A. B. (Albert B) Simpson.

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and barren possibility. It may struggle its
best to develop itself, but it will only de-
velop, as those Western deserts the sage
brush and stunted palm which cover them
to-day. But give it two things. Drop into
that soil the living Christ, and flood it with
the water of the Spirit's fullness, and lo ! it
reaches the realization of its true idea, and
the promise of His own simple parable is
perfectly fulfilled, "He that abideth in me
and I in him, the same bringeth forth much
fruit ; for apart from me ye can do nothing."
Shall we then realize, beloved, that God
has made each of us, not a self-contained
world of power and perfection, but simply
a capacity to receive Him, a shell to hold
His fullness, a soil to receive His Living
Seed and fertilizing streams, and to pro-
duce, in union with Him, the fruits of
grace ? And shall we realize, on the other
hand, that God has so constituted. Christ
and the Holy Spirit, who is just the Spirit
of Christ, as perfectly to meet and satisfy
the capacities and possibilities of our being ;

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so that, while we are nothing without Him,
His life and grace equally require us for
their full development ? Into His living Son
God has poured all His fullness, so that "in
Him dwelleth all the fullness of the God-
head bodily." The Holy Spirit has now
become the great Reservoir and system of
distributing pipes and channels through
which His fullness flows into us$ and there
is nothing which God requires of a man, or
which man can ever need in the varied exi-
gencies of life but Christ possesses for us,
and we may have an exact adjustment to
our every need, by simply receiving Him.
This is the meaning of that beautiful ex-
pression, "Of His fullness have all we
received, even grace for grace. For the law
was given by Moses, but grace and reality
came by Jesus Christ." All other systems
gave us merely the ideas of things or the
commandments or laws which require them
of us. But Christ brings the power to
realize them and is Himself the reality and
substance in our hearts and lives. He is

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the Great Typical Man. But He is more
than a pattern or a type, exhibiting what
we ought to be, and demanding our imita-
tion. He is also the Living Head and Pro-
genitor of the very life which He Himself
exhibits, begetting it in each of us by a
living impartation of His very being, and
reproducing Himself in us by the very
power of His own life, and then feeding and
nourishing this life by the Holy Spirit out
of His own being.

Christ's Person, therefore, is far more
than a pattern. It is a power, a seed, a
spring of Living Water, nay, the very sub-
stance and support of the life He requires
of us.

2. This Person is the true fullness of
every part of our life. The idea of filling
implies universality and completeness in the
range within which He fills us. We are not
filled unless we are filled in every part.
This is just what Christ proposes to do in
our full salvation.

He fills all the requirements of our salVa-

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tion, all the conditions involved in connec-
tion with, our* redemption, reconciliation,
justification. He just takes the indictment
against us and fills it in with His own
precious atonement, and in His own blood
writes, " Settled forever." He takes the
broken law and the sad and humiliating
record of our failures, omissions and trans-
gressions, and fills it up with its own perfect
righteousness and writes over all our record,
"Christ is the end of the law for righteous-
ness to every one that believeth,' ' ' ' Accepted
in the Beloved ; " " He was made sin for us
who knew no sin that we might be made the
righteousness of God in Him."

And so "we are complete in Him." " By
one offering He hath perfected forever them
that are sanctified," and we are as fully
saved as if we had never sinned.

Now, beloved, the great thing is to realize
right here that this is complete, and, at the
very threshold, to begin to enter into the
fullness of Christ by recognizing ourselves
as fully justified and forever saved from all

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past sin and transgression through the com-
plete redemption of Jesus Christ. The lack
of fullness in our subsequent experience is
largely due to doubts and limitations which
we allow to enter here. Christ's work for
our redemption was finished, and when we
accept it, it is a complete and eternal salva-

Again, Christ fills the deeper need of
sanctification. He has provided for this in
His atonement and in the resources of His
grace. It is all wrapped up in Him, and
must be received as a free and perfect gift
through Him alone. " For of Him are ye
in Christ Jesus who of God is made unto us
sanctification." Is sanctification the death
of the sinful self? Well, this has been
crucified with Him already upon the Cross,
and we have but to hand it over to Him in
unreserved committal, and He will slay it
and bury it forever in His grave. Is sancti-
fication a new life of purity, righteousness,
peace and joy in the Holy Ghost? Still
more emphatically is it true that Christ

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Himself must be our life, our peace, our
purity, and our full and overflowing joy.

