Sermon 2111. Filling With the Spirit and Drunkenness With Wine
DELIVERED ON LORD'S DAY EVENING, MAY 26, 1889,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess. But be filled with the Spirit." Ephesians 5:18.
WHILE I was reading to you just now, in the fourth and fifth chapters of Paul's letter to the Ephesian Believers, I couldnot help feeling that you could little understand the elevation and the purity of the precepts of the Apostle, as they musthave appeared to the inhabitants of such a wicked city as Ephesus. When first read, these precepts must have seemed like anunearthly light.
We have now a public sentiment which condemns drunkenness, lying, and many other vices which were scarcely considered worthyof censure by that degraded people. Christianity had not affected public sentiment at the time-that sentiment was distinctlyimmoral. The sin of fornication was scarcely judged to be sinful. Theft was most common, as, indeed, it is in the East tothis day. Lying was universal and only blamed if committed so clumsily as to be found out.
I may say of drunkenness, that, although it was not regarded as a commendable thing, yet it was looked upon as a failing ofgreat minds, not to be too much condemned. Alexander the Great, as you know, died through drink. He offered a prize on oneoccasion to those who could drink the most and in that famous drinking-bout, large numbers of his chieftains and nobilitydied in the attempt to rival others. Even of such a man as Socrates it is said (though I know not with what truth) that hewas famous for the quantity that he could drink.
The stories of the feasts of that age I would be ashamed to repeat. And you certainly would not have the patience to hearthem. Drunkenness, and gluttony, and such like were the common faults both of the great and of the small. For while some hadno opportunity for gluttony-for they did not get enough to eat-they only failed to be gluttons for that reason and not fromprinciple. The Apostle sets before his new converts, not a modified system of right and wrong, but the purest virtues andthe most heavenly graces.
As the ages have rolled on, we have seen the wisdom of holding up from the first an elevated standard, both of doctrine andpractice. We must not bring the standard down to the men but the men up to the standard. We may not, with the design of makingconverts more rapidly, alter the pure Word with which our Lord has entrusted us.
Brethren, I am not going to speak to you tonight about the sin of drunkenness. Many of you feel an intense aversion to thatdegrading vice. If there are any here who require a homily upon drunkenness, they have only to let conscience speak and itwill tell them how base a sin it is. If they do not know the shamefulness of their wicked habit, there are plenty round aboutthem who will let them know in indignant language. Perhaps of all the sins that are rife in our country today, drunkennessbrings the most present misery upon mankind.
A very large proportion of the want from which people suffer is due to wasteful excess in drink. You know it is so, if youare intelligent observers. Other sins may seem to go deeper into the soul, and are more subject to punishment by our laws.But for creating widespread suffering, suffering brought upon the innocent, upon the wife, and upon the child- this vice raisesits head above all others. This throngs our workhouses, fills our jails, and crowds our lunatic asylums- yes-and fattens ourcemeteries with carcasses of men and women who die before their time.
This is the Moloch of the nineteenth century. I am not going to preach about that one particular vice tonight, as though Iwould saw off a big limb from the tree of evil. It is my custom to lay the axe at the root of the tree, aiming my blows atthe very nature which bears this evil branch. Still, this is a very far spreading limb. And, as I have seen the woodmen loppingthe tree before they cut it down, there will be no waste of time if I aim a blow or two at this huge branch of the tree ofevil, this bough of drunkenness.
It is far too common to this day. But, thank God, through the efforts of temperance friends and, I hope, through the powerof the Spirit of God upon many, it is not as it used to be. And it is regarded now in a very different light from that inwhich it was viewed even by Christian people years ago.
The Apostle has been pleased, in this passage, guided by the Holy Spirit, to put in apposition and, in some respects, in opposition,a prohibition and a command-"Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess. But be filled with the Spirit." He had a reason forputting these two things together. There is a very, very, very wide and deep abyss between being drunk with wine and beingfilled with the Spirit. Drunkenness is down, down, down to the depths of the brute, and far lower still-fullness with theSpirit is up, up, up, to the very heights of God.
