“I will manifest myself to Him.” John 14:21
We have been accustomed to limit this promised manifestation to the Pentecostal gift of the Holy Ghost. It has direct reference to that. But is this the only manifestation that the believer may have? Surely it implies, “As thy day so shall thy strength be,” — renewed . strength; “They that wait on the Lord shall renew or exchange their strength.” New, fresh manifestations all along the way which “shineth brighter and brighter unto the perfect day.” Dr. Keen said after “ten years in the land, camping near the crossing, there came a manifestation of the Spirit which opened a glorious sunrise epoch.”
William McDonald said:
“A manifestation of the Spirit last year will no more support a soul this year than air breathed yesterday will nourish the flame of life today. The sun which warmed us last week must shine again this week — a notion of old warmth is a very cold notion. We must have fresh food daily; and though we need not a new Christ, we need perpetually new displays of His love and power. A present fullness can no more satisfy the soul for all coming time than filling our stomachs once with food forever prevents hunger. Suppose a man, after eating a hearty meal, concludes, because he feels no present want he shall never hunger more. How long would that impression last? Before twenty-four hours had passed nature would teach him another lesson. The same is true of this completeness; it by no means excludes all growth in grace.” So, too, it may be said of past manifestations of Christ to the heart, they by no means preclude the necessity of future manifestations.
After the crisis of entire sanctification is passed, the soul finds itself confronted by special emergencies, trials, testings, temptations, severe Satanic onslaughts, and opportunities for service. It is our privilege at such times to seek and obtain, as suggested by Dr. Keen, by simple faith in Jesus’ promise, “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (a promise which is not exhausted by regenerating and sanctifying grace), a new anointing or manifestation of the Spirit to the heart which shall specially strengthen to meet such emergencies. Thus the disciples were led, after they had received the sanctifying baptism with the Holy Ghost, at a time of persecution, to seek by prayer, a new manifestation of God’s favor and help. They sought not in vain — “The place was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,” and in the strength of that new fresh manifestation preached God’s message fearlessly.
Alfred Cookman said: “I can understand, how subsequent to our sanctification in response to our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit may come in an extraordinary degree, and we be filled with the Spirit.”
Speaking of his experience at Pennsgrove Campmeeting, after the Holy Ghost had been given as his Sanctifier, he said: “I found myself drawn out for more of God. I could scarcely define my feelings, but there was a going out after (more of) God. When surrounded one day with a few Christians, struggling up to enjoy God as never before, this suggestion came: ‘You have been trying to get up, are you willing to sink down?’ ‘Yes,’ I answered, ‘and away;’ if I may find him thus, let me sink in the depths.’ Then I began to feel I was going down, and with this there came a realization of love, as I had never known before, and it filled my body, soul and entire being. Oh, how I loved his children and His Word! I asked, ‘What does this mean?’ ‘God is love.'”
This experience from one so eminent in the ranks of holiness proves sanctification is not the end of attainment, but just the condition of realizing fuller and more glorious manifestations of God’s love and power; and that, not only once, but continuously through life as times of need arise. In our eagerness to avoid extremism and fanaticism we have become too little interested in sane and rational advancement. We have been fearful of desiring more love after “Perfect Love” lest we should be classed among the lukewarm and backslidden. If to hunger for more love after perfect love is an evidence of a backslidden state then inspiration is in error in commanding those believers who were steadfast to advance in love (2 Pet. 3:i8. 20th Cent. Test.). Thank God, to hunger ever so much for more love after the crisis of entire sanctification is no evidence of spiritual decline, but rather of a healthy condition of soul.
