat near the center of the house. He was staring around him with a look of unutterable astonishment. Pointing to him, I cried at the top of my voice: "Can't you pray?" He knelt down and roared out a short prayer, about as loud as he could halloo; but they paid no attention to him. After looking round for a few moments, I knelt down and put my hand on the head of a young man who was kneeling at my feet, and engaged in prayer for mercy on his soul. I got his attention, and preached Jesus in his ear. In a few moments he seized Jesus by faith, and then broke out in prayer for those around him. I then turned to another in the same way, and with the same result; and then another, and another, till I know not how many had laid hold of Christ and were full of prayer for others. After continuing in this way till nearly sunset, I was obliged to commit the meeting to the charge of the old gentleman who had invited me, and go to fulfill an appointment in another place for the evening. In the afternoon of the next day I was sent for to go down to this place, as they had not been able to break up the meeting. They had been obliged to leave the school-house, to give place to the school; but had removed to a private house near by, where I found a number of persons still, too anxious and too much loaded down with conviction to go to their homes. These were soon subdued by the Word of God, and I believe all obtained a hope before they went home. Observe, I was a total stranger in that place, had never seen nor heard of it until as I have related. But here, at my second visit, I learned that the place was called Sodom, by reason of its wickedness; and the old man who invited me was called Lot, because he was the only professor of religion in the place. After this manner the revival broke out in this neighborhood. I have not been in that neighborhood for many years; but in 1856, I think, while laboring in Syracuse, New York, I was introduced to a minister of Christ from the St. Lawrence County, by the name of Cross. He said to me: "Mr. Finney, you don't know me; but do you remember preaching in a place called Sodom?" &c. I said: "I shall never forget it." He replied: "I was then a young man, and was converted at that meeting." He is still living, a pastor in one of the churches in that county, and is the father of the principal of our preparatory department. Those who have lived in that region can testify of the permanent results of that blessed revival. I can only give in words a feeble description of that wonderful manifestation of power from on high attending the preaching of the Word.
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WHO MAY EXPECT THIS ENDUEMENT OF POWER
"If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." -- John 14:15-17
I need not now give other instances of the manifestation of this "power from on high," since its existence is admitted, and has been witnessed in every age of the Church. The two instances given in the former chapter were exceptional in certain respects. But I could multiply to almost any extent accounts of instances of the manifestation of this power upon individuals and upon masses. This power has often been manifested in private conversation, in public exhortation, in public and social prayer, and in every manner of communicating truth. It is well understood that oftentimes an invisible but all-subduing power attends the communication of God's truth; and that the manifestation of this power is seen to accompany the labors of some individuals much more strikingly than it does those of others. If it would not try the patience of my readers, I should like to notice many illustrations of this remark, and name the persons who were manifestly endued with this power, and the places where such manifestations were made. But I pass to the consideration of the question: "Who have a right to expect this enduement of power to win souls to Christ?"
1. The command to disciple all nations was given to the whole Church, and not merely to the apostles. I believe this is generally admitted. The injunction to tarry at Jerusalem until they received this enduement was also given to the then existing Christian Church. The promise of this enduement appears to have been given to all whose duty it was to labor for the conversion of the world. The promise, as usual, was coextensive with the command.