How did it happen that in the same verse, without a break, Paul should put the two together-the prohibition and the command?There was a reason and a very good reason, for this conjunction of things so far apart in character. I think that I see tworeasons. The first is because there is a parallel between them-a degree of similarity amid their infinite difference. Secondly,he so placed them because there is a contrast between them of a very striking kind. The contrast is as instructive as theparallel. "Be not drunk with wine." But hasten to the very opposite extreme and, "Be filled with the
I. First, LET ME DRAW THE PARALLEL. Why do men become drunk with wine, or other alcoholic liquors? There are several reasons.I shall not mention them all, for they are innumerable and many of them too ridiculous to be mentioned in a sermon.
One motive is to find in wine an exhilaration. It is a feast day. Let us have wine, that we may warm our hearts and laughand sing and make merry. It is a marriage day. It is a birthday. It is a royal holiday. It is something out of the common-bringforth the wine cup! So say the sons of men. When the man has drunk what he ought to think enough, feeling already a littleelevated, he must drink yet more, with the same view. He would rise higher and higher and higher and be filled with glee andjollity and make uproarious laughter and be lord of misrule for the day.
Strong drink is taken to exhilarate. And for a while it has that effect. How some men are carried away when intoxicated! Howlifted up they are! What a great man the least becomes! What a Divine the man who never looked into his Bible! What a philosopherthe boor that does not know his letters! What a lord of creation the loon who has not two shirts! What a hero, every way,the coward who is afraid of his shadow! He is exhilarated when he has taken wine.
I grant you, that it is natural that we should all wish to be somewhat exhilarated. We like to have stirring times in whichwe do not lie still and stagnant-we would have our whole nature stirred with pleasure. We like to have our high-days and holidays,even as others. "Now," says the Apostle, "that you may enjoy the most exquisite exhilaration, be filled with the Spirit."When the Spirit of God comes into a man, with extraordinary power, so as to fill his soul, He brings to his soul a joy, adelight, an elevation of mind, a delightful and healthful excitement which lifts him up above the dull dead level of ordinarylife and causes him to rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
This is safe delight and therefore I commend it to you. It is safe delight, because it is holy delight-holy because it isthe Holy Spirit that works it in you-and He makes you to delight in everything that is pleasing to the Holy God. Seek no longerthe excitement which comes from the flowing bowl. Here is something more safe, more suitable, more sacred, more ennobling-"Befilled with the Spirit."
I know there are some Christians who never have much joy. You remember one, an old acquaintance of yours, the elder brother.His experience was expressed to his father in grumbling tones-"Lo, these many years do I serve you, neither transgressed Iat any time your commandment: and yet you never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends." Far too many Christiansare of that order. Hear what they say-"I have always been regular in my attendance on the means of Divine Grace, have readmy Bible, have acted consistently with my profession. Yet I know nothing of
delight in God."
Now, my dear Friend, take this advice, "Be filled with the Spirit." You have, as yet, received only a few drops from the Divineshower of His sacred influences. Ask for the rivers, the floods, the torrents of His sacred power. Let the heavenly floodscome in and fill you up to the brim-then will you have a joy which shall rival the bliss of those who are before the Throneof God.
Furthermore, I have known people take wine with the idea of being strengthened by it. There are such individuals still alivein the light of this advanced century. Many of the best physicians tell us that there is no strength whatever in strong drink.At any rate, whatever strength there is in the drink, it does not give any strength to the man. I am not going into physicalor metaphysical discussions tonight. There is no doubt that many indulge in wine to an extreme, with the object of gettingstrength from it. I believe their action to be founded on a very grave mistake.
But to you Christian people, instruction comes in here, "Be not drunk with wine," with the view of gaining strength from it-"butbe filled with the Spirit," for the Spirit of God can give you strength to the highest degree. He can gird you with spiritualstrength-the strength of faith. And there is no strength like it-for all things are possible to him that believes. He cangive you the strength that wrestles in prayer, that lays hold upon the angel of the Covenant and will not let him go, excepthe grant a blessing.
The Spirit of God gives the strength to suffer and the strength to labor. The strength to receive and the strength to giveout again. The strength to hope, the strength to love, the strength to conquer temptation, the strength to perform holy action.When you are filled with the Spirit, how strong you are! There is no influence about us for good when the Holy Spirit hasdeparted. But when a man gets the Spirit of God to fill him to the full, His presence has a mystic power about it. Thoughsuch a man tarries but for a short time in a place, he leaves a savor behind him that will not be forgotten.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, whether you are preachers, or teachers, or parents, or persons engaged in the service of God inyour ordinary labor-if you want strength with which to bring glory to the Most High-be filled with the Spirit. Oh, that wehad in our midst many that were strong because of this!