Again, He is the fullness of our heart life.
There is no place so sacred to us as our
affections, no place so claimed by the great
adversary of our souls, and so impossible to
regulate by our own power and will. But
Christ will give us His heart as well as His
Spirit, and will love in us with the love
which loves "the Lord our God with all our
heart and soul and strength and mind,'* and
which loves "one another even as He has
loved us." Oh, how blessed that we have
One who will really fill all the delicate
and infinitely difficult and varied require-
ments of these sensibilities and affections,
which carry with them such a world of
possibility for our own or others' weal or

Again, Christ will fill all the needs of our
intellectual life. Our mental capacities will
never know their full wealth of power and
spiritual effectiveness until they become
simply the vessels of His quickening life,

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and these brains of ours are laid at His feet
simply as the censers which are to hold His
holy fire. He will think in us, remember in
us, judge in us, impart definiteness and
clearness to our conceptions of truth, give
us the tongue of fire, the illustration that
both illuminates and melts, the accent and
tone of persuasiveness and sympathy, the
power of quick expression and utterance,
and all the equipment necessary to make us
workmen "that need not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth." Not
of course without diligent and faithful at-
tention to His wise and holy teaching, as
He leads us in His work to see at once our
own shortcomings and His full purpose for
us. We must be taught of God, and teach-
ing is sometimes very gradual, and even
slow; but " He will guide us into all truth, "
and "perfect that which concerneth" our
education and preparation for His work and
will; and the mind that the Holy Spirit
quickens and uses shall accomplish results
for God which all the brilliancy of human

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genius and the scholarship of human learn-
ing can never approach.

Again, He will fill the needs of our body,
for His body has been constituted, by the
resurrection from the dead, a perpetual
source of physical energy, sufficient for
every member of His body the church, and
adapted to every physical function and
every test that comes in the pressure of
human life, and the experience of a world
where every step is beset with the elements
of disease, suffering and physical danger.
Christ is the true life of a redeemed body,
and His Holy Spirit is able so to quicken
these mortal bodies, as He dwells within us,
that they shall receive a supernatural vigor
directly derived from our exalted Head.

Again, Christ will fill all the situations of
providence and all the needs that arise in
our secular callings and the circumstances
of our daily life. There is not one of them
that may not be recognized as coming from
Him, and meant to prove His all-sufficiency
in some new direction. Oh, had we the

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faith to see God in everything as it meets us
day by day, every chapter of life's history
would be a new story of the romance of
heavenly love in its magical power to trans-
form darkness into light, difficulty into
triumph, sorrow into joy, and the earthly
into the heavenly ; and Christ would be en-
abled to manifest Himself in His grace and
power to innumerable witnesses, who never
hear of Him from a pulpit, or read the story
of His grace in anything else but human
lives, in whom they could thus behold Him.

Again, Christ will fill our capacities for
happiness. He is the fulness of our peace
and joy. He is the true portion of the souls
that He has made ; and, wholly filled with
Him, there is no room for either care or

Finally, Christ will fill that fundamental
need on which every other experience of
His fullness depends, namely, the faith that
receives Him. This too, is but the life of
Christ within us, and our highest part in the
life of faith is to so abandon even our highest

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and hardest efforts to trust God, and so
boldly venture that we can receive the very-
faith of God and claim the "all things that
are possible to him that believeth."