S. A. Keen, in a letter to his wife pictured the legitimate aspirations of a holy soul for spiritual advancement:
“I have no doubt as to being saved, and filled with the Spirit, and Christ formed within, the hope of glory. Yet, there are some of the Fletcherian touches of Christ’s likeness, the holy abandon of Bowen, and the spiritual oneness with God of Mahan, that I want. I seem to have more of the dynamics of the Spirit’s presence than of His assimilating power. I have blessedly the power of Christ, but not so fully developed the mind of Christ. It keeps coming to me that all the fullness of God is something richer and in advance (as to degree) of the fullness of God, and that to be partakers of the Divine nature is something beyond (in degree) human nature wholly sanctified. Don’t think that I am becoming a mystic; but I see something along that line like men as trees walking, and there is at least a deep drawing of the Spirit upward that means something for me farther on. All this is felt just now, when I am the best saved I have ever been. It is a kind of post-graduate course in love,, gentleness, heavenly-mindedness.”
In the same strain Bishop Asbury wrote in his journal after being fined $20 for preaching the Gospel:
“And although my peace is not broken neither is any wrong temper or desire indulged yet I lament the want of more spirituality. My soul, like the rising flame would continually ascend to God.”
“The old earth receives a fresh baptism of life daily. Every night the life giving dew is distilled. The moisture rises during the day from the ocean, and lake, and river, undergoes chemical changes in God’s laboratory and returns nightly to refresh the earth. It brings to all nature new life with rare beauty and fills the air with the exquisite fragrance drawn from flowers and plants. Its power to purify and revitalize is peculiar and remarkable. It distills only in the night when the world is at rest. It can come only on clear, calm nights. Both cloud and wind prevent and disturb its working. It comes quietly and works noiselessly. But the changes effected are radical and immeasurable. Literally it gives to the earth a nightly baptism of new life And that too let me say to you, is His plan for our day by day life.” — S. D. Gordon
The (sanctifying) baptism with the Holy Ghost need only be received once in life (unless the receiver backslides), but the overflowing fullness may be received whenever needed. In Acts 1:5 we read, “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost,” while in Acts 4:31 we read, they were filled with the Holy Ghost. “We may have a refilling every day.” This overflow of the Spirit through us is conditioned on specific prayer in special emergencies. Paul wrote in his Philippian letter (1:19) of a trial turning out to his salvation through prayer and the “Supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” What supply of the Spirit? Manifestly not conviction, regeneration or sanctification. Paul knew the Spirit in these operations. The teaching here emphatically is that none can get such a supply of the Spirit as to annul the necessity of further supplies, but that as the special needs arise, in answer to special prayer, there are special supplies of the Spirit. Glory to God for this gracious provision!
“In the realm of Spiritual life there are unnumbered and indescribable degrees of advancement to be made in knowledge, in courage, in prayer, in persuasiveness, in meekness, in patience and in the everyday and everyway reflection about us of the life that is within us. In holiness there are establishments, intensifications, both of the earnestness of our consecration and the ardor of our love, and increased wisdom, too, in our testimony and in our ways and means of spreading the truth, and an ever-growing force in impressing holiness upon others, together with a constant replenishing of our own being with fresh supplies of the Spirit of Christ.” — Joseph Smith
The writer, while visiting a brother in the “Breech Mechanism” department of our Government Navy Yard at the National Capital, observed a mechanic operating a compressed air drill. Just above the drill was a tank full of lubricating oil; this was conveyed to the drill by means of a small pipe, so arranged that as the drill wended its way through the hard steel breech of one of Uncle Sam’s thirteen-inch guns, drip, drip, drip, the oil fell upon it, making its progress as far as possible, easy, through that hard substance. We thought of our march through life, so analogous in its hard places to the drills — going through the hard steel; and of the tank of lubricating oil so faintly typical of God’s inexhaustible ocean of grace, the soul’s lubricant; and of the apostle’s language:
“The love of God is shed abroad, in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, or poured out” (R. V. Margin), glory to God! the oil of His grace so arranged that as we confront the hard places, drip, drip, drip, the anointing, refreshing oil, induced by prayer and faith, is “poured out” on our hearts, strengthening them for the hardest conflict. Dearly beloved professor, how long since you had a conscious manifestation from your Lord? God help you to see your privilege and to know you need not live on old manifestations.