In the next place, wine has been taken by a great many and taken to excess, to embolden them. And it does embolden them toa very high degree. A man under the influence of liquor will do what he would never think of doing at any other time-he willbe rash, foolhardy, and daring to the last degree. We have heard of foreign nations whose troops have been so afraid of thefight that they have dosed them with strong drink to induce them to march into the battle.
We used to hear the expression, "Dutch courage," which meant the boldness which came of ardent spirits-though I do not supposethe Dutch had more of it than the English. No doubt many a man under the influence of drink has risked his life and performedwhat looked like feats of valor, when, indeed, he was simply beyond himself and out of his right mind, or he would not havebeen so foolhardy. Wine does embolden many men in a wrong way.
Beloved Friends, we are not to make ourselves ridiculous with fanaticism-but bold with the Spirit of Truth. "Be not drunkwith wine, wherein is riot," in order to be emboldened to do anything. But be filled with the Spirit of the living God, whereinis quietness, and comes a courage which is to be admired and not derided. Oh, how brave a man is when he is filled with theSpirit of God!
Then, knowing a thing to be right, he resolves to do it, and he never counts the cost. He has counted that cost long ago andreckoned that the light suffering that would come by doing right was no longer worthy to be compared with the glory of beingfound a faithful servant of God. When a man has little of the Spirit of God he begins calculating the pence. "Will it pay?The thing is right enough," he says, "but then, I cannot afford it. I know that what I am doing is wrong. But, still, I couldnot give it up. It would involve too much sacrifice."
That man has little, if any, of the Spirit of God. For the Spirit destroys selfishness and all that love of gain which eatsas does a canker. A man in whom the Spirit of God dwells abundantly says, "I shall never think, from this day forth, whatmay be to me the consequences of any course of action which the Lord, my God, commands me to follow. If it is right in thesight of God, I will do it. If God approves it, so shall it be. But if it is wrong, not a world made of gold, if it couldall be mine, should tempt me to parley for a moment."
Be filled with the Spirit. It will make you bold in the cause of the Lord Jesus. How bold the martyrs were! How bravely humblewomen were likely to speak up for Christ! How slaves, peasants, persons of no education, faced the Roman governors-yes, stoodbefore the Roman Emperor, himself, and were not in the least afraid! When they cried, "To the lions with them!" they flinchednot from so cruel an end. They were a brave people, those early Christians, for they were filled with the Spirit.
And our men and women in England, in the days of Mary-how bold they were when filled with the Spirit! The Holy Spirit is thecreator of heroes. If the Spirit of God is gone, we are a cowardly set. But if the Spirit of God shall come
down upon us, as I hope He may, then every man and woman here, however timid by nature, will be able to bear witness for Christ,according as Christ shall call him to that work. O my Beloved, for whom I long and pray that you may be an army for the Lord,"Be filled with the Spirit."
Wine has been also taken in large quantities for the destruction of pain, for the drowning of misery, for support in the agonyof a cruel death. Solomon says, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish and wine unto those that are of heavyhearts. Let him drink and forget his poverty and remember his misery no more." It was an old custom, that when a man was doomedand about to die, they gave him some narcotic cup that he might be somewhat stupefied and suffer less.
There was some mercy in this, though truly, "the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." No doubt many persons have mostfoolishly taken to drink in order to forget their grief and assuage their sorrow. We must earnestly condemn such wicked conduct,but still, so it is. And the Apostle puts it, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess. But be filled with the Spirit."For that will remove depression and sustain under anguish in a most wonderful way. Indeed, in a holy and perfect way.
If you want to forget your misery, remember to apply for a sweet visitation of the Comforter. If there has lately happenedsome great calamity to you and you are saying, "How shall I bear it?" the answer is, "Be filled with the Spirit of God." Hereshall you drink oblivion of the heavy trial. Or, better still, you shall forget the sharpness of the trial, in your knowledgethat it works patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, which makes us not ashamed. O beloved Friend, do notkick at the trial, be willing to bear it. Get more of the indwelling of the sacred Comforter. "Be filled with the Spirit."