3. To be filled with Christ is not only to
be filled with the Divine life in every part,
but it is to be filled every moment. It is to
take Him into the successive instants of our
conscious existence and to abide in His
fullness. For this is not a reservoir but
a spring. It is a life which is continual,
active and ever passing on with an outflow
as necessary as its inflow, and if we do not
perpetually draw the fresh supply from the
living fountain, we shall either grow stag-
nant or empty. It is, therefore, not so much
a perpetual fullness as a perpetual filling.

It is true there are periodical experiences
of spiritual elevation which are part of God's
plan for our life in Christ, and are designed
no doubt to lift us to a higher plane of abid-
ing union with Him. There are the Pente-
costs and second Pentecosts, the great
freshets and flood-tides, all of which have

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their necessary place in the spiritual econo-
my. But there is the continual receiving,
breath by breath and moment by moment,
between these long intervals and more
marked experiences, which is even more
needful to spiritual steadfastness and health-
fulness. God would have us alive to all His
approaches, and open to all the " precious
things of heaven, the dew, and the deep
that coucheth beneath, the precious fruits
brought forth by the sun, the precious
things put forth by the moon, the precious
things of the earth and the fullness thereof.' '
Such lives will find that there is no moment
of existence, and no part of our being which
may not be some minister of God and draw
some blessing from Him.


1. It is the secret of holiness. There is a
measure of the Holy Spirit's life in every
regenerate soul, but it is when every part of
our being is filled with His love and pos-
sessed for His glory that we are wholly

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sanctified, and it is this divine fullness which,
excludes and keeps out the power of sin and
self, even as it was the descending cloud
upon the tabernacle which left no room for
Moses within.

Would you have continual purity of heart
and thought and feeling, and entire con-
formity to the will of God ? " Be filled with
the Spirit;" "Of his fullness have we re-
ceived, even grace for grace." Let the
heavenly water flow into every channel of
irrigation and by every garden bed and
plant, until all the graces of our Christian
life shall be replenished by His grace, and
bloom like the garden of the Lord. Only
abide in Him and have His abiding, and you
shall bring forth all the fruit of the Spirit.

2. It is the secret of happiness. A heart
half full is only full enough to make it
conscious of its lack. It is when the cattle
are filled that they lie down in the green
pastures. "These things have I spoken
unto you that my joy might remain in you
and that your joy might be full."

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3. It is the secret of power. The electric
current can so fill a little wire that it will
become a force to turn the great wheels of
the factory, and the overflowing sluice of
the village stream has power enough to run
a score of factories all along the river banks,
but it is simply because it is overflowing.
Only full hearts accomplish effectual work
for God. Only the overflow of our blessing
blesses others.


1. He has promised to fill the hungry.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and
thirst after righteousness, for they shall be
filled. " Many who read these lines are no
doubt longing for this experience and think-
ing with discouragement of how far short
they come. Dear friend, this deep desire is
the very beginning of the blessing you seek,
and already the Holy Spirit is at work pre-
paring your heart for the answer to your
cry. No soul finds the fullness of Jesus so
speedily as the one that is most deeply con-

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scious of its failure and its needs. Thank
God for that intense desire that will not let
you rest short of His blessing.

An eastern caravan was overtaken once in
the desert with the failure of the supply of
water. The accustomed fountains were all
dried, the oasis was a desert, and they halted
an hour before sunset to find, after a day of
scorching heat, that they were perishing for
want of water. Yainly they explored the
usual wells, for they were all dry. Dismay
was upon all faces and despair in all hearts,
when one of the ancient men approached
the sheik and counselled him to unloose two
beautiful harts that he was conveying home
as a present to his bride, and let them scour
the desert in search of water. Their tongues
were protruding with thirst, and their
bosoms heaving with distress. But as they
were led out to the borders of the camp
and then set free on the boundless plain,
they lifted up their heads on high, and
sniffed the air with distended nostrils, and
then, with unerring instinct, with course as

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straight as an arrow, and speed as swift as
the wind, they darted off across the desert.
Swift horsemen followed close behind, and
an hour or two later hastened back with the
glad tidings that water had been found, and
the camp moved with shouts of rejoicing to
the happily discovered fountains.