2. The work to be done is many-sided, and a variety of gifts is essential to its accomplishment. These were richly bestowed by Christ on the day of Pentecost, and have been richly multiplied by Him in every age of the Church. But all other gifts are unavailing without the addition of this marvelous power to impress God's saving truth upon the soul. Are we to conclude that this power is a gift promised to and designed for only a select few; or was it promised as a gift common to all God's people? May they all be endued with this power from on high by fulfilling the conditions of its bestowment? This is a momentous question. For, if it is not promised to all, to whom is it promised? The promise is nugatory and void, for uncertainty, unless we can ascertain to whom it is made. 1. The promise certainly was not confined to the apostles, neither was the enduement confined to them; for in the apostolic age Stephen, with many others -- and, indeed, the whole Church -- possessed this power. Again, it was not then, nor has it been since, confined to ordained ministers of the gospel. It has always been possessed by laymen, and in many instances in an eminent degree. I have myself known a great many laymen who were marvelously gifted in winning souls to Christ. Who has not heard of Father Carpenter (mentioned by Dr. Mahan in another part of this volume) a layman, but little educated, and of quite limited natural ability? He labored in Southern New York and New Jersey as a layman; and hundreds -- I think I may say thousands were the seals of his labors. I could name scores of laymen whose exhortations and conversations have been instrumental in converting hundreds upon hundreds of souls. This enduement was not at first, nor has it been since, confined to the male sex. Women have possessed it, and very often in a remarkable degree. Paul had his female helpers in proclaiming the gospel, whose usefulness he was frank to acknowledge. In every age of the Church, and especially wherever revivals of religion have existed, this power has been given to women as well as men. I am rejoiced to know that the American Board is learning more and more the power and usefulness of female labors in the missionary field. However men may interpret the Bible, whatever prejudices may exist in any branch of the Church against the public gospel labors of females, the fact remains that God imparts to females, often in an eminent degree, the power to win souls to Christ. I have myself known a goodly number of women who have been amongst the most efficient laborers for souls that I could anywhere find. I could name women of diverse ages and culture upon whom this power from on high rested in a degree too manifest to be overlooked or denied. This enduement, then, is not confined to either sex. This power has been possessed by both young and old, by young converts, and by ripe Christians. Many have possessed it from their first conversion, whilst others have failed to obtain it until they had been in the Church for many years. I have known ministers, who had labored many years without it, at last come to possess it in an eminent degree. Facts undeniably prove that this enduement of power from on high is and has been a gift common to Christians of all ages and sexes, and of every degree of condition. So that all Christians, by virtue of their relation to Christ, may ask and receive this enduement of power to win souls to Him. It is evident that the promise was not originally made to any particular individuals, to the exclusion of others. It is also manifest that the bestowment of the gift has not been confined to office, age, or sex. So far as my observation has gone, I have found it to exist as frequently among laymen as clergymen, and nearly as often among women as men, and quite as often among young converts as older professors of religion. Were it necessary, I could summon a cloud of witnesses as proofs and illustrations of what I here assert.
I have said that Christians belonging to all classes possess this enduement of power savingly to impress the souls of men -- young converts, old professors of religion, ministers, laymen, women, old and young, and of every degree of human culture. The history of the Church affords evidence that there has always been a sprinkling of Christians, of ministers, and laymen and women, that have been peculiarly gifted in winning souls to Christ. Now, I must not fail to add, and that with emphasis, that these persons have been without exception, especially anointed for this work. After the first faith they have received the special enduement of power from on high. Men and women vary indefinitely in their natural powers of persuasion, but no human eloquence can ever convert a soul. Unless the Spirit of God sets home and makes the truth of God effectual, all human eloquence and learning will be in vain. And it is a fact worthy of all attention and consideration, that, with very little human culture, this enduement of power will make a Christian wise and efficient in bringing souls to Christ. The apostles, with the exception of Paul, had but little culture; and yet witness the effect of the fisherman Peter's first sermon, after receiving his first baptism of this power. I have referred to Father Carpenter. Whoever was acquainted with him, and has known anything of the results of his labors, must have been astonished at his success, considering his very limited culture. It is very humiliating to human learning and pride, and always has been; nevertheless, it has been Christ's method from the first to choose the weak things of this world to confound the wise. I have said that this enduement of power is often given to females. The Church has greatly erred in keeping them back, and not encouraging them in personal efforts to win souls to Christ. From my own experience and observation lam convinced that, were they encouraged by conversation, exhortation, persuasion, and every suitable method to make efforts to win souls, it would be found that there is in the Church a great host of women endued with this power. This enduement of power is sometimes bestowed immediately after conversion. It was in my own case. I possessed it from the very first as fully as I have done in any period of my life. It is not a thing into which people can gradually grow by forming habits of persuasion and conversation. It is a gift -an anointing, instantaneously received, and that may be enlarged or diminished as the possessor of it uses it more or less faithfully and intensely for the purposes for which it was given. It is oftentimes possessed and then lost, or its manifestation suspended by something that quenches the light of the Spirit in the soul. I have myself seen striking examples of this. I have said that this power often rests upon those who have very little human culture. This is a notorious fact; but it does not follow from this that culture is to be despised or to be little accounted of. Where this power exists, the more learning and eloquence the better. But it is painful to observe the constant tendency to substitute culture for this power, or human learning and eloquence in place of this Divine enduement. I fear this tendency is increasing in the Church. The churches are calling for men of great learning and eloquence, instead of men who are deeply baptized with the Holy Ghost. The seminaries of learning are much in fault in this thing. They do not lay half stress enough upon the possession of this enduement as an essential qualification for usefulness in the world. The manifest possession of this enduement of power should be considered an indispensable qualification for a professor in college or in a theological seminary, and the want of it should be regarded as a disqualification for a professorship, especially in a theological seminary. A theological professor who does not believe in this enduement of power, and who does not possess it in a manifest degree, cannot fail to be a stumblingblock to his students. If he does not urge it upon them as the most important of all qualifications for the ministry, if he does not speak of it and treat it as altogether indispensable to success in the ministry, his teaching and his influence will be vitally defective; they will be a snare and a stumblingblock. This must be true, or this whole question of the enduement of power from on high must be a delusion. This enduement is nothing, or it is everything in the sense of being wholly indispensable to success. It is a notorious fact and no delusion; and the want of it should be regarded by the churches as a disqualification for the pastoral office, or for superintendent of the Sabbath School, or for deacons or elders of the church, or for home or foreign missionaries. Pastors should urge the necessity of this enduement upon their churches, and raise up helpers in the gospel, and surround themselves with a host of men and women who are richly endued with power from on high. If a pastor has to work alone, if he has no members, or but a few, who are endued with t his power, it is generally because he does not possess it himself; or, if he does possess it, he fails in so presenting and urging it as to procure its acceptance by the members of his church.