Perhaps this may be a direction to some dear Friend here who has lately been called to tread a more trying path than usual."How shall I bear it, Sir? How shall I bear it? I never was so tried before." Seek earnestly for more of the Spirit of Godthan you ever had before. He will give you in proportion to your necessity. He is fully equal to every emergency. His consolationscan balance your tribulations. Wait upon Him for the comfort of the Spirit. The day may come when you will glory in your infirmitiesand afflictions, because God used them to make room for more of His Spirit to dwell in you.
I am certain that if you have to go home tonight to lie for the next twenty years upon a sick bed-and certain of God's saintshave not been off the sick bed for all that time. Or if all your property is gone and you are called to endure poverty duringthe rest of your pilgrimage. Or if you shall hear of the death of the dearest one you have-if the Holy Spirit is but givenin a larger measure to you-you will have more happiness and more content and be a better man by reason of all this afflictionthat has come upon you.
God grant that you may find it to be true that you may forget your poverty and misery and discover no gall in your most bittercup! May you drink deep draughts of the joy of the Lord till you are filled with the Spirit of God! Touch not the wine cup,lest in this you dishonor the Holy Spirit, who by His own power is able to cheer your heavy heart.
Again, I think a fifth reason why some have been drinking is to arouse themselves. They feel flat, they say. Ah, ah! If Iwere lecturing tonight, I could give you some of those abundant excuses for drinking which tipplers so readily invent. Youcan always find reasons, such as they are, when you want to pursue a career of self-indulgence. You may find them of everycolor-black, white, red, blue and gray, at every time, every day. The most unreasonable reasons will come cropping up if youwant to do what your flesh desires.
But there are some who feel, "I want a pick-me-up. I am rather down, seedy, dull. I want something that will brace me, sothat I may be up to the mark." By the time the man has had enough of his stimulant he is worse than before. Many have mosteffectually knocked themselves down in their desire to set themselves up. But, Christian man, if ever you feel dull, "be filledwith the Spirit." "If ever I feel dull!" cries one, "Why, I often do, even at this time I have come into the House of Prayer,and do not feel as if I could worship."
Well, then, go where life and strength are to be had. One of our Brethren observed to me the other day (I do not think hemeant to flatter me), "I often go into the Tabernacle feeling that I cannot worship as I should. But," said he, "you alwaysseem to be lively and all right." I thought-Ah, dear Brother! You do not know much about me, or you would not praise me. ForI often feel the reverse of lively-but I cannot bear to have it so, lest others should be injured by it.
There is not a more dull or stupid head than mine in this place. But I have a remedy and I fly to it-I wish you would alldo so. I go to Him-you know His glorious name-He is the Resurrection and the Life. I look to Him for quickening and it comes.May that be an example to some of you whenever you feel dull! Do not say, "I cannot pray today. I cannot sing today." No-goto the Lord to help you to present acceptable worship.
It would be a great relief to me if I could be excused from preaching to you when I do not feel like preaching. Yet, it wouldnot be a blessing to me, for it would encourage me in dullness and that would be a curse. If you do not pray except when youfeel like praying, you will not pray much, nor pray when you most need it. My Brothers and Sisters, when you do not feel likepraying, you ought to pray all the more and go to the Lord to help you to pray.
When one does not feel like doing the Lord's work, he must say, "Out with you, Mr. Sluggard! You must get to your work. Stiryourself up." And here is the hallowed power which will effectually help you-"Be filled with the Spirit." Oh, that the Spiritof God would make us feel what poor creatures we are, and what a great Savior we have! If He would make us feel the love ofGod shed abroad in our hearts, we would burn with love to the souls of men! If He would make us rejoice in pardon bought withblood, see our justification and realize it-if we could feel the Spirit of God melting us to tenderness or bracing us to holybravery-then it would be that we are refreshed and stimulated after the best manner.
We, then, would have found the true arousing-and there would be no reaction after it, no falling back into a deeper depression.I wish that those who feel dull tonight may be so filled with the Spirit that they will not be content to go to sleep tillthey have spoken to a poor sinner about salvation and eternal life.