So still there is a hart that can ever find
the springs of living water. It is the heart
that hungers and thirsts for God. Thank
God, beloved, if you have this deep spirit-
ual instinct in your soul ! Follow it as it
leads you to the Throne of grace, to wait,
and cry, and receive, until you can say,
" Satisfied with favor and full with the
blessing of the Lord."

2. The empty are always filled. "He
hath filled the hungry with good things,
but the rich He hath sent empty away."
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is
the kingdom of heaven." " Having nothing
and yet possessing all things." This is the
paradox of grace. We never can be filled
until we have room for God. Every great

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blessing begins with a great sacrifice, a great
severance, a great dispossessing. "He
brought them out that He might bring them
in." Abraham must let Lot have his choice
before he can have his full inheritance.
Isaac must be offered on Mount Moriah
before God can make it the seat of His
future temple. Moses must let go the
honors and prospects of his Egyptian
princedom before he can receive his great
commission, the lasting honor of his life
work. The heart must be emptied of self
and the world before it can be filled with
Jesus and the Holy Ghost. Probably each
of us is as full as we can hold, because the
places God does not fill are crammed with
something else and God finds no room. Are
we willing to be emptied ? " Make the val-
ley full of ditches," is still the prophet's
command, "and the valley shall be filled
with water." Are we in the valley of humil-
iation, and have we opened in the valley
the still deeper ditches of need and con-
scious insufficiency ? In proportion as we

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can say, " I am not sufficient," we shall be
able to add, "My sufficiency is of God."
Have we not only emptied out the old pirate
self-will and his crew of worldliness and
sin, but also all the cargo of our own
strength, faith and religious experience,
and made room for Christ to be our All and
in all always ? Do we habitually cease from
ourselves in everything and thus make it
necessary for God to assume the responsibil-
ity and supply the proficiency, and in this
spirit of self-renunciation and absolute
dependence are- we growing poorer and
richer every day?

3. The open heart shall "be filled. " Open
thy mouth wide and I will fill it." We
know what it is for the flower-cup to close
its petals and also to open to the sunlight,
the dew and the refreshing shower. The
heart has its susceptibilities and receptive
sensibilities, but often it is so tightened up
with unbelief, doubt, fear, and self-con-
sciousness that it cannot take in the love
which God is waiting to pour out. Do we

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not know what it is to meet people, with a
heart full of love, and find them all tight-
ened up and heart-bound? We become
conscious at once of the repulsion and feel
all the fountains of our love obstructed and
rolled back again upon our own aching
hearts. They cannot receive us. It is like
the mother who found her long-lost child
after years of separation, but the child
could not recognize the mother, and as she
tried to awaken its response and to pour out
the full tides of her bursting heart and
found no recognition, but only the dull
stare of strangeness and suspicion, and all
her caresses and tender overflowings of
affection rejected and met with cold indiffer-
ence and even recoil, her heart broke in
grief and disappointment, and she wept and
sobbed in agony.

The heart of God is pouring out His love
to many a soul who cannot, will not, take it
in. It does not know its Father. His face
is strange. There seems no avenue to the
dull earthly heart, and even the love of God

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has cause to exclaim, "How often would I
have gathered you as a hen gathereth her
brood under her wings, and ye would not ! "
I have seen a man dying for months simply
because he could not swallow more than a
single grain of food or spray of moisture.
Many a Christian's spiritual larynx is just
as shrunken, and millions are starving to
death in the midst of plenty, because their
hearts are not open to receive God. There
must be confidence, trust, the love that
draws near and takes, the faith that accepts
and receives, and the quietness of spirit that
stays long enough open to be wholly filled.
4. Again, we are filled by waiting upon
the Lord in prayer, and especially in con-
tinued and persevering prayer. It was after
they had waited upon the Lord that they
were all filled with the Holy Ghost. Pray-
er is not only an asking but also a receiving.
Many of us do not wait long enough before
the Lord to get filled. You can take your
breakfast in half an hour, but you cannot be
filled with the Holy Spirit as quickly.