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THE CONDITIONS OF RECEIVING THIS POWER
"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." -- Luke 24:49
In this chapter I propose to consider the conditions upon which this enduement of power can be obtained. Let us borrow a light from the Scriptures. I will not cumber this chapter with quotations from the Bible, but simply state a few facts that will readily be recognized by all readers of the Scriptures. If the reader will read in the last chapter of Matthew and of Luke the commission which Christ gave to His disciples, and in connection read the first and second chapters of the Acts of the Apostles, he will be prepared to appreciate what I have to say.
1. The disciples had already been converted to Christ, and their faith had been confirmed by His resurrection. But here let me say that conversion to Christ is not to be confounded with a consecration to the great work of the world's conversion. In conversion the soul has to do directly and personally with Christ. It yields up its prejudices, its antagonisms, its self-righteousness, its unbelief, its selfishness; accepts Him, trusts Him, and supremely loves Him. All this the disciples had, more or less, distinctly done. But as yet they had received no definite commission, and no particular enduement of power to fulfill a commission.
2. But when Christ had dispelled their great bewilderment resulting from His crucifixion and confirmed their faith by repeated interviews with them, He gave them their great commission to win all nations to Himself. But He admonished them to tarry at Jerusalem till they were endued with power from on high, which He said they should receive not many days hence. Now observe what they did. They assembled -- the men and women -- for prayer. They accepted the commission, and, doubtless, came to a mutual understanding of the nature of the commission, and the necessity of the spiritual enduement which Christ had promised. As they continued day after day in prayer and conference, they, no doubt, came to appreciate more and more the difficulties that would beset them, and to feel more and more their inadequacy to the task. A consideration of the circumstances and results leads to the conclusion that they one and all consecrated themselves, with all they had, to the conversion of the world as their life-work. They must have renounced utterly the idea of living to themselves in any form, and devoted themselves with all their powers to the work set before them. This consecration of themselves to the work, this self-renunciation, this dying to all that the world cold offer them, must, in the order of nature, have preceded their intelligent seeking of the promised enduement of power from on high. They then continued, with one accord, in prayer for the promised baptism of the Spirit, which baptism included all that was essential to their success. Observe, they had a work set before them. They had a promise of power to perform it. They were admonished to wait until the promise was fulfilled. How did they wait? Not in listlessness and inactivity; not in making preparations, by study and otherwise, to get along without it; not by going about their business, and offering an occasional prayer that the promise might be fulfilled; but they continued in prayer, and persisted in their suit till the answer came. They understood that it was to be a baptism by the Holy Ghost. They understood that it was to be received from Christ. They prayed in faith. They held on, with the firmest expectations, until the enduement came. Now, let these facts instruct us as to the conditions of receiving this enduement of power.
1. We, as Christians, have the same commission to fulfill. As truly as they did we need an enduement of power from on high. Of course, the same injunction, to wait upon God till we receive it, is given to us.