Once more, many men, no doubt, become drunkards from love of what is called good fellowship. "Look," said a wife to her husband,"how can you drink at the rate you do? Why, a hog would not do so." The wretched man replied, "No, I do not suppose that itwould. It would be more sensible than I am, no doubt. But," he said, "if there was another hog at the other side of the troughthat said, 'I drink to your health,' this hog would be obliged to do the same. And if there were half-a-dozen of them togetherand they kept on toasting one another, I expect the hog would get as drunk as I am."
Sad are the effects of evil fellowship. The fellowship in which people indulge, and which they think it necessary to stimulatethemselves by drink, has led many into drunkenness. Now see the beauty of this expression, "Be not drunk with wine, whereinis excess. But be filled with the Spirit." When the Spirit of God comes upon Christian men, what fellowship they have withone another, what delight they take in holy conversation, what joy there is in meeting together for solemn worship!
I do not wonder that it is added immediately after, "Speaking to yourselves in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singingand making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of ourLord Jesus Christ." See the effect of being filled with the Spirit? It brings a fellowship of holy music, sacred gratitudeand heavenly thanksgiving. It makes us feel concerning the House of Prayer-
"I have been there and still would go,
It is like a little Heaven below." It makes us sing with rapture-
"Hail, you days of solemn meeting!
Hail, you days of praise and prayer!
Far from earthly scenes retreating,
In your blessings we would share.
In your blessings we would share."
The Lord grant us Divine Grace to seek our fellowship where He finds it, with holy men and holy women. That among them injoyous fellowship we may rejoice and praise His name.
II. I cannot stay longer on this parallel, I have already been too long-now, LET ME POINT OUT THE CONTRAST. I do not thinkthat Paul was running the parallel only, for it would dishonor the work of the Holy Spirit to think that His operations couldbe in all things likened to the influence of alcohol. No, the Divine inspiration far excels anything that earthly excitementscan produce.
"Be not drunk with wine, wherein is riot. But be filled with the Spirit." The contrast is at the very beginning. For it iswritten, "Be filled with the Spirit." Wine does not fill. No man is satisfied with all that he drinks. He is still thirsty.His thirst is often increased by that which was supposed to quench it. The Spirit of God has a satisfying, satiating, never
nauseating influence upon the heart. It fills it to the very brim, until the man delights himself in God and cries, "My cupruns over."
Then the saint becomes like the tribe of which we read, "O Naphtali, satisfied with favor and full with the blessing of theLord." Wine ministers to lust and lust is a burning sense of want. But the Spirit of the Lord brings fullness with it anda perfect rest of heart.
"Wine creates riot," says the Apostle. And that is the second point of contrast. When men are drunken, what a noise they willmake! They are ready for any disturbance. But the Holy Spirit, when you are full of Him, makes you quiet with a deep, unutterablepeace. I do not say that you will not sing and rejoice, but there will be a deep calm within your spirit. I wish that someChristian people were filled with the Spirit, if there were no other effect produced upon them but that of peace, self-possession,restfulness and freedom from passion.
Our friends, the members of the Society of Friends, who speak much of the Spirit of God, whatever virtues they may not have,certainly have this one-that they are, usually, a very quiet, unexcitable, peaceable people. We want more Christians of thissort. We can put up with all the uproar of the Salvation Army, if it comes in very deed from warm hearts and genuine zeal.I will not find any fault with them for a little noise, though the less of it the better. If your genius goes that way, singunto the Lord and blow your trumpet.
But at the same time, the solid people in the Church are those who possess their souls, who go about their business, sufferand labor with an inward peace which is not disturbed. They have a holy calm which is not ruffled. Do not create riot, butabide in holy peace by being filled with the Spirit. May the Lord keep you in perfect peace with your minds stayed on Him.
The next point of contrast is that wine causes contention. When men are drunken with it, how ready they are to quarrel! Theymake a harmless word to be an insult. Many a man, when full of wine, will bear nothing at all-he is ready to fight anybodyand everybody-he cannot have his fill of fighting. But when you are filled with the Spirit, what is the result? Why, peacefulsubmission. Listen to this-"Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your ownhusbands, as unto the Lord."