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There should be seasons of special waiting
upon the Lord for this very purpose, and
then there should be a ceaseless abiding in
the Lord for the quiet replenishing, moment
by moment. The one may be compared to
the great rain storms that flood the river,
and the other to the ceaseless moisture of
the air and the morning and evening dews.
No child of God who, in a proper spirit, and
with an entire self -surrender and trust, waits
upon God for the full baptism of His Holy
Ghost, will ever be disappointed, but we
shall surely go forth from such seasons re-
freshed and overflowing with the love and
life of God, and will find that special influ-
ences of power and blessing will follow such
seasons, both in our own lives and the lives
of others.

5. Service for God and for others is per-
haps the most effectual condition of receiv-
ing continually the fullness of the Spirit. As
we pour out the blessing God will pour it in.
We have a pump in one of our institutions
which is worked by steam. We have a way

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of always knowing when the reservoir on
the roof is full. There is a little tell-tale
downstairs which begins to run and a little
bell to ring. Then we know that the over-
flow has begun, and the signal has sounded.
As long as the pump is silent we know that
it is not full, but that little signal and the
accompanying stream running from the open
tap are as good as a telegram from the dis-
tant roof. So we can always tell in the
Church of God when it is not full. There
are some Christians whose bell only rings
once in a very long time and whose overflow
is so feeble and infrequent that it would
scarcely furnish one good drink to a poor
thirsty wayfarer.

Beloved, let us keep pouring out more of
God's blessing and see if He will not more
abundantly pour in the floods of His grace.
Let us be very practical about this. Every
blessing that we have received from God is
a sacred trust, and it will be continued only
as we use it for Him. Our salvation is not
our own ; it belongs to every perishing soul

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on the face of the globe who has not yet had
the opportunity of accepting Jesus. Our
sanctification and our great secret of the full-
ness of Jesus is a sacred trust for every
Christian who has not yet received the full-
ness of God, and if we do not let this light
shine, it will surely become obscure and we
will not be able to tell out the story of our
blessing. Our healing belongs to some suf-
ferer. Our every experience is adjusted to
some heart, and will enable us to meet some
brother's need if we are but faithful to the
opportunities of God's providence. Oh,
how clear a truth becomes to us when we
are trying to tell it to others ! Oh, how real
the baptism of the Holy Ghost when we are
kneeling by another's side to claim it for
them ! Oh, how the streams of Christ's
healing flow through our very flesh as we
are leading some poor sufferer into the
truth ! Oh, how the joy of our salvation
swells ^s we see it spring in the heart that
we have just led to the fountain ! Oh, the
fullness that God is longing to share with

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every vessel that has room to receive it and
readiness to give I As we have therefore
received His fullness let us pass it on, drink-
ing as the living waters flow through our
hands, until we shall realize in some meas-
ure, the largeness and blessedness of the
great promise of .the Lord, "If any man
thirst, let him come unto Me and drink. He
that believeth on Me (as the Scripture saith),
out of his inmost being shall flow rivers of
living water."

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"Be ye also enlarged." 2 Cor. vi: 11.

THE law of growth is a fundamental prin-
ciple of all nature and redemption.
Whatever ceases to grow begins to die ;
stagnancy brings corruption ; the corpse
belongs to the worm ; a self-contained pool
becomes a malarious swamp. Vegetation
springs from a seed, the seed grows into a
tree, and the tree into a forest. Human life
commences in infancy and develops to
maturity. The word of God has all unfolded
from a single promise. The great plan of
redemption has been a ceaseless progression,
and will be through the ages upon ages that
are yet to come.

The experience of the soul is a growth.

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Online LibraryA. B. (Albert B) SimpsonA larger Christian life → online text (page 4 of 13)