We have the same promise that they had. Now, let us take substantially and in spirit the same course that they did. They were Christians, and had a measure of the Spirit to lead them in prayer and in consecration. So have we. Every Christian possesses a measure of the Spirit of Christ; enough of the Holy Spirit to lead us to true consecration, and inspire us with the faith that is essential to our prevalence in prayer. Let us, then, not grieve or resist Him; but accept the commission, fully consecrate ourselves, with all we have, to the saving of souls as our great and our only life-work. Let us get on to the altar with ALL we have and are, and lie there and persist in prayer till we receive the enduement. Now, observe, conversion to Christ is not to be confounded with the acceptance of this commission to convert the world. The first is a personal transaction between the soul and Christ, relating to its own salvation. The second is the soul's acceptance of the service in which Christ purposes to employ it. Christ does not require us to make brick without straw. To whom He gives the commission He also gives the admonition and the promise. If the commission is heartily accepted, if the promise is believed, if the admonition to wait upon the Lord till our strength is renewed be complied with, we shall receive the enduement.
It is of the last importance that all Christians should understand that this commission to convert the world is given to them by Christ individually.
Every one has the great responsibility devolved upon him or her to win as many souls as possible to Christ This is the great privilege and the great duty of all the disciples of Christ. There are a great many departments in this work. But in every department we may and ought to possess this power; that whether we preach, or pray, or write, or print, or trade, or travel, take care of children, or administer the government of the state, or whatever we do, our whole life and influence should be permeated with this power. Christ says: "If any man believe in Me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" that is, a Christian influence, having in it the element of power to impress the truth of Christ upon the hearts of men, shall proceed from him. The great want of the Church at present is, first, the realizing conviction that this commission to convert the world is given to each of Christ's disciples as His life-work. I fear I must say that the great mass of professing Christians seem never to have been impressed with this truth. The work of saving souls they leave to ministers. The second great want is a realizing conviction of the necessity of this enduement of power upon every individual soul. Many professors of religion suppose it belongs especially and only to such as are called to preach the gospel as a life-work. They fail to realize that all are called to preach the gospel; that the whole life of every Christian is to be a proclamation of the glad tidings. A third want is an earnest faith in the promise of this enduement. A vast many professors of religion, and even ministers, seem to doubt whether this promise is to the whole Church and to every Christian. Consequently they have no faith to lay hold of it. If it does not belong to all, they don't know to whom it does belong. Of course they cannot lay hold of the promise by faith. A fourth want is that persistence in waiting upon God for it that is enjoined in the Scriptures. They faint before they have prevailed, and, hence, the enduement is not received. Multitudes seem to satisfy themselves with a hope of eternal life for themselves. They never get ready to dismiss the question of their own salvation; leaving that, as settled.; with Christ. They don't get ready to accept the great commission to work for the salvation of others, because their faith is so weak that they do not steadily leave the question of their own salvation in the hands of Christ; and even some ministers of the gospel, I find, are in the same condition, and halting in the same way, unable to give themselves wholly to the work of saving others, because in a measure unsettled about their own salvation. It is amazing to witness the extent to which the Church has practically lost sight of the necessity of this enduement of power! Much is said of our dependence upon the Holy Spirit by almost everybody; but how little is this dependence realized. Christians, and even ministers, go to work without it. I mourn to be obliged to say that the ranks of the ministry seem to be filling up with those who do not possess it. May the Lord have mercy upon us! Will this last remark be thought uncharitable? If so, let the report of the Home Missionary Society, for example, 'be heard upon this subject. Surely, something is wrong.
An average of five souls won to Christ by each missionary of that society in a year's toil certainly indicates a most alarming weakness in the ministry. Have all, or even a majority of these ministers, been endued with the power which Christ promised? If not, why not? But, if they have, is this all that Christ intended by His promise? In a former chapter I have said that the reception of this enduement of power is instantaneous. I do not mean to assert that in every instance the recipient was aware of the precise time at which the power commenced to work mightily within him. It may have commenced like the dew, and increased to a shower. I have alluded to the report of the Home Missionary Society. Not that I suppose that the brethren employed by that society are exceptionally weak in faith and power as laborers for God. On the contrary, from my acquaintance with some of them, I regard them as among our most devoted and self-denying laborers in the cause of God. This fact illustrates the alarming weakness that pervades every branch of the Church, both clergy and laity. Are we not weak? Are we not criminally weak? It has been suggested that by writing thus I should offend the ministry and the Church. I cannot believe that the statement of so palpable a fact will be regarded as an offense. The fact is, there is something sadly defective in the education of the ministry and of the Church. The ministry is weak because the Church is weak. And then, again, the Church is kept weak by the weakness of the ministry. Oh! for a conviction of the necessity of this enduement of power and faith in the promise of Christ.