Human nature likes rule. But the Spirit of God works submissiveness of mind. Instead of wanting to be first, the truly spiritualman will be satisfied to be last, if he can thus glorify God. That man who must be always king of the castle is not filledwith the Spirit of God. But he that is willing to be a doormat, on which the saints may wipe their feet, is great in the kingdomof Heaven. Be filled with the Spirit and you will soon submit to inconvenience, misapprehension, and even exaction for thesake of doing good to those who are out of the way and in the hope of edifying the people of God. Wine causes riot. The Spiritcauses peace. Drunkenness causes contention. The Spirit of God causes submission.
Furthermore, drunkenness makes men foolish. But the Spirit of God makes them wise. I am keeping to the connection of my text.Read the fifteenth verse, "See, then, that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise." The drunken man cannot walkat all, because he has not made up his mind as to which way he will go. He attempts to go two ways and ends up staggeringtill he falls. The man filled with the Spirit has a very definite idea of which way he is going. He knows the right way andhe deliberately chooses it. He perceives the strait and narrow way and he steadfastly follows it-for God has made him wise.Folly clings to the wine cup. But wisdom comes with the Holy Spirit.
Drunkenness wastes time. But the Spirit of God, when we are filled with Him, makes us save it. Read the sixteenth verse-"Redeemingthe time, because the days are evil. Therefore be you not unwise but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be notdrunk with wine, wherein is riot." How much of time is wasted over the unholy cup! But the child of God, when the Spirit ofGod enters into him, makes a conscience of his odd moments and leisure minutes. As goldsmiths sweep up the very dust of theirshops, that no filings of the precious metal may be lost, so does the Christian man, when filled with the Spirit, use hisbrief intervals. It is wonderful what may be done in odd minutes. Little spaces of time may be made to yield a great harvestof usefulness and a rich revenue of glory to God. May we be filled with the Spirit in that respect!
In the next place, drunkenness makes men forget their relationships, but the Holy Spirit makes us remember them. The restof the chapter goes on to mention our domestic conditions as wives, husbands, children, fathers, servants, masters. The drunkenman is bad in every relation and the drunken woman is, if possible, worse. The drunken man ought
never to be a husband, but he sometimes wears that name, and then he has a power to inflict misery which he is sure to useto the utmost. The drunken man will often do towards his wife what I will not trust my lips to speak of-it would be a libelon the brutes of the stall, or the beasts of the jungle, to liken him to them.
A drunken father! Is he worth calling "father"? And it is even worse, if worse can be, when it is a drunken wife or a drunkenmother. A special infamy hovers around womanhood soaked in liquor-relationships, in such instances, are quite forgotten underthe influence of the accursed drink. Selfishness eats up the very heart of those who otherwise might have been the objectsof reverence and love. The contrast to this is the fact that when filled with the Spirit, the husband is the most tender ofhusbands, the wife the best of wives.
No master is so just as the man that is mastered by the Spirit of God! No servant so diligent as he that serves the Lord.By the Holy Spirit, our relationships become ennobled. And what was but a commonplace position wears a glory of holiness aboutit. We are transfigured by the Spirit of God, and we transfigure everything we touch. Dear Friends, you see that the contrastis a very vivid one. Look into it very narrowly, and it will repay the inspection.
Lastly, excess of drink leaves a man weak and exposed to peril. But to be filled with the Spirit!-listen to what comes ofit according to the tenth verse of the next chapter-"Finally, my Brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against fleshand blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritualwickedness in high places.
"Therefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all, tostand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth." When filled with the Spirit the man is no longer naked,like the drunkard. He no longer lies upon the ground in danger as one overcome with wine. He is no longer open to the attackof adversaries, as one who sleeps through strong drink. God has made him strong and armed him-and now he goes forth to fightin the service of his Master. I think that you will see the contrast. It is as evident as the parallel.
I shall keep you no longer except to say this. My beloved Christian Friends, our heart's desire is that the members of thisChurch and, indeed, all the members of Christ's mystical body, should be filled with the Spirit. Oh, that you may come absolutelyunder the sway of the Holy Spirit and may abide under His most powerful inspirations! Do you ask how this is to be? First,reverently regard Him. Worship Him. Speak not of the Holy Spirit as "it." Talk not of the Third Person of the adorable Trinityas an influence. He is very God of very God. God has guarded the sanctity of the Holy Spirit by causing a certain sin to beespecially condemned and unpardonable-the sin against the Holy Spirit. Honor Him much, then-worship Him and adore Him andlook to Him for help.
