THE GIFT OF THE HOLY GHOST.
There are two ways of proving the existence of anything. There may be more but there are at least two. The only absolute way of resolving any doubts we may have of the existence, say, of the City of New York , is to go there and find out for ourselves. The expense, however, of such a trip may be quite prohibitive, certainly if your financial condition is anything like mine. What is to be done about it? Must our doubts forever remain unsolved? Not necessarily. There is one thing we can do without crossing the Atlantic at all. We can assume the existence of New York and at once begin to live and act on that assumption. We might write the Governor of the City asking him to send us a guide book. Presumably he would be quite pleased to do it. We might get into touch with the principal banker of the city and with the President of the Chamber of Commerce. In all sorts of ways we can prove to ourselves to our complete satisfaction and beyond a shadow of a doubt that a city called New York does actually exist, in spite of the apocryphal stories we have heard concerning its magnitude and its marvels. The thing to do is either to set sail for New York and keep on sailing until you arrive, or to assume the existence of the city and at once begin to live and act on that assumption, and hey, presto! You have a faith and an experience which nobody can well gainsay.
It is even so in this all important matter of our religion. By all means let us read as many books as we can about the Christian religion and about Jesus Christ. There were never so many books written about Him since the world began as there are to-day. But the great thing is to assume His existence and to to live and act on that assumption.
“O make but trial of His love;
Experience will decide
How blest are they, and only they,
Who in His truth confide.”
We must allow reason, argument and evidence to take us as far as they can take us. We must use them to the full, but at length we are bound to say, “So far can you go but no farther.” Sooner or later in religion, as in science, there must be a leap in the dark and the result will affirm or negative the validity of the experiment.
After all, Jesus Christ is not a mythical Creation. God became man in the person of Jesus Christ and lived and dwelt among us so that we might touch and handle the Word of Life, and having convinced men, by His earthly presence, of his reality and power, He died, rose again, and came to abide with us forever in His spirit. That is the whole significance of Whitsuntide - God in us - a power communicated to us which is adequate to any demands we care to make upon it.
Think what a difference Pentecost made - a difference expressing itself at once in terms of speech, passion and power - three great requisites for the progress of any movement even to-day. After the Resurrection Jesus breathed on his disciples and said, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” St. Paul’s query of Ephesian Christians was, “Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed?” And they said unto him, “Nay, we did not so much as hear whether the Holy Ghost was given.” It is this baptisim which makes all the difference. The promise
was, “Ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” So Christianity spreads. One living, loving, dynamic soul sets another on fire.
Power! That is what we need to enable us to live a truly Christian life. To try to so live without the grace and strength which God can give to us is like a man trying to get to America in a rowing boat. It is conceivable, of course, that such a man might possibly arrive. It would not be amiss however to point out to him that there are other and more expeditious and less laborious ways of getting there.
There is no important question for Christian believers that this, “Did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed?”
Mark H. EARL