Next, do not grieve Him. If there is anything that would grieve the Holy Spirit, let it grieve you, so that you may keep clearof it. Put away every thought, idea, principle and act that is not agreeable to His mind. Neither live in sin, nor triflewith evil, nor fall into error, nor neglect the reading of the Word of God, nor fail to obey the commands of the Lord. Donot grieve the Comforter but welcome Him as your best Friend. Open your heart to His influences. Watch each day to hear Hismonitions. Pray every morning, "Holy Spirit, speak with me, bedew me, enlighten me, set me on fire, dwell in me." And duringthe day lament to yourself if you do not feel the Spirit of God moving in you and ask why it is. "Has He left me? Is He grievedwith me?" Say-
"Return, O holy Dove! return,
Sweet Messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made You mourn,
And drove You from my breast." As you welcome Him when He comes, so be fit for Him to come to you and dwell in you. Be clean,for He is pure. Do not expect the Holy Spirit to dwell in a foul chamber. You cannot make that chamber like Solomon's temple,wherein the cedar wood was overlaid with pure gold. But you can take care that it is well cleansed. Only the pure in heartshall see God. Oh, for a clean life, a clean tongue, a clean hand, a clean ear, a clean eye, a clean heart! God give you theseand then you shall be ready for the Spirit of God to dwell in you.
And when He does come, learn this thing. If you would have Him fill you, obey Him. If you believe that an impulse is fromthe Spirit of God, follow it out. Never trifle with conscience-especially you that are beginning life. Mind you set the tunefor the whole of your life by the tenderness of your consciences at the first. When I was a lad I learned a certain
Truth of God, which my friends and relatives did not know-but I had to follow my conscience. It looked very egotistical andwayward for a lad to set up his opinion against older people. But I could not help it.
I saw Believer's Baptism in the Bible and therefore the highest Law compelled me to be obedient to that ordinance. I lookedover the matter again and again, to see if it was not so-and I became more and more assured as to the mind of the Lord. ThereforeI was not disobedient. It is true that it was suggested to me that if I did follow out my views, I should have to cut outquite another career for myself from the one anticipated. But I could not help that. I must do the Lord's will, whatever mightbe the consequences.
From that day to this I have never had cause to regret my youthful decision. The trial was severe at the time, but it wasbeneficial to my whole character. It taught me to follow the Truth of God wherever it might lead me and to expect the Spiritof God to abide with me in so doing Since then I have often come to a place where interest has gone one way and principlehas gone another. But it has not cost me half-a-minute's thought which way should be my way. I must follow what I believeto be right and true, and preach what I believe to be God's Word. And I will, by God's Grace, do so, whether men hear or whetherthey ignore.
Young Men, young Women, mind you begin straight. Do not begin with truckling and making compromises. If you take your hatsoff to the devil today, you will have to take your shoes off to him soon. And by-and-by you will become utterly his slaves.Be strong for the Truth of God. Quit yourselves like men. Stand fast for God and holiness. You will be filled with the Spiritif you are obedient to Him.
If you are filled with the Spirit of God and wish to retain His gracious Presence, speak about Him. Note this, "Be not drunkwith wine, wherein is riot. But be filled with the Spirit; speaking." That is a curious word to follow so soon. The Holy Spiritis not a dumb Spirit. He sets us speaking. "Speaking to yourselves." It is a poor audience. But still it is a choice audienceif you speak to your Brethren. "Speaking to yourselves in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melodyin your heart to the Lord."
Beloved, when the Spirit of God fills you, you will not only speak, but sing. Let the holy power have free course-do not quenchthe Spirit. If you feel like singing all the while, sing all the while and let others know that there is a joy in the possessionof the Spirit of God which the world does not understand but which you are feeling and to which you wish to bear witness.
Oh, that the Spirit of God would come upon this entire Church and fill you all to overflowing! May the members of other Churchesthat are here tonight take home fire with them and set their Churches on flame! The Lord bless you, for Jesus Christ's sake!